Authors: Franca Storm
THE TWISTED DESTINY SAGA
Edited, Produced, and Published by Writer’s Edge Publishing
All rights reserved.
© 2015 by Franca Storm
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.
All characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
* * * The Redemption Series * * *
* * * Twisted Destiny Saga * * *
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“With child? She’s pregnant?” Ryan choked out.
Vazra nodded, his hand still on Cora’s belly. He smiled at her. “Congratulations, my daughter.”
Cora’s wide-eyed gaze hadn’t left Ryan’s. It looked like she couldn’t actually find the words to utter a response. He wasn’t surprised, because he was having trouble himself. Talk about shell-shock.
Jesus fucking Christ.
He broke her gaze and began pacing the room, unable to stand still a moment longer in his agitated state.
When they had first materialized inside the White Realm palace, he’d been so taken aback by the appearance of the infamous King Vazra that he hadn’t even realized exactly where in the palace they’d been standing. Now, as he glanced around erratically in his panicked state, he noticed the two high-backed crystal thrones at the back of the room. They were shimmering with what he suspected was white magic and adorned with sapphire roses. Three-foot-high effigies rested on either side of the four white marble steps leading up to the thrones; the effigies were two palms, made from stone, clasping a glowing orb that looked like the sun. The room was well-lit, so bright, in fact, that Ryan suspected a vampire would have a hard time opening their eyes inside the room. Ryan wasn’t sure whether the source of the light was sunlight or white light. He suspected the latter because he could feel the power all around him. He glanced at the windows. They were all stained glass, depicting the various creatures of the White Realm in all their glory: white witches, warlocks, faeries, dragons. Like the floor, the many pillars positioned throughout the room were white marble. And off to the right, a large table in the shape of a snowflake with intricately carved chairs caught his attention. It looked like it was made of ice. But Ryan knew the legends of the White Realm. The table was crafted from pure white magic. The
; it was the
of the Royal Court, the place where the King of the White Realm met to discuss matters of the realm with his royal advisors. Ryan’s mother had been an influential member of the king’s court at one time, prior to her disappearance, in light of King Nathanial’s threat against her.
“Fuck. I don’t understand. We were careful
careful,” Ryan muttered aloud, as he continued pacing, his gaze shifting erratically around the room.
“Except that one time,” Cora pointed out, finally speaking.
Ryan’s gaze snapped to hers, his eyes wide with realization. “During the bonding ritual.” He stopped pacing abruptly and approached her, shaking his head. “No, it’s impossible.”
“See for yourself,” Vazra said, stepping back from Cora.
Ryan knew what Vazra was suggesting. He wanted him to use his wolf senses.
Shit, it’s been a long time since I’ve done that. There hasn’t been much of a need for it in years.
He nodded and stepped into Cora. Their eyes met and he smiled reassuringly at her. “This may tingle a little.”
“I trust you,” she said, as he laid his right hand on her belly.
Ryan couldn’t feel anything.
I’m out of practice.
“Keep trying. Tap into your inner wolf,” Vazra encouraged him.
Ryan took his words in. He knew if he’d remained living in the Dark Realm his entire life then he wouldn’t be experiencing a problem trying to do it. But he’d been living in the human realm for two hundred years, a place where he never had to use the full breadth of his abilities, so he was more than a little rusty. He tried to ignore his embarrassment. The Wolf King showing weakness in front of the King of the White Realm? Not the best impression he’d ever made, that was for damned sure. He forced it out of his mind and concentrated solely on the task at hand.
He shifted his weight and closed his eyes tightly. A few moments passed and a soothing warmth coursed through him. And then he felt it—the essence of a wolf. The rest came to him in a rush: the gentle heartbeat and the smell of his blood fused with Cora’s. He gasped and pulled back.
“Oh my God,” he breathed, gazing intensely at Cora. “You
pregnant. The baby is wolf, Cora.”
Cora’s lips curled into a smile in response to the wave of excitement that had suddenly come over Ryan upon him realizing that she was really carrying his child
a wolf, no less. “Really?”
“Yes,” he said, wrapping his arms around her and planting a chaste kiss on the top of her head. “And there’s something else,” he said, pulling back and taking her hand. He pressed it to her belly and clasped his hand over hers.
She looked up at him in question.
“You can read my thoughts. You should be able to tap into my wolf sense as well.”
She shook her head. “Ryan, I don’t think—I don’t know how.”
me.” He glanced at Vazra and saw him nod. It was possible.
“You are bonded, so the link is already there,” Vazra encouraged her.
She nodded and closed her eyes tightly and concentrated.
Ryan watched her closely for several moments. And then he gasped in surprise as he felt a sudden, searing sensation travel from his hand that held hers all the way up his arm and into his heart. He choked against the uncomfortably intense power that gripped him. It felt like her hands were literally squeezing his heart. Her eyes snapped open and she looked at him worriedly, afraid that she was hurting him. “It’s okay. Continue,” he rasped.
A moment later she suddenly ripped her hand away. “Whoa!” she exclaimed in surprise, looking between him and her father.
“You felt it, my child?” Vazra asked her.
She nodded and looked up at Ryan, grinning widely. “A boy?”
He smiled back at her. “Yes. Our son.”
“Our son,” she murmured with disbelief. “We’re having a child,” she continued as though finally accepting it.
As Ryan watched her, relieved that the initial fear and rejection he’d felt from her when Vazra had first told them she was pregnant, had evolved into acceptance, something awful suddenly occurred to him. He turned to Vazra. “A non-wolf can’t carry a wolf child to term.”
It was a well-established fact in the supernatural world. Ryan had heard enough horror stories to know. And if that wasn’t enough, he’d actually witnessed a few disturbing cases, too. It always ended the same way—with the mother dying in excruciating pain after being literally ripped apart by the wolf within. It was why he was so harsh with his pack about insisting they use protection when sleeping with human women.
“My daughter is not human, Ryan.”
“But she isn’t wolf either.”
“She is more. As is the child.”
“What does that mean?” Cora asked.
“The child is not solely wolf. It is a hybrid. It will possess your powers as well.” He looked at Ryan as he said, “Cora’s white light will sustain the child, enabling her to bring it to term. She will be fine.” His gaze snapped back to Cora as he added, “
I teach you how to unleash your powers properly. It will ease all of your pain—pregnancy and migraines alike.”
“How did this happen?” Ryan asked.
“The child was conceived when you bonded,” Vazra revealed.
“You told me that was impossible,” Cora said to Ryan, accusation dripping from her words.
Ryan held up his hands in surrender. “It is.” He eyed Vazra as he added, “Help me out here.”
Vazra chuckled and nodded as he told Cora, “What Ryan told you is correct…under
“Normal circumstances?” Ryan asked, folding his arms across his chest.
“When two beings of royal blood mate, the conception rule during a bonding is transcended. When you bonded—the King of the Wolves and the Princess of the White Realm—your power joining could not be contained by any rule, thus making it possible to conceive a child.”
Ryan let out a low growl of frustration. “How was I not aware of this?”
“You were never told, because we all believed Cora was lost to you the day your father was killed and you were subsequently banished from the Dark Realm. Had your father lived, he would have told you when you were ready to bond with your mate. I am sorry, Ryan.”
“And me?” Cora demanded. “Why didn’t you tell
“It was my intention. But the night that the bonding occurred, my efforts were drawn elsewhere.”
“Where?” Cora snapped. “What could be more important than telling us and giving us a choice in all this?”
“Saving your lives.”
“What?” Ryan snapped.
Vazra heaved a heavy sigh as he revealed, “That night, it came to my attention that the Vampire Prince had sensed the spilling of my daughter’s blood—during the ritual. I raised a temporary veil around the both of you to hide your location from him while the ritual occurred. I couldn’t risk him interrupting it. He would have killed you both.”
Ryan shook his head. “Luca wouldn’t have been able to cross the threshold of the house. He wasn’t invited.”
“Michael has that ability—his black magic allows it,” Vazra explained. “He could have granted him access. And both beings are at their weakest for a while after a bonding. You both would have been too vulnerable to fend off an attack.”
Ryan locked eyes with Cora.
That explained why Luca had nearly killed him outside the house that night.
“Unfortunately, using my magic across the realms takes a great deal of power. It drained me very quickly and I wasn’t able to sustain the veil for very long; it was just enough for you to complete the bonding.”
Cora stepped towards Vazra cautiously. She held out her hand to him as she said, “Thank you,
Vazra smiled and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into him and holding her tightly. “I have missed you dearly, my child. Sending you away all those centuries ago caused me great grief. You are my only child, Cora.”
Cora pulled back suddenly and choked out, “
ago? I’m only twenty-nine, father.”
Vazra stroked her hair gently as he told her, “In
years. You’ve lived in the human realm for that long. You don’t remember your life here in the White Realm. You lived here for over a hundred years with your mother and me. But when Ryan was banished and I was forced to agree to your betrothal to Luca, I sheltered you in suspended
—sleep—in the human realm for one hundred and seventy years.”
“What?” she exclaimed, pulling back in shock. “So, I’m Ryan’s age? Almost three hundred?”
She turned away and ran her fingers through her hair in distress. “I’ve spent most of my life in a forced sleep?”
“That’s why it took so long for her to find me,” Ryan realized. He growled low in his throat at Vazra, a dangerous warning of a growl. His eyes shone with the sign of a shift. “How could you do this to her!” he thundered. “To your own daughter!”
Ryan lunged at him in a fit of rage.
Vazra held up his right hand calmly. A flash of white light burst from his palm and shot out towards Ryan. It shimmered around him, enveloping him in something akin to a bubble. Ryan growled. His claws sprung free and he clawed at it repeatedly, but it was unbreakable. The king’s magic was too strong, even for the King of the Wolves.
Cora rushed towards him and yelled at her father, “Stop this! Release him now!”
“I will as soon as he calms down. He was on the verge of shifting.”
“Ryan, look at me,” Cora said.
But Ryan refused to do so. He was too angry to listen to reason. Vazra had kept her from him all these years, much longer than he had even realized. He’d had no idea that she was his age. He’d known that the Princess of the White Realm was his destined mate and he’d known Vazra had hidden her in the human realm, but he’d had no idea it had been for so long in a sleep-induced state. He’d thought her to have been born only recently and hidden as soon as her mother had given birth to her in order to avoid the treaty. He’d thought she had only been twenty-nine years of age, just as Luca had. Luca was supposed to be betrothed to her by her thirtieth birthday, but now it was clear that that was long past. She was only almost thirty in the human realm. In the White Realm and Dark Realm—in the supernatural world as a whole—she was one year away from her three-hundredth birthday, just like him. If he had known, he would have found her sooner. They could have lived so many lifetimes together already. They had lost so much because of Vazra’s deception.
“I was trying to protect my daughter, Ryan,” Vazra told him.
Cora gazed at Ryan sadly. “We can’t change the past, Ryan. But we have the present. I am here now. And so is our child.”
Ryan’s gaze snapped to hers at the sound of her words. His growls ceased as he looked upon her.
As her right hand touched the shimmering barrier, it passed right through it. She gasped in surprise as her hand made contact with his. She weaved her fingers in his and held his hand tightly in hers. He released a heavy breath, calming himself.