Authors: Amy Sumida
Tags: #Romance, #Fantasy, #Paranormal, #Vampires, #Werewolves & Shifters, #Angels, #Witches & Wizards
My Soul to Take
Copyright © 2016 Amy Sumida
All rights reserved.
More Books by Amy Sumida
The Godhunter Series(in order)
Of Gods and Wolves
Marked by Death
Green Tea and Black Death
A Taste for Blood
The Tainted Web
These books can be read together or separately
Harvest of the Gods & A Fey Harvest
Into the Void & Out of the Darkness
Perchance to Die
Light as a Feather
Rain or Monkeyshine
Eye of Re
(My Soul to Take)
Beyond the Godhunter (Godhunter Spin-Off)
A Darker Element
Out of the Blue
The Twilight Court Series
The Magic of Fabric
Feeding the Lwas: A Vodou Cookbook
There's a Goddess Too
The Vampire-Werewolf Complex
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A Thaisce: Ah Hash-keh
Drachleen-sidhe: Druch-leen Shee
Estsanatlehi(Mrs E): Es-tan-AHT-lu-hee
Farinne-sidhe: Fare-nya Shee
Leannan-sidhe: Lah-nan Shee
Tsohanoai(Mr. T): So-ha-noe-ayee
I reformed in my bedroom at Pride Palace with a smile on my face. I was beginning to adjust to the necessity of leaving my infant sons in Faerie and now I could do so without anxiety or tears. That didn't mean I enjoyed leaving them there while I came back to the God Realm to spend some time with my new husbands. But I could at least treasure the time I spent with my children without the whole thing feeling bittersweet.
Faerie was an idyllic place for me now; a sanctuary of love and peace. Ever since the birth of my twin sons, Brevyn and Rian, the Faerie Realm had been quiet. Almost as if the Kingdoms of Faerie knew the hell I'd gone through to bring my boys into the world and were giving me some time off out of respect. There were no stirrings of war or rumors of vicious plots. No crazy faeries tried to kill me or anyone I loved (an eye-blinking, jaw-dropping miracle). The Fire Kingdom was in a bubble of bliss, enjoying the security of having their heir and a happy royal family. There hadn't even been any village disputes to mediate. It was idyllic.
The God Realm was a different matter entirely.
I'd had a bit of a break on my honeymoons. I'd been completely surprised when, after our wedding, my husbands informed me that they'd each planned a separate honeymoon for us. So I went to a villa in Florence with Azrael, a castle in Scotland with Trevor, a posh hotel in Paris with Kirill, and on a Mediterranean cruise with Odin (courtesy of Thor, who actually owns a line of cruise ships... guess which one).
The honeymoons were fabulous and decadent and maybe a bit naughty, just as honeymoons should be. I've now had sex in so many beautiful (and periodically public) places that I couldn't think of a single new setting for romance. That should be depressing, the thought that there was nowhere original left for us to try. But it's pretty hard to be depressed when you've got five incredible husbands and one sexy sun god lover. I figured we could just look on it as a challenge.
Yes, five husbands and one lover. Don't judge, I get enough of that as it is. Re, the aforementioned sexy sun god, had come a little late to the Vervain party and had missed the marriage bus, as it were. He wouldn't even be my lover if it weren't for my broken star (part of the hell of my twin's birth) which had given my inner beasts (literal but magical) more power than usual. My lioness liked Re, as most females do, and she refused to let him go. When I'd tried to break things off, she'd gone wild and started to tear me up inside. And since my husbands and I preferred my insides just as they were, Re got to stay.
Not that I'm complaining. Re is a generous lover and has become an attentive boyfriend. I'm not sure how much of his attentiveness is due to the fact that he's now the lowest guy on the Vervain totem pole but he's always been great in bed... especially in his round, elevator, bondage bed. Yes, Re has made me even freakier than I was before. Though I still can't handle chains (you go be chained up and tortured as much as I have and then try to enjoy being chained in the bedroom), I've seen the light, the sunlight actually, where it concerns silk ribbons.
Let's just pause here so I can have a moment to reflect on Re and his ribbons. Sigh. Okay, I'm good.
Unfortunately, as soon as I returned home from all of my love-basking honeymoons, the reality of being the Godhunter returned. The God Squad wanted details of my trip down future-memory lane (aka the future that shall never be). Not because they were a bunch of pervs but because they'd heard about my run in with Qaus, Gish, and Disani (otherwise know as the Rainbow Gods of the Gays and their Bottled Water Goddess). Even though I'd decided not to hunt these gods based on Silenus' prophecy, the Squad still thought we should keep tabs on them. They also thought I should go see the Fates and make sure the prophecy was what I'd determined it to be. Finally, they wanted to discuss Pasithea and her fresh crop of poppies.
We knew exactly where Pasithea was but there was a slight problem with getting to her since she was staying with her father, Dionysus. Turns out, when Morpheus handed his mother over to Hades after she was caught helping the Vampire Queen (aka Blue's old and possibly new girlfriend, Eztli) in Tuscany, Hades decided it was best to let Pasithea's father look after her. That might have been a valid choice if her father hadn't been the ultimate party boy. I mean, he was the God of Wine and Inebriation, not exactly the most responsible type. It would be like putting Miley Cyrus in charge of watching over Jeffrey Dahmer. Boy did I have words with Hades over that.
Then there was my Intare (my pride of lion shifters) and all the drama they stirred up on a daily basis. I was placing more and more responsibility on them and I think they're starting to mature past the frat boy stage but it was taking awhile. Just like in the Fire Kingdom with my fire fey, in Pride Palace I was in charge of settling disputes among the Intare since I was their goddess. Unlike the Fire Kingdom though, these disputes were usually ridiculous and often included Aidan. I swear, that lion loved making trouble. He was a true tom cat at heart. I had started calling him the Instigator.
So even though I was smiling from my visit with Brevyn and Rian, I lost that smile when an urgent voice crackled through my bedroom intercom.
“Tima, are you there?” It was Fallon and he sounded upset, which was a very bad sign. Fallon was one of my most responsible and tranquil lions. It took a lot to set his fur on edge.
I crossed the room and reached the intercom in three seconds, “I'm here.”
“We have a visitor,” the words formed a jagged ice cube in my belly.
What fresh hell was this? But then I realized that no one could get past our wards unless I'd given them the chant. This visitor must be a friend or at least an ally. So why was Fallon spooked?
“Who is it?” I asked warily.
“It's Yemanja,” Fallon whispered.
Yemanja? I blinked in surprise. I hadn't seen the Vodou lwa in years. The last time was on a beach in Hawaii. I'd been with Thor and she had warned us that I was in danger. It was actually the second time she'd tried to protect me. The first had been when I was a child and had fallen off a boat. She'd saved me from drowning then, though I hadn't known who or what she was at the time. Basically, I owed her. Big time.
“Send her up,” I said urgently into the intercom.
“Right away, Tima,” Fallon replied.
“What's going on?” Trevor came down the winding stairs that led to his tower bedroom, looking as delicious as ever, even though he was only dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. A T-shirt which read;
Definition of Animal Magnetism
topped by an arrow pointing up to his face.
“Ain't that the truth,” I smiled at his shirt and he chuckled as he sauntered forward to give me a kiss. The saunter thing couldn't be helped, werewolves just naturally saunter... or swagger, stalk, and often prowl. I can't decide which is my favorite.
“You gonna answer my question or make me guess?” Trevor pulled back a little but kept his arms around me. “I have some good guesses prepared.”
“Oh yeah?” I lifted a brow. “Lay one on me.”
“Okay,” he swooped in for a kiss.
“Not a kiss, a guess,” I laughed and pulled back.
“Um...” his face twisted in concentration. “Aidan ate all the chickens in a diabolical attempt to get out of feeding them this morning?”
“Nope,” I chuckled, “but good guess.”
We'd taken to raising some livestock to supplement the wild animals we had in the territory to hunt. The chickens were bought simply because the Intare ate a whole lot of eggs and we didn't have room in our multiple refrigerators to keep more than a days supply. It was easier to have a large flock of chickens producing a bunch of eggs which could be gathered on a daily basis. We also had some cows and a few pigs. It really helped to reduce the cost of our supplies.
Plus, it taught my boys some added responsibility. The farm we used for raising livestock was a ways off from the palace. Both for auditory and olfactory reasons- I can't stand the sound of roosters or the smell of poop. We shifters have sensitive senses and also there was a little rascal of a house cat to consider. And I'm talking about Nick, my gray tabby, not Aidan. So anyway, the boys had shifts working on the farm and Aidan was constantly trying to get out of his.
“Odin's wolves killed the chickens?”
“What is with you and the chickens?” I shook my head.
Right. So there was another issue with our new farm. Odin's pets/friends included a couple of raven spies named Hugin and Munin, and a couple of sweet but ferocious wolves named Geri and Freki. The wolves had thought the farm was a personal gift to them and I'm pretty certain the ravens had encouraged them in this notion. In case you didn't know, in the wild, ravens and wolves have a strange relationship. In our wild, Odin's ravens in particular had developed a weird symbiosis with his wolves. Half the time that included playing jokes on poor Geri and Freki, and those jokes often centered around food. Ravens are omnivorous and they love getting other animals to do the hard work for them. In this case, it was getting the wolves to kill our farm animals so they could share in the meat but take none of the blame. I told those naughty birds that I was wise to their tricks.
“Hmmm,” Trevor considered me. “Is this an outside issue?”
“Re fell down a well and has been using his stupid sunshine magic to send out an SOS but everyone thought he was just playing hide the sunstick with you, so he's been down there a week and you have to go pull his wrinkled butt out of the water?”
“What the...” I gaped at him and pulled out of his arms. “That was both ridiculous and detailed.”
“It's a fantasy of mine,” he admitted with dry sincerity.
“You have Re fantasies?” I lifted a teasing brow.
“Doesn't everyone?” He chuckled.
“Yemanja is here,” I shook my head at his nonsense. “I don't know why she's here but she's on her way up.”
“She is in fact, up already,” Yemanja said from the doorway with a smile that hinted at how long she'd been standing there.
She looked a lot different from the last time I'd seen her but then there wasn't an ocean handy here for her to clothe herself with. Instead, she wore a turquoise silk dress which skimmed over her lush body almost as slickly as the water had. The color was vibrant against her dark cedar skin, making the dress look even brighter than it actually was. Her crown was gone but she didn't need it, she looked like a queen as she walked toward me on sparkling, crystal-covered, high heels.
“Come in, it's good to see you, Yemanja,” I hurried over to her and reached out to shake her hand but she surprised me by pulling me into a hug.
“It's good to see you too, Vervain,” she stroked my hair lovingly. “You look beautiful, motherhood suits you.”
“You heard about that, huh?” I huffed a laugh. “We were a bit surprised when I delivered two instead of one.”
“I can imagine,” she chuckled.
“Would you like something to drink?” Trevor offered. “Coffee, tea, water?”
“A glass of cool water would be wonderful,” she nodded to him. “And congratulations on your recent nuptials.” We both thanked her before she went on. “I would have been at the wedding but I've had some trouble within the Vodou community. It's consumed all of my time and destroyed my peace of mind.”
“What's going on?” I asked immediately as I ushered her to a seat at our little kitchen table.
We had a kitchenette off to one side of the bed in our bedroom. I enjoyed spending quiet breakfasts with my husbands and so I'd made a little dining spot for us complete with fridge, table set, a countertop with a sink and cupboards, and a small stove. On the other side of the bedroom, closest to the bathroom, was an entertainment area, with a television and some couches. Our massive platform bed ruled the area between these and behind it was a glass wall with French doors leading to my butterfly garden. Between the sun coming in from the garden and the light streaming in from the balcony opposite, the room was cheery and bright.
“People are being murdered, Vervain,” Yemanja said gravely as she took a seat and set her intense, chestnut stare on me. The cheery brightness of the room dimmed. “
people. And I don't know who's behind it.”
“Well I'll help you of course,” I gave her hand a pat. “Tell me what's happening.”
“It began with just one death,” she frowned. “A loyal servant of mine died and I went to watch over her and make sure her soul moved past the gates and into the Waters of Ginen.”
“The Waters of Ginen?” I'd never really understood how the Vodou religion worked and as much as the timing was inappropriate, I was still curious.
I knew Vodou was based on a belief that there was one god but he was too busy to handle petty human issues, so the lwa, who were kind of like angels, were there to look after humans. The belief was that lwas were once humans who had achieved greatness in life and so, upon death, were elevated to this intermediary status. Of course, I knew that lwas were never human at all, they were Atlanteans who took sacrifices to become god-like. But still, the Vodou religion was one of the few which came close to the truth about the origins of the gods. So you kinda had to give them props for that.
“The Waters of Ginen is a territory of the God Realm,” Yemanja explained as she accepted a glass of water from Trevor. She gave him a grateful nod before continuing. “It's a type of purgatory where souls go to rest before being called back to Earth.”