Authors: Bryce Evans
Copyright © August 2016 Bryce Evans
Art and Logo Copyright © Bryce Evans
All rights reserved.
Edited by: EV Proofreading
Artwork by: Jess Buffett
Formatted by: Stacey Price
Published by: Bryce Evans
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to acknowledge my mom, who passed away a few years ago; she told me to follow my dreams and never allow anyone to tell me I couldn’t achieve them.
Thanks to the love of my life, John, for making me a place to write and even taking up the slack when I was typing away in my own world. You helped to make my dream come true. It may be a small table in the corner, but it’s my corner of make believe, where dreams do come true.
Thanks to my beautiful kids, who keep me grounded and drive me crazy at the same time. I love you all.
Thanks to Janka Dustan who agreed to be my PA and tells me now what to do and when to do it. We have been figuring it out and having a great time at it. Thanks Janka.
Thanks to my Beta Readers: Janka Dustan and Mary Durham.
A SPECIAL THANKS to the REBELS. You know who you are.
It’s a long road but it’s worth it! We did it!!!!!! And now we are making it a reality.
kind and leave a review on the site you purchased the book from.
age Wingate is fighting
for control in her chaotic life. A bad-ass Bear Shifter intent on mating her, a deadly war with a powerful witch, and Sage’s overwhelming need to get revenge for her own past hurts, all bringing her to brink of madness.
Brody King is an Alpha in the truest sense. His need to protect his pack and his loved ones is only over shadowed by his desire for the pretty witch running for her life. She may have doubts about her destiny, but his nose knows best, and he’s going to pursue her with everything he has.
The war only grows more deadly as shifters are pushed to their brink. Will Brody and Sage stay focused and alive, or will they get lost in the seductions of the mating lust. Only time will tell…
ust go with her
, the voice of reason that always seemed to pop up in her head demanded. Sometimes she hated that voice. Carina Bailey was only eight years old and she had stuff to do after school. She wanted to just be a kid, but sadly she knew that she was different, and even her drawing wasn’t childlike. The pictures in her head needed to be put down on paper. Thought after thought continued to plague her mind, and the only way to make it go away was to draw it. Instinct told her that the pictures in her head would help her family. But for now, she had to stop drawing and go with the woman that looked like her sister Rose, but wasn’t. Nope, this was the wicked witch herself, Claudia Blackwood. The one responsible for killing Thorn. Carina would never forgive her for that. For some reason, Claudia wanted her, and somehow, some way she had concocted a spell that made her look like Rose. And that stupid voice of reason wanted her to go with Claudia…but she knew that pain followed that witch wherever she went. But this was the chance to find out more, and for some reason the vision she’d had earlier told her to take the mark and place it on the book. To track it. MJ was with her when she had the vision. Obviously it had something to do with Claudia, and if she didn’t go the woman would probably kill everyone here…and she really liked this school. She grabbed her book bag and took the little tracker out that MJ had given her earlier and put it in her pocket before Claudia noticed it. Then she took the witch’s hand and left with her. Nobody even realized that her sister never dressed this way. For goodness’ sake, she was dressed up in a business suit!
Once they reached the car and she was thrown inside, Carina looked up at Claudia, who had a smile on her face. “I wish I could say that I was glad to see you, but I cannot tell a lie. What do you want, Claudia?” Maybe it was because she was eight years old yet spoke like an adult, or maybe it was because Claudia thought she was that good and was upset that Carina wasn’t fooled. Didn’t matter to her, but Claudia sure looked pissed off.
“How did you know it was me?”
Carina tilted her head before shaking it and sighing. She could see the evil as it swarmed around the witch’s aura. The woman was so polluted with evil she couldn’t see how crazy she really was.
“You are a smart one. They said that you were smart beyond your years, but all I see is a child,” Claudia sneered back at her. The spell masking the witch’s appearance started to wear off, the wickedness showing through. Carina bet the witch had never had fun a day in her life to be that evil.
“You ever play with dolls when you were little? I have one and her name is Claire. She has blond hair like me. Someone very special gave her to me. You may remember him—Thorn.”
Claudia laughed. “Oh yes, Carina, I know who he is. He gave his life so you could live. Thankfully…but perhaps you won’t think so.” The witch smirked before continuing, “I need you.”
Carina hadn’t paid attention to the man sitting beside her until the needle went into her arm. It hurt, too. She asked for her panther to come forward to help her, but she was too tired. She struggled to find a way to free herself, until she couldn’t hold her eyes open.
rody King listened
as Kayden Lynn—one of his best friends and a fellow Alpha—filled them in on what had happened to Carina. Claudia Blackwood had taken her. His heart dropped, thinking about what they could do to her. He had to pull his bear back and get control of himself. His claws had dug straight through his desk. Even though Carina was a powerful seer and witch, she was just a little girl. She was wise beyond her years, and if you closed your eyes it was easy to imagine you were talking to an adult, but the fact remained that she was only an eight-year-old girl. They all tried to let her be a kid, making sure she had toys like girls her age. Me-Len wanted to start training her in magic, to show her a way to use the magic to protect herself, but her sister Rose had said no. She understood that Carina was a witch, but she wanted her to be a child as long as she could. Kayden, her Alpha, agreed. Hell, they all thought it was the right course for her. Carina’s visions were coming all the time and the information was very helpful, but when Thorn was killed by Jamal it changed her. She was more reserved now, less engaging with others, which made the decision to keep Carina from learning more at this young of an age easy. But now their worst enemy had her, and they had to get her back.
“We need to come up with something. She wants Carina to do something for her. We need to figure out what that is and get her out. I should have sent more guards to never leave her side.” Kayden said with regret. Brody could hear how defeated he sounded.
“You did and again she had to know that her plan would work. She knew our routine, some way some how. She knew. All that matters now is that we keep the plan among the Order and come up with a plan to get her back.” Brody hit the edge of his desk and it broke off. “Shit.”
“What’s wrong?” Ryder asked.
“Nothing. We need to meet and figure this out.” Brody said, he tried to sound positive. He wasn’t. The likely hood of them getting Carina back was diminishing as time ticked away. “In a few hours and you all know where.”
“Agreed.” All the Alphas echoed over the phone. If they couldn’t come up with something, God help Alpha City.
at the top of her lungs, Claudia demanded that the little girl open the book. This was a book that was supposed to have been destroyed years ago by the Vampire Council. The Book of Thoth wasn’t to be used by a human or shifter. Claudia Blackwood and Jamal, a dragon shifter, had kidnapped the little girl. Who was this little girl? She was tied to the chair, her feet dangling, not even touching the ground. She had to be only eight or nine years old. Sage watched the dragon’s tail as it swished across the room, slapping the girl in the face. It was horrible, watching. She felt hopeless as a trail of blood dripped down to the floor. She stared in horror at the deep cuts on the girl’s face. She could feel the rage building up inside of the little girl. The dragon’s aim made contact over and over again. “Open the book,” Jamal commanded.
The blood flowed down onto the girl’s pants as she leaned forward, spitting blood from her mouth. Sage had to look away. If the girl survived, her face would never be the same. She was just a little girl, a child, but these two were evil beyond anything she could have ever imagined. They were slowly killing her. Sage didn’t know how long this child could endure the pain. She hardly made a sound. Hell, she doubted she could have lasted this long.
Claudia walked around the little girl. “If you open the book, I will let you go home. Just tell the book to open.” Sage could tell that Claudia was going to kill the little girl even if she did open the book. She watched as the girl’s eyes rolled back in her head as she said, “The Elves are coming for you. Thoth is coming for you.”
Sage’s eye’s widened. Who was this girl? She could see the white magic surrounding her, protecting her from the darkness that continued to strike her walls, trying to get in. Whoever she was, she had a lot of magic as it fought off the tainted magic Claudia had. This was something different and it was only growing. Claudia was pulling out every spell she knew to make the girl speak the words, but this one was strong. None of her spells touched her. She wanted to laugh when Claudia got frustrated. This one wasn’t giving in. Unfortunately, Claudia loved a challenge. If she had to break you to get what she wanted, she would do it. She would break every bone in the girl’s body just to get that book open.
Claudia leaned right up to the little girl’s ear. “You think the elves are coming for you? To help you, Carina? Nobody knows where you are.” Carina didn’t move, keeping her eyes forward. There was a pause, just a minute when Carina seemed to make eye contact with Sage. No, she thought. Nobody could see her she was hidden behind the cloak. Assuring herself, Sage continued to watch, knowing she was well hidden behind the bookcase and cloak.
Sage had to give it to the kid she was tough as nails. Her name was Carina. Then she remembered…shit, shit. Carina was part of the Order. Me-Len had explained what the Order was. It was a group of special shifters and other magical beings who were brought together to rid the earth of Jamal and his people. It was formed a long time ago when dragon shifters were on earth. When Claudia gave Jamal his freedom from Hell, the Order was brought back. Members became part of the order when they were given special gifts from the gods. She was a member but nobody knew it yet. She woke up one morning and found the Cloak of Edengraf lying across her bed, and somehow knew what it was and that the Cloak would make her invisible once she put it on. She was wearing it now as she watched Jamal torture Carina. It was taking everything she had to stay quiet. If Claudia felt her presence…she would kill her and her mother and then she would be of no help to Carina. But Claudia had to know about the Order. No matter what she promised Carina, she would never let her go.
Sage watched as the dragon got angry and whipped his tail out again, hitting Carina in the face. Blood splattered across the floor as Carina finally cried out in agony. She didn’t know how much more the little girl could take or how long she could take watching them torture the innocent girl.
Claudia reached around and untied the girl’s arms, then placed the book in her lap. Carina swayed forward until Claudia pushed her back into the chair. “Open the book now or feel his pain,” Claudia shouted. Sage could tell that Claudia was getting frustrated with Carina. Claudia walked around to the side of her and whispered something to Jamal.
Sage watched as Carina’s fingers reached into her pocket. She couldn’t see what the girl had pulled out, but her hands rubbed all over the book.
Jamal walked back around to the front of her, smiling. “Once I beat you until you can’t stand it, I’m going to start to burn you. Do you want me to do that?”
Claudia screamed again, “Open it!”
Carina just smiled in defiance and shook her head.
Jamal didn’t like her answer and flicked his tail again, slashing the other side of her face. Again, Carina didn’t say a word. How was she hanging on? When the time came, Sage was going to kill them both. She watched as Jamal attacked again and again, slashing across the girl’s arms, then legs, until finally Carina fell forward and passed out.
ll Sage could think about was
getting Carina to safety. She watched as Claudia yelled for the guards to take the girl back to the dungeon. Quickly, she rushed back to the room she shared with her mother. Sage shook her mother, then put her finger over her mouth and whispered, “Mother, wake up.” Helping her mother get out of bed, they went to the bathroom and turned on the sink and shower.
“What’s wrong?” Her mother looked tired. It was this place sucking all the life out of her. They had agreed to help but it was killing her mother. Each day they stayed was poisoning their souls. Nothing but wickedness lived here and it was slowly killing them both. They needed to leave before Claudia was on to them.
Sage explained every gory detail she had seen. Her mother knew what would happen to the poor child if she was left, and they knew the time had come to escape, taking the child with them. They devised a plan for Sage to get Carina to the car then come back inside to get her mother, using the cape. If they didn’t leave now, it would be too late for all of them. Sage wished she could take her mother with her to rescue Carina, but the cloak would only hide Sage and one other person, and her mother was too weak to make it out without help.
“I’ll be back to get you. Don’t pack or take anything. Just be ready.” Sage hesitated before she opened the door. “Maybe I should get you outside then come back in to get Carina?”
“No, Carina should go first. Get that child out of here. Don’t worry about me, Sage. Everything will all work out in the end.” Jessica Wingate placed her hands on the sides of her daughter’s face and smiled. Sage watched as her mother’s magic swirled around her hands. She could only listen to her mother’s sweet voice. “Your mission is to get Carina to safety. Think of nothing else but getting the both of you to safety. Me-Len will be waiting for you.”
Jessica kissed her cheek then released her. Sage felt like she was in a dream, but her mother was standing in front of her, smiling. “I love you, Sage Wingate. You were the best thing I ever did in my life. Now go while you have time.”
Sage shook her head trying to clear it but her mother repeated, “Sage, go.”
“I love you mom. I’ll be back for you,” Sage whispered then pulled the hood of the cape over her head and left the room. She had a mission. Yes, a mission to get Carina to safety.
Quietly, she walked down into the dungeon where Claudia was keeping Carina. The guard was asleep, which made it easy for her. Opening the door she picked up the sleeping Carina and carried her out. She was rolled up in a ball and weighed practically nothing. Guards were everywhere so she cut through the kitchen and out the back door.
Sage smiled when she saw Claudia’s new Mercedes parked on the side. Yes, she would take the witch’s car and then drive it off a cliff after she got Carina and her mom to safety. It gave her a burst of happiness knowing she was about to steal the car Claudia had bragged so much about. Damn woman was hunted by all of Alpha City and the magical world, but she had one of the most sought after cars in the world.
Sage prepared a spell to unlock the door, then realized that the doors were already unlocked. Quietly, she placed Carina down on the backseat. When she closed the door a guard saw her, destroying her plans. When he yelled out that they had an intruder, Sage knew she would have no time to go back for her mother. Sage hesitated for a brief moment then she heard her mother’s voice in her head, “Leave now. Me-Len will be waiting for you.” Jumping in the car, Sage drove down the long driveway. Of course the keys were in the car, the woman had no fear of anyone stealing it. She only got halfway down the long driveway before bullets shattered the back glass, but Sage pushed the gas pedal harder until she realized that the gates were closed. She had to laugh when she glanced up and saw that Claudia had a gate opener on her visor. Pushing the button, she smiled as she drove out the opening gate. Now she had to drive as if her life depended on it…and it did. Claudia had purchased a Mercedes SLS AMG car simply because of its speed. She’d gloated enough about it to everyone, telling the guards that if anyone was after her in the car it wouldn’t matter, because she could out run anything Alpha City had. Sage just hoped that the guards’ vehicles were slower. She had to be careful because Carina wasn’t fastened in. She didn’t have time.
Digging into her pocket, she called her grandmother, Me-Len. Screaming into the phone, she told them what road she was on and what car she was in.
Me-Len told her they were on the way, and Sage dropped the phone into her lap. She didn’t have time to talk and drive. She had to get Carina to safety. As she came around the curve, her vehicle was rammed from behind. She fishtailed on the roadway, but thankfully regained control. Still, they were on both sides of her now and both cars had men hanging out the windows with guns. She slammed on her brakes as the bullets slammed into the other cars. Then she sped up again. She couldn’t let them get ahead of her and block her. The car was meant for speed, but it wasn’t bulletproof. When one of Claudia’s guards got too close, she rammed into the side of his vehicle. She cringed at the sound of metal scraping against her car. If she went down, she was going down fighting. They were not getting their hands on Carina again.
Gasping, the guards crashed into the side of her again. She couldn’t take much more of this. The vehicle couldn’t take much more damage before the ramming would break off a major part of the vehicle. With a worrying crunch of metal, they hit the side of her again. “Please Me-Len, hurry.”
It happened so quickly she almost missed it. Something flew over the vehicle. It sounded like a plane, but not as loud. She sped up again, getting ahead of her pursuers. She looked in her rearview mirror to see one of the vehicles blow up. She gasped as the other one exploded, too. Her phone started ringing.
“We’re coming, but the bears sent you some help. Have you seen them yet?”
“Yes. Well, I guess so. The two vehicles following me just…just blew up.”
“Good, now keep driving and I will meet you at the city limits when you get into Alpha City. How are Carina and Jessica?”
“Me-Len.” Sage caught herself before she broke down and cried. “I didn’t have enough time to get my mother out, Me-Len. I…I will have to go back and get her.”
“Just get here, Sage. We will get your mother.” Sage hung up the phone and continued on toward the city limits.
She kept glancing back at Carina. Glass had shattered all over her, but it appeared that she still hadn’t moved. She was still rolled up in a ball. Sage’s cell phone rang again, and thinking it was Me-Len, she answered. “Me-Len, I think I’m close.”
“You’ll regret this, Sage Wingate. That girl belongs to me and you’ll turn around and bring her back.” Sage’s heart dropped as she listened to Claudia Blackwood’s evil voice. “Your mother says hello, by the way.”
“If you hurt my mother, I’m going to ki—”
Claudia laughed. “You’re not in any place to give me orders, little witch. I will exchange your mother for the girl. Turn around now and we will make the swap. Deal?”
Sage wiped the tears from her eyes. It didn’t matter if she turned Carina over to Claudia. Sage knew that the witch would kill her mother and then her.
“Do we have a deal?” Claudia yelled impatient.
She heard her mother screaming as the phone hung up.
“Forgive me mom.” Sage cried out.