Get News & Special Offers

Part 3

Paranormal Apprehension Agency

“I was going to kill you,” he admitted easily. “Without your blood there is no way for the stone to come to full power.”

He spoke so casually of killing me that I briefly wondered if I’d misheard. But, nope, that’s what he’d said.

“And what changed your mind? About killing me that is?” I asked glibly. It was like we were discussing the weather.

You did.”

His rich, deep voice hit a spot deep inside of me. The one which often led me astray and into the sort of bad, naked situations I was trying to avoid. He continued before I could push him: “You did not see, but when you opened the door, I held my sword ready to strike.”

It was strangely fascinating, listening to him talk of my almost-death.

“But I found myself hesitating. I could not swing the blade. Something I assure you has never happened before.”

“Hmmm,” I said. “I can imagine you’re quite good with your sword. It must have been a big shock … your lack of … performance.”

He lifted an eyebrow. “Quite the shock.”

Nothing I said or did ruffled him, which was actually starting to ruffle me. No one was this collected at all times. Dude was a pod-person.

He stepped closer to me and his power had every hair on my body lifting. I forced myself not to pat my head to make sure my hair there was still lying flat.

“Would you like a job, Livra Altissimo?”

Those words were the last ones I expected to hear from Archer’s mouth, and I stared at him in what was no doubt a very attractive manner—open mouth, dumbstruck expression.

“A –A job?”

He nodded. “If I can’t destroy you, and right now it feels like that would be a bad idea, then we need to destroy the stone. I can track it with your blood, but that tracking spell will wear off quite quickly. So … you need to come with me.”

“I’d almost preferred you killed me,” I said drily. “An unpaid job tracking down a stone that you’ll probably never be able to destroy, because why would something that powerful be easy to destroy, does not really sound like my idea of a good time.”

His lips twitched. “I might have possibly found someone even more cynical than myself. Excellent work.”

I flipped him off. “I’m not cynical, I’m experienced. And the sort of situation you’re trying to drag me into is one which doesn’t end well for anyone. Especially me. The one who has a father trying to kill her.”

“I can pay you, of course.”

I shook my head. “Your fae money is no good here, buddy. My local supermarket takes Aussie dollars, and sometimes sexual favours, but I leave that one up to Chesca.”

He didn’t bother to ask who Chesca was. He knew my full name, no doubt he knew about my roommate.

“I’m a very wealthy man, in both of the worlds.”

I swallowed hard. He was confirming something I’d been hesitant to ask. There was more than one world. This was why fae were nothing more than a myth. No one had ever captured one, well, not long enough to talk about it anyway, and so there were only rumours. Rumours of the way they fought demons and made deals with them in the same night. The way they had access to runes that the rest of us could only dream of.

“Is it true that the origin of our witch runes come from your world?”

I was delving back into every rumour I’d ever heard, and I was ready to find out the truth.

Archer gave me a single nod. “We gave humans some of our power so that they could fight against the demons. We have long been enemies of their kind.”

“And you’re sure I have no demon blood in me?”

Archer inhaled deeply, his eyes shifted to silver for a split-second. “You have no demon. You are almost completely fae.”

Well, shit. That certainly explained the unpredictable abilities I had. The way my magic was not always easily controlled, and how scary it could be at times. How intense. Archer was offering me a chance to find out more about my heritage, which in some ways was more valuable than the money he offered.

In some ways…

“How much are you paying?” I asked him bluntly.

He smiled, and his darkly handsome face turned into something that almost took my breath away. How did he manage to be so gorgeous … and still so freaking scary? Not to mention it was a little much to be a prince and rich and an assassin, or whatever his side-hustle was.

“Name your price, and it is yours. But be aware … you will be gone from Earth for a long time. One day in the Otherworld, is one week on Earth.”

“How will you ensure my protection from my father? Going directly to the…” I cleared my throat, “world that he lives in, doesn’t seem like the best idea.”

Archer’s grin widened, and I pressed a hand to my heated cheeks. Fucker had to know what he was doing to me. “You have nothing to worry about. Prince Lessian will never step foot in my lands—the dark-fae mountains are not for the faint of heart. Once we are there, I will decide on the final plan. I have a close-knit group of trusted friends that will make this journey with us. It’s in everyone’s best interest, that Lessian does not activate that stone.”

Here’s hoping his friends had the same objection to killing me that Archer did, otherwise it might all be over the moment I stepped foot on his world.

He was watching me closely. “You didn’t flinch at the fact I’m taking you into the dark-fae mountains. Are you not familiar with our world?”

I shook my head slowly, glaring at him. “That was very reassuring, thank you. I’m now picturing the dark-fae mountains as a kind of Bahamas resort. Is it all inclusive dining and drink?” He blinked at me and I pursed my lips. “No, I’m not familiar with your world. Until ten minutes ago, I believed fae were made up creatures, akin to Legolas from Lord of the Rings.”

“He was an elf,” Archer shot back immediately. “We are fae. There is a vast range of differences between our species.”

I opened my mouth and then slammed it shut again. “You watch Lord of the Rings?”

Archer’s eyes shone, and then he said, “And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the ring passed out of all knowledge.”

I swallowed hard, and my breathing increased to the point where I wasn’t actually getting any oxygen in my lungs. He took a step closer to me and his energy wrapped around me as he released a small sliver of his shield. “It is a lot like the fae, that ring. We used to be part of your world, but now we are nothing but legend and myth.”

He quoted Lord of the Rings. He fucking quoted it. My favourite movie.

“I can’t go with you to the fae lands,” I blurted out.

This fae prince was going to be my downfall. I just knew it.

Like he’d had me under a spell, when I stepped back from him, my head cleared and I started to mentally beat myself up. I did this every time … I never learned. Just because a man was beautiful on the outside, didn’t mean he was on the inside. My hormones were shithouse at picking a guy that was good for anything other than a one night stand.

“I don’t know you,” I continued, while Archer watched me with intense blue-green eyes. “I have no way to verify your story. This could all be some huge scheme to kidnap me or anything!”

I started backing up to the door, not that it would do much good because I had no magic to keep him out.

“You can have the night to think about it.”

I paused at those words, because again, he had surprised me. I hadn’t expected him to give up so easily.

“I will ward your house,” he continued. “It will hold as long as I’m in your town- giving you enough time to decide on your future. But heed my warning, your father will come for you, and if he activates the stone, it has the power to control an army. An army that he will use to level Otherworld.”

“Why is the stone connected to my blood? To my family’s blood?” I asked, confused about so much of what he was saying.

Archer’s next words were a whisper on the winds. “Because your ancestors were the great gatekeepers. The ones who guarded the worlds from those below. They had the power of the stones to help them, but when the demons broke free, they killed almost every one of your bloodline –and without the blood of your people, the stones were stripped of their power. It’s going to take a blood sacrifice to get them powered again, and since you and your father are the last two…”

“Daddy fae decided I drew the short straw.”

I was just staring at him now, no longer backing toward the door. “Are you a hundred percent sure that we … my people … we let the demons out? My family let the goddamned demons out of their cage?”

And I thought it was bad that I’d accidentally let my mark slip away after seducing me. That was nothing. It was clearly in my blood to be a screw up at my job. I should be impressed I managed to catch anyone.

“You were betrayed,” Archer admitted, sounding like he’d rather not spill this particular secret. “Your family held the front line of a war for thousands of years. They were warriors.”

Warriors did have a nicer ring to it than screw-ups. I wanted to ask him who betrayed us, but I sensed the answer wouldn’t really matter. It happened a thousand years ago, and I didn’t know any fae to feel betrayed by.

Archer straightened then and I realised we’d both been leaning forward, toward each other. The moment he broke that connection, I lurched back, able to breathe deeply again. Holy powerful fae.

“I’ll return this time tomorrow,” he told me. “For your answer. If you choose not to join me in Otherworld, then I will reassess my decision not to kill you.”

I snorted. “So … I really don’t have a choice.”

He shrugged. “I may not be able to take the killing blow again, you might be lucky for a second time. Then, it’s more than likely I will meet you on the battle field, when I face off against your father.”

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a card, flicking it across to me. “Just in case you make a decision before I return,” he said, both of us watching the card.

It sailed in an even arc, landing in my hand. I looked down to find a white business card, made of thick expensive cardboard. On the front was an address, glittering silver. And that was it. No name or phone number or any other identifying mark. Just a single address.

15 Jefferson Lane, Palm Beach.

Jefferson Lane! He was not kidding about the rich thing. Lifting my head, I prepared for what I was about to say, only to find the street completely empty. And like a veil had been lifted on my house, noises filtered back to me, cars rushing past again, bird chirping from nearby.

Holy fuck.