Dreams of Change(4)

By: Brandy L Rivers


Halstien wrapped his arms around her waist and placed his chin on her shoulder. “She’s getting so big.”

Laughing, Merova nodded. “I love you.”

“Love you more than anything,” he murmured.

And still, she felt evil creeping up on their lives. The foreboding grew worse with each passing day. The shadows seemed darker lately.

As she stared off into the distance, the shadows moved closer, forming an unnatural figure. True fear rolled through her.

Merova dashed forward, scooped Babette into her arms, and ducked inside. Halstien followed, casting the spell to lock the rift around their home. No one would get in.

“What did you see?” he asked.

“Zariha,” she whispered.

“Then we’ll go tonight, move to another place. You and our darling little one will be safe.”



* * * *



Five hundred years ago…



Merova stared out at the lighthouse she’d spent the last decade in with Halstien. Their children had grown and moved away over the centuries, and they were safe.

Halstien had helped the town’s builders create the beautiful structure. And since then, they’d lived happily, watching over the people.

People started dying the month before. They called the creature Homme d’Ombre, but they knew it was Zariha feeding off the people.

They needed to find a way to stop him for good. For centuries, they would make a home and be happy for a time before Zariha found them. They’d escaped each time, but the cycle had to stop.

Halstien appeared before her and wrapped an arm around her waist. “Can’t find him. He’s hiding too well.”

She touched his hip and closed her eyes, willing a magical weapon to be there, within his reach whenever he needed it.

His hands tightened on her shoulders as his muscles jerked. “Don’t need anything,” he muttered through clenched teeth.

“A weapon, an ax. You’re good with them. And this is imbued with the power to fully destroy Zariha.” They had tried many times before, but he always reformed. No, she needed to create something that would finish him forever.

He captured her face and pressed his forehead to hers. “I love you, but you know I’ve never wanted anything but your love, which you give me freely.”

“I love you,” she whispered. “You’ve given me freedom I only ever dreamed of.”

“We’ll ensure your freedom.”

“More concerned with the people we’ve accepted as ours. My freedom lies with you. Always has.”

“We will stop him.” He slipped into another realm, leaving her seemingly alone.

Screams echoed through the alleys. Zariha formed before her, rising out of the shadows on the ground. “Finally, you’ve stopped running, Merova. Does that mean you’ll finally grant me your power?”

He no longer wanted her to make the items for him. He’d learned how to steal the magic from a person and retain it. He showed new kinds of power every time they encountered him.

Halstien appeared behind Zariha and brought Endringsblad down, nearly severing the right side of his body from the rest.

Zariha whipped around and latched his hands around Halstien’s neck, drawing energy.

Halstien threw his hand out, sending a wave of force at Merova, who went slamming back into the rift that took her to the lighthouse. Then something shattered and she tried to slip back through to reach Halstien before Zariha killed him, only she slipped far away, across the world.

Grief overwhelmed Merova as she collapsed on the bed in a cave they had once made their home, away from people. Her creations lined the walls at the bottom of the cave.





Chapter 1





Present…



“Ten more minutes. You don’t want to be too early,” Bran muttered to himself.

One last look in the mirror. He straightened his bow tie because Evangeline once murmured something about how hot bow ties were with the right suit to his dead wife.

His hand landed on his dresser, and a crushing pain went through his chest. Margaret wanted him to be happy. She wouldn’t begrudge him mating another woman.

Bran rubbed at his chest. Would the pain ever fade?

She’d died five years ago, three years before he became a werewolf. And seeing how Evangeline had drawn his attention from the moment he laid eyes on her, he wasn’t sure Margaret was meant to be his mate, though he loved her more than the world.