Home > The Evolution of Fae and Gods (Chronicles of the Stone Veil #3)

The Evolution of Fae and Gods (Chronicles of the Stone Veil #3)
Author: Sawyer Bennett

CHAPTER 1

 


Carrick


The feeling of impending doom brought him out of his sleep, and he was instantly on high alert.

Carrick had fallen asleep on the couch in his office, doing some late-night reading in search of any information he could find on changelings. Glancing out his office doors to the skyline, he could tell they were in the pre-dawn hours.

Removing the book off his chest where it had fallen, he swung his legs off the couch and grabbed his cell phone. Shoving it into the side pocket of the cargo pants he still sported from the trip to Faere, he moved quickly out of his office. The condo was dimly lit by sconce lighting that he left on throughout the night, but he didn’t need it to navigate across the penthouse to Finley’s suite. He could see fine in the pitchest of dark if the situation were to arise. Rather, he left the lights on for Finley’s benefit.

His stomach clenched as unease seemed to coil even tighter within him the closer he got to her room. Carrick was almost sure whatever woke him up had something to do with Finley, so he had no problem barging in on her in the wee hours.

Without so much as a knock, he threw her door open, his anxiety skyrocketing when he saw her empty bed.

He didn’t need to search the apartment, for he already knew she was gone.

Carrick closed his eyes, searching for the connection that they shared. It had snapped into place the minute he laid eyes on her at Fallon’s gallery show all those weeks ago. Finley had once been amazed that Carrick found her hiding out on the Fantasia, and he had told her that he had never lost her.

That was truer than she would ever know.

Opening himself up, Carrick spread his powers out far and wide in a muted blast across downtown Seattle, and it took only a second for him to locate her. The imminent danger she was in rippled through him like a shock wave, and genuine fear clogged his throat as he hoped he wouldn’t be too late.

Envisioning One Bean in his mind, he reached out, grabbed the coffee shop with his power, and pulled it to him. In a blink, he stepped from Finley’s bedroom into One Bean’s entryway only to find the building burning hot all around and two fireballs flying right at Finley.

Carrick released the distance he’d bent between his condo and this place while simultaneously using his extraordinary speed to move in front of Finley to protect her.

He barely got a glance at Fallon twenty feet away before he felt the heat of the fireballs and managed to turn his body toward Finley. He snatched her into his arms, curled as much of his body around her as possible, and let the fireballs slam into his back.

The fire melted his shirt, singed his hair down to the scalp, and seared the skin on his back and shoulders. The force of the blast knocked them both to the ground, and Finley cried out in pain as he landed heavily on top of her.

Carrick didn’t have time to assess her injuries. He was glad of that painful cry she uttered because it meant she was alive, and he had more important things to do at this moment.

Springing to his feet, he whirled on the Dark Fae and reveled in her look of surprise. He had just ruined her plans to kill Finley, but he braced when her expression changed from shock to fury. Finley groaned behind him, and while he was attuned to her, he refused to take his focus from the enraged creature across the burning shop.

Flames covered the walls, had engulfed all of the furnishings, and ceiling tiles were starting to crash down. The smoke was thick, and while it didn’t affect him, he heard Finley start coughing.

Carrick knew the coffee shop was a loss, but it would be a victory if he got Finley out of here alive.

He also knew he could potentially end this prophecy once and for all if he were to just kill the Dark Fae right now.

Obviously, there were risks to that since they still didn’t know what this creature’s role was. Her death could activate it for all he knew, which meant killing her wasn’t the right move.

Moreover, Carrick didn’t know if there was any connection between this changeling and Finley’s real sister in The Underworld, and he simply couldn’t take the chance that she might be destroyed as well if the Dark Fae died.

Decision made to escape rather than kill, Carrick realized he needed a distraction. He pulled forth his powers, which were stronger than any fae, and picked up a burning table with the force of his will. It hovered a moment before he sent it flying at the Dark Fae who was once Finley’s sister, and took only a moment to feel the pleasure of seeing it crash into her with such force that she went flying backward into the hallway.

He didn’t wait to see her get up because he knew she would. That was merely a love tap to a fae, and he didn’t know if she was willing to continue to tangle with him. If she did, that put Finley in more danger as the smoke and fire would kill her before Fallon could attempt to get past him.

So he spun toward Finley, heaved a sigh of relief when he saw her rising to her feet, and grabbed her by the arm to help her the rest of the way. Turning her toward the door, he put an arm around her back and said, “Come on. We have to go.”

Finley was hobbled, her first step to the door a limp, and Carrick was about to scoop her up in his arms when something slammed into their backs. This time, it wasn’t fire or a return volley of burning furniture, but rather felt like a magical wall slamming into them with the force of an ocean tsunami. It lifted them off their feet and propelled them straight toward the glass window beside the door.

Carrick barely had time to pull Finley to him, once again wrapping himself as much around her as he could, before rolling slightly so his body took the impact of the glass.

It shattered all around them, slicing into him everywhere and he knew there was no way Finley was going to escape without some cuts. Through shards of flying glass and billowing black smoke, he saw the sidewalk rushing up to meet them. Carrick managed to twist just enough that he took the brunt of the impact, coming down hard on his right side. He heard the breaking of his collarbone and ignored the pain, pushing Finley off him and bolting to his feet to face the blasted-out window.

He braced, preparing for the Dark Fae Fallon to continue this fight. Waited for her to come flying through the window.

The smoke was so thick he couldn’t see into the shop, so he garnered his power and thrust his hands toward the window. A hard gust of wind blew through to clear the inside for a quick look.

Dark Fae Fallon was gone.

In the distance, Carrick heard the wail of a fire truck, and he knew they had to leave. There was no way they’d be able to explain in any sane way what had happened here.

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