Home > My Champion (Bewitched and Bewildered #7)(2)

My Champion (Bewitched and Bewildered #7)(2)
Author: Alanea Alder

"But I have always taken care of myself; that has not been an issue before now," she pointed out.

"Things have changed."

"You are not referring to the notice that Prince Magnus sent out are you?"

Law nodded. "That's the one. There are things going on that they are not telling everyone. It's not safe for you to be by yourself without the protection of a larger family unit, like a coven. So I'm evacuating you and Avery to Noctem Falls. They are taking in another batch of refugees the day after tomorrow."

Kari felt a ball of ice start to form in her stomach. She shook her head. "No way. No way in hell am I going to Noctem Falls! You know how I feel about their discrimination against anyone who was not born five thousand years ago. Ageism. That is what it is: ageism!"

Law rubbed the back of his neck. "I would send you to Lycaonia, but time is of the essence. Noctem Falls is closer."

Kari shook her head again. "No Law, no way. I have worked too hard for too long to establish myself. I have finally got everything up and running; there is no way I can just abandon everything because of some sort of dictate from Prince Magnus."

"Kari, people are dying. Vampires, shifters, paranormals across the country are being murdered." Law's voice was quiet but firm.

Kari blinked. "Why have they not told us? If it is that bad, should there not have been... I do not know, one of those emergency broadcast system alerts or something?"

Law looked at her, sadness and pain filling his eyes. "Kari, paranormals have grown so much since the Great War. There has been no fighting or territory disputes; because of that and our long life span, our population has experienced a boom over the past couple hundred years. The elders that were wiped out in the Great War have been replaced by the younger generations."

The weight of his words was starting to sink in. She collapsed into her chair. "The pillar cities are not big enough, are they?" she whispered in horror.

Law shook his head. "No, they're not. I don't think any of the Founding Families realized how much we would grow. That's why they're evacuating small pockets of people, anyone who would be easy pickings for these guys. I want you to go. Even the large families that are sticking together have more protection than you do."

Kari stared down at her desk. "I just got my business going. Everything is finally coming together. I cannot stop now."

Law smirked. "Don't tell me you can't run this business from that little laptop of yours; I know better. Besides, Tom runs most of the day-to-day operations here. You're more hands on with training and getting new accounts."

Kari pursed her lips. "Maybe," she admitted begrudgingly. She gasped. "What about Avery? He needs to come with me. He is a shifter; would he be welcome? You know he does not do well with large groups."

"The first wave of refugees that went to Noctem Falls was a town of wolf shifters. I don't think Avery being a shifter will be an issue. Prince Magnus is more open-minded than most vampires half his age."

Kari exhaled. "Is Noctem Falls my only choice?"

Law gave her a wolfish grin. "Or you can move in with me and the guys," he offered.

Kari shuddered. She couldn't think of a worse type of hell than living with a group of bull-headed men. Avery was different; he was more like her. In their condo, household items went back to the places they belonged. Surfaces gleamed; clothes were put in hampers and washed regularly. Even their food was organized in the refrigerator. She couldn't imagine living with a group of rough-around-the-edges alpha males. She swallowed hard. "When do we leave?"

Law smiled. "How soon can you be packed?"

 

 

*****

 

 

"What do you mean, we have to go?" Avery asked, a panicked look on his face. He had just returned home from the library. Kari rose from the couch and wrapped her arms around him, cuddling him close.

"It is just for a little while. Law says is not safe for us to be out on our own. So we are heading to Noctem Falls. Think of it as a vacation. I have always wanted to show you the vampire city."

Avery raised his head from her shoulder, a skeptical look on his face. "One, you never take vacations. Two, I thought you hated snobby vampires, especially those in the vampire city."

Kari grimaced, she should've known better than to try and sugarcoat this. "Okay, I admit heading there was not my first choice, but if Law says it is dangerous, then it is. Our only other option is moving in with a bunch of Neanderthals, and I do not think either one of us would enjoy it." She gave him a final squeeze and stepped back. With her mind racing around in circles, she began to pace back and forth in their living room. "From what I understand, Prince Magnus is providing housing, and we will be on the market level. There are vendor market stands, wares for sale, food stalls, you name it."

Avery looked down at the floor and scuffed one toe over the other. "Will they like me?" he asked.

Kari straightened her back. "Of course they will, and if they do not, they can deal with me."

Avery looked up, a soft smile on his lips. "They wouldn't want to do that."

Kari winked. "Of course not, but they do not know that yet, do they?"

Avery giggled. "So when do we leave?" he asked.

Kari looked over where three of her suitcases waited.

Avery's eyes rounded. "That soon?"

She nodded. "I took your suitcases out of storage and placed them on your bed. Go ahead and pack." She sighed. "To be honest, I do not know how long we will be there. So take anything you think you may need for a while."

Avery nodded. "Okay Kari." He dropped a kiss on her cheek and immediately headed toward his room.

Kari walked over to the large window and looked down at the picturesque scene their bustling small downtown offered. It wasn't Chicago--hell, it was barely a city--but it was small and quiet, and she loved it.

When she and Avery were house hunting, they had both fallen in love with the location. So they decided to buy two condos in the old brick building in the center of town and had them completely renovated into a huge single condo just for her and Avery. The window overlooked the town square where she could watch people coming and going. It was getting dark, and the streetlights were turning on one by one.

It was still early spring, and the sun was just now starting to stay in the sky longer and longer each day. With an overcast like this, it still felt like the deepest part of winter. She reached up and rubbed her temples.

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