It's always a pleasure to have Mireille Chester on my blog. I've been a fan of hers for some time, and I'm looking forward to her newest release A Witteck's Dream. I'm currently reading The Chosen One Trilogy, which comes before this book. The entire trilogy is currently on sale for only $0.99!
A Witteck's Dream
It's been five years since the Chosen One's war and Hayden's pack has been able to enjoy life once again. Of course, things can never stay calm and they soon find themselves caught up in another epic fight and this time it looks like Ternach might hold the key to winning.
Mortal since losing his powers in the battle of Paradin, Ternach decides to take a trip to Sageden in hopes that Hayden can help him get his magic back. Along the way, he meets Sarah; a woman with a secret and an agenda.
It doesn't take long before sparks are flying and Ternach starts to think that maybe being human has it's perks after all.
When he discovers Sarah's secret he needs to make a decision: Does he stay human so he can stay with Sarah, or does he attempt to become immortal again knowing he has what is needed to win...
She looked at him over the fire and frowned.
“What?” Greg was sure he hadn’t done anything to warrant being glared at.
She shook her head. “Nothing.”
“Well, if I’ve done something, let me know. By the moons, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going half the time when it comes to your moods.”
She looked at the fire. She knew she should try harder to be nicer to him. Since they’d been on their own he’d been nothing but a gentleman. There were even times when she felt comfortable with him. Other times she was downright attracted to the man. It wasn’t his fault. It was just that so much about him reminded her of a past she would rather forget.
“I’m sorry. Really, I am. You must be regretting asking me to come along.”
His gaze softened. “Not at all. I just… I’m sorry I remind you of him.”
She started to laugh. “By the moons, what a stupid thing to be sorry for. It’s not like you do it on purpose.”
He smiled. It still didn’t happen very often, but he was sure it was getting easier to get her to laugh.
“I was… I was just thinking, that’s all.” She looked into the fire.
He frowned. “About what?”
“Oh, nothing. It’s none of my business.”
He stood and went to sit by her side. “Ask away.”
She took a deep breath and looked into his eyes. “Well, I was wondering if you were born here or if you crossed.”
He smiled. “I crossed. I was fifteen when it happened. I was found at one of the crossings and brought to Paradin.”
“Oh.” She waited for him to ask her something in return. When he didn’t, she volunteered the information. “I was born here.” She couldn’t look away from his eyes. She’d never looked at them this closely and she noticed quite a few things that set them apart from her mate’s. They were a lighter green, for one, and had a gold ring by the pupil. The lashes around them were longer, thicker. She blinked.
She shook her head. “You’re lying.” He smiled. “How do you know I’m lying?”
“Because your nose wrinkles when you lie.” His smile vanished as the sight of her swallowing hard. “I’m sorry. He used to say that to you, didn’t he?”
She nodded. “Stop apologizing. It’s me that’s sorry.” She frowned and decided to ask what she’d originally been thinking of asking him. “Who…your nose and your jaw…who did that to you?”
A dark shadow passed over his features quickly. He smiled and she wasn’t sure she’d see the change in him. As of yet, she still hadn’t seen any indication that he might have an angry or vicious bone in his body. He could fight and was a deadly shot with his bow and arrow, but she was sure she’d never seen him angry.
“Well, where I come from, a fifteen year old boy is exactly still that. A boy. Here, your fifteenth birthday comes around, you turn of age, you start your training in whatever army you are a part of. I told him he was nuts. I refused to join his army.” He took a deep breath. “He didn’t like that. They tied me to a table and went to town.” He was looking into the fire and she was sure she’d never seen him frown for this amount of time before. He closed his eyes at the feel of her hand on his arm. The frown disappeared and he smiled at her once again.
“Do you ever wish you could go back?”
He shook his head. “I wouldn’t know what to do with myself there anymore.” He almost added, and you wouldn’t be there, but managed to stop it before it made its way out of his mouth. He cleared his throat. “So, are you ready for bed?”
“Oh, um… yes.” She made her way to her blankets and watched as he made his way to his. The night was cool and she shivered. It was almost as if he’d been watching her.
“Do you want one of my blankets?”
“Then you’ll be cold.”
“I’ll be fine.” He started to sit up.
“No. I’m fine.”
“Alright. Let me know if you change your mind.” He rolled over. That’s how it always was between them; always an awkward politeness.
She snuggled deeper into her blankets unable to warm herself. She made a quick decision and stood before she could change her mind. Greg started as she lay beside him and pulled her blankets over his. She could feel him, tense beside her and she knew he was scared to say or do something that would cause her to get angry and get up.
“We’ll be warmer this way.” Her body felt the heat from his behind hers and she soon found herself with her back pressed against his side. By the moons, he was so warm. Why in the world had she been freezing every night when he’d been just a few feet from her?
She felt him turn and she moved back again so that her back was just inches from his chest. He slowly put his arm around her then pulled her closer when she didn’t pull her dagger. She felt the tension leave him.
“Good night, Red.” His breath was warm against her neck.
She took a deep breath. “Good night, Greg.” She felt sleep take him, but for as tired as she was, she couldn’t follow suit. Something about tonight wasn’t right. Even with Greg’s warmth behind her she couldn’t stop her skin from crawling. They were being watched, she was sure of it. She listened for any indication she might be right. Nothing. She placed her dagger where she could reach it, took a deep breath, and closed her eyes. No, it was no use.
“Greg.” She waited for a response. “Greg, wake up.”
“Hmm?” His arm tightened around her.
“We need to move.”
He blinked a few times to wake himself. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to hold you.”
“No, no, that’s not it. We need to move from this site. It feels wrong.”
He yawned. “Alright.” He didn’t argue. She always seemed to be right when it came to things like this.
They quickly packed their things and started to move farther north. The clouds moved to cover the moons and Red tensed at the scurrying sound off to their left. Greg put a hand on her arm. She turned so that they back to back. The sound came again, this time from their right. Whatever they were, there was more than one of them.
“Where are we? Do you know?” She reached back to see where he was and moved back until she touched his hip. He did the same with his other hand.
“Not really. We should be in dragon territory. Do you think that’s what these are?”
“No. Dragons would have just killed us.” Something ran past and Red cried out as claws raked across her thigh. She sucked in a breath and got ready for the next attack. “Aim low, Greg.”
The scurrying came again and Red stabbed down just as teeth sank into her leg. The creature screamed, the high piercing sound hurting her ears. Greg grunted and fell away from her. She reached down, grabbed a handful of fur and stabbed again. The thing let go of her leg then scurried away. Greg hissed as teeth pierced his arm. The clouds moved and Red’s eyes widened at the sight before her.
Jainks! The small wolf like animal let go of Greg’s arm then aimed for his throat. Greg managed to get his arm in the way once more. The silver, long haired creature growled, its silver eyes looking deep into his green ones. Red remembered a story that had mentioned a jaink could hypnotize its prey into being submissive simply by staring into its eyes. She saw Greg relax and threw her dagger as hard as she could then ran toward them. The jaink yelped and looked up just as Red slammed into it. She pulled her dagger out of its side but couldn’t manage to kill it before it ran away. She looked around, waiting for another attack. Greg groaned.
“Greg! Are you alright?” She knelt by him and looked him over. His arm was bleeding badly and she knew she’d have to stitch him up, but other than that, he seemed fine. So why was he just lying there?
“Ugh. It’s my head. It feels like it’s going to explode.” He tried to open his eyes and the pain tore through him.
“It was hypnotizing you.”
He groaned again. “Help me move. I think I’m going to black out. Let’s get somewhere a bit more protected.” She looked around. “This is about as protected as we’re going to get.” She got their blankets ready then rolled him onto them. “Get some sleep. I’ll make a fire and keep watch.” He mumbled something.
“What was that?”
He lifted his head, groaned, and lay back down. “Sorry.”
The adrenaline was starting to wear off and she started to laugh. “By the moons, Greg, stop apologizing all the time. This was hardly your fault.” He grunted.
“I need you to hold still. You have three spots on your arm that need stitching.” By the time she was done cleaning him up he was out to the world. She checked her leg and was glad to see no serious damage had been done. She sat beside Greg and watched him sleep. Every once in a while he would frown and groan. When one particular frown refused to disappear, she ran her fingers over his brow lightly. She couldn’t help but bend over and kiss him softly between the eyes. She straightened abruptly. She remembered the panic she’d felt when it had crossed her mind he might have been badly injured. Could it be that even though she’d tried her damnedest not to she was starting to have feelings for the man? No. It was probably the fear of finding herself alone. So he means nothing to you, then. She frowned. Did he? She looked at him and took a deep breath. Fine, he does. So what? She was allowed to have friends, yeah?
She got up and built up the fire and saw him shiver. She lay down beside him and pulled him close. It wasn’t because she gave a damn, she scowled at herself. It was simply necessity. It took a few minutes before he warmed enough to stop shaking. Well, then, he’s warm, the sensible half of her brain was saying. You can let go now. The more emotional side didn’t reply and she was surprised when her heart answered instead. Shut up, it said.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Red put a hand on his forehead. He seemed fine, so why wasn’t he waking up. It had been two days since they’d been attacked by the jainks.
“Greg. We need to get moving.” She knew it wouldn’t help. She’d tried everything from whispering in his ear to yelling that they were under attack. She blew out of her nose, picked up a stone and threw it into the woods. She frowned at the sound of it hitting something metallic.
“What was that?” She got up and made her way in the direction the stone had gone. The sunlight flashed through the trees and a glimmer to her left caught her eye.
She knelt and picked the dagger up from under the leaves and snow. It was rusted and had obviously been here a while. Once back at the campsite, she placed it into her pack. She knelt by Greg once more. She remembered a story she’d been told by a woman who had crossed over. The name of it escaped her, she’d been seven or eight when she’d heard the tale, but she remembered how it had been about a princess who wouldn’t wake up until her prince had kissed her. She smiled. The roles were reversed and it was just a story after all, but nothing else had worked so far.
She spent the last two days arguing with herself over her feelings for Greg. It had taken a bit, but she’d finally admitted to herself that she did care for him. She wouldn’t go so far as to say she loved him, mind you, but he was nice to have around… when he was awake.
She bent slowly, the butterflies in her stomach fluttering about. Her lips touched his lightly and she pulled back, looking for any sign he might have noticed. Nothing. Of course, that wasn’t much of a kiss, she thought to herself. How was a prince supposed to kiss a princess, anyhow?
She straddled him to get a better angle and cupped his face in her hands. Her thumb ran over the scar along his jaw. Damn Braw and all of the foolish notions he’d ever had. What would she do if this didn’t work? What if Greg started to get worse? She closed her eyes and her throat tightened at the thought.
“Please wake up, Greg.” It was just a whisper. She jumped at his groan then relaxed at the feel of his hand on her face.
“Red, would you mind getting off of me before I forget how much you dislike my presence. I might decide it’s a good idea to kiss you.”
Tears of relief streaked down her face and she laughed. “Thank the moons, I was starting to think you were never going to wake up.”
He smiled and brushed the tears from her cheeks. “You mean you might have missed me?”
She snorted and hugged him tightly. “Yes, I would have missed you.” His arms wrapped around her and she lay on his chest. “I swear I tried everything! I tried whispering in your ear, I tried yelling we were under attack; I tried splashing water on you… I even tried kissing you!” She stopped suddenly, very aware that she could hear his heart beating in his chest, aware of how strong his arms were. His arms tightened and his heart beat a bit faster. She blushed.
“You mean the kiss didn’t work?” He grunted. “I’m surprised.”
“Well, it wasn’t much of a kiss.”
There was an awkward moment of silence while Red tried to decide how that statement must have sounded to him. Maybe he’d think she didn’t care enough to actually kiss him properly. Greg, on the other hand was trying to think of something to say that wasn’t, “would you mind showing me now”.
“I, um, well, I was about to try again when you woke up.” There, that showed she cared.
“Oh.” That seemed like the safest thing to say. To be quite honest he was enjoying just having her lying on his chest like this and was scared to say something that would cause her to get up. What he wanted to do was run his fingers along her back just to see if what she would feel like against him when she shivered, but he kept his arms as still as possible. He let out the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding.
The breath was hot and tickled down her neck. Red shivered.
Greg cleared his throat to hide the groan that escaped him. “Um, how long was I out?”
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