Bound to Darkness(Midnight Breed,book 13)(11) by Lara Adrian
Jordana nodded. Carys nodded too.
Nathan glowered and jabbed a finger toward Rune. “No one can know this. If you leak a word of it, I’ll kill you myself.”
“I’ll take the secret to my grave,” Rune vowed. “But . . . are you telling me that Cassian Gray was not only Atlantean, but royal blood too?”
Jordana shook her head. “His true name was Cassianus, and he wasn’t royal. He was one of Queen Selene’s legion. My mother, Soraya, was daughter of the queen.”
“Holy shit.” Rune fell silent for a minute, holding Carys’s gaze in an incredulous look. “This conversation will go no further. I give you my oath.”
Nathan and Jordana nodded. Carys snaked her arm around Rune’s muscled waist and held him close.
No one mentioned the other secret that came out of Jordana’s ordeal—the Atlantean crystal, which Cass had stolen out of the realm at the same time he had taken Jordana away from the royal court. Carys had seen the egg-sized, silvery crystal herself, when Jordana and Nathan presented it to all of the Order at a special meeting upon her return home to Boston.
It was safeguarded at the D.C. headquarters now, where Lucan and the others were trying to determine its powers and how it could be used in what they dreaded was soon to be a war with Selene and her immortal legion.
In the silence that fell over the room, Rune lifted Carys’s chin and met her gaze. “If I’d known any of this before, I would have delivered you home to the Order’s protection myself. Hell, I would’ve helped your father lock the door behind you.” His deep voice lowered to a private growl. “The dead last thing I ever want is for anything bad to touch you. Tell me you know that, Carys.”
She reached up to touch his stern, handsome face. “I know that—”
“Good.” He seized her hand in his warm grasp. “Then if you won’t do it for your parents or your friends, do it for me.”
She frowned and started to protest, but he wasn’t having any of it.
“Go home to your family. At least for now.” He brought her palm to his mouth and placed a kiss in its center. “Stay where I can know you’re safe.”
She smiled at him, her heart squeezing with emotion. “You’re a good man, Rune.”
He blew out a sharp breath. “No, love. I’m not. But I’m right. Your family needs to have you close to them now.”
She nodded, then glanced over at Jordana and Nathan. “I guess I’d better pack a few things before we go.”
Carys had only been gone for a week, but it felt like a year had passed since she had last walked into the Chase Darkhaven. Jordana and Nathan left her in the back vestibule of the large mansion while they headed down to the Order’s command center and Nathan’s quarters, which the couple now shared.
Carys missed them instantly, but it was at her request that they’d left her to face her parents alone. She adjusted the packed tote slung over her shoulder, then took a deep breath and headed through the back of the house to the main living areas. Her path took her toward the kitchen, where she heard her mother talking with two other females. Carys recognized her aunt’s voice. Brynne’s smooth London accent called to mind posh society galas and invitations to high tea.
The other feminine voice was also British, but more reserved, even though it carried an intriguing punk rock edge to it. Curious now, Carys stepped into the kitchen.
Her mother stood at the large island in the center of the space, sharing a tray of canapés and finger sandwiches with her guests. Occupying two of the counter’s dozen tall stools were Brynne and the other female—a petite, pretty young woman with asymmetrically cut blue-and-black hair, countless colorful tattoos and multiple piercings.
Carys awkwardly cleared her throat. “Hello, everyone.”
Her mother spun toward her with a little gasp, her beautiful face lighting up instantly. “Carys! Come in and join us.”
No censure. No judgment. Just pure, maternal warmth and affection. Carys all but launched herself into her mother’s open arms. They embraced for a quiet moment before Tavia brought her around to greet the other women.
Brynne got up to hug Carys. “How nice to see you.”
“You too,” Carys replied. “How long have you been in Boston?”
“Just a couple of days. A much-needed holiday from the office.”
Carys nodded. “I’m sorry I didn’t stop by sooner.”
Brynne waved her hand. “You’re here now.”
Tavia gestured to their other guest. “And this is Nova, Carys. She’s Mathias’s mate.”
Carys’s brows rose at the idea. She’d known Mathias Rowan for as long as she could remember. Although she’d heard he had mated recently, she had always pictured the Order’s London commander settling down with a female more like Brynne than Nova, but she had to admit she liked the unusual pairing.
Carys held out her hand in greeting. “Very nice to meet you, Nova.”
“You too,” Nova replied, her tattooed fingers delicate and warm. As was her shy smile.
When Carys glanced back at her mother, Tavia gestured to the large tote hanging from her shoulder. “Does this mean what I think it does?”
Carys nodded. “It’s only temporary. The huge penthouse has been kind of lonely without Jordana there with me, anyway.”
Her mother cupped her cheek. “Well, no matter what brought you home, I’m happy you’re here. Your father will be thrilled . . . and relieved.”
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