Bound to Darkness(Midnight Breed,book 13)(46) by Lara Adrian
Zael closed the journal and soberly replaced it on the shelf.
He browsed a different one, reading of the Ancients’ sacking of a small village in Eastern Europe. No life was spared, not even the animals in their pens.
On a low curse, he slid the leather-bound volume back into its place between the others. He strolled on, to a case shelving later chronicles. Flipping through the pages of handwritten notes, he paused at a mention of Lucan Thorne.
This record documented a period in time, hundreds of years ago, when the tables had finally turned on the Ancients, making them the hunted. Led by Lucan, a small army of Breed warriors had waged war on their alien fathers, doing what neither mankind nor the Atlanteans ever could have. They had neutralized the biggest threat to all life on the planet simply because it was the right thing to do.
“That volume covers the founding of the Order,” Jenna said as he read the full account in awed silence. “Lucan, Tegan and several others who were first to join the Order eventually chased down and destroyed all of the Ancients. All but one, as it turned out. The one who did this to me before the Order finally finished him too.”
“The Order won’t allow anyone to terrorize or harm innocents,” Brock added, his deep voice grim with resolve. “Whether that’s Opus Nostrum or the Atlantean queen.”
No, they wouldn’t. And Zael could find nothing but respect for Lucan and the Order.
“When I came here today, I was skeptical of what I’d find, and of how I’d be received.” He turned to face Jenna and her warrior mate. “This has been a day of many surprises. This archive is another surprise, one that will be a treasure to many Breed generations to come.”
Jenna beamed with pride. She tilted her head and studied him in open curiosity. “Are you mated, Zael?”
He shook his head. “No. I spent my youth serving Selene as one of her legion. Back then, I was devoted to my post and little else. After the fall of the realm and things grew more and more unstable in the court over time, I escaped to travel the world. Once I had a taste of the outside, the only thing I was devoted to was pleasure.”
“And now?” Jenna asked. “Haven’t you ever wanted to find a mate?”
He shrugged. “Life is a feast to be sampled and savored. Why would I want to restrict myself to a single course forever?”
Brock pulled Jenna a bit closer to him now. “Apparently, you haven’t met the right woman yet.”
“Perhaps not,” he agreed. But his thoughts spiraled back to a moment in time when he had known someone special. Someone who’d made him forget all other women during the handful of days they’d had together. “There was one woman, years ago. A mortal, so no matter how I felt about her, our time together would’ve been short. But she was also married to another man. We spent a couple of weeks together one summer in Greece, before she returned home to America. Home to him.”
Jenna had gone utterly silent. She was staring at him, her brows knit in a pensive frown. “You met her in Greece?”
Zael nodded. “One of the Cyclades islands . . .”
“They met in Mykonos.”
The feminine voice that said the word came from the open doorway behind him. Zael swiveled his head and found a lovely, flame-haired young woman—a Breedmate—standing there. At her side was a large Breed warrior with shaggy dark hair and a web of scars that marred the left side of his face.
“Yes,” Zael murmured. “It was Mykonos.”
Something about the young woman’s face made his breath catch in his lungs. Her eyes were somehow familiar. And the copper color of her hair . . . it was the same fiery shade as the strands that shot through his blond waves.
Jenna rushed over to bring the other female and her big mate inside the room. “Dylan and Rio, this is Zael.”
“I know,” said the woman named Dylan. “I knew who he was the moment I heard his name today.”
She had a piece of paper in her hand. As she held it out to Zael, he realized it was an old photograph.
He took it from her loose grasp and glanced down at his own smiling face. He could still recall the beach that day. Could still feel the warmth of the sun on his head and shoulders.
He could still hear the laughter of the young, vibrant woman who’d taken the picture of him that afternoon.
Zael glanced up from the photo to look at the Breedmate standing before him.
She met his astonished gaze with a sweet, uncertain smile. “My name is Dylan. The woman you knew in Mykonos that summer was Sharon Alexander. She was my mother.”
“I should’ve stayed with him. I shouldn’t have left him there alone with those men.”
Carys sat on the sofa in the Chase Darkhaven, flanked by her mother and Brynne. Also in the room with her were Jordana and Nova. Even Aric was there, no doubt to make sure she stayed put.
“You did the only thing you could’ve done,” her mother assured her. “You said yourself that Rune was the one who told you to leave. He didn’t want to see you get hurt.”
“I should’ve tried anyway,” she murmured, misery running through her veins like acid. “I should have stayed and helped him fight those bastards. I told him I would always stand by him, and I failed him tonight.”
She had regretted leaving La Notte as soon as she’d run out of the place. She should have gone back after she’d called her father for help, but his fear for her well-being had been nearly as palpable as Rune’s. He demanded she return home as quickly as possible. He’d promised her that he and his team were heading out to the club immediately to handle the situation.
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