The Dark Ones Saga Book 4
by Rachel Van Dyken
Copyright © 2017 RACHEL VAN DYKEN
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part, electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright violation.
Copyright © 2017 RACHEL VAN DYKEN
Cover Art by Jena Brignola
Formatting by Jill Sava, Love Affair With Fiction
Table of Contents
About The Author
Also By Rachel Van Dyken
Scotland 700 BC
Mother’s dark brown eyes crinkled at the corners. I reached up to touch the edges of her face but quickly remembered. I was too weak.
Always too weak.
Even to catch the tear that dripped from her chin onto the threadbare blanket. I shivered as a hooded figure quickly entered the room and shut the door.
I wanted to touch her.
My mouth burned.
My teeth ached.
She sat down next to me and pulled my head into her lap; her face was worried, pale; her green eyes flashed as she whispered to my mother, “This is the last time.”
“I understand.” Mother’s voice cracked. “It’s the only thing that keeps him strong. If my husband were to find out—”
“He would not be Alpha,” the woman finished.
I wanted to be Alpha.
“Born to lead.” Those were the prayers whispered to me by Da.
I shivered as something pierced my neck, and then the room tilted on its side as my vision blurred into a red haze.
It could have been minutes, hours — even days — when my heavy eyes finally opened. My mother was still sitting in the same spot. Her tears were dry, her expression worried.
My arms felt stronger, lighter than they had since waking up in this cruel magical world.
“Maither?” I reached for her. “Do not scared.”
“Be scared,” she admonished and then pulled me into her lap, rocking me back and forth. She smelled like cinnamon and smoke.
“Tell me the story again… of the Great Wolf.”
She stopped rocking me as a great sadness rested against my chest like a blanket of fire.
“Oh, Mas…” She sighed. “…’tis nothing but a faerie tale.”
She took a deep breath, and I knew it in my soul; she was about to tell me my destiny, as sure as the sun would rise and the moon soon after.
I was born to be the Great Wolf.
I closed my eyes as she spoke.
“Those who watch were sent to the Great Mountain to watch over the humans, to keep them safe from the Heavenliness, from what they could not possibly understand. They were given one job.”
“Their job was to never look away… but one day after a great battle where many children’s lives were lost, one of those who Watch could not bear it anymore. He looked upon the face of one of the humans, and he fell. Because one thing you must always remember, my son. Where you look your feet will follow.”
“His brethren, so distraught, had no choice but to follow, they chose to turn away from their true purpose — but not before they were warned.”
“I love this part.” I sighed and waited.
“Your father sang his song to The Creator, warning him that those who watch were looking away. But The Creator refused to remove freedom from any of his creation. More and more wolves sang with your father, howled their warnings to those who were falling — and yet nothing stopped them.” She sighed. “Once they fell, they were scattered throughout the human plane, given no choice but to live on Earth as a prison until they are able to earn their place back in the Heavenliness. They are fallen angels with black and red hair, torn wings. They are what happens when you choose yourself over your family, Mas.”
I shivered in her arms. “I will always choose family.”
She nodded and kissed my forehead. “Once they fell, The Creator wanted to reward your father. He gave him a promise that one day, his bloodline would rise up and restore what had been broken. He will be the greatest wolf this world has ever seen. His power unmeasurable. His abilities uncontrollable. One day he will come to restore the connection between the fallen and the Heavenliness, for wolves are the only immortals who have a direct line to the stars, who know the language of the angels and freely communicate, because we are creation itself. The very earth is in our blood, our eyes. We are the purest of the immortals—”
“Even over vampires?”
My mom hesitated. “Every immortal has a created purpose. Wolves heal, we communicate with the stars. Vampires are better with their hands, able to seamlessly insert themselves in the human world and protect.”
“What about sirens?”
My mom snorted. “You’d have to ask The Creator that. Sirens are… selfish, and yet they too have a purpose, right along with demons. We all work together for the greater good, and one day, that work will all have been worth it. Because the Wolf is coming — and he will save the world as we know it.”
Tears filled my eyes.
Hours later, when she left my room, I crawled over to the window and looked up at the stars. “Please, please, Great Creator, let me be that wolf. I’ll do anything. Let me be that wolf.”
“I won’t hear it again!” Father said in a hushed tone.
I crawled back to bed and hid under the blanket, but I could still discern their voices through the walls.
“He will not be Alpha! He’s weak!”
I cringed as each word hit me in the chest like a boulder crushing bone.
“There is a way…” Maither whispered. “He’s st
“You speak of heresy.”
“I’m speaking of saving our son’s life!” she roared. “And the only way for him to be strong is to make sure he has both bloodlines. You know it’s true. We have no other children. He’s the last male we’ve been gifted with. If not him, then who? We must take matters into our own hands!”
I stilled as the door opened a crack then closed.
I pretended to be asleep when my father kissed my forehead.
I pretended to be dreaming when he whispered quietly, “Forgive me, Mas. I’ve already failed you.” He stood and walked back to the door. “I’ll do it.”
The air around me thickened with a sweet-smelling fog. I inhaled and closed my eyes, allowing my baser instincts to take over.
“Wolf.” She whispered my name.
I sniffed. The voice was not familiar. It was not my mate. It was… other.
“Wolf,” she beckoned again.
Branches crunched beneath my feet as I made my way closer to the sweet scent, closer to the warmth, closer to what I should have been running from.
I was already mated.
And yet — I was being pulled.
Like a siren’s song.
I hated sirens.
Every last one of them.
But only the strongest were male.
This — I sniffed the air again as ecstasy took over — this was no male.
This was all female.
The instinct to protect kicked in, forcing a surge of adrenaline through my limbs as I staggered toward the trees.
Green eyes blinked through the fog.
My breath caught.
I frowned, reaching for her.
“Kiss me, Wolf.”
Why was I tempted?
Why did I want to touch this being?
When every hair stood on end like she was foe not friend. When I had a mate back home that I loved more than life itself.
Confusion warred with disgust, and then the vampire stood on her tiptoes and pressed her cheek against mine, the way my people greeted.
But she was no wolf.
Her lips grazed the outside of my ear before she bit down onto my neck…
I jerked awake. Sweat pooled the bed like I’d just taken a shower.
And my mate, the one I was so convinced would be lying right next to me, was gone.
She’d been gone.
Over a hundred years.
And every year, like clockwork, on the anniversary of her death.
I saw my vampire.
She bit me.
And I woke up with a bruise on my neck as if it were real.
I sniffed my way to the kitchen. There was no use going back to sleep, not with those green eyes haunting my dreams.
It was always the same.
The reminder of the human I’d once shared everything with was gone, and the guilt that even during our short mating — I’d been having dreams of another — came down onto my heaping shoulders tenfold.
I was not a good man.
I was more beast than anything.
Wolves mated for life, and in my dreams I’d allowed another female to touch me, to lick me.
I shoved the betraying thoughts away and turned on one of the kitchen lights. My eyes zeroed in on the freezer before I could stop them.
Steaks with at least forty grams of protein, enough blood to saturate my mouth, coat it with its essence.
Embarrassed, I looked away.
Leave it to me to be the only wolf who craved both blood and meat. I was defective and why I’d stepped down after my mate’s death.
I did not deserve to be King.
The wolves had each other. The pack. They had no use for me.
“Mason.” Ethan, vampire pain-in-my-ass, barked out my name like he was irritated with me. He sat at the table, hands folded, black hair pulled into a stupid bun in the back of his head making him look like a female. He glared. “I can hear you.”
“I know.” I sniffed the air. “Where is Genesis?”
He rolled his eyes. “One day you’re going to ask about my wife, and I’m going to bite you where it won’t heal.”
I waved him off. “I always heal. It is what I do.”
“Right.” His grin turned lethal.
I started turning around, but he was in front of me within seconds. Damn fast vampire pain-in-my-hairy-ass. “I’m busy.”
“She’s been here for two days. At least talk to her.”
“No!” I barked, already feeling my hackles rise as my wolf shoved forward ready for a fight, ready to take down anyone stupid enough to stand in my way.
And then my least favorite siren in the entire universe entered the room, making the air sick with his heat. Tiny particles of dust pulsed around his body like they couldn’t help themselves — damn pheromones.
He took one look at us and grinned. “You guys fighting again?”
Sirens found great joy in emotional distress, especially ones like Alex — too damn powerful for their own good. His face lit up with excitement as he glanced between us back and forth and then finally calmed the tense air, sucking it through his nostrils like my pain was his drug and Ethan’s irritation his tonic.
“You done?” I gritted my teeth.
Alex shrugged. “Can’t help it. I love a good fight.”
“Go mate with your elf.” I felt my control snapping; everyone around me reminded me of loss.
Years ago, we used to find human mates by using a lottery of sorts. We called their numbers. They mated with us. We had children. End of story.
And then the system broke.
The mates began to die.
And now, now that it was fixed, it just seemed like one more cruel trick of the universe that everyone would be happy; everyone would have someone but me.
Not that I needed someone, not when I had friends.
Yeah, just keep telling yourself that.
And now, now that the thirst was suddenly getting worse.
And on the anniversary of her death.
I felt — helpless. Wolves weren’t supposed to be helpless; it was not in our nature.
I growled low in my throat at Alex. It only seemed to amuse the idiot more.
“Well someone should go talk to her,” he finally said, “We all know I’m not allowed near humans since they tend to die from lust.”
“Exaggeration,” I ground out. “You didn’t kill Hope.”
“She’s only part human.” He shrugged, looking to Alex. “And since Ethan has a shitty bedside manner—”
Ethan hissed, his fangs elongating past his lower lip before he retracted him.
“As I was saying…” Alex grinned. “…that leaves you!”
“Or we can send Cassius,” I offered, hating that I was even willing to send the dark angel in my stead.
Over a girl.
A simple innocent girl.
“Cassius—” The angel’s booming voice shook the room.
I hated it when he did that.
“—will not be going in your stead, ungrateful wolf. Go see to her injuries.”
“You heard the King.” Alex crossed his arms. “See to her injuries, Florence Nightingale.”
“I’m a wolf not a bird.” I snapped my teeth together.
Alex grinned wide. “Both are pets.”
I moved to slam him against the wall, but Cassius blocked me with one of his wings; the blue feathers stood out like spikes, ready to impale me if I moved to a track.
“Fine.” I jerked back. “I’ll check on our prisoner.”
“She’s a guest,” Ethan said as if I needed reminding.
I stomped down the hall and called over my shoulde
Nobody said anything.
They didn’t need to.
Their answers, their worry hung heavy in the air. I could taste it.
Something had happened the minute I’d touched her, the minute I’d licked her wounds.
And I would take it to my grave.
Because it was an impossibility.
She was vampire.
I was wolf.
The two did not mate.
Could never mate.
Besides, it had been my imagination.
I knew, once I set my eyes on her again, the weird longing would flee.
Anyway, I still felt the cold blood of my wife on my hands, could still feel the way she’d tug my fur.
Men rarely got second chances.
Why the hell would a wolf be given one?
It was too bright.
Always too bright.
I’d been in that glaring room for two days, and each day a different immortal being too beautiful for words had waited on me hand and foot.
The angel, Cassius, had a body of stone and feathers that felt like velvet when touched. I imagined it wasn’t exactly normal to randomly touch an angel’s feathers, but they’d whispered when they’d seen me, as if they held secrets, as if that was their purpose, and I could have sworn the minute my fingers came into contact with them, they sighed with pleasure, shuddering beneath my touch.
Then again, I’d been attacked by a rabid wolf, so it could have been blood loss.
I shivered as my body convulsed again in bed.
Blood. It consumed my thoughts. Made my body burn.
And then, the man with the deep brown eyes and shaggy brown hair had licked me. I’d reached for his head to push him away but had only seemed to encourage him more as I’d dug my fingers against his scalp.
And felt an energy so electric between us I wondered if I would be able to pull my hand away without dying.
He’d never visited my room alone.
The man with the haunting brown eyes.
The vampire had come after the angel; he’d looked like he couldn’t quite figure me out. Get in line, buddy.
The siren always stayed as far away as possible; I didn’t blame him.
I’d seen the aloe vera’s reaction near my bedpost; the poor plant had nearly crashed to the ground in effort to lean toward the siren’s smile.