Book 3 of The Elfin Series
“So I just might die a virgin after all. That’s what sucks about the end of the world, you just don’t plan for it and once it’s upon you it’s too late. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had time to actually write anything down, which sucks because more has happened in my life in the past three weeks than it has in all my seventeen, (soon to be eighteen) years. So I’m going to give you a quick recap, because my diary is totally a living breathing thing and really cares…not. Basically we are on the run from Lorsan, the dark elf king, while also looking for the Book of the Elves, which he stole (butt head), while at the same time attempting to shut down the sale of Rapture, a liquid drug the dark elves devised to enslave the human race. If you ask me their goals are a little lofty, but then nobody asked me, and therein lies their problem. But our problems don’t end there. On top of trying to get Rapture out of the human realm and taking out Lorsan, we also have to rescue Cassie’s parents. Apparently there’s a dark elf who is delusional and believes Cassie is his Chosen reincarnated. So naturally he thought kidnapping her parents would win her heart. Loser. What happen to love notes and flowers? Anyways, now you’re caught up, roughly. The point is, life is about as jacked up as it can get at the moment. I would like to be able to give some Braveheart worthy speech and say that we totally got this, but honestly, I have no idea if we can pull this off.” ~ Elora
Prologue “Things are not always what they seem. Though the world may seem like it’s coming to an end . . . okay, so in this instance things are exactly what they seem. Sucks to be us.” ~ Elora From the Diary of Elora, half dark elf extraordinaire: So I just might die a virgin after all. That’s what sucks about the end of the world. You just don’t plan for it and once it’s upon you it’s too late. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had time to actually write anything down, which sucks because more has happened in my life in the past three weeks than it has in all my seventeen (soon to be eighteen) years. So I’m going to give you a quick recap, as if my diary is a living breathing thing and really cares. I’ve told you about Trik―the dark elf assassin that Cassie, my best friend, has fallen for. Apparently elves have these things called Chosens and it’s like their soulmate or whatever. Well Lorsan, the dark elf king, didn’t like his favorite assassin being distracted by a human especially since said human was causing Trik to have a conscience. It kind of puts a dent in a wicked king’s plans when his assassin stops killing the people the king wants dead. Trik comes to realize that he doesn’t want to be the dark elf assassin anymore for a couple of reasons. First, because he has Cassie and second, because the Forest Lords, those are the creators of the elves, came to see Trik and reminded him of who he is—or who he was supposed to be. Okay, so hold onto your butts because this is going to blow your mind. Okay, maybe it won’t because really what do you care about the elf people? Trik is the one true king of all the elves. Long story short, he got dethroned, went into exile, and has been a douche for the past few centuries. Fast forward, Lorsan wants Trik dead. Trik wants to reclaim his throne and help heal the rift between the light and dark elves and Cassie is meant to be his queen. Of course, that means Trik had to be all caveman and drag Cassie to the altar, not that she gave up much of a fight (no fight at all actually). They got hitched and meanwhile little old me found out a few other interesting things as well. First, I am not just human. Just blew your circuits, didn’t I? Turns out dear, old, departed dad was a dark elf. My mom, Lisa, totally went for the bad guy. For some reason, I’m not surprised. That means that Oakley, my brother, isn’t fully human either. On top of finding out that I’m not fully human, I also found out that I’m a Chosen to a light elf warrior, who I call Cush. Why, you ask? Because his real name means butt cushion. Okay, maybe not that exact translation but you get the idea. We had a rough start because we’re both as stubborn as hobbled mules, but we finally realized that not only are we destined to be together but we actually like each other. Go figure. Basically we are on the run from Lorsan, while at the same time attempting to shut down the sale of Rapture, a liquid drug the dark elves devised to enslave the human race. If you ask me their goals are a little lofty, but then nobody asked me, and therein lies their problem. But our problems don’t end there. On top of trying to get Rapture out of the human realm and taking out Lorsan, we also have to rescue Cassie’s parents. Apparently there’s a dark elf who is delusional and believes Cassie is his Chosen reincarnated. So naturally he thought kidnapping her parents would win her heart. Loser. What happened to love notes and flowers? Anyways, now you’re caught up, roughly. The point is life is about as jacked up as it can get at the moment. I would like to be able to give some Braveheart worthy speech and say that we totally got this, but honestly, I have no idea if we can pull this off. If this turns out to be my last entry, then I have to say that at least I get to go out with a bang and a hot elf as my boy toy. Cush just asked me to write that he is not my boy toy, however, I got the hot part right (eye roll). We’re off to save the world. Don’t wait up for me. P.S. I have to rub it in that Cassie’s dark elf carries a quiver. My warrior carries a sword. Can you guess who got the short end of the stick (pun totally intended). Cassie, if you live and read this, I love you, but you know I can’t be anything but brutally honest. Bye. Lorsan looked down at the book he held in his hands. It had been a very, very long time since any elf had actually seen The Book of the Elves. It was finally his. “How did you get it from him, my love?” he asked his Chosen who stood across from him with a smug smile on her beautiful face. Ilyrana held her hand up and examined her nails as she spoke. Her voice was light, as though she was talking about the latest fashions of the human realm, and not an ancient, powerful book. “Tarron made the mistake of returning to his home away from home. He thought we didn’t know that he had a place of his own in the human realm.” Lorsan pinched the bridge of his nose as all of the centuries of living weighed on him like bricks being stacked one on top of the other. He had lived a long life, and yet he wasn’t to give up until he had all the power he deserved. “He also forgot that at one time we employed the greatest spy our race has ever seen.” He looked over at her, taking his eyes off the book for the first time since she handed it to him. “It took some convincing, but once he realized that there was no way I was letting him leave alive, he handed it over. He did seem to be in a bit of a hurry, however. When I questioned him about it, he simply handed over the book and told me he would be checking in with you later. He said he had loose ends to tie up.” “Where is a good spy when you need one,” Lorsan muttered. “Apparently, too busy attempting to gain control of our race,” she answered, though she knew the question had been rhetorical. “I hope that Tarron hasn’t lost his mind and done something foolish.” Ilyrana let out a cackling laugh. “You assume that he was ever in his right mind, king of mine. You, of all people, know that Tarron is a step beyond wicked. You’d be better off hoping that he hasn’t started making Rapture on his own and passing it out to the humans like candy. He hates humans more than any other elf I’ve ever known.” “If your mate had been human and had rejected you, then you might also harbor the tiniest bit of ill will.” “I didn’t say he doesn’t have a good reason for disliking the humans,” she pointed out. “I’m simply saying that his hatred goes a step beyond just words. Tarron is not one to sit by and just let an insult go. It may have been centuries ago that his Chosen walked away from him, but he has not forgotten. Like any good hunter he has been patiently waiting for the opportunity to strike.” “I just hope his endeavor to exact his revenge doesn’t interfere with my plans,” Lorsan bit out. His Chosen waved her hand as though batting away a fly. “I don’t think you need to worry about that, love. If there is any one he hates more than the humans, it’s Triktapic. His jealousy of our former assassin runs deep. Once he has taken care of whatever plan he has fleshed out, he will be going after the self-pronounced king. Who knows, he might even solve that problem for you and kill Trik himself.” Lorsan shook his head. “We’d be better off looking for a new chemist than believing that Tarron has the power to overtake Triktapic. Even I would be a fool to underestimate him. He is sly, cunning and fearless.” “Perhaps, but he also has something he has never had before,” she pointed out. Lorsan brow dipped low as he tilted his head and looked at her. “What?” “Something to lose.”
Chapter 1 “I met the man of my dreams tonight. Well, he actually isn’t a man. He is an elf. He is amazing and mesmerizing. I can’t imagine my life without him but even as wonderful as he is, I can see a darkness that lives in him. I want to think that I’m enough to keep him from letting that darkness rule his heart, but I don’t know if that’s true.” ~From the diary of Lucy Tate He wanted to curse his wretched queen for interfering with his plans, but Tarron knew it wouldn’t do any good. He didn’t have the time to pick a fight with Lorsan. He had more personal things to deal with. The Book of the Elves wasn’t going anywhere and at least he knew its whereabouts. Besides, he doubted that Lorsan would be deciphering its secrets anytime soon. He would just move on with the rest of his plans and worry about that after. His mind drifted back to those plans and a tight smile stretched across his face. Yes, he had more important dealings and it started with his prisoners. Tarron glared at the two humans that sat bound and gagged across from him. They looked every bit like the filthy stuffed pigs they were. He didn’t even like having to touch them to tie them up, but it was a necessary part of the job. They were the key to getting what he wanted, who he wanted. “Your daughter is beautiful, even though she is human,” Tarron sneered. “I suppose that’s not her fault. Like her great-grandmother, she is a product of her DNA. I can’t very well hold that against her, unless she chooses incorrectly, of course—just like Lucy did.” The name was like acid on his tongue. Even after all those years, thinking about her still hurt. Like a wound that refused to heal, he ached for her. Few elves survived losing their Chosen, but Tarron hadn’t completed their bond by mating with her. Had that happened, then the outcome might have been a little different. As it was, he simply turned all of his energy into figuring out a way to destroy humans. They were weak, fickle creatures. Lorsan had thought that Tarron worked for him. Stupid king. As if someone could control him. He hadn’t let his Chosen control his destiny and he sure as hell wouldn’t let a king. After decades of study and trial and error, he’d finally come up with something as inconspicuous as a simple liquid—a drink—but it would be the downfall of the humans. Rapture, made from plants found only in the elfin realm, was as addicting to humans as their most intoxicating illegal drugs. Tarron had managed to get the drink distributed in all of the casinos owned by the dark elves. To the humans it was simply an exciting new drink. Little did they know, that with every sip, their bodies grew more and more dependent on it―most to the point of violence and desperation. The dark elves wouldn’t even have to lift a weapon against the foul creatures. The humans would destroy themselves. It was a brilliant plan, if he did say so himself. Tarron was pulled from his thoughts when he saw that the human male was trying to say something. He reached over and pulled the gag out of his mouth. “What?” he snapped. “Whatever vendetta you have against humans, let me bear your wrath. Please let my wife go,” the man pleaded, though to Tarron’s surprise, it didn’t come out in a groveling manner. Tarron almost respected the man for not begging like a sniveling idiot, almost. He had been a little taken aback by how easily the couple had accepted finding out that elves actually existed. Although, when Tarron traveled through the reflective surface with them, they pretty much couldn’t deny that the supernatural did indeed exist. The husband, especially, had moved past the whole I’m a dark elf and onto what do you want rather quickly. It was a tad refreshing not to have to attempt to convince them of what he was. He was able to focus more on making them realize how inferior they were to his race and that it was hopeless to try and defeat him. “Your wife is much more appealing to me than you are. Why would I let her go when I could have fun with her while we wait for sweet Cassandra? Besides, she’s female. She, above all others, deserves my wrath. Deceitful, loose, fickle bitches. That’s what women are.” His words were laced with the venom of his hate. It was like a living thing, swimming in his blood, and Tarron wasn’t even sure he could change if he wanted to. He wouldn’t really touch the man’s wife. Such a thought made his stomach turn. But it didn’t hurt to scare them both. Their terror was humorous to him because it just proved how useless they truly were. How humans had survived as long as they had was beyond him. But their time was coming to an end. Soon the dark elves would rule more than just one realm and Lorsan would not be leading them, not if Tarron had anything to say about it. He stood abruptly and turned from the two captives. He was tired of watching the woman shake and the man glower. Instead he walked over to the window and stared out into the dark night. He pictured Cassandra’s face in his mind and imagined what it would be like when she was finally in his arms. He would have to make sure she knew her place, of course. But once she realized that she was his, she would do as he told her. Then the fun could begin. It had been so long since he’d touched a woman―not since Lucy. Until he’d laid eyes on her descendant, he hadn’t wanted to. But the beautiful blonde with eyes as green as the grass in his realm had captivated him and his fingers itched to become familiar with every dip and curve. His lips turned up in a wicked grin. Yes, they would have lots of fun and he would finally have what he needed and the void would be filled. Finally. Cassie felt the gentle touch of lips against her neck causing her to shiver with awareness as sleep began to fade. The sun was shining through the window of her bedroom attempting to woo her into believing it was going to be a bright, joyous day. She stared at the curtains that had hung there for as many years as she could remember. The memories of the night before and everything else came rushing in. The sun could shine all it wanted; it wouldn’t change how dark the world was becoming. Her mind was flooded with images―some bad, some good, and some very good. “Very good?” Trik’s voice rumbled from behind her. His touch allowed him access to her mind and he wasn’t shy about listening in whenever he wanted. “I would say those particular memories are a whole hell of a lot better than very good.” His arm was wrapped around her bare middle; his large hand splayed across her stomach stroking her flesh in an intimate way that only a husband could. Husband, she thought with excitement and also a small amount of shame at realizing that her parents had not been present during their exchange of vows. And that was when the pain hit. Her parents were gone. Taken by a mad man—elf, whatever, and held against their will because he wanted Cassie. “He can’t have you,” Trik growled. “I don’t share.” “Did you get in trouble for not playing well with others on the playground?” Cassie asked dryly. “I play just fine with you.” She trembled with desire at the suggestive tone and fought the urge to turn around and beg him to have his way with her. “Why are you fighting it, Beautiful? We are married in the way of your people. I thought that meant all access.” His voice was laced with false innocence that had her sputtering at his candid words. “Did you seriously just say all access?” She could hear the smile in his voice when he responded. “My, my, wife of mine. Your mind has become quite the gutter since losing your innocence.” “Okay, you have got to quit saying things like that,” Cassie said breathlessly as she turned around to face him. When his eyes dropped down to her naked front she realized her mistake. A wicked gleam filled his silver eyes as his gaze drank her in like a man who’d been deprived of liquid for far too long. His fingertips began to trace where his eyes landed, and Cassie bit back a moan that would only encourage him. “Trik, we need to get up,” she said attempting to reason with him. “There’s a world to save and parents to rescue and, and—” For the life of her, she couldn’t think of the other pressing emergencies that required their attention. How could she possibly think when Trik’s mouth had taken the place of his fingers? “Shh,” he told her as he continued his pursuit. “If the world is going to come to an end, then this is definitely the last memory I want to have of you. I can die with a smile on my face because I had the honored pleasure of bedding my Chosen.” “You are disturbed; you know that right?” “Hush,” was his only response and even if Cassie had wanted to say something she couldn’t. Her brain was effectively scrambled by Trik’s unwavering, thorough attention. A little while later there was a knock at the door. Cassie wasn’t sure who it was because she hadn’t bothered to move from the place she had ended up. Sprawled across the bed, warm and well loved, her faculties had not come back online at that point. Trik seemed to be much more alert. Tricky dark elf, she thought to herself. So she let him climb across the bed and deal with whoever was at the door. She had no idea what time it was but knew it was past time for them to have been putting a plan in place and then into action. As much as she wanted to find her parents and to save humanity, she had needed Trik. There was something found in the arms of a soul mate that couldn’t be found anywhere else. The passion, comfort, and security that Trik gave her when he loved her could not be duplicated or fabricated by anything or anyone. Trik’s hand on her exposed calf drew her from her thoughts and Cassie began to force herself to move. When she sat up with the sheet wrapped around her, she was a little surprised to find Trik already dressed. “Everyone is gathered in the living room,” he told her. “Why don’t you grab a quick shower and then meet me down there?” He leaned forward and pressed a tender kiss to her forehead. “Thank you,” he whispered. “For what?” Cassie asked as her brow wrinkled. “For letting me love you this morning and for being every bit as incredible as I knew you would be.” He was out the door before she could respond. Cassie sat staring at the place her husband had just been, shell shocked once again by his boldness. She should be used to it, but she wouldn’t hold her breath waiting for the day when she didn’t blush when Trik made such sensual and graphic comments. He was hundreds of years old; it was a safe bet to say that he wasn’t going to change. And she was okay with that. She climbed out of the bed and headed for the shower pushing thoughts of Trik and their morning away, forcing her mind to focus on what was ahead of them. Before Trik, she had been a normal teenager worried only about school, clothes, and boys. Now she was as far from normal as she could get. Instead of school, she had a whole race of ‘people’ to worry about. Instead of clothes, she had weapons and war to think about, and instead of boys, she had a husband who just happened to be the Elfin King. Life would never be normal again. Trick stood with his back against Cassie’s closed door. His jaw was tight with the anger he had fought to keep from showing her after having spoken to Cush. He hadn’t liked being interrupted. His times alone with his Chosen would be few and far between, and he wanted to savor any opportunities they had. But he was king and no matter how much he needed Cassie, his race needed him as well. Cush had come bearing bad news. He had told Trik that he’d been outside checking the perimeter of the house—old habits of a warrior die hard—and he had felt something in the front yard. He said he walked toward the street and the closer he got the stronger the feeling became. It was the residue of magic, dark magic. They had had visitors recently and they hadn’t even known it. It must have been Lorsan and why he left them unharmed after having caught them unaware, he didn’t know. Trik did know that he had failed to protect the people in his care and he was beyond pissed with himself. “Stupid, amateur mistake,” he growled to the empty hallway. He’d been so focused on Cassie and wanting to comfort her as she dealt with the fear and pain at the loss of her parents that he hadn’t bothered to think that, perhaps, someone should be keeping a lookout. He took several deep breaths. There was no point in letting his anger distract him. He needed to have every single thought focused on what he could do. He had promised Cassie that he would get her parents back, safe and alive. He would not let her down, not again.