Triktapic, the deadly dark elf assassin, has been restored by the Forest Lords to his rightful place as king of the Elven realm. Now, he must face his former comrades as he attempts to stop Lorsan, king of the dark elves, from enslaving the human race. Lorsan has already begun distributing Rapture, the irresistible drink that destroys those who unknowingly become addicted to it. Will Cassie, his Chosen, be able to give Trik the strength he needs to face his dark past? Meanwhile, Cassie’s best friend, Elora, is in a fight for her own life. Elora, her mother, Lisa, and a small band of light elves have traveled deep into the dark elf realm in hopes of rescuing Cassie and Trik. But their mission quickly turns into a battle for their own lives as they are surrounded by Lorsan and his warriors. Though outnumbered ten to one, the humans and elves fight heroically. They fight for a King once lost, but now found. They fight for the human realm that doesn’t yet know it is in need of saving. They fight for love; a love that has already been discovered and a love that is waiting to be revealed. Despite their valiant efforts, the band is captured and held captive by the dark elf king. The peaceful world that Cassie and Elora knew is long gone, shattered by their realization that elves walk secretly among them, and are bent on their destruction. Soon, each of the girls will be forced to choose her own path. Cassie must decide to which world she belongs and Elora must decide if she will fight for a warrior hell bent on keeping her from his side. Two species, human and elf, stand on the precipice of war, united in one goal; shatter the dark elf king’s plan, and unite a divided race under the rule of the one true King.
“There is only so much darkness the human race can endure. At some point the shadows will wrap around them and suffocate any light that might have given them reason to hope. Without hope they would begin to die as, one by one, their souls reached out and took the darkness.” ~Cush I never thought I’d die a virgin, Elora said to herself as she stood in the dark, damp dungeon. Then again, I also never thought I’d be stuck in a dungeon with a bunch of elves and my mom. Her eyes wandered over the room, landing briefly on each member of their little rescue party until they landed on him. Ah yes, now if these other five bystanders weren’t in the way, I just might not have to die with said virtue intact. Her stomach growled, drawing her mind from her less than innocent thoughts and she pushed away from the wall. “Have I mentioned how hungry I am?” Elora asked as she began to pace. Lorsan had thrown them in a cell, after he was done kicking their asses, and there they had been for three days with only the occasional bread and water. The air was thick with humidity and the walls slick with condensation. The tendrils that fell from Elora’s messy bun stuck to her neck as sweat trickled down her back. “Only sixteen times,” Tamsin answered dryly. “Well apparently it was sixteen times too few because I still do not see any food,” she retorted. Their once hopeful mission to rescue Trik and Cassie had not gone exactly as planned. Now here they were—two humans and five elves—battle scarred, ticked off, and hungry awaiting their fate at the hands of a psychotic dark-elf king hell bent on enslaving the human race. Elora glanced around the dim room, illuminated only by several small windows at the very top of the twenty foot walls, watching the faces of her comrades. She nearly snorted at herself for thinking of them in such terms. But then, she had been in a battle with them and so what else could they be? Lisa sat with her back against the far wall across from the door. Sidhion, aka Sid as she called him; Rincavornon, aka Rin; and Beleg, aka Bel, all three stood leaning against the wall to the left of the door, their eyes constantly roaming the small room. Tamsin sat a few feet from Lisa with his legs drawn up and his arms lying over his knees. Cush was crouched down on the balls of his feet, arms leaning on his knees. He had been sitting like that for hours, motionless, and Elora marveled at his patience. Her legs were cramping up just looking at him, but he didn’t seem to be bothered. His eyes stared at the iron door, as if willing it to open by the sheer force of his mind. Elora tried her hardest not to stare at him but finally gave up when she realized she just might die any day now, so why not enjoy the view while she could? Cush felt a shiver of awareness and knew that her eyes were on him. At first she had been trying to be discreet about it, but now he realized that she wasn’t even trying to hide that she was watching him. It was slightly unnerving, her level of confidence and her unabashed bold behavior—unnerving and sexy as hell. His muscles felt tense as he knelt down, watching the door, waiting for it to open so that he could spring into action. He wasn’t concerned that they were captured; he and his brethren had been captured before. They had been outnumbered in battle many times in the past and yet still they lived. But for some reason, this time he felt different, and he had a feeling that it had something to do with the beautiful, dark, mysterious girl whose eyes were trained on him. He finally turned his head slowly until their eyes met. He expected her to look away, to be embarrassed at being caught, but instead she just returned his stare. He held her gaze and her purple eyes seemed to be searching his, asking a silent question. Maybe it was the same question that he had been asking himself—why was there this pull between them? What was with the magnetic energy that seemed to be drawing him to her? She finally raised a single brow at him, a silent challenge for him to relent. His jaw tightened as he fought the desire to go to her and to make sure she was well. He gave her a slight nod and then turned back to the door. He willed it to open, needing to fight, needing to get rid of the pent up energy building inside of him, but mostly needing to get as far from Elora as possible. Elora let out an annoyed sigh and looked away from the warrior who had just blown her off. She didn’t know why she cared, didn’t know why it mattered to her that he avoided her even in the tiny space where they were all stuffed like five toes shoved into a shoe two sizes too small. Her eyes landed on Tamsin who was giving her an odd look. He seemed to have witnessed the little play-by-play between her and Cush and the small smirk on his face told her that he found it amusing. “What?” she snapped. He shrugged but didn’t answer. “So do we have a plan?” Lisa spoke up. Tamsin started to answer, but Cush held up his hand to silence him. They all tensed suddenly. Those sitting stood slowly and those leaning righted themselves and took steps towards the door. There was a rustling noise just on the other side and then a thud. The door shuddered and then flew open. The group steeled themselves, waiting with baited breath for the enemy to enter. “Are you guys just going to stand there while we rescue you or are you going to give us a hand with the dozens of dark elves that are sure to be headed our way?” Trik stepped into the cell covered in weapons from head to toe, looking every bit the assassin his reputation claimed him to be. “Took you long enough,” Tamsin growled, but it was followed by a smile. “Yes well, from what we understood you guys were to be the rescuers, not the resucees. So quit your bellyaching and let’s go,” Cassie answered as she stepped around Trik. Elora grinned and walked over to her best friend. “I’m so not happy with you,” she told her. “I love you too.” Cassie smiled and pulled her into a hug. Lisa pushed past the elves in her way and wrapped Cassie in a hug as soon as Elora released her. “I’m so glad you are alright,” she whispered. Cassie nodded. “Me too.” “Alright beautiful,” Trik spoke up. “We need to get going before Lorsan realizes what’s going on.” Cassie nodded and took Trik’s outstretched hand. Elora watched as Cush, Sid, Rin, and Bel—she had given them nicknames because their names were just too freaking much—all stepped in front of Trik and walked out into the hall. Apparently, they would be going first. She glanced back at Tamsin. “Shouldn’t the all-powerful Trik be going first?” she asked. “We will protect the king at all cost,” he told her. She rolled her eyes. “Dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” she grumbled under her breath. “All the elves will be fine, Elora,” Tamsin told her, implication thick in his tone as he nudged her forward to follow the others. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” He chuckled behind her. “Just keep telling yourself that if you must.” Elora glanced around her mother’s shoulder as she made her way into the dim hallway. She caught sight of Cush and felt herself breathe a tad easier. Holy crap, she thought to herself. I have a crush on an elf. That’s not something a girl admits to everyday. She didn’t know when it had happened, but she knew that it was not good, not good at all. Lorsan paced his study as he waited for Melda, the she elf that had at one time been in charge of Cassie’s care, to arrive. He knew that she had grown fond of the human and had even helped Trik get her back. She would be punished for that. He smiled to himself, and what better way to punish her than to have her betray her new friend, he thought smugly. He heard a knock at the door and readied himself for the performance he was about to give. “ Enter,” he called so she would hear him through the thick door. Melda walked in with her head down and he could see the slight tremble of her hands as she clasped them in front of her. It was obvious that she thought he was going to punish her. He tried not to chuckle at her pathetic demeanor. After all, he knew it was really an act. Anyone bold enough to defy him and assist his enemy was not really so docile. “Melda,” he purred her name. Her head snapped up and her eyes widened, obviously surprised at the sound of his voice, “I’ve been watching you.” “ My liege,” she said with a convincing amount of apprehension. “ You did a good job taking care of Cassandra, and even though I am disappointed that you let her get away, I find myself fascinated with your tenacity and willfulness.” Her eyes grew even wider. Lorsan stalked towards her, slowly looking her over, his interest as plain-as-day on his face. She wasn’t an ugly she-elf, but he had a Chosen with incomparable beauty. So convincing Melda of his interest in order to get the compliance he wanted might be tricky. But he was sure he was up to the task. What woman wouldn’t want to be with a king? “I find myself in need of a distraction during these trying times, with war knocking on my door and my Chosen constantly nagging me about this and that. I need a woman who will just listen to me and meet certain needs. You see a man of my status has needs, Melda, and well a woman like you…,” he motioned to her feminine form with desire dancing in his eyes, “could definitely meet those needs.” She swallowed and he could see it was with great difficulty. Her hands we now clasped so tight that her knuckles had gone white and her eyes were the size of saucers. “Now, what I think is important for you to know is that there is a war coming, and there will be many deaths, but those who are closest to me, those,” he paused dramatically, “who help me, will have the full weight of my protection. Who knows what kind of horrible death Triktapic has planned for the dark elves. Even though you helped him, you are still a dark elf, my dear, and will be subject to his wrath if he should make it this far.” He could tell that she was really beginning to think about what he was saying, beginning to understand that he could keep her alive. If Lorsan knew anything about his dark elves it was that above all else, survival was their instinct. They would do what they had to to survive. “What would you have me do, my king?” she finally asked after several minutes of silence. He smiled as he stepped up in front of her and ran a thumb across her lips. “I’m glad you’re seeing things my way.”
“Have you ever noticed that something as smooth as milk slides down your throat easily but can cause lots of backups on the opposite end? Yeah, well think of our escape as milk. It started out smooth but then the exit got very backed up.” ~Elora Elora crept up silently to stand beside Cassie. The light-elf warriors were scouting out ahead of them in the murky tunnels of the dungeon, ensuring the way was clear. Elora was amazed at how silently they moved, especially as large and as muscular as they were. She found herself feeling like a sloppy toddler floundering around in the dark by comparison. “So how’d you get to us so quickly?” she asked her best friend. Cassie cast her a quick glance. “Quickly?” she asked with a snort. “It took us three days. How can you possibly think that was quick?” “Did you find my dead, decaying body rotting in the dungeon after months of capture, beatings, and torture?” Elora whispered. “No.” “Then that is how I think three days is quick.” Cassie gave a quick nod. “Okay, I see your point.” “Honestly, El, it was all way too easy. Well, at first all the ways into the dark-elf realm seemed to be blocked to Trik. Then we tried to go in through his cabin, but we couldn’t get more than twenty feet away and we started going in circles. Finally, Syndra told us to try Sanctuary. It was one of those moments when you’re like damn why didn’t I think of that.” “Hate those,” Elora quipped. “I know, right?” Cassie crouched down and Elora lowered herself as well, balancing against the slick walls. “So then Trik just walked through a mirror into Sanctuary and we walked straight here. He knocked out a few dark elves along the way, and then bam, we were standing in front of your cell.” “You’re right; something is not kosher with this rescue mission. Ours didn’t go nearly as smooth.” “Really?” Cassie’s eyes widened in surprise. “Cause I thought the whole getting caught thing must have been part of your plan.” Elora narrowed her eyes. “Who flipped your bitch switch?” Cassie quickly covered her mouth before the laugh could escape. “I like that one,” she whispered. Elora rolled her eyes. “You’re still easily amused I see.” Lisa stepped up beside them just then and leaned forward into their space. “What’s so funny?” “Bitch switch,” Elora answered dryly which brought another laugh from Cassie. Suddenly a big body was looming over them, and all three turned their heads upward from where they were crouched. “Would you all like to just send the dark elves a text to let them know exactly where we are?” Cush ground out through clenched teeth. Elora stood slowly and Lisa and Cassie followed her up. When she reached her full five foot seven inches, she met Cush’s icy gaze and smiled as she spoke, “I was thinking engraved invitations.” Elora ignored her mother’s dropped jaw and her best friend’s snickers as she stepped around Cush, being extra careful not to touch him. Trik stepped around the corner and motioned for them to follow. “Coast is clear; let’s get a move on people.” Cassie hurried up to Trik’s side and he took her hand. He brought it to his lips and kissed her knuckles gently. “You doing alright?” he asked her as he moved so quickly and quietly that it was eerie. “Yeah, I’m good. A little unnerved as to why this is going so―” Cassie’s words were caught in her throat as a loud boom rattled through her ears and down her chest sending her body flying backwards through the air. She was only briefly alone as Trik’s arms were instantly around her cushioning their landing with his body. Stone and dirt swam in the air and rained down on the group as they all crashed to the tunnel floor. A few shrieks from the girls and groans from the guys and then all were silent. Cush blinked a few times, attempting to gather his faculties. His ears were ringing from the blast and he found it hard to get air into his lungs from all the dust settling in the thick, damp air. As soon as his mind was clear, his thoughts jumped to Elora. Where had she been when the explosion happened? She had walked past him and around Sidhion and Tamsin and then he hadn’t been able to see her. He jumped to his feet nimbly pushing rocks from his legs and began to survey the damage. Already nearly all of the elves were on their feet. Tamsin was pulling Lisa up, and there several feet in front of them, he saw dark hair with red streaks spread across the rubble. He was moving before he thought, maneuvering across the fallen stone with ease, and then he was kneeling beside her. Her eyes were closed and blood trickled down from a cut on her forehead. He leaned forward, laying his ear just inches above her mouth and felt warm breath against it. He squeezed his eyes closed tight against the emotion welling in his chest. Alive, he told himself, she was alive. “Is she alright?” He heard Lisa’s voice behind him. “She’s breathing but not conscious,” he told her gruffly. He didn’t move aside. Maybe he should have, Lisa was Elora’s mother after all. But she was his―his mind froze on that thought. His what? What did he think she was? His heart knew, but his mind wasn’t ready to accept it, would never be ready to accept it. His hand cupped her cheek as he leaned close to her ear. “Wake up, Little Raven.” He looked down at her and waited, willing her eyes to open. Another blast rocked the tunnels and Cush covered Elora’s body with his own. The ground trembled beneath them and the ceiling above them rumbled under the stress of the eruption. He waited until the dust settled before raising himself back up. He glanced over her to make sure no rocks or stones had landed on her and then looked back at her face. He stilled as his eyes collided with hers. “Most guys ask me on a date before trying for third base,” she told him with a smirk. Cush sighed inwardly, relieved that she was conscious. “Can you move?” he asked ignoring her comment. “I believe I could if you would get off of me.” He stared at her, confused by her surly tone. He had just protected her from possible death and she was practically growling at him. He didn’t realize his hand was once again on the side of her face, cradling it gently, not until her voice filled his mind. “The one time a guy lies on top of me and he isn’t even interested.” He heard the words in his head and felt his eyes widen. Realization rushed in—his touch, her thoughts, his mind. Cush nearly shoved her away from him in his hurry to stand. He stepped aside and let Lisa move to Elora’s side. He saw the flash of hurt in Elora’s eyes but he pushed it away as he turned to check on the others. “Everyone alright?” Trik’s voice carried through the sooty air. “We’re all up,” Lisa called out as she helped Elora to her feet. Elora looked up to find Cassie and saw that she was on her feet next to Trik and in one piece. They gave each other reassuring nods and small smiles. “I guess it’s safe to say that Lorsan knows about our little excursion,” Tamsin said as he dusted off his clothes. “This end is blocked, Tamsin. What about that direction?” Trik asked. “It’s blocked as well,” Sid answered. “We’re going to have to head back the direction we came and see if there is another way out from there,” Cush spoke up. “Liege,” he turned to Tamsin, “there were small windows in the cell. We could attempt to make them larger.” Tamsin nodded. “It may be our only option.” Trik stared up at the small windows at the top of the cell. Small was being generous. Trik doubted even Cassie could fit through them. He reached up and rubbed his face in frustration. Think, Trik, think, he muttered inwardly. He hadn’t made it all this way only to be captured in the freaking castle he knew like the back of his hand. Before an idea could begin to form in his mind, he was interrupted. “Am I the only one seeing the she-elf who is staring creepily at us from the doorway?” Elora asked. Cassie gasped. “Flora?” She started to walk towards the woman who had taken care of her while she had been trapped by Lorsan, but Trik stepped in front of her with a scowl plastered on his too handsome face. “Why are you here?” Trik demanded. Flora was unfazed. She looked around him so that she could see Cassie. “I want to help,” she said earnestly. “I should have helped you before. I knew what he was doing was wrong. If you follow me I can get you out of here.” “Why should we trust you?” Cush asked as he stepped next to Trik, effectively blocking her view from the others. “You probably shouldn’t. But I give you my word; I mean you no harm.” She looked from Cush to Trik. “Besides, who would be stupid enough to attack our king?” “You know who I am?” Trik asked. Flora nodded and her lips tightened grimly. “Your return is not going unnoticed, My Lord. Many will be happy you are back. Others will only try harder to kill you. But we don’t really have time to discuss that right now.” Elora and Cassie both pushed around Trik and Cush with Lisa right behind them. “Lead the way, Flora. I trust you.” Cassie told her. Without another word, Flora turned and hurried from the door. Cassie and Elora took off after her, ignoring the male voices objecting behind them. “Um, Flo,” Elora spoke up as they followed her towards the direction of the blast, “we were just here and we were lucky to get away with all our bits intact.” Flora lifted a hand and waved for them to follow without responding. They stumbled over the crumbling stone and coughed as their feet stirred up fresh dust, creating a cloudy haze around them. “Cassie,” Trik’s voice carried up from behind them. “It’s fine, Trik. She’s not going to hurt us,” she called back to him. “In here.” Flora turned to look back at them, and Cassie and Elora both gaped at the opening that seemed to appear out of nowhere in the floor. Cassie stepped up to the hole and looked down. It was pitch black. “Is it safe?” she asked Flora. “We’re in a tunnel that was just blown up by freaky elf magic and you’re worried about whether the possible escape route from said blown up tunnel is safe?” Elora asked dryly. “Good point,” Cassie shrugged. “I’ll go first,” Tamsin said as he reached them. Trik held out his hand to stop the light-elf king. “You should let me.” Tamsin shook his head. “You are too important…” “It shouldn’t be either of you,” Cush spoke up. “You are both important.” “Oh, for crying out loud,” Elora groaned, “what does it matter? We’re all going to die of asbestos poisoning if we stay here any longer, geeze.” She looked back at the group and rolled her eyes just as she took a step. “ELORA!” Cush, Lisa, and Cassie yelled at the same time but they were too late. She stepped off into the nothingness of the hole and disappeared. “ELORA!” Lisa yelled as she looked down into the black void. “Where is she? Is she alright?” “She’s probably fine,” Flora assured her. “What do you mean probably?” Lisa growled as only a mama bear could. “You don’t know where she is?” Flora shook her head. “The portal took her wherever she wanted to go.” “Portal?” This time all of the elves spoke up at the same time. Flora jumped at the collective deep voices. She nodded. “There’s no reflective surface,” Trik pointed out. “Not all portals need a reflection, King,” Flora addressed him. “There was a time long ago when the Forest Lords gave three portals that did not require reflections,” she paused and waited. “Do you remember?” Trik closed his eyes and tried to focus, tried to remember a time before light and dark elves, a time before war and destruction. Yes, he remembered. “Master portals,” he said breathlessly. Flora nodded and smiled like a proud teacher. “I’m sure this is supposed to be important,” Cassie interrupted, “but my best friend just took off into this master portal and I’d like to know where it took her.” “It will have taken her to wherever her heart longed most to be,” Flora explained. “Is that the only place it will take you?” Cassie asked. Flora shook her head. “No, it will act based on intent as well. But for your friend, since she most likely wasn’t aware she needed to be giving herself a location, it took her where she longs to be.” Cassie looked over to Lisa. Do you know where that is?” “Might be with Oakley, or it might be at the store,” Lisa told her. Cassie nodded her agreement. “Either place is safe, Cassie,” Lisa assured her. “You need to go with Trik. I can take care of Elora.” “You will be a target,” Cassie argued. “You can’t just go off by yourselves.” “I’ll get her and then come back to the light-elf castle, piece of cake,” Lisa assured her. Cassie didn’t look convinced. “I will accompany them,” Cush said, “if that is alright with the King.” He turned to look at Trik, waiting for his response. Trik nodded and then motioned towards the light elf on his left, “Rincavornon, you will go with Nedhudir and keep Lisa and Elora safe.” Lisa stepped up to the edge of the hole and looked down into the darkness. She decided the best place to start would be with Oakley. “Be careful.” Cassie grabbed her in a quick hug. Lisa patted her back. “We’ll be fine.” “We really should be on our way now,” Flora interrupted. Cush stepped up beside Lisa and motioned for Rin to do the same on her other side. They both placed large hands on each of her elbows. “We step together and you think of where we need to go.” She nodded at him and without a glance back, Lisa stepped off into the void with the two light elves beside her. “Your turn,” Flora told Cassie with a small smile. Trik grabbed her hand to keep her from stepping closer to the edge of the hole. He gave Flora a look that had her taking a step back and then turned to the rest of the group. “We go to Tamsin’s castle, the throne room.” Then he stepped off into the portal pulling Cassie with him. Melda, the she elf Cassie knew as Flora, watched as the last of the light elves crossed through the portal. She counted to twenty just as Lorsan had told her, to ensure everyone was all the way through and then held her hand out over the portal. At her whispered words she watched as the hole shrunk in on itself until it was completely gone. Melda smiled to herself as she dusted her hands off. “Get silly human girl to trust you. Check.” She made the motion of checking off a list in the air. “Convince silly humans and elves to go through a portal. Check. Close off all portals so that there is no way to return to human realm or for elves to return to the elfin realm.” She paused and grinned. “Check, check.” Elora blinked several times as her eyes attempted to adjust to the bright light around her. She had expected to fall a few feet, hit the hard ground, and have her teeth jarred out of her head. But instead, it was as if she had just walked through an open door. One minute she was in the crumbling tunnel of Lorsan’s castle and the next she was, well… Where am I exactly, she thought to herself. She brushed her messy black mane of hair away from her face and took a look around. The air was cold and crisp as it burned her lungs. She judged that it must be winter wherever she was because all of the well-manicured lawns lining the streets contained dry dead grass. She was standing on a sidewalk with the street on one side of her and an apartment complex on the other. She glanced down the sidewalk to see if there was a street sign but only saw a stop sign. Just as she turned back towards the apartments, the door directly across from where she stood opened and out walked a tall, gangly guy in loose skater style jeans, a black t-shirt, and Vans. Elora’s eyes widened and a grin spread across her face. “What are you doing here, Baby Sis?” Oakley asked. Elora ran straight for him and had to bite the inside of her lip to keep from squealing like a girl. It was so freaking good to see him and to hear his voice, and then she was in his arms as she threw herself at him. “Umph!” he grunted as she buried her face in his chest. “Hey, hey,” he said as he patted her back. She refused to cry, hell she didn’t even know why she felt the need to cry, but she wasn’t about to give in to it. “What’s going on, Elora?” he asked her as he gently pushed her back so he could look at her face. She knew from the way his forehead wrinkled in concentration that he was trying to see past the front she was so desperately trying to keep in place. But what could she tell him? Hey big brother, long time no see, and since you asked, I was just rescued from the dungeon of a dark elf by a she dark elf who we thought was a bad guy, but maybe isn’t a bad guy and oh, by the way, mom is still there. For some reason she just didn’t feel that would go over too well. So she lied. “Nothing, I just decided I needed to see you.” She smiled up at him and tried to appear innocent, which for her was not easy because she usually wasn’t. He glanced down at her appearance and she knew the dust covered, disheveled look wasn’t doing anything to help her farce and she knew her next question was only going to make things worse. “What month is it?” “It’s January, the fourth to be exact. How did you get here?” he asked suspiciously as he looked around for her car. He would ask the most obvious question first. It was a valid one, of course, since he lived two hours away from Oklahoma City. “I took the bus,” she lied again. January, bloody hell how long had they been in fairy land, she thought to herself, but tried not to let that thought show on her face. His concern turned to annoyance as he stood up to his full six foot one height and crossed his arms in front of him. “What the hell is going on, Elora? You show up on my sidewalk in front of my apartment, where you have never been, I might add. You look like you’ve been in a freaking explosion or fire, and your covered in ash and crap.” He took a step towards her and reached for her arm. “And shit, you’re shaking like a junky. Now tell me what is going on.” He gave her arm a little shake—not enough to hurt her but enough to get her attention. “Does this have anything to do with those elves? I’ve told mom before I didn’t like her doing business with them?” “I will advise you one time to remove your hand from the female.” A deep voice came from behind Elora. Oakley’s eyes widened as he looked past his sister to see two large guys and, his head tilted to the side, his mom. “Mom?” his voice was hoarse. “Hi, Baby.” Lisa smiled wide. “Um, you might want to go ahead and let your sister go.” Lisa made a nodding motion towards the tall guy on her left. “Cush seems to think you are hurting her.” “Cush?” Oakley asked as he looked from his mom to the guy she had indicated. He still hadn’t let Elora’s arm go, shocked as he was. Cush’s eyes narrowed as he watched the male’s hand tighten imperceptibly on Elora’s arm. He had tried to be nice, but still the male had not released her, granted he did seem a bit dazed. He walked slowly towards them and said, “Let her go.” The boy finally let go of her arm and Cush felt something inside him ease just a bit. “Elora,” her name came out softer than he intended, more like a caress, “are you all right?” She didn’t respond. In fact she hadn’t moved since he, her mother, and Rin had appeared from the portal. He stepped around, effectively pushing the boy away and knelt down so that he could look into her face. Her eyes were squeezed closed and her lips were moving swiftly. He leaned closer to try and hear what she was mumbling and nearly laughed when he finally deciphered it. Over and over Elora muttered, “Goth girls don’t cry, goth girls don’t cry.” “I thought it was big girls don’t cry?” he whispered close to her ear so that only she could hear him. She froze. Her eyes snapped open and her mumbling ceased instantly. Her eyes met his and he waited for her to say something, all the while fighting the natural desire to wrap his arms around her and pull her close to the shelter of his body. When she finally did speak, it only confirmed what he already knew. Elora stared at Cush and realized that she was seeing him in his elfin form in the human realm. “Why aren’t you using your glamour?” she asked. Her heart skipped at the flash of possessiveness she saw in his eyes. “I am using it,” he told her. “Then why am I seeing you in your elfin form?” His jaw tensed and she could tell that he did not want to answer her. “That’s a discussion best saved for a more private setting.” He stood and took a step back from her and that tiny bit of space between them felt like the Grand Canyon. Elora mentally shook herself and drew her shoulders back. She took a deep breath and let it out slow and then turned to face the others. “Would someone please tell me what’s going on?” Oakley asked. “Because it looks to me like my mom and two strange men just appeared out of thin air on my sidewalk.” Elora crossed her arms in front of her and cocked her hip out to the side as she looked up at her brother. “You want the full story or the Cliff Notes?” “Elora, you can’t just tell him everything,” Cush said. A single brow rose on her forehead as she met Cush’s eyes. “He’s my brother, Cush. He already knows about the elves; it’s just all the other crap he doesn’t know about, so cliff notes to begin,” she said and as she continued to speak her eyes never left Cush’s. “Cassie met a hot guy who wound up being a dark-elf assassin. The dark-elf king has an evil plot to get humans addicted to a drug produced from a plant from their realm, so they will spend more money in his casinos. Cassie was captured, we went to rescue her, and then we got captured. We were rescued; now we’re here. I assume Cassie and her man are going to go back to the light-elf castle,” she paused as if thinking and then let out a dry, humorless laugh. “Oh, and apparently, I’m Cush’s Chosen.”
4.3 rating based on 2,548 ratings (all editions)
Triktapic, the deadly dark elf assassin, has been restored by the Forest Lords to his rightful place as king of the Elven realm. Now, he must face his former comrades as he attempts to stop Lorsan, king of the dark elves, from enslaving the human race. Lorsan has already begun distributing Rapture, the irresistible drink that destroys those who unknowingly become addicted to it. Will Cassie, his Chosen, be able to give Trik the strength he needs to face his dark past?
Meanwhile, Cassie’s best friend, Elora, is in a fight for her own life. Elora, her mother, Lisa, and a small band of light elves have traveled deep into the dark elf realm in hopes of rescuing Cassie and Trik. But their mission quickly turns into a battle for their own lives as they are surrounded by Lorsan and his warriors. Though outnumbered ten to one, the humans and elves fight heroically. They fight for a King once lost, but now found. They fight for the human realm that doesn’t yet know it is in need of saving. They fight for love; a love that has already been discovered and a love that is waiting to be revealed. Despite their valiant efforts, the band is captured and held captive by the dark elf king.
The peaceful world that Cassie and Elora knew is long gone, shattered by their realization that elves walk secretly among them, and are bent on their destruction. Soon, each of the girls will be forced to choose her own path. Cassie must decide to which world she belongs and Elora must decide if she will fight for a warrior hell bent on keeping her from his side.
Two species, human and elf, stand on the precipice of war, united in one goal; shatter the dark elf king’s plan, and unite a divided race under the rule of the one true King.