Authors: Holly Martin
Book 2 of The Sentinel Series
This edition published 2014
Text copyright © Holly Martin 2014
Illustration copyright © Scarlett Rugers 2014
Formatting by Polgarus Studio
All rights reserved
No part of this ebook may be reproduced in any form other than in which it was purchased without prior written permission from the author.
To all the amazing people that have supported, helped and encouraged me to make this book possible. I love you all
For my mom, my biggest fan, who reads every word I have written a hundred times over and loves it every single time.
To my family, my dad, my brother Lee and my sister-in-law Julie, for your support, love, encouragement and endless excitement for my stories.
For my Gosling Girls, for your love, support and enthusiasm, the endless tweets and promotion, for your excitement, you are the best and I love you all so much. Thank you also for the hilarious messages that keep me entertained every day.
For Megan, for reading and gushing about every single word.
For Laura, for all the brilliant science stuff.
To all the incredible book bloggers, you are wonderful people and I hope one day I get to meet and hug you all.
To my best friends Gareth and Mandie, for your endless support, patience and enthusiasm.
For my twinnie, the gorgeous Aven Ellis for just being my wonderful friend, for your support, for cheering me on and for keeping me entertained with wonderful stories and pictures of hot men.
For Sharon Sant for being my editor but more importantly for being my friend, for listening to me moan and stress with endless patience and for all your support.
For Scarlett Rugers for the stunning cover and Jason Anderson for your continued help and patience.
And some other gorgeous people who have encouraged, supported, promoted, got excited or just listened; Erin McEwan, Lisa Dickenson, Jaimie Admans, Dan Thompson, Sharon Wilden, Kelly Rufus, Pernille Hughes, Rosie Blake, Simona Elena, Katey Beeden, Maryline, Jo Hurst, Dawn Crooks, Jenny Marston, Kim Nash, Laura Delve, Janet Emson, Pat Elliott, Agi, Becca, Alba, Ana, Shaun, Jess Bickerton, Kate Gordon, Kiri Mills, Louise Wykes, Stacey Hargreaves, Maggie Woodward, Trish H, Verity and Arron Davenport, Jac and Mark Rumsey, Jodie and James Brown.
To all those involved in the blog tour and cover reveal. To anyone who has read my book and taken the time to tell me you’ve enjoyed it or wrote a review, thank you so much.
Death was painless. Well it was for me, probably not for the people I had left behind. In the darkness, everything was safe. There was no agony, not any more. There was no one trying to kill me, no training, no world to save. There was just a sense of calm. I liked it here. Maybe I would stay here for a while. Maybe I would stay here forever. If this was death, it wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t the fluffy clouds of heaven I was hoping for, nor was it the burning fires of hell. But the empty, peaceful darkness was ok. I drifted there in my black bubble, wondering how many different shades of black there was. I wondered if the bright colours I could see out of the corner of my eyes, that were gone as soon as I looked for them, were the different shades of black, or something else.
I felt guilty, of course I did. I was dead and for all the Guardians who had given up their lives to protect me, this was about as ungrateful as it got. I felt guilty for poor Persia and Izri as well. They had left their parents in England and come to live at the fort to be with me. It was hardly fair on them either. Then I thought about Quinn: no mother, father left him when he was a small child, and he had given up his life so he could be with me and now I was dead. And poor Seth. Only this morning I had promised that if I was alive after I had saved the world, I would marry him and have as many children as he wanted. I had just died in his arms; he would never forgive me for that. Lights flashed out the corner of my eye and I drifted towards them, a tiny speck of brightness in this endless dark.
As I got closer, I could hear talking, a blurred mixture of voices, very far away, nothing coherent, nothing tangible.
The light widened, almost big enough for me to step through, but I held back. I looked back into the blackness. It was safe here. Calm. Whereas the lights and the voices out there screamed chaos and fear. I drifted back away from the light, away from the din of the voices. But then one voice rang clear above the others.
‘Eve, baby, please come back to me, don’t go. I love you, I can’t live without you.’ Agony ripped through every word and I immediately wanted to hold him, touch him, smell him, comfort him. I stepped through the light to reach him.
I opened my eyes and gasped, trying to fill my lungs with the oxygen they had failed to get in the last few minutes. As the pain, the unbearable agony I thought I had escaped, tore through me again, I struggled to get up, to get away from it. Hands were on me from all sides, holding me down. I fought against them, screaming. The hands didn’t release me and I lay back, writhing in indescribable pain. I couldn’t breathe. As I retched, I tasted blood.
The dark sky outside lit with forks of white and blue and as thunder roared across the mountain tops, the room trembled. The window shook, a glass slid off a nearby table and smashed on the floor, the bed rumbled beneath me. A crack ripped across the wall, cleaving the room almost in two. Flames lit up the night sky beyond the window. The end of the world was upon us.
I struggled against the hands that held me. ‘Let me up, I have to stop it!’
‘Evie, stay calm. It’s just an earthquake, it will pass in a second.’
As my eyes locked with Seth’s I stopped struggling. He took my face in his hand, stroking my mouth tenderly with his thumb.
‘Welcome back, baby.’ His voice was choked, tears stained his face.
I looked around, wondering where I was. I was still in Lucas’s room, on his bed. My personal guard were holding me down, and Cassidy, the fort’s Zeki, was holding hands with Persia, as she tried to heal me. Quinn was standing aghast at the foot of the bed, peering through his arms as his hands clutched at his hair. Lucas, where was he? Had I saved him? I struggled again, trying to see round the mass of bodies. I couldn’t see him. I felt the panic rising in me.
Eve, its ok, I’m ok, I’m down in the infirmary.’
Lucas’s tired voice came into my head, evidently having heard my panic in his own. If I had been concentrating I would have felt his thoughts too, but pain was at the forefront of my mind right now. I lay back on the pillows, trying to relax, but the pain was immense. I watched Persia and Cassidy, gritting my teeth. Persia had evidently linked her power with Cassidy, adding the strength of the Donum to Cassidy’s healing abilities. Whatever they were doing, it was slowly working. I could feel myself getting stronger, the pain, slowly, slowly, ebbing away. As it vanished the rumbling slowly stopped too.
Persia let her powers wink out and stumbled back a little, clearly exhausted. I took her hand, letting my healing powers wash through her in thanks for saving my life. My personal guard tentatively released me knowing now that the threat was over.
I didn’t dare look at Eli, I didn’t need to. I could feel how furious he was with me.
We were safe here at Fort Naga. High up in the Tibetan mountains, it could only really be reached by helicopter. Guardians patrolled the grounds, manned the doors and stood sentry at the end of my corridor. The death threats had become a thing of the past. Or so we thought. Although this particular killer had not come in the guise of a Deus or shape shifter. This time it had come in the shape of a bottle of fruit juice. Being poisoned was one of the most horrifyingly painful experiences of my life.
I had become complacent. Maybe we all had.
‘What the hell did you do?’ Eli growled from behind me. ‘You know the rules…’
‘Eli, we’re not doing this now.’ Seth said, scooping me up into his arms. ‘I’m as angry as you are. But at the moment I’m angrier at you guys for letting it happen than at her. I want answers too but now she needs rest.’
Seth strode out of the room. I chanced a look at Eli’s face. He was clearly not happy about Seth arguing against him like this but he didn’t say anything. I knew I’d get it the next day. Seth had only given me a temporary reprieve from the wrath of my personal guard.
He walked back up the corridor to our room.
To my horror I realised my shirt was stained with blood and sick, though Seth didn’t seem bothered one bit by this as he held me tight against his chest.
‘I need a shower,’ I said, quietly, feeling the anger emanating from Seth too.
Seth didn’t say anything he just strode into the bathroom with me still in his arms. He put me down carefully and leaned round me to turn the shower on.
He looked down at me; his jaw was clenched and his eyes were dark.
‘I’ll leave you to get changed.’
I looped my arms round his neck forcing his head down to kiss me. He gave me the tiniest of kisses on my lips and tried to pull away. I clung to him, refusing to let him step back.
‘I’m so angry right now,’ Seth said.
‘Be angry with me tomorrow, I need you.’
Seth sighed and kissed me lightly again but as he pulled back, his mouth was suddenly on mine hard, his hands in my hair, round my back, pulling me against him so tight I could hardly breathe. Tears soaked his face again and he didn’t take his mouth from mine for a second. He shuffled me back into the shower and within seconds we were both soaked. The kiss was urgent, desperate, needful and I couldn’t let him go either. I felt his hands under my shirt, caressing my bare back and my powers roared through me, causing a glow so bright I could see it through my closed eyes.
‘Don’t ever leave me again,’ he whispered against my lips.
I kissed him again but this time when he kissed me, it was softer, gentler, more loving and I knew the ferocity of his love for me had passed. He kissed me on the forehead and wrapped his arms round me, holding me tight against his chest.
I’m not sure how long we stood like that under the water, clinging to each other, but the first signs of daylight had begun to seep into the bathroom when he finally switched off the shower. He wrapped me in a towel and I followed him into the bedroom. The rain had stopped and the first tinges of blue started to light up the sky. The storm had passed. Although the berating from Eli was obviously still to come, I could afford a few more hours sleep before I had to face that particular battle.
‘You want to explain to me what happened?’ Eli was obviously still fuming over the incident the night before but at least was trying to be calmer about it. I stared down at my breakfast with a huge lump in my throat and pushed it away untouched. Seth, without even looking up from his newspaper, pushed it back towards me.
I stared across the table at him as he intently read every article in the papers. Although the outside world didn’t know of our true identities or anything to do with the Donum, Zeki, the Oraculum or the Sentinel, Seth scoured the daily or weekly papers for anything that might be linked to the Putarians or the Reapers, for any sign that they were getting closer. They must know we were here. Even if they couldn’t get to us, they wouldn’t simply give up. I wished I could take away Seth’s worries but if there was one person who hadn’t become complacent since we first arrived at Fort Naga it was my boyfriend. I reached across the table and linked my fingers through his. He looked up at me, his eyes intense and alert for a second before they softened into a look of pure love. He tightened his hand around mine and returned his attention to the paper.