Coffee House Names

AJ is looking for the name of a random coffee house to throw into a side story that is all me and Alex but not in my world – totally and completely human romance – like Angel and Zane and Matt and Wyn before that. I am AJ will post it. She might even finish posting Matt and Wyn since she can mass post it all now.

Anyway we need a random coffee house name.

The Kids Reactions

I grabbed Alex’s hand and headed towards the door. Alex wiggled his hand free and wrapped his arm around my waist. I was sure it was for my benefit, but I’d like to think that Alex was in a very touchy feely mood now that I was alive.

Though had I really been dead.

Alex groaned, “Yes, you were dead. No pulse, no breathing. Nothing – dead as a fucking door nail.”

I grinned, “Door nails aren’t exactly ever a live so I have no idea how that saying came to be.”

Alex rolled his eyes but he pulled me closer to his side. “I missed your need to fill the void.”

“It’s not a need. I can’t help it.” I whined.

The others laughed, which made me turn around and glare at Ant and Ryan who were happily following us. Ant looked bad, Alex wasn’t much better. And they weren’t exactly looking at each other either. I was going to have to fix that.

“No you aren’t.” They said at the same time, and then growled which made Ryan laugh.

“They’ve been like this for the last two days.” Ryan added with humor in his voice. It was good someone was enjoying themselves.

We took the elevator, though Ant could have shadow walked. “Actually.” Alex interrupted, “Ant can’t. Well he could walk up to a safe level but there is no shadow walking in or out of the compound anymore. Not unless you want to have a fricasseed vampire on your hands.”

“I’d prefer to keep my vampires alive, they smell bad when you fry them.” I grinned at Alex.

I pressed myself against Alex as we went up. Ryan and Ant stood in front of us and chatted, I heard the murmur of their voices but no one else entered the lift until after we’d exited. It was like someone said you can’t press the button. Alex whispered, “It’s express when they want it to be.” I guess that makes sense.

The doors pulled open on the top floor and as soon as it did I heard a squeal and heard the pattern of small feet heading out direction. Ant, Ryan and Alex had the foresight to step out of the way before I had three kids piling on top of me inside the elevator.

Ryan was clutching the back of two of their shirts, Drake and Cass dangled from his hands like trophy fish and Alex pulled Hunter from me so I could scramble off the elevator before the panic set in. That was the last thing I needed. Being shot at and burned alive didn’t scare me more than a fucking elevator how fucking epic was that.

As soon as I had crawled over the threshold the three kids were back on top of me and I held them tight to me. I heard my brothers walking across the floor and I looked up to see the three boys staring down at our small pile. I waved the best I could with a smile. Rider kicked my shoulder. “You’re a bastard.”

“I know. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” I begged but it wasn’t real.

Rider smirked and nodded, “You owe me dinner. And a movie. Just me and you.”

I nodded, “You’ll have to wait till Alex will let me out of his sight though.”

Rider looked at Alex and smiled, “I think I can wait. But you owe me. Can we move this someplace more comfortable?”

I stood up with the three little ones hanging off of me. “I think we can manage that.” I didn’t carry the kids to our room, but to another large room with a king size bed. The kids all noticed but no one said anything. Alex followed us into the room with a smirk on his face. I want alone time too. I thought and Alex just nodded with that smirk.

I had no idea what time it was other than it was dark. Ant stood inside the room while the rest of curled up together on the bed. Alex sighed, “Ant, you’re family too. You can join us if you want.”

I raised my eyebrows in shock. I hadn’t expected that. Alex gave me a mental nudge told me to leave it – he’d tell me later. So that’s what I did I just curled up with Alex and let Ant do what Ant did. But he stood there standing guard. “Seriously, Ant.”

“I know, man. But until Vin gets here I’m standing guard.”

“What difference does it make if you are sitting or laying on the bed in terms of reacting? Anything that’s gotten this far is going to be formidable what makes you think you standing in the door is going to stop it.”

Ant growled at Alex’s assessment. “I’m fine. Thank you.” His voice softened, “I will join you when Vin gets here. He was running errands for us while we let you have your family reunion.”

Cass giggled, “Yay!” She snuggled up against my back and I froze out of habit. She jerked away expecting something different. She lifted the t-shirt and there was a gasp all around.

“Holy fuck!” Rider said. “I mean…. No, I mean holy fuck! Sorry. How?”

I shrugged. “Magic?” I said with a hint of sarcasm as well as truth. I had no idea how the scars healed the way they had, how I didn’t look like Deadpool was beyond me. If everything Ryan told me was true then I had no idea how I came out of the fire unscathed.

Ant sighed, “And the fourth, he shall rise from the ash Ascended.”

“What?” I asked.

“A line from the prophecy of the Ascendant. Ryan could repeat it to you. He believes.” Ant let out a long breath, “I believe now.”

Alex agreed, “I think we all do. We just need to make him see it. Talk some sense into him. Make him see that all this destiny bullshit isn’t about what’s written it’s a warning so he can affect it.”

Ant nodded his agreement. “That’s a talk I’ll let you have with him. I don’t know if I could be convincing enough. Or sit him down with Ryan.”

“Or both.” Alex said. “But right now, ” the door opened and Vin stepped inside, “we all need to just be a family.”

Alex wrapped one arm around Quinn and the other around me. Ant joined us on the other side with the older boys and Cass breaking up their little uncomfortable looks. She hugged Ant and Rider curled around her and everyone was happy – everyone touching someone that mattered but most of all just a family.

We are Editing!

SO AJ finished the last book. It’s too short for either of our tastes, there are no sub plots which is likely the cause. So I’m sure AJ will flesh it out a little more. BUT not before starting the editing process.

AJ got her computer back on Tuesday so yay! The tablet was so difficult to do anything on. Yesterday she threw together a script to put all five books into one large epub file. (If anyone wants to read it all in order without all the boring blog posts AND get to see the rest of The First Vestige and the final book entitle The Power of Succession shoot me an email at nox.durante@gmail.com and I’ll gladly send it on over to you. (or comment with your email and I’ll send it your way)

So we have the mass ebook a brand new college ruled composition notebook with colored gel pens and we will start reading from The First Hunt making notes, jotting down timelines, finding plot holes, noting down character names, places and all that initial read through stuff. No real editing. Just a note taking endeavor.

AJ’s giving us two weeks to edit this level before evaluating scene by scene information.

Never Again

Ryan closed the door as he left leaving me and Alex alone in the glass room meant for dead people. I’d have felt more comfortable leaving myself, but the warmth of Alex’s body pressed to mine made me stay, and stay quiet.

The hug at first was stiff when I pulled the blue eyed boy I loved with all my heart to me, but he relaxed into me, and then his arms were tight around me. Like he was never going to let me go. I won’t ever let you go. Alex thought in my head.

“I’m sorry.” I whispered again. I really hadn’t planned on being flambed by the vampires. I had a lot of questions but I pushed them aside, and I just focused on Alex.

I don’t know how long we stood there, not talking, not moving, just holding each other. I don’t think I’d ever seen Alex cry and he wasn’t crying now, I knew I’d be devastated and Alex was, he’d drank with the kids around. He was lost and all because of me. There was nothing I could do to make it better. I’d told Alex I’d be alright. I ended up not okay, he thought I was dead. But Ryan believed.

“I saw Quinn in a dream.” I whispered. “Alex, she can’t go back to them. I saw Fee and my Mom too. Though she wasn’t my mom, she was the person who wrote the book.”

“You were dead.” Alex mumbled against my neck.

“I was healing. How long?”

Alex growled, “Two fucking days I thought you were dead! Two days!”

The fire was in his voice but his eyes were sad. “I’m sorry Alex. You were right, but it doesn’t change the fact that I would go still knowing that I died.”

The rumble from Alex’s throat told me he knew I was right. “Why do you have to be the fucking hero? Why can’t you just let it go? Why can’t we just be happy?”

“You know the answer to that.”

Alex started pacing. “Never again, Nox. Never fucking again.”

“Never again, what?” I growled. I was not going to be kept like a puppy to be looked after. My anger grew every second he paced.

Until he stopped and looked at me with wide eyes. “No.” He growled, “Fuck. No, that’s not what I meant. I’m … ”

Alex sighed and walked over to me. “I won’t do this again. I won’t sit here and wonder if you are dead. I’m going to know, without a shadow of a doubt, how you feel, if you are alive. Nox, I’m never again going to not know if you are alive or dead.”

“How?” I wondered, “You can’t stay with me everyday all day for the rest of our lives.”

Alex smirked, “No, but the spell thing Ryan was talking about. We do it as soon as we find a wicca to preform it. I don’t care if anyone’s there, Nox. I won’t do it. If you die I’ll die. Straight up fact. If that’s what that bond does I’m okay with it.”

“I don’t think it links our lives.”

Alex shook his head, “Doesn’t matter anymore. I can’t do this again.”

“Okay. We’ll talk to someone as soon as we can let the supernatural world know I’m alive.” I took Alex’s hands and pulled him close to kiss him. It was slow and helpless. Both of us lost in the feel of one another. It could have been so much more except the door burst open and large arms were wrapped around us. Ant pressed a kiss to my head. “I didn’t believe Ry. Holy fuck I didn’t believe him.”

“I’m okay now.” I reassured them all.

“Vampires don’t recover from fire, Nox. Not ever.”

I laughed, “I keep telling you I’m not a vampire.”

Ryan laughed, “He’s more dragon than vampire I think.”

“Hey Ant, mind letting us go.” I said.

Ant let go quickly as he backed away. “Yeah sorry. Sorry man, I let you down.”

“Ant you didn’t let me down.”

“You fucking died!”

“I’m standing here.” I said. “I’m not dead. And even if I was, did everyone get to safety, is Alex dead? You did exactly as I wanted.”

Alex and Ant both growled and Ryan laughed. “Careful Nox, that’s a touchy subject.”

“Look you two, Ant did as I instructed he got everyone away safely. Alex, if you were there I’d not have survived as long over worry for you. The vampires had a null with them, my energy was sapped from me and I lost control. If you had been there you would have died. There is no fucking way I’d be okay with that. Ever.”

Ant looked at me in disbelief. “Null’s are rare. Matt’s the only one the Venatori know exists.”

I nodded, “And who says all nulls are Venatori?”

“Nox it’s a Venatori skill, it’s one they used to eradicate the Aeternus, and then all the nulls. Just like the dreamwalkers.”

“But the skills weren’t eradicated they were hidden into recessive traits and they are coming out.” I said.

“But Nox, null is only Venatori.”

“Exuli aren’t always magic free and it’s possible to show up in their lines randomly.” I sighed. “It doesn’t matter. We have a traitor? Or traitors? We have to deal with this, but first I think I have some kids that need to be reassured I’m alive and well?”

Ant nodded, “Of course. I’ll have Jin set up a meeting of the council.”

I shook my head, “No. Just those bound to me. Only them. That includes Adrian, and I need a dragon from the Last Phoenix representative who’s not me.”

Ant nodded, “Whatever you say.”

“I’m serious, we have a traitor. Someone told the Venatori, and I don’t think it was Nathaniel.”

Waking Up

I felt like I was falling and I landed on a cold metal table. My back was warm even though the metal felt cold when I moved and it hurt a little to move.

“‘Bout fucking time you woke up,” Ryan laughed. “Everyone is driving everyone crazy. Alex is in a bottle. Ant’s destroying himself. The two of them won’t even look at each other. The kids are a mess, thank god for your brother.”

I groaned as I sat up and a white sheet fell from my chest. I kicked my feet over the edge. Ryan was looking at me, “Well fucking look at that.”

“What I asked?”

Ryan pulled over a silver tray that used to have medical supplies on it, but they were dumped to the floor in a quick motion. He handed the shiny surface to me and I saw my marred reflection. The scars from the werebear attack were gone, and so was the one on my cheek from my very first hunt. I reached behind me and felt new skin – unmarred by my dreams. The tattoo at my temple was gone, and I reached behind my head and rubbed my neck, but I expected the stylized dragon was gone too.

“Tell me what happened,” I demanded.

Ryan chuckled. “I’d rather you get dressed first.” He handed me a pile of clothes. “I asked Alex to give me clothes for you, I think he assumed for a funeral so it’s all I’ve got.”

I sighed as I pulled on a pair of boxers and then pants all the while Ryan watched me. “So I have clothes on,” I said as I pulled my white t-shirt over my head, the dress shirt was going to have to wait. “Tell me what happened.”

“The Venatori were alerted to your presence, Kai confirmed it with Bernstein two days ago. He wasn’t part of the mission, but he knew it was going down and they had him under lock and key – same with Dorian and Dae’lin. Anyone with potential loyalty to you. And Nathaniel was coming in to take you out. We don’t know why, but we assume it had to do with the New World Order. They got to Nate, they probably got to a few others too, so, we have to be careful who we trust.”

“So they all came for me?”

“That’s the rumor,” Ryan confirmed.

“What do they think happened?”

“You’re dead. We have put word out there will be a funeral for you in a few days and with everyone grieving they believe it.”

I sighed, “What happened to me?”

“You blocked the fireball that was aimed at us, you took the brunt of the flames and it engulfed you like dry tinder. Ant screamed and you fell. He was there in an instant and walked us out then he collapsed. I’m told Alex was a mess. Likely still is.”

“Why are you down here? I’m in the morgue right?”

“To keep the illusion, and so no one cremates or buries you.”

“You expected me to wake up?”

“Cari calls me a true believer. But she’s the one who gave me all the info.”

“Is that why you always help?” I asked.

“I’m a true believer, what can I say.”

“Why are you the only one here?”

“True believer. Everyone else is morning you.”

“Well maybe we should go upstairs and let them know I’m not dead.”

Ryan shook his head. “Nope. I already sent the appropriate messages. You’ll have visitors in a little while.”

I saw movement from the glass windows of the room we were in. The first thing I heard was Alex’s voice, “Ryan, why the fuck did you bring me down here. Rubbing.. it.. in.” His words trailed off as he saw me standing there. “Is this some kind of sick joke?” He turned to Ryan.

The blond Chevalier shook his head. “I told you he wasn’t dead. He bound one of the most fucking powerful vampires in the whole fucking world to him by accident. Cari’s bond keeps me alive, there is no reason why Ant’s wouldn’t keep him alive.”

But more than half way through Ryan’s little speech Alex had stopped listening to him and was looking at me. The ice in his eyes became fire, that he directed at me, “Who the fuck do you think you are? You don’t get to fucking tell me it’s going to be okay and then fucking die.” His words were clipped and furiously spewed at me. He’d had a little too much to drink and he was pissed.

Alex walked towards me, it wasn’t a run, nor a rush but it was much more than a simple walk. “You fucking died,” he shouted as he pressed his hands to my chest and pushed me. I took a step back and gave Alex the room he needed again. I dropped my gaze and let him yell. It would likely get me in trouble but I wasn’t going to say anything until he was ready to listen.

“You had us all upstairs fucking mourning you.” He shoved me again. It wasn’t as hard, I barely moved back.

“The kids…” Alex shoved me again and this time I didn’t move I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him close to me. His words trailed off into my neck as he pressed his whole body against mine.

I whispered, “I’m sorry.”

The End

I heard the gun shots before the fireball came soaring at us from the tree line. I threw up a wall of air around us so it encompassed the whole gazebo and the bullets stopped rattling through us. A few of the dragons had taken a hit, but they weren’t dragon perceiving bullets so not a lot of damage was done. The fireball splattered against the dome leaving sparks to float towards the trees.

“Get everyone out of here.” I looked to Ant who was already taking Alex by the arm.

“I’m not leaving!” Alex shouted.

“Alex I can’t do this if I have to worry about you.”

Ant frowned. “He needs you safe. I will bring him back to you, I promise.” And they left, I was sure going to hear about it when we got back. Alex wasn’t happy about this meeting, and whatever Hunter had told him was about to go down, for good or ill, and I didn’t like knowing that my son had already seen the results – or the possible results.

Fuck!

The bullets came faster, and there was another fireball sent our way, but Tony, Francesco, and Ant were ferrying everyone away as fast as they could. Only Ryan stayed by my side the whole time. No one else was good at close range, and Ryan trusted me to keep him safe, as I was trusting him to watch my back.

As the crowd got smaller, I let the bubble collapse on us, it was easier to hold, but the bullets were shredding it and I was continually having to enforce it. It was chaos. I saw the army advance from the tree line and I recognized the gear from the outlines. The same teams that had joined the warehouse assault were now firing on all of us. The fucking Venatori were trying to take out the heads of the supernatural community.

Ryan whispered from behind me, “There are vampires behind us. Mostly elemental. Nathanial is with them.”

“Venatori are in front of us,” I told Ryan.

“Well fuck. We need to get out of here.”

I could feel the power draining from me. The whole world felt like it was draining away from me. “I think they have a null.” My magic failed me. The bubble failed just as a fireball flew at us. I don’t know what possessed me but I wrapped Ryan up underneath me in a violent series of movements, I heard bones pop as the fire sprayed across my back. There was a deafening scream and I wasn’t sure if it was mine, Ryan’s or someone else’s, I didn’t get a chance to figure it out before everything was searing pain and then complete silence.


Death should be emptiness – a return to the void from whence we came, but this didn’t feel like a void. We were all energy, but I still felt like me and when I held out my hand, I saw my hand – free of nail polish, but like a dream at the thought I was sporting black painted nails like I would in reality – so this must be a dream? But I died?

A thought echoed in my head, “Or did you.”

I turned to look and saw a woman standing in fog. “Silly boy.”

“Breanne?”

“You remembered me?”

“I saw your picture in Oma’s scrap book,” I said.

But there was nothing there when I turned to look at the ghost that was my cat. Instead there were a billion little bubbles floating in nothing. I touched one and it shimmered and then I was someplace else. There was a little girl and it wasn’t pleasant. She was hiding in a closet. A monster was lurking outside her bedroom door. It pounded on the door, growling, ‘let me in.’ With each hit on the door the wood splintered.

And when the monster stepped through it was just a man with his fists and a belt and his pants opened ready to go. He threw open the closet door and yanked the girl out. I didn’t hesitate anymore there was no doubt what was going to happen. I grabbed his arm, and threw him across the room. The girl stared at me with a frightened look and backed up into the closet but I was too busy worrying about the man.

He tried to throw a punch at me and then all of a sudden he was melting into a goo which had me walking backwards trying not to freak out.

“How can you be here?” Quinn asked me. “You’re dead. This is a dream. My dream. Why are you here?”

“Was that your step dad?” I asked.

She nodded. “Did he do this to you?” She looked at me in fear and nodded again. “Is this a memory?” She nodded again and I vowed, “You will never go back to him. Never.”

Quinn started to cry and I was expelled from the dream.


“Always protecting people.” A familiar voice rang out from behind me. I spun in a circle to see my mother standing behind me with a smile.

“That’s my job,” I snapped.

“You have such bigger things to do with your life. Don’t you feel it?”

“What do you care?” I asked without really caring if I hurt her feelings.

“Maybe this visage wasn’t a good one to take,” the voice said as it morphed into human shaped nothingness.

“Who are you?”

“I have no name. But you are my champion of Order.”

“The book is yours?”

“No it’s yours. I wrote it for you. To help you, guide you. Your dreams were foreign to you, you couldn’t access them. So it fell into the right hands.”

“I thought the book was old?”

“It is. You are the third to use it.” It waved a hand. “But you need to wake up now. They need you.” It pushed me, “Now!”