GRAVE DEBT the 7TH book in THE SKINWALKER SERIES is getting close to release so I figured I’ll drop the first chapter here and then escape back to my cave.
It was a dick move.
Logan knew he’d taken the coward’s way out but he hoped he’d worded his letter in such a way that Kai would know he hadn’t meant it was over. Because it wasn’t.
Not by a long shot.
How could it possibly be over when the woman meant more to him than life itself. Though the irony that he was–for all intents and purposes–fleeing from her in the dark of night, wasn’t lost on him.
What would she say when she finally did read the letter?
Logan wasn’t all that sure he wanted to know. He had no idea how long it would take before Kai returned home, but Logan knew he couldn’t wait any longer.
“You are such an asshole,” muttered Sienna, her dark tone slicing deep into his heart as her eyes and her body–and now too, her voice–displayed their utter disgust, disapproval and and disappointment in his actions.
His sister’s arms were folded as she paced the carpet in what had been Logan’s room for the duration of his recuperation. Her narrow naked feet made no sound on the carpet as she strode back and forth, blue-painted toes sink deep into the thick pile, though her bearing and her expression screeched her fury, louder than any dragon-call.
Sienna’s golden eyes were cast down upon the wool fibers in a dark glare, as though the red and green interweaving patterns were somehow responsible for the status of the asshole in question.
Logan didn’t answer, his thoughts on Ivy who he planned on roping into his subterfuge, and who he would soon abandon to face her granddaughter’s ire alone.
Though at first reluctant, Ivy had eventually conceded, oddly enough in lukewarm agreement with Logan’s need for a quick departure. An agreement that had somehow escaped Sienna’s awareness as she broadcasted her fury at him.
With his mind on Grams, Logan missed a timeous response to his sister’s question, his silence now drawing a disgusted snort from Sienna. He glanced up just as she snapped, “Well, I suppose the fact that you’ve admitted what you are–and that you’re not denying your status–should count for something.”
She huffed and paced some more, arms now unfolded, fingers flexing restlessly at her sides. As she walked, she waggled her hands near her thighs and every so often a brilliant gold-orange flame or two would spark at the tips of her long elegant fingers, followed by a cloud of tiny embers as they spun around and around then floated to the dark carpet.
“You’d better be careful, Sienna.” Logan smirked, losing control of the urge to smile. “Keep doing that and we’ll be repairing carpets before we leave. Or worse yet, watching as the Odel home as it burns to the ground.”
Sienna stopped pacing and spun around to face Logan, her eyes flickering with undulating fire. “I’m not stupid, Logan. If anything, that’s a label best kept for you,” she said tipping her head in the direction of the blackened wall on the other side of the bed. Sienna smirked, eyes sparkling in amusement as Logan’s cool narrowed gaze settled on the round scorch-mark emblazoned on the wall of Kai’s bedroom.
Though Logan cast about for a suitable snarky response, his guilt made it somewhat difficult to absolve himself, even if it meant his defense against his smartass sibling.
At last, he shook his head. “That’s what you would call being overwhelmed with emotion and lacking full control.” It was a weak argument, but Logan wasn’t lying. On hearing of Kai’s injuries and admission to hospital, and then the deliberate attempt to her for the murder of Anjelo’s mother, Logan had been filled with emotion, with such fear and rage that he hadn’t been able to control his fire, which had exploded from his hands, a flaming ball of near-destruction.
Thankfully, he’d managed to grasp hold of the energy and reined in the full force of the power in just in time. He’d made a mess of the wall, with its tiny red-flowered wallpaper–and had seared the top half of the white-painted wainscoting, grateful the damage hadn’t been any worse.
Sienna twisted her lips. “Pfft. Excuses. And don’t think I didn’t notice that neatly done change of the subject.” She shook her head, then blew a lock of her coppery hair away from her eyes. “Can’t you just face her like a man? Talk to her, explain what you need to do.” Sienna let out a disgusted breath–she’d stopped talking so suddenly that Logan stiffened with concern before eyeing her suspiciously from beneath his eyelashes.
Then, after having confirmed Sienna wasn’t about to lose her shit, Logan inhaled slowly. “I know her way better than you, Sienna,” he said softly. “She won’t just let me go. She’d want to help me. She’d insist on coming with, to support me. That’s just who Kai is.”
“And what’s so bad about that?” Sienna folded her arms again, her chin jutting out as she spoke. She lifted an eyebrow. “I have it on good authority that the walker in question is pretty reasonable and understanding. It’s what I like most about her–straight talker, no beating around the bush and no hiding away truths.”
Logan shook his head. “Firstly, Kai has enough on her mind. The High Council nonsense is enough to twist anyone up with all their rules. And now the setup?”
Sienna snorted again. “So, you’re running away because some stupid council said you and Kai can’t be together?”
Logan swallowed the urge to snap at her, to tell her to leave him alone, but he forced the urge away, knowing that her first concern was for Kai. The two had grown close, with Sienna having the utmost respect for Kai, the fact that Kai had been the one to help Sienna use her ability to shift probably only adding to the reasons.
Now Logan smiled. “It’s not a matter of running away. Kai has her responsibilities, and right now I’m the distraction. I’ve been that for her ever since I went into that coma. And Kai gives her all when it comes to people she cares about. With me out of her hair, Kai may be able to see things a little clearer. Without her emotions–and mine too–clouding her decisions.”
“And you? Are you leaving her because you need a clear head, too?” Sienna asked, her tone part curious, part critical as she turned to face him, body and eyes waiting.
Logan nodded. “Partly. I’m not sure what we’re going to be facing when we get to Drakys…home.”
“So what exactly are you expecting?” asked Sienna after a brief pause, one eyebrow raised.
“I’m not entirely certain what to expect. What if they don’t accept me? You they know already, you’ve had the way paved. But me? I’m still not even sure I understand why I’m needed.”
Sienna took the three steps over to Logan and put her hand on his arm. “I’ve told you as much as I already know, but there is a whole lot of knowledge that is kept exclusively for the ears of those on the throne. They’ll tell us everything before the ceremony, of that I’m pretty sure.” His sister’s eyes held a confidence that seemed to rub off on him, and he prayed that she wasn’t just spouting embellished truths for him in order to make things easy for him
Logan put his arm around his sister’s shoulders and gave her a squeeze. He was sometimes surprised at how much he cared for her–this seemingly tiny slip of a thing–and, given that he’d spent the majority of his life entirely ignorant that she existed, it surprised him too to understand the depths of his love for her. He’d also spent half his life believing he’d been the one who’d murdered the man and woman he’d believed were his parents–not to mention all the other live’s he’d taken on that fateful day.
He’d struggled for almost a decade, bearing the burden of being a mass murderer who also bore a notch in his belt held the name Sonia–Sonia Odel who had been Kai’s sister in law. Iain’s wife.
Only, that burden hadn’t been Logan’s to bear, a truth he was not well aware of, although it was a truth that he had no intention of revealing to Sienna yet.
Or ever, if he could help it.
Haven’t started the series?