Homecoming is LIVE! Get swept up in time with Zak and Cadence in the final chapter of the Times Journey Trilogy.
Excerpt from Homecoming
“Where is she?” Zak asked with a snarl. He shoved the man into the stone wall of the cabin. His nails dug into the other vampire’s shoulder, tearing through the thin fabric of his shirt and sinking into his flesh. His eyes flashed golden, and spidery veins crept across his temples as his fangs dropped.
The man quaked, shaking as his mouth opened and closed, but no words came out.
“He can’t tell you. Father has made sure of it.” Oliver placed a hand on Zak’s shoulder. “We’re wasting time.”
Oliver was right. He’d sensed the compulsion the moment he’d begun questioning the man. Zak pulled back with a growl. Rivulets of blood beaded where his nails had been moments ago. He watched as they dribbled down, soaking into the shredded fabric. He didn’t feed off other vampires, but hunger clawed at him and his belly grumbled. There was only one person he wanted to feed from, and she wasn’t here. Cadence was gone. Lost.
It had been five weeks. He needed to find her – to know that she was safe. He wouldn’t rest until she was in his arms again.
“We should go. We still have lots of ground to cover.” Oliver tugged him backward by the bicep. “She was here only a few days ago.”
Zak swiped his sleeve over his brow, mopping the sweat from his forehead. He’d hoped torturing the vampire before him would take away the churning anguish inside him. It hadn’t. Nothing would until he found her.
“The woman in the village said she thought Cadence was heading west to the next village over. We’re close,” Oliver said.
Zak turned around to face his brother. If Oliver weren’t here with him, he’d have gone insane long ago.
“Not close enough.” She could be anywhere. Her movements were all over the place. One day she went west, the next north. Tracking her was next to impossible, but her erratic movements were smart in one way. Malcolm seemed to be having just as much of a hard time finding her as them. The elder vampire didn’t seem to care that Zak and Oliver were in close proximity; he only cared about finding Cadence. It was disturbing.
“You don’t know that,” Oliver told him. “She could be one village over. If we hurry, we could be there in an hour, maybe less.”
“She’s long gone.” Zak stomped to one of the lanterns that hung on the wall. Cadence was smart – too smart to stay in one place for any length of time. From what he’d gathered, she rested when necessary and was on the move the rest of the time.
“She’s alive,” Oliver told him. “We know that for a certainty now.”
Zak sighed, blinking so his eyes returned to their normal silvery blue. He ran his hand through his auburn hair and sighed. That was the first good news they’d had in a long time. Jamie had given him some advice on how to locate Cadence. It had helped some, but he still had no idea where she was physically. He could feel her emotions now. She was mostly scared and tired, but he hadn’t found anyone who had spotted her until the woman at the market had confirmed it an hour ago, thus leading them to the vampire chained to the wall behind him.
He grabbed the lantern off the wall and walked to the window, yanking the curtains from the rungs.
“Zak?” Oliver asked.
“It’s time to leave. I don’t want to leave behind any loose ends.” He dropped the curtains and smashed the lantern to the ground on top of them. Fire flickered, billowing as the fabric caught.
“Stay!” he compelled the vampire.
The man whimpered but made no effort to move. Satisfied his compulsion was working, Zak led the way out of the small building and into the darkened night.
“Do you want to split up again? We could cover more ground.” Oliver looked around the deserted street.
Zak scrubbed a hand over his face as he contemplated his options. Malcolm had created an army of vampires to do his bidding. Hunted them down and compelled them to help him search for Cadence. His father’s obsession with the witch was sadistic even for Malcolm.
“No. Not yet. This is the first solid lead we have. Let’s track it down together. As soon as we find her you need to leave and go to Brussels.”
“You know, you could try to connect with her again,” Oliver said as he tapped his temple. “I know your bond isn’t complete but—”
“And waste more time? No. I won’t do that again.” He’d already attempted to contact her three times using their bond per Jamie’s suggestion. It had turned up nothing.
“It was just an idea. Your bond is strong. I’ve seen the way the two of you look at each other.”
“She’d have to be sleeping for me to contact her.” Which she probably wasn’t doing much. “I wish there was another way.” But he couldn’t think of one. They’d have to keep pressing on until they found her. And they would find her. “Let’s go.”
He didn’t wait for Oliver to respond before he whooshed away, running as fast as he could. His brother’s footsteps pounded on the ground behind him, barely keeping pace.
The first rays of sunlight peeked over the mountain as they entered the neighboring village. Zak slowed and inhaled the moist, salty sea air. Cadence’s scent wasn’t there. He sighed and ran his sleeve over his glistening brow.
The large fishing village was already beginning to come alive at this early hour. Ships lined the harbor and people moved about on the streets and the docks.
Oliver stopped next to him, bending over. He clasped his knees as he drew in a deep breath that his lungs didn’t really need.
“I have been waiting for you,” a feminine voice hissed from a doorway.
Zak took a step forward as a woman stepped onto the porch and beckoned them over. He narrowed his eyes, using his senses. She wasn’t a vampire – a witch perhaps? Or someone compelled to do Malcolm’s bidding. He gritted his teeth, but made his way over anyway.
“You are seeking the young witch,” the woman said.
“What do you know?” Zak said, trying to contain the growl in his voice. If this was another head game of Malcolm’s, he was going to make the village bleed.
“She is close. In town.”
“Where?” Oliver asked.
The woman looked to him then back to Zak, stepping safely over the threshold into her home as they approached.
If this were a trick, the woman wouldn’t have enough sense to get inside her home where they couldn’t reach her, unless Malcolm was giving more specific instructions. He wouldn’t put it past his father.
“I know what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong. There is no trickery here. Come closer, but make no mistake, you will not be entering my home,” the woman said.
“Witch,” Oliver said, keeping his voice low.
The woman inclined her head. “I am more than a witch. A seer.”
Zak studied the woman, trying to decide if there was anything different about her. She looked like any other woman in this era.
“I sensed your lover’s magic. She is strong. I have never felt another presence quite like hers,” she said as Zak and Oliver stopped on the front step.
“Where is she?” Oliver asked.
“Why would I trust you?” Zak asked. For all he knew, this woman could be leading them right into a trap. Witches hated vampires. It wouldn’t be a stretch for them to work with a vampire hunter like Malcolm.
“There are two types of powerful witches. Ones like your bond mate, powerful and in control of the elements around them, and seers like me. The rest have simple powers and can perform spells and parlor tricks. My duty is to nature, and I must restore the balance. Your presence is disrupting the timeline. Your presence is disrupting the timeline even as we speak…” She paused and pointed to Oliver. “You have been affected greatly. You should not be here. I see a rupture between the path you were supposed to go down and the one you are currently on. Your future self must be in great pain. I fear if you do not right your path soon, there will be severe consequences.”
“What are you saying?” Oliver asked with a frown.
Zak glanced to his brother with concern. Jamie had already informed them of this, but she hadn’t said anything about it bringing Oliver harm.
“Neither of you should be here. That is why I shall help you find her.”
“Where?” Zak asked. “Is she all right?” His chest clenched at the thought of something having happened to her. No. She was fine – she had to be.
“For the moment she is well, but danger lurks nearby. I see multiple paths where you reach her and the pair of you leave on one of the fishing boats, but you must hurry. There is a path where the hunter captures her and—”
“Stop!” Zak smacked his hands on the doorway. “Where is she?” Enough games. If the witch knew where she was, then he wanted to know too.
The witch blinked at him, cocking her head to the side. “Go now. To the church three blocks over by the market. The hunter is already there. You must run if you’re to reach her before him.”
Zak rushed off, sprinting down the streets as fast as he could. I have to get there in time. Please don’t let this be a trap.
Bethany Shaw is the author of the following series: Werewolf Wars, Hunted, Times Journey, Wayward Wolves, Rainier Pack, and the standalone stories: The Best Mistake, Rescued by the Bear, and Claiming His Mate.