When war calls, the Sons of Evenmore answer. But who will stand at their side?
Vampire Mannix Lunos has been given the task of watching over the Keeper. When he rescues and names the Keeper "Jynx," he finds himself unexpectedly mated. What's more, Mannix now has the job of keeping Jynx safe --- a task that will require the help his coven. For Jynx is more than what he seems. He's the most wanted commodity in the known world and all other supernatural beings are out to capture him. When war comes knocking at their door, the Sons of Evenmore and their new allies find themselves not only guarding Jynx, but fighting for their right to exist.
Jynx couldn't believe how excited he was. Not only had he been given a new name by the man destined to become his Craithe, but he'd also been taken from the nothingness which was his life, and brought here, to where his Craithe lived. For years he'd sat in an empty apartment and waited for his Craithe to arrive, never believing the time would ever truly come for them to meet. The Old Ones promised him his Craithe would arrive in his time of need and they had been right. His Craithe was everything he could have hoped for, and not even the scar marring the left side of his face could detract from his beauty.
The Old Ones took his safety considerations seriously and he now had guards watching out for him. In his mind he couldn't work out why they were needed. He never went anywhere or did anything that could be construed as dangerous. He'd never even left the apartment; the Old Ones provided everything he needed. For the last two weeks a new coven watched over him, probably because the others who'd watched him before had been bound by malicious intent; somewhere during their watching they had decided to take what wasn't theirs. And he believed sooner or later they would've tried to claim the very thing they had sworn to protect. Jynx thought back and realised his soul must have known the moment his Craithe had taken over the watch. The atmosphere around him had changed slightly, pulsing with the beating heart they were both destined to share.
The Ring of Old Ones had blessed Jynx long before he'd ever been born. They'd taken him from his mother at birth and raised him in the way of his destiny. All the members of the Ring were kind and when Jynx had asked it of him, Mercer had told him stories of the wealth bestowed on his family for letting Jynx go so that he could live with the Ring. Each night a different Old One read to him the histories of their people and other preternatural beings. Once they'd reached the end, they would start at the beginning again, so now Jynx could recite any part of their history off the top of his head.
When he was younger he'd often asked why he had no name. Fields always explained his destiny lay in the hands of his Craithe, and it would be his Craithe who would finally give him his first true name. He'd know his Craithe by the beating of the heart they'd share. He also explained a Craithe was his missing piece--the one person who would make him whole. Jynx's insides buzzed with the happiness he was feeling. For the first time ever his body had come to life, and he wanted to know more, see more, and experience more.
Hell, he just wanted more.
Two strangers approached along the hall and Jynx dropped his eyes until they passed. He wasn't yet ready to share himself with others. He wanted to learn all about Mannix--his Craithe, his heart. The vibrating excitement filling him stilled as the door opened, and Mannix finally stood before him.
"Are you okay?" Mannix asked.
Jynx only managed to nod before he slipped his hand into Mannix's and waited for him to lead the way. His trust in the man before him was absolute; he believed whole heartedly Mannix would never purposely do anything to hurt him. He knew this because it was another lesson taught by the Old Ones. His heart would guard him for the rest of his life. Seeing to his health and happiness, and in return he, as Keeper, would lead his heart and his brethren to their own destinies. The coven which finally took him and his brethren had long ago been blessed by the Goddess Luminos, guardian of the night. His new family would become guardians of their own hearts and what their hearts kept within them.
"Come on, I'll find you somewhere to rest before I go and talk to Knox." Mannix tugged on his hand.
Jynx froze. "No, you can't leave me alone. I don't want you to leave me. I've spent too long by myself." He could hear the panic in his own voice. "Please, let me stay with you."
An audible sigh fell from the other man's lips. "Fine. Come on, let's go talk to Knox and see if he knows what the hell is going on."
With his panic slowly receding, Jynx was happy to follow behind Mannix wherever he was leading him through the maze of corridors. Jynx thought the compound was designed to make it almost impossible for people who didn't belong here to find their way around. He could've sworn they had passed the same intersection three times on their travels. Maybe Mannix didn't trust him quite just yet. It crossed his mind that he should probably tell Mannix he had a photographic memory and would remember the route they had taken.
Finally they stopped outside a set of large, ornately carved wooden double doors. The picture depicted on the doors must have told the histories of their coven. He wished he had time to study it to see if it matched up with the stories in his head. Very seldom did two versions of the same story ever match perfectly.
"You know it would've been way faster if you hadn't wandered all over the place before coming to the leader's office. If I'm going to be living here, wouldn't you think I'd need to know how to get here in a hurry if something happens?" By the frown marring his Craithe's face he realized he had hit a nerve. "Sorry."
Mannix didn't say anything or even acknowledge he'd spoken at all. His Craithe raised his hand and knocked on the closed door and waited for them to be called in. The moment the doors opened and they stepped inside the room, Jynx felt something run through the room and knew without a doubt there was someone who shouldn't be was listening in. How they were listening he didn't know, but the pinpricks racing over his flesh told him he needed to let the others know before things were said they didn't want others to hear.
Pulling free of Mannix's grip, he walked over to the large oak desk, picked up a pen and wrote on the back of an envelope underlining it for good measure. Do not talk. There's someone listening. Knox picked up the message and read it, raising one eyebrow in inquiry as to how he knew.
"How was your evening?" Knox asked and handed the note to Mannix to read.
Jynx closed his eyes and wandered around the room letting his senses roam. This was something he'd done before and because of prior training he loved that he wouldn't bump into anything in his path. Before he learnt how to control this ability he was always covered in bruises. The tell-tale tingling became so intense it felt like a deep itch he couldn't quite scratch when he reached a certain spot in the room. Lifting his hands, he wafted them over the area knowing he'd found the where, but not the how. Opening his eyes he looked toward Knox and gestured. This was one of the things the Old Ones taught him, and though once he'd thought they were crazy, now he was grateful for the knowledge.
Once he'd finished, he walked back to Mannix and reclaimed his hand. He needed the touch of his Craithe to ease the itch which was still rippling across his skin. He didn't think Mannix even realised he'd wrapped his arm around his shoulder and was holding him against his body. Jynx leant into his side and let the calm descend upon him that came with the touch of his Craithe.
Knox pointed at the door. Mannix turned them both and left the room. The moment they had the door closed to the office the itching sensation suddenly dropped away as if someone had flicked the on-off switch.
"How did you know there was something in the room?" Knox demanded.
Jynx shied away from his gruffness. "I don't know. I just got a feeling--like bugs were crawling all over my skin."
"Have you felt it anywhere else in the compound?"
"I've only been in the garage and here. Mannix hasn't shown me anywhere else." He didn't know why he needed to defend himself. He had done nothing wrong.
Something akin to worry flashed across Knox's face while he spoke. "I'm not accusing you of anything. I'm just wondering if maybe you could sense in other rooms--like you did in my office--if anything is out of place. Because--"
"Because it would mean either someone has infiltrated our compound or we have a traitor among us," Mannix bit out.
"Exactly." Knox agreed and neither man seemed happy with the outcome.
Jynx tugged on Mannix's sleeve. "I'm not sure whether I'd be able to sense other devices, but I can give it a go. The Old Ones taught me how to sense certain things, like the device in your office."
Knox was nodding before Jynx had finished his sentence. "Tell nobody what you're doing. If you sense something in a room then leave; we can always go back later and dismantle whatever you find." He fell silent for a moment. "Mannix, you can take the Keeper around--"
"Jynx," Jynx interrupted.
"What?" Knox looked at him strangely.
"My name is Jynx. Mannix named me," Jynx said proudly. When Knox glanced at Mannix he just shrugged. "He's my Craithe."