Magic flows from Layna’s hands, but trusting anyone with her secret is not possible. Leo, her longtime friend, is determined to become more and Layna believes she wants that, too. Everything changes when she meets Alexander, the guard supposedly sent for her. There is something that draws them together, but is it real? Faced with a new reality of what her magic means and threats on her life, Layna must choose where her loyalties lie. Who is out to hurt her and who can she trust?
Loud noises surrounded him from the outside of the temple. Inside he was alone with her. The one he would trust to carry on this legacy. His faith in her rivaled the faith that his people had placed in him. It was true…his gifts were important, but she would play a large part in preserving them.
Her soft, warm hand enveloped his hand now. Losing his focus momentarily in her caress, he tried to gather his thoughts and then she spoke.
“What will we do without you?” Fear and pain sliced through his chest at the thought of either of them losing her faith. Althaea must keep faith…all would be lost without it.
“You will do as you’ve always done, my sweet.” Breaths were coming harder now, and it shocked him. Never had he understood the true pain that mortals endured, but now, as he sacrificed himself to preserve them, he knew their pain. It was only right, as their God, that he would know it. After all they had done for him.
And she, Althaea, had been his strength. Never in this battle had she doubted herself before. He needed to remind her of her unwavering strength. Now more than ever she would have to continue this path without him. It would only be temporary. Asclepius knew they would be reunited, but he couldn’t share this knowledge with her. He had to tell her about the gift, the one that would ensure their safety.
“How can I do this without you?” Loud chants interrupted her response and he felt her body tense in fear. They would not be happy until they saw his dead body. Those humans who had pretended to be Healers. He had known them for the traitors that they were, but he had not exposed them yet. Their time would come. It would be without his strength, but there would be others that would fight them. Asclepius didn’t care about death and hadn’t hesitated at all about this sacrifice. Except now. Not because of the pain it would cause him, but because she was hurting. He shouldn’t care this much for a mortal but he did.
Opening his eyes he gazed upon this amazing creature that would ensure the safety of his people. Her long dark hair fell just short of her curvy hips and he couldn’t help the smile that lifted slightly as he admired it. No, he had never savored it properly. He would, though, in another lifetime. They would meet again—that, he knew. For now she had to know about the blood.
“I need your vows now, Althaea.” His body lay flat on this stone in the temple, no desires of rising. He would die here. That was the way it should be.
“No…no!” He knew she hadn’t believed he could die. He heard it in her pleas and felt it in the way she gripped his skin now. Her fingernails pierced his hand but he reveled in this contact. It would be the last contact he would have for a long time.
“Yes. You will finish this for me. And one after you will save us all.” With all the power left in his body he reached into his pocket and rubbed the vial. It had been a great gift. Powers from each God resided in it. These powers would eventually help take down the ones that did not heal. The ones that would hunt them.