Deva glanced at her mom and the three young Were supernatural Special Forces soldiers surrounding her. She hated being on the outside looking in and wished they would talk to her. Whenever she approached, they’d paste on false smiles and ask, “How’s it feel to be twelve today?”
Coward that she was, she replied, “Great.” When all she wanted to do was scream, “Where’s my Daddy?”
An icy wave of fear washed over her. She knew better than to ask her mom. Where earlier all Deva received was soothing platitudes, now all she got was a grim-faced shake of the head.
She swallowed the acid crawling up her throat. Blinking back the moisture threatening to fall, she looked at the wereleopard, the older brother she’d never had. “Steve? Do you know what’s happening?”
“Your dad’s late checking in with Command. Don’t worry, Sunshine. We have teams searching for him.”
He met her determined stare and sighed. He knew better than to lie. She could smell one a mile away, and he was only five feet from her.
Breath hissed through the small gap between her front teeth, the one her braces promised to fix. Every time she tried to use her telepathy to talk to her dad, she hit a brick wall. He was there, he heard her—she was sure—but he refused to answer her, let her in.
And she couldn’t tell anyone. He had sworn her to secrecy about their ability to mind talk. This was a power that norms and Earth Supes didn’t have. So she stood around, unable to tell her human norm mother, Steve or the twin werewolves the truth.
He was hurt. She knew it. He needed her as she did Mama.
Blinking back tears, she turned to her mother. She wanted to be held like when she was a little girl. But she wasn’t one, not any longer. Half-breed or not, she was still considered Fae, and according to Fae law, today she became a woman. It was her duty to help. With her healing powers, she could at least ease their worry.
Deva hurried to her mother’s side and hugged the rigid woman tight. No matter how bad the situation, her mother always hugged her back—not today, not now. Something really bad had happened.
Air rippled signifying teleportation.
Deva released her mother, stepped away, and stared at the energy point.
“Nyle!” her mother screamed.
Her father collapsed to the floor like her old discarded rag doll tossed aside and, until now, forgotten in the corner of her room.
“Daddy?” She took a tentative step forward. He was bloody, so bloody, the white rug turned red around him. He had been skinned. What was left had been shredded. Only his Fae silver-gray eyes were recognizable in the chopped meat face.
“Steve, call one of the Fae on base. Have them take Nyle through the mist to a healer,” her mother sobbed at the same time Steve demanded, “What, who?”
“Trap, Harpies—” Air gurgled in his chest. He struggled to speak. “Too late…No help…Queen take Deva.”
Deva swallowed hard. Her gaze locked on the blood bubbling from the corner of his mouth, mentally chanting, “I’m brave, I’m brave, I can do anything.” Kneeling at his side, she clutched his lax hand in hers. “I can heal you.”
“Too young…Goddess…you…special destiny.”
“Me? I’m only half Fae.”
His eyes shifted to her mother. “Wait you…Summerland, mo ionúin.”
Deva watched his chest rise, then fall and not move. “I can fix him, I know I can. Watch.” Cupping his face, she sent waves of warm healing energy into him. It hit a blank wall, lifeless, spiritless, dead, and rebounded into her. “Daddy?”
Tremors deep within, bone deep, worked their way to the surface.
Her father had been her moon, and she’d always been his sunshine girl. Now she was nothing. Had nothing.
Strong arms lifted her from the floor, carried her into the bathroom and set her on the edge of the tub. A damp cloth gently wiped her hands, finger by finger. Funny, she hadn’t heard the water run. So how come the rag was wet?
“You aren’t alone.” Callused fingers tipped her face up. “It’s okay to cry, Sunshine.”
Deva jerked at Steve’s use of her nickname. “Sometimes the hurt goes too deep to cry.” She watched his moss green eyes change from human to a cat’s soft yellow-green.
“You’ve got your mother and me.” With his head, he gestured toward the werewolves behind him. “And Mark and Jamie.”
“We’ll take care of you,” said Mark.
“We’ll avenge your father,” Steve murmured as he rubbed her back.
Deva pulled free, her gaze meeting theirs. “That’s my duty. Teach me how to make them pay.”
Deva’s Promise copyrighted 2011 by LJ DeLeon. All rights are reserved.