Home > Fated (Relentless #6)(5)

Fated (Relentless #6)(5)
Author: Karen Lynch

“Sara Grey,” she said as we shook hands.

I did a double take.

“The Sara Grey?”

I stared at the girl who was rumored to be half Fae, had single-handedly killed a Master, and was mated to the legendary Nikolas Danshov. She was as famous as her mate. Maybe more.

Her green eyes sparkled with amusement. “The one and only, but I prefer Sara.” She turned to Mason. “And you must be Mason Young.”

He took her hand, looking a little awed. I had to bite back a grin because I knew exactly what was going through his mind. Wherever Sara Grey went, so did her mate.

Lord Tristan wasn’t the only reason Mason had wanted to go to Westhorne. It was also the home of Nikolas Danshov. Every new warrior, including me, dreamed of fighting alongside him. But I had my reasons for not wanting to go to Westhorne, and not even the chance to work with Nikolas could override those.

When we’d learned about the new command center in Los Angeles, Mason and I had immediately requested to be placed there. It was a great opportunity to work with seasoned warriors in the field, and the city was a hotbed of demon activity. We hadn’t heard who would be running the center, and the last person either of us had expected to find here was Nikolas.

Sara waved at the house. “Come inside, and I’ll give you the grand tour.”

We grabbed our stuff and followed Sara into the house. The wide foyer opened into a spacious living area with floor-to-ceiling windows at the back that looked out over a courtyard and a large pool.

Leaving our bags near the door, we walked to the nearest end of the U-shaped house that had been converted into a busy control room. I looked around the room, taking in the computers and banks of monitors at the various workstations set up around the room. On the wall was the largest computer screen I’d ever seen, displaying a map of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Tiny colored dots moved on the screen, and it took me several seconds to realize they were locators for our warriors out in the city.

I’d been to the security center at Longstone a few times, but that was nothing compared to this. I was more than a little impressed by the size of it all as Sara walked us around, introducing us to the people there.

“This is the weapons room.” Sara opened a door to a store room filled with shelves of weapons and other gear. “If you need anything, you’ll probably find it in here. If not, let Raoul know, and he’ll commission it for you.”

She closed the door, and we moved on to the next one.

“And this is the gym.”

We entered the room where two men were fighting, their movements so fast it was hard to follow them even when I used my demon sight. They stopped, and one of the men turned to smile at Sara. I didn’t need to hear Mason’s sharp intake of breath to know who we were about to meet.

“Beth and Mason, this is Nikolas and Raoul. Nikolas runs the command center, and Raoul is his second.”

“Nice to meet you,” I said, proud of how confident I sounded despite the nervous flutter in my stomach.

Mason muttered a hello.

The men walked over to shake our hands. They were the same height with black hair, but that was where the similarities ended. Raoul had an easy manner about him. Nikolas was friendly, but there was an edge to him, an aura of strength in every movement.

“This is your first field assignment?” Nikolas asked.

“Yes,” I answered for both of us. “We’ve been assigned to Longstone since we finished training last year.”

“I read your files. Top of your training class, and Teresa Fuller personally recommended you for this placement.”

“Thanks,” Mason and I said together.

I felt my face flush from the praise. I hadn’t known the Longstone leader had spoken to Nikolas about us. This whole day had a surreal quality to it, and I was half expecting to wake up and find myself back in my old bedroom.

“Take today to settle in, and we’ll meet tomorrow morning to discuss duties and team assignments,” Nikolas said.

We nodded, and he and Raoul went back to sparring. I would have loved to stay and watch, but Sara was already leaving. Reluctantly, I followed, tugging Mason with me.

At the end of the hallway, Sara turned to us with a knowing smile.

“He has that effect on most people. It’ll pass once you get to know him.”

Mason smiled sheepishly. “I haven’t acted that stupid since I was fourteen.”

“Was it like that for you when you met him?” I asked Sara.

Sara laughed. “Not quite. But we’ll save that story for another time. Let me show you the rest of the house.”

Leading us into a gorgeous kitchen that was a perfect blend of old-world charm and modern appliances, she pointed to a door on the other side of the room.

“The previous owner must have had a big car collection because he added on a huge garage. You can get to it through here or through the control room.”

We left the kitchen and walked through the rest of the house. Sara explained that most of the warriors working out of the command center lived at the three safe houses in the city. That way this place wasn’t too crowded.

“We have four bedrooms in here, and there is a guesthouse with two bedrooms out back. One of you can take the last room, or you can both stay in the guesthouse. It’s up to you.”

“The guesthouse will work.” I liked the idea of Mason and me having our own space.

Sara led us back to the living room and through a set of French doors to the backyard. The guesthouse was a much smaller one-story structure nestled in the trees a hundred or so feet from the house. It had a small living room, kitchen, and two bedrooms, each with their own bathroom.

Mason let me have the larger bedroom, and I set my things down on the queen-size bed, eager to unpack and settle in.

“Let me know if you need anything,” Sara said from the bedroom doorway. “I’m the unofficial den mother until we get everything sorted out.”

“You don’t have to take care of us.”

She waved a hand. “I like doing it, and the others don’t complain unless I try to cook. Raoul says he’s counting down the days until Chris gets here. Apparently, my omelet skills need some work.”

The bottom fell out of my stomach. “Chris Kent?”

I mentally kicked myself for not putting it together sooner. Chris and Nikolas were best friends, and everyone knew they worked together. If Nikolas was here, then chances were Chris was around, too. My mind conjured an image of his green eyes and dimpled smile, and the old hurt pricked my chest.

“Yes. I figured you must know him since you’re both from Longstone.”

“It’s been a while,” I said a lot more casually than I felt. “So, he’s coming here, too?”

She shrugged. “He’s in Germany now, but I expect he’ll turn up here eventually. Do you know him well?”

I swallowed. “I knew him when I was younger, but I haven’t seen him in years.”

Sara smiled. “Well, maybe you’ll catch up again when he comes back.”

“Maybe.”

“Okay. I’ll get out of your hair and let you unpack.” She walked to the door and turned back to me. “Come inside when you’re done, and we’ll scrounge up some lunch.”

As soon as the front door closed, Mason entered my bedroom. The concern in his eyes told me he’d overheard our conversation.

“We don’t have to stay here.”

I fingered the strap of my duffle bag. “We can’t just pick up and leave. We asked to come here, and it’ll look bad if we change our minds after one day.”

“I don’t care about that.”

He was such a bad liar. Being a warrior meant everything to him, and like me, he wanted to make a good impression on his first assignment. And I’d seen the excitement in his eyes when he found out he’d be working with Nikolas. He’d already passed on Westhorne for me. No way was I letting him give up this opportunity.

“We’re not leaving. He might never even show up here.”

“And if he does?”

I lifted a shoulder. “Then I’ll put on my big girl panties and deal with it. It’s not the end of the world.”

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