Remember Me (Storm Lords Book 1)

By: Nina Croft

Prologue





110 BC…




Cade offered the golden goblet to Eleni. “Drink.”

She wrapped her hands around his and raised the cup to her lips. Cade held his breath—his hopes and dreams within his grasp. But at the last moment, she glanced up at him, and uncertainty flickered in her dark eyes. “If I drink, will we be together for always?”

“For eternity.”

Her sweet mouth curved into a smile as she leaned toward him and sipped the liquid. Cade watched the movement of her throat as she swallowed, and the tension drained from him, his silver wings spreading in triumph.

There was no going back now. Right or wrong, the deed was done.

He had betrayed his own people in stealing the Elixir, but he had no regrets. He would gladly forsake Heaven if that was the price he had to pay to be with Eleni. He’d found his own heaven here on Earth, and he knew his brothers felt the same.

He dropped the goblet to the ground, cupped her beloved face in his hand, and lowered his head to kiss her.

The sharp, bittersweet tang of the Elixir lingered on her lips, and a shudder of unease ran through him. He shook off the feeling. There had been no other way. “Come, we need to leave. The others will be waiting.”

A small frown formed between her brows. She nodded at the goblet, where it lay in the sand at their feet. “Will you be in trouble for this?”

He forced a smile. “Not if they don’t find us.”

He had arranged to meet his brothers at a clearing close to Eleni’s village. Clasping her small hand in his, he pulled her against his side, and fought the urge to take to the air—but they couldn’t draw attention to themselves. The theft would be discovered soon enough; they had to be away from this place before that occurred.

The sun blazed high above them. An unnatural silence hung in the air. Cade couldn’t dismiss the nagging sense of disquiet, and he increased his pace.

They were almost there—he could see his brothers and their wives gathered, waiting—when a clap of thunder sounded overhead. The sky opened, and a host of angels appeared, blocking out the sun. The beating of a thousand wings filled the air. In seconds, they were surrounded.

Cade cursed. How could they have discovered the theft so soon? “Cade!” Eleni’s high-pitched scream tore into him.

Hands were reaching for her. Cade tried to wrap her in his arms, but they wrenched her from his grasp. He fought, then. Furiously. But there were too many, and too strong, and he could only scream his rage as they dragged her from him.

All around, his brothers were fighting. Cade drew the sword from the scabbard at his back, whirling and countering the blows that came from all directions, desperate to reach Eleni. But for each one he cut down another took his place. Finally, his strength failed, and the sword dropped from his fingers. He hung exhausted in the grip of two of his captors, his breath coming hard and fast, as despair swamped him.

He lifted his head. Gabriel stood before him, golden wings spread. “You broke the rules, Caden. This time you’ve gone too far. You stole the Elixir of Life.” The words were softly spoken, but beneath that, Cade could hear the outrage.

“How did you know?” he asked.

“You should have remembered that humans are fickle, jealous creatures.”

Cade’s mind frantically searched for a way out. “My wife? Where is she?”

“The human?” Gabriel shrugged. “Her own kind will deal with her as they see fit.”

The fighting had died to nothing, but Cade couldn’t see Eleni, and panic clawed at his guts.

“Cade!”

Through the confusion, she cried out his name, her voice hoarse with terror and panic. The host parted, and he caught sight of her. They had tied her to a stake—people from her own village, people she had cared for—and piled brush wood around her. She was struggling wildly against the restraints, but to no avail, and fear stopped his heart. It couldn’t end like this. He tore at the hands that held him, screaming her name.

For a brief moment, their eyes met and some of the panic faded from her face. “I love you.” She mouthed the words.

“For eternity,” he whispered.

Then the flames licked at her bare legs, and she screamed in agony.

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