Aequus (Royal Protector Academy 2)(2)By: Randi Cooley Wilson
They’re a new breed of supernatural creatures, created by the king of the Nine Hells to end my existence. After the death of his mate, Lady Finella, the demon Asmodeus declared revenge on my family and the entire protector race, making it clear that I’m a primary target. As such, my family felt it vital to add another level of protection to my royal guard.
Enter Tristan Gallagher.
If Asmodeus and the Diablo Fairies succeed, it leaves the protector race open to attack, ending our existence—and the future of the human realm.
The Diablo Fairy army has backed off—for now.
Our victory was short-lived because Tristan is also half satyr and next in line to the throne of the woodland realm.
For centuries, the woodland and water realms have been teetering on the brink of war. It’s a power struggle between the two dimensions—one that has escalated over the years.
To solidify their alliance, Tristan was promised in marriage to Freya, daughter of Oren, emperor of the water realm. He doesn’t love her, but such is the cruelty of the supernatural world.
Soon after beating Kupuva and her Diablo Fairy army, Tristan left his post as my protector and returned to his realm to fulfill his oath and secure peace for his kingdom.
I look up at the clouds and, with a quick, angry flick of my wrist, attempt to coerce water to fall from the sky.
Manipulating the wind releases the storm that stirs within me, but the rain … the rain stabilizes me.
Since Tristan left, it hasn’t rained. Not one day.
“If you keep forcing the elements to bend to your will, out of anger, you’ll create a nightmare of a shitstorm.”
I inhale, not recalling the last time I heard that voice.
“Besides, you will fail. The water realm is the reason for the lack of rainwater,” he adds. “It’s Oren’s way of throwing his power around the supernatural worlds.”
As my anxiety picks up, so does the wind. It hisses through the trees as Zander approaches me from behind.
Zander, Tristan’s stepbrother and best friend.
I peer at him over my shoulder with a vacant glare.
His strides are measured as he approaches and steps next to me. Nervously, he brushes raven strands of hair away from his sympathetic eyes. When I meet his gaze, it causes me to release my hold on the elements; the chaos I’ve created around us falls silent and the forest stills.
“Serena,” he tips his chin in a gesture of respect.
My lips twitch. “Zander.”
The nymph lowers his voice. “The strong winds you keep conjuring have spilt over into the woodland realm. The trees are bending painfully and the leaves are trembling in fear, as if something dark is on the horizon.”
My response is a one-shouldered shrug. “Maybe it is.”
Zander watches me with his stormy jade eyes and inky rock-star hair. He looks nothing like his brother.
Tristan’s hair is a warm caramel color, and it’s longer on the top and messily styled. The flecks of gold in his serious, cognac gaze are deep, allowing you to become lost in them.
Tristan looks like the calm before the storm, whereas Zander looks like the darkness that will overtake you.
Appearances can be deceiving though, when personalities come into play. Zander is lively, warm, and inviting. Like a blanket. Tristan is full of darkness, a haunted coolness, and an impassive indifference.
Except with me.
“This upheaval wouldn’t have anything to do with my brother’s upcoming nuptials to a certain nymph princess?”
At his words, rage consumes me, and the winds lift again, whipping around us.
The reality of my situation hit me full force ten seconds after Tristan walked out of my life. Since then, the gloomy days match my dark mood.
Male protectors should come with a warning label.
They aren’t good for the heart.
“I guess that would be definite yes,” Zander teases.
My attention snaps to his face as thunder rolls in and lightning strikes over the lake multiple times.
Zander’s attention shifts to the sky. “You need to get past this, champ. He needs to focus on his duties and oaths.”
“You should know, whenever the clouds roll into the realm, he frowns, knowing it’s you hurting,” he continues.
When he came into my life, I was given a taste of freedom. Something I’d never had before. Yet, that free will wasn’t unrestricted; it came at a price—the loss of my heart.