The Shadow Wolf by G. Bailey

Prologue





Diana Violeta





Many years ago…


Running a blade through the masked man’s chest, I can barely contain my scream of anger and fear. His death means nothing to me; his existence and why he is here means so much more. The assassin’s body falls to the leaf-covered floor at my feet as the smell of blood and fire attack my senses. I can’t hear anything over the car on fire and the whipping wind of a storm coming in. My familiar cat, White, jumps onto my shoulder, curling herself around me like a scarf for comfort as I ignore the screams behind me. Clive, my dear husband, moves fluidly, killing the assassins sent after us, like they are trees he is cutting down with an axe. The ones the humans send, the ones they think will have a single chance at killing us.

Clive will never die from a human hand.

Neither will I, it is not my fate.

But our sweet girls. Our babies could.

“Are you alright?” Clive asks me when he is finished with the humans, rushing in front of me and checking for injuries. This night was meant to be our fresh start. We just moved to a new town, hoping to escape the humans who hunt us and the Familiar Empire who are always following, but it hasn’t worked. It never does. We are always on the run, always trying to breathe underwater when no one is helping us. I nod, wrapping my arms around myself as I stare at our car on fire nearby, the embers flickering and spitting onto the nearby trees. Falling to my knees, I thank all the familiar magic in the world for the simple fact our children were not with us today in that car. Oh how different this night could have ended for us all. Clive kneels in front of me, holding me like he can make all of this simpler with just his love.

But he can’t.

“If we left now, they would follow us and leave the children,” he suggests, the same suggestion he has asked me a million times.

“Leaving them…how can we leave our sweet children? Bethany? Anastasia? Phoebe?” I cry.

He looks down, a single tear falling from his cheek into my hand. I feel his pain like it is my own, mixing with my own into something so unbearable I can’t breathe right. “Because we know they will never stop coming for us, and they will never be safe.”

I want to fight. I want to be with my children, but my husband is right.

I can’t do both.

Gods forgive me.

I can’t stay.





Chapter 1





Anastasia





Secrets are the lies we keep…





Clive Dawn and Diana Violeta stand in front of me like no time has passed at all. Like time has just frozen them, with no feeling or care for the pain it would cause.

My mother still has beautiful blonde hair cascading down her back, strands moving with the wind. Her eyes, so much like Bethany’s and Phoebe’s, shine with a blue hue, and she looks like a distant memory that has somehow come to life. My dad has the same eyes as the cloaked god, my friend who gave me the map to come here, to find out the truth, but otherwise, he looks like my dad on the last few days I remember of them. The same crisp brown suit, a hanging pocket watch chain appearing out of his jacket pocket. They hold hands as they both stare at me, and I’m speechless. Utterly speechless. Tiny cracks in my heart, the ones they created when they died, now blast open, cutting me more deeply than they ever have before. Abandoning us, their children, is far worse than them dying and being forced to leave. Nothing they could say will make this better. Nothing.

Alex and Mason help me stand up, and I cross my arms, like the tiny movement could protect my heart from the shock. I want to shout, I want to cry and hit them, but I freeze instead.

“Who are they?” Alex asks, his arm staying wrapped around my waist as Mason takes my hand. Liam catches my eyes for a second, and it feels wrong to even admit the truth. To say who they are out loud for the world to judge and hear. They shouldn’t be here. I went to their funeral. I cried for them for years, wishing they would just come back to life. Now they are here, but it feels like a betrayal and nothing like what I wanted for all those years.

“Meet Clive Dawn and Diana Violeta. My parents,” I grit out. I can’t stop looking at them, my heart aching to hold them and see if they feel the same about me.

“I thought you looked familiar, Diana,” Alex growls. If she is remotely frightened, she doesn’t show it as my dad takes a step forward in front of her, as if Alex is the threat. It’s almost funny that he thinks that. Diana was Alex’s mum’s best friend, and he mourned her death. “I was a kid, but I remember you. I remember my mum crying for days and wishing things were different when you just left. She always thought you’d come back.”