I was finally able to add words to Assassin's Retirement. Sorry for the delay! Some times the words come so easily and other times it is like pouring molasses and then there are times other projects swallow up the hours I need to work on this. So, without further ado!
Copyright Lexi Ander
Zane stopped breathing, certain he'd heard wrong. Skyld was his brother?
"Zane, talk to me."
On one hand, Zane was pissed off. No, that didn't even begin to describe how furious he was. Skyld could have told him anytime since Zane was ten years old. Why didn't he? But did this… this… the fault of this debacle actually fall at Skyld's feet? He glanced at the door leading to the mudroom. Everything kept coming back to Ella and her family. If Skyld was protecting Zane from the fucking House of Odin's asshole… Well, Zane didn't need Skyld to protect him anymore. He would wipe out the Rune bloodline from the face of the earth.
"Zane, please," Skyld's voice bottomed out.
Breathing out, Zane finally admitted to himself that if the rolls were reversed, he probably would have kept Skyld safely away from such a threat. Even though he was angry and confused, Zane was happy Skyld was his family.
Zane leaned heavier against Skyld instead of pulling away. He wanted to take comfort in the embrace while he could. When he got up form the table, he had plans to make and people to kill.
"If we are brothers, do we have the same father or mother?" Better to get the details now. Zane didn't want to be ambushed with information later or to have knowledge he might need later.
Skyld's arm around his shoulders tightened. "We share the same father. The man you called dad was our brother. I've been trying to find a way to tell you since I arrive." Zane remembered their earlier conversation in the music room. He'd sensed that Skyld had something to tell him then. "Mikael found out about you a year or so after he married Candice. They were living abroad at the time. Candice couldn't have children, though no one in her family knew. He'd convinced her they should adopt you and had papers forged to show you as their biological child.
"Decades earlier, Mikael had faked his death, living a mundane life. Grandfather even held a funeral, which allowed Mikael to fall off Odin's Runes' radar. I didn't know about you until you were almost two years old. I argued he should take you to Grandfather, but Mikael refused. He wanted you to have a normal life. He made me promise not to bring you into the world of Others unless Odin's Runes discovered you."
"And when Dad died?" Zane asked even though he really didn't want to know the answer.
"When Odin's Runes found and killed him, they left you alone because children born to humans are always mundane. They left you alone. If I had taken you, they would have known you were not what you seemed. If I had killed Paul Bishop, they would have asked why and looked deep. So instead, I taught you everything I knew and gave you the means to take out that conniving bastard who thought making you his pet assassin was a novel idea," Skyld was practically snarling his words. That was more emotion than Zane remembered ever seeing from Skyld. After a few deep breaths, he continued. "I found I wanted for you what Mikael did; for you to have a normal life away from the danger… at least for a while. I would have had to tell you at some time. Our life span is much different than a human's."
"Who is my birth mother?" A calm had settle over Zane as his world once again realigned—again.
He was trying to look on the brighter side of things. Really, he was, but perhaps too much had happened in such a short time. He wanted to lose his temper and rage. He wanted to shoot something and maybe torch a building or four. He wanted to raise his father, who was really his older brother, from the dead and demand why he hadn't prepared Zane for all of this Other bullshit. Why didn't he tell Zane he had more family? That his father had gotten himself murdered in the first place, especially after the things Skyld has said about his father's abilities, seemed wrong. Too simple. When Zane had grown up, he'd searched for any information on his father's murder and found nothing.
"He never told me where he found you or who your mother was." As if sensing Zane's turmoil, Skyld continued. "He worked very hard to make sure everyone believed you were his and Candice's son. It was for your protection."
"How do you know that?" Zane snapped, unable to keep the anger from his voice even as he knew his question was unreasonable.
"Because if you had come to me, I would have done the same. You were overlooked since Candice is human. Humans and Blood don't produce scions. You should have been safe. For some reason, Ella became suspicious."
Zane didn't know how long they sat in silence, Skyld's arm still holding Zane tightly to him. There were questions he should ask while there was time, but he was too full of information. He felt as if his mind was melting under the weight of data. And he really, really wanted to kill something.
Through the kitchen window, Valkyrie alighted in the snowy expanse between his house and Alonzo's cabin. He counted almost two dozen. Saja motioned for her injured to remain seated and she rose, greeting a tall Valkyrie with white blond hair. The main body of Valkyrie remained in a circle, shielding their charge. Saja's superior Zane guessed.
Suddenly, Zane didn't care about any of it. He was done. Done. And, done. He rose form the table, Skyld's arm falling away. "You can use my office to speak with the rep from I.O.N. I'll be in my room."
Skyld didn't speak or try to stop him, but Zane felt Skyld's gaze follow him from the room. Stepping into his bedroom, Zane abruptly halted. Seven pairs of eyes were trained on him with varying degrees of concern.
"Saja's superior is here." Was all he said before turning his attention to the men in his bed.
Alonzo was awake and looking quite comfy between Midnight and Raine. The sight lightened something in Zane, helping to somewhat bank the rage rolling under his skin.
"I'm sure she will have questions for all of us." Cord motioned to his guys.
Before they left, each one gave Alonzo a kiss then stopped, rocking Zane's world with each taste of desire. Cord's beard scratched Zane's face, the brush of lips full of promise. Xander's kiss was just as all-consuming as the night before. Anson cupped Zane's face as if he were precious and Prince swept Zane in as if he owned Zane. Midnight never closed his eyes but watched Zane, parting with a stinging bite to Zane's bottom lip. Raine swaggered over, the tip of his pink tongue peeking out of his mouth as if he intended to lick Zane all over. Zane expected Raine's kiss to be like his personality: a bit of snark, teasing, and a little angry. The reality was Raine waited for Zeus to take the lead. Zane gripped the nape of Raine's neck, his arousal heightening when Raine opened for him, tangling tongues and eliciting a soft moan. Zane was instantly addicted, and immediately delved deeper. When they parted Raine looked supremely smug and a little drunk.
When the door closed behind them, Zane stared at the door, stunned.
"How long do I have you to myself," Alonzo rasped.
Zane pulled the sweater over his head and crossed to the bed. "As long as you want," he finally replied. Anything outside of his bedroom could damn well wait.
"Good." Alonzo threw the covers aside. "I need you."
Table of Contents
Chapter One - Retirement
Chapter Two - Normal is not supposed to be this hard
Chapter Three - Caught
Chapter Four - Crimson Comet
Chapter Five - Mountain Magic
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers
Chapter Eight, Part 1 - No such thing as heroes
Chapter Nine, Part 1 - Dead is supposed to be... dead
Chapter Ten, Part 1 - Gathering Allies
Chapter Eleven - Combustible
Chapter Twelve - Standing His Ground
Chapter Thirteen - Choices
Chapter Fifteen, Part 1 - To kill, or not to kill
Chapter Sixteen - Maricoxi Guardians
Chapter Seventeen - Coincidence?
Chapter Eighteen, Part One - Guns Ablazin'
Chapter Eighteen, Part Two
Chapter Nineteen, Part One - Reckoning
Chapter Twenty - Mercy
Thank you for stopping by and reading!!