Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Assassin's Retirement: Chapter Thirty-Two #amwriting #ION #gentleman

Welcome back to Assassin's Retirement! Zane and the guys are finally back home, but things are just as crazy.

Copyright Lexi Ander

Chapter Thirty-Two

Zane's eyes fluttered open, the taste of honey still on his tongue as he stared at his living room ceiling. He was laying on the hardwood floor, exactly where he'd stood when Tezcatlipoca had shown himself. Sitting up, he searched for the guys, finding them exactly where they had been as well. The only difference, the Valkyrie were gone. Myranda Anatha sat in a lounger next to the crackling fire.

"Ah, you're back," she watched him closely. "You've been out a couple of hours. How are you?"

His only response was a groan. He was a little disconcerted that it seemed everything had happened in his head. He might have doubted whole experience, except his ass hurt from overindulging in sex. Plus, his probing fingers met the healed scars on his forearms. If he pulled up his pantlegs, he knew there would be more scarring on his calves from the ritual.

Alonzo nudged him, and he realized Myranda had been talking. "Sorry, say again?"

Her eyes crinkled at the corners, though her veil hid her smile. "I have sent Saja and her Valkyrie away. Instead I have assigned two shifter chiefs who are better suited to these woods."

He did not blink at the mention of shifters. If there were Maricoxi, ancient gods, and Valkyrie then there were obviously more beings he was unaware of.

"They will ensure the team delivering the mantles aren't intercepted. I would like to leave them here for additional security until all the mantles have been reclaimed by their rightful families. When you are ready, I will introduce you to them."

"Sure," he said absently. The guys were waking, so he rose to his feet, his sore muscles protesting even the barest of movements.

Alonzo groaned next to him and pressed his forehead into Zane's thigh. He cupped his palm to Alonzo's nape, giving a gentle squeeze. Those dark eyes fluttered open to stare up at him and a slow possessive smile spread across Alonzo's lips.

"Help me?" Zane asked softly.

Alonzo's gaze darted around the room, finally coming to rest on Myranda. "Sure." He answered without needing to ask why.

Crossing to the band, Zane took Cord and Raine by their arms, helping them to their feet. The guys seem to be particularly vulnerable to the triple goddess, whereas he and Alonzo were not. He led them back to their room, bidding them to rest. They didn't argue, only fell on the bed fully clothed before falling into a natural sleep. After he and Alonzo had the other four situated, Zane followed Myranda outside through the kitchen side door.

"Give them a moment," Myranda said.

The new snowfall disappeared against her white robes. The scuffle with the Valkyrie from that morning was evident in the disrupted earth, but soon it would be covered up by the heavy snow now falling. Across the way, Alonzo's cabin stood dark against the tree line. Further back sat the stable. From the woods came a large mane-less lion. It's light golden-brown coat was thick, the belly much lighter and spotted. The beast was almost 4 feet at the shoulder and had to weigh at least seven hundred pounds if not more.

"Zane this is Dohasan." The shifter stopped ten feet away, its large amber eyes staring dispassionately at him. "He and Kajika are from two very powerful shifter groups. Dohasan's tribe is comprised of American lion shifters who were adopted from many different Native American tribes. The animal itself is extinct so they cannot be seen in their shifted form by the general public, not even hunters."

Zane could understand why. Simple photographic evidence of an extinct animal would cause a media frenzy. "Who is Kajika?" he asked.

As if summoned, a bear came around the house from the front. Zane did a double take. That was not a bear. Its body was much too long, eight feet from head to romp. The tail — bears did not have tails —  added another four feet and there were aspects that reminded Zane of a dog. He wouldn't have thought any other animal could be bigger than the lion but this bear-dog was at least two hundred pounds heavier. Like the Maricoxi, these two tribes had to be prehistoric.

The bear-dog lifted its lip, exposing huge fangs to the lion before sitting and cocking his head at Zane. Suddenly both creatures shifted. Similar to Alonzo, whose body changed in the blink of an eye, the shifters were animals one moment and the next two naked men, seemingly unaffected by the cold and snow. Their human expressions were easier to read and he clearly saw their barely veiled wariness. They probably didn't reveal themselves to many, not that he blamed them.

The door behind Zane opened and hid his smile. He had wondered how long it would take Alonzo to join him. The two men straightened when Alonzo took a position behind Zane.

"Maricoxi," Dohasan said in greeting, tipping his head slightly in deference.

Alonzo's hand came to rest on Zane's shoulder. "You have met my patrón, Zane Snow Cortese."

He didn't move when Dohasan glanced back at him, his disbelief unconcealed. Behind him, Alonzo stiffened as if he had been slapped.

"Dohasan and Kajika have been assigned here until the mantles have been claimed. They or a member of their tribe will always be nearby." Myranda said quickly, as if she could sense Alonzo's temper.

"I appreciate their help." Before he could even complete the statement, the shifters had taken their animal form and were disappearing into the surrounding forest.

Myranda sighed as if exasperated, eyeing Zane. He raised a brow. "I, in no way, contributed to that."

"I know, but I cannot keep pulling our best sentries away from here because of personality clashes."

"Did you ever consider that I am perfectly capable of protecting the mantles myself?" he challenged.

"I have no doubts you have tremendous skills, but I would rather err on the side of caution," she replied, making a hand gesture. Valkyrie, none that he recognized, appeared overhead and gently landed. "Take care of your patrón, Alonzo. I am glad you have found a home."

Myranda trudge through the deepening snow to the Valkyrie where she was surrounded. One drew her close before spreading their considerable wings and launching straight into the air. The maneuver shouldn't have been possible, but then again Valkyrie shouldn't exist.

As Zane followed Alonzo back to the house, he heard the crunch of tires on gravel from a car coming up the drive. He was grateful for the time spent with Tezcatlipoca. It seemed he would not be getting any more rest today.

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 Six, Part 2 -
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers
Chapter Seven, Part 2 -
Chapter Eight, Part 1 - No such thing as heroes
Chapter Eight, Part 2 -
Chapter Nine, Part 1 - Dead is supposed to be... dead
Chapter Nine, Part 2 -
Chapter Ten, Part 1 - Gathering Allies
Chapter Ten, Part 2
Chapter Eleven - Combustible
Chapter Twelve - Standing His Ground
Chapter Thirteen - Choices
Chapter Fourteen, Part 1
Chapter Fourteen, Part 2
Chapter Fifteen, Part 1 - To kill, or not to kill
Chapter Fifteen, Part 2
Chapter Sixteen - Maricoxi Guardians
Chapter Seventeen - Coincidence?
Chapter Eighteen, Part One - Guns Ablazin'
Chapter Eighteen, Part Two
Chapter Nineteen, Part One - Reckoning
Chapter Nineteen, Part Two
Chapter Twenty - Mercy
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two, Part One
Chapter Twenty-Two, Part Two
Chapter Twenty-Two, Part Three
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five, Part 1

Chapter Twenty-Five, Part 2

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