Reclaimed by Jaymin Eve

“Those bastards took her blood,” he confirmed, “and since she was born in the Shadow Realm, they used it to concoct the potion that knocked me and the library out for a few minutes. It was also powerful enough to block the doorway because it reacted to anything that was connected to me. It wasn’t until your power called me that I could break through the blocking spell.”

I was blinking at him. Over and over. “Dannie is from the Shadow Realm?” I whispered.

What in the fuck? How in the fuck?

Shadow nodded. “Yes. I don’t know the finer details of it, but I recognized her power.”

I shook my head like that would clear the jumble of thoughts in there. It didn’t help.

Maybe it was best to focus on the part that was even more important. “You promise she’s not dead?” I was crying. I tried hard not to cry these days, and especially not in front of Shadow, but the sobs just burst up from my chest and didn’t stop coming.

“Fuck,” Shadow said softly, and then he was shifting my position so he could hug me. My legs wrapped around his waist as he held me tightly.

“She’s not dead? You promise?” I repeated, sobbing into the spot between his neck and shoulder. The heat of his power wrapped around me, but I didn’t even care in my distraught state.

His chest shook as an annoyed rumble escaped him. “She’s not dead, Sunshine. I don’t know who she is or how she made it into your world, but once I smelled her blood, I knew she was from the Shadow Realm. I’ve been trying to track her ever since, but there’s no sign of where she ended up.”

“How much blood?” I asked, sniffling. “And how can you be sure she’s—”

He cut me off. “I’ve told you before, no Shadow Realm being can be killed by shifters, even if they believe they had the power to do it. She’s out there somewhere, reforming, to one day be your Dannie again.”

My tears had started to dry now, but I kept my head buried against Shadow’s shoulder. He strode forward again, and it should have been weird and uncomfortable for him to keep holding me this way, but I was an emotional wreck, weak and mentally shaken, so I let it happen. For a few minutes, I soaked up his comfort, but that all came to an end.

“I can walk.”

He didn’t argue, setting me on my feet. I wobbled for a beat, but he allowed me to find my own strength, and as I wiped away the tears on my face, I noticed Reece and Lucien hovering just behind their friend.

“Thank fuck,” Lucien said, his hands held in tight fists at his side. “I never know what to do when women cry. I’m glad Shadow was here.”

I narrowed my eyes just as Reece barked out a laugh. “I had no idea Shadow knew what to do with a crying woman, either. Usually, he just silences them with his power so he can’t hear their sobs any longer.”

The beast himself crossed his arms, staring both of his friends down, and their laughter died off, even if the smiles remained. They didn’t fear him, but they respected him. Shadow was lucky to have friends like his. Speaking of…

“I will need to see Simone very soon,” I warned him. “Whenever you explain to me exactly what just happened on Earth, I want her to be part of it.”

Reece and Lucien were already shaking their heads. “Shadow will never allow another human—”

The desert deity was cut off when Shadow said, “I will make it happen.”

All three of us were shocked into silence, and I tried to clear my dry throat. “Thank you,” I told Shadow, feeling as if we’d reached a place of mutual respect that we hadn’t visited before.

Maybe it was my power matching his for a brief moment on Earth, or how I’d apparently called him when I’d lost my shit. Or maybe it was another secret that I wasn’t aware of yet. Only time would tell, and it appeared that I was finally going to learn more about the Shadow Realm, the mists, and these creatures I continued to call into my world.

Had Dannie known what I was all along? She’d definitely taken an interest in me from her first arrival in Torma, and it hurt to think that maybe it had all been a ruse. She’d been a mother figure, but maybe like my real mom, she really hadn’t given a fuck about me.

What had her endgame been, though? In the ten or so years we’d known each other, she’d never asked me for anything. She’d given me a job, paid me well, protected me, and cared for me when life had been knocking me down. I found it hard to believe that was all just an act.

Hopefully one day, I’d get a chance to ask her.

“You need to rest,” Shadow told me, and he wasn’t wrong since I’d once again just drifted off in my fuzzy brain.

“Yes. Right.”

We started to walk along the hall, and I was getting more than one concerned look from the three dudes around me, but before anyone could bring it up, a figure burst from the veil connected to the library and flew toward us.

“Angel!” I exclaimed, and if I’d had the energy to run, I would have met her halfway. As it was, I barely managed to hobble a few steps before I wanted to curl up and take a nap.

She must have seen me stumble, and using her wings and preternatural speed, she was at my side in less than a second. Wrapping her arms around me, she steadied me before I fell. “What happened?” she demanded, looking fierce in her battle armor. It reminded me of how she’d fought Shadow for me, right before the library had been attacked by a few dickhead shifters.