Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Collettes: Willa by Dahlia Rose

Willa. The voice called to her from between the mist, and as she walked slowly she could see no one.

“Where are you?” she called out. Her eyes peered through the fog as her name was whispered again like the wind caressing her cheeks.

“I’m here, my love.”

“My love?” Willa questioned. “How can you call me that?”

“Because I have dreamed about you for months now.” A figure approached her out of the mist that swirled around them. “You are Willa Collette, third daughter of vampire blood, and I am your mate.”

She looked at the man standing before her. He was almost a head taller than her. His hair was long and the color of a raven’s feathers. It hung down onto the brown leather coat that covered his shoulders. His face was angular, and behind thin rimmed glasses his eyes—beyond ice blue to the point they were almost opaque—stared back at her.

“How do you know of me, of my family?” she whispered.

“I just do, and for your part of this quest you must come to me, Willa. We must do this alone, without your sisters. To keep them safe, we must find your part of the amulet alone. It is only when we have the final piece that we must all stand together to face Carthos. He has hidden in plain view all this time; his home is in catacombs underneath the mansion. He had them built centuries ago while you were children.

“Oh my God! All these years! I can’t leave them we…we have been betrayed by the one we trusted the most. Together we are stronger, I can’t leave them to fight Jarrod…I mean, Carthos alone.”

“They will be safe; you have to be strong for all of them now. Their spirits are low, you have to be their strength.”

“Where will I find you?” Even as she asked the question, Willa knew in her heart she could trust him. Her gift may have failed her when it came to the traitor in their midst, but she was certain this man was the key for her to find the final piece of the amulet.”

“I am Tyson, come find me, Willa. Let us end this evil once and for all.” His hand went around to the back of her neck. Willa closed her eyes as the warmth of his touch met her skin. He whispered in her ear before pulling away, “Now wake up! Your sisters are worried! Wake up!”

The final words from his lips echoed in her mind as she sat right up. She was no longer lying in Luna’s lap but in a bed, covered with a soft blanket. She touched her chest where the wound was and found it was healed. The burn of garlic and holy water no longer stung her veins.

“Willa, you’re awake!” George exclaimed. She ran to the door of the room and yelled out, “Hey guys, she’s awake!”

While foot steps came thudding down the hall, Willa swung her feet out of the bed and began to rummage through the drawers.

“Whoa, naked vampire!” Gideon said. She turned, just in time, to see him backing out the door and into her sisters who were following close on his heels.

“I’m sure you’ve seen the naked body before Gideon,” she countered dryly. “Where are we? I need clothes.”

“We’re at my safe house. I bought a second apartment off the radar years ago that no one knows about, just in case,” Luna answered.

“I guess this is a just in case scenario if I ever saw one,” Willa murmured. She walked over to what she assumed was a closet door and pulled it open. It was empty except for some boxes on the floor. “Do you have clothes in this place?”

She heard Luna sigh and she crossed the room, throwing open another door. “Here’s what you’re looking for.”

“Why do you need clothes so badly?” Sola asked.

Willa started to pull articles of clothing from the large closet, wrinkling her nose at some of Luna’s choice in outfits. She finally selected a pair of brown soft suede pants, a black turtleneck, and brown jacket to match. She was lucky they all were the same size down to the shoes.

“Well?” Sola queried when she got no answer from her sister.

“I have to go find my mate and the amulet.” It was her simple answer as she dressed. “Do we have weapons here?”

“Honey, we don’t have to think about that right now, you were hurt and we have to figure out a way to deal with Jarrod, I mean Carthos.” Luna made a sound of frustration. “I can’t seem to stop calling him Jarrod!”

“It’s okay, baby.” George walked over to rub Luna’s shoulders gently. “It’s not easy to be betrayed by someone you love.”

“He didn’t love us! He wanted to use us; fate would have it that he played his hand too soon,” Willa said harshly.

“Willa, we need to talk first, we can’t go off alone now. He’ll be looking and his minions will be everywhere with the scent of us in their noses,” Sola explained.

“My mate called to me while I slept. He came to me in my dreams and found me instead of the other way around. I have to go alone!”

“No way in hell am I letting you go off by yourself!” Luna turned on her. Along with her eyes flashing fire, Willa could see intense worry in her gaze. “How do you know it was not one of Carthos’ tricks? You could be walking into a trap.”

“I trust my gift, Luna. I know he is correct. I have to leave both of you and your pieces of the amulet safe. All of us out in the open leaves us exposed to Carthos. The four of you must remain hidden until I come back with my piece. It is only then we can fight the final battle and take that bastard who raised us back to Hell.”

Luna’s voice broke as she spoke. Willa had never heard such emotion in her sister’s voice and saw tears threaten to spill over onto her cheeks. “Do you know what my first sight was in the daylight? I saw my sister’s blood on the grass! All my life, I longed to see daylight. At that moment I hated the light more than anything. These damn amulets almost cost me you! I will not lose either you or Sola! So you are going to have to do a damned good job of kicking my ass to keep me from going with you!”

“I think she said it for all of us,” Gideon said. “Safe or not, we all travel together from now on. We are never going to be caught off guard like that again.”

“Fine, we’ll come up with a plan before I make any decisions.” Willa looked around at each person whom she called family, each of them defiantly telling her in their own way that she was not going to be going alone. She loved each one of them, but she knew in her heart what had to be done.

That night, after all the talking and all of the planning, while they slept in the arms of their mates, she slipped out into the darkened New York streets. Her heart was heavy as she left her family, but she felt her courage build with each step farther away she took. This was her time and she had to do it alone.