Excerpt from Somber Resplendence by Mandy M. Roth
Aland Werner walked through the darkened halls of the hospital, wondering how it was he could have missed Sidney’s signal, missed she was so very close to him all these years. Literally within his precinct. He still marveled at how destiny had seemingly laid her out before him. Had Aland not been aiding Sirius, in concerns with his mate Phoebe, he’d have never known Sidney was his, and so very close. Had a renegade warrior from his own race not tipped his hand, revealing he’d been in contact with Sidney, he would have never seen his mate’s face frozen on a television screen on a dance studio in the Zodiac Zone. He’d have never known she’d been in danger.
Anger welled inside him once more. A slow, calculated grin slipped over his face as he thought of the painful way in which the renegade had met his death. Aland wanted to summon the man back from the afterlife and torture him for eternity for daring to terrify his mate. Already he chanced too much, tempting the fates by killing the man when he should have sent him forth to be tried in the king’s courts. Aland had to keep his nose clean and his power off the radar for a while, just until he was certain no one would notice the death of a renegade. As strict as their king was with traitors, he respected and abided by the rules of the realm, expecting those who served as his head guards and Gatekeepers to do the same.
Aland shook his head, trying to will the thoughts from it. He was too close to finally coming face-to-face with his mate to let anything, even fear of his king, interfere.
How many times had he and his partner driven past this very hospital? How many times had he responded to calls generating from the emergency room on the lowest level? Here she was, under his nose even though she’d seemed so far away. In truth, she’d seemed more like a figment of his imagination or even wishful thinking on his part.
When he was but a boy his father had talked of true mates, women destined for the men of their race from birth. He thought the stories to be just that—fairy tale. He was wrong. He could still see the happiness in his father’s eyes as he spoke to Aland of women from Earth who were said to be fated to wed warriors of their kind. It was as if the man knew something of Aland’s future that he did not. Like he knew one day Aland would find his slice of happiness among humans. Since the female population in his home realm of Constellaziogēn was low—only one female to every twenty men—he’d always assumed the stories were created to give young warriors hope of one day finding happiness. He never dreamed the fates had aligned and selected that one person to complete him. And his one person was here, locked away from other humans, treated as a second-rate citizen, her rights stripped away, all because she knew too much.
The hospital environment was sterile, smelling heavily of disinfectant and lacking anything noteworthy. No matter where he looked, all Aland found was shades of gray and white. Devoid of color and emotion. He wondered how anyone could survive staring at the same setting, day in and day out. It had to be mind-numbing.
Exactly the way it was intended to be.
The night security guard sat with his feet propped on the counter behind unbreakable glass, watching various screens. The man switched ankles, lifting one and crossing the other. His keys jingled on his side. It was the only noise to be heard.
Aland walked right past him, knowing he would not be seen unless he willed it. Humans were almost too easy to manipulate. They presented next to no challenge for him. Long ago he’d learned the only real threat to the Gates between his realm and the human one came from his own kind. He’d never heard of a human accidently stumbling through one or being able to open a portal at all. Though he had heard of them being dragged through by renegade warriors of his race.
He sighed. Where once portals being opened let off a certain energy signature, the enemy was becoming crafty. Already they’d found ways to shield their activities, hiding their movements between realms.
He let his power trickle out and over the hospital level in search of the woman who had captured his attention—the woman he knew to be his mate. She’d been locked away for years, believed to be insane when all along she was gifted beyond the humans’ limited comprehension. She had at least bits of his people’s powers. Somewhere in her family history there had to be a Constellaziogēn. Since his kind had been among humans for many centuries, the ancestor could be further back than even Sidney’s family could trace. All Aland was sure of was Sidney had been able to draw upon enough power to open a portal when she was just a child. That was saying something.
Aland sensed her there and, for the first time in centuries, a feeling of completion came over him. She was in the room at the end of the corridor. Her signature was unmistakable. It thrummed the air, beckoning him closer. He quickened his pace, the need to see her to freedom too great to dismiss.
As he approached her large metal door, he felt something brush past him, going toward the room. Raw and pure animal lust raced through his veins, seeming to center in his groin, wrenching a moan from him. His cock stood at attention, almost as ready as he to find what had caused such a reaction in him.
Aland stalled, glancing around, positive someone or something had touched him. He found nothing. He wasn’t human and his powers were greater than normal while on Earth. For something to make it past him, unseen, it had to be very powerful.
Powerful and able to make my dick hard.
As a Constellaziogēn, an immortal Gatekeeper sent forth hundreds of years ago to guard the portals on Earth, his mission was to protect against unmonitored passage between realms. A task easier said than done since their presence was a closely guarded secret for good reason—their powers, normal in their own realm, were the thing of fantasy on Earth, and there was a risk he and his kind would be revered as gods by humans, or pandemonium would result should the public learn of their presence.
So Aland hid among humans, assuming the same day-to-day lifestyle as they did. His position as a police detective afforded Aland the chance to enforce laws, as he was accustomed to doing, and to receive firsthand information in the event something was to go wrong with the portals, as had been the case recently.
When Aland had seen Sidney’s frozen image on that television screen, he’d known deep down who she was to him. At the time, forced to help Sirius protect Phoebe, Aland had struggled between aiding another or going to his mate, locked away from the world in an institution. He’d done what was required of him at the time, but it was time to seek Sidney out and protect her. With the band of renegades broken up, Aland felt secure she was safe from them, but still, risking losing her wasn’t an option. If nothing else, he needed to simply be near her, even for a little bit until he could devise a plan to get her released through the proper channels.
He continued down the hall, coming to a stop just outside of the door to her room. Putting his palm to the cool metal, Aland let additional power rise from deep within him, scanning the room. He found her there, lying in the bed. Desperate to finally see her, he utilized his power and walked directly through the door, materializing on the other side. The moment his gaze landed on the tall, slender frame in the bed, Aland froze.
Sidney had sacrificed herself to ensure her baby sister and cousin lived as normal lives as they could considering they were destined to mate with powerful Constellaziogēn warriors—a fact their father apparently was well aware of and had tried to stress upon the girls.
Long, silky black hair hung in waves over the edge of the bed. One pale white shoulder showed and he visually traced a line down the length of her body. She was thin. Thinner than she should be and that only served to infuriate Aland more. He should have sensed her need of him and not left her to rot slowly in a mental institution. He’d never bought into the idea of having a special someone and had been content with sating his baser needs with random woman when his cock required attention. It wasn’t until Sidney’s presence was made known to him that nature seemed to take its course—demanding he go to her.
She lay perfectly still as he took a step closer. He reached out tentatively, needing to make contact with her. Something struck Aland, knocking him back into the cinder brick wall with a thud. He blinked, shocked he’d not sensed anyone with him, and stared around the room. Other than the female he’d come for, he was completely alone. His cock once again stiffened at the feel of the energy around him.
He felt it then, something brushing past him once more. It headed straight for her and his insides tightened. “Sidney, wake up!”
She didn’t stir. Instead, whatever power had passed by him, struck her sleeping body and she jerked. Aland cried out and reached for her, knowing then there was no mistake—he’d sacrifice all for her.