Brayden sat in the huge tub of heated water and groaned in pure bliss, for a while there he thought he’d never be clean again. He didn’t understand half of what was happening. To be honest he was just glad he and his father were finally free—well kind of. Brayden wished his guardians would hurry up and take him back to Quinlan. His heart ached with how much he missed his husband and children. A small cough came from the doorway interrupting his wayward thoughts.
“Yes?” Brayden asked with a smile when he saw that it was Greer. The young man was another prisoner who had been rescued from the compound at the same time as he and his father.
“I just wanted to know if you needed anything. I’m not sure what I’m meant to be doing here. No one will give me any orders.”
The pain in the young man’s voice touched deep inside Brayden, “You could help me wash my hair. I was waiting for the lady to come back, but since you are offering.” He closed his eyes as Greer knelt beside the tub and upended a jug of warm water over his head. “Tell me about yourself, Greer.”
“Not much to tell really. My parents were killed by Tondran and his men and he took me as a servant. I was told to hide by my father… so I did. I got the feeling Tondran wanted me specifically and killed my parents so that he could take me.”
“Why would he want to take you?” Brayden groaned happily as Greer’s fingers worked their magic on his scalp.
Greer combed his fingers through the tangles in Brayden’s hair. “I don’t know. O once heard him tell his son I was someone special, but then he just gave me to the guards to use as a servant.”
“What is your family name?” Another jug of warmed water was poured slowly over Brayden’s head to rinse the soap out. “How old are you?
“Chisolmn, my name is Greer Chisolmn. I’ m fourteen. I’m nobody special.” They were silent for a while as Greer finished washing his hair.
Brayden liked listening to the musical tones of the young man’s voice. “What are you going to do now that you are free?”
Greer moved to the side of the tub and blushed. “I wish to go with you. I’d like to train to be a sentinel.”
“Why a sentinel?” Brayden stared into the depths of the young man’s tawny eyes.
“Because then I wouldn’t be afraid anymore. I’d be strong enough to take care of my family.”
Confusion rolled through Brayden in a slow wave. “Do you have a family? Is there someone we need to contact?”
Greer shook his head. “In the future, I’ll have a husband and children of my own. My mother told me that from the time I was but a small child. My mother would never have lied to me.”
“No she wouldn’t have.” Brayden smiled as he slowly washed the rest of his body, grinning he grabbed Greer’s hand and placed it on his stomach. Greer’s eyes widened as he felt the baby kick. “This is my son, Xavier.”
“Xavier, is a strong and beautiful name.”
“Yes, it is.” Brayden smiled at the look of wonder in Greer’s eyes.
Quinlan paced the length of the room he was in. What the hell was taking so long? They knew Brayden and Thayer had been rescued from the prison at least three weeks ago. For some reason the men who’d rescued them had cut off all communication. Now no one was exactly sure where Brayden had been taken. The children of Varnuse had a small but very efficient network, and Quinlan hated having to wait for word to reach them.
“Calm down, you’re only going to twist yourself inside out if you keep this up.” Ingrid stated.
Quinlan glared at his best friend and bodyguard. “This is my husband. I want Brayden here—in my arms. You know as well as I do that according to the histories of our people Bray is almost at full term.” Quinlan’s glare softened. “I miss him. I want him back.”
“I know,” Ingrid got up and embraced him. “We all miss him. We’ll get him back. At least we know he’s now safe.”
“King Quinlan,” they turned as Fane spoke softly behind them. “Do you think Thayer is truly alive?”
“Yes, I do. Bray so much as told us in his note. You will have your husband back soon.”
“Oh,” Fane’s face crumpled. “He’ll never be able to forgive me. How could he possibly still want me after I left him for all those years?”
Quinlan watched as Javier reached for his father, his strange cat like eyes focusing on Fane’s face. “You didn’t know. If you had, you would have rescued him.”
“But…” Tears clogged Fane’s voice.
“All the evidence led us all to believe Thayer was dead.” Talon added. “Thayer will understand.”
“King Thayer,” Quinlan corrected. “If Thayer is still alive, then he’s rightfully still the king of our people.”
Fane shook his head. “You’re king now.”
Quinlan smiled, “We’ll let the cards fall where they may. When they have been returned to us we’ll talk about what is to come and how it will affect our people.”
“King Quinlan,” Josep raced into the room. “I’ve had word from Lucas. We need to hurry, Consort Brayden has begun his child-birthing early.”
As one everyone in the room stood and prepared to leave. It would seem none were willing to be left behind.
“Is there any news of Thayer?” Fane called desperately at Josep’s back.
Josep dropped back to beside Fane as they moved silently through the streets in the early hours of the morning. Hoping the fates were with them and the compound guards would not stop their progress.
“All I know is King Thayer is still unconscious. He never really recovered from his last beating. In the beginning he drifted in and out, but for the last three weeks he hasn’t woken.”
Fane cried out softly and slapped his hand over his own mouth to stop it echoing in the darkness. “Is he… will he…?”
“Maybe with you by his side, your touch might be the very thing he needs to bring him back to us all.” Josep suggested soothingly.
As they entered the dwelling where Brayden was being cared for, Quinlan’s feet moved faster as he heard the sounds of distress he recognised were coming from his mate. Holy Fuck! The first thing Quinlan saw as he burst through the door was his very naked husband grinding his teeth and glaring at him.
“It’s about fucking time you got your sorry miserable arse here.” Brayden snarled.