Home > The Rebel Queen (Outlaw #1)

The Rebel Queen (Outlaw #1)
Author: Lexi Blake

 


Chapter One

 

 

“Zoey, are you all right, sweetheart?”

I was aware of my husband moving in behind me, knew he was touching my shoulders and that his voice had gone soft. But I couldn’t feel Devinshea. All I could feel was a numbness descend because this couldn’t be happening. Not to us.

I stared at the poster in my hand and the ones in neat stacks on the desk in front of me.

“Of course she’s not all right.” Kelsey Owens stood by the door as though she was waiting for it all to go wrong.

The day had already gone firmly to hell.

This was supposed to be our homecoming. We’d been away from the Earth plane for days, trying hard to find our way back. We hadn’t meant to leave. Devinshea had been missing, along with our long-time friend Marcus Vorenus. We’d sent the Nex Apparatus to find them. It had been the day after Kelsey’s wedding, and she’d had to put her honeymoon on hold.

She’d gone missing, too.

In our search for them, Daniel and I had gotten sucked into a magical painting and sent to a far-off plane with no means to get home to our children and the supernatural kingdom Daniel reigned over. Yeah, it’s that kind of life, but it’s ours. And as so often happens, getting sent to another plane had ended in something wonderful.

Daniel and I had found our daughter Summer. Our first child. She was happily married to Marcus now, and it turned out she’d been born to balance the outer planes. She was a powerful source of energy, and with her king at her side, she would ensure the outer planes stayed powered with her unique magic.

As we’d left that incredible place, I had mourned the fact that it could be years before we saw our daughter again, but I was eager to see our other children. Rhys and Lee are our twins, and Evangeline is our sweet daughter. They’re eleven and five.

At least they had been when we left. The posters in my hand—the wanted posters—showed my children all grown up.

 

Wanted for crimes against our good King Myrddin

Lee Donovan-Quinn, outlaw, traitor and thief

Dead or alive

 

My baby boy. My human child. He was staring at me from the poster with his one good eye. His left eye was covered in a patch, a jagged scar crossing his face. He wasn’t a boy anymore. He was a man. A grown man.

Twelve years. Somehow we’d lost twelve years. Only four days had passed for us, but twelve years had gone by on the Earth plane, and it seemed Daniel’s old mentor, the wizard Myrddin Emrys, had decided to use that time to take his crown.

The wizard, who was also known as Merlin, had been the power behind all the kings who wielded the sword most famously known as Excalibur. Now he’d taken the crown himself, and it was obvious he had a problem with what was left of the royal family.

“I think we should move out as carefully and quietly as we can.” Kelsey put down the poster that proclaimed Trent Wilcox was wanted for sheltering enemies of the king. “We need to get out of this building and try to find our people.”

Our people. Our families. Our children, who’d been on their own for twelve fucking years. Who’d apparently been on the run for a while.

“We need to figure out what’s happened here,” Daniel was saying. “We know we’re in the Council building. In what used to be the armory. We’ve apparently been gone for twelve years, and something’s happened with our kids. Could it be a misunderstanding?”

“Do you mean could Myrddin have tripped over your crown and oops, it’s on his head and he can’t get it off and wouldn’t it be fun to play a prank and put a bounty on the royal kids and their friends?” Kelsey kept her voice down but every word dripped with sarcasm. “I thought we got the thrall stone out of your head. How about you, Quinn? You want to march up to Myrddin and ask him if he wouldn’t mind giving you back your kingdom?”

One of the good things that had come from our journey had been figuring out how Myrddin had easily manipulated my husbands for years. He’d planted thrall stones in their brains, and they had allowed him to influence both Danny and Dev.

“I know exactly how dangerous Myrddin is,” Daniel growled back. “I’m merely saying maybe we shouldn’t overreact. Maybe we should figure out what happened. Twelve years is a long time. We have to ask ourselves some questions. Are we on some alternative plane?”

“We’ve obviously come to the wrong place,” Devinshea was saying. “Something went wrong when we came back through the painting.”

“Or this was exactly what Myrddin wanted for us.” It seemed to me he’d done everything he could to get rid of us. This could have been his fail-safe.

“I don’t think so.” The newest member of our party was standing beside me, looking down at the poster of Lee. “I dream about him at night. I think this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.”

Dean Malone was a twenty-three-year-old wizard we’d picked up along the way. According to Kelsey, he had something to do with the prophecy about Myrddin. Kelsey was carrying a book that she claimed held the prophecies of the witches of Arete—a plane where witches ruled. It was in the pack on her back, and she’d vowed to do anything to keep it in her possession.

This particular prophecy foretold that two people in all the planes held the power to kill Myrddin Emrys. Myrddin had avoided one by having his pregnant mother kidnapped and sent off plane. If Kelsey was right, that young man was Dean Malone. Myrddin had manipulated the other man into a situation where he’d been killed.

Where I’d held him as he lay dying. Kelsey’s father, my guard, Lee Owens. He’d been the one who the prophecy identified.

Myrddin didn’t know that the Heaven plane had offered me a gift—Lee’s soul in my child’s body, the chance to give one of the best men I’d ever known an easier life.

Fucking prophecy.

“Is there any way to use the painting to get back to where we came from?” Dev was asking. “If we can get back, we can talk to Summer. She might have a way to get us to the proper time.”

“I can’t go back.” Dean stood up taller. He was a young man with stark white hair and crystal blue eyes—a sure sign that he wasn’t entirely human. The magic he wielded was another clue. He was at least a foot taller than me, almost as tall as my faery prince husband. “This is where I’m supposed to be. The wizard has conquered the supernatural world—the world I was born to defend. I need to find Lee Donovan-Quinn.”

“But you don’t,” Daniel said in that annoyingly soothing tone he used when the world had exploded and he was trying to keep everyone calm. “If we go back to the proper time, I can end whatever coup Myrddin was planning. I’ll know what’s happening going in, and I’ll kill him myself.”

Danny might be using a calm tone, but his fangs were out. The King of All Vampire took his crown seriously. After all, we’d fought a war for it once. We could take care of a minor battle this time.

I was all on board with this plan. I let the poster drop from my hand. I never wanted to see it again. I wanted my sweet little boys and girl. I wanted Fenrir, Kelsey’s son, to be the baby werewolf he was, the kid who didn’t like to wear pants. “Let’s do it. Dean, Dev is right. If we can get home, we’ll take care of the problem and then you won’t have to do anything but enjoy the Earth plane.”

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