Midnight Truth (Shifter Island #4) - Leia Stone Page 0,1

how quickly my grandfather’s illness was weakening him. Merely half an hour ago, he was begging for my help at Rage’s coronation, and now he looked on death’s door. Honor sat on my right, pressed against my leg, and I absently ran my fingers through his fur.

I thought Grandpa Geoff would huff about not needing a cane, but he simply raised his chin to her with a look of sad resignation and nodded once. “Fine.”

Okay…

I needed more info. The last few hours had been a whirlwind of activity with little time to think or process or just be. I was beyond exhausted after Rage and Clive’s fight to the death—and while I definitely knew I didn’t want asshat Kian or the other high mages of the council getting Grandpa’s power … I needed to sit down and figure crap out.

Rotating slowly, I did a 360, looking for an empty seat while taking in the giant study. Behind a large desk, a door stood slightly ajar, and with its light on, I identified it as an attached bathroom. On the other side of the bathroom door, closer to where Grandpa and Reyna sat, there was a little kitchenette with a sink, hot plate, microwave, and refrigerator.

“Is this where you live?” I asked.

It was small but cute. Maybe it was all a single guy needed, though I would’ve thought a legit bed might’ve made the list…

He chuckled, and Reyna burst into laughter.

“Mother Mage, no!” she snickered. “The master of spirit has the nicest castle on the island. This is his, and soon to be your, secret study. It’s spelled to not allow any of the other master mages inside.”

He pointed to Reyna. “What she said,” he rasped.

He shuddered and then reached for something on the desk, his arm falling to his side as Reyna stood. She plucked a small crystal bottle filled with what appeared to be black syrup. “Not much left,” she told him, her brow furrowing as she held it out to him.

He waved off her concern and then popped the cork, downing a small swig.

Color flooded his cheeks; his ragged breathing evened out. He recorked the bottle and sat up, looking younger than he had since Rage and I returned from the Realm of the Dead.

Whatever that black stuff was, I needed some. Or sleep. Maybe both. My adrenaline was definitely waning, and the stress of the last few days was catching up.

Speaking of stress … how long had I been gone? Probably at least twenty minutes or so, enough that Rage would start to worry. I’d only wanted him to not stop me from going, but now that I was here…

‘Rage, I need to tell you something,’ I sent through our mental link, suddenly desperate to talk with him. Guilt bubbled up while I waited for him to respond. He was probably pissed—and could I blame him? If he’d left me…

The reality of what I’d done hit me. What the mage was I thinking! I shouldn’t have left without talking to him. What kind of a person did that—to their mate?

‘Rage?’

Panic clenched my chest, and I sucked in a ragged breath.

‘Rage!’

I didn’t even wait for a response before I glanced down at the black wolf at my side. ‘Honor, can you reach Rage?’

Grandfather stood, and I was vaguely aware of him rummaging through some books on his desk.

‘No.’ Honor looked up at me. ‘I lost the connection to my brothers the second we passed through the onyx door at the library.’

Crap!

We couldn’t communicate while here?

Rage was going to kill me. He’d think I left on purpose—which I had, but not to cut him off or be away permanently! Or what if he thought I got kidnapped or something worse? I needed to let him know I was okay.

“Umm, Grandpa Geoff?” I asked as my stomach sank with dread.

“Hmm?” He continued to riffle through his things, not even bothering to look up at me.

Meanwhile, Reyna must’ve felt more confident about his health because she now stood in the kitchenette, washing dishes at the sink. When we were all in that room at Rage’s coronation, they’d made it sound like getting here to High Mage Island was critical and time was of the essence, but now that we were here…

“I can’t reach Rage through our bond,” I said as dread and shame pressed in on me. “He’s going to worry—”

“Ah, yes,” Grandpa said, straightening. He stopped his search and faced me with a frown. “About that … you’ll be cut