Graham was just trying to make her father happy. She didn't know what his obsession with the Lanning family was, but she would go with him to visit the Lannings to appease him. The last thing she expected to find there was a mate, and it seemed her father knew all along. Graham was beyond pissed--she was set up.
Rider just wanted her to go away before he could claim her. It had been foretold that when he found his mate, that the one hunting them would find them and many of the Lanning family could die as a result. He didn't want to lose anyone, especially his mate. He would die himself before he let that happen.
Their nemesis Sonya's reach was long, even from the grave. But even her death won't stop what's coming. She started the wheels of fate turning centuries ago, and they're picking up speed. Can all the Lannings come together to stop it before it's too late? Find out in the conclusion to the Lanning's Leap Series--Rider.
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“Once you have put the magic in the safe, I wish for you to come to me. And no messing around either. I have things to do.” Allister nodded but said nothing. He knew the woman to be mad as a hatter, and he did not wish to make her angered again. She had a tendency to kill what made her mad, no matter how much she might need them later. “You screw this up for me, Allister, and I swear to you I will rain a blood bath on you that you’ll feel for decades. Once we have all the Lannings dead, then you will be paid for what you’ve done here.”
He had no idea how that would work. If she killed him, which was what she had implied, then there would be no feeling for decades. Not to mention she’d never get the safe to open if she did kill him, bloodily or not. He smiled to himself when he thought of that little clause he’d put on it.
“As you wish, my lady.” He moved slowly, but his body wasn’t nearly as old and frail as he let her think that it was. The less she knew of him, the better. Sadly, she knew too much as it was. Sonya, a hard taskmaster on her best days, had not been happy when he’d told her that his only child had died. “Once the safe is open the magic will go to the one that deserves it, just as you have ordered.”
“Yes, when the Lannings are no more and I am queen, the person who opens the door here will be my right hand man. We will rule the kingdom as one. I’m sick to death of those upstarts. From the beginning they were trouble to me. Imagine, not wanting to help me take over the kingdom. We all know that I would make a better queen than Kendra. Her being picked over me is just not right.” Allister nodded again. “And when you come to me, I will expect you to bring me her head, do you hear me? I wish for proof of what you have said to me.”
“There is no head, my lady. As I have told you, my child was burned at the stake some days ago. Her death, it has taken a great deal out of me. But there is no body left to bring you even a small portion of it.” Sonya looked as if she didn’t believe him, so Allister changed the subject. “The monies that you told me to make for you, they’re all from different time periods. There are instructions on what can be spent and what cannot. The person who opens this, they will be warned. I hope you realize that should they spend the money that is there before the dates it was in use, there will be hell to pay. You know this, I’m sure.”
“Never you mind about what I know or not.” He knew she had no idea. The women could barely think her way out of any trouble, much less know the way cash would work in the future. He did, but he wasn’t going to tell her that. “As I have said to you, I have all the power in the world, both worlds. When this is completed, and the Lannings are all dead and cold in their graves, I will rule both worlds.”
“As you wish, my lady.” She eyed him hard. “I wish only for you to get what you deserve. And as surely as I am standing here, I’m sure that you will.”
“Thank you.” Allister watched her carefully. “When you’ve finished, come to me. I will be at my home. Then we will discuss what happened to your daughter. I’m glad that
she’s dead, if you want to know the truth of it. Her being alive, it was going to mess up my carefully laid plans. And that has happened enough of late.”
Allister knew just what part his daughter had played in Sonya’s game. It was why he’d taken care that the woman never touched his only child. But right now, he wanted nothing more than for Sonya to go away and leave him to his task. It didn’t differ much from the one that she had set upon him, but he hoped for a better outcome. The money had come from the future. Allister hadn’t manufactured it as he’d told her, but had gone to the twenty-first century and had traded some of his furniture and other items that fetched him a grand price for the cash. The future was so different than the time he now lived in that Allister had been tempted to stay there and never to return here. But there were things afoot, things that he had to see to the end so that his daughter could live. And live she would.
Graham was his child, and even though he’d told the upstart that she was dead, she was as alive as him. Hidden away so that no one, not one person, could harm her the way he knew Sonya would. Allister had sent her away, far away into the future so that she’d be safe from this monster here. He’d also taken it upon himself to make sure that no matter what, the Lannings would live. At least he hoped that he had.
When the last of the magic had been put in the large safe that he’d brought from the future with him, he closed it up and leaned heavily upon it. It was time, past time really, for him to finish what he needed to do for all mankind. Especially those that were of the magical nature such as him. Going to the mirror, he spoke to the woman that he knew would someday open the safe with a man he’d never met in person. Nildale, the king of the genjar, would help a great deal, this he was sure of. He summoned the woman there and smiled when her face appeared for him.
“I shall be dead soon. Much sooner than I had hoped. But I have left you something. It’s there in the safe for you to use should you…you will need it. There is a man that will come to you. He will offer you so much but ask for nothing in return. Take his knowledge. You will need it. You are the soul of my magic. And when you are able to understand all, you will also understand the reasons behind the things that have been set in motion for you.” He thought of the woman he’d met briefly while there making the arrangements that would save so many. She was going to be stronger than any he’d ever encountered. And she’d keep his child safe. “Laci Lanning, you are going to save a great many people. And Nildale, the king, he will help you understand.”
Going back to his bed after putting a spell on the mirror to keep it safe as well, he closed his eyes. Allister hurt in more places than he’d thought there were names for; the lifting and toting were hard on an old man like him. Reaching for his child, their connection so strong that there was no need for his mirror, he smiled when she appeared before him as a shadow of herself.
“You do know that I know nothing of this world. And that there are things that go fast here that scare me, Father.” He nodded and smiled bigger. “She has been there then? This monster you are saving me from?”
“Yes. She has come and gone. You will be safe where you are. Do not go to the Lannings until you feel the safe is opened. They will need your knowledge of magic and
a bit more.” She nodded and looked away. The pain of their parting hurt him even more than he could say. “Graham, you will be safe for me?”
“Yes. I will be. So will you.” He said that he would be gone soon enough. “Nay, Father, you will not. I have decided that you will come to me.”
And just like that, he stood in the little house that he’d purchased for his child to keep her safe. Sitting down, he looked at his daughter and wondered, not for the first time, how she’d become so strong.
“She will find you with me here.” Graham simply told him she would not. “Yes, she will. Her magic is powerful, or so she says. You must return me to my time so that she does not find us together and destroy all that I have set up for you.”
“Sonya will not only not find you, but she will fail at her attempts to follow you here. Her mind does not work as ours does. It is full of her own self, and she will think you have done something to yourself and will almost forget you by tomorrow.” Allister didn’t think so. Sonya wasn’t strong, no, but she was evil. “I will protect you, Father. Trust me.”
“I do.” After he was shown to his room, a room that would only be found if he allowed it, he laid down on the big bed. There were many luxuries here, more than he’d imagined when he first arrived. When he was alone again, he thought of the precautions that he’d made for his child, and wondered briefly if him being there now would make a difference.
The Lannings were.... He willed himself to their home, a shadow of himself, so that he could watch them. He had no doubt that they’d survive this time of strife, but who he feared for most was the man called Rider.
Allister knew that the man was a good one. A bit of a worrier, but that was all right too. Allister knew that his own child would be tempered by this man, his level head and strong will would keep her safe. He watched the man now with his family, and hoped with all that he was that he’d be a good match for his only child. And that he’d keep her safe from the one that wished her dead. As surely as he stood there watching, knowing that Sonya was now dead in the time that Rider lived in, he also knew that the monster that lurked in the darkness would come for his child.