Stricken (The War Scrolls Book 1)

By: A.K. Morgen



“Come back to me,” he pleaded, cradling her in his arms. “Please, Aubrey, come back to me.”



***



Hope grew as the pain faded. It slipped away in increments, the burn washing away as if it had never been there at all. When it went, Aubrey felt nothing but Killian.

His voice.

His touch.

His presence.

They wrapped around her like silk, holding her tightly in the dark as if they’d never really left her at all.

In the end, being part of his world didn’t hurt at all. It felt…like coming home.



***



“Aubrey,” Killian breathed, staring down as her eyes opened early the next morning.

She turned her head in his direction. For long moments, she said nothing. She just stared. “You…Killian?” she finally asked, blinking. Her voice was beautiful, soft and sweet. Exactly as he remembered.

Relief washed through him like a river. “You remember.”

“You died,” she said, pain washing through her eyes.

“No,” he whispered, holding her tighter. “You saved me.”

“I…” Aubrey frowned. “I don’t remember.” She stirred restlessly in his arms and then stilled. “I remember the wolves…and you.”

Killian smiled, relieved beyond measure that more than lions remained for her this time. She reached up and touched his face. Her fingers were gentle against his jaw, hesitant. It was still the most profound touch he’d ever felt. She was truly still here.

“I love you,” he whispered thickly, turning his head to press a kiss to her palm. “I love you.”

“I…” Aubrey frowned again. “Everything is so confused,” she whispered.

“I know,” he soothed her, sliding down the bed to lie beside her.

“What happened?” she asked.

“Later,” he whispered as he pressed his lips to her forehead. “I’ll tell you everything later.”

She hesitated for a moment and then nodded.

He wrapped his arms around her tightly, pulling her close.

She curled into him, resting her head on his chest with a soft sigh. For long moments, neither spoke. They lay together, peace stretching between them like strands of gold.

“Is this Heaven?” Aubrey finally asked, turning in his arms to look up at him with trust shining in her bright eyes.

Killian smiled. His mate was here, in his arms. Regardless of what waited for them, he was fairly certain this was Heaven. Or as close as he’d ever get anyway.

He pressed his lips to hers.





Acknowledgments



This novel would not have been possible without the help and guidance of quite a few important people in my life. They challenge me to think, to dream, and to never give up. My life would not be the same without them, nor would this story have been completed without them.

Mom, Dad, thanks for handing me an encyclopedia and telling me to look it up for myself when I bugged you with thousands of “why” questions as a kid. All that time I spent looking things up then has helped make research a heck of a lot easier as an author now.

Laura, Ginger, Chris, Adam, Naomi, Chelle, and Beth, thank you for the countless hours of discussion and debate on world religions, cultures, and their rich and varied histories…not to mention the many years of laughter and friendship you’ve given me. The best kinds of friends are those who make you think and then make you laugh. I’m fortunate to have found both in each of you.

Leanne Creamer, Naomi Nakashima, Alicia Torrez, and the rest of our little writing group, thank you for your assistance and encouragement. I couldn’t ask for a better group to journey alongside of. You guys rock. Seriously. I’m cheering so freaking hard for each of you.

Melanie Moreland, Jennie Ashby, and Lisa Michel, thank you all for being another pair of eyes and a listening ear. I adore you all!

Jada D’Lee, thank you for loving this story way back when. I hope you still feel the same.

SS and Khourtniey, I don’t even know where to begin thanking the two of you. You are my partners in crime, my best friends, my family, and my biggest cheerleaders. You two are the coolest team a girl could ask for, and I appreciate you so much. Thank you.

To my readers, bloggers, and street team, thank you for all you do for me. I appreciate each of you more than you know.

Art Morgan, thank you for giving thousands of high school and college students a safe place to write, debate, discuss, and challenge themselves to grow over the years. I learned so much from my time at Pro U, and I cherish each of those lessons. Any success I’ve found I owe in part to my time with your crew and the unique ideas and perspectives found there. Thank you.

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