Today we have an excerpt from Christine Feehan’s stunning conclusion to the Sisters of the Heart series. This is bittersweet for me. Sea Haven is one of my favorite fictional places, and I’m sad to see our time with the Prakenskii’s coming to an end. I’m hopeful we haven’t seen the last of them, however.
Victor couldn’t help but stare at the tattoos on his fingers, the ones sleeving his arms, going up his neck and disappearing into his shirt. They all had tattoos. Ones that told stories if you knew how to read them. Every single one of them wore the Torpedo Ink tat on their backs—and they wore it with pride.
The cypress tree spread out with seventeen branches. Roots tangled at the bottom with piles of skulls buried among them. Crows flying away from the tree or picking through the skulls at the roots. Each skull represented a kill. Reaper’s tat was alarmingly full. The others were quickly catching up with this last assignment. He hoped to slow them all down. To find reasons not to do what they did, but Reaper was so right when he said they’d never be able to stop. He’d never be able to stop.
What would Blythe think about their inability to stop what they did best? Could he get away with not telling her? Women, as a rule, didn’t know club business. That was the way it was. They didn’t sit in on the meetings, and they were expected to do what their old men told them to do.
Blythe wasn’t going to like that. She was all about women’s rights and women being strong. He liked strong women, especially her, but he wanted her to trust him enough to follow his lead. He was a leader. He’d been put in that position at age ten and he was still in that position. He couldn’t be anything else. He glanced over at Reaper, who was still sitting on his bike, taking a careful look around. The man was right. Either she loved him for who he really was, or she didn’t.
“Your woman knows how to deal with trauma?” Absinthe prompted.
His woman walked on water. “She can do just about anything. She’ll love Alena and Lana, and they need a little love.”
“They have us,” Absinthe reminded quietly. “We love them, and they still aren’t better.”
Viktor raised his head and looked his brother in the eye. “Are you?”
Because none of them were. Not a single one, especially him. Viktor was as screwed up as the rest of them. He suffered the same nightmares and had all kinds of issues he didn’t want to talk about—especially with someone as sweet and innocent as Blythe. He sighed and shoved his hand through his hair. “You’re right, Absinthe, they aren’t better.”
Alena came out of the women’s room walking toward them with her long, confident strides, her glossy platinum hair flowing around her. She always wrapped her hair in some kind of intricate knot when she was riding, but took it down the moment she was off the bike. He knew that was a leftover from when one of the instructors had beat her senseless and shaved her head. She’d been six and it had taken all of them to console her. But then, she’d never really gotten over it.
“What is it?” Reaper asked.
The man was creepy silent even in motorcycle boots. Viktor heard everything, but he never heard Reaper or Savage. The two were a force to be reckoned with. He didn’t know which was worse, Reaper, the older brother, or Savage, the younger. Most likely Reaper. Had any of Viktor’s birth brothers been in that place of horror, he would have lost his mind.
“We’re all pretty fucked-up, aren’t we, Reaper?” What if Blythe didn’t take him back? That question had haunted him for too long now. He woke up in the middle of the night numerous times, sweat pouring off of him, his heart pounding at the possibility. He had never once considered she wouldn’t want him, not in the first year or two, but then as time stretched out and he couldn’t see or hear from her, that fear had begun to take hold.
“Some of us more than others. You, not so much. You were older than the rest of us and figured out a way to fight back. You kept us human when we would have all been animals.” Reaper gazed out at the shimmering water. “You gave us a life, Czar. Stop beating yourself up. I’ve never seen you like this. She’s either the one or she’s not.”
Viktor pressed his thumb to the center of his left palm and held it there. Prakenskiis didn’t make mistakes when it came to choosing their women. Blythe was the one. She was his wife. His partner. His only. He touched his chest, the lock tattooed over his heart. She had the key tattooed on her body. “She’s the one.” He turned toward the ocean, and strode away from Reaper. The man saw too much.