Humans weren’t as “human” as they thought they were. In fact, thousands of years ago, when the residents of the realms mated within each other more frequently, their offspring had begun to have diluted paranormal DNA. Usually, the most dominant supernatural of the couple or triad would be the one to pass on their DNA, and the child would be of that race. However, as time moved on, some couplings had created non-paranormal children. Those children became the human race.
Millennia passed, and the humans forgot where they had truly come from and created their own civilization, separate from the realms. As such, the realms forbade telling the humans of magic or what lay beneath the surface of myth and wards. However, within each human lay a dormant strain or strains of DNA that, in the right circumstances, could be altered enough to force the change.
The Conclave had taken the energy of its past and peoples and created a lightning strike to forever change the lives of seven women. Those women had been friends through the years, though they hadn’t known of the supernatural world until it was too late.
Now, one by one, each woman found their mate or mates and, once they finalized the bond, changed into their paranormal self. So far, there was a brownie, a leprechaun, a pixie, and even a djinn. Oh, and he couldn’t forget the succubus. Sweet little Nadie didn’t appear the type to be a sex-driven paranormal, but since she had mated not only a grizzly bear shifter but also a dragon, she seemed to be in good hands.
Of the seven lightning-struck, there were only two left who hadn’t changed. Eliana and Amara.
And Amara was his.
Only he wasn’t sure he and Seth were hers.
Tristan shook his head and tried to clear the melancholy. He’d come to the bar because his friend Levi—who had mated the pixie, Faith—had invited him. He would do his damnedest to not mess up their evening.
“Hey, you made it,” Levi said as he stood from his chair. He gave Tristan a tight hug but had a brow raised. “You okay?” he mouthed. It made sense that the other man wouldn’t whisper it, as there were a few shifters in the room and even whispering wouldn’t keep the conversation private.
Tristan gave the other man a tight nod before taking the empty seat next to Eliana. The woman smiled at him and pushed over a mug of beer.
“Seth said you were on your way, so Becca got you a beer.”
Becca grinned and waved. “I technically don’t work here anymore, but Dante doesn’t mind if I go behind the bar.”
The dragon just raised his pierced brow and took a sip of his drink. “Sure, dear. Whatever you say.”
Hunter, Becca’s wolf mate, just let out a small growl, his gold eyes full of humor.
Levi marveled at how the group worked together and each had their own stories of war and mating. Yet they all fit together cohesively. He knew most of them had children, as well; though none of them were present at the moment. What he wouldn’t do for a taste of what they had.
Without thought, he looked across the table at Amara and froze. She stared at him, a little crease forming between her brows. It was as if she didn’t know what to make of him. Yet he knew that wasn’t recognition of their fate that he saw within the depths of her chocolate-brown eyes. It was confusion. Wondering why he was there, perhaps? Why he and Seth kept looking at her? Why she was there?
He didn’t know what she was thinking, what she wanted, but Seth’s words rolled around in his brain. It would pain them all when he spoke to her, when he told her what he and Seth were feeling, but standing by and letting nothing happen was an even worse mistake.
Tristan knew he wasn’t keeping his distance solely because of Amara’s feelings. He was scared. So damn scared that he’d lose everything. Things he didn’t have in the first place. Because once he spoke to her, once he told her about what he felt and the idea that their fate might be denied, he’d lose any chance at the dreams he had, at the idea of what could be. Things were in limbo at the moment. She didn’t know that two men wanted her for their own. Didn’t know that their worlds would be forever changed once the truth was out in the open. For now, she was safe, and he and Seth were the only two in pain. Once he revealed all, she’d be in the same agony as they were. He wasn’t sure he could do that.
But not doing anything would make him a coward. And Tristan Archer was no coward.
Amara turned away from him then to talk to Lily, the brownie mated to the warrior angel, Shade. But he’d caught the look of worry in Amara’s eyes before she moved her gaze from him.