“Since when are you into baubles?” Silas asked, his tone amused.

“Hell if I know,” I muttered.

I paid for the ring and tucked it into my pocket, still wondering if I’d lost my mind. When I arrived home, I tucked it into a drawer and got ready to work. The strangest sense of loss came over me, and once I was dressed and about to walk out the door, I paused beside the dresser. I stared at the drawer, willing it to give me answers, but it remained stubbornly silent.

What’s the holdup?

My older brother, Kieran’s, voice entered my head a second before I heard a pop, and he appeared before me.

One look at my face, and his mouth tipped down into a frown. “Is everything alright?”

I peeled my eyes away from the spot where the ring was hidden and pasted a careless smile on my face. “Absolutely. You know how it is spending time with Silas lately. I’m still recovering from being subjected to hours of his cheerful disposition.”

Kieran grimaced, knowing exactly what I was talking about. “I see. Well, shake it off. We’ve got shit to do.”

I nodded, and Kieran disappeared. Right before I followed him, I paused once again. My body was fighting me. Refusing to be stuck in this spot all night, I gave in to instinct and opened the drawer to withdraw the ring. I slipped it on the only finger it comfortably fit, then teleported to my front porch where my brothers were waiting.

Though it was clear that they both noticed it at some point in the night, neither mentioned the ring. I was grateful for their silence because had they asked about it, I wouldn’t have an explanation to give.

As I readied myself for bed later the next morning, I considered removing the ring, but I decided I was too tired to fight whatever force was tying it to me.

One hundred years later, I was still wearing it.1SeleneThe past week had been a whirlwind of excitement as I prepared to surprise a childhood friend I hadn’t seen in ages. But now, I was finally here. Dressed up for the occasion, I impatiently waited for the woman of honor to join everyone in the ballroom of her and her husband’s gorgeous home. I’d arrived in town last night but had stayed at a hotel so as not to spoil the secret for Thana since I was a part of her birthday present.

Since I hadn’t recognized the number on caller ID, I almost didn’t pick up when Kieran called to invite me to her party. Although we’d kept in touch after my parents shipped me off to boarding school in Switzerland a little more than nine years ago, we hadn’t been able to meet up in person. By the time I’d come home for the holiday break after my first semester, she had moved because her parents had died. Her aunt couldn’t have cared less about Thana’s happiness, so she hadn’t let her come back for a visit. Since my parents hadn’t trusted her aunt with my safety and were too busy to take me on a trip to her new hometown, we’d been stuck with video calls as our only way to see each other.

Kieran, the man she’d met and married within the past year, had changed all that. Thana’s aunt was no longer a part of her life, and he’d somehow managed to overcome any objections my parents had to me traveling alone for her party. Sending a private jet to pick me up probably had something to do with why they’d caved so quickly. Whatever the reason, I was hoping I’d get to see Thana more often now that we’d broken the seal with this visit. Not that I’d actually seen her yet.

Scanning the crowd of people Kieran had brought together to celebrate Thana’s birthday, I didn’t spot a single familiar face. I felt awkward being surrounded by people I didn’t know, so I made my way over to a table with refreshments even though I was too nervous about seeing Thana to eat. Needing a reason to burn a little more time until she and Kieran came down to join the party, I picked up a glass of punch and sipped at it.

I’d nearly finished my drink when I finally spotted her in the crowd. Staring at my best friend from across a ballroom, I was beyond excited. When her gaze finally landed on me, and she gasped before squealing my name, my eyes filled with happy tears. I raced forward, my amethyst ball gown billowing out behind me, and practically leaped at her when we met in the middle of the room. “Oh, my gosh! It’s been too long,” I cried, squeezing her tight.

“I missed you so much.” She pulled away and flashed me a huge grin. “I can’t believe you’re really here.”

Tags: Fiona Davenport Dusk Before Dawn Fantasy
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