The Witch's Daughter - Laken Cane

Part One

No Choice

Chapter One

“Rune,” he murmured. He closed his eyes and said it again. “Rune.”

He was crying. She saw wet tracks of tears on his familiar, beautiful face.

But it couldn’t be.

She stared, silent.


He started toward her but she shook her head to halt him, then pressed a fist into her stake wounds. “Not possible,” she said.

He waited.

“It’s a trick,” she continued. “Damascus is fucking with me.” She nodded, and continued to stare, unblinking and…


It wasn’t possible.

He was dead.

She’d killed him.

She’d held him as he bled out on the white, cold snow of Wormwood.

She’d thought of him every single day since.

Every second.

Because she simply hadn’t realized what he’d meant to her until he was gone.

Until it was too late.

If she had it to do again, would she have been so muddled by her monster that she’d have been able to resist her love?

To have cared that she might have destroyed the man he was?


Fuck, no.

Maybe not.

“Rune,” he said, again. That was all. Just her name. And in her name was everything.

His desolate stare was too much for her to bear.

She took a step closer to him. She tried to speak, but her teeth clacked together so violently she couldn’t get the words out.

Oh God, how she wanted to touch him.

Wanted to see if his flesh would be warm beneath her fingertips or if he would simply disappear and she would see that she’d…

“Holy fuck,” she exclaimed. “It was the blood. I fed on that bastard and now I’m hallucinating.”

He blew out a hard breath and the air from it caressed her skin. “Come here, sweet thing. Please. Come here.”

And it didn’t matter that she was sure she was imagining him, that she was hallucinating, that the grief and devastation she’d feel all over again when he disappeared would kick her ass. It just didn’t matter.

She ran to him and slammed into his body. She flung her arms around him and squeezed so tightly he grunted.

And he was real.

He was fucking real.

“Z,” she cried. “Z.”

Oh God, he was real.

He murmured nonsense, whispered her name, and groaned as he roamed her body with his hands. “It’s you. It’s you.”

“How?” she asked. Afraid to believe.

But she knew.

“No human can cross over to Skyll, Rune. Unless that human is dead, the worlds have aligned at the perfect moment, and the human is sucked in...”

Z had died in Wormwood.

And had crossed over to Skyll.

He was as real as she was.


He was alive.

She didn’t know how to process it.

She pulled back so she could look at him, then ran her hands over his arms, his face, his chest. “I miss you. I miss you so much.”

“Missed, sweet thing. Missed me. I’m here. You’re here…” He shook his head, his voice unsteady. “Did you…” He hesitated.

“I can’t die, Z. I came to find Damascus. To take a cure back to keep the Others alive.”

But…go back? Leave Z and go back to her world?

Could she do that for any fucking thing, for anyone?


God help her, no.

She didn’t think she could.

He stiffened at Damascus’s name, and then went still. “You know a way out of here? A way back home?”

Shit. “Z…there’s no way you can go back. You’re…”

You’re dead there.

He nodded. “I know. But you…you can’t go back, Rune.”

She hooked her hand around his neck. “I don’t want to try to figure that out right now. I’m barely able to accept that I’m standing here in the dark holding you. Holding my Z.”

She let go of him suddenly and stepped back, closing her eyes.

She clenched her fists and kept her eyes closed for as long as she could stand to.

When she opened them, Z was still there, staring at her, unsmiling.

“I had the same thought,” he said. “But I was afraid you’d disappear.”

He grabbed her then, as though he couldn’t bear not to touch her, and only then did he relax against her. “You’re here.”

His voice was soft and smooth and curled around her like a warm blanket in the coldest winter.

But something was different. She didn’t want to know it, didn’t want to admit it, but he was different.

She felt it.

“Z,” she murmured. “Something…”

But he kissed her and she forgot her worries. His kiss was desperate and full of torment, but it was also a kiss of love.

The kiss borne of a love that had been building from the moment they’d met.

She wound her arms around his neck and held him to her, moaning a little as she kissed him, held him, loved him.

Because something was fucking wrong, and she