William (The Valentines) - By Sam Crescent
I would like to thank my family for all the love and support. Also, I would like to say a huge thank you to Rebecca Hill, my lovely editor. Without you this wouldn’t be possible.
A few hundred years ago
The sounds filling the air were of running feet and heavy, panicked breathing. Two people running for their very lives. They ran through the forest, not sure what was coming. William could feel the power coming towards them, not seeking to help their situation but to destroy them.
“Run, Emma.” William grabbed her hand and urged her forward.
“I’m trying. I can’t continue anymore,” she gasped, slowing to a stop, grabbing her side in pain.
“We don’t have time for this.” He pulled on her arm and tried to get her to move, his fear for her life making him forget she was only human. She cried out, falling to her knees.
“Stop, William, please. I can’t go on,” she sobbed.
He glanced down and saw her agony. They’d been running for well over an hour. William looked through the thick layers of leaves and trees, nodding. He crouched down beside her.
“We can stay and rest a little.” His eyes strayed to the trees all around them—any one of them could hide a foe.
She shook her head. “You should go on.”
He disagreed. “I’m not losing you.” He held her face—beautiful; this was the woman he had fallen in love with—and he could see how weak she was. Already, her face was beginning to look gaunt and shadows were appearing underneath her eyes. He knew in his heart of hearts that unless she rested she would not be able to make it.
He laid a gentle kiss on her lips. They felt dry even against the barest touch. He could taste death and he couldn’t…he wouldn’t accept it.
“We’re in this together. No matter what.” He held her against the strength of his body. “Take some more of my blood.”
He made to bite into his flesh, to make it easier for her to drink the powerful liquid, but her hand on his arm stopped him.
“No, no more.”
He nodded reluctantly, holding her cold body against him, humming to himself. He could even smell a change within her, almost an acceptance of what was about to happen. It terrified him. He kept looking around for any signs of danger, hoping and praying that he wouldn’t find any. William wouldn’t be able to protect them both for long. He wasn’t strong enough.
William knew, deep down, that this sense of calm was about to end. His brother Robert had already told him what to expect. His father had shipped his mother, younger brothers and sisters off out of danger the moment it had all gone wrong. The witch hunts had grown more deadly than any of them could have imagined. A madman’s accusations…and now this. Humans hunting them as though they were nothing but dogs, forcing them to run for their lives.
None of them were safe anymore.
“They’re coming. I can feel them, William. So much anger and fear, and it’s all for us.” He could hear the fear in her voice. They had survived many attempts on their lives—they were immortal, after all. But never had anything scythed through their numbers so quickly. Just as a plague kills humans, now the humans were a plague to the immortals, killing them off one by one.
“Don’t worry—just rest,” he told her, but his eyes stayed on the forest. He could feel them there. He couldn’t see them, but it wouldn’t be long until they were here.
Just then, Emma started to panic in his arms, lashing out with her hands and screaming, ‘Get off me, get off me’, over and over again. He couldn’t see what had her so terrified.
“Emma? What is it?” He was helpless. She was screaming and crying for him to help her and he didn’t know how. There was nothing near her that could hurt her.
Laughter emerged from the tree line, followed by a male form.
“Witches are such pesky little things.”
William stood and squared off against James, the Alpha wolf of the Beyer West pack.
“What are you doing here?” William asked.
A female followed him—her eyes were shut, James guiding her by the hand, and he could tell that she was chanting. William was confused. Why would Emma be terrified of what was coming when James was bringing reinforcements? James was one of them, he wouldn’t attack them. Would he? But the wolves were supposed to be taking cover…
“Yes. My little witch, it seems, is