The Collettes: Willa
By Dahlia Rose
The saga of The Collette sisters comes to a close with this thrilling third installment! The final battles draws near.
Betrayed by the one person they thought they could trust, Willa Collette had to fight for her life as she and her family fled the one place they could call home. To protect her sisters, she leaves them behind in search of her piece of the Lazarus amulet and her mate who has called her from another plane.
Tyson Finn is now her eternal love and together they travel to New Mexico to complete their destiny. In ten days the final battle will be fought for the fate of mankind. The vampire sisters and the allies that have joined their quest will travel to the lair of Carthos, where the balance might shift and forever change the world.
Three voices sounding distant and muffled, Willa tried with all her concentration to bring them closer in her mind. As soon as she fought through the haze back to the conscious world intense pain hit her. She bit her lip to keep from crying out. Instead she tried to focus on the conversation going on around her.
"Motherfucker!" Gideon snarled as he drove like a demon. "We should've known, goddammit, I knew something felt off. Jarrod is Carthos."
"How can he be? He raised us ... after three hundred years how could we not have known..." Sola's voice broke with unshed tears.
"He ... betrayed us ... I could not ... sense him..." Willa's voice was weak as she lay across Luna's lap in the third seat of the black SUV.
"Willa! Honey, how do you feel?" Luna asked.
"Like I was stabbed." She tried not to think about the burning fire going through her veins.
It was all they could do to pile into the truck and head for the city. Willa could hardly stand as they moved across the lawn. The mansion had been compromised by the one person they least expected, and Willa was badly hurt. Not only did he stab her, but the blade was treated, and now the effects of garlic and holy water flowed through her veins. Sola sat up front with Gideon while Luna held her hand over Willa's gaping wound. She could see the fear and hurt in her sister's eyes. George, who sat in the middle row not saying much, had a look of pure anger blazing from her eyes. They were all stunned by what had happened.
"So this was his plan all along: to raise us, to keep us alive so we could find the amulet for him?" Luna swore viciously. Angry tears rolled down her cheeks.
"We couldn't have known ... we couldn't..." Willa's words broke off as a wave of excruciating pain went through her body. This time she couldn't help crying out in agony.
"Damn, she needs fresh blood and fast!" Luna said harshly.
"I'm going as fast as I can!" Gideon replied grimly.
Their voices began to fade again. Willa could feel the mist claiming her once more.
"Willa, stay awake! Come on, baby, stay awake!"
Luna's voice called out to her from the mist, but she could not fight her way back. Someone else was calling to her and she had to go to the strong voice pulling her away.* * * *
Willa. The voice called to her from between the mist, and as she walked slowly she could see no one.
"Where are you?" she called out. Her eyes peered through the fog as her name was whispered again like the wind caressing her cheeks.
"I'm here, my love."
"My love?" Willa questioned. "How can you call me that?"
"Because I have dreamed about you for months now." A figure approached her out of the mist that swirled around them. "You are Willa Collette, third daughter of vampire blood, and I am your mate."
She looked at the man standing before her. He was almost a head taller than her. His hair was long and the color of a raven's feathers. It hung down onto the brown leather coat that covered his shoulders. His face was angular, and behind thin rimmed glasses his eyes--beyond ice blue to the point they were almost opaque--stared back at her.
"How do you know of me, of my family?" she whispered.
"I just do, and for your part of this quest you must come to me, Willa. We must do this alone, without your sisters. To keep them safe, we must find your part of the amulet alone. It is only when we have the final piece that we must all stand together to face Carthos. He has hidden in plain view all this time; his home is in catacombs underneath the mansion. He had them built centuries ago while you were children.
"Oh my God! All these years! I can't leave them we ... we have been betrayed by the one we trusted the most. Together we are stronger, I can't leave them to fight Jarrod ... I mean, Carthos alone."
"They will be safe; you have to be strong for all of them now. Their spirits are low, you have to be their strength."
"Where will I find you?" Even as she asked the question, Willa knew in her heart she could trust him. Her gift may have failed her when it came to the traitor in their midst, but she was certain this man was the key for her to find the final piece of the amulet."
"I am Tyson, come find me, Willa. Let us end this evil once and for all." His hand went around to the back of her neck. Willa closed her eyes as the warmth of his touch met her skin. He whispered in her ear before pulling away, "Now wake up! Your sisters are worried! Wake up!"
The final words from his lips echoed in her mind as she sat right up. She was no longer lying in Luna's lap but in a bed, covered with a soft blanket. She touched her chest where the wound was and found it was healed. The burn of garlic and holy water no longer stung her veins.
"Willa, you're awake!" George exclaimed. She ran to the door of the room and yelled out, "Hey guys, she's awake!"
While foot steps came thudding down the hall, Willa swung her feet out of the bed and began to rummage through the drawers.
"Whoa, naked vampire!" Gideon said. She turned, just in time, to see him backing out the door and into her sisters who were following close on his heels.
"I'm sure you've seen the naked body before Gideon," she countered dryly. "Where are we? I need clothes."
"We're at my safe house. I bought a second apartment off the radar years ago that no one knows about, just in case," Luna answered.
"I guess this is a just in case scenario if I ever saw one," Willa murmured. She walked over to what she assumed was a closet door and pulled it open. It was empty except for some boxes on the floor. "Do you have clothes in this place?"
She heard Luna sigh and she crossed the room, throwing open another door. "Here's what you're looking for."
"Why do you need clothes so badly?" Sola asked.
Willa started to pull articles of clothing from the large closet, wrinkling her nose at some of Luna's choice in outfits. She finally selected a pair of brown soft suede pants, a black turtleneck, and brown jacket to match. She was lucky they all were the same size down to the shoes.
"Well?" Sola queried when she got no answer from her sister.
"I have to go find my mate and the amulet." It was her simple answer as she dressed. "Do we have weapons here?"
"Honey, we don't have to think about that right now, you were hurt and we have to figure out a way to deal with Jarrod, I mean Carthos." Luna made a sound of frustration. "I can't seem to stop calling him Jarrod!"
"It's okay, baby." George walked over to rub Luna's shoulders gently. "It's not easy to be betrayed by someone you love."
"He didn't love us! He wanted to use us; fate would have it that he played his hand too soon," Willa said harshly.
"Willa, we need to talk first, we can't go off alone now. He'll be looking and his minions will be everywhere with the scent of us in their noses," Sola explained.
"My mate called to me while I slept. He came to me in my dreams and found me instead of the other way around. I have to go alone!"
"No way in hell am I letting you go off by yourself!" Luna turned on her. Along with her eyes flashing fire, Willa could see intense worry in her gaze. "How do you know it was not one of Carthos' tricks? You could be walking into a trap."
"I trust my gift, Luna. I know he is correct. I have to leave both of you and your pieces of the amulet safe. All of us out in the open leaves us exposed to Carthos. The four of you must remain hidden until I come back with my piece. It is only then we can fight the final battle and take that bastard who raised us back to Hell."
Luna's voice broke as she spoke. Willa had never heard such emotion in her sister's voice and saw tears threaten to spill over onto her cheeks. "Do you know what my first sight was in the daylight? I saw my sister's blood on the grass! All my life, I longed to see daylight. At that moment I hated the light more than anything. These damn amulets almost cost me you! I will not lose either you or Sola! So you are going to have to do a damned good job of kicking my ass to keep me from going with you!"
"I think she said it for all of us," Gideon said. "Safe or not, we all travel together from now on. We are never going to be caught off guard like that again."
"Fine, we'll come up with a plan before I make any decisions." Willa looked around at each person whom she called family, each of them defiantly telling her in their own way that she was not going to be going alone. She loved each one of them, but she knew in her heart what had to be done.
That night, after all the talking and all of the planning, while they slept in the arms of their mates, she slipped out into the darkened New York streets. Her heart was heavy as she left her family, but she felt her courage build with each step farther away she took. This was her time and she had to do it alone.* * * *
"She's gone," Luna stated, her tone flat and dead. They all stared at her with horrified expressions. It was early evening of the next day when they came into the living room.
"How long have you been sitting here?" George crossed from the doorway to crouch beside the chair Luna was sitting in.
"A few hours, I got up to check on her, I just knew something was up." Luna handed George a piece of paper she had in her hand. "By the time I found this in her room she'd been gone for awhile."
Sola and Gideon moved from the doorway to sit down. George looked at the piece of paper in her hand and began to read.
By the time you read this I will already be gone. I know you think that we must stay together but in my heart of hearts I know this part of the journey I must take alone. You, on the other hand, must stay hidden from Carthos as long as you possibly can, move around if you need to and keep your senses open for him and his minions. Do not be caught off guard again. This will end on the grounds we called home. Carthos has hidden there under the place we call home all this time. Meet me there in ten days on our birth night. We will take the light to him and destroy him and his evil forever. You have my love, my sisters, Gideon and George as well. Trust me and the gifts our parents gave me. The Collette sisters shall be victorious, remember ten days.
Everyone was silent as George's words trailed off until Sola spoke up.
"Willa ... Willa is the gentle one ... we have to take care of her."
"Who took care of her when you all lived apart?' Gideon asked. "Give her the benefit of the doubt here. She sounds sure of what she is doing. I say we do as she says and meet her in ten days.
"It was different then, we weren't in as much danger as we are now, especially with Jarrod's true self coming to light."
"Jarrod's true self!?" Luna laughed harshly. "Let's call it as it is, Sola, he's Carthos and he's a fucking monster! You are right about one thing. I'm not sure Willa can handle this by herself, we should try to find her."
"Why do you make it seem like she is so weak because she is soft spoken? She has heart and I think she can do this," George spoke up.
"Because we have been sisters for three hundred years, she only drinks from humans but never kills them. She keeps pets, for goodness sake! She is better than us both! When it was her time I was going to go with her even if she knew it or not!" Luna cried out. "How can we let her face this danger alone?"
"It seems to me by her words and her actions that Willa has more strength than you ever gave her credit for," Gideon murmured.
"What will we do?" Sola asked, looking for a unanimous decision from them.
"I say we wait," George stated.
"We wait and give her a chance," Luna agreed.
"We keep our heads low and see her in ten days in Albany." Gideon nodded as he spoke.
"Then we wait and when it is time we take Carthos down," Sola affirmed. It was up to Willa now. Their fate was in her hands now.* * * *
"They are gone, sire; none of the others report any sign of them, not even a scent in the wind." Carthos' man servant spoke as he knelt at his feet.
"That is impossible! Did you check their homes in the city?" Carthos asked. This time his nonchalance was gone as he strode back and forth in his chambers.
"All places have been searched. Guards have been left, just in case, they should come there."
"What about the mansion, have the amulet pieces been found?" Carthos yelled.
"Sire, Sola's room was empty, even the small floor safe she had installed. Luna's car was empty. They had the pieces on them when they got away."
Carthos looked at the trembling man still kneeling by his chair, his anger rose with every word he spoke. He had played his hand too soon! Now he had lost both pieces of the amulet. He could only hope that he had mortally wounded Willa. If so, they would have to use the other pieces of the amulet to find the third. Ten days from now, on the night of their birth, he needed to have the amulet in his grasp to complete his ascension to become a day walker. Right now his plan was at risk. The women had gone underground and he had no clue what to expect next.
Carthos took a calming breath. He had seen the fear in their eyes when he wounded Willa. They felt betrayed and would act irrationally, trying to get revenge for what he had done. They were still young. He held the upper hand in experience. He sat down in his chair and stroked his manservant's hair. The man shivered beneath his touch. Carthos felt a thrill knowing that his benevolence made his manservant almost weep with pleasure.
"Keep watch for them and tighten the guards on the entrance to the catacombs. If any sign of them arises come to me immediately."
"Yes,master. Thank you, sire." The manservant bowed lowed and went out through the door, letting it close behind him.
When he left, Carthos flicked his hands, the candles and the torches went out in an instant. It immersed the room in darkness and he let himself luxuriate in the pitch black room. He would be able to play in the darkness or walk in the daylight as he chose very soon. It was only a matter of time.