Hello Friends and Fans,
I thought I’d give everyone a little sneak peek into Hunter, Legend of the Silver Hunter, book three. This little unedited snapshot will give you a look at one of the reason’s Grandmother Belle is the cold-hearted woman you’ve seen in Tracker and Witch.
I have discovered a terrible secret regarding great-grandmother’s pact with the shifters of the forest. She gave her youngest sister to the leader of the pack as mate. From what I have been able to discover great-great aunt Ophelia was totally without the gift of Silver magic, a very rare thing only three generations removed from the first of our family. The most terrifying part of this pact is that it must continue each time a new huntress takes over the family. She must give a non-magical sister or cousin of the same generation to the leader of the forest pack as mate or the compact between these dark shifters and the House of Beauty will be broken. I am afraid for my twin sister for neither of us were born with the gift of Silver magic. Our eldest sister goes for the test tomorrow night and if she becomes the huntress then I fear my sweet sister is doomed to this horrid fate.
From the Second Chronicle of the House of Beauty, translated into English in the 21st century.
Interlude: The Belle Estate Fifty Years Ago
Theresa Belle stood with her oldest sister Camille, the new huntress of the House of Beauty, at the edge of a clearing deep in the dark forest on the family estate. In the center of the clearing stood a cottage, which looked like it had been built using plans from a fairy tale. Why is this here in the forest and why did Camille bring me here? Theresa wondered as her sister led her deeper into the clearing. For a brief moment, she thought she felt a tingle on her skin but it was gone before she could be certain. The door to the cottage opened and a tall, broad-shouldered man stepped out and stood waiting. Theresa felt Camille move to stand behind her and gently urging her forward.
“Camille, what’s going on? I don’t understand why you brought me out here. Please tell me what’s going on. I’m scared.”
They’d moved to within handshake distance of the man before Camille answered her sister’s questions.
“Theresa, this is Eugene leader of the forest shifters. I brought you here today to honor our family’s obligation to the compact. You will be Eugene’s mate, although you will never bare his children. This arrangement will last so long as I am the huntress or Eugene is leader of this pack.”
“What? Why? Camille, I don’t understand what you’re talking about.”
“I’m sorry Theresa, this is the way it has to be. We must all serve our function to the House of Beauty. You were born without even the potential to pass on our gift of Silver magic. When you were five, your appendix became inflamed and had to be removed, but that wasn’t all that was done. Mother ordered your ovaries removed as well. You are barren. She knew you would be the one to take, Aunt Mildred’s place.”
“Why, Camille? Why do you have to give me to a filthy shifter? Who is Aunt Mildred and why can’t she stay on doing whatever it is she’s been doing out here?”
“Aunt Mildred was mother’s eldest sister. Like you, she was born without the gift for magic. She can’t continue serving because when mother died and I came to test, Eugene snapped her neck after I killed the previous leader of the pack.”
“And this is the fate you condemn me to? So long as you live as huntress, I live as a whore for this abomination. Why don’t you kill all the shifters in this forest? Why do they exist at all, when our family is dedicated to killing their kind?”
“Because we must train against their kind if we are to kill them so that the rest of humanity doesn’t have to face their threat. Because you were born useless for any other duty, a woman not destined to be the huntress can serve. This is your fate sister. All your needs will be met and as long as you live here in this cottage the Belle side of the compact is honored and the shifters of the forest must honor their side of the bargain and leave the rest of the family in peace.”
“I may be a dark shifter but I still honor my word. I you will not have me willingly as mate, I promise I will never force you and you may live out your days a virgin.”
“What’s to keep me from just running away from here?” Theresa asked her sister.
“Magic, for starters. I know you felt it when you crossed the boundary of this clearing. The spell that guards this place prevents all shifters save the pack leader from entering but in exchange, it prevents those without magic from leaving. Get to know Eugene, sister he will be your only contact with the outside world from this day forth.”
Camille turned and strode out of the clearing hardening her heart to the pleas, cries, and screams of her baby sister. She knew the sounds of Theresa’s screams and curses would haunt her for the rest of her life.
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