Forever Joined

Ancient secrets are the deadliest.

Although Heather and Lucas find the acceptance and love they’ve always craved, their union with Astrid and Sander has unexpected consequences. Even as the foursome struggles with their new reality, the ancient shifters make their own plans. But with Templars at the coven’s doorstep, there are no good choices. Cut off from help and with too few Wiccans to make a stand, the wintry refuge that had once been a sanctuary becomes a trap.

As deadly plans and dangerous blood rituals swirl around the mountain like a storm, Heather realizes she must embrace her Wiccan heritage in order to save her loved ones, even if it means losing herself.

Wow what an amazing and wild ride. The imagination in this story will blow your mind. It does run on the super wild side and may not be for everyone. But if you want to walk on the wild side this series is for you.Kobo Reviewer
With the expected twists and turns that I have come to expect from Hazel Hunter, this certainly gave me a feeling of satisfaction as I reached the conclusion.Merissa (Archaeolibrarian)
What can I say about the conclusion of the series: BRILLIANT.Emma, Amazon Reviewer)
All I can say is wow. What an ending to this wonderful series. Just like with all the rest of the stories this one draws you in and I was unable to put it down until I finished it.Vicki, Amazon Reviewer
Absolutely wonderful finale. I love the journey, the emotion and the passion in the series.Amazon Reviewer

The sun reflecting from the frozen waterfall sifted through Heather Moore’s hair, scattering tiny diamonds of light through the fiery golden strands. The enormous female cougar beside her rubbed her sleek head against Heather’s thigh, but her tawny eyes remained watchful as she gazed at the forest. On the other side of the trees lay the main house of Sanctuary Coven, which had been invaded and occupied by Templars, the immortal enemies of all Wiccans.

“How did they find us?” Heather murmured.

Her words created small, white breath clouds that hung in the still, frigid air. She couldn’t believe that the fanatics had so easily infiltrated Sanctuary Coven’s remote compound in the Colorado mountains. In just one night they had captured her sister, Marguerite, her brother-in-law Dane, and nearly every member of their coven.

The big cat couldn’t reply, but her thoughts and emotions streamed into Heather’s mind, forming a primitive collage of wariness, determination, and love.

When the cougar shifted back into a human, she would again become Astrid Doray, one of Heather’s three immortal lovers. She remained in her stronger animal form to guard Heather until the males in their quaternity, Lucas Carré and Sander Doray, returned to them.

Heather knew how lucky she and her mates were to escape the Templars—and only because they had spent last night making love at the waterfall. The warding spell Lucas had cast to give them privacy as he and the Dorays initiated Heather into immortality had also prevented them from being seen by their enemies.

The cougar’s muscles bunched as she crouched down, and Heather heard the sound of snow crunching come from the trees. They both relaxed as a big, dark-haired Frenchman and a huge male cougar emerged into view. Heather hurried to Lucas, whose expression was grim. She reached down to the big cat, who licked her fingers before nuzzling the other cougar.

Since her initiation Heather no longer had to use her second sight to read her mates’ auras, which thanks to Lucas and their bond had wrapped the four of them in shimmering, full-spectrum light. Both men’s colors now looked darker, however, and Lucas’s elemental light ability made his corona crackle with seething power.

“The intruders are Templars from Denver,” Lucas told her. “They have occupied the coven house, with sentries at every door and searchers patrolling the woods. They brought at least twenty transport trucks to move their men, so it is likely the entire battalion is here. We also saw their encampment, which blocks the only road off the mountain.”

That, Heather knew, was the worst possible scenario. “Then they’ve come for Sander and Astrid.”

The Frenchman nodded. “Their leader—who Marguerite told us disguises herself as a man—is torturing Dane for information about them. I can use my power to close his wounds, but we must first drive out the Templars.”

With their auras touching Heather could read his thoughts, and they horrified her.

“You can’t burn the coven house. You’ll kill everyone inside.”

“I can use my ability to control light to make the enemy believe that the house is on fire,” he said. “But I will need your help to convince them of that, cherie.”

She frowned. “I don’t understand.”

Lucas took her hands in his.

“I believe your ability to access the minds of others is not limited to only reading their thoughts, cherie. You can use it to make them believe whatever you wish.” He paused, his face clouding with a dark memory. “I have seen other Wiccans with this power.”

Heather knew he was referring to his own father, a warlock who had used that power to manipulate other Wiccans and begin a coven war. Lucas had been the one to kill him. The thought sobered Heather, though she was far from convinced she could do the same.

“Even if you’re right, and I can access more than one mind at a time, I still have to merge my aura with theirs,” she reminded him. “We know my range is limited. To get close enough to do that I’d have to go inside.”

He grimaced as he squeezed her hands. Then he slowly nodded.

“You must make them believe that you are surrendering to them.”

Magic shimmered in the cold air as Sander shifted into human form. His long, white-blonde hair cascaded down the sides of his tall, lean body. A moment later Astrid also shifted from cat to human.

“No, Lucas,” Sander said. The usually thoughtful, optimistic shifter now sounded as if he wanted to attack the Frenchman. “You will not let our Heather anywhere near those butchers.”

“I know you wish only to protect her, beloved,” Astrid said. Naked, like Sander, she trembled slightly in the cold. Even so, she gave Lucas and Sander a sharp look. “But this is a choice she must make.”

Heather thought of the Templars who had tried to abduct her and the Dorays back in Denver. Just two of them had wreaked complete havoc, and had required all four of them to defeat. The prospect of facing a small army of the immortal fanatics terrified her.

“You cannot ask this of her,” Sander insisted. “I can smell her fear.”

“That’s because I’m afraid,” Heather admitted.

Although she had become immortal last night, Heather knew she could still be killed. Yet if she didn’t try to free the coven, their enemies might kill Marguerite, Dane, and all their people.

“I’m not a warrior like Lucas, or as experienced with magic as you and Astrid, but there’s no other way that I can see. I have to try.”

“Then take me in with you,” Sander said. “I can protect you.”

“This time, for once, it’s my turn to do the protecting,” Heather said. She stepped up to him, and placed her hand over his heart. “What I really need is for you to believe in me.”

His arms came up around her as torment filled his bright blue eyes. “Your courage shames me.”

“I love you,” she said. She stood on her tiptoes to kiss him before she turned to their other mates. “Lucas, I have to see if I can access more than one mind at a time. We should do a practice run.” She glanced around them. “Preferably where we can’t be seen.”

“Back to the waterfall,” Lucas said. “The wards there will prevent us from being seen by any patrols the Templars send out.”

After the Dorays reclaimed their clothes and dressed, Heather and Lucas accompanied the shifters to the waterfall. Old Renaud, the sole member of the coven to escape the Templar raid, was waiting. Blind and mute, the elderly shifter sat huddled in a quilt. Lucas went to tell him what was happening.

Heather hated the fact that the plan to free the coven and drive out the Templars hinged entirely on her. Lucas had been serving in the Magus Corps for centuries, and the Dorays had been casting spells and shape-shifting for over a thousand years. She’d been immortal for less than a day, and she hadn’t practiced magic or even lived as a Wiccan since her teens. How could she convince an entire army of Templars that she was a member of the coven, much less bespell their minds?

“Heather.” Astrid said, and put one slim arm around her shoulders. “You are still worried.”

“I’m just a little nervous.” She leaned against the shifter. “I never thought I’d regret giving up my Wiccan heritage to live a mortal life, but now I realize how weak I am. I can count on one hand the number of spells I’ve actually cast.”

“There is more to being Wiccan that spell-casting.” Astrid stroked her hand over Heather’s arm. “You were born to magic. It runs in your veins.”

Sander came to them, his aura still shadowed by worry and anger.

“You will not change your mind, and permit me to go with you?”

“No.” Heather touched his cheek. “But I’ll take you with me in my heart.”

“We must begin now,” Lucas said as he joined them.

Heather tried to smile a little, but gave up and nodded.

Lucas spread his arms, absorbing the sunlight into his body as he amassed what he needed in order to use his ability. He turned and extended his arms, and a circle of flame appeared around him. It looked so real that Heather almost expected to see his clothes burn. Sander and Astrid left her to step into the circle on either side of the Frenchman.

Heather took a deep breath, channeled her power into her aura, and then extended it. Once it engulfed her mates, she focused on their minds. At first it seemed like trying to hold three conversations at once, and she grimaced.

“You are listening to our thoughts,” Lucas said. “You must send yours to us.”

“I can’t do this,” Heather said, feeling desperate now. “I’m going to get us all killed.”

“Look at me,” Astrid said, and when she did the shifter smiled. “You are trying to protect us, even now. We know you will not harm us.”

That made Heather feel a little steadier, and she tried again. This time she felt herself slip back along the connection between her mind and her mates. She sent her thoughts out, reaching into her wife and her two husbands, until she felt herself inside them.

Feel the fire’s heat and smoke. You’re burning and choking. The blaze is spreading out of control. Run! Run for your life or die!

Astrid cried out and ran out of the flaming light, followed by Sander, who stopped and glanced back at Lucas.

“Something is wrong,” Sander yelled. “You’re burning him. He cannot breathe.”

“No, mon mari.” The flaming light surrounding Lucas vanished. “She only made you believe I was.”

“But I could feel it.” Sander glanced down at his hands before he regarded Heather with pride and awe. “Immortality has bestowed you with a formidable power.”

“I don’t feel very formidable,” she admitted before she turned to Astrid. “Did you feel it?”

The shifter nodded. “Remember, sweet Heather, that we are older than the Templars. We also knew exactly what you meant to do. Still, you made us both believe the fire was real.”

“As did I, and I gave you the light.” Lucas came to Heather, and rested his hands on her shoulders. “I know you are still afraid, mon coeur, but you can do this. Now we must decide on a signal, so I know when to use my light.”

“We will be able to see her,” Astrid said. “The way we watched you and Heather at the hotel in Denver. Heather, when you are ready to cast the spell, touch your left ear.”

Heather nodded. “Is there anything else I should do?”

The Frenchman’s smile faded. “Only remember to think of nothing more than what we want them to believe, and release their minds once they run.”

Her throat tightened. “You mean I could keep controlling them if I don’t?”

The Frenchman nodded slowly. “If you are as powerful as I suspect, I believe you could do anything you wish to them.”