Gone

The strongest bonds can be broken.


After almost being killed by an arsonist, Summer flees Montreal with her mates. Though sad to leave one father’s city manor, her other father’s rural farm is a welcome haven. With the scent of maple in the air, Summer and her men explore hidden rooms and secret gardens. But as they come closer to learning the truth of her legacy, their enemies conspire.

Summer doesn’t know what her mother did to make the High Priestess of Montreal despise her, but the woman’s hatred is palpable. Though she seems to have delivered them to safety, none of them trust her—at a time when trust is thin on the ground.

Summer finally confronts the fact that her mates are keeping secrets from her. As the rift between Troy and Michael deepens, the strain on their triad reaches the breaking point.

This series never disappoints. If you stumbled on this book, I recommend you go back to the beginning and read them all. You can get the first 5 books as a set. Though these are episodic series with cliff hangers, Ms. Hunter holds your interest from book to book. Always worth the wait!Kindle Reviewer
Once again I felt the need to read this all in one sitting and can't wait for the next installment! I love these main characters and the storyline keeps me interested!Kindle Reviewer
I love this series. I'm never disappointed when each installment comes out. Hazel Hunter can keep you entertained and always keeps you guessing. I find that very refreshing! This was a quick read and I'm excited to read the next one!Kindle Reviewer
Dang it. Just when everything is looking good, someone evil shows up. One you start reading one of this books, you can't stop. I'm in total awe of Ms. Hunter's gift of storytelling. You HAVE to read this series!!!!!!!!!Goodreads Reviewer
I have read this series from the beginning and am still totally hooked! Keeps you wondering what's going to happen next! This book ended on a cliff hanger! So now book nine needs to come out! Great storyline strong characters and hot scenes what more can you ask for??? (Besides book 9)Goodreads Reviewer

Hundreds of torches blazed against the hard onyx of Montreal’s night sky, lashing the stars with whips of black smoke. All the other lights inside the old train yard had been extinguished, leaving the fiery stakes to provide the only illumination. Like an honor guard from Hell, they formed two ranks leading from the deserted and wide-open iron gates to the largest structure. Behind its grimy windows, ominous shadows moved. But the message was clear: come in.

Summer Lautner lowered the binoculars. “All of the building’s exits are guarded by four sentries armed with automatic rifles,” she said. Her view from the passenger side of the vehicle was all too clear. “There are probably hundreds of them inside waiting to watch the executions.”

Summer could hardly believe she’d just uttered the word ‘executions.’ If it weren’t for her fury, she’d be consumed with fear. Yet again her lovers had acted on their own, only to disastrous effect. From the moment she’d lost the baby, her mates had been at odds. From the moment she’d survived the accident, she’d had to face the fact that her considerable power was not always hers to control. Nothing had been right as they struggled to get past their loss. Without each other, none of them was whole.

“We cannot do this by ourselves,” said Lorena Paquet, High Priestess of the Artemis Coven, and the car’s driver.

“There’s no time to get more help,” Summer said. “Go around to the back of the train yard. We’ll leave the car there.”

“You’re not thinking,” Lorena said as she drove around the access road. “We are only two women. Even with our powers, how do you expect to rescue your men with an entire garrison of angry Templars guarding them?”

“Quickly.”

As soon as the car stopped Summer glanced at the dashboard clock, and then told Lorena what she had planned. She saw the doubt in the other woman’s pale green eyes. Whether Summer’s great power would cooperate or not remained to be seen. But if there was a chance that she could save her men, she had to take it. She would not see them die.

“Either you’re with me, or you’re not,” Summer said. “In ten minutes they’re going to carry out their threat to burn them at the stake.”

The high priestess’s mouth tightened as she glanced at the train yard. “You’re convinced that they will go through with it?”

Summer recalled how another greedy Temple Master had looked at her when she’d surrendered to him to save her lovers.

“I’m the Guardian of the Emerald Tablet, the oldest and most powerful spellbook in existence. I think they’ll do anything to get their hands on me.”

As Summer started to get out of the car, Lorena reached over to grab her arm, causing a numbing sensation where she touched her.

“What was that for?” Summer demanded, rubbing the cold spot.

“I borrowed a little of your courage,” Lorena said, smiling like a sleepy cat. “Unlike you, I have never fought a small army of warrior-priests.”

Summer felt like punching the smug witch in the nose. Each time the other woman used her ability to manipulate the emotions of others it seemed to intoxicate her. The last thing she needed now was a tipsy Wiccan.

“Do that again and you’ll be fighting me.”

The gate at the back wall had also been left open, with another gauntlet of torches to show them the way. Massimo Malveaux, the Temple Master of the camouflaged priory, had a flare for the theatrical. All of the guards remained at their posts around the entrances to the engine repair bay, which likely doubled as the garrison’s quarters and training center.

Inside the huge building the Templars had imprisoned Summer’s sentinel mates, Troy Atwater and Michael Charbon. They had come here to rescue Gaston Moulin, a retired Templar who had been caught spying for them. Instead they’d been captured. Summer knew they were being used as bait to lure her here, but she had no intention of offering herself in trade.

“Are you ready for this?” she asked Lorena, who gave her a curt nod. “All right, then. Start with the guards.”

Summer stepped behind the high priestess, who extended her hands and projected her power. Although it could not be seen, a psychic web snaked out across the train yard and ensnared the sentries, all of whom reacted first with puzzled expressions.

“Hello, you witch-hating bastards,” Lorena murmured, hunching her shoulders before she flung her head back and poured her emotional power into the web. “Let’s begin with just a little scare. That nasty feeling you get when a spider crawls over your skin.”

The sentries dropped their weapons as they began slapping at their necks, chests and legs, hopping around as if someone had poured ants into their clothes. If the situation hadn’t been so grim Summer might have laughed.

“Now they’re biting you,” the high priestess said softly, pinching the air with her fingertips. “Harder. They’re drawing blood.”

With a collective yelp of astonishment the sentries tore at their clothes, ripping them in the process as they attempted to strip. Summer felt sick as she saw small wounds appear on the Templar’s exposed flesh.

“They’re injecting their venom, to paralyze you.” Lorena dug her own fingernails into her palms, and smiled as the sentries toppled to the ground. “When you drop, they’re going to eat you–”

“That’s enough,” Summer said, stepping in front of the other woman to break the spell. For a moment she felt the terror of the guards looping back to Lorena, and then it vanished. “This is a rescue mission, not a psychic buffet.”

The high priestess arched her thin brows.

“You show mercy to the enemy, when they mean to burn your lovers alive. Interesting.”

“As opposed to torturing helpless men for my own gratification?” Summer countered. “I think I can live with that. Let’s go.”

Without the sentries, Summer hoped no one else was watching the gates. It was now or never. Hugging the wall, she led Lorena through, darting quickly away from the torches and into the shadows. From there they crept across the back of the yard to the rear entrance of the engine bay. Carefully, they stepped over the unconscious sentries to get to the back door. Though not open, it was unlocked.

Inside, the stench of petrol and incense nearly choked Summer as she looked around the smoky interior of a machine shop. Just beyond it hundreds of Templars stood in squared ranks around three mud-spattered men bound by chains to tall, thick wooden logs. More chopped, gas-soaked wood had been piled around their feet.

Seeing her lovers’ battered bodies and bruised, bleeding faces made Summer’s heart clench. Michael’s immense, gladiator’s body had a half-dozen knife wounds, and the chains binding him had also been wound around his throat. She could hear the labored rasp of his breathing as he watched the Templars without blinking. A heavy layer of caked, dried mud covered Troy, turning him into a golem of himself. Scarlet hemorrhages marred both of his heavenly blue eyes, which appeared to be swelling shut.

“Time’s up,” a smooth, smug man’s voice announced, and all of the Templars let out a short, heartfelt cheer.

“There are too many,” Lorena said to Summer. “I cannot bespell enough of them to stop this.”

Summer knew that without the power of the Emerald Tablet that she and her lovers wouldn’t survive. In fact, she was counting on it. She summoned the ancient entity she guarded.

They’re about to die, and I need your help.

Its reply was instantaneous.

But what will you do in return, Daughter? the querulous voice of the Tablet countered.

She didn’t even hesitate.

If you help save them, then I’ll do whatever you ask.

Instead of laughing or mocking her, the Tablet seemed to sigh.

Remember this promise you have made to me, Genevieve Lautner.

A tall, auburn-haired man dressed in an immaculate suit and holding an enormous flaming torch stepped up to the pyre.

“Have you any last words?”

“Malveaux, you prancing popinjay,” said the older Templar. He spat on the ground before he bared his teeth. “Va te faire foutre, enculé.”

“I won’t miss your foul mouth, Moulin,” Malveaux said as he lowered the torch to the wood. “And you can go fuck yourself too. In Hell.”

Summer’s entire body glowed green as she focused the power of the Emerald Tablet on the torch. It froze into a solid, glittering flare of light. The stillness spread out from the torch to envelope Malveaux and the men surrounding him. Moulin and her lovers also went motionless as a wave of emerald mist swept through the room.

“What have you–” Lorena said, but her mouth remained pouted on the last word as the mist engulfed her.

Summer grabbed the high priestess’s wrist. She lifted her other hand and channeled a second surge of power at the three men. Between them a glowing oval portal formed, showing a lamp-lit outdoor café.

“Gentlemen, we’re leaving.”

Summer dragged Lorena with her into the portal.

The Templars and the priory faded to white. In the space of a heartbeat she hung suspended in time. Though Summer was aware of the other souls she had brought with her, she couldn’t see them. Instead there was only the weightless bright light.

What was, will be again, said the old crone.

They were traveling back in time. Summer had experienced this once before, when she’d journeyed to a battlefield long ago. But as that memory came back, a realization took her breath away.

My baby. I could have gone back to save my baby. Maybe she still could. She would change history so–

We do not change history, said the ancient voice. We but make it.

Summer searched the white expanse around her, but saw only swirling mists.

We’re changing it now, she protested.

No, said the crone. This is how it was.

But–

Again there was a sigh.

Remember your promise.

A brilliant green flash burst all around her, and in the next instant Summer found herself standing on the sidewalk just beyond the sunlit café. Lorena staggered into her, gasping and trembling violently. Then Michael and Troy appeared, along with a reeling Gaston.

The Tablet had kept its word. None of the men had a mark on them.

“How?” the old Templar demanded, his voice hoarse.

He would have fallen to his knees before her if Michael and Troy hadn’t caught him. A pretty young waitress carrying a tray of coffees stopped to peer at them.

“Would you like a table for you and your friends?”

Summer put her arm around the High Priestess to keep her from collapsing. “Yes, please.”

The waitress showed them to a large corner table, where Summer helped Lorena sit down. Although she went to hug Troy and Michael, there were no kisses. Not only had the fury returned, she’d just handed over a blank check to the most powerful entity known to Wiccans.

Troy picked up on her emotions immediately. He took out his mobile phone. “I’ll arrange transportation.”

“Beauty, I–” Michael began.

“Introduce me to your friend,” she told him, though she didn’t wait for him to do that. “It’s good to meet you, Monsieur Moulin. My name is Summer.”

“I am Gaston.” He bowed to her before he sank down into a chair, and gingerly pressed his hands against his sides. “Perhaps you will tell me how you made whole my broken ribs?”

“They were never broken, Monsieur.” Summer sat down in the chair beside him. “We have all gone back through time.” She gazed at the sun in the sky. It had to be about noon. “Right now you and Michael are disappearing from where you met in Victoria Square, while Troy and I are vanishing from my father’s manor house. The Templars never captured you, or shot him. There was no escape attempt. None of it happened.”

Gaston’s jaw sagged. “It is true, then, what they say about you,” he said and shriveled a little. “But why did you save me? I am your enemy.”

She touched his arm. “You put yourself in danger to help me. Enemies don’t do that.”

His hand shook as he covered hers. “Whatever we were before tonight—today—I am your man now, lady.”

Michael came to sit between Lorena and Summer and handed out menus.

“The waitress will return soon,” he said. He passed one to Gaston. “Choose something to order.”

“I need only one thing now,” the old Templar said to the big man. “Will you give me sanctuary, Brother?”