Monty – Entry XI

“She and I might have been born siblings in this life, but as far as ‘first life’ relations go, that isn’t the case. She’s nothing to me,” the demon declared, stepping back toward their original meeting place. Monty ambled along with Leah between them. “You’re her guardian now, so don’t fuck things up. Give her everything she needs and don’t fight it when she eventually leaves.”

Monty froze, his eyes lowered. Clint’s words not only stung, but reminded him of something Kris had told them just hours earlier:

“Bandits don't do well in confined spaces--they're used to traveling by any means necessary.”

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Monty – Entry X

The young man who stood before him could not have been more than a year or two his senior. The sides of his head were shaved short, the remainder of his thick, sable twists fashioned into a hairstyle that seemed a cross between a mohawk and an afro. His skin and clothes were immaculate, as if he had never lived a day outside of a colony.

The ethereal orb floating within the confines of his chest puzzled Monty further. He confirmed that the stranger was nineteen years old, that he was a warrior, and the leathery wings that hung from his core marked him a demon. What the royal advisor could not see, however, was the brand of the tribe or coven from which the demon hailed.

Was I wrong? he wondered. Could he be someone else? There’s no way that’s Lizzie’s brother… Right?

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Lizzie’s Diary – Entry 8

“You really believe that?” Gavin whispered from her left. She hadn’t realized he was standing so close to her.

“Yes,” she breathed softly. “Mona also said that Desideria Alagona gave Frankie her blessing to move forward with the relationship.”

Kaine and Tawni swapped appalled looks. “The old prophet? Seriously?” Tawni groaned. “I heard that she only ever does that when the two are soul mates. Frankie really is meant to be with Carmen…”

Speaking so low that only Lizzie could hear him, Gavin said, “I meant, ‘do you really believe in soul mates?’ ”

Taken aback, Lizzie turned her head to inquire about the younger teen’s question--only to be caught in his eyes. Warmth flashed across her face. “I…”

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Monty – Entry VIII

He knew the boundaries of their colony. He had seen the map of their borders and outposts plenty enough to know the truth. Their claimed territory was beyond that of the original city of Savannah; their reach went as far south as Fort McAllister and as north as the wildlife refuge that shared their namesake, but technically sat on the other side of the Georgia-South Carolina border. Everything between those two points and the ocean was under their protection, and they had outposts at Lanier, Richmond Hill, and Limehouse. All the land south of them was deemed “no man’s land,” overrun by scavengers and too dangerous to travel. Florida--alas, what was not underwater--was completely abandoned.

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Lizzie’s Diary – Entry 7

“Nah, I didn’t actually get any heat over it,” she winked, gesturing for her passengers to buckle up. Kaine, who had called shotgun on their way to the lot, occupied the seat next to Marilyn; Gavin had lowered one of the middle-row seats into a floor compartment, allowing him and Tawni access to the third row. “If anything, I gave her shit over not giving me a head’s up. The only reason I give these losers the time of day is because Gavin drives you home every night.”

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Monty – Entry VII

Lizzie shook her head. “Don’t say sorry. I like the way you talk about Mona--I don’t know much about you guys, but I can tell you care about her.”

“Well, yeah,” he agreed. “Even if we weren’t twins, she’s still my sister… My bossy, pain-in-the-ass sister. I love her.”

The human averted her russet eyes, focused on the fox sketch. “I don’t know what that’s like.”

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Lizzie’s Diary – Entry 6

Kaine was the first to break his attention from the odd slab of plastic. His caramel waves landed just above his shoulders, and his dark olive eyes grew large with excitement as she neared them. “Liz! Where’ve you been?”

His greeting broke the spell that similarly held their friend’s attention. The two exchanged a quick, one-handed embrace before she moved on to greet Gavin in the same fashion.

“Nowhere special--I just needed some space.”

“Space alone or space with Mr. Sexy Biker Friend?” the junior countered, one eyebrow cocked.

Lizzie’s jaw dropped. “H-He’s just a friend!”

The underclassmen swapped knowing gazes as they continued toward the parking lot, shrugging off her claim. “Yeah, okay. Whatever you say.”

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Monty – Entry VI

"The brand on your shoulder--I've seen similar brands on the bodies of bandits belonging to two of the most dangerous clans in the region: the Peters and the Shaws," he analyzed. "They're the only families I know of who scar their children as a way to identify them. Yours is new to me."

"That's 'cause none of us have died yet," she shrugged, meeting his piercing eyes. "My brothers and sisters and me are part of a new clan. Our daddy is Jeb Peters and our momma is Kitty Shaw."

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Lizzie’s Diary – Entry 5

"Knowing him, he actually might be..." The human grumbled.

The prince offered her a contrite smile. "Still don't like him?"

"Why would I?" Lizzie demanded. "Mona might have forgiven him, but I haven't."

Monty seemed to hesitate before responding; his expression had shifted from apologetic to stern as his emerald eyes became unfocused. It was only for a moment, but Lizzie could recall this same distracted demeanor from their short time spent as roommates.

Alexa must've reached out to him.

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