This is a work of fiction. All concepts, characters and events portrayed in this book are used fictitiously and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental. Copyright Evelyn Hively, 2014 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the publisher, nor be circulated in any form of bind or cover other than that in which it is published without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent publisher.
Joseph leaned over and kissed Lacy’s bare shoulder. She smiled sleepily at him as she snuggled deeper into his arms. The last two days had felt like a dream. She was flying out at midnight back to Knoxville and Joseph had made it plain they weren’t leaving the hotel room until it was time to head for the airport. She had been perfectly okay with that. He fell back asleep, his breath warm against the back of her neck. Lacy felt hot tears threaten to well up again.
She hadn’t asked for anything but had been given the world in the form of a man she was forced to admit to herself was the first man she truly loved.
Joseph frowned at the card in his hand examining every last of bit before handing it back to her.
“I’m not sure how you can be so calm about this,” he said disapprovingly.
“I don’t have enough information at the moment to be anything but calm. Besides what am I going to do? Call him and tell him to suck rocks?”
Joseph had choked on his coffee laughing. They had been pondering what it meant for awhile now. Lacy took a deep breath and started explaining a few possibilities. Joseph’s eyes widened a little but that was his only facial reaction.
“A changeling? I thought those were only called that when the human was born or hitting puberty.”
“That’s what I thought too based on the myths and information available, but apparently there are no hard in rock rules on how one can be changeling. What terrifies me is other changeling’s and their reactions if it ever becomes possible to detect who is changeling and who is not. There are quite a few creatures that are human these days that are best off in a human’s body.”
Joseph nodded solemnly. Lacy watched him for several moments before speaking again.
“You’re…. not freaking out.”
Joseph smiled gently at her but his gripe on her hand tightened.
“I love you Lacy. I don’t care what you are. Jason had mentioned you were different and that things were also odd around you. I’m okay with that. I’m pleased with who you are because you are working on embracing yourself and not denying anything to yourself. You please me, you make me happy and I’m not letting go of you until I have no breathe or blood left in myself.”
Lacy’s eye widened.
“Be careful with such oaths! Tying yourself to me might prove….” Lacy struggled for a word. Joseph caught her up in a kiss before she could.
“We are getting married ASAP. As soon as we can find a place in Phoenix.”
Lacy kissed the arm that encircled her protectively. Joseph accepted her. Wholly and completely.
‘ I will do my best to never question without cause, doubt without reason or abandon you during any trials to the best of my ability,’ she thought.
“Now… Malcolm for a long time never did wrong by me but there were so many little things that I should have paid more attention to. I believed him when he said he cared about me. I don’t understand how someone who cares about you, could try to kill you and then failing that rape you and then try to gaslight you about it,” Lacy’s fist tightened around the cup she was drinking from, crumpling it.
She had woken up screaming and then bolted to the bathroom to vomit. Joseph had held her hair out of the way, rubbing her back. He had held his arms to her and waited for her to come to him, on her terms. His arms had tightened around her protectively, one hand going around the back of her neck to hold her against and the other around her waist. It wasn’t aggressive or possessively whenever he held her like that. It was… it was though if he could reach back in time and keep things from happening he would.
“I hate him. And someday, I will kill him. Slowly.”
Joseph had merely nodded, gently rocking her. When her rage and anger had finally spent themselves, he kissed her on the forehead. Lacy sighed as the sensation cascaded again over her. The universe always came to a slamming halt when he did that and her shoulders always felt lighter afterwards.
“Quarter for your thoughts?” he murmured.
“Just wasn’t expecting to find my soulmate,” she whispered.
“That makes two of us. This is not going to be easy Lacy,” he said gently rolling on his back and tugging at her hand to snuggle against him. She wrapped herself around him and rested her head on his chest.
“I know it won’t be. We’re going to be going how long without seeing each other, then getting married and then moving in together and then….”
Joseph stroked her hair.
“And then we shall live.”