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Love beyond loyalty, p.1
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       Love Beyond Loyalty, p.1

         Part #3 of The Outsiders series by Rebecca Royce
 
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Love Beyond Loyalty


  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright

  Note from the Publisher

  Trademarks Acknowledgement

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  About the Author

  Also by Rebecca Royce

  Reviews

  About The e-Book You Have Purchased:

  Your non-refundable purchase of this e-book allows you to only ONE LEGAL copy for your own personal reading on your own personal computer or device. You do not have resell or distribution rights without the prior written permission of both the publisher and the copyright owner of this book. This book cannot be copied in any format, sold, or otherwise transferred from your computer to another through upload to a file sharing peer to peer program, for free or for a fee, or as a prize in any contest. Such action is illegal and in violation of the South African Copyright Law. Distribution of this e-book, in whole or in part, online, offline, in print or in any way or any other method currently known or yet to be invented, is forbidden. If you do not want this book anymore, you must delete it from your computer.

  WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated and is punishable by imprisonment and a fine."

  Cover Artist: Reese Dante

  Love Beyond Loyalty © 2011 Rebecca Royce

  ISBN # 9781920502157

  Attention Readers: This book uses US English.

  All rights reserved.

  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission. All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental. The Licensed Art Material is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the Licensed Art Material, is a model.

  PUBLISHER

  https://spsilverpublishing.com

  Note from the Publisher

  Dear Reader,

  Thank you for your purchase of this title. The authors and staff of Silver Publishing hope you enjoy this read and that we will have a long and happy association together.

  Please remember that the only money authors make from writing comes from the sales of their books. If you like their work, spread the word and tell others about the books, but please refrain from sharing this book in any form. Authors depend on sales and sales only to support their families.

  If you see "free shares" offered or cut-rate sales of this title on pirate sites, you can report the offending entry to [email protected]

  Thank you for not pirating our titles.

  Lodewyk Deysel

  Publisher

  Silver Publishing

  http:www.spsilverpublishing.com

  Trademarks Acknowledgement

  The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

  Abita: Abita Brewing Company, LLC

  Key Club: Kiwanis International

  Chapter One

  Gabriel stood outside his house. Like all his neighbors and most of the properties in North Shore, Louisiana, his home rested upon pillars meant to protect the structure from the flooding of the river during massive storms. Lord knew Louisiana weather could get out of hand fast. He wiped a hand over his sweating forehead before taking another sip of his Abita beer.

  There was nothing like hard work and cold alcohol to make him feel tired on a hot, humid afternoon. He picked up his hammer and went back to work nailing the extra boards on to the pillars that held up his house.

  Humming to himself, a tune he recognized as nothing other than musical nonsense, he hoped that the boards would take more of the brunt from the debris in the river the next time it flooded. Of course, he hoped it never flooded again, but it would be foolish to assume that would happen. For the first time in a long time, he felt really good about things on the home front. He set down his hammer, deciding he could give himself a brief break from the work he loved.

  Smiling, he sat down on the riverbank and looked up at his house. He'd built it himself. When he'd purchased the property, it had been nothing but a beat-up lot with no home left standing on it. It had taken two years to get it where it was now. The smile fell from his expression as he ran a hand through his dark hair.

  Was he just supposed to give it up?

  That's what it would mean if he joined the Outsiders, who were forever in his thoughts, and became a real player in the battle to save humanity. He closed his eyes for a moment before opening them.

  It wasn't that he didn't care about the struggle or the outcome; in fact, there was little he worried about more. But if he did what they wanted, if he embraced his heritage, and joined their world fully, there was no going back.

  He didn't care what promises they made about a normal life when the battle was done. That would never come. No, if he gave in and joined them in Maine where they plotted, planned, and bit their nails over the upcoming war, he'd be saying goodbye to all of this—to everything he'd always valued.

  That wasn't an easy thing for a man like him to do.

  Raised alternatively in terrible foster homes or on the streets of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, he had sworn to himself that someday he would have a place to call his own. A home, that he owned, which he could live in and never have to leave.

  So help him that was going to be this building. And, despite the fact that he knew he might be fighting a losing battle in resisting the Outsiders' call, he couldn't seem to bring himself to leave it. Not even to go engage in an epic struggle that had been raging long before he was born and would continue when he was six-feet under.

  Sighing, he rubbed his nose when a fly swept past it. He knew the requisite evening phone call would come. Leonardo, the unofficial leader of the Outsiders, called him every night just to 'check in'. Gabriel wasn't stupid. He realized the guy was trying to wear him down. In some ways it was working. He was at least thinking about the subject of leaving on a regular basis. But Gabe was a stubborn bastard. Always had been.

  The answer three months ago when the conversations had begun had been 'no' and it continued to be 'no' now.

  Not to mention he couldn't leave Alexa. Even if she wasn't currently speaking to him.

  When he'd first heard the notion that all Outsiders had soul mates, another Outsider picked by the Heavens to be their one and only love, he'd been intrigued and actually wondered for a while if his might be Alexa. He'd quickly dismissed the notion. One of the requirements for being a soul mate was an overwhelming sexual interest in the other person. When he looked at Alexa, he could see that she was pretty but did he want to fuck her?

  Absolutely not.

  She was the first friend he'd ever had. They'd met on the brutal streets of New Orleans and bonded over the fact that they could both do 'things' they shouldn't, as human beings, be able to do. But, while he had managed to resist the demon—Sebastian—that wanted to control them, she had not. Out of all of his problems, that one ranked first on his list and he had no idea ho
w he'd handle it.

  Sebastian was always impeccably dressed, most of the people of his acquaintance thought he was a kind, charitable person raised in the genteel south where men were called 'sir' and women 'ma'am'. Little did they know he was a hell beast called forth by an ancient prophecy to kill them all.

  Those same people would probably suspect even less that he, Gabriel Ward, sometime carpenter, sometime plumber, sometime handyman, was actually a member of an almost dead race of people called upon to defeat Sebastian. The idea might be laughable if it wasn't so damn real.

  He stood up and shook his hair, hoping some of the sweat would drip out before he refastened the tie. It was really fucking hot.

  Walking to the river, he decided that maybe tomorrow he'd stop his construction and take his boat on the river to do some fishing. He didn't have much of a knack for fishing. All he ever caught were the Croakers and they made such a disastrous noise when he pulled them out of the river that he'd throw them back.

  Still, for him, the point of the exercise was to spend the day out on the Gulf with his thoughts and no work to distract him. He stared down at the water. It was looking a little bit greener today than usual. Were they having an influx of some kind of moss or algae infestation? Admittedly, for living on the river, he knew little about these kinds of issues. Stealing money on the streets of the French Quarter to feed Alexa had not provided him with the right education when it came to marine life and water problems. Taking one last swig of his beer, he decided to do an Internet search when he got back to the cabin, and maybe buy some books on the subject.

  It was so peaceful here he could stare out at the gentle swell of the water all day. He bit down on his lip as he rubbed his nose. Except today it wasn't gentle. Something caught his attention.

  Narrowing his eyes, he tried to make sense out of what he was seeing. The water appeared to tremble. How much alcohol had he drunk? Kneeling down, he took another look. The river was, in fact, vibrating.

  "What the hell?" Reaching out to lean over the bank to feel the water, it buzzed on the rough pads of his fingers.

  Looking left, he sucked in his breath. "Holy shit."

  He took two steps backwards as a scene he'd never thought to see in his life took place in front of his eyes. A giant tidal wave, the kind you saw on television after a tsunami hit, barreled down the thin canal of the river. No way. Not under any circumstances should that big of a wave be here on a perfect weather day in North Shore, Louisiana. Truly, the storm surges they got during hurricanes weren't that big.

  He gasped as he realized the wave was going to destroy his house. His, and everyone else's who lived on the block by the river. No one would be prepared.

  "Hey," he started screaming. People needed to get out of their homes. "Hey!" He tried to move toward his neighbor's dock but his feet wouldn't work. He pulled again. His feet seemed glued to the wooden planks of the dock.

  "Oh, damn it." This wasn't natural. It was magic, and the dang wave that was going to destroy his neighborhood also wasn't of the normal variety.

  Fuck. He should have known this was going to happen. He tried to pull his leg up again, shouting for someone to hear him. Hell and damnation, if he was to die he, didn't want to take any innocents with him. Anyone who was home was going to be killed.

  Why was he surprised? Sebastian didn't value human life. He thought of them as no better than insects.

  "Ah!" he screamed, as he tried desperately to move. It was no use. He was stuck.

  The noise the wave made was deafening. It was like a jet engine coming straight at him. His ears rang from the intensity. Lifting his hand, he rubbed his ear and felt the trickle of hot blood on his hand. Great, that couldn't be good in terms of permanent hearing loss. Not that it mattered since he'd be dead soon.

  In the distance, the barking of a dog cut through the ringing in his ears. Oh, hell, some neighbor had gone out and their animal was home with no way of avoiding the onslaught. Now he could go on to the great unknown with the deaths of both people and animals on his conscience.

  The wave hit him. He closed his eyes as the water hit him with the force of a crashing airplane. Even the magic that had been holding him in place couldn't withstand wave. One second he was frozen, the next his body was engulfed in such physical pain he couldn't make one sensation out from the next.

  And then, finally, there was just water.

  After the pain of the wave slamming into him, the water felt almost blissful even as he realized it would kill him. Still unable to move very much from the combination of the magical assault and the destruction of the wave, Gabriel had no choice but to float. Pushed and pulled inside the body of the wave, he knew it would be over soon.

  He'd never have to decide if he wanted to join the Outsiders. No one would know they needed to save Alexa from the demon. All of the choices he'd thought he needed to make were about to end in the green water that bordered his house.

  The water hoisted him upwards and then suddenly stopped. Something was yanking his collar upwards toward the surface. Still not able to move, he had no idea what was dragging him through the water, but seconds later, his head passed over the surface. Dragging in a breath, he sputtered.

  "Good boy, Futon." He heard a woman's voice behind him and was surprised to see the owner of that voice standing on his dock. How had he not travelled farther away with the wave? He shook his head. He'd never be able to explain it since it was, no doubt, going to turn out to be one of those magical things that defied basic human logic.

  The dog pulled him along the top of the water as Gabriel gasped for air. "Don't worry, Sir, we've got you. Futon is a strong dog. He's never dropped anyone yet. Well, anyone he didn't want to drop."

  "My body," Gabriel's voice felt scratchy when he spoke. "It's not working so well. I'm not going to be able to get myself out of the canal."

  "That's no problem, I'll pull you."

  "No." He shook his head. "No way will you be able to lift me."

  "You're right. I can't. But between me and Futon, we'll get you up."

  The dog let go of him and he started to sink but hands grabbed him. Futon jumped on the dock and leaned over with his mistress. Together, much to the dismay of Gabriel's ego, which didn't like being rescued by a woman and her dog, they hoisted him onto the dock. He shook his head as he coughed and tried to regain his equilibrium.

  Still unable to move his legs, he groaned. "This isn't happening."

  "Mind telling me what's going on? Did you see the size of that wave?" the woman inquired.

  The dog barked as if he answered the woman. Gabriel strained to turn his head to look at her.

  Although she was disheveled, squatting next to him was the most beautiful woman he'd ever beheld. With red curly hair flying every which way, she had a long face with high cheekbones and pointy little chin. Skin the color of white soap, her angular nose was speckled with freckles giving her face true character beyond her obvious beauty. As did her arms, bared in a tank top. Clearly an athlete, her toned body showed off a figure most women would kill for.

  Breasts, shapely and round, poked out the top of tank top exposing the top of a white bra that had lacy, frilly looking decorations on it.

  But it was her eyes not her breasts that held his attention. They were violet. He blinked just to be sure he wasn't hallucinating about the color and was pleased to see they didn't change shades. He'd never seen anyone who had eyes like that before. Swallowing, he tried to think of something to say. Hadn't she asked him a question?

  "Are you going to tell me what happened to you? You just stood there and let that wave slam into you. I thought you were dead but Futon knew you were alive."

  Futon? He regarded the dog. A medium sized border collie with black spots stared back at him. His heart sped up. He'd heard that name for a dog before. In fact, it was the same damn dog.

  "I know you." He pointed at the creature. "But the last time I saw you was with an old woman on Magazine Street in New Orleans."
/>
  Gabriel had been working for a shady lingerie storeowner on the bad side of Magazine Street at the time. Trying to find out what Sebastian wanted with the man. It was there he uncovered that the demon had employed Trent, the owner, to kill virgins by bleeding them to death. Gabriel still didn't fully understand how the virgin blood benefited Sebastian and he wasn't sure he ever would. On his second day, he'd been hassled by an old woman on the street who'd told him Sebastian was in New Jersey and that he needed to hurry up and get there.

  She'd spoken of fate and a lot of mumbo-jumbo he hadn't understood. It had turned out that she was right and he'd high-tailed it off to New Jersey to help stop Sebastian's assault on the Outsiders. The woman had been with Futon.

  The woman shook her head. "There are lots of border collies around this area. You must have seen a different one because Futon never leaves me."

  That was possible. And, it was also possible that crawfish were going to fly out of his ass. How many dogs named after bedroom furniture that happened to be black and white border collies did she think were running around the great state of Louisiana?

  Soaking wet, he had started to shiver even though the air was hot and moist. "Look, miss," and he knew she was a 'miss' because she didn't wear a wedding ring, "I can't tell you how grateful I am to you and Futon, but I think you'd better go. It's not safe here."

  "My name is Loraine Peacock."

  He raised an eyebrow. "Like the bird?"

  "Exactly, like the bird, and if you could refrain from making sexual innuendoes that star my last name, my estimation of you will be much higher."

  He laughed. "I'm way too cold right now to think that hard. You're safe from sex jokes."

  Futon barked, and Loraine glanced at the animal. "You're right, we need to get him inside. But where?"

  He hated to ask them for any more help. Wait a minute. Had she spoken to the dog? "Did you just answer that thing like you understood it?"

 
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