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The Child (The Tribe 5) - Sarah Cass

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The Child

The Tribe Series Book 5

Sarah Cass

Urban Fantasy

Paranormal Romance

Sarah Cass

www.authorsarahcass.com

Divine Roses Ink Publishing

www.divinerosesink.com

A Divine Roses Ink Book

Urban Fantasy

Paranormal Romance

Copyright © 2018 Sarah Cass

First E-book Publication: July 2018

Cover design by Sarah Cass

Edited by Megan Koenen

Proofread by Mary Terrani

All cover art and logo copyright © 2018 by Sarah Cass

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.

PUBLISHER

Divine Roses Ink

http://www.divinerosesink.com

Other Books in The Tribe Series

The Tribe

The Wolf

The Chief

The Raven

Books by Sarah Cass

The Dominion Falls Series

Independent Brake

Changing Tracks

Derailed

Dark Territory

Runaway Train

Home Signal

The Lake Point Series

Santa, Maybe

Deep-Fried Sweethearts

Stalled Independence

Witch Way

A Thorough Thanksgiving

Eve’s New Year

Heartstrings & Hockey Pucks

Luck of the Cowgirl

Stars, Stripes & Motorbikes

Free Falling

Love for Hire

Haunted Hearts

Stand Alone Novels

Masked Hearts

Leap

Dedication

It only seems appropriate to dedicate

a book called The Child to

my children.

To Denver, who has grown into

a fine young man that I’m

proud to know.

To Molly, unique, creative,

funny, and smart.

To Kennedy, my artist, my girl

that is proud to be weird.

To all three of you, I wish you a life

full of happiness, joy, and

fulfillment.

I hope you always chase your dreams,

and catch them.

"All our dreams can come true

if we have the courage to pursue them."

~Walt Disney

Tribe – English Translation

A’hoëlan sö – I love you

Ahê sö – With you

Asoéta – Please

Chasanka – First son

Dehatso – Leave

Dénáho – Whore

Éhonome – Sleep

Fahnómae – Goodbye

Forché Schensé – Not welcome

Gráö’tê – Cougar

Hahóo – Thank you

Hóétsa – Curse

Jé-êstse – Always

Kanoé’d’tëk – Chief

La’enamë – Moon

Möchésé – Raven

Më’haê – Take

Mötsé-he – Black

Nane’épô – Bobcat 

Nêpi – Take

Nëtso – White

Pehótse – Thunderous

Pénaháso – Tiger

Pêó’tseché – Manners 

Sáno – Red

Schanóh – Rain

Schin-ká sö – I hate you

Sharesa – Sunbeam

Shonah – Song

Shëntse – Fuck/Fucking

Táno – Wolf

Váhótse – Deer

Venásô – Stag

Vóéta – Lily

Wischéá – Help

A sudden cold burst of air hit Velli in the face. She startled out of her half-asleep state to regain her bearings. What the hell are you doing, Kane? Turn those fans off.

Shh. Don’t wake the kids. Kane’s voice remained hushed while also tense as all get-out.

Velli wiped her eyes and tried to re-orient herself. They were still in the SUV, but according to the GPS in the dash, they were nowhere near home. She glanced into the back, relieved to see all the kids still dozed. Their friend Derek also slept, sprawled in the seat next to Tam. For three days they’d remained at the sanctuary to be sure Tam continued to stay at the utmost of health, during which the young clone hadn’t slept a wink. He’d been too curious about everything.

Soon as they’d begun to drive, Tam had drifted off. Kimi and Aidan weren’t far behind. At Aidan’s slightly increased growth rate he’d been sleeping more, and when he woke to feed, he ate for a long time, mixing solid food along with brief hits of breast milk.

Velli sighed in relief. They’re all still asleep. What was that all about? And why aren’t we home? We’ve been on the road long enough we should be a lot closer.

We’re being followed. Kane’s words were enough to snap her attention back to him. His hands clenched the steering wheel so tight she worried over the normally sturdy device. For about an hour.

Are you sure?

Yeah. That’s why I waited to wake you. Thought maybe your paranoia passed onto me somewhere along the line. He tapped the GPS to pull the view out. The circuitous route it showed had to have taken an hour at least. The twists and turns he’d employed in random areas and over various highways looked like a bowl of noodle soup.

They’ve been following us that long? Velli turned in her eat again. In the distance, maybe twenty yards back, two dim lights shone back. Fuck.

Think it’s your old friends?

Well it sure isn’t your friendly neighborhood Spiderman.

Hunters, then.

Most likely. I’m not sure why they’re staying back. If they’ve been following us this long, their orders are beyond me.

His eyes narrowed. Unless I’ve done just what they wanted.

Velli didn’t need to ask to see where his thoughts were heading. If they were waiting for backup it would already be here.

So what do we do now?

Stop the crazy train, head south and stick on one route.

Are you making us switch off?

Velli paused at the suggestion. She still had safe houses scattered across the country. While she’d liquidated some, instinct had her keep several. After a moment’s contemplation, she shook her head. No. Just draw them away from home.

Kane grabbed her wrist when she reached for her seatbelt. What’re you doing?

"I have a theory, no we have a theory. No better time to test it then in the now." She twisted her arm free enough to half-climb over the seat. She put a sound-blocking bubble around Derek’s head before she used the same water to splash him right in the face.

The man jerked away so violently he nearly kicked Velli in the face. She caught his leg in time, grinning as he came to. With her finger at her mouth in a hushing motion, she dropped the bubble. Derek’s brow furrowed as he leaned forward. What was that for?

You snore.

Shut up.

No. Just use a little magic, will you? She leaned closer. We’re being followed. I wonder if you can sense them with your magic.

Why would I be able to? Through his doubt came a curious tickle of magic.

Don’t disturb the kids, Kane muttered.

Right, sorry. Derek reined it in. His features remained tense with concentration. After several tense, silent minutes, his brows rose. Well, what have we here?

So you can sense them. Velli glanced at Kane. The question is can you disable them? They’re insanely powerful, and fast, but they follow orders. I’ve found them resistant to most forms of magic, but are their implants immune?

The implants have been manipulated by a tech witch, but nothing I can’t handle. Derek tilted his head. Orders are to follow you and report back when you’ve returned to the reservation. No orders to attack that I can see.

As he spoke the lights drifted further back. Velli sighed in relief, although she didn’t know why they’d need to report when they returned home. Unless. An attack?

Derek frowned. Slow down, Kane. I can reach them from this far, but I’d rather be sure they’re fully disabled before we get too far.

Right. Kane slowed the SUV down. He glanced at Velli. What do you mean?

If they’re to report when we return, is the organization planning an attack? Panic coursed through her at the idea. We’re good and strong now thanks to Reed, but they could still do damage. What if…

Easy. Let’s take care of these puppets first, worry about that later. Soon as we get home you’ll feel better immediately. Though his words were strong, she didn’t miss the tense lines in Kane’s forehead.

Try it once more with feeling, you big oaf. She smiled weakly. I know we will, I just don’t want any more of our people harmed.

Neither do I. Kane tensed, his eyes focused on the rear-view mirror.

Velli turned to see what had him upset. The lights behind them swung back and forth. From the looks of it, the vehicle was completely out of control. A few minutes later it hit a guardrail and flew over the side.

Stop, Derek snapped in a harsh whisper.

Kane slowed the SUV. His brows rose when Derek hopped out while it was still moving. Damn.

Velli hit the button for the sunroof and climbed through to keep an eye on Derek.

Derek stood at the side of the road for several more minutes. His fists clenched, his gaze hard down the side of the ravine. Then, in a heartbeat, he relaxed. As he jogged back to the SUV, he wore a bright grin. That’ll do something, at least.

Velli climbed back through the sunroof to meet his gaze in the dim light. What?

Before I totally disabled everything, I sent a virus through. Should disable a good number of those freaks before they detect it. Derek slid his seat belt back on. Damn. I came with you guys to relax. Didn’t expect to have so much fun right off the bat.

Velli pursed her lips. Fun? Try living while being chased twenty-four-seven and tell me it’s fun. Bonehead.

Kane patted her leg. Let’s get home. You can knock some sense into him there.

Don’t think I won’t.

The nearer they drew to the reservation, the more their children stirred in the back. The excitement of disabling the Hunters appeared to have effectively given Derek a buzz. His knee bobbed so fast in the seat behind her, Velli almost punched him to get him to stop.

Then again, her own excitement knew few bounds. Kane’s grip on her hand told her he was as excited as the rest of them.

Tam and Aidan woke at the same time, both moments before Kimi. For his part, Tam scanned the area until he sat tall. I remember that energy, sort of.

There is a different Chief now then the last time you went to the reservation. The power changes signature with each new Chief, while remaining similar. Kane would know, old as he was. The power should also help you regain your bearings as a human, and find your Shift companion if you haven’t already.

I am used to voices in my head, but I am not used to only one. He is here, he wishes to… Tam’s voice trailed off, his brow puckered. Come out and play.

Kimi giggled. You do need to learn how to play. I hope he helps you learn.

What is the purpose of play?

Velli glanced at Kane while Kimi tried to explain. After a moment of holding it in, they both burst into chuckles. Our son has a few things to learn about being human.

A few? Kane winked. How are you holding up, Derek?

Ready to play myself. No offense to your driving, but I almost took the wheel about two hundred miles back. You drive like an old man. Derek leaned forward. And I know how to avoid speed traps.

Well, shit. You should have said something. Kane smirked. I wouldn’t have minded handing over the wheel.

I know for next time. Derek leaned back. Doesn’t matter anymore. We’re here now.

Velli kept a tight hold of Kane’s hand. Her mind circled back to their first return to the reservation, and the chilly welcome they’d received. Today proved vastly different. The magical barrier pulled them through with all the warmth of a hug.

A shiver of delight coursed through her body and her Wolf, Tala, sprang forward in an attempt to escape. Velli sighed in relief at the sight awaiting them. Her parents, along with Reed, Noelle, and their baby awaited them. A few Warriors stood by as well, though they all appeared eager rather than defensive.

Aidan babbled happily in the back seat next to Kimi, playing with his toes. Kane grinned as he slowed to a stop. I’ll get our youngest if you want to handle the introductions.

Tough call. I want to keep holding our son while he’s small enough, but I’m eager for our family to meet Tam. She patted his hand before she reached to release her seat belt. Get Aidan, but I want him soon as possible.

Yes, ma’am.

Velli had barely emerged before the crowd descended on them. She accepted the welcoming hugs of her family, including the especially long one from her mother. It’s good to be home.

It is good to see you again, my child. And so happy. Snowbird kissed her cheek. Now where are my grandchildren?

As if on cue, Tam emerged from the SUV with Kimi right behind him. Kimi rushed into her grandmother’s arms before moving on to her grandfather, Black Feather. Tam approached slower, and bowed to Snowbird. Hello, grandmother.

Hello, Tam. A wicked grin crossed the older woman’s features. Before Tam could react, she’d swept him into a strong hug.

Velli moved out of the way while Tam met his grandparents, right to Reed’s side. She leaned closer to the Chief. He’s still learning.

I believe that will be the case for some time. He pulled her into a quick hug. You look well, Velli. I’m happy to see that.

And you are distracted. Velli kissed his cheek, and then smiled at his mate, Noelle. Hey! You two getting any more sleep now?

Baby-wise or mate-wise? Noelle chuckled. We’re finding moments to catch some shut eye. Aiyana isn’t being quite so cruel to her daddy now. We had a little talk about her extreme peek-a-boo skills.

Though an infant, Aiyana was Fae and had full use of her powers. From quite early she would take peek-a-boo to the next level, causing Reed to think he’d actually lost her.

Velli squeezed Reed’s waist. At least there is that. You get a little break from the panic.

Reed laughed, though not as hearty as he should. There is that. Some of her tricks are quite impressive, though. Now that it’s not so new, I’m rather impressed.

She’s her mama’s girl. I’m not surprised. Velli lifted her gaze to Reed. Stop worrying after Lily so much. You have enough on your plate. You said she isn’t in danger that you can tell. So let it be. She’ll turn up again.

You’re right. Of course. Reed seemed to gather himself enough and smiled down at her. I am glad you’re home.

So am I. Noelle leaned closer. Much as he needs me, he needs you too. Your bond helps him, too you know.

Velli shrugged. She straightened when Tam was released from the clutch of his grandparents and approached. Reed, Noelle. I would like you both to meet our son, Tam.

Just as he had to Snowbird, Tam bowed. Chief. I have heard much about you. It is an honor to meet you and your mate.

Tam, it is our honor. Reed took Tam’s hand when he rose and gave it a firm shake. I’m very glad your journey found you back on Tribe lands. The Spirits tell me it’s been many years since you’ve been here.

I don’t remember specifics, more the feeling of the place. I do feel like I should be here, though. Tam smiled. I am anxious to find my way around and learn all about it.

And we are anxious to teach you. Velli squeezed her son’s hand. Her smile brightened when the rest of their family approached, with Derek along for the ride. She took Aidan into her arms. It is so good to be home.

It so is, Kimi agreed.

Not to interrupt the reunion, but could you tell me where I’ll be bunking? Derek nodded to Reed. Chief. Good to see you.

And you. We have arranged for a small house near the end of the housing row. I hope it will be suitable for what you need. Reed gestured toward the homes on their right.

Oh, I’ll show him. Noelle shook her head. A gesture doesn’t tell him where he’ll be living. Sheesh. Come with me, Derek.

As Noelle laced her arm with Derek’s, Velli was struck again at how similar the two were. Perhaps it was just two blonds in a sea of Native’s—but the pair could have been twins. She shook off the thought and turned to Reed, who appeared properly chastised.

I have an idea. Snowbird’s voice cut through the crowd. Why don't we all return to our homes? I have cooked enough for a party. I am certain Noelle will drag Derek over for it once he has found his home.

Ooh, a party? Velli perked up at once. Count me in. Knowing you cooked, mother, I know I’ll be well-fed and I am starving.

This is no surprise, Nirvelli. Black Feather laughed. But I believe you are not the only one. Come. Let us celebrate your return.

Tam walked beside Velli. Is this some of the ‘play’ that we discussed?

Velli laughed outright. If you do it right, Tam. Yes.

I will endeavor to do it right, then.

Kane stuck to the edge of the party. He didn’t mind the celebration, he was happy to be home himself. Of course, he’d hoped that they could settle in as a family before utter chaos.

Now and then he’d peek into the woods in hopes of catching a glimpse of Lily. Reed’s recent call had him concerned. He wondered exactly what the Spirits had told the Chief on the matter. Hopefully they’d have time to discuss it soon.

Tam emerged from the group, his eyes wide.

Kane grinned when he approached. They’re a lot to take in.

There are so many. Tam leaned on the railing. I was mostly alone for many years. This will take some getting used to.

Have you thought about what you want to do now?

No. What do you do?

Now that I’m home, I’ll be the Chief’s Lead Warrior.

Warrior. What does that entail?

We protect the lands and the Chief, although he’s capable of defending himself. Kane knew that much from experience. Back when Reed had been Velli’s husband, Reed had given Kane the best mock battle he’d faced. In the end, the new Chief had let Kane win to keep his status as the oldest Warrior in the Tribe. And if there’s a battle, we are on the front lines.

Sounds exciting.

Kane chuckled. It can be. It’s also very difficult to have the right temperament for it.

Then how are you the Lead Warrior?

I often wonder that myself. Kane could have felt slighted, if it wasn’t the truth. Honestly, I always thought your mother should join the ranks of the Warriors, she is very skilled.

She doesn’t have the temperament.

I think she’d agree with you. Then again, she is going to begin training to be Medicine Woman, and many would say she doesn’t have the temperament for that.

She does have a certain…bias against the Spirits. Tam’s brow furrowed. I had not considered that. Will she succeed?

I’ve got no doubt she will. She no longer hates the Spirits, nor does she feel they hate her. Her biggest objection is their cryptic messages. She’s far from the only Tribesman to have such an objection.

True.

Kane perked up as the object of their conversation headed their way. Hey, babe.

Neanderthal. She smacked him in the chest; a soft laugh reached his sensitive ears. What are the two of you up to, hiding over here?

Tam was overwhelmed. We were discussing the idea of him joining the ranks of the Warriors. Kane wrapped his arm around her shoulders. We were trying to decide if he had the temperament for such a position.

Being a child of ours he has the skills, but so much sarcasm from both us, and the Raven could put him in trouble. Velli grinned. Of course, there is also the idea that he’d have to follow your orders.

Tam frowned. I had not considered that either. That could prove to be a challenge. I am older than he is.

And we’re both older than the Chief and have to listen to him as well. Kane couldn’t be offended that Tam still didn’t fully favor him. He’d spent a long time fighting him in Raven form. Trust and even affection would take time. It’s physically intensive and would keep you busy most days.

He has a point. Velli held a hand out to Tam, who took it without hesitation. Take your time making your decision. You just got here, but if you become bored exploring this humanity thing, it’s a good place to start. If you don’t like it, you can always go another path.

I will consider it. Tam nodded. His eyes drifted to the clear sky. I wish my Shift, when it arrives, would be an avian. If it is not I think I’ll miss the skies.

Velli glanced at Kane with a frown. They were both certain he was the Wolf in the vision they’d shared at the sanctuary. She sighed. Well, whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll be a handsome creature. You have no sign of your companion Spirit?

I have heard his voice once or twice, but I have not seen what he might help me become. I believe the Spirits are allowing me to adjust to being human before they give me another creature to deal with. Tam lowered his gaze. Hopefully it will join me before the moon. It is only two weeks away.

Oh, what an idea! Velli gasped. Kane. Let’s be married at the moon.

Shock startled Kane to face his mate. What? Marriages never occur at the full moon.

I am not like anyone else, now am I? Velli clasped his hands. Our Wolves are strong mates; they will not kill each other. If we get married then, we can spend the moon as our honeymoon.

If you can convince the Chief… Who was he kidding? Kane knew she could sway Reed easily to her way of thinking. He frowned. There’s only one thing wrong with that idea.

What? She shook her head, confusion clear in her features.

I have to wait two weeks to make this damn thing official.

She laughed and hugged him tight. It’s official enough. We are mates.

Tam tilted his head. I am confused why do you require both?

Sometimes I wonder that too, Tam. Velli chuckled. It’s just what humans do. It satisfies those without the mating instinct. I don’t do anything to please others, but it does strengthen the human portion of our connection. It’ll add another layer of strength to our bond. Given our history I’ll take every layer of strength I can get.

Kane knew she meant the times she’d disappeared and he’d been unable to locate her, as human or Wolf. Some human traditions seem superfluous—

Wow. Velli chuckled low