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Et tu, Brute?
Aiden heard Dorian’s voice and wove Fire without thought. He was getting good at that. Seven orbs of said element sprung up into existence around Nox, Sage, and Aiden. Without a song on his lips, something Aiden didn’t even realize, the orange flames flickered a protective glow around the young men.

                “Say the word Nox, and I will end him,” Aiden murmured. That should have been a momentous occasion for Aiden, but he was not thinking of that. His only concern was Nox. True, Aiden did not know if Dorian had actually betrayed them, but if Nox was worried, that was enough. The Block was broken and it was all because of the threat of Dorian’s betrayal. Atharim. Death. CCD Police. The threats swirled in Aiden’s brain, causing him to panic, pushing every bit of paranoia to the forefront of his brain.

                Images of Rowan flashed in Aiden’s mind… She was missing an eye and a woman with black hair held his Sister, but he shook the thought off. It was nothing more than a random thought… Wasn’t it? Just like the thoughts of Dorian and what he might do to Nox, Sage, and Aiden.

                Nox insisted on doing this alone, but Aiden didn’t hear it. Footsteps sounded above them, creeping down the rickety wooden stairs that lead into the basement. Aiden would protect his friends and his lover, no matter what.

                A phantom breeze kicked up, as if from nowhere, although Aiden knew he was the source of it, and knocked Sage down, pushing him into the couch behind Nox and Aiden, forming a wall of air between Sage and the rest of them. The ghostly air started swirling around Nox and Aiden as if in a protective gesture and the seven flames grew brighter, feeding off of Aiden’s paranoia. The seven fireballs suddenly shifted to a ghostly shade of ice-blue.

                Dorian came into the basement and Nox punched him, with his fists.

                “How the fuck could you give her that fucking weapon to use against me?” Nox shouted.

                Aiden’s flames swarmed over Dorian’s head, just waiting for the signal. Everything was happening so fast. He waited for Nox’s signal, staring at Dorian and waiting for his response.

                The fireballs would do no damage until Nox said so, and if not that, Dorian’s response. Aiden suddenly found himself distrusting of the fellow, simply needing a reason to set the man on fire.


                True, Aiden may have been overreacting, but he had heard of the Atharim… It would take just one phone call, one e-mail to the group and he was as good as dead…

Russian Dolls and Broken Gods, a new Fantasy novel by best-selling author, Aiden Finnegan, out this December! Preorder online and instore today!
The moment he stepped foot on to the rubberized concrete floor he knew things were going to get bad. The dojo was in disarray and the three boys were in Nox's tiny little room he preferred to keep even though the house had more than enough space. The fury on his face gave way to part of the situation, things with Yun had not gone well. It was a well of panic that weighed his steps down even as the boy Atharim threw a punch Dorian just let happen. His own mind was reeling from the ramifications of Nox not doing his part.

The weapon? That was what he was worried about. It was out before Dorian could think, "What did you do Nox? She wouldn't have brought it out unless she felt her life was in danger."

Dorian didn't bother getting up. Without a gun he was nothing compared to the two gods. And in reality no matter how much training Dorian had, Nox was young and trained everyday with not only his power but his body. Dorian wasn't a fat chunky cop, he did his own thing, but not like the boy. He hunted monsters that were ten times his strength, faster than he was could do extraordinary things and he trained to kill them in hand to hand if necessary. Dorian knew he had no chance. Aiden's threats were mere insults compared to the fury in the hunters eyes. And Dorian knew Nox was not holding the power, if he had been he wouldn't have thrown a punch. No Dorian stayed where he was not out of fear, but it was close to it.
Plans were already in motion. Before his father had come home to this display, Cruz had made the call. His grandfather was already in the processes of getting Cruz an apartment. To be out on his own for good, was what his grandfather had said, and he'd sounded proud. Of course Cruz didn't tell him why he needed an apartment, Emilio Vega didn't need another reason to distrust and dislike his own son.

Cruz was all the way down the steps behind his father when Nox threw the punch. He smirked as his father fell, but the fight wasn't fair. Fireballs floated above his father from Aiden, they flickered like his fairy lights and Nox was never quite so flashy unless he was showing off. But Nox wasn't even holding the power. He was angry at his father but he wasn't going to sit by and watch them kill him either - he was still his father.

Cruz drew upon the power and formed his own fireball. His wasn't like Aiden's and his was much smaller than Nox could make, "While I don't think what he did was a good thing. It was a bad idea, I can't let you kill my father either." Aiden looked to be waiting on Nox's single it was to Nox he pleaded. "Don't take my father away like your's was? He's lost everything. I doubt mother will stay once she learns that he gave Yun Kao a weapon that can not only kill me, but kill all that she loves. I already have grandfather looking for an apartment and you will be welcome anytime Nox." Cruz knew better than to offer him a home out right. He'd heard through the vents how he'd responded to Aiden. But Nox was family too.
Everything happened so fast. Nox leaving, Aiden following Sage was only a step behind them. The punch, the fireballs, Cruz threatening them. But Sage found himself protected behind a wall of air from the couch. What the fuck? Over protective much. What was Dorian going to do? Shot him with his finger? For fuck sakes he wasn't even wearing his gun.

And Sage wasn't an idiot. But it didn't matter he was already sifting through all of Nox's Atharim data and attaching anything and everything Dorian related to one file, all black mail.

Sage stood up and shouted. "All of you stand the fuck down."

Sage wasn't very threatening - he was just a hacker after all. But he smiled at Dorian, it wasn't friendly. "If Nox, or Aiden, or even Cruz die because of this weapons Dorian, every Atharim file I could scour that has your assistance on covering up will find it's way into the hands of the authorities. I'm pretty sure that internal affairs would love to have the exact cases in which you covered things up, how and why you did it on record."

The look on Dorian's face said he'd forgotten he'd been in Nox's phone long before he was outted as a god and touted as number uno on the kill list for traitors and gods. Long before. There was a lot of information he'd pulled. Most of it random and useless, but now he had a use for some of it. This was what Sage did.

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Rage fueled his body and Nox barely noticed the rest of things going around all except Dorian who stayed on the ground and then fucking blamed him for her having to use the weapon. That wasn't the fucking point, she now had a weapon that could kill them all and it was all nonchalant about it. What the fuck?

Sage's shouted voice made him look around. Aiden was at the ready. Cruz was ready to defend his father. Sage was making threats, all because of him. It made him think, but Nox still shook his head. Everyone one here had money, they came from riches and never had to work for it. It was a depressing spiral Nox found himself in. Even in the happy moments the realization that he did have people with him, Nox felt alone. And it wasn't on them.

Nox's wallet beeped with a new message and he wanted to look at it, but it was hardly the time to check it. It wasn't like anyone he cared for was in trouble, everyone except Ana and Christian were in this room. "Everyone just chill out. I'm not going to kill your father. And no one else is either."

Dorian stayed on the ground even though his glare at Sage could cut through flesh. Nox squatted down in front of the man blocking his view of the hacker. "If any harm comes to my family. Not only will I let Sage send those files, I will make sure that the Atharim finds out, even if it runs the risk of exposing me as well. They might be your blood, but I'll die protecting them."

Nox stood up and looked at his friends. "Thank you. It all means a lot to me you got my back. And everyone offering me help."

Nox turned his back on Dorian towards Aiden and Sage. Sage behind the wall of air, Nox pulled on the power and winced at the phantom pain and sliced through the weave with a spirited knife. The weaves melted away like butter with a hot knife. A parting gift for Aiden and Cruz. Nox took in both the rockstar and the hacker with a big smile. "Maybe after I get my head on straight with everything that's happened the implied offer the night we met will still be open." It had been an eventful night, and one Nox wasn't prepared for then and really wasn't now, but maybe in the future. He never really understood why this one bothered him - he'd never had a problem with sex of any kind before.

He left them each with a brush of his lips against theirs. Sage then Aiden and walked away. As much as he wanted to be whisked away to their little condo someplace at that very moment, if he got entrapped in the safety he'd never fix the problem. And Nox knew deep down he had a problem. He had to figure it out on his own or he'd hate the very people who he cared for.

Nox ignored Dorian who was still on the ground. Though he was sitting instead of splayed across the floor. He stared at his son, obviously wanting to know what had just happened. Nox passed the man and put his hand on Cruz's shoulder. "I'm always here for you."

Nox made it to the stairs and called "Nova." The growing Siberian husky trotted his way with the leash, he was ready to go too. "Let me know where ya'll end up by text and I'll keep in touch I promise. I have to do this." And before he could get any objections Nox took the stairs two at a time out of the basement.

It wasn't until the top of the stairs that he looked at his wallet an saw an unexpected message.

I HAVE A GIANT COFFEE WITH YOUR NAME ON IT. And cake. But I can't promise to share the cake. Are you free? There was a place and time as well. It gave him time to do find someplace to stay other than here.

Nox leaned down and rubbed Nova's head. "Looks like we have a date."

[[ Sorry I rushed through all that but Nox wanted out and wouldn't have let anyone make a big deal He very much wanted to kiss more but he has his rules lol ]]
Cruz was down the stairs in an instant, ready to defend his father. It was a touching scene, really, once you ignored all of the tension in the air. The other men went back and forth. Aiden still wasn’t exactly sure what this weapon was, but Nox’s reaction said it all. Dorian clearly didn’t think much of it, even with the threat of death looming overhead.

                Sage sprang back up, swearing, and calling for a ceasefire. The man was no God, but he had his own powers. Just because they weren’t conventional magic did not mean they were not lethal. Aiden felt a pang of guilt over his panic. But how else was he to react? After all those stories about the Atharim that Nox had told him? That cult was an incredible threat and Aiden would do everything within his power to protect those he loved.

                Still. Perhaps he had overreacted… Aiden would have to start training more, much as Nox did. He couldn’t let his nerves get the better of him in the days to come. They were about to leave the country and head into God-knew-what. A trigger finger would be the last thing they needed.

                Nox began to call for them all to step down.

                The block is gone… And I’m getting quicker… Aiden thought wryly as he banished the fireballs from the air. He still held the Power, however. That rushing surge of energy ensured their safety. He would not let go of it until they were back in the limo… And even then…

                The shock of everything started to settle in as Aiden’s nerves calmed. The block was gone and there had been a vision of Rowan. He hadn’t seen anything like that in years. It had been a vision, of that he was now sure. At least it started to feel sure of it. Who was the raven-haired woman and why was Rowan missing an eye? It had happened as soon as the block was banished… Had the same happened for Rowan? Questions began to pile up in his brain, but then Nox embraced the Power.

                Flows of energy came together and sliced through Aiden’s wall of Air. He locked the weave into his memory, praying with all his might that he could replicate the thing later. Oh, there was still so much to learn… He still felt like a child when it came to magic, but one did not master an art over the course of a month…

                Nox spoke again, “Maybe after I get my head on straight with everything that’s happened the implied offer the night we met will still be open.”

                “I thought we were pretty forwar-“ Aiden said with an amused expression, but then Nox went and kissed Sage, and then he came back to Aiden and kissed him as well. The words died on his tongue as they were replaced with a soft brushing of Nox’s own lips.

                The Power fled Aiden’s grasp, he was so shocked at the gesture.

                And then Nox was gone. Dorian was still on the floor and Cruz was staring at them. Sage came up to Aiden and he grasped the taller man’s hand without thinking.

                “Lasher!” Aiden called out, “We’re going home! Come!”

                The dog came bounding up from the next room, tail wagging and tongue lolling. He sniffed at Cruz and Dorian before coming to rest at Aiden’s feet, looking up at him expectantly. He began to fasten the harness and leash to his dog, speaking to Sage as he did so.

                “If there’s anything you can’t live without, I suggest you grab it now. Otherwise, my assistant can come and collect the rest of your things tomorrow.”

                Aiden was making some heavy assumptions here, and for that, he felt guilty, but after the scene that just unfurled and the threats levied against Dorian… Well, he did not think that Sage would care much for staying under this roof. Aiden sure as shit didn’t. It would be too awkward. How did you come back from such a thing? It was a wonder Dorian wasn’t chasing them out that very moment. He had been so gracious to them all, but then again, Aiden was certain it was all due to Cruz’s Godhood.

                “I am sorry, Cruz. Dorian. I overreacted with the Fire… My loyalties lie with Sage, Nox, and the rest of the Gods. You have been a kind host and for that I am thankful, I acted in haste and shame threatening you under your own roof. I am sorry,” Lasher’s leash was attached and Aiden rose from the ground, clutching the cord, “but I have worn out my welcome. If you will excuse us…”

                Thank the Gods for my condo... I couldn't bear the long drive to Suzdal...

Russian Dolls and Broken Gods, a new Fantasy novel by best-selling author, Aiden Finnegan, out this December! Preorder online and instore today!
Nox kissed him. He kissed Aiden. There was implied promises. Sage was happy Nox would stay in touch and maybe they'd have fun, but he was going into the wind. He'd seen Nox and Aurora move through the shadows, he was not coming back, and if he did he'd not be the same - but maybe that was good.

But Aiden was right, they couldn't stay here. Sage grabbed his laptop and his other toys. There wasn't much here. In the limo Sage curled up against Aiden, "Aiden, when you get the rest of our stuff, we should take all of Nox's stuff too when he's ready he can get it. If he's ready." But that was for tomorrow, and after that they had a trip to go on. Together - and that was all that mattered. Sage just hoped Cruz would be alright.

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Aiden, Sage, and Lasher quickly piled into the back of the limo that was still waiting outside of Dorian Vega’s mansion. Cooper lept out, grabbing Sage’s personal effects from Aiden and carefully placed them into the trunk of the stretch. He then hopped back into the front seat, pulling away slowly. Sage curled up against Aiden, expressing a need to recover Nox’s possessions along with their own.

                “Of course, babe… Sorry for rushing us out of there. Figured it would get awkward quick,” He said as he planted a kiss on the other man’s head, “And I am sorry for using the Power on you. I panicked and just wanted to make sure you were safe. I don’t know Dorian as well as you, so I wasn’t sure if he had a gun or not… Best not to take the chance.”

                Lasher barked happily as Aiden rolled down a window. The dog stuck his head out, letting the wind roll through his fur. Cooper rolled the partition down and coughed politely.

                “Yes, Coop?”

                “Urhm… Sorry to interrupt, sir. I just wanted you to know that I offered Mr. Durante a ride when he came out of the mansion, but he denied it and rushed off. Is everything ok? I thought you two would be turned in for the night.”

                Aiden smiled at his driver’s reflection in the rearview mirror.

                “The three of us had a disagreement with Mr. Vega. We will not be returning there for sometime, I think. Would you mind taking us to the condo in Tverskaya?”

                “Right away sir.”

                “Thanks, Coop.”

                The partition went back up and Aiden’s wallet started buzzing. He pulled it out and glanced at it. Dimitri, his assistant sent him a message.

                Aiden, call me when you can. Rowan went missing last night. The staff of her café is worried and has no idea where she might have gone. They seem to think that she won’t be returning, as she has instructed her own assistant to turn the property over to you. Has she contacted you at all?

                Aiden’s eyebrows shot up towards his hairline.

                “What the fuck? Sage, babe… My sister went missing… What’s the likelihood you can track her movements?”

Russian Dolls and Broken Gods, a new Fantasy novel by best-selling author, Aiden Finnegan, out this December! Preorder online and instore today!
continued here

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Cruz blinked after everyone. His father had slowly stood up and there was pleading in his eyes. His mouth opened and Cruz rolled his eyes. "Don't bother. I'm leaving like they are. Nox has taught me enough, and thanks you I'll probably never see him again. Specially if I stay here."

Cruz rounded on his father and tromped up the stairs and through the kitchen running into Christian.

"What's wrong?""

Cruz shook his head. "My father is an asshole. He gave an enemy a means to kill Nox - but in doing so now she can kill us all through the walls." Cruz pushed passed Christian but the man grabbed his arm.

"I'm sure your father had a good reason."

"Good or not, he stole from a guest here in the house to profit from it. And my friend, I'm not staying Grandfather is procuring an apartment for me as we speak."

Cruz rushed up the stairs to the sounds of his mother calling out, "Cruz, wait!" But Cruz didn't wait as he slammed his door shut and started packing. Or at least that was the plan but as he looked around he didn't know where to start.

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