Iced, page 20part #10 of Valos of Sonhadra Series
“It’s Kai,” Lydia corrected absentmindedly, as she often did, her eyes sparkling with wonder as she picked up her daughter.
“Actually, it’s Qae,” Ky said.
We both glared at him. He ran a nervous hand down the single braid at the back of his head, then focused his attention on his son, feeling properly chastised.
“It is Qae,” Lorvek offered in his defense. “Although, the way you say it is also quite fine,” she amended when we gave her the look.
After giving Lydia a moment to fuss over both their babies, Ky refused to let her feed them, saying the babies needed to earn it. Lydia and I both screamed in outrage, which had an alarmed Duke bursting into the room. Ky glared at him, but as Lydia’s baby delivery door was properly covered, he let it slide.
Apparently, valos babies were expected to walk within minutes of their birth. Sure enough, Ky placed the babies on the floor by the wall, nearly three meters from the bed. He added a small bench by the side of the bed that would serve as a step for them to climb up. I shared Lydia’s shock, outrage, and then wonder as we observed the little ones struggle to get up on unsteady feet and make their way to the bed. Their motor control was phenomenal. After a few falls, they eventually reached the bench, and my heart melted as they helped each other climb under the cooing encouragements of their mother.
They collapsed on top of the mattress, exhausted but happy. Looking up at Lydia, they flashed her a smile. Lydia froze, eyeing the sharp little teeth already protruding from their gums. Ky burst out laughing at his mate’s dismay.
“Do not fear, my Lydia. Our babies will not eat you, either.”
AT MY REQUEST, DUKE and I had kept our marriage simple, following the valos customs. We had exchanged our vows in private, shared the news with everyone, and then celebrated with a potluck banquet followed by games, dancing, and singing. The valos mating ritual involved an exchange of blood. Sitting on our rooftop under the Northern Lights, Duke had made a slight incision in my palm, then in his, and another above my heart. He had pressed his bleeding palm against the cut on my chest, and I had placed my bleeding palm against his heartstone which had revealed a slight opening to allow my blood to fall inside.
Something shifted within us in that instant. It took a few days to see what, but that exchange made me as close to a Northern Valo as one could be without undergoing the change. I could do everything a valo did, except for taking on a battle form. I still needed to breathe but barely required sleep or food anymore as, like Duke, I absorbed most of the nutrients and energy I needed from the sun and the moisture in the air. I still ate because I loved the taste of food. Plus going to bed provided the perfect excuse to ravish my mate. Being able to build my own ice board and propel myself on it with the best of them went a long way in curing me of my fear of speed. Sadly, I hadn’t done much for Duke in return, although my blood did increase his tolerance to heat, which was strange considering I couldn’t stand it. But it also strengthened his frost. Like me, he could instantly freeze a specific target. The Hunters had courted me to join them, but I had declined.
I loved helping Duke with his building work, cutting stone like a valo would with ice and moisture. However, at heart, I remained a caregiver. With so many children running around, and if my suspicions were right, more of them to come from Zak and Scarlet, I had my hands full with healing scrapes and fractured limbs from rough play. We didn’t know what the future held for these children, if the changed valos would outlive their offspring, and if our valos mates would outlive us. Time would tell. But many parents had talked of exchanging blood with their offspring once they reached adulthood.
Speaking of children, in the end, I didn’t make it to Lucie’s bedside for her delivery. Duke refused to let me travel through Sonhadra while pregnant myself. Still, thanks to Joi’s assistance, Lucie gave birth to a healthy little girl named Rekka. My own little Anya—a paler dusky blue complexion than her father, and with my platinum blonde hair—was thriving and following Kevin—Lydia’s son—like his shadow. The tribe already predicted they would mate once they came of age.
The past year had been marked with second chances, new beginnings, and a whole lot of forgiveness, both of self and others. With our nomad tribes roaming the land again, we finally got news of the other valos cities. In all of them, the valos had regained control of their destiny. Each one had made contact with one or more human survivors. Lydia wept with joy when, at long last, she got news that her friends Quinn, Zoya, and Preta had made it. They had been meeting as often as possible ever since. She’d even made peace with Lucie.
Utopia had expanded, slowly turning into a sprawling village. More of the valos cities had agreed to provide some form of assistance. Dave was currently involved in some heavy negotiations with the Light Valos to convince them to have the walking City of Light stop by the human city as well. I still couldn’t believe an entire city had been built on the back of a bio-engineered dinosaur.
Dillon’s amazing mechanical skills allowed him to repair our 3D printer. Joining forces with Amber, they’d built us a radio communication system linking all the valos cities—except for the Water Valos that frankly couldn’t really be visited without drowning long before reaching them. Thanks to that radio, as the last days of December waned—at least by our calculation—the Northern Valos prepared the first New Year’s party of Sonhadra. Invitations had already been sent to all friendly cities, including Utopia.
As I watched the ice statues and countless other decorations go up in preparation for the celebration, children ran around, making themselves as much of a nuisance as they could. I laughed and pressed myself against my husband, thanking whatever star had brought us, against all odds, to this new world, to this new life, and this amazing new beginning.
Valos of Sonhadra
THE VALOS OF SONHADRA series is the shared vision of nine sci-fi and fantasy romance authors. Each book is a standalone, containing its own Happy Ever After, and can be read in any order.
Amanda Milo - Alluvial
Poppy Rhys - Tempest
Nancey Cummings - Blazing
Ripley Proserpina - Whirlwind
Naomi Lucas - Radiant
Isabel Wroth - Shadowed
Tiffany Roberts - Undying
Marina Simcoe - Enduring
Regine Abel - Unfrozen
Regine Abel - Iced
Amanda Milo & Poppy Rhys - Galvanizing Sol
THE VEREDIAN CHRONICLES
Twist of Fate
THE SHADOW REALMS
VALOS OF SONHADRA
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Regine Abel is a fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi junky. Anything with a bit of magic, a touch of the unusual and definitely a lot of romance, will have her jumping for joy. Hot alien warriors meeting no-nonsense, kick-ass heroine give her warm fuzzies. Through her Veredian Chronicles series, Regine will take you to an exciting alien world full of mystery, action, passion and new beginnings. Follow Amalia and her Veredian sisters – enslaved, exploited and hunted – as they fight for their freedom and the right to love. In her Dark Tales series, Regine will make you rediscover the fairy tales of your youth in a sexy, dark, and twisted reimagining of the classics.When not writing or reading, Regine surrenders to the other passion in her life
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Regine Abel, Iced
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