An Immortal's Song - Carrie Ann Ryan
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An Immortal’s Song

Book 6 in the Dante’s Circle Series

Amara Young has always been on the outside looking in. She’s the one lightning-struck woman out of her group who has never felt as if she’s belonged. She lost a year of her life caring for her dying friend, but now it’s her turn to find out who she is. Only when the time comes, two men stand in her way—two men who claim her as theirs.

Tristan Archer, fae royalty and Conclave member, has waited over nine hundred years for his fate. And now he has two chances. While one knows his path, the other seems blind to what they could have. It will take more than a simple risk for Tristan to finally have what he desires…that is if Amara and Seth can overcome their own uncertainties.

While the other two in his life are fighting themselves and their futures, Seth Oceanus knows exactly what he wants. The younger brother of a Conclave member and relatively young in his realm, he knows he’ll have to prove himself so others see him for who he truly is. As the triad succumbs to their cravings, they will have to fight more than their overwhelming feelings in order to survive.

read an excerpt

An Immortal’s Song is Book 6 in the Dante’s Circle series

An Immortal’s Song Characters Profiles

An Immortal’s Song

Chapter 1

Sitting in a bar for hours on end wouldn’t help matters, but Tristan Archer figured he might as well try it out. It may take him far longer to get drunk than it would if he were human, yet he figured he’d give it a go. After the hellish few months he’d had, he would try anything at this point.

He ran a hand through his short, auburn hair that tended to look brown in the bar’s lighting and sighed. He shouldn’t have accepted his friend Levi’s invitation to dinner and drinks at Dante’s Circle in the human realm. He should have rejected the offer and gone back to the thousand other things he had to do within the fae realm and inside the Conclave.

Tristan wasn’t just any fae. He was a nine-hundred-year-old fae prince with responsibilities that lay heavily on his shoulders. He was also a Conclave member, where he helped govern every paranormal realm in existence with another fae member and two others from each race. That was how he’d become friends with Levi, a wizard and prince in his own right.

So here he was, in Dante’s Circle, a bar owned and named after a royal blue dragon; the meeting place of seven women and their mates with a history he couldn’t immediately comprehend.

Of course, it was because one of those women that he’d rather be in the fae realm instead of the dark bar with oak paneling and photos on the walls that spoke of generations of memories and connections. He’d been here a few times in the past, always on the outside of the circle of lightning-struck woman and their mates, but never fully excluded.

They’d welcomed Tristan into their fold, even if they didn’t understand why it hurt him so to be that close to what he couldn’t have.

Or maybe they understood all too well. After all, one of their own was the reason for his confusion, his torture. The object of his desire.

“If you keep glowering at her over in the corner, you’ll end up scaring her more than she already is,” Seth said from his side.

Tristan closed his eyes and took a deep breath, immediately regretting the action as soon as he did. The man next to him smelled of the sea. And hope. His heart ached and his dick filled.

Seth Oceanus was a merman, a friend, and his mate.

His true half.

Or at least one of them.

Not that he or Seth could do anything about it when the other part of their triad didn’t feel the same way.

“I’m not glowering,” he bit out, his voice a growl.

Seth leaned into his shoulder, and Tristan sucked in a breath, opening his eyes as he looked over at the younger man. While Tristan had seen nine centuries come and go, Seth was only in his mid-thirties. He was a pup compared to Tristan, yet he was still a man, a warrior…and sexy as hell. He was a good two inches taller than Tristan and had spiky brown hair that looked as if he’d rolled out of bed and ran his hands through the strands. He had a decent upper body, but it tapered off to a slender waist and hips. His legs were thick, though not as muscular as Tristan’s. Tristan had dreamt of what Seth’s tail would look like, but he’d never seen the man in his other form. Though Seth had never seen Tristan in his other form either, as he’d hidden his pointed ears with a cloaking spell. And since he wasn’t using his powers, his skin didn’t put off the faint glow that usually came with that.

Seth had his hands in his pockets and a frown on his face. Though his eyes wore the wide look of innocence, Tristan knew that was just a bluff. There was nothing innocent about a warrior of any realm. Seth just hadn’t been out of his realm much, and he was taking everything in. That much Tristan knew. If he could get his head out of his ass, Tristan knew he’d be able to help the younger man learn all about the new realms and explore their deep secrets.

Only he wasn’t sure he could do that and not lean close, not want to touch or find out every secret the merman held in his own right.

Tristan let out a breath. “Let’s head to the table and get this over with.”

Seth just shook his head. “That kind of attitude won’t help the situation.”

“And what will?” Tristan bit out. “Hmm? She doesn’t feel what we do. She doesn’t have the connection to us that she should. You’ve seen the way she reacts when we’re in the room. She stiffens up and acts as if she can’t stand to be with us. She’s lightning-struck. Meaning she’s not a regular human, and she’ll turn into her paranormal counterpart once she mates with her true half. But before that, she should at least feel something. All of the other women have in the presence of their mates. Amara does nothing. She doesn’t even suck in a breath or lean toward us when we’re near. There’s no recognition in her eyes.”

“There’s something there,” Seth said softly, his voice firm. “If we just ask her…”

Tristan shook his head. “And what will that do? It’ll only show us what we already know. She doesn’t feel the start of the bond. It’ll hurt. She shouldn’t be forced to feel that.” He couldn’t be hurt like that, and frankly, he didn’t want to hurt Seth either.

Seth just snorted. “Seriously? You’re how old? And yet you don’t know that if you just talk to a woman, you’ll learn infinitely more than glaring from a corner and thinking you know better.”

Tristan raised a brow. “I’m not an idiot.” Just because he was acting like one at the moment didn’t make him an idiot. “I know that if we were to actually have a conversation about this, we’d know for sure that she doesn’t feel the same as us, but…”

“But you don’t want to know for sure,” Seth finished for him. “Because once you do, then it’s over. We’ll end up pining for a mate we never had in the first place. I get it. That’s why you and I haven’t…” Seth trailed off, and the top of his ears turned red.

Tristan let out a sigh then turned to the man who would be his other mate if things were different. While the two of them could form a bond and find happiness…it wouldn’t be the same without their third. Tristan didn’t want to hurt the other man by allowing him to think he wasn’t enough—even if technically that was true, at least in a sense.

Hence, why all of this sucked ass.

Tristan cupped Seth’s face and met the other man’s gaze. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “So damn sorry.”

Seth gave him a sad grin and shrugged before pulling away. “I still think we should actually speak to her. In fact…” he paused. “I might do that without you. I was staying back because, well…because you’re older and more experienced. But I don’t want to risk losing something that could be it for us because we didn’t talk to her. Because we didn’t try.”

With that, Seth walked away from him and toward the large table in the back corner where the seven lightning-struck women and their mates resided. A few years ago, a few members of the Conclave had the bright idea to mess with the way some humans perceived the paranormal world. Tristan hadn’t been part of the decision, nor had Levi or Seth’s sister, Calypso.

Humans weren’t as “human” as they thought they were. In fact, thousands of years ago, when the residents of the realms mated within each other more frequently, their offspring had begun to have diluted paranormal DNA. Usually, the most dominant supernatural of the couple or triad would be the one to pass on their DNA, and the child would be of that race. However, as time moved on, some couplings had created non-paranormal children. Those children became the human race.

Millennia passed, and the humans forgot where they had truly come from and created their own civilization, separate from the realms. As such, the realms forbade telling the humans of magic or what lay beneath the surface of myth and wards. However, within each human lay a dormant strain or strains of DNA that, in the right circumstances, could be altered enough to force the change.

The Conclave had taken the energy of its past and peoples and created a lightning strike to forever change the lives of seven women. Those women had been friends through the years, though they hadn’t known of the supernatural world until it was too late.

Now, one by one, each woman found their mate or mates and, once they finalized the bond, changed into their paranormal self. So far, there was a brownie, a leprechaun, a pixie, and even a djinn. Oh, and he couldn’t forget the succubus. Sweet little Nadie didn’t appear the type to be a sex-driven paranormal, but since she had mated not only a grizzly bear shifter but also a dragon, she seemed to be in good hands.

Of the seven lightning-struck, there were only two left who hadn’t changed. Eliana and Amara.

And Amara was his.

Only he wasn’t sure he and Seth were hers.

Tristan shook his head and tried to clear the melancholy. He’d come to the bar because his friend Levi—who had mated the pixie, Faith—had invited him. He would do his damnedest to not mess up their evening.

“Hey, you made it,” Levi said as he stood from his chair. He gave Tristan a tight hug but had a brow raised. “You okay?” he mouthed. It made sense that the other man wouldn’t whisper it, as there were a few shifters in the room and even whispering wouldn’t keep the conversation private.

Tristan gave the other man a tight nod before taking the empty seat next to Eliana. The woman smiled at him and pushed over a mug of beer.

“Seth said you were on your way, so Becca got you a beer.”

Becca grinned and waved. “I technically don’t work here anymore, but Dante doesn’t mind if I go behind the bar.”

The dragon just raised his pierced brow and took a sip of his drink. “Sure, dear. Whatever you say.”

Hunter, Becca’s wolf mate, just let out a small growl, his gold eyes full of humor.

Levi marveled at how the group worked together and each had their own stories of war and mating. Yet they all fit together cohesively. He knew most of them had children, as well; though none of them were present at the moment. What he wouldn’t do for a taste of what they had.

Without thought, he looked across the table at Amara and froze. She stared at him, a little crease forming between her brows. It was as if she didn’t know what to make of him. Yet he knew that wasn’t recognition of their fate that he saw within the depths of her chocolate-brown eyes. It was confusion. Wondering why he was there, perhaps? Why he and Seth kept looking at her? Why she was there?

He didn’t know what she was thinking, what she wanted, but Seth’s words rolled around in his brain. It would pain them all when he spoke to her, when he told her what he and Seth were feeling, but standing by and letting nothing happen was an even worse mistake.

Tristan knew he wasn’t keeping his distance solely because of Amara’s feelings. He was scared. So damn scared that he’d lose everything. Things he didn’t have in the first place. Because once he spoke to her, once he told her about what he felt and the idea that their fate might be denied, he’d lose any chance at the dreams he had, at the idea of what could be. Things were in limbo at the moment. She didn’t know that two men wanted her for their own. Didn’t know that their worlds would be forever changed once the truth was out in the open. For now, she was safe, and he and Seth were the only two in pain. Once he revealed all, she’d be in the same agony as they were. He wasn’t sure he could do that.

But not doing anything would make him a coward. And Tristan Archer was no coward.

Amara turned away from him then to talk to Lily, the brownie mated to the warrior angel, Shade. But he’d caught the look of worry in Amara’s eyes before she moved her gaze from him.

“You will have to find a way to make this work,” Ambrose said softly from the other side of him. Ambrose was also a warrior angel. The man was even older than Tristan. In fact, he was pretty sure only Dante was older. He’d seen countless civilizations fall and rise from the ashes, and yet he’d found his true happiness in a demon named Balin, and Jamie, a djinn with eyes only for her men.

Tristan turned to the other man and frowned. “What do you mean?” He looked around them, making sure no one could hear the other man’s words. Though that would be out of his hands since practically everyone was supernatural.

“The only ones that can hear me are the ones with senses that allow that,” Ambrose continued. “And they know what I’m going to say as it is. We all know what you and Seth are feeling.” A shuttered expression passed over Ambrose’s face for a moment before he washed it away. “Talk to her. Get her away from here and find out what is going on. Because there is something going on.”

Tristan shook his head, even as Seth turned toward them. The merman sat on the other side of the table yet still a few people away from Amara. It was as if the group knew the three of them needed to be separated before they took the next step…or at least figured out what that next step was. Only, he was as confused as ever.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Tristan lied.

Ambrose raised a white-blond brow. “Don’t I?” The angel shook his head. “Don’t let your stubbornness get in the way of what you could have.”

Tristan risked a glance at Amara, who had her attention on Lily and Shade rather than the other half of the table. His body pulsated just by looking at her, and he could imagine her dark red hair splayed across his pillow as he claimed her as his own.

Only that wouldn’t happen, and he had to get it out of his head.

Ambrose let out a curse under his breath, so low Tristan had almost missed it. “You’re more of a lost cause than I was.”

Tristan didn’t know the story behind the other triad’s mating or what exactly Ambrose had meant by that, and frankly, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to know. He knew he wasn’t thinking rationally when it came to Amara and Seth, and that killed him. He was a Conclave member and a fae prince, damn it. He held power and responsibly and didn’t shirk those. Only when it came to his personal life and what was left of it did he seem to be at a loss.

Seth met his gaze at that moment and heat flared between them.

Damn it.

If he and Seth didn’t get Amara alone soon and talk to her, he’d kick his own ass. His days of staying back from her and being afraid of what might not happen had to be over.

Amara’s phone buzzed at that moment, and she looked down at the screen, biting her lip as she did. Tristan wanted to take the phone from her and tell her everything would be okay, that she didn’t have to look so worried, but it wasn’t his place. And frankly, women in this century didn’t appreciate barbarian tendencies. At least, that’s what he’d heard from the others.

He was nine hundred years old and hadn’t been celibate by far, but he’d also only dated fae as he rarely left the realm other than to go to the Conclave. Fae women had their own set of rules when it came to sex and relationships, so he’d learned to live in that fashion.

Now things were different. The realms were becoming more open to other races as news of the lightning-struck women reached their barriers. He didn’t know how to react to a twenty-something human and a thirty-something merman. He was so far out of his depth, he was drowning. Yet he hadn’t done anything about the situation, and it had been months since he’d seen Amara at Faith and Levi’s home following the wizard attack.

If he weren’t careful, his indecision would be his undoing.

Amara stood from her chair then and sighed. “I need to take this. It’s my new boss. Sorry.” With that, she grabbed her bag and scurried toward the exit, leaving the rest of the table frowning after her.

Faith let out a curse and shook her head, her dark cap of hair swaying back and forth. “I hate that new job of hers.”

Tristan sat up straighter in his chair. “New job?” He’d been in the fae realm for the past month, and hadn’t heard that Amara had found new employment. He knew she’d been looking, and had heard that she’d subsequently declined offers of jobs and financial help from her friends.

“She’s working as a personal assistant to an asshole downtown,” Eliana explained. “Amara applied for the job because the man works in management for a series of hotels, and that’s what her degree is in. Yet her job doesn’t actually have anything to do with what she’s trained for. Instead, she gets him coffee, fetches his dry cleaning, and picks his kids up from soccer practice because, God forbid, he do it himself. And the man’s wife is too busy with all her committees and bullshit circles to deal with her own kids, as well.”

Tristan fisted his hands on the table. “There has to be a better job out there for her.”

“If she’d look for it, I’m sure she’d find it,” Lily supplied, a frown on her face. “Because she took a year off, her resume has that gap. It took her a while to find this new job. Now she’s afraid what will happen if she quits.”

Faith let out another curse, this time louder. “She took a year off to take care of me when I was in that damn coma. She wouldn’t let anyone else help because everyone wanted the wards in a neutral place to protect us. And now look what happened.” Levi held her close and kissed her temple, whispering something in her ear that Tristan couldn’t hear.

Faith had almost died on the battlefield protecting her friends, and Levi had been forced to create a bond between them. The resulting healing period had taken a while—a year for Faith to find her way back to the land of the living. Tristan knew of the events because of Levi, but he hadn’t known of Amara’s full involvement until now. Her self-sacrifice just made him want her more. Yet he also wanted to find her new boss and teach him a lesson or two when it came to messing with a fae’s mate.

“What will it take for her to find something somewhere she’s appreciated?” he asked. Seth nodded at him and gave him a small smile. It seemed the two of them were on the same page about Amara. They might not know the exact next steps, but standing back as they were and breaking their fate wasn’t working.

“What do you care?” Dante asked. He sat back in his chair, one arm over the back of Nadie’s as he absently played with Jace’s long, blond hair. The dragon might look relaxed, but there was nothing safe about a dragon, even in sleep.

“She’s mine,” he stated then looked at Seth, who had a brow raised. “Ours.”

“You have a funny way of showing it,” Eliana put in. “I mean, it’s been how many months since you showed up and joined our group of misfits? Yet all you’ve done is go all broody over Amara from afar.” She nodded at Seth. “And this one’s not much better.”

“We had our reasons,” Seth said, his voice calm. But Tristan heard the undercurrent of anger.

“We’ve all had our reasons for screwing up our matings, and yet, I don’t want Amara hurt,” Faith said. “I’m tired,” she said softly, and Levi held her closer. “I’m tired of all of us going through hell to find our happiness. I fought the bond because I didn’t have a choice when it came to be.” She looked at Levi then kissed his chin. “I was an idiot, but I learned to take life as it is and I found that I love this man.”

Levi grinned, and Tristan felt a sliver of jealousy slide through him. He didn’t want to be jealous. He didn’t want to feel like he couldn’t have what fate had deemed his. He wanted Amara and Seth in his life. He was far too old to be left wanting.

Yet, he was afraid.

And that wasn’t like him.

“Are you going to actually talk to her?” Lily asked. “I mean, it’s good and all that you recognize her as your true half.” She looked over at Seth. “That both of you have seen that. But you haven’t done anything about it. Is it because you’re afraid she doesn’t feel the same?”

The words were like a slash to the heart. Tristan raised his chin. “And you know that, then? That she doesn’t feel that we’re her mates?”

Lily shook her head. “We know nothing for sure.”

“She won’t talk about it with us,” Nadie said softly. “But just because she doesn’t feel it, doesn’t mean it’s not fate. We’re lightning-struck. Since when have we ever done anything normal? Maybe it’s because of what kind of paranormal she is. Maybe it’s because there’s two of you and she’s confused.” She held up her hand. “Each one of us who found our mate or mates has traveled a different path. Who’s to say Amara won’t have a completely different journey of her own?”

“You won’t know anything until you try,” Eliana put in.

“What do you think we should do, then?” Seth asked. “Short of locking her in a room or kidnapping her to one of our realms so we all have to talk it out, I just don’t know.”

Tristan snorted, a smile tugging at his lips. “I might be old and out of touch, but I can safely say kidnapping is not a way to entice a mate to your side.”

“If Malik were to kidnap me, I’d enjoy every minute of it,” Eliana said with a glint in her eye. She’d been dating the lion shifter for a few months, if what Tristan remembered was true. But neither of them had declared their intentions. However, he needed to worry about his mating, not someone else’s at the moment.

“Dirty,” Faith said with a grin and then turned her attention back to Tristan. “Don’t kidnap her, per se. But go outside right now and ask her to go with you. She needs to get out of this realm, Tristan.” Worry passed over her face. “She hasn’t left it in over a year, even though we’ve all invited her to our other homes.”

“She just keeps working for that new boss of hers and burying herself deeper and deeper into her own mind,” Becca added and frowned. “I love her, guys. She’s our sister. And she’s in pain. But we can’t be the ones to fix it. You have to be. So take her to the fae or mer realm and figure out what is going on with you three.”

“Just know if you put our friend in danger, we’ll not only kick you in the nuts, we’ll lop them off when we’re done with them,” Eliana put in and glared.

Tristan did his best to not cross his legs, and Seth pulled in an audible breath. “Are you sure you aren’t a dragon underneath?” he asked the only human left at the table.

She just raised her chin. “Who knows? But what I said wasn’t a threat, it was a promise.”

Tristan nodded. “Hurting Amara is not what I want.”

“And what do you want?” Dante asked. “Make your decision now before you go after her. Don’t break her because you’re in doubt.”

Seth stood then. “She’s ours. I may have let Tristan do the talking just now, but I won’t stand back any longer. She’s in pain…” He nodded at the table. “Thank you for the push.” He met Tristan’s gaze. “Coming?”

Tristan stood and looked into the eyes of the man who would be his mate if fate had anything to say about it.

“Yes. Let’s get our girl.”

Seth grinned, and they turned from the table and made their way to the door Amara had exited the club through earlier. Tristan could feel her; scent her on the other side. They were taking a step that could prove pain-ridden; yet he knew it was the only step he could take.

Without Amara and Seth in his life, he wasn’t sure he would be able to continue on. At least not like he had. He’d fought wars, helped build civilizations, loved and lost. But never mated.

Fate had paved the course in front of him, and now he had to take the next step. For himself, for Seth, for Amara, and for what could be.

end of excerpt
An Immortal’s Song

An Immortal’s Song

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