Home > Deception : A Supernatural Mystery and Romance

Deception : A Supernatural Mystery and Romance
Author: Delta James

 

 

PROLOGUE

 

 

They were once known as Knights of the Round Table, but they had lost the chance to be the defenders of the Light. There were thirteen swords forged for those who sat at King Arthur’s table. Now only four remain.

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 

 

Cave System along the

Coast of Tasmania

Three Years Ago

There were times Bennett Greyson wondered how the hell he got himself into situations like this.

“I’m telling you, mate, put the sword down and walk away,” said the tall man, an Aussie, by his accent. His Glock was pointed at Bennett’s middle.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that. I’m willing to walk away from the remainder of Shadow Jack’s treasure, but I’m afraid the sword has to come with me.”

“I don’t think so. My friends and I have been looking for this treasure for a long time.”

“I appreciate the time and expense you must have expended, but I’ve been looking for Arondight for a very long time, as well. It’s only recently I came upon archival evidence that the sword had been captured on a ship that was pirated by Shadow Jack…”

As Ben talked, the hand behind his back was searching desperately for the gun he’d brought into the cave with him. One never knew what one would find in a cave, especially in Australia, where Ben was certain more things could kill you than any other place in the world. Where had he put that damn thing?

He’d seen the sword lying amidst treasure casks, bars of gold, rotting silks, and a cache of ancient weapons. It had been there, just lying about as if it were nothing important, except that it hadn’t been with the other armaments. The jewels in its pommel twinkled even in the low light, beckoning to him. It had been set apart as if the pirates had known that it was more than a mere weapon. When he’d reached for it, the damn thing had seemed to hum, and when his hand was close enough, it was as if he’d had no choice but to grasp its hilt in his hand and pull it from its scabbard.

The resulting jolt of electricity had wrapped around his arm like barbed wire and surged through his system, making it light up like St. Elmo’s fire around a ship’s mast. He wasn’t even sure he could let go of the damn thing if he wanted to. It seemed as if there was a force wrapped around his fist, keeping it closed around the hilt of the sword.

“So, you do know. We were here first,” said the man brandishing the gun.

“Well, technically,” Ben said, stalling for time, “you followed me in here, so I was, in fact, here first, but I am more than happy to relinquish my claim. Just let me take my sword…”

“Fuck, no,” said the man, an evil smile beginning to overtake his face. “You aren’t really so stupid as to think you’re getting out of this alive, are you?”

“I rather like to think of myself as intelligent and cunning. I don’t think Arondight will let you kill me.”

“Who the fuck is Arondight?”

It was Ben’s turn to smile as he raised the sword so that it covered his heart and the space between his eyes. He’d seen Courechouse deflect a sniper’s bullet in the desert meant to kill Gabe and the rest of them.

“That would be my magick sword.”

The man laughed, a bitter, hollow sound. “Fuck that.”

He raised the gun and pulled the trigger, expecting to kill an unarmed man in cold blood. What the man hadn’t been expecting was the flash of the sword before the bullet ever reached its target, and in less than the space of a heartbeat, to deflect it back to him, striking him in the heart. The impact expelled the man’s breath along with his life as it lifted him off the ground and sent him flying into the stone wall. The body made a ghastly splatting noise as it hit before sliding down into a puddle of flesh, bone, and blood.

Ben whirled around to grab the SIG he’d brought with him, returned the sword to its scabbard, and ran to the man who’d thought to kill him. He strapped Arondight to his back, pushed his SIG in its shoulder holster, and grabbed his would-be assassin’s Glock. He stopped, stilled his own breathing, and listened. There were no sounds coming from the entrance to the cave as Ben began to make his way back outside.

This really wasn’t what Ben needed this morning. It had taken him almost two years of running down clues, tromping through inhospitable environments, and a whole lot of cash to finally track down the third of the four swords Sir Percival had told them about. Seeing Sir Percival rise up out of the water in that cavern in the desert had been like a surreal dream. He’d thrown the first of the swords, Courechouse, into the sand at Gabe’s feet. Gabriel Watson had been in command of what was left of their unit after they were betrayed to the enemy, and it had been Courechouse that had kept them safe and, in many ways, gotten them home.

Arondight, the unfading light of the lake, had once been wielded by Lancelot—yeah, the guy that cheated on his best friend with his best friend’s wife. Ben wondered what it said about him that it should fall to him. Afterall, he wasn’t the manwhore of their group—that was Tristan.

Five years ago, Tristan Crawford, who’d been the rogue charmer of the group, had heard rumors of the second sword, Clarent, having gone down in the Mediterranean with a group of crusaders bound for the Holy Land. Tristan, who liked to say he was a descendant of the pirates Calico Jack and Anne Bonny, was a treasure hunter making his living salvaging shipwrecks and cutting a wide swath through every upscale BDSM club in the world.

Ben stood just inside the cave, his black clothes, the dark walls of the cave itself, and the dim light helping to hide him from anyone who might be trying to peer inside. He peeked out and could see the man’s companions as they secured their boat and began to make their way towards the cave. They were all heavily armed. Arondight might be able to ward off a single bullet at a time, but there were five of them, two of whom were armed with what looked to be Uzis.

He liked a pitched battle as well as the next guy, but there were times, this being one of them, when discretion was most definitely the better part of valor. Slipping out and using the big boulders that surrounded the entrance as cover, Ben made his way out of the cave and back to the borrowed ATV. A mercenary he’d met in the Middle East who was ex-Australian special forces was now raising sheep not too far away. Ben had negotiated with him to land a rented helicopter in a relatively secluded pasture and borrow the ATV to get from the sheep station to the cave and back again.

Ben flew across the water from Tasmania to the Australian mainland, landing at the Melbourne airport. Pulling his phone from his pocket, he noted that he had just enough time to get to the airport, get his bag checked, get to the gate, get checked in and be on his way. He removed the Glock from his belt and tossed it out into the water as he sped over the waves. It was technically littering and not particularly good for the ocean, but Bass Strait would just have to take one for the team. The last thing he needed was to get arrested in Australia with a gun he knew nothing about. For all he knew, it was connected to a spectacular group of murders.

Immediately after setting down, he wrapped Arondight in the oilskin cloth and then placed it and the SIG in the case he’d had made for just this purpose. It would have to be checked, but the locking mechanism wasn’t easily defeated by your garden variety thief and the sucker weighed a ton—not literally, but it was heavy enough to make someone think twice before trying to randomly steal it.

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