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Power of Love

Eternal Flames: Crystal 8

Police Chief Nash Savino and his mate Toby Everly have spent five years teasing and flirting with one another. That is, when Toby wasn’t avoiding Nash at every turn. Nash has had many reservations about letting Toby in and getting close to the little hottie.

One, he knows his mate is lying and hiding things, and as the Police Chief for the town of Crystal, as well as being mates, that is unacceptable. And two, Nash knows that once he lets Toby in, the little Santorini Fox will have him wrapped around his little finger, and that thought scares Nash.

When Toby is brutally attacked and left for dead, everything changes. Nash realizes that all of the games have been useless and he could very well spend the rest of his life alone, never knowing the true love of a mate. Sitting by his mate’s hospital bed, praying for Toby to come back to him, Nash knows that if he is lucky enough for his mate to survive, then he would gladly give his heart to his mate, and all the crap from the past can be worked out, allowing them to move forward together.

At least, that was his thought until a new danger comes to Crystal, threatening not just his mate, but all the residents of Crystal.

The Power of Love

Eternal Flames-Crystal 8


Cree Storm and Maggie Walsh

Copyright © 2016 by Cree Storm and Maggie Walsh

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. Any similarities to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Cover by: JP Graphics & Design

Edited by: Avril Stepowski


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To all our readers who have been so supportive of this series and our work together. The Eternal Flames Crystal and Maddox would never have grown this big without you.


The room was bathed in sunlight, but it still felt dark and cold. Sunbeams danced off the crystal of the chandelier, reflecting thousands of tiny rainbows around the luxurious space. But all he felt was dread and hopelessness. Even with all the extravagant furnishings, pretty flowers, and exquisite trinkets that made up the room his cage was in, it didn’t bring him peace or a sense of security.

He had been here long enough to know that there was evil even in beauty. His captor was a striking man, with silky-smooth green skin, long platinum blond hair, and the most stunning aquamarine eyes. He was graced with feminine features, and a soft, graceful body, but underneath all of that beauty, lived a dark, evil soul that was out for revenge and power. There was nothing more important to his captor than power. Nelson had learned that lesson many years ago.

A gentle breeze blew through the open windows, causing the sheer curtains to blow inward and dance on the wind. The ruffling of tree branches and blowing grass, along with the sweet scent of perfumes from a myriad of flowers, gave him a moment of peace and serenity. Something Nelson hadn’t felt since coming here. He closed his eyes and just enjoyed the sounds as he inhaled deeply, taking in all the wonderful smells.

But the miniscule moment of tranquility was not long, as was usual in this place, and his serenity was brought to a crashing halt when he heard the voices approaching. His captor may be stunning in his appearance, but he did not have that same quality in his voice. It was deep, demanding, and harsh, and there was nothing alluring or sexy about it. Cold emptiness was all he felt when he heard that voice. And sheer terror, when he heard the other. Uriel.

Uriel was second to his captor, the fairy leader, Fallon, and was not blessed with his leader’s good looks. The fairy was about five-foot-nine, and a hundred and seventy pounds with green skin and strawberry blond hair. And his aquamarine eyes were even colder than Fallon’s, unless they were looking at his leader. Then the man’s eyes softened and filled with need and lust. The lines of his face were harsher, and his body and movement more...unrefined and crude. He reminded Nelson of a bull in a china closet as his mother used to say. The total opposite of what he had witnessed of all other fairies.

Tears sprung to Nelson’s eyes as the thought of his mother came, but he quickly blinked them away, knowing that it would only make his captor gleeful to see his sorrow. The men walked into the room and Nelson knew he should be paying attention to what they were talking about, but he was afraid to be caught listening. Great pain would come to him if Fallon knew he was aware of what they were saying.

Nelson quickly closed his eyes in an attempt to feign sleep before the two noticed. He could hear them coming deeper into the room as Fallon said something about not needing his spy anymore. Then the name Fallon said next caused Nelson’s ears to perk up in interest and a rush of hope to run through him. Fallon said Toby. Surely it wasn’t the same Toby? There had to be others with that name. Nelson pushed down his excitement so that he could concentrate on what Fallon and Uriel were discussing.

Are you sure, my lord? What about the other two, the ones he protects? Should I send out guards to acquire them?” Uriel asked.

No, it would do any good. Toby has already stated they are not in the cave any longer and are safe in the bosom of the pixie in that town,” Fallon answered, his voice full of anger and disgust. “He is no longer of any use to us. Send out Bane and Mathian to deal with him. They know what to do. I will insist on another meeting, and when he arrives, I want him taken care of so that he can’t go blabbing to that insufferable dragon and his phoenix mate.”

Yes, Fallon, I will instruct them immediately,” Uriel said, then Nelson heard feet hurriedly moving toward the door.

Did he mean to harm this Toby? Were his goons going to kill him? The thoughts spiked Nelson’s heart, causing him to begin to panic. He needed to calm down or he would draw Fallon’s attention. It couldn’t be the same Toby they were talking about. It just couldn’t be.


His head felt fuzzy, like he was in a dream. A dream that was made entirely of fog. Toby tried to open his eyes, but they just wouldn’t budge. Where the hell was he? And how the hell did he get here? Toby concentrated, trying to focus on the last thing he remembered. Something about a vista. Why would he be out on a vista? What the hell was a vista anyway? Oh, yeah, he was out on the mountain, on a trail that had an overlook. The scenery was stunning. He had been standing there enjoying the view, and he could remember being nervous. But why was he nervous? Then he remembered going down. But where did he go? Did he trip and fall off the edge? Not that the edge he was standing by was that big of a drop, but it was big enough. Toby remembered looking down over that edge and thinking he didn’t want to fall down there. The drop had to be at least a hundred feet of sheer rock face and ended at a ledge that had pretty good size boulders scattered around. But then beyond that was another drop off that was a lot deeper, scarier, and would probably kill him.

Sweet. Wait, there was something sweet smelling that suddenly wafted over him as he stood there gazing over the peaks and valleys, then...then...then...Oh crap, he couldn't remember. And now he was getting a headache. Which was odd, because being a shifter, they didn’t get things like headaches, but hell if his head wasn’t throbbing now and pain radiated behind his eyes, causing him to whimper.

A strong, sexy, soothing voice whispered in his ear and Toby found himself wanting to swim in that voice. “It’s okay, little fox. You’re safe now. I won’t let anyone ever hurt you again.”

Even with all the pain in his head and eyes, Toby found himself relaxing, and that helped to ease some of the pain. He wanted to hear that voice again, but it wasn’t there. Toby tried to speak, asking it to come back, but he couldn’t get his mouth to work. The more he tried, the more the pain returned. Then white-hot agony shot through his head and down his spine, and he suddenly felt pain everywhere. His legs felt like they were broken, as well as some ribs and his right arm. The sensation of a hundred sharp knives slicing through his flesh all over his body came, and took Toby’s breath away. He couldn’t take the suffering another minute, then suddenly the darkness came, taking him away from the agony, but also taking him away from that voice.

There was a beeping sound coming from somewhere, dragging him out of his haze. As he felt his mind climb higher toward it, there was a voice. It was low and soft, and he couldn’t make out what it was saying. Toby tried to relax a little, remembering from the last time, whenever that was, that when he relaxed and didn’t think too hard, the pain had been bearable. So he remained calm and just let the sensation of lifting higher and his brain becoming more aware take him.

Many voices, whispered, questions, sadness, tears. Someone was crying. He could hear them sniffling and the scent of their tears tickled his nostrils. A different scent came closer, wrapping around him. Mmm, he liked that smell. It brought him peace and comfort. Made him feel safe. Mangos, but there was something else. Something not so wonderful mixed in with the sweetness. It was worry, distress, sadness, determination, and a bit of...bitterness, but not at someone, it was more internal, almost like confusion and a great sense of loss.

Toby didn’t like all those scents mixing in with the mango. He wanted to smell just the succulent fruit because within that he felt protection. Something touched his hand. Small and soft, caring, comforting. He felt a connection to the small hand in his. Pascal. He would know that smell of blueberries and sunshine anywhere. It was his brother’s tears he could smell, but why? Why was Pas so sad? And where was Ollie?

Panic started to fill his chest. His brothers. He needed to protect his brothers. They weren’t safe with Fallon and his evil fairies out there. He couldn’t let Fallon hurt the ones he loved more than anything in this world. Pascal and Ollie were all he had left. That’s why he had gotten caught up in Fallon’s clutches to begin with. The fairy had grabbed him one day while he was leaving the police station after seeing his mate, Nash.

His mate. That mango scent reminded him of the intense phoenix, and Toby’s heart began to hurt. Toby felt the sorrow fill him again and with it, the pain returned. His head began to throb, and he became aware of his whole body. Even though he could still feel discomfort, it wasn’t the same. This pain that started to radiate through him was from the sorrow of not being able to be with his mate.

From the moment he saw the handsome man, Toby had wanted to roll around in his scent, and rub his body all over the Chief. He had come to Crystal to see if the rumors of the phoenix and the dragons reuniting were true, and found himself smack-dab in the middle of some kind of arson investigation, that he later found out had to do with some snake shifter asshole named Levi who was trying his hardest to keep the dragon and phoenix apart.

That first encounter with his mate had been so unexpected, but welcome and wonderful. Toby had spent so many years doing everything alone, trying to keep his brothers safe as he kept their existence hidden. But the promise that the great shifter leaders would be brought together again, gave him and his brothers hope that they could come out of hiding, and join the shifters so that they would finally be safe. Then finding Nash gave him even more hope of his and his brothers safety. Surely, his mate would help him and keep them safe? That’s what mates did.

Even though his first meeting with Nash hadn’t gone the way he wanted it to, Toby was on cloud nine when he left the police station. He had found his mate, and the man was perfect. He had gone back to Ollie and Pas and told them that the stories of the dragon and phoenix looked true, but now he needed to find a way to approach their leaders.

Being a Santorini Fox shifter, he had to be careful in his approach. Many others had used his kind once they found out the powers that the Santorini Fox had. That had been the demise of their kind. Too many used his kind for their own gain and against their enemies. It drained the Santorini of their powers until there was nothing left of them but an empty shell, and then they passed from this life. That’s why there was only he, Olli, and Pas left. So, he needed to use caution and make sure these men were as honorable as he had heard. He went back to Crystal and observed from the shadows, seeing what he could learn. Using his cover story that he was a reporter was a great way to hang around and find out what he had needed to know.

The pull to seek out his mate and see his handsome face again, hear his deep, alluring voice, and smell that delicious mango was all consuming and Toby had gone to visit Nash at the station again. Toby’s heart filled with joy when his mate flirted back with him, and he could smell the arousal coming from Nash. Toby had been having fun teasing and flirting with Nash, but suddenly things changed as if Nash dropped a metal curtain between them. Toby didn’t understand and sadness filled him. Then before he could question his mate and try to fix things, they had been interrupted. Toby left Nash’s office that day feeling lost and alone. He was confused and lost in his thoughts as he walked through Crystal, trying to figure out what he had done wrong.

That’s when his life became not his own, and the torment began. He had been walking through the park, alone, the sun going down, and he hadn’t been paying attention. Toby had bumped into someone and when he looked up to give his apologies, he found himself face-to-face with a green man. The guy had been stunningly beautiful with his flawless green skin, long platinum blond hair, and exquisite aquamarine eyes. He gave Toby a bright, friendly smile and introduced himself as Fallon and said he was a fairy. Then he asked Toby why he looked so sad. Not understanding why, Toby had blabbed everything to the stranger.

That’s when everything changed.

Toby found out later that Fallon had used a spell on him that made him talk. Once he had finished his tale, Fallon had changed from friendly to sinister. He told Toby that he now worked for him and Toby was to find out everything he could about the dragon and phoenix reuniting, then bring the information back to him. He wanted Toby to be his spy.

At first he refused. Toby was terrified of Fallon once he showed his true colors. He knew the man was pure evil and if he helped him, then Toby could be destroying what chance the dragon and phoenix had to come back together, which would end his quest to find safety for himself and his brothers.

Then Fallon threatened him with the one thing he would do anything for. He threatened to grab Ollie and Pas and keep them as his personal prisoners and slaves, unless Toby did what Fallon wanted. What other choice had he had? He needed to keep his brother’s safe and hopefully, find a way out of this mess.

So that’s when he began to spy for Fallon, and when his life became one hellish moment after another. The thought that he was betraying his brothers and his mate, as well as the dragon and phoenix, threatening their acceptance of him and his brothers, or gaining them the safety they were looking for, was enough to destroy him. Toby started hiding things from his brothers, and skulking around Crystal, then bringing the information he found back to Fallon. And with each betrayal, he felt another rip in his soul.

But then his brothers had done something that Toby couldn’t believe. They had done what he couldn’t do and found a way to get in good with the phoenix and dragon. They had rescued one of theirs and were given a place with the pixies. Toby had been so shocked, but proud of his brothers, and the weight of Fallon’s threats had been lifted. With his brothers being in the care of the pixie, Toby didn’t have to work for Fallon any longer. He could be free. Free of Fallon and free to go to his mate. If his mate still wanted him, that was. While working for Fallon, Toby had done whatever he could to stay away from Nash, so he wouldn’t get any of the information he sought from his mate’s lips, therefore Toby wouldn’t directly be betraying Nash. He knew it was a weak excuse, but it was what he thought was best and gave him hope that he and Nash still had a future.

But then he had to go and be stupid again. He had already told Fallon that he would no longer do his dirty work and wasn’t afraid of him anymore, now that his brothers were safe. He should have known the fairy leader wouldn’t let him go that easy. When Fallon texted him, asking for them to meet out on that trail, telling Toby that it would be their last meeting and then he would let Toby go and walk away. Toby should have known it was a trap, but he went anyway. A part of him wanted to see defeat in Fallon’s eyes since he no longer had Toby under his control. So once again, he had made the wrong choice, and now he was here. Wherever the hell here was.

Toby began to cry, thinking about all he had done and everything he had gone through. He could feel the anguish and shame fill him, and he just wanted to scream. But his body wouldn’t listen. It just remained still. Tears clogged his thoughts, but they seemed to be frozen inside him, not being able to escape. As the misery deepened, Toby felt a tear escape his eye and roll down his temple. At least he could let some of it out.

Then that voice was back. The one that washed over him, making him feel desire, and safety. Making him feel protected. It whispered softly to him, promising him safety and comfort. The voice filled him with hope, but at the same time it crowded his mind with shame. He now recognized that voice, and Toby was afraid. It was his mate’s voice, and it was making him promises in the dark, but promises Toby knew wouldn’t be kept once his betrayal was revealed.

Toby’s heart ached like never before. He felt like it was about to be ripped from his chest and shattered into a million pieces, never to be put back together again. When his mate found out all that he had done, there was no way Nash would ever forgive him, and his one chance at happiness would be gone. Toby was certain his mate would reject him.

The pain in his head increased, and Toby didn’t fight it. He deserved every ounce of agony he got and more. He knew he was being a coward, but he couldn’t face his mate’s rejection. He couldn’t bear to see the look of disgust and hatred that he was sure would be in his mate’s eyes. Toby’s heart clenched as his brain began to shut down. There was only one thing left to do. He would give up and go into the afterlife. His mate would be better off without him. And because they hadn’t claimed each other, Nash would be okay. He would live and be able to find love with someone else someday. It was for the best. He needed to at least give that gift to his mate.

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