Cracks in the Ice

an excerpt



Chapter One

With everything prepared, now the plan needed to be executed.

The plan laid out, somewhat rehearsed, and ready.

The only piece missing was Devyn. As usual.

"Chill. Chill. It's why you're taking this step. To give this relationship one last chance before your heart cracks even worse. You felt the splinters. This must happen if you want to keep your humanity. You know why you must do this to Devyn," Jacob Serac muttered. He moved his hand across the messenger bag's strap in a soothing pattern to calm the craziness happening within his head. Then he paced a couple of times across the hardwood floor. His steps changed from the tapping on the hardwood to the soft cushion of the expensive Persian area rug that decorated the waiting area of Devyn Risher's office. At this point, he didn't care if his boots messed up the fibers. His fingers tingled while his frost magic rose with his anxiety.

"Jacob, I apologize for the delay. Devyn is finishing the conference call, but there's another meeting scheduled," Devyn's assistant, Mia, said when she stepped out of Devyn's corner office.

"Did he know I would be here this afternoon?"

"Yes, I put it on his calendar and warned him, but..." She shrugged and stopped next to her desk.

"He either ignored the request or added something."

"Exactly. I'm so sorry, Jacob."

"This weekend away must happen, Mia. It's important for me and I need Devyn to be present and not preoccupied with the office. Can you--"

"Clear his calendar for Friday and the weekend? I already did, but there are times when he schedules his own appointments if he notices some free spaces. I'm sorry, Jacob, but I don't know if it'll happen."

Jacob shook his head. "No. Not going to accept his excuses or workaholic nature this time. Clear things again. Find someone to cover his meeting. Please. If this weekend doesn't happen, then..." He shrugged. "It's over. We're over."

Your time in humanity is over for the next century, Frost. That's the gist of the problem. Last heart. Last chance. If you shatter... No heart. No life. Just ice.

Mia nibbled on her inner lower lip and glanced at the door. "I don't know if I should interfere like that. Especially with him."

"Please, Mia. This weekend is vital. I wouldn't ask for the help if I didn't need it."

She checked the phone system and nodded. "Go now. He's off the line. Go. I'll take care of the rest and lock him out of the calendar. He's not going to leave without a nasty fight."

"I'll manage him. I promise to not let you feel the heat for anything that happens. Thank you." Jacob hugged her quick and rushed into the office. He pushed open the door to the expansive corner office Devyn Risher achieved within seven years. It was an incredible achievement, but the entire time Jacob felt there was something off about the way it happened. "Devyn, we need to--"

"Jacob, look, I know you were coming here for something, but we'll have to reschedule. I have to get this meeting with Tokyo overseen," Devyn interrupted in a brusque tone. He signed different pieces of paper with an elegant Montblanc pen Jacob gifted him one Winter Solstice. He pushed the fingers of his free hand through his sunflower blond hair. He tried to sweep back his bangs, but the locks fell back across his forehead and covered his dark blue eyes.

Did Devyn even remember that Solstice or where he received the pen? At least he uses it so that helps to renew the connection. Though that's not the piece I'm concerned about for the link between us.

"Someone else will hold the meeting. Mia is changing everything. You need to come with me. Now," Jacob said while he pulled a small bundle from a pocket. He unwrapped the end and moved around the massive ebony wood desk.

Devyn gave him no other choice, but to use this bundle. It wasn't how Jacob wanted things to happen.

"That's impossible. No one else can manage it. I'll get with you another--" Devyn paused when Jacob stood next to him.

Jacob caught a quick flash of something dark shadow Devyn's eyes when he moved closer. Oh, yes, there is something else within my Devyn. Something deep in his heart that is trying to control him and pull him away from me.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm so sorry, but this must happen. I need you to come with me and you're not being very cooperative." Jacob tapped his fist against Devyn's neck. He sent a small burst of magic to activate things.

"Ow!" Devyn pressed his fingers to his stinging neck. He rose to his feet and moved to get away from Jacob's reach. Then he stopped and shook his head. "What the hell--"

Jacob opened his hand and stared at the unusually shaped needle filled with the sparkling combination of holly berry, mistletoe, chamomile, and lavender. A kind of special winter drug cocktail he ordered from the R&D elves at the North Pole Dimension workshop. He hoped the crazy concoction could assist him with this crazy plan. He glanced again at Devyn, who stood straight and still.

A little too still.

"Devyn?"

A long slow blink of those deep blue eyes responded to his name.

"Speak to me."

"Hello, Jacob."

"Oh, blast the icicles. Could this stuff be too powerful for a mortal? I could have sworn I specified to R&D that he is mortal with the elves on my request. Frozen balls, this isn't good." Jacob nibbled on his lower lip. "Crapshoot of icicles. Crap."

"Okay. I will go to the bathroom and crap." Devyn turned to walk off to the bathroom attached to his office.

"Whoa. Stop. No."

Devyn stopped.

Jacob swallowed hard. Okay. Going to have to reconsider how I use my words and required responses. "Devyn, I need you to place your laptop, charger, pen, cell phone, wallet, and keys in your briefcase. Now. Then you will close and lock the briefcase. We're going to leave the office."

"Yes, Jacob," Devyn said while he returned to his desk and placed the required items in the briefcase. He closed and locked it. Then he waited.

Freaky. Hope it wears off soon. If not, I need to call in reinforcements to figure out what is happening to him.

"Put on your coat and scarf. It's cold outside."

With a nod, Devyn followed the new orders.

"Now take your briefcase and follow me. A car is waiting for us downstairs. We have a journey to take."

Without saying anything, Devyn picked up his briefcase and followed Jacob out of the vast corner office.

Mia watched them walk to the elevator. Her jaw dropped when Devyn didn't say anything to her or even look at her. "Umm... Jacob?"

Jacob held up his hand and shook his head. "Thank you, Mia. He'll be back in the office on Monday, but we'll be out of cell and WiFi range. If anything changes, I'll find a way to contact you." He hit the button on the elevator.

"Good luck," she said.

Jacob glanced at the quiet Devyn. "I need it."

When the doors closed, Jacob flicked his fingers to cover the camera in a light frost for secrecy with what he needed to do next. The frost would melt as soon as he left the vicinity and alter the recordings enough, so no one would investigate their sudden disappearance. Hopefully, the security team would place the blame on a computer glitch and not question anything. With their escape covered, he pulled a miniature glass snow globe from another pocket. He rolled it between his fingers to activate the magic. He whispered the destination and tossed the globe into the corner.

A blue swirl opened when the globe cracked and released the magic.

Jacob grabbed Devyn's arm and tugged him through the portal.

The swirl closed behind them and disappeared in a bit of sparkly dust and snowflakes.

Instead of going to their gorgeous Jeffries Point condo in the East Boston area, Jacob knew they required something more private. They entered Jacob's cabin on a secluded island off the Canadian coast. This cabin was his power base for the entire coast. He conferred with all the Flakes, Verglas and Ice elves and fairies who helped him organize and control the chaos that was a winter system. His area was far too large for him to control alone and the NP Division organized the FVI Department to assist all the Frosts.

Devyn thought it was a pleasant get-away cabin that Jacob's family owned. It was far more than a little vacation cabin. Perhaps it was time to reveal more of the truth to Devyn to help him understand the significance behind their connection and relationship.

Jacob dropped his messenger bag on a nearby chair. Then he went to the fireplace. Since his magic was snow and ice based, he couldn't magic a fire. He needed to do it the old fashion way. Earlier he laid the logs and tinder, he snagged the matchbox. With a practiced flit of his wrist, he struck a couple of matches against the box to light them. Then he held them to the twisted newspaper until they caught flame and tossed the used matches onto the logs.

Turning away from the fireplace, he realized Devyn didn't move from their entrance space. "Devyn, take off your coat and scarf, hang them on the pegs, go to the sofa with your briefcase, and sit down," he ordered.

Upon the order, Devyn removed the items, hung them in their place, and walked to the sofa. Then he sat down on the leather sofa, kept himself perfectly straight, and placed the briefcase on his lap.

"Snowflakes." Muttering to himself, Jacob went to another room, grabbed a standing mirror, the Talvi Cheval, and brought it back to the main room. He braced it so the glass would face him and Devyn.

"Please be available and not out galivanting somewhere. I don't know who else can help us. I don't trust the other reindeers or know their reputations." Jacob touched a certain set of engraved snowflake and reindeer images. At the same time, he called upon his innate frost magic to activate the link and the Talvi Cheval's power. "I call Strike, Scion of Blitzen, Cheimon Patrol Division -- Alaska."