I wish I could think and write as fast as some of those authors on SVM, but I can't. This is going to be a short story and was going to be in one post, but it isn't finished yet. I promised a couple of people it would be up this weekend, so I've divided it into chapters. Here is the first one and it's short.

Disclaimers are as usual. This universe and most of the characters belong to Ms. Feehan, including Andre. Marnie and her son are mine. Andre didn't have a last name in Dark Curse so I gave him one.

Dark Deliverance


Marnie Reynolds had been in hell for two weeks. Her five year old son had disappeared from her side in a shopping mall. One second, he was right beside her, the next, he saw or heard something and took off at a run and disappeared into a department store. He had a habit of hiding among the clothes and making her find him, but this time, no amount of searching could bring him back. Usually he would giggle when she called his name, but this time there was nothing.

She had reached for him with her mind, a reliable means of finding him, but there was nothing. In a panic, she got the sales clerk to put out an alert. Employees, security people and even customers were looking for her little boy, but he had disappeared quickly and completely.

Jordan had been her life since he was born and her only companion after Roy's accident, though Roy hadn't been much of a companion. She still didn't understand why she had agreed to marry him, but she never regretted Jordan's birth.

When she received the call that Jordan had been recovered, it was as if her heart started beating again and her soul restored. For two weeks she had not been able to function except for basic necessities. The knowledge that Jordan was alive had been the only thing that kept her going.

Sitting beside his bed, watching him sleep, Marnie could see bruises on his little face and he whimpered occasionally. He was pale and thin and it was obvious he had not been fed properly. She gently picked him up and cradled him in her lap. Rocking him back and forth, she crooned a mindless lullaby, soothing the pain and fear she felt in him. He relaxed into her arms and she felt tears streaking her cheeks.

Marnie became aware that someone had entered the room, thought she had not heard him come in. She looked up expecting to see one of the nurses, but instead there was a man standing just inside the door, watching her. He was tall and had long, black hair. She had never seen such long hair on a man.

"May I help you?" Her voice was husky from crying. He smiled at her in a way that caused her heart to beat faster and her made her body react in a way she had not felt in a long time.

"Yes, I believe you can," he said with a smile as he came close to her, his eyes never leaving her face, his hand outstretched. She extended her right hand and he kissed the back of it.

"I am Andre de Berg. I was one of those who found your son and the others. I wanted to see how he was doing." His voice was soothing and his speech was strongly accented with an Eastern European flavor. Her face brightened in a smile of gratitude.

"I don't know how to thank you," she said. "You have given me back my life."

"Your husband is not with you?" Andre really wanted to know where the male was who had fathered a child with HIS lifemate.

"My husband died in an accident nearly a year ago. His car went off the road up in the mountains." Her voice was flat. In her mind he saw a flash of anger on the face of a man and the memory of a stinging slap. Cold rage shot through him. This man had hit this woman, this woman who had borne him a child. It was good the man was dead, or Andre would make it his mission to kill him.

"I am sorry for your loss." It wouldn't do to give himself away too soon. He noticed the little boy looking at him through wide blue eyes. He smiled at the child, who had awakened and watched him, wary and curious. He turned his face into his mother's shoulder.

"What is your son's name? I did not have time to become acquainted with him when we found him." Andre was already reaching into the child's mind to ease his fears. It would take time to heal him of the trauma of being kidnapped and terrorized.

"His name is Jordan," she replied, kissing the top of the boy's head. "He has nightmares. I don't know what happened to him when… when he was gone. The doctor said there was no sexual abuse, but …" More tears streaked her face and she could not speak.

Andre knelt beside her and stroked the boy's back. He sent warmth and comfort into the boy. Marnie felt him and realized this man had psychic talent too. Her own talent caused conflict between her and Roy, because he could not or would not understand, and believed her to be a freak. She looked at him hopefully.

"You have talent," she said, "you are like me and like Jordan." He nodded.

"Yes, I have abilities similar to yours and more."

"More? Are there others? I've never known anyone else who can sense what other people feel." She had always felt so alone among other people, afraid to trust them because the few she had trusted had turned against her. That this man might be able to offer information was cause for relief and excitement.

"I'd like to talk to you some more, if you don't mind. I'm taking Jordan home tonight. The doctor said there is nothing wrong with him physically that can't be fixed by food and rest." She rubbed her son's back gently. "He may need counseling though. I'm hoping that being in familiar surroundings will help him feel safe again."

"I will be glad to see you and your son home." He pushed gently at her mind. Andre had no intention of letting this woman out of his sight. "We can talk then if you wish."

Marnie knew she should not let a stranger into her home, but there was something about this man that made her feel safe. The fact of the matter was that she needed someone in her life. This man had the power to hurt her, she knew that much. She sensed that he also had the power to love her. She only hoped he didn't turn out like Roy.

"Okay. I'll give you my address and you can follow me. I have my car here and I'm sure you will want to drive yours." She would be very careful with this man.

"Of course," he said. For now she could believe he used a car, but he would follow her in the form of an owl. He would enjoy teaching her to shape change too, among other things.

I apologize for any misspellings, wrong words, left out words, etc. I really did edit. Reviews would be appreciated. Please be kind, I'm an amateur.