Souls (Runes series Book 5)

By: Ednah Walters




Cool air drifted across the room and fanned my face. Anticipation coursed through my core, and my heart trembled. I no longer freaked out whenever a chill swept the air. It used to be a warning that a soul was nearby. A reason to panic, close my eyes, and hope they’d go away. I’d even been admitted to a psyche ward because I’d thought the souls were ghosts out to get me. Ghosts. Boy, was I ever naïve. But that was then.

Now I welcomed the cool breeze. A flutter coiled in my stomach, and I was sure a stupid grin curled my lips. I was about to get a visit from the man I was desperately and completely in love with.

Echo.

Hel’s number one soul reaper.

My boyfriend.

I still pinched myself whenever I was with him to confirm I wasn’t dreaming. After pining for a guy I’d known since junior high—like, forever—it was nice to have someone who was mine. And Echo was mine in every way possible. Body, heart, and soul. He adored me and didn’t care who knew it.

Whenever he walked into a room, a cold draft followed him like the tail of a comet. Not that he was dead and cold. No, Echo was fire and passion. Unpredictable yet steadfast. The cold clung to his clothes from Hel, the coldest place in all the realms, the place where he escorted souls of the dead. As his chosen mate, I always welcomed him home with open arms and warmed him. Willingly and without complaint.

“Come to bed,” I whispered without opening my eyes.

A second passed, then two. He didn’t lift the covers or touch my face as he often did in the dark as though drawn to my warmth.

My eyes flew open. It was dark. An inky blackness that said something wasn’t right. There were no glowing runes criss-crossing a face so breathtaking I could stare at it for hours. Or wolfish golden eyes so mesmerizing words couldn’t begin to describe them.

Okay, so it was not Echo turning my bedroom into an ice cave. No need to panic. It was probably a soul needing my help.

I peered into the darkness, heart pounding despite my silent pep talk, but I couldn’t see anything. The souls often looked real, like humans. Except for the iciness. I touched the lamp, and light flooded my room.

“You can come out now,” I whispered, trying not to scare it. New souls were like newborn babies. Helpless. Confused. Scared. Incapable of expression, except through gestures. Loud noises from my room could wake up my parents, too. Their bedroom was down the hall. Usually, I kept things quiet in my room or used my computer to cover up any sounds. My parents couldn’t know about my supernatural activities or they’d freak out again.

“I’m waiting. I promise I won’t bite.”

Actually, I could, but that naughtiness was reserved for Echo. I giggled at my thoughts and immediately regretted it. This was no time for fantasies. I turned my head and looked around the room, expecting the soul to show himself or herself.

Nothing happened.

Times like this, I wondered if I was doing too much. Helping souls find closure before Echo escorted them to Hel’s Hall wasn’t exactly easy. They had to possess me first, which was like being dunked in ice-cold slime, breathing and swallowing some of it. Totally disgusting and bloodcurdling. So no, I didn’t just wonder. I questioned my sanity. I needed sleep and rest, and helping some soul in the middle of the night was not my idea of either.

I glanced at the clock on my bedside chest. It was eleven-twenty and Friday night to boot, too early for bed unless you were me. I should be making out with my superhot boyfriend, but Echo was out reaping. Instead, I had lessons first thing tomorrow morning with a Valkyrie and a date with senior citizens in the afternoon.

“Listen, I don’t know how you got in here, but I promise I’m not mad,” I said. “So be nice and show yourself.”

No one walked through the walls. Souls might look solid, but they were made of pure energy. Or rather they sucked the energy around them to create an image, which explained the coldness whenever they appeared.

Anger slowly replaced my patience. Time for tough love.

“Okay, I’m going to say this once. Helping you guys is a choice and I usually don’t mind, except when I deal with psychos, sociopaths, and pervs. So if you want to play games, get lost or deal with Echo.”

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