Bonus Epilogue - Raven & Tayla
Thank you so much for reading Unforsaken!
As a token of my appreciation, and for loving Raven and Tayla as much as I do, here's a bonus epilogue - exclusive to my newsletter subscribers!
Happy reading! Love, Cassie
“Good morning, wife.” A deep, rumbly voice stirred Tayla awake.
She cracked open her lids to find Raven crouched beside the bed. “Good morning, husband.”
“As much as I’d like to jump back in bed with you, we have somewhere to be.”
“Huh?” Rolling onto her back, Tayla stretched out and curled her toes. Morning light streamed through the oversized windows, bathing the bedroom in a warm orange glow. Delicious memories of yesterday drifted through her mind; her and Raven's dream wedding, the laughter and love at the reception and the hours following, where they hadn’t bothered to venture from between the sheets.
“We have a honeymoon to begin.”
Tayla shot upright. “What? When was that organised?”
Raven pressed a finger against his chin pretending to think for a moment. “When you said ‘yes’ to marrying me.”
“And you’re just telling me now? Where are we going?” She mentally listed all the things she needed to pack.
His sexy grin widened. “It’s a secret.”
Ugh! Fine. Two could play at this game. “Well, dear husband, how do you expect me to pack if I don’t know where we’re going?”
He didn’t miss a beat. “S’all sorted, dear wife. Raine packed for you.”
Tayla tried hard to hold back the eye roll…but failed. “Great. My suitcase is probably full of overpriced shiny heels.”
“It’ll be fine.” He kissed her softly, lingering for the briefest moment. “C’mon, go for a shower and meet me down stairs.”
“You want me to shower…without you?” she purred the words, hoping to divert his attention.
Raven’s gaze heated, flickering black as he leaned closer. His earthy pine scent consumed her senses, drawing her to his lips.
He hovered just out of reach. “Honey, if I get in that shower with you, we’ll never leave.”
Before she could reply, Raven spun and swaggered out the door. Damn him! But she didn’t feel guilty one little bit for staring at his perfect butt in those faded black jeans.
Thirty minutes later, Tayla jumped in the passenger side of Raven’s Jeep and shrugged out of her jacket. She waved goodbye to the Guardians gathered on the front porch of the mansion. River was hard to miss wearing a fluorescent orange shirt an alien could probably see from space, but the mischievous grin on EJ’s face caught her attention. What the heck was he up to?
Raven swung open the driver’s door and sank into the seat. “You ready?”
“Yep. Did you sort out everything with Aric?”
“Yeah, s’all good, he’ll keep them in line. And if not, I have no doubt Raine will hang them up a tree by their balls.”
Tayla giggled. Raine was definitely capable of keeping a house full of immortal Guardians in check. “I bet she stashed my daggers in the suitcase too.”
“That wouldn’t surprise me.”
“I think she’s still hoping a ninja goddess will sprout from me and I’ll start strutting around in those mile-high shoes.”
The corner of Raven’s mouth lifted. “You could always practice in the bedroom.”
She snorted. “And face plant on the floor.”
Raven laughed, bringing a smile to her face equal to the warmth spreading through her chest. The thought of spending some uninterrupted time curled up with her gorgeous soulmate made her giddy like a school girl.
Soulmate. Yesterday, she married her soulmate.
Raven squeezed her hand before starting the car. “Let’s get this honeymoon started."
Thumping, ear-splitting music blasted from the speakers. Tayla slammed her hands over her ears.
“What the fuck?” Raven shouted.
Quicker than she could track, Raven flipped down the volume and ripped out the USB from the dash. He held it up, inspecting the device.
“Fucking EJ,” he growled.
She peeked out the front windscreen but didn’t spot EJ. “How do you know it was him?”
“Well, for starters, the USB I put in the car was black, not…pink.” He waved it in the air as though to prove the point.
He hurled the USB, it bounced off the windscreen and skidded across the dash. “It took me hours to figure out how to put a playlist together and what felt like decades to work out how to…” He threw his hands up. “You know, put it on the USB.”
Tayla bit the inside of her cheek, trying not to laugh. Raven and his love/hate relationship with technology was too darn amusing.
He glared at her. “It’s not funny. EJ’s the only one who’d know how much this would piss me off.”
A short giggle escaped. “He’s like a toddler, acting out for attention. The best thing to do is ignore it.”
A muscled flexed in Raven’s jaw. “I should go inside and kick the shit outta him.”
She took his strong hand in hers, forcing him to focus on her and not EJ’s childish prank. “Leave it. We don’t need music anyway.”
Raven stared at her for a moment before his expression softened. “He’s lucky you’re here to save his ass,” he grumbled. He tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “I’m lucky you’re here.”
His husky tone and the way his deep blue eyes drew her in, caused her chest to swell. Heat trickled through their shared connection, a feeling she could no longer be without.
The tether joining her soul to Raven's was a part of her, like wearing a second skin or placing another heart in her chest to beat alongside her own. The connection made her feel loved, whole and complete. And even though they’d only been together a short time, the look of adoration he gave her never wavered and nor did her body's reaction.
The car jerked forward, tyres crunching the gravel drive as they took off to the highway. Heading out onto the main road, Raven swung left and drove up the mountain.
Tayla relaxed in the seat, twisting slightly to face him. “I still don’t know why you couldn’t fly us there. We could’ve left early this morning while it was still dark.”
No longer afraid of heights, her blood heated at the thought of their bodies pressed together while Raven whisked her into the clouds.
“Because every time I unfurl my wings we end up naked.” He grinned. “We’d never make it there.”
She cocked an eyebrow at him. “And that’s a problem why?”
Raven laughed and took her hand in his, pressing a soft kiss on the gigantic stone on her ring finger. “Eternity is a long time, Tayla. I don’t want you to get bored with it.” He glanced back to the road. “Or bored with me.”
She eyed the rock on her finger. Not an ordinary stone, but one forged from Purah and shaped to resemble a two-carat princess cut diamond—a wedding gift from Raine.
Her own slice of the Heavens.
Tayla’s heart squeezed. “Raven, trust me, I could never get bored with you.”
With Raven focused back on the road, her greedy gaze drifted over him. Even in summer, he still wore black jeans and a form-fitting black button-up, with the sleeves rolled to the elbows. His rugged hair looked like he’d racked his fingers through it a thousand times and when her gaze fell on the dark stubble covering his jaw, a scorching blaze ignited deep inside her body. Oh gosh, recalling the feel of his chin when it grazed on the inside of her thigh made her shift in the seat.
A panty-melting grin lifted on Raven’s lips. Sometimes their shared connection was cheating!
Tayla cleared her throat. “Something on your mind, husband?”
He turned to her and the intensity in his gaze made her cheeks burn. “Besides the fact I wanna pull over right here and have my way with you?”
Her breath caught.
Desire darkened his eyes and the air inside the car thickened. But instead of pulling over, Raven handed her a brochure. “And I was thinking how sexy you’ll be wearing wading boots, fishing the middle of the river.”
She glanced at both sides of the brochure and groaned. “Seriously?” What a way to ruin a moment.
“Yep,” he chuckled. “Seriously.”
That so wasn't her idea of a romantic honeymoon. “This is going to be a disaster,” she muttered.
“Hey.” He crooked a finger under her chin, turning her to face him. “I want you to hold on to mortal experiences a little longer. Eternity is a long time and can wear you down if you’re not careful.”
“And teaching the most uncoordinated person on the planet how to fly fish, is a mortal experience I should hold on to?”
“Maybe, maybe not, but it’s something both of us haven’t tried, which means we can enjoy it together. Plus…” He lifted her hand and kissed the stone again. “It’ll be fun.”
Seriously, fly fishing? The crazy person who thought it would be fun to throw a heap of fishing line back and forth over their shoulder, needed to have their head screwed back on.
She was more likely to get it tangled in a tree or worse, all around Raven.
If only immortality guaranteed coordination. But sadly, it didn’t.
“Are you sure the mansion will survive while you’re gone?” Which of course, was code for "are you sure we need to try fly fishing?".
“They’ll be fine.” He smirked. “You’re not getting outta this.”
Conceding defeat, Tayla slumped in the seat and tried not to stress about all the ways to injure herself with a fishing hook. Even if she could heal.
“You’re so beautiful.” Raven’s expression tightened. “I don’t tell you that enough.”
“You tell me every morning.”
“Well, I need to work on that. Once a day is not nearly enough.” He looked at the road, then back at her. “I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but I’m gonna spend the rest of eternity showing you how much I love you.”
Lost in the swarm of emotions washing through their bond, she absently stroked along his shoulder and down his firm bicep. “Tell me your favourite part of our wedding day.”
Raven didn’t miss a beat. “I have too many.”
“What’s one of them?”
He paused for a moment. “Watching you walk across the lawn, knowing you were about to become my wife.”
That brought a smile to her face. “It seems silly. We’re soulmates, nothing that could top that.”
“True. An eternity with someone is a concept no mortal could comprehend, but marriage is kinda their equivalent.” He glanced at her. “Plus, it’s a mortal experience we hadn’t done.”
“Which started this whole quest in the first place,” she chortled.
“Exactly. I come up with some decent ideas some of the time.” He paused. “What was your favourite part?”
She mentally ran through the day. From the moment she woke to the way her breath caught when her gaze locked with Raven’s at the ceremony. The heartfelt words they exchanged during their vows and the excitement on everyone’s faces when she and Raven kissed as husband and wife.
But an unexpected moment turned out to be her favourite and recalling it reignited the butterflies fluttering low in her belly. “The look in your eyes when you told me you loved me.”
He raised a brow. “Which time?”
“During the reception, when you were standing on the other side of the room talking to Aric. You looked my way and mouthed that you love me. That was my favourite moment.”
Raven smiled, no doubt with an inflated ego. “That’s one of mine too. A moment that’ll be burned in my memory for the rest of my existence.”
Before she could say any more, Raven turned onto a dirt road, passing a sign with "William’s Fishing Retreat" etched into the metal.
“We’re here already?”
“Sure are." Raven chuckled. "No turning back now.”
Well, at least she couldn’t die from fly-fishing.
They followed the narrow drive passed several large dams before the main lodge came into view, with a handful of log cabins off to one side. In the distance, rolling hills filled the landscape, scattered with tall gum trees with a river curving around the far side.
“Oh man, this is going to be one heck of an adventure,” she said, trying hard to squash the sarcasm in her voice.
“An adventure we get to experience together.”
After Raven parked the car, he got out and opened the passenger door.
Tayla took his hand. “I love you.”
He laughed. “Until you’re all tangled in fishing line.”
“Yep.” She sighed. “Until then.”
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