Color of Blood (Saint Lakes 7)

Saint Lakes #7

by April Kelley

For fated mates, going from friends to lovers should be a smooth transition, but Ladon and Magnus have never had things easy.

At twenty years old, Ladon knows he’s too young to be Saint Lakes’ Alpha, but no one listens. Not even his mate, Magnus, and he’s Ladon’s his best friend. Magnus is out of town on a dangerous investigative mission when Ladon shifts for the first time. Ladon and Magnus have waited years for the day because they couldn’t bond until it happened. Almost as soon as it does, Magnus goes MIA, leaving Ladon to wonder if it just isn’t in the cards for them.

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Ladon. Saint Lakes. My name is Magnus.

He used to have four things to remember but the last one slipped from his memory.

Ladon. Saint Lakes. His head lulled down. His neck couldn’t hold it on his shoulders anymore. A fine sheen of sweat had long since turned sticky. The sweat trapped the cold under his skin until it had nowhere to move except inward. The cold wrapped around his bones until it stole his focus.

“I’m Magnus.” He whispered to himself again. The medication fucked with his body on a soul-deep level.

He took a deep breath and let it out, closing his eyes. He needed rest while he could get it, but the thought of shutting his brain off to sleep scared him.

“Ladon. Saint Lakes.”

What if he didn’t wake up? Or remember who he was? Or worse? What if he forgot who Ladon was?


The door to the room opened, and two men in lab coats walked in. One man had an auburn colored beard. The hair on his head was more blond than red, though. He had freckles everywhere, even on the part of his arms Magnus saw. The other man had slicked-back dark hair and eyes that looked about as wasted as Magnus felt. Something about the second man put Magnus on alert even though he couldn’t do anything about it.

The door clicked shut behind them, and then their sneakers squeaked on the industrial tiles.

Each one began undoing the buckle restraints on his ankles without a word. It didn’t take them very long to move to his wrists. His left wrist was free before the right one. He hissed at the pain in his muscles. Holding them in the same position for hours hurt. He could tick that one off his list of things he never wanted to find out but did anyway.

The second the whitecoats freed his right wrist, they grabbed him around his arms.

He tried to stand, wanting to escape. Going passively into captivity wasn’t exactly Magnus’ style. His legs gave out from under him, and that was all that came of it.

The whitecoats half-dragged, half-carried him through the building until they came to the closed door that would lead him back to his cell.

Tears gathered in his eyes at just the thought of getting a reprieve from the shots and whatever else they did to him. The shit they pumped through him ripped his body in half.

Logically, he knew the prison cell wasn’t safe, but the illusion was enough. None of it mattered the second the whitecoat pulled open the door. All his mind and body knew was that no one would cause him pain inside that small glass box.

He almost cried when the whitecoats stopped halfway inside the door with him dangling in between them. They all turned at the same time as if they were one singular unit.

Wesley stood next to an oval-shaped counter. The top of a computer screen peeked above it. One of Wesley’s arms disappeared but only for a second.

“The lab is closed for the night.” The whitecoat’s tone remained neutral.

“Yes. S-sorry.” Wesley met Magnus’ gaze. His brows drew together, wrinkling his forehead further up. He opened his mouth to say something but shut it just as quickly. He looked down at the desk. His arm came back around, and Magnus immediately looked at his hand to see if he held anything. It was empty. “The-the senator asked me to pick up something from Dr. Perkins.”

“Dr. Perkins didn’t say anything about that.”

Wesley took a step away from the counter. His hands shook but then he clasped his fingers together, so it wasn’t as noticeable. “Yes, well.” He looked down at the floor as if searching for a good enough lie. He shuffled from one foot to another.

He met Magnus’ gaze again but looked away quickly. His hands unclasped, and he took a step toward one of the whitecoats. “I’ve been kid—”

Metal banged against wood right before the most menacing roar Magnus had ever heard echoed throughout the building. The whitecoats dropped Magnus right where they stood. He fell to the floor in a heap, his legs folding underneath him.

The door leading to the prison room rested against his left side, pressing against him, demanding he move so it could return home.

The whitecoats ran toward the sound, leaving him with Wesley, who stared at him as if he were the undead.

“What did they do to you?” Wesley whispered the question, so Magnus didn’t know if he should answer or not. He didn’t have the energy anyway.


He recognized the scuffling and grunts even without the screams.

Wesley’s eyes widened. He looked around for an exit right before he took off in the opposite direction of the ruckus.

Another scream and then a roar that shook the building. Pain laced through the next roar. Something about it called to Magnus until he had an overwhelming urge to protect whatever beast created the sound.

“Stick him with that needle, and they’ll be cleaning up pieces of you.” Damian? No way.

By the gods, why would his mind manufacture someone like Damian? If he were going to hallucinate anyone, it should be Ladon.

Magnus leaned his head against the door and closed his eyes. He just needed rest. Just a few minutes.

Even when someone else screamed and bones crunched, he couldn’t bring himself to look.

“Ladon. Saint Lakes. I’m Magnus.” There used to be a fourth one, but he had lost it. Searching in the dark proved pointless.

A sudden gust of wind blew at him, moving the strands of his hair. They lay back in place at the same time something rubbed against his cheek, nudging him. He still didn’t open his eyes, fearing that what he suspected was all a manifestation of his mind.

“Ladon. Saint Lakes. I’m Magnus.” He slipped into a tight space in his mind. Survive.

“Shh, I’m here.” Ladon. And then a hand moved his hair off his face, soothing. He moved into the touch, wanting more even if it was something his mind made up to cope. “I’m gonna take you home.”


About the Author

April Kelley is an author of LGBT Romance. Her works include The Journey of Jimini Renn, which was a Rainbow Awards finalist, Whispers of Home, the Saint Lakes series, and over thirty more. She is a main contributor for Once & Books. If you'd like to become a patron sign up here:

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