Well, this is it. The Keeping is officially over. It's sort of a happy-sad time because I can relax now but...I really liked these characters and loved being able to connect with all of you. I'm planning to make this a trilogy and write a story for Bryan and Cassie. I have several bits of info embedded in this story that I can pull from, and even have a tentative start for Chapter 1 so I'm crossing my fingers. I won't be posting the story until it's about half written thus you might not hear from me for a while with regards to this series but I won't forget you!

The Keeping is now up in e-book format for FREE at Feedbooks and Smashwords, (eventually ipad, Barnes and Noble, Kobo etc. ) You can see my cool cover art (at least I think it is great!)

If any of you would like to download it and leave a review, I'd really appreciate your help in getting it off the ground. Same for The Mating (esp at Barnes and Noble where my numbers are down) and Forever In Time (only at feedbooks so far.) Anyone who downloads The Keeping will get a bonus teaser chapter for Cassie and Bryans story, called The Finding. (Just a little bribe - lol!)

Don't forget to check out the SKOW awards and vote for fav stories (Mine are Collision Course by Cupid's Psyche and Be Mine, Evelyn Vine by Mitchiter)

Oh and I just found a story called "All I've Never Known" by TaylorForrealz. It's not a werewolf story but it seems quite interesting so far.

Well, this is worse than an acceptance speach at an awards ceremony isnt' it? I just keep going on and on....so I'll stop.

Here it is, the epilogue!

Epilogue

Back in Chicago...

Leon Aldrich lay in a hospital bed, his eyelids half open. A ventilator pumped air through the breathing tube in his newly repaired throat. The pain medication made him groggy and the room kept going in and out of focus. In his hand he held a crumpled copy of Greyson's will. He couldn't believe he never knew about Cassandra Greyson and that she'd inherit everything. Hazily, he thought that changing the will in his favour would have been an easy thing to do, if he'd still been able bodied. Even though Greyson had added a note warning that two other copies existed, he could have searched the estate and found them.

He needed to find the girl. But how?

The sound of the door opening caught his attention and he slowly shifted his eyes to observe the newcomer. It was a nurse.

"Hello, Mr. Aldrich. And how are we today?" She chatted as she checked the ventilator and peered at his bandages. "Nasty wounds. I must say I've never heard of a wild dog attack in Chicago."

Aldrich tried to speak.

"No, no, no. You can't try to talk. Your throat can't stand the strain. If you need something, press the call button and use this whiteboard." She held the objects up for him to see and then placed them on the tray in front of him.

He blinked twice. It had been his main means of communicating until today. Two for yes. Three for no.

The nurse smiled and applied cream to his dry chapped lips. "You must be exhausted after that police interview. It was so brave of you to step between Mr. Greyson and that attacking dog."

Aldrich blinked twice again. That was the story he'd painstakingly scrawled on the white board.

Straightening his covers the Nurse continued. "I heard the police talking as they left. They agree it was an unfortunate accident. The dog jumped at you just as you fired the gun and the bullet hit Mr. Greyson by mistake. You're so lucky the beast ran off before it killed you."

Two more blinks.

She squeezed his hand. "Your secretary is here to see you. She's such a sweet thing. When I said I just needed a minute to check your bandages and medication, she told me she'd go downstairs for a few minutes and browse the gift shop until I was done. I'm sure she'll be back in just a moment or two." With a final pat to his hand, the woman left.

If nothing else, the woman's chatter had helped clear his thinking. He found it easier to concentrate on the problem of Cassandra Greyson. He wanted to get his hands on Greyson's money, but the girl stood in his way. As long as she was missing, the estate would be tied up. Mind you, that would give him time to heal, but once she was found, then what? She wasn't yet eighteen. Possibly, he could have himself appointed her guardian, worm his way into her confidence and then... But how to contact her? A gleam entered his eye as he noticed a newspaper lying on the chair by his bed. That might work. Slowly, he grabbed the white board and began to write.

By time he was finished, he was wet with sweat from the exertion, but a satisfied look covered his face. He ran the message over in his mind. 'Place a personal ad in all major papers around U.S.A. It should read Cassie, please come home. You're in grave danger from the wild ones. Only I can protect you. – A.

He frowned then added one more line.

There was a light rap on the door and Ms. Matthews walked in. He assessed the temporary secretary carefully, knowing she was the person who had caved in to Greyson's demands that she snoop in his appointment book. She wasn't exactly trustworthy... Damn Ms. Sandercock for still being away! Well, Ms. Matthews seemed biddable enough. She'd have to do. And she had brought him Greyson's will, after all. Not having any other choice at the moment, he made his decision.

"Hello, Mr. Aldrich." Ms. Matthews set a magazine down on his bed table. "I brought you something to read, in case you're bored. Is there anything I can do for you?

He gestured at the white board and she picked it up.

When she was finished reading, she gave him a puzzled look. "This is the girl mentioned in the will?"

He blinked twice.

"All right. I'll have a personal ad put in the papers for you and get some extra guards posted outside this room, though I can't think why. The police were here all week..." Her voice trailed off as she copied the message down on a sheet of paper. "Oh, by the way, Ms. Sandercock called, and she's taking an extended leave. Some family business about the relative that passed away. Richardsons Temp Agency is willing to give me the position until she returns, if that's all right with you."

He blinked yes, knowing he really had no other choice. It wasn't like he was able to interview for the position.

"I was hoping you'd agree. You seem like such a nice man." She stepped closer and brushed his hair back from his forehead, letting her hand trail slowly down his arm. "If you need anything...anything at all, just ask. And feel free to call me by my first name. It's Mary, though some people use my nickname, Marla." She smiled widely and stepped away. "I'll go place that ad for you, now. See you tomorrow."

Stupid girl, he thought as she left the room, vaguely noting she had the slightest limp. If she thinks I'll fall for that act... Ha! I know her kind only too well.

(Did any of you gasp? All the little loose ends might be coming together in "The Finding" Mwhahaha!)

p.s. for all you Lucy fans: check out the review by Rosethorneverlasting for chapter 41. She found a song that fits Lucy perfectly