Home > Blood Bound (The Veil Keeper #2)

Blood Bound (The Veil Keeper #2)
Author: Harper Wylde

Prologue

 

 

Lorn

 

 

You made a grave mistake, little keeper, the voice hissed directly into my mind. You did not kill me when you had the chance.

The demon shade taunted me from the inky darkness, but no matter which way I turned, I couldn’t see it. My skin prickled like I was cold, but the air was stifling and the shifting, gritty ground under my feet felt hot even through the soles of my shoes. My fingers ached from the stiff way I held them as I tried to track the bastard and take him down, but it was all a useless endeavor. I couldn’t see worth a damn and if the shade wanted to hide, there was nothing I could do except stay as vigilant as possible.

What do you want? I asked, hoping I was facing the right direction at least. A bead of sweat dripped down my back while I waited for it to speak, and whether it was from nerves or the heat, I didn’t know. It was probably both.

What I have always wanted. The sound of its creepy voice skittered over my skin like an intrusion of cockroaches. I suppressed another shudder and whipped around, the noise coming from the other direction now. Was it circling me?

And what have you always wanted? I pressed, trying to lure it out. The taste of ash on my tongue made me want to gag.

Is it not obvious? Scratching noises invaded the darkness before the shade finally answered, Your death. The ominous threat made my toes want to curl in my Vans from the overwhelming foreboding that shivered down my spine.

You’ll be sorely disappointed then, I scoffed, because I don’t plan on dying today. I rounded slowly, narrowing my eyes as I tried desperately to improve my limited night vision. Knowing how to shift—on purpose—would be extremely helpful right now. There had to be a few animals that had excellent night vision. Like an owl or something.

The shade let out a gurgling laugh and the fine hair on the back of my neck stood on end. I’d never let this thing know it, but the talking demons creeped me out the most.

Maybe not today, it mused, perhaps not tomorrow, but soon, little keeper. Soon my master will have you and I will be free.

Sounds to me like you need to get another hobby. I’ve heard crocheting is a nice pastime. Or maybe you need something to binge watch. Do you have TVs in hell? I cocked my head, pursing my lips as if I was in deep thought.

Come a little closer, it jeered, and find out. It’s about time you visited the shadow realm that made you what you are and paid your debt. It has been too long since it has fed on keeper blood.

My stomach churned. Yeah... I’m going to have to RSVP no to that one. Hard pass, but thank you for the lovely invitation, I sassed. My blood is happy living in my veins, thank you very much.

Not for much longer, Lorn, Veil Keeper of the Realms. Your blood will spill at my master’s feet and Master will bathe in it.

My stomach dropped from the sheer menace pouring through the darkness.

Surrender. Surrender to my master and those you love will be spared, the shade sibilated, drawing out every ‘s.’ Red glowing eyes suddenly appeared out of the inky abyss and I bit my tongue, drawing blood, as I tried not to scream from how close it was to my face. Refuse—hot, rancid breath washed over me, the sulfuric smell singeing my nose and making me want to cough, except I didn’t want to breathe—and suffer the consequences.

The shade shot through my body then, the black wisps like poison surging within my veins.

An agonizing scream tore up my throat, and I jolted awake.

 

 

One

 

 

Lorn

 

 

Moonlight cascaded through the window, forming moving shadows on the ceiling, the soft sway of leaves and branches dancing in the midnight breeze. I fidgeted with the sheet as I lay in bed, trying everything I could think of to get back to sleep, but the sandman was evading my efforts like a tricky bastard. My mind was too awake to allow me to slip into the peaceful slumber I craved, if for no other reason than abate my never-ending thoughts.

The nightmare that had awoken me seemed all too real. It was unsettling, and I wasn’t sure if it was a figment of an overactive, over-stressed imagination, or something... more. It felt like more, but I wasn’t ready to deal with it. Maybe when the sun came up. I punched my pillow and rolled over in the soft sheets, trying to get more comfortable, and ended up staring at the black and white photographs on the wall. I focused on the images of moss covered trees, flowers, and mushrooms that captured the essence of the forest. It helped, but I had to forcibly shove the troubling thoughts to the back of my mind and pick an entirely different, and honestly more important, topic to distract myself. I mean, I already knew I had some crazy psychopath out to kill me—using shades to do the dirty work—so it wasn’t like anything had really changed.

Nope, but there were other things that had.

Six mates. The fact repeated through my mind as I tried not to freak at the turn my life had taken.

Men were fucking confusing creatures, hot then cold, aloof then territorial. I could still feel Kota’s arm around my shoulders from earlier in the evening, and hear the possessive growl behind Dason’s words as he swore to protect me and called me his. Neither of them had seemed overly thrilled I’d accidentally invaded their lives, but the truth behind their actions was clear through the mate bond that linked us—that golden little thread that allowed me a peek inside their heads and hearts. It kept us honest, but it also confused the hell out of me as I tried to figure out my own feelings, which were mixing and colliding with theirs.

I rolled over again and hugged my pillow, enjoying the feel of the silken fabric against my skin, and I thought about Axel and Chayton who, in stark contrast to their friends, had been more than welcoming. It’d been nice to have people in my corner, and it didn’t hurt that they were both sexy as hell with personalities to match. There were instant sparks, and I was already growing attached.

Four mates had been mind-blowing enough, but now I had to add in Jolon and Syler, the two intriguing strangers who had waltzed into the cabin and claimed I was also their mate. While it was hard to digest, I couldn’t deny the interest I felt as soon as I’d seen them—that same polarizing draw I’d experienced with my other men.

Toss in the earth-shattering information I’d learned from Mama Dunne, a battle with a class four shade, otherwise known as a demon—the same one now haunting my nightmares—and a trip to the veil that I’d barely managed to escape, it was no wonder I couldn’t get the montage of the last twenty-four hours to slow down enough to allow sleep to claim me.

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