Even chalk-white and swaying on two feet, Zeke managed a look of utter surprise. Tessa’s slender eyebrows fell into a grimace, and a subtle blush stained her face. From the way she avoided his gaze at all costs, I knew things were far from perfect between the two, but it was a start.Tessa was no longer against us, so long as I held up my end and kept my word that witches would have a place in the world, one where they didn’t have to hide in the shadows.“Can you heal him?” I asked her, nodding in Zeke’s direction.“I think so, but I might need some help. I’ve only ever mended small wounds…nothing like this. Plus, his weakness to silver is going to stunt things.” Tessa replied, peeling up the bottom half of Zeke’s shirt. When she made it to his back, where the gem-incrusted hilt jutted out a few inches from his spine, she winced. “I’m going to have to pull it out. It’s…it’s going to hurt.”“Do it.” Zeke grunted, sinking to his knees to brace his hands in the dirt.“On three…” Tessa mu
I sliced through the mind-link, cleaving it in two and watching as it fluttered and frayed like the torn pieces of a ribbon.“Now, where were we?” I exhaled, rolling my shoulders back as I weakened my hold over my magic.It swarmed at the first hint of freedom, filling my cells until they swelled with power. As hard as it was, I had to control each and every thought that passed through my head, taking care not to feed any energy into them. Like stones floating down a stream, I’d pluck one out of the water to inspect it, only to toss it back in, releasing it altogether.Rowena snickered, much too confident and cocky given her current position. “You were threatening me with death should I not reveal all my little secrets.”“Ah, right. I’d like to change my earlier threat if you don’t mind.” I smirked, tilting my head the way a predator would as it sized up its prey. Right now, that’s exactly what Rowena was. She didn’t even have the honor of being called fresh meat, not with that patch
“She made you kill my brother, Asher. How can you not want this?” I whispered; my hands flush against his broad chest.My voice was back to normal, but the sickly veins of darkness crawling up my fingers remained. They’d gotten further this time around, creeping past my knuckles and onto the tops of my hands. The Shadows were silent, bloated on Rowena’s blood.There were no whispers of fixing this because this time, the damage was irreversible.Sprawled out in the dirt, covered in her own blood, Rowena muttered, “I didn’t make him do anything.”Asher’s neck cracked as he craned his head to look down at her, a ripple of pure malice wracking his body and vibrating down the mate-bond. It wasn’t just me whose sanity was hanging by a frayed thread, but Asher too.“Believe me, I want her dead and I want her to suffer first, but not at the cost of my mate. Look at your hands, Lola. Look at yourself.” Asher said in a low voice, one laced with caution.I kept my eyes locked on his face, even a
A snarl tore through my chest and if it weren’t for Asher’s hand on my lower back, his warmth pouring into my icy skin, I would’ve dug my fingers into her eye sockets.Instead of having the wits to be afraid, Rowena laughed.“No, you’re right. She’s too close to all of this. It would be much too obvious. Mm, perhaps it’s someone in the background, someone you never would’ve noticed lurking about. What about that half-breed sister of yours, Holly? She and I did spend quite a lot of time together.” She teased, flashing blood-stained teeth when Tristan let out a snarl of his own.There wasn’t a chance in hell I’d actually believe her, not with how enthusiastically she’s pointing fingers. She could cry witch all she wanted, but I trusted the people closest to me, my half-sister included.Rowena began to laugh harder, and the sound of it gradually shifted from confident and poised, to a cackle that bordered on unhinged.“Oh, there’s so many possibilities, but let’s not limit the suspects t
‘Let’s take a minute. I need a breather before I tear her heart out.’ I hissed over mind-link.The darkness in my veins was crooning, ‘kill her, kill her, kill her.’ The possibility that she’d open her mouth again and say something that eroded the last shred of my willpower was terrifying enough to make me want to run.Still holding Asher’s hand, I pulled him away from Rowena. The traitor was reclined in her seat, lazy smile on her face. She could act like being here was her choice, like this was some five-star resort, but I had a feeling she’d quickly change her mind once Asher began drawing blood.The mere thought of hearing her screams had my hands shaking, twitching with the urge to let my magic take control.There was clear reluctance on Asher’s end, but he relented and let me lead him into the observation room. As Rowena’s cell door swung shut, I closed in on my mate. The others in the room faded into the background, the prickling sensation that was their eyes smothered by fear.
There wasn’t much more we could do after that. Rowena was dangling on the cusp of unconsciousness and one more slice, one more sliver of flesh, could easily send her tumbling off the edge.I could’ve healed her, resealed her wounds and sent the blood trickling back into her body, but I didn’t trust myself. The more I thought about her, about Sean and how I felt, the hazier my mind became. I was running out of reasons not to finish what I’d started back in the forest, and that fact terrified me more than anything.I should’ve told Asher, but what was the point? There was nothing that could be done. The dark veins along my fingers and hands were proof that I’d almost went off the deep end, and the shadows themselves insisted there was no cure to be found.After ordering Giovanni to dose Rowena with enough Hemlock to subdue a small army, Asher and I left. We spent the rest of the day together, though it was anything but relaxing. There was so much he and I needed to talk about, but we we
Asher’s FlashbackWhen you’ve reached the top of a great and mighty mountain, your muscles still burning from the climb, the last thing one expects is to suddenly fall.Holding Lola in my arms, her scent invading my brain and her warm pussy sheathed around my cock, hearing her soft sighs and the way her voice swelled with love when she agreed to be my wife, it was the highest peak I could ever hope to reach.Until bars of silver slammed down over my eyes and an inhuman force clawed itself out from the furthest pits of my mind, I had no clue that something had even been wrong.Sure, there were those moments of lost time where my memory frayed, but that had just been stress, right?It couldn’t have been this—this creature with its spindly limbs and blood-soaked face wrapping around my body, winding around my torso, and dragging me back, further and further away until my limbs no longer responded to my will.What the fuck was this? Some distant facet of my mind found this thing—this crea
There was nothing in his eyes but agony. Not a hint of recognition or understanding, only pain so intense that it rendered me speechless.Asher’s memories still lingered in my vision, imprinted on the back of my eyelids every time I blinked. Sean’s face covered in blood, the way grandma stared at Asher, seeing so clearly that it wasn’t him behind those golden eyes, hearing Asher’s screams—the way every bit of ferocity and strength left him when he realized what he’d done.All of it was too much, too overwhelming, but my reason for staying strong was right here, inches away and crumbling to dust in my hands.Tears streamed down Asher’s face, down his cheeks where they trickled off his jaw, tickling my wrists from where I cradled his head. I curled into his chest, holding his empty stare with every sob he held back.His pain and guilt were a sandstorm that tore into me, scraping away at my skin, but no matter how badly I wanted to cry out and shield myself, I held back. I’d take the pai