Vail refused to believe he had called the female such a thing. It was all a trick she had devised to lure him into her trap. She had heard him mutter that word, picking it out from all the others, latching onto it in the hope it would weaken him enough for her to cast a spell on him. She meant to enslave him with it, just as another had before her.
He stared at the ceiling, studying the cracks between the dark grey stones, and clawed his hair back, pulling it tight, until his scalp stung.
Had he called her kiâ€™ara?
Vail laughed emptily to himself, the sound unnerving even him. The occupants of the cells on either side of his shuffled further away, evidently deciding it wise to distance themselves from his insanity.
Yes. That was why he had used that word for her. Kordula had driven him madder than he had thought possible, and that was the reason he had called the fair female such a name, because he had no kiâ€™ara.
He wasnâ€™t that lucky.
The ceiling of his cell swam out of focus as his heart beat frantically against his ribs, far quicker than normal, the pace sickening him.
Filling him with dread.
It wasnâ€™t possible that it was her heart causing his to race, the product of a bond he had initiated between them by giving her blood. It wasnâ€™t. He shook his head and barked out another laugh, this one bordering on hysterical judging by the way the incubus slunk away from the bars of his cell across the corridor from Vailâ€™s and eyed him warily. She couldnâ€™t be.
Vail slowly tilted his head to his left to face him. â€œYou.â€
The dark-haired male pointed at himself, his green eyes wide, as if he wasnâ€™t sure Vail was talking to him. Who else was there to speak with in this dreadful place? This fae was the only one he could see, and the only one who could see him where he lay, and that meant the male had witnessed everything.
He had heard everything.
Vail allowed his hands to fall away from his hair. They hung limp, his arms stretched out above his head, the length of chain securing him to the stone slab dragging across the flags.
â€œDid she speak the truth?â€ Vail said and the incubus nodded without hesitation.
Vail turned his face away to stare at the ceiling again. Kiâ€™ara. He had called her such a thing.
â€œYou made her drink from you,â€ the male said in a voice laced with disgust, one that let Vail know exactly what this male thought of him. â€œSick wanker.â€
He wasnâ€™t sure what that profanity meant but no profanity was complimentary. This male thought him wretched indeed.
â€œTo heal her,â€ Vail whispered to the ceiling, still unable to believe that he had done such a thing.
Yet he could feel the ties that bound them, his body to hers. He knew their hearts beat in time with each other, hers causing his to race, speaking to him of how frightened she had been when she had confronted him and the fury that lingered within her still. It would be that way until the bond was complete, something that felt impossible to him, but necessary too, as vital to him as air and blood.
Their feelings mingled and flowed from one to the other. He was weak of body and mind, hunger draining his powers, but he could sense her fear and every instinct he possessed demanded he reach her and take away the source of that fear so she would feel safe again.
Impossible. He was the source of her fear. He was the one who had upset her.
She had already removed herself from him.
When she had stopped outside his cell and looked at him, her eyes had sparked with silver fire that had danced amongst the cool blue waters. He had witnessed the power held locked within her and knew that she had longed to direct it at him. She had wanted to hit him with a spell.
He unleashed a feral snarl and battled the sense of connection to her, refusing to believe it stemmed from anything other than his blood in her body. She was not his kiâ€™ara. The prediction given to him as a youth had been wrong. It had all been a lie, a trick by Kordula somehow. Her ancestors had planted the seed in his head that his fated female would be a sorceress and he had foolishly believed it. They had then sent her to him and she had set her trap. He had fallen right into it.
Heâ€™d had no bond with Kordula, and he had no bond with this witch either.
Using the same power that kept his connection to Loren closed, he severed the one that linked him to her, shutting out her emotions.
His heart didnâ€™t slow though.
Demons stopped outside his cell again. Vail ignored them, focusing on his heart instead, willing it to slow and adopt a normal rhythm, one that didnâ€™t make his head spin and leave him feeling weaker.
One of the demons opened the door and held it while the other stepped inside his cell. Vail spared them a glance. They werenâ€™t the normal dungeon dwelling guards. These two wore loose black shirts with their black leather trousers, and carried a set of restraints that he didnâ€™t like.
They locked the cell door and approached him. The witchâ€™s words came back to him. He was to see the king.
The demons bent over him, clamping gleaming solid metal cuffs around his wrists and his ankles, and unlocking the ones that held him fastened to the slab. The male nearest his wrists grabbed the short chain between his new manacles, hauling him into a sitting position and then onto his feet, and he didnâ€™t fight them. He wanted to meet this king.
His knees wobbled under his sudden weight and he locked them, refusing to show any weakness around these wretches.
The other demon, slightly smaller than his companion, with a chunk of his dirty grey left horn missing, placed a thick band of metal around Vailâ€™s waist and locked it behind his back. It bit into his hips, the metal cold against his skin, but it wasnâ€™t the chill that made it crawl.
There was magic in these bonds. He could feel it sapping his strength and he growled under his breath, itching to fight it and get it off him. He clenched and unclenched his fists, battling his rising panic, trying to subdue it before it ate away at his control. He had to stay lucid. He couldnâ€™t lose control.
The demon who had secured the band around his waist placed the chain between Vailâ€™s wrists into a thick loop on the front of the band and shoved it closed, locking the chain to it and making it impossible for him to move his arms. Vail growled when the other demon placed a collar made of the same magically reinforced metal around his neck.
The larger demon opened the cell door and the smaller one shoved him forwards. The length of the chain between his ankles was only long enough for him to shuffle his bare feet over the smooth cold stones. When he reached the open door, the two males hit the band around his waist and he jerked forwards, losing his balance. A tug on his collar stopped him from falling on his face.
He glared over his shoulder at them and realised they hadnâ€™t shoved him or pulled him back. Both demons held long metal poles that were now attached to his belt and his collar, keeping him at a distance from them.
They both pushed on the ends of the poles, forcing him to move. He snarled and flashed his fangs, but had no choice but to obey. He shuffled forwards, his eyes fixed on the floor in front of his feet, shame burning through him. The chain between his ankles rattled and scraped across the stones.
He despised it.
Being restrained physically was almost as bad as being restrained by magic.
He looked at his shackled wrists. In this case, he was being restrained by both magic and a physical item. He hated that he could feel the sorcery in the bonds that held him. It crawled over his skin like an oily slick, suffocating him and making it impossible to think rationally. He hated that he could feel magic in the female too. It drove him mad.
Sent him deep into dark, twisted memories that pulled him under, tugging him away from reality and leaving him lost in a strange, deranged state that left him feeling as if he was living a nightmareâ€”as eternal and dark as the most hellish pit in the underworld.
The demons marched him past the cells and he kept his eyes cast downwards, his thoughts turned inwards, fearing he would sense the witch and would lose his grip on reality. He struggled up the stone steps to an arched doorway and flinched as he raised his head and bright torchlight washed over his face. The guard on his left shoved with his poles and Vail silently bared his fangs in warning before trudging onwards, out into the light.
Males milled around the enormous courtyard of the black castle, some locked in mock battle and others talking in groups. Not all were demon. He spotted bear shifters and one or two dragons in their human forms.
Not all were male.
Vail growled low in his throat on sensing the presence of dark magic, his gaze instantly seeking the source of it. Two women stood off to his right, one blonde and one a redhead.
Vail snarled at her and launched himself in that direction, forgetting that his ankles were bound. He tripped on the short chain and stumbled, and would have fallen on his face had the two demons holding him not pulled back on the poles, jerking him upright like a marionette.
The two dark witches laughed, the high sound mocking him. He bared his fangs at them and hissed, his pointed ears flattening against the sides of his head, warning them not to laugh at him. It didnâ€™t stop them.
The warriors around them paid him no heed. They were too busy staring at the witches, hungry gazes raking over their bodies, taking in every curve put on display by their long tight black dresses.
The witches stared at Vail though, giving him their undivided attention, turning his stomach over with the force of it. Their magic was in the bonds that held him prisoner, touching him. It was all over him, that oily slick covering every inch of him now, smothering him, making him itch to wash himself and scrub it away.
All witches made him feel this way, whether male or female, dark or light, and he despised them for it.
The demons shoved him forwards, forcing him to continue his march of shame through the courtyard.
It struck him that Little Wild Rose didnâ€™t make him react in such a way. When he was around her, he wanted to fight and attack her, needed to defend himself and drive her away, as he did with these witches, but he didnâ€™t feel sickened, drowning in her magic and choking on her presence.
He shook that thought away. The cuffs she wore dampened her power so he could only feel a fragment of it, and that was the only reason she didnâ€™t repulse him.
One of the demon guards pushed him in the back. â€œKeep moving.â€
Vail came back to the world and discovered he was inside one of the towering buildings of the castle. He had lost track of his surroundings, thoughts of the witch stealing his focus, a dangerous and foolish move to have made. He should have been focused on discovering the layout of the castle and looking for weaknesses in its defences, something he could exploit in order to escape.
They entered a cavernous hall lit by torches mounted on the great gleaming obsidian pillars supporting the vaulted ceiling. Ahead of him, at the end of a long wide aisle, stood a black throne on a raised stone platform.
On that throne sat a huge demon male.
Did you enjoy today’s snippet?
Tempted by a Rogue Prince
An elf prince on the verge of losing himself to the darkness, Vail is maddened by the forty-two centuries he was under the control of a witch and forced to war with his brother. Now, he roams Hell seeking an escape from his terrible past and the heads of all who bear magic. When demons of the Fifth Realm capture him, he sees a chance to end his existence, but when he wakes in a cell to a beautiful female, he finds not death but his only shot at salvationâ€”his true fated mate.
Captured by the enemy of the Third Realm when the war ended, Rosalind has spent months in the cells of the Fifth Realm with her magic bound, forced to heal the new kingâ€™s demon warriors, and haunted by the lives she has taken. When sheâ€™s brought to heal an unconscious man, she discovers her only hope of escape has come in the form of her worst nightmare and the first part of a prediction that might spell her doomâ€”a devastatingly handsome and dangerous dark elf prince.
Unwilling to fall under the control of anyone ever again, Vail must escape before the Fifth King can use him as a pawn in a deadly game of revenge, but he cannot leave without Rosalind, the woman who looks at him with dark desire in her stunning eyes and awakens a fierce hunger in his heart. A witch who drives him mad with need even as the darkness within whispers she will enslave him too.
Can Rosalind escape her fate as they embark on a journey fraught with danger and resist the temptation of her rogue elf prince? And can Vail overcome the memories that madden him in order to seize his chance for salvation and the heart of his fated female forever?
If you haven’t had a chance to read any of the books in the Eternal Mates romance series yet, they’re all available at major ebook retailers and in paperback, and you can find the links and samples of the books at my website: