Authors: Electa Graham
Cassandra Myles Witch Series - Book T
By Electa Graham
Copyright © 2014 by Electa Graham
This book is a work of fiction, the characters, incidents and dialogues are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Cover by LLPIX Photography
Editing and Formatting by BZHercules.com
To my husband, who encouraged me to take the time to write this book. Love comes in many forms. One form is a man reading and editing a vampire novel when he’d rather be reading something more in the military genre. I love him heart and soul.
Table of Contents
As they shambled out like wounded soldiers from a war, Dominick and Killian left me to face Quintus alone. The two had been enemies; now they were brothers-in-arms and I had come to love them both. We might not have fought a war, but we had been prisoners. We had worked together to keep each other safe, and tonight, we were free. After one quick and bloody battle, the Queen of Darkness was dead. I had drained her magical essence and lopped off her head for good measure. Her demise left me with no regrets. She had tortured her own people and killed my mate. If anything, her death was far too swift and she suffered not nearly enough.
The only pang of guilt I felt was over the death of her son.
Conal had been a victim too. He had been born and raised while imprisoned with his mother and all the other dark fae. She had tried to raise him to be just as evil and twisted as she was, but only succeeded in creating a sad confused man with the mind of a child. A broken boy who ached to have someone to love him.
Despite all that,
Mab had still been his mother and he had loved her. When he saw me kill her, he attacked me. True to his word, Kael, King of the Slaugh, came just in time to save my life, but slew Conal in the process. Her people and her son were all just fodder for her cruel and sadistic pleasures. In the name of revenge, she tortured the light fae, but even her own people couldn’t escape her iron grip or her brutal whims.
had freed both the light and dark fae from her wicked rule, but it wasn’t likely that they were going to be grateful. Mab might have been a mad evil bitch, but she had kept order and she was fae. Now that job was on my shoulders. The shoulders of a human who had only lived a tiny spec of time compared to those I had to rule. The shoulders of someone who had never even been class president let alone a queen of an ancient race. To say I wasn’t feeling up to the task was an understatement of the century.
King Kael was going to keep the peace physically, but I had to reunite them. I had to make them see that what they were doing
to each other was only going to lead to their destruction and maybe even the end of the earth. I had to help them find a way to work together. They had been feuding since before people populated the earth. No problem, right? Easy peasy.
terrifying reality of the situation sucker punched me in the gut and opened a very firmly closed triple-locked door. One I had slammed shut and locked to save my sanity, but now it was wide open and terror crept down and made my whole body go cold and numb. Panic gripped my heart and sped it up, then it seeped into my lungs so I couldn’t get enough air. I was dying. I had to be. Then, just when I thought I was gasping for my last breath, the fear slowly faded and I found myself with my forehead pressed to the cold floor. I was gasping for breath, fingertips pressed into the stone as I tried to gain control of my body. I wasn’t just up shit creek without a paddle, I had no canoe and I was wearing lead shoes.
The actuality of my situation was setting in and it was big, bad, and scary as fuck. I was now Queen of the Fae. Little old Cassandra Joan Myles from Halifax, Nova Scotia was going to reign over a people that had that had been alive since before we had discovered fire and as a people had existed long enough ago that they could have ridden a dinosaur. The good news was it would look spectacular on my curriculum vitae; the bad news was if I didn’t do a good job, there might not be anyone left alive when they called my references.
I shook my head, trying to clear my mind of all impossible thoughts. The time I had allotted for a breakdown was coming to a close. I had
to gather myself. Quintus would be here soon and I had to have my wits about me. He was going to barge in here to rescue me from things I didn’t need rescuing from and wanting to punish a man I had promised to protect. I wasn’t the same Cassandra and Killian wasn’t the same man who had kidnapped me. I had saved myself this time and I wouldn’t let him harm a man I pledged to keep safe.
I tried to smile
, but my lips were stuck together with dried blood. My cheek was swelling and now that the adrenaline was starting to fade, the pain was settling in. Quintus would be here and he would be filled with fury and vengeance. I had to feel like his equal so he would listen to me.
As if on cue
, in the distance, an explosion made me jump back to my feet. The energy and power from the night was fading, but there was still a little coursing in my veins. I would need it. My body screamed to sit down, but I had to meet Quintus on my feet. I squared my shoulders and straightened my back.
s were getting closer and closer. Room by room, he searched for me, leaving destruction in his wake. I could hear their boots echoing in the hallway. This time, the sound of splintering wood came from next door, the impact almost knocking me off my feet. I backed up and braced myself for what was coming.
Time slowed down
, allowing me to take in every detail. The oak door shattered into a million pieces, turning each splinter into a tiny weapon. I watched as pieces flew through the air. I turned my head away just before the tiny wooden shards began to pierce my body. Dust and debris clouded my sight and, when it cleared, Quintus stood in the doorway.
He was beauty and horror married in one body. A fallen angel back from battle. Perfect skin, full lips, beautiful eyes, but he was also a
blood-coated, wild eyed, fanged creature radiating enough power to bring this whole building down. He was once the only person who made me feel safe and now it was all I could do not to run screaming from the room. The instant he saw me, all that force and all that ugliness folded neatly back inside him. So quick and so complete was the transformation that it was easy to convince myself that I had never seen it at all.
That was the ultimate danger of a man lik
e Quintus. He could be both. He could be gentle, caring, loving, but that was only the surface. An angelic façade that hid what lay underneath, a wild beast pacing in his cage, waiting for the opportunity to be let out. He still looked human, but that was the bait that drew you in. Gave you a false sense of security. Even the gentlest beast will bite under the right circumstances.
“Cassandra.” He ran to me, pul
ling me close into his chest. I felt him bury his face in my hair. “I… I thought I might never see you again. I should know better by now. You always come back to us.”
I held back an unexpected tear. I wasn’t coming back, not this time.
“I’m fine, really.” He was holding me gently. His concern was genuine, but it wouldn’t last long. Once I told him what I had done and what I had promised, that monster inside would once again be straining for control.
I thought I lost you. When we figured out where Killian had taken you, we feared the worst.”
I gently pushed on him and he let me go
, looking a little hurt. Now was not the time to weaken. I had to make him see what needed to happen and he would exploit any weakness in my resolve to get his own way.
red the worst too, but I decided killing Mab was a much better outcome.” I laughed nervously. “It seemed like a much better plan.”
His eyes went wide and
now it was his turn to take a step back from me. I thought I detected a tiny bit of fear, but maybe that was just wishful thinking. If I could make a powerful creature like Quintus fear me even for a second, then maybe killing the wicked witch had been enough to earn the fae’s respect.
“I knew y
ou could do it, Goldilocks. You’re a survivor.” Lucius pushed past his father and rushed towards me, crushing me to his giant chest. I slipped my arms around him, exhaling for what seemed like the first time in forever. I wanted to stay in his strong arms – they felt like home – but I could feel Quintus’ eyes on us.
The warm s
mile turned cold and the look he gave me left no doubt in my mind that he saw how I felt about his son. Any hope that I had changed my mind about being with him died in that moment.
“It seems we rushed here for nothing.” His tone was clipped. He wasn’t even trying to hide his anger.
ould you rather she not survive? All that training. She used what we gave her and did the impossible. You said yourself that Mab was the most powerful fae beside the slaugh.” Lucius was beaming with pride. I gave him a small smile before I turned back to Quintus.
“I’m sorry if I inconvenienced you
, Quintus. If it makes you feel any better, I was injured in the fight.”
My sarcasm rolled right off his back.
He continued as if I hadn’t spoken. “When I realized you had been taken, I feared the worst, and now I feel a little foolish. I gathered all my best men for an epic battle that you had single handily already won.”
“I’m sorry I’m not at the mercy of that sadistic hag
anymore, so you could sweep in here and play the hero.”
His eyes glowed and they never left mine
. He was pissed. “Don’t take a tantrum, Cassandra. You know I don’t want you to be at her mercy. I hate it when you act like a spoiled brat.”
I didn’t like being spoken to
as if I were a child. “Good, because I’m not. I walked right up to the Queen of Darkness and drained her of all her magic and then, just to make sure I never had to see her again, I chopped off her head. It was really very cathartic. I saved the day this time. I guess you’ll just have to learn to take turns.”
I knew I had crossed a line as soon as I said it.
I had wanted to be firm, but instead I was hostile and had taken things too far. He had a vision of how this was going to go and it couldn’t have gone worse. His damsel in distress had already slayed the dragon and she had claws of her own.
tus’ response was a feral smile, his perfect teeth gleaming from a face covered in blood and guts. My whole body turned cold and numb. I had to supress a scream. I knew he had killed before, but I never thought I would see my own death in his beautiful cerulean eyes. It felt like forever that we stared at each other, then he turned back to his men.
, gentlemen; it’s not a total loss. Every dead fae is a good fae, and we killed quite a few on the way here, didn’t we?” They all laughed obediently. I knew some of the men he had with him and they wouldn’t look at me. Some of them I had talked to daily. Now they were on the other side.
slapped the nearest vampire on the back like they had just won some sort of game. “I still get to collect Killian; that’s not a bad consolation prize. I have thought of little else. All the ways I’m going to make him pay for what he has done and what he has tried to do. He will wish he had died, but I won’t let him, not for a very long time.”
When he turned back to me
, he had his vampire mask in place. Calm and serene, he was shutting me out. He went from happy to see me to showing me how little I meant to him in under a minute. If he was trying to hurt me, he was doing a very good job. It broke my heart. We had been tied together in so many ways. Savior, friend, family, mentor, boss – and he had severed them all. My ballast, my rock, and he was cutting the strings and setting me adrift.