Authors: Tamara Rose Blodgett
A Blood Series Novel
New York Times
TAMARA ROSE BLODGETT
All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2015 Tamara Rose Blodgett
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system without the prior written permission of the publisher.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales, or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Julia's spirit is crushed as she sits trapped in the Singer bunker while heaven knows what happens to her people in the evil hands of Praile.
Meanwhile, the insidious demon's spore flourishes, wreaking havoc on what makes her angelic. Julia and Scott are caught in a waiting game, ready to be released from their forced protection into a potential second catastrophe.
Adi and Slash have fallen prey to the corrupt Were, as Tramack doggedly seeks that which he does not deserve. Can Tessa and Tahlia escape? Will Lanarre royalty cage Tahlia, or will Drek set her free?
Does Lazarus escape the depths of hell, only to fail in his pursuit of the ultimate forbidden fruit?
Julia- Queen of the Singers; Telekinetic/telepath
Scott- Royal Singer Blood; Deflector/Combatant
Marcus- Region One
Jacqueline- Royal Singer Blood; Region Two Leader
Victor- Region Two/Combatant- Boiler/Flame of Blood
Cynthia “Cyn” Adams - Rogue/Healer
Northwestern Were Pack:
Emmanuel “Manny” - Beta to Lawrence
Anthony “Tony” Daniel Laurent- Second to Lawrence
Adrianna “Adi”- Alpha female
Southeastern Were Pack:
Alan Greene- Alpha male
Lacey Greene – female Were and Alan’s sister
Buck “Slash”- Alpha male
Karl Truman- former Homer detective
Ford- Alpha male/ FBI agent
Reagan - Moon Warrior, Lacey’s daughter
Southeastern Vampire Kiss:
Merlin- Coven leader (now deceased)
William- new coven leader (now deceased)
Brynn- New leader of the Southeastern
Northwestern Vampire Kiss:
Gabriel- Coven Leader
Claire- William’s cousin
William- Runner/shifter/Singer blood
Unseelie Sidhe fey:
Queen Darcel- Sidhe
Tharell- mixed Sidhe warrior
Cormack- Sidhe warrior
Domiatri “Domi”- Sidhe warrior
)- dragon shifting Sidhe
Celesta- Sidhe warrior
- Vampire, third to Julia, Scott’s half-sister
Rogue Alpha female Were:
Western Were Pack:
A Terrible Love
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Tramack's claws stop his forward momentum abruptly.
Exhaust from the suburban plumes toward him, and Tessa sees his effort to stifle his violent reaction to the nauseating smells of gasoline. Fossil fuels act like poison to a werewolf.
But Tramack is Alpha, so he can withstand a lot of unpleasantries, like the rogue female Alpha who has outfoxed him for two decades, leaving a legion of Were corpses in her trail instead of bread crumbs.
Nevertheless, he's followed the trail, and here he stands. Tessa can't believe Tramack's finally gotten off his ass and stopped sending lackeys to get their butts handed to them by a female.
She shoots a covert glance at Lazarus.
Hot, but Zen
. His skin emits a subtle vapor, in the same way hers holds a layer of anxiety-laden sweat.
“Tessa,” Tahlia calls from inside the truck. Her tone says it all. But if that weren't enough, Tessa tastes her own trembling
fear on her tongue.
Tramack's dark brows drop like bushy caterpillars over eyes the color of flat pewter as they fall on Lazarus. “Go to hell, demon.”
Lazarus smiles, his eyes alternating between an icy blue and the palest shadow of gray.
“What are we? Three?” Tessa mumbles. But inside, her guts flip-flop like overdone pancakes.
Tramack's wolves circle their Alpha, flanking him in practiced smoothness.
Tahlia guns it. The fumes from the vehicle make Tessa cover her mouth to keep herself from puking.
Fucking Chevys always burn rich.
Tramack coughs. “We have no quarrel with you, demonic. Leave the female—she belongs to me.”
Tessa gives an indignant snort.
Lazarus turns to regard Tessa as though counting every pore of her skin, then turns his attention back to Tramack. “I do not see a label of ownership, dog.” A lazy smile hovers at Lazarusʼs mouth.
“Do not think it, mutt,” Lazarus says. “Tessa is my Redemptive, and as such, she has certain inalienable rights.
“Oh… boy,” she mutters.
“Nonsense,” Tramack states as though whatever drops from his mouth is absolute fact.
For him, it is.
“That is a myth. Demons stay in hell, and the Were roam the earth unimpeded by your kind. You are not allowed to play in this realm.” Tramack's large hands fall to his sides.
Lazarus cocks his head to the left, appearing to contemplate Tramack's justification bullshit. Lazarus raises a finger, and Tess is mesmerized by his skin tone.
Who knew sunburnt skin could look sexy?
She shakes her head. Murderous Were are on the prowl, bearing down on them. Lazarus’s little chat with Tramack is just a verbal dance. Tramack will spring. He'll kill Lazarus then take Tessa. She needs to think of contingencies. For example, Tahlia is already in a running car. Tessa sights the positions of the other Were as they move wide of Tramack. They're too close to the Suburban. They'll pounce. Tessa shudders. She can't stand the thought of Tahlia falling into the hands of the Western pack.
“Normally, that is true,” Lazarus says, “but we've been given a certain latitude from the Master for a time.”
“I don't give a ripe, hairy
how flexible the devil has been. This is where we live, feed, and fuck. So,
go to hell
.” Tramack's lips pull back from his teeth, and icy fear slides down Tessa's spine.
The other three Were growl low in their throats.
This is getting saucy.
Tessa quarter-changes to wolfen instantly, grimacing slightly at the rapid shift.
Her head whips in Tahlia's direction.
Burning eyes like silver discs rotate slowly in a return stare. A voice like gravel grinding together says, “Time to go, Tessa.”
Tahlia's already wolfen—and ready to drive a vehicle.
Tessa begins to back away from Lazarus.
He's on his own.
Lazarus whirls to face her, his eyes like mercury-laced glacier blue.
Her eyes widen.
His gaze changes to obsidian. “Do not leave my side.”
“They'll kill us,” Tessa blurts. “Lazarus!” she screams as Tramack flings himself forward, landing on Lazarus.
Tramack is dirty, through and through.
Tessa breathes through the pain, bursting to wolfen in a slide of tendons and bone-breaking shift of her quarter-change form to half-werewolf.
her beast says.
The first wolfen male comes for her, and she tamps her fear. Despite her alpha-female status and awesome skills, she's outweighed and outreached.
She growls, crouching low, and flicks her hands out. Talons fling the residual skin from the change like strips of sloughed snakeskin.
He follows through in a hard charge, wrapping his arms around her like steel bands.
Tessa gasps, struggling for oxygen.
She swings her head forward, head-butting the large male in the forehead. Stars burst, and Tessa groans.
His hold loosens, and she plunges all eight talons into his back, unwittingly marrying the two of them together.
He roars, jerking backward and taking Tessa with him.
She flips over the top of him and corkscrews her talons with a turn of her wrists.
Tessa jerks her talons out, staggering backward. Another Were attacks from behind, but she's ready, throwing her skull back into his face.
He howls. This time, she gets lucky and he drops her.
She lands with bone-jarring impact. The exhaust pipe is right in front of her face, but the engine's no longer running.
A huge shadow passes over her head. Tessa knows it's not a cloud.
A bird of prey hovers, legs like stiff planks as it sails down in a spiraling circle of speed, talons spread.
Here comes Tahlia.
A scent she can never forget swamps her nostrils, and her beast rebels. Tessa's tossed over onto her back.
A look of triumph covers Tramack's ugly face, his dark-pewter eyes spinning. “Bitch.” He grates, all teeth.
“Douche!” she screams, trying to crawl away.
Tramack grabs her ankles, half-flipping her. She stabs the ground with her talons, arresting her backward progress, and turns to her side, throwing her forearm in front of her face.
A pale-red appendage bursts through Tramack's torso. A ghostly worm of intestine slips out of Tramack in a slimy loop. He releases her ankles, and she yanks her legs away.
“Ahh,” Tessa says, adrenaline surging through her body as she scuttles in a backward crab walk.
Tramack's eyes go round as the fleshy weapon exits his body with a meaty suck.
Her gorge rises.
Don't have time to puke, Tessa.
Tramack falls hard on his ass, hands grappling with his slippery guts. He can't quite manage to collect his intestines and drops them with a slapping smack.
Dirt and debris coat the pulsating organ.
She looks up from the sight, swallowing vomit as gravel and grass jam into the tender flesh of her palms.
Lazarus stands above Tramack, surveying the destruction of the Alpha Were and his writhing posse, his tail rising above his head. Tessa's eyes catch on strings of gristle and a tendon.
“Any takers?” he asks casually and Tessa makes a small sick sound.
His eyes laser to hers. Coal black softens to a pale gray then flips to a sky blue.
“Ahh,” Tessa says again.
The bird of prey lands to peck at Tramack's exposed intestine. He looses a high, keening scream.
Lazarus nods in apparent approval.
Tessa's mouth opens and closes as if she’s a fish out of water.
Beady black bird's eyes turn and survey Tessa's stupidity. They blink like two bottomless wells of oil, then the bird goes back to pecking.
Tramack’s bellows fill the air.
“Ahh,” she says with soft redundancy. Tessa's been reduced to a one-word vocabulary.
Lazarus studies her for a moment, frowning. “We do not have time for a breakdown, Tessa.” He reaches for her, and she beats at his hands, her talons automatically retracting. With a sigh of pure frustration, he scoops her off the ground. His tail, mercifully, is gone.
Tramack begins to howl in earnest, trying to swat at the bird while his body furiously heals the wound Tahlia inflicts in her bird from.
New skin grows over the dirt and the intestine.
Tessa looks away before she barfs. “What
Lazarus looks more human. His pale-blond hair is a perfect complement to what a human being would recognize as a ruddy complexion.
Then the tail rises above his head once again.
So much for human.
Tessa gulps back the lump of crazy in her throat. The ball of fear settles in her stomach, spreading out in dangerous tendrils of hysterics.
“This?” Lazarus asks casually. The tail flicks.
Tessa nods, hiccupping. She claps a hand over her mouth, unable to take her eyes off the perfectly formed hammer head at the end of a six-feet-long reddish tail.
Tessa tries to ignore the chunk of intestine that Tahlia slurps down her throat like a succulent oyster.
“Oh Jesus, let me down.”
Lazarus bends slightly and sets Tessa on her feet, smoothly kicking the twitching Were trying to heal at his feet. He makes the wound more severe, and brains leak out where only a fractured skull had been before.
Tessa runs to the bushes and heaves her guts into the greenery, never more thankful she’d worn a braid. Leaning on a tree trunk, she stands, wiping a shaky hand over her mouth.
Turning, Tessa sees the Were are repairing themselves. Tramack looks at her with hate.
Tahlia is back to wolfen now, but she’s still covered in the grime of her deeds as a bird of prey. A pure-ebony feather lies at her feet.
“We need to go,” Lazarus says.
Now he wants to
He looks at Tramack with utter indifference. “But first we kill this Were,” Lazarusʼs tail swishes above his head like an agitated feline appendage.
Tessa looks at the tip.
How can that plow through a body? Do I want to know?
Tessa turns, her long braid flopping at her back as she clenches her eyes shut.
She should be happy that the misery of Tramack will be at an end. She can leave and be free of him. Avoiding the inevitable skirmishes while traveling as a rogue female would be nothing if he weren’t after her.
“What in the hell are you doing, Lazarus?” roars a voice that sounds as though it's on fire.
Tessa's eyes fly open. A man stands at the edges of the mess, as shouts and screaming begin to filter toward their position.
It's that other guy—the one who came with Lazarus. But he looks nothing like he did in what she could only call a human costume.
He's tall, like all male supernaturals. But there, the similarity ends. Sleek deep-red hair, a shade or two darker than his skin, is slicked back from a high, broad forehead above merciless eyes so black, she couldn't find the pupils if she tried. Black horns sprout from his head like bony flower stems without heads.
Then she gets a load of the tail. Tessa backs up a step.
Lazarusʼs eyes flick to hers then back to this new threat. She'd thought Lazarusʼs tail was something.
But this guy
His tail whips above his head, and spikes, all black, extend from a deep-red bulbous end. The tail end looks like a f fleshy medieval flail.
Tessa backs up another step, burning to turn and see how far the Suburban is from her present position. She flares her nostrils, trying to locate safety that way.
“I have the Blooded One contained. We only need kill who we can then proceed to wipe her out of existence. Why you are wasting your time with antagonizing”—his nose wrinkles, vapor exits his nostrils in smoky spirals that drift away, and a strangled sound of fear squeaks out of Tessa—“these ridiculous beasts?” He tsks, a forked tongue flicking out at the last syllable. “You are not staying on
, Lazarus.” The snakelike tongue snaps back into the black interior of his mouth.
Oh, baby Jesus, a
His inky brows come together in a clear frown of chastisement. He takes in the bleeding but healing Were at his feet. Then he stomps Tramack’s head into the ground, crushing his skull instantly. Brains ooze out from underneath his shoe.