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       Vex, p.1

           Addison Moore


  Celestra Series Book 5

  by Addison Moore

  Other books by Addison Moore;

  Ethereal (Celestra Series Book 1)

  Tremble (Celestra Series Book 2)

  Burn (Celestra Series Book 3)

  Wicked (Celestra Series Book 4)

  Copyright © 2011 by Addison Moore

  This novel is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to peoples either living or deceased is purely coincidental. Names, places, and characters are figments of the author’s imagination. The author holds all rights to this work. It is illegal to reproduce this novel without written expressed consent from the author herself.

  Table of Contents


  Chapter One—Betrayed

  Chapter Two—The Stars in the Sky

  Chapter Three—Spooktacular

  Chapter Four—Overtime

  Chapter Five—Gage

  Chapter Six—All is Not Calm

  Chapter Seven—The Gift of Life

  Chapter Eight—Welcome Home

  Chapter Nine—Hello Again

  Chapter Ten—Body

  Chapter Eleven—Fear Everyone

  Chapter Twelve—I’m Gonna Kiss You All Over

  Chapter Thirteen—Love Like This

  Chapter Fourteen—Nevermore

  Chapter Fifteen—Get Away

  Chapter Sixteen—Needle in a Haystack

  Chapter Seventeen—All of My Love

  Chapter Eighteen—Devine Appointment

  Chapter Nineteen—It’s a Dead Man’s Party

  Chapter Twenty—I Ain’t Missing You

  Chapter Twenty-One—Cuts Like a Knife

  Chapter Twenty-Two—The Feast

  Chapter Twenty-Three—It’s On

  Chapter Twenty-Four—Let It Snow

  Chapter Twenty-Five—The Lodge

  Chapter Twenty-Six—Sleeping Arrangements

  Chapter Twenty-Seven—Body Rock

  Chapter Twenty-Eight—The Grand Design

  Chapter Twenty-Nine—All over Me

  Chapter Thirty—The Big Chill

  Chapter Thirty-One—Dressed to Kill

  Chapter Thirty-Two—A Grave Situation

  Chapter Thirty-Three—You’re Dead to Me

  Chapter Thirty-Four—The Deep End of the Night

  Chapter Thirty-Five—Lead Me

  Chapter Thirty-Six—Mother

  Chapter Thirty-Seven—The World is Waiting

  Chapter Thirty-Eight—What is Love

  Chapter Thirty-Nine—Caveat Emptor

  Chapter Forty—Michelle on Top

  Chapter Forty-One—Paragon in Springtime

  Chapter Forty-Two—Count the Ways You Love Me

  Chapter Forty-Three—A Moment Like This

  Chapter Forty-Four—The Talk

  Chapter Forty-Five—Baseball, America’s Favorite Pastime

  Chapter Forty-Six—Stick the Dismount

  Chapter Forty-Seven—Next to You

  Chapter Forty-Eight—Downtown

  Chapter Forty-Nine—Tiaras and Caskets

  Chapter Fifty—Some Girls Don’t

  Chapter Fifty-One—Covenant

  Chapter Fifty-Two—Don’t Let the Door Hit You

  Chapter Fifty-Three—Justice for All

  Chapter Fifty-Four—The Powers That Be

  Chapter Fifty-Five—In a Bind

  Chapter Fifty-Six—Terms of Agreement

  Chapter Fifty-Seven—Dinner Guests

  Chapter Fifty-Eight—Speak No Evil

  Chapter Fifty-Nine—Gage in a Cage

  Chapter Sixty—Hello, my name Is…

  Chapter Sixty-One—Give It Up

  Chapter Sixty-Two—Possession

  Chapter Sixty-Three—Truth Be Told

  Chapter Sixty-Four—The Rescue

  Chapter Sixty-Five—Play with Me, Stay with Me

  Chapter Sixty-Six—Beat on the Brat

  Chapter Sixty-Seven—Toxic

  Chapter Sixty-Eight—Punishment

  Chapter Sixty-Nine—Dress to Impress

  Chapter Seventy—Strychnine Surprise

  Chapter Seventy-One—Chain of Fools

  Chapter Seventy-Two—Winter Formal

  Chapter Seventy-Three—Kiss Off

  Chapter Seventy-Four—Trouble in the Treble

  Chapter Seventy-Five—The Switch

  Chapter Seventy-Six—Mystery Kiss

  Chapter Seventy-Seven—The Time Traveler’s Girlfriend

  Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

  By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it


  “though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said,

  “art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the

  Nightly shore—Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s

  Plutonian shore!”

  Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”


  Edgar Allan Poe


  The path of destiny pulls you forward. It exhumes you from a state of being and propels you towards the juncture you were created for. A new frontier that you are forced to tread with a cross on your back, heavy as a boulder. When you fall to your knees at the hands of your betrayer, you can only hope to find the one sent to carry your burden— shoulder the journey towards your final punishment.

  Sometimes duplicity and treason are markers of the enemy, and sometimes, the failed intention of a masterful ally. But, nevertheless, as they burden you with a vexing brand of love, they become nothing more than the kiss of Judas, pressing a crown of thorns into your flesh. Seemingly without reason—vastly disappointing.

  Although I am submerged in violent waters, I will rise above. My enemies, my friends, are incapable of derailing me from destiny’s design. So, I press forward—move—rely on the hope of the future—create the possible out of the impossible as I weave into life’s grand tapestry.

  I believe in the things that wait for me—my enemies, my friends—most of all love.

  It is the finish line I hunger for, the promise of love in all of its glory.

  I can endure all things in the holy name of love.

  And I will.

  Chapter One


  Logan tips his hand above his shoulder, as Demetri lays a dagger on his palm. He grips the handle, never breaking our gaze, and gives a light swing in my direction.

  “I’ll need you to lie down for me.” Logan’s lips curve into the slightest impression of a smile. “Welcome to the sacrifice, Skyla,” Logan gleams under the newfound evil glaze that coats him from the inside. A gentle pewter blade lies in his hand and points accusingly in my direction.

  The sky boils with blackened clouds, a flash of lightning illuminates the circle of hooded creatures. They hover around a large granite stone that sits pale and thirsty in a dead clearing. A dark blotch in the center of the outstretched rock testifies that it desires to quench itself with my blood.

  A tall man with boxy shoulders steps forward, his features are hardly discernable from the shadows endowed by his cape. Demetri. I want to see the coward’s face.

  I take a bold step towards him and snatch off his hood.

  A man with dark olive skin, hooked nose, eyes like half moons stare back at me. He gives a dazzling smile that expels a volume of light as his black hair glints from the barely-there moon.

  “So nice to meet you,” he growls.

  His eyes close part way as though he were trying to seduce me, and I reciprocate with a hard slap across his smug expression.

  A sharp collective gasp emits from the crowd.

  I make eye contact with each of the Counts gathered around the unnaturally flat stone. I w
ant them to know I see them—that I’m documenting their faces, whether I recognize them or not.

  Demetri steps closer. Logan tries to insert himself between us, but Demetri raises a gloved hand, and Logan freezes like a well-trained dog.

  “Are you going to kill me like you killed my father?” I say it loud enough for all to hear.

  “I’m not quite sure.” His dark eyes shoot over to Logan. “You choose this for the blood bond?”

  “I do.”

  I don’t recognize Logan’s voice anymore. Everything about him is foreign to me. I can’t look at him, or I might break—break him—kill him by way of gouging out his throat like I did Holden Kragger.

  “Gather,” Demetri instructs, the mass of humanity disperses around the stone, and Brielle lands at my side.

  “I had a goat behind the quarry,” she says to Logan as though I weren’t even present. She picks up my hand and flashes it over to him. “Cut here,” her finger draws a line up my forearm.

  “Wrong arm,” Logan says, gently lifting the other. “That one belonged to Chloe.”

  I take my hands back and shoot a look of vengeance at the two of them.

  “I will kill both of you if you so much as touch me again,” I seethe.

  “Sorry.” Brielle’s fingers fly to her lips as she jumps back in line next to Chloe.

  Logan snatches up my hand, low by his thigh, imprisoning my fingers with a tight squeeze.

  Forgive me, Skyla.

  “I will never forgive you!”

  A slow peal of thunder drums up above. A light drizzle sets in. Demetri steps before me, pulls on his hood with one swift tug.

  An unseasonably warm breeze picks up, ushering in a strange fog with the slightest tint of blue. It coats the inside of my mouth, my nose, thick as oil.

  “Lie down.” Demetri adjusts his long leather gloves, doesn’t bother to look up when he says it.

  I don’t move. There is no way in hell I’m going to comply. I’ll have to kill them all if I want to get away. And I’ll have to start with Logan.

  “Take her,” he says.

  Pierce Kragger appears like an apparition. He picks me up so quick—I’m stunned by the velocity.

  How Logan can stand by and supervise as Pierce touches me, after everything he’s done, leaves me slacked jawed—affirms the fact that he has evil coursing through his veins.

  I try to fight him, but Pierce lays me flat on the stone, dead center, and hops off. My bones feel as though they’re made of lead—heavy and unmovable, and for a moment I wonder if I’ve been drugged. A strong wind picks up, much cooler than the tropical fog that floats in our midst. Something quivers beneath me. The stone ignites and hums like a motor. It pulls me in, suctions me to the cool granite surface like it were trying to drink me down—absorb me. My arms and legs fan out as though I were about to make a snow angel. I’m defenseless to its bionic pull as it contorts my body into a prime position for this blood lust sacrifice.

  I feel a tug at the bottom of my clothes. Brielle adjusts my dress as though she were a bridesmaid at my wedding. It’s the white dress Marshall had me wear while he pretended to hunt me down with arrows in lieu of turning me over to the Counts. Ironic since I landed right in their hands no thanks to Logan—special delivery from the first boy I ever truly loved. Unless, of course, this is where Marshall wanted me all along.

  Chloe eyes me as the circle of bodies glide forward. They walk in a tight circumference around the stone altar. She wears the protective pendant around her neck proud as a peacock—gives me the finger while fondling it in front of me. The cloaks rotate in a clockwise pattern. I try not to look at them, but Nat garners my attention. Her tight curls peer out from her hood like rusted springs. She cuts a look of death, offers a black smile as she brushes against Pierce ever so slightly with her fingertips.

  A figure stops in front of me, the rest of the Counts move around him. I don’t have to look to know it’s Logan. I can tell by the gleam of the blade, feel the psychotic energy emanating from him that he tries to pass off as love. His arms lie folded across his chest as though he were dead in a casket, and suddenly I wish he were.

  Demetri extricates himself from the crowd, stands shoulder to shoulder with Logan. He raises his hands over his head and ignites a hard clap.

  A choir of voices breakout—deep and resonant. “I am an immortal. Flesh and bones and such as these are not tethered to my soul—”

  I glance up to see if Logan is moving his lips—to see if he’s memorized this incantation.

  His eyes are glazed over with passion. Logan’s voice is prominent in the crowd as though he were leading the chant himself. He cuts a cold steely look right through me. It nauseates me, fills me with disdain for someone I would have trusted with my soul just moments before I entered these woods.

  I give a hard callous look.

  I want him to know that I have seen the enemy—one that I hate far more than Demetri Edinger, and his name is Logan Oliver.

  Chapter Two

  The Stars in the Sky

  Numberless stars spark against soft purple velvet. I tune out the witchcraft around me and feel the dizzy spin of time and space as I lock my gaze on a motionless night.

  Large spirals of light dance across the universe. They sway like frozen tendrils unfurling their fiery glory. I want to be with them, ignite in flames just to share in their eccentric beauty.

  They say the only way you can truly kill a Celestra is by fire. I would gladly lend myself to the flames to peer down eternally over this sinful disgrace of a planet that houses cowards such as these.

  A smoldering flame of hatred fans deep inside my soul. Gage would never let this happen. He would never hold up a knife and chant while thinking about the places to cut me best—strategizing about how to make me bleed in front of strangers, and enemies, and the man who elicited the death of my father.

  Logan has become a traitor of the highest order. Under the guise of a peppermint moon, he professes his wickedness, resolves his desire to slaughter me. The fact I’m going to kill him one day galvanizes itself like a brand over my heart.

  Something stirs inside me as I let my rage for him percolate in a vat of loathing. A strange hum pulsates through my bones, agitates the cells that govern my body. I begin to gyrate, flex in and out of the stone as though it were malleable.

  A gasp emits from one of the girls, and the assembly ceases its steady stream of movement.

  “Skyla, no!” Logan warns as if I would ever listen, as if I could control what’s happening.

  I think of my father, of Marshall, the moon, the Landon house, which until tonight I had dubbed traitor central.

  The stone begins to spin. I rotate slow and steady on its surface as though I were on a carrousel, bound in traction at the mercy of some unknown source.

  I hear screams—an echo of holy shit.

  “Skyla!” Logan is panicked.

  I must be doing this. My hate for him acts as fuel. I’m going to launch myself like a missile off this God-breathed rock and hopefully squash them all like bugs from the effort.

  I focus in on Logan’s horrified expression. I let the others whir by in a dizzying blur and keep my eyes fixated on him in an effort to hone my anger into a perfect brew of hatred.

  The stone spins at demonic speeds. I’m going to be sick. Projectile vomiting is a very real possibility right about now, and I let out a scream that my father can hear in his grave back in L.A.

  The world dips in and out of focus.

  The sky showers down its stars. The screams from the crowd blend together in one horrific roar.

  I think of the Transfer that houses all those long glass caskets. The blue liquid swills in my mind, infiltrates my senses with an antiseptic stench.

  The stone beneath me sizzles, sparks fly out at random, everything blends together—rushes in as one. The only clear thing I see is the light from the castrated moon.

  Marshall blinks through my mind.

I disappear.


  I squeeze my eyes shut in an effort to stave off the harsh bite of nausea. I let out a horrific moan and roll my head over my neck.

  I find myself sitting, and straighten in surprise.

  My eyes spring open. I’m no longer in the field under the watchful eye of the Counts. Instead, I see the last thing I want—a stark white room.

  I bounce to my feet and fall back against the wall, holding my cramped stomach.


  I twist just enough to see Marshall and Ezrina hunched over a small table with rows of sushi set out before them, each with chopsticks frozen midflight.

  I don’t freak out over Ezrina, or where I am, or the fact Marshall tried to spear me with a thousand arrows just hours before. Instead, I lose the battle with my intestines, and splat foaming vomit and bile all over the floor.

  “Get her out!” Ezrina’s voice carries unnaturally. It reverberates in my skull.

  There’s an opening to my left. I don’t over think it. I just bolt. I fall against the wall and clasp my hands along the cool painted mortar, pulling myself further and further down a series of disorienting corridors.

  I bend over my sopping dress, clear as velum. It adheres to my body like wet paper as I bow my head between my knees and vomit again just shy of my shoes.

  A familiar blue glow lures me down the hall. It comforts me, reminds me of Gage and those eyes I love, that infectious smile. It stirs memories in me of that day we spent at Rockaway Point, the pitch-colored sand beneath our feet, his bare skin over mine. I want to cling to him in my thoughts, weave myself into his soul in an effort to make it through each debilitating moment I’m forced to spend without him.

  I stumble into the sky colored room filled with human aquariums. Perhaps this is where they’ll put me? Maybe Gage will come down here one day, mourn for me as I spin silent on display.

  Marshall appears by my side.

  “You could have chosen a thousand locales, and here you are with me. I’m flattered, really.” He leads me by the elbow, moving us along quicker than my tender stomach will allow.

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