Tangled Web (Venin Assassin Book 2), p.7Gena D. Lutz
My head snapped up. Time slowed. My face went numb. The coffee table in front of us began to rattle my annoyance. All I could think to say was, “The fuck you are.”
The Oracle blanched, her fawn-colored skin going as pale as was possible. “I understand this revelation is a little more than surprising.”
I wasn’t hearing her words as much as I was feeling them. She was telling the truth. The Fae could not lie, and you couldn’t get more Faeblood than the Essence of Fairy itself. This meant… I was a half-blood. My foul temper and bluntness made a lot more sense now.
When I looked over at the Oracle, she was crying tears of liquid crystal, each one a stream of facetted light.
I sunk my fingertips deep into the arm of the chair.
“How can this be?”
“I sought your father out years ago when he fled from Fairy. I meant only to talk him into coming back; instead, he convinced me to stay in the human realm for a while.”
“So, you lied to me when you said he was alive and living in Fairy.” It wasn’t a question as much as it was an accusation.
She shook her head. “He is very much alive, but as a prisoner in Fairy.”
Anger twitched my eyes, and I slowly stood. “Why didn’t you tell me this sooner?”
The Oracle looked up and faced the heat in my glare. “Because I am the one who put him there… for his own good, mind you.”
My head spun with the news. “Why would you do that?”
“Your stepmother turned him over to Mab.”
My hand lifted. Visions of pulling both women’s spines through their bodies played across my mind.
“Before you try any of your tricks on me, you should know that Queen Mab spelled him. And until I can figure out a way to counteract it, he must stay hidden within the Shadowlands.”
“What are the Shadowlands?”
She scooted forward until her knees almost touched mine.
“It’s a crevice of Fairy ungoverned by any court, a place where the unadorned flee from the conventional laws of Fairy.”
I lifted a brow. “Who are the unadorned?”
She sighed. “The unadorned are faeblood who have chosen not to be classified as either Seelie or Unseelie. They are lone Fae, their numbers mostly consisting of half-bloods and lesser Fae.”
“You mean half-bloods like me?”
“No child. You are much, much more than that. You hold more magic in your little finger than even a fairy queen. You are the Daughter of Fairy—its embodiment. You are a realm creator. Look around you.” The oracle waved her hand through the air. “Even as we speak, Fairy is coming alive within your home. All you needed was a magical push to awaken the essence inside of you. And now…” her eyes filled with wonderment, “it’s spilling out, bringing forth life and magic.”
I scraped my hands down my face. All of this was too much. But it was a good thing to finally know the truth, wasn’t it? Yeah… recently my life seemed to be careening out of control; however, did it necessarily need to be something to fear or run away from?
“Tell me about this new magic I seemed to have acquired. Is it so strong because I became the Night Queen… or because I am your kin?”
“You mean my daughter.”
I looked from the Oracle to my hands, and whispered, “Baby steps. I don’t even know your real name. How can I consider you my mother?”
I crossed my arms over my chest. My heart was beating so fast that I could feel each tap as though I wore the organ on my sleeve.
I let out a tired breath.
What could I say? All I’d even wanted was to meet my birth mother, and now that it was happening, ignorance seemed the better option.
Galewynn’s smile was full of patience, and she reached over and placed a hand on my knee. The gesture was nice… but a little too intimate. I moved my knee to the side and let her hand fall away.
She frowned and placed her hand back on her lap, then said, “Regarding your magic, it is so potent because of both of those reasons you mentioned. When this home was a part of Sterling, only evil and darkness thrived within these walls. The roses that crawled up the walls were black as ink, the vines more thorns than stalk, the bushes, patches of thick bramble.” She smiled at me. “You see, you have breathed light back into an abyss of despair and nothingness. Only you, or I, could have ever accomplished such a feat.”
Even though she looked way too pleased with herself, I had to admit, her explanation made sense. The house did come to life at my touch. That thought brought me back to my hounds. Where did they fit in with all of this? I’d saved Rider, of course, and had bonded with all four of the hellhounds. And then there was the million-dollar question, how was I supposed to enter Fairy to save my father from that bitch, Mab?
“When I was in Fairy, you mentioned that if I accepted my role as the Night Queen, I wouldn’t be able to cross the fringe. How can I get around that?”
She leaned forward with a mischievous gleam in her eyes.
“It would take a lot of magic and the help of at least two full-blood fairies.”
A new voice joined in. “You shouldn’t allow Galewynn to be involved in our world. She is the reason we can’t enter Fairy. She banished us over a thousand years ago.”
Galewynn spoke over Edge. “I did what was required to save the Land of Fairy from your insolence, hound.”
This seemed like a pretty full can of worms that at the moment, I didn’t want opened.
“How long have you been in here?” I asked Edge. I was surprised I hadn’t heard him enter the room. I guess finding out that my mother was the Essence of Fairy was pretty distracting.
Edge shut the door, his eyes flickering with fire. “Long enough to know that Galewynn is filling your head with a bunch of bullshit. There is no way the Night Queen and her hounds can enter Fairy. To do so would mean death for us all. There isn’t a fairy on this Earth or in the mist that can change that fact.”
My voice crackled with impatience. “Is this true? Are you trying to send us to our deaths?”
She looked at me as though I’d struck her. I honestly didn’t mean to accuse her of such a dastardly thing… it was harsh. But I’d never in my entire life expected to be in this position, and there was one thing I had to do over everything, and that was to protect the people I cared for. So, if Edge had concerns, I needed to listen to them.
“Well,” I demanded, my tone a little softer this time, “will crossing the fringe kill me or my hounds? Can the help of the wee-folk really make a difference?”
An odd look crossed her face. “With a little help, I can and will reverse the banishment I executed against the hounds. And then if you wish, you’ll be free to help me save your father from Mab’s curse.”
For a faeblood, that was as close to a signed and sealed truth you could get.
“Let’s do it. I’ll find two full-bloods and a Fae-cabinet. Then the rest will be up to you.”
“My queen, we should talk more about…” Edge began.
I raised a hand, sufficiently cutting off his protest.
Galewynn gave me a pleased smile and stood. “You made a wise choice. All will work out for the best, this I promise.”
I didn’t know whether to take comfort from her words or not. And after she left, I felt even more conflicted. I sighed, consumed by my need to find my father. Even if something went wrong as Edge predicted, I’d figure out how to get us through. Life’s a gamble, not a guarantee, and if I by taking a chance on Galewynn, I could save my father, I’d do it. It was as simple and as complicated as that.
“Shall I bring you the prisoner?”
The what? Oh, yeah… Dahlia. I had been so sidetracked by Galewynn that I’d forgotten all about her.
I shook my head and muttered, “Just let her go.”
Edge tilted his head, watching me intently. “After all she has done, you’ll just let her leave, without punishment or even an apology?”
“On second thought, bring her some food and water for now. I’ll deal with her tomorrow.”
He nodded, then left.
I’d dreamed of the day when I’d make Dahlia pay for everything she had done to me. Had gone over the many ways I would beat, slice-and-dice, and eventually kill her. It had never occurred to me that one day the pain would lessen, along with the urge to exact my revenge. This new life I found myself living made me want to do better, to be better. And if that meant letting parts of my dark past go so I could concentrate on a brighter future, then so be it.
Later that night, as moonlight saturated Rowen City, I finally found myself alone and in bed, ready to put the worst of my problems away on a metaphorical shelf for a while.
My hands were trembling with new magic that was so potent, it was hard to contain. Fur and claws mystically resonated just underneath the surface of my skin—the red, black widow, hourglass mark still throbbed at the back of my neck. Who or what exactly was I? Spider venin or hellhound… or an unheard of combination of both?
I yawned, slight moisture filling the rims of my lower eyelids.
My mind and heart were a fractured mess over my father. At least one thing was going for me, I now knew where he was, and I needed to figure out how I was going to go about saving him. I thought of Keri, at rest in the room next to me, and Rue at my old warehouse loft… she had offered to come see me when I’d called earlier, before settling into bed, and I assured her that after a good night’s rest, I’d come visit with her and tell her all the sordid details from the last few days.
I stretched out like a cat, curled up into my pillow and blanket. I squeezed my eyes shut; Jake’s sexy smile and chiseled features invaded the calm blackness behind my eyelids. His scent was still strong in my memories, and the way he always brushed strands of hair back behind my ear before he kissed me played over and over in my mind’s eye.
Things between us weren’t settled, not by a long shot.
Black Widow: A Venin Assassin Novel, Book 3
Copyright © 2017 Gena D. Lutz
All Rights Reserved
Read on for an excerpt
A Kris Chase Novel
A Kris Chase Novel
Gena D. Lutz
Copyright © 2015, Gena D. Lutz
All Rights Reserved
Published by Gena D. Lutz
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. All characters and events in this story are fictitious. They are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events, organizations, or persons is entirely coincidental.
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Two nights prior
Pushing my back against the rear wall of a pawnshop, I winced as the tip of a blade sliced across the palm of my hand. Blood welled over the small cut, a line of crimson blooming from the self-inflicted wound. I cut it shallow so it would bleed just enough to reel in a hungry predator, but not what’s needed to attract a group of the ravenous blood-suckers. I sure hoped so, anyway, because I’d never tried taking more than one of them down at a time.
Nightfall and moonlight created a veil of shadow around me. Small triangles of light spread down the alleyway where I was hidden. I couldn’t have asked for a better time or place to trap a vampire. The streets were barren, the abnormal cold weather chasing away most of the boardwalk’s foot traffic. I tugged at my leather jacket, hooking the metal teeth together, zipping it all the way up to my chin.
Standing deep in the shadows, I watched as my trap worked its magic. A vampire at the opening of the alleyway stopped dead in his tracks after picking up the tempting scent of fresh blood. With a jerk of his head, the creature of death and destruction turned and crept in my direction. His keen senses were focused on his upcoming meal—me. He stalked with amber eyes, his nose scenting the air. Long, white fangs hung over his plump bottom lip. The sharp, inherent weapons pressed down into the malleable skin, making tiny indentations there.
Those full lips of his were smooth and lush, the perfect shape and size for kissing. But I knew what kind of creature I was dealing with, so there was no way that predator’s otherworldly looks and magnetism were going to sway me from my mission. The vampire slanted his head to the side as he made his approach. The motion made his waist-length blond hair sway like a tangible stream of sunlight. The blanket of gold folded over his shoulder and caressed the rounded muscles that bulged from his arms, falling like silk over steel. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, a dead-vamp-giveaway, considering how cold it was outside. A mere mortal would need one.
My eyes skipped down to his equally impressive chest as a satisfied rumble erupted from his throat. He narrowed his eyes with evil intent. He spotted me in the corner, my body only halfway hidden behind a dumpster. The vampire stalked closer, almost within arm’s reach. I took a step back, pulling my shoulders up to hide even more of my face. For good measure, I added a stumble, feigning retreat even farther behind the dumpster. I wanted him to believe I was frightened. He needed to assume I was just another hapless human tourist who had lost her way among the winding streets and the frenzied hustle and bustle of the Atlantic City boardwalk.
“Here, kitty, kitty,” the vampire purred with confidence. “I can tell that you’re frightened, little one, but you have nothing to fear. Come on out and see for yourself.”
Said the spider to the fly. Wasn’t he stirring a big crock-pot full of crap with that line? I had plenty to fear from him. I could practically see the drool dripping from the blood-craver’s fangs. I swallowed a gasp when his face twisted into something cruel and vile. The expression lasted only a heartbeat before his sly smile returned.
To him, I was a tempting item on a menu; rape would be the appetizer, my blood, the main course. His excitement was hard to contain. I had to keep my cool until he ventured closer. It was risky, letting one of the undead come so close to me. However, the risk was unavoidable. My magic didn’t work unless I was touching my victim’s skin.
As a necromancer, I was faster and stronger than a human, but even with that extra boost, I couldn’t run as fast as a vampire or out brute one. I had to settle for making myself bait. I pushed through my fear, as well as the ever-present stench of old blood and sex wafting off him. The smell made it apparent the vampire had already dined once that night. I was to be a second helping, or maybe even thirds. Gluttonous bastard.
I looked down, hiding my face behind a thick fan of dark hair. The breath he was expending came from his mouth with ease, so calm and sure of himself. And why wouldn’t he feel confident? He thought I was only a defenseless human.
I needed him a bit closer. His warm nose slid against my earlobe. My body instantly covered with goosebumps.
“I am going to be so nice to you, baby. Nothing to fear at all,” he whispered.
I forced myself to tremble. At least, I told myself it was voluntary, a part of my brilliantly stupid plan. But the plan had me alone with a deadly vampire, pushed against a brick building in a vulnerable position, so yeah, I had to admit it. That was scary. No matter how many time
Blondie came to a stop in front of me, his shoes kicking up enough dust to make me stifle a sneeze. The dirt added another layer to that wretched stench of his. I smiled under the veil of my hair, glad that he was finally close enough. My hands shook as I set them against his bare, chiseled chest.
Stop thinking about his chest, I reprimanded myself. It had been too long since I’d touched a man without the intent to kill him. That’s probably why I was acting like a sex-deprived idiot. Why did vampires have to be so striking? Every one of them possessed an unflawed visage. It was a miracle that happened during their rebirth. The magic that necromancers employed to reanimate them also fixed and reformed any of their damaged DNA, subsequently making the newborn vampires into impeccable versions of their former selves. In short, they were close to being perfect. It wasn’t right or fair. Most humans couldn’t help themselves, letting vampires fall between their legs and suck at their necks.
“Why are you so quiet, pussycat?” Blondie asked as he pushed a curl over my shoulder. He licked his bottom lip. “Won’t you at least gift me with one tiny little scream?”
The monster had decided to come out and play, meaning it was finally go time. I lifted my head, realizing I’d stopped shaking which was a fact that was reassuring. I stared the vampire down. It was his first clear look at me since we’d started the cat and mouse game.
Creators’ spectral orbs swirled red when they were in the presence of a vampire, so I had kept the tell-tale sign hidden from him.
My hands were already spread against his chest, my right one over his heart where the core of his immortal magic resided, a position that was convenient for my first wave of attack. It took only seconds for my power to build; it left my palms in a heated rush, striking out hard. He jerked like he’d been hit with shock paddles, but he didn’t fall, nor could he run away. He was glued to my hands, immobilized, until I decided to free him. I closed my glowing eyes and concentrated on bringing down another charge from the base of my own magic, my third eye. The irritating sensation of a small rubber hammer tapping me between my brows signaled that I was fully charged. I opened wide.
Tangled Web (Venin Assassin Book 2) by Gena D. Lutz / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes