fAted FeaR excerpt
ANGEL’S FATE: BOOK 3
Ice and wind and something else, something powerful and foreign tore through my chest, overwhelming the fear of having sex in public as well as the exhaustion of having spent all my magic and some of my life force to save Hawk from a vicious poison.
Time stuttered and for a second my senses narrowed to the pain, the power, the bed’s red silk sheet against my back, Sebastian’s fingers digging into my hips with his furious grip, and his erection buried deep inside me.
He stared at me, his eyes wide with shock. Something in my soul clicked and my skin lit up again like it had the first time we’d had sex even though I was no longer a virgin.
His expression turned to horror. “Oh, fuck.”
Then time lurched, yanking me back to the chaos erupting in the Winter Court’s ballroom. People screamed and bolted for the exits, and Titus, now a massive red dragon, roared and snapped his tail at the Winter Queen sitting on her throne.
The queen stretched out her hand and a wall, half ice and half wind, stopped the strike, but exploded on the impact.
Cassius yelled, flames erupted over his body, and poured from his hands onto the floor. He released his wings with a fiery burst and heaved free of the court’s icy wind, while Hawk continued to wrench against the wind’s control.
Titus jerked his attention to me and even with his face transformed, I could see the ferocious desperation in his golden eyes. He leaped toward me, his wings catching air, but Deaglan, the King of the Shadow Court and the man who’d held Titus captive for five hundred years and who’d tried to murder Sebastian, shot shadows from his hands and seized Titus’s neck and legs and jerked him back to the floor.
“Fuck fuck fuck.” Sebastian yanked himself from me and hurriedly secured himself back into his leather pants. “Amiah, are you okay?”
The court’s wind blasted around us, filled with stinging ice that sliced my skin and Sebastian’s and shattered against Titus’s scales. It whipped open the front of my dress — a dress with a slit that went all the way up to my waist and barely covered my breasts — exposing my privates to anyone who might have been looking my way, but I couldn’t get my thoughts to focus even to grab it and cover up. I should grab it. I should run. I should—
Cassius snapped a fire whip around the wind capturing Hawk in front of the queen’s throne and freed him, and they both scrambled out of the way of Titus’s tail as he smashed it against another wind wall while trying to break free of Deaglan’s shadows.
“Amiah.” Sebastian leaned over me and cupped my cheeks in his hands, dragging my whirling attention back to him.
I tried to focus on him, but the room kept spinning, and exhaustion weighed me down determined to drag me into unconsciousness.
If I passed out everything would go away, the fear, the pain, the shame, and the ice.
Everything was happening so fast. My worst fear had come true. Sebastian’s mother had threatened to kill Hawk, Cassius, and Titus, and Sebastian and I had been forced to have sex in the middle of the Winter Court’s ballroom with everyone watching.
“Amiah. Are you all right?” Worry tightened Sebastian’s expression.
He’d hurt me, pulled my hair, bit my lip, and thrust himself into me before I was ready. Because I’d asked him to. Because I wouldn’t have gotten through it if we’d actually made love and I’d connected with his life force. And because I was too weak to give his mother and Deaglan any other kind of show to please them and save the guys.
And then Titus had gone crazy and shifted, shattering the glamor hiding his identity and protecting him from everyone in Faerie… where we were… right now…
“Fuck. Amiah. Stay with me.”
I dragged my eyes open.
“Atta girl.” He glanced over his shoulder then captured me again with his pale blue, almost colorless gaze. “I can fight Deaglan long enough to get away, but you have to take control of the Winter Court from my mother.”
His words tripped in my mind.
“But she’s the queen.” She’d already proven she could take away what little control I had of the court’s wind with a flick of her finger.
“The Winter Court just claimed you as a rightful heir. I can feel its power rushing through you.”
Titus roared, drawing my attention to him as a pillar of ice shattered against his side, making him stumble, and sending massive shards shooting into the windstorm whirling around us.
Both the Winter Queen and Deaglan wanted him. Everyone wanted him.
Sebastian ducked close, protecting me from the shards with his body.
“I know you can feel it. It’s like ice and power in your veins,” he said, his breath strangely warm against my cheek when it was usually cool. “Amiah, take it, use your will to overpower my mother’s and get us the hell out of here.”
“But this is her court.” And yours. Whether he wanted it or not, he was the next King of the Winter Court in Faerie, he would have a more powerful connection to the court than me.
Another pillar of ice shot toward Titus. He opened his mouth and blasted it with a stream of fire, melting half of it before the rest shattered on his scales.
I wanted to scream at him. We’d already decided there was no way we could fight our way free, but he’d shifted anyway, giving us no other choice. Now we had to escape or die trying… and the odds weren’t good for escaping.
Faerie’s Heart and its powerful magic had awakened and Titus, the last dragon and the only one able to find the keys to release it, had revealed himself to the entire Winter Court and the King of the Shadow Court. They would do whatever it took to keep him in their grasps.
“Bring me my son and his wife,” the Winter Queen yelled, her voice carrying through the wind. “The queen’s favor to whoever brings them to me.”
Most of the men in her harem bolted toward us along with a few personal guards that were dressed only in leather pants like my guys — and likely worked for other winter court nobles or the few visiting nobles from other courts who’d come to the queen’s party.
Hawk grabbed the long white hair of one of the queen’s men, a stunningly beautiful high fae, and yanked him off his feet. Cassius blasted another in the back with a ball of fire, shoving him onto the floor and drawing a scream of agony before two more of the queen’s men encased Cassius in ice. But liquid fire roared from his hand’s melting it before my sluggish thoughts could fully register the danger.
Towering and bulky guards, beings constructed of ice and Winter Court magic, stormed in from the halls. They headed straight for my guys, and Deaglan threw more shadows around Titus’s neck and his snout.
Titus heaved and jerked against the shadows and his gaze, still locked on me as if not even fighting for his freedom mattered, turned desperate.
With a triumphant yell, the queen raised her hands. The frozen magic in my chest thudded like a powerful second heartbeat, and a barrier swept around all of us, trapping us in a magical icy dome.
“Amiah. I can’t fight Deaglan and my mother. Take control of the court.”
One of the queen’s men, a bulky muscular werewolf, dove for me, and Sebastian rolled me out of the way, pulling me on top of him. But another man grabbed my hair and wrenched me off Sebastian with a painful jerk.
The sudden movement made the room darken and lurch and the ice inside me swelled. A blast of wind snapped out of the queen’s storm and broke the man’s arm.
With a scream, he released me and jerked back, and the wind, my wind, slammed him into another of the queen’s men, knocking both of them over.
I staggered but managed to keep standing in my weakened condition and my compulsive need to heal twisted in my chest. Heal him. His arm is broken. It didn’t matter that he wanted to hurt me or the guys. God, I’d never been so grateful to be out of power.
Sebastian scrambled out of the way of a naga wearing the red leather pants of the queen’s harem, his red scales — covering his chest and arms — protecting him from the flying ice. His thin prehensile tail flicked behind him, helping him keep his balance, but Sebastian activated a glyph on his left forearm, and shot a force-wave at the man, and his tail wasn’t enough to keep him upright. He staggered back and the windstorm threw him to his knees as three more of the queen’s men barreled toward us.
Cassius snapped a fire whip around the neck of one of them and yanked him to the floor, but Deaglan shot a shadow spear at Cassius before he could stop the two others. The spear slammed into Cassius’s shoulder, shoving him back and pinning him to the ice barrier.
“No.” My pulse stuttered. How could they have been so stupid? They’d promised they wouldn’t fight. They knew some or all of them wouldn’t survive battling the queen, her men, her guards, and the Shadow King. Why had Titus shifted? He’d just had to control his beast a little longer and we’d have been free.
I’d been willing to sacrifice my body to save them. It had been the only option. It had almost been done. With the Winter Queen satisfied, we could have just slipped away. Why couldn’t they have just let me save them.
Fire roared around Cassius, but the ice barrier behind him, keeping all of us captured, didn’t melt, and the queen’s men encased him in wave after wave of thick ice, rebuilding it as fast as he could melt it.
Hawk screamed, jerking my attention to him, and my pulse stalled altogether. One of the queen’s guards had shoved his enormous ice spear through the center of his chest, and while the incubus could rapidly heal and take a lot of damage, there was still a limit to his powers. And if we didn’t get out of the Winter Court soon, we’d find it.
“Amiah,” Sebastian snapped. He held up his hands and shot light through the shadow pinning Cassius to the dome, freeing him. None of Sebastian’s glyphs that I could see glowed which meant he could have been using his sorcerer’s power — not the power of the many spells tattooed in his skin — and dangerously channeling the primal, raw power of Faerie itself, risking burning up if he couldn’t control it. “Break the dome.”
The werepanther who’d been by the Winter Queen’s side since we’d arrived in court ran toward me. He shifted between one step and the next, his body melting into a sleek black cat with liquid effortlessness, and leaped at me.
I lurched out of the way, but the movement made the room whirl, and I tumbled back onto the bed. The werepanther’s canines gazed my legs, slicing into my skin but not getting ahold of me, and the ice in my chest thudded again.
A blast of my wind shoved him a few feet away, forcing him to dig his claws into the floor to keep from tumbling even farther.
“Amiah, get us out of here,” Sebastian yelled. His full-body glow had dimmed, his complexion was gray, and his breath was too fast. His light magic twisted and writhed with Deaglan’s shadows while also tethering Deaglan’s demon-vampire hybrid to the back of the dome to keep him out of the fight. Sebastian was stretching himself too thin and if he kept going, he was going to burn up.
The hybrid sliced at the light tethering him with his claws and jerked forward a step, but the tether quickly reformed and shoved him back again.
“How long can you hold both of us?” Deaglan called in a singsong. “You’re not as strong as you were three hundred years ago.”
“I can hold just fine.” Sebastian’s light surged, but Deaglan formed more shadows, catching the blast then shooting a flurry of spikes in my direction.
I tried to jerk out of the way but I wasn’t going to be fast enough.
At the last second, Sebastian tackled me onto the bed and rolled us off the other side and my wind tore the shadows apart.
“Get us the fuck out of here,” Sebastian snarled at me, before jerking up and throwing another blast of light in Deaglan’s direction.
Titus howled and I glanced over the edge of the bed. Only a few strands of shadow still captured him. With a powerful flap of his wings, he broke free of the rest, but the Winter Queen seized his neck with a lasso of wind and wrenched him to the floor with a bone-rattling boom.
Icy fear roared through me and my wind tore the lasso apart without me trying to control it.
The Winter Queen’s gaze, her eyes fully black with her terrifying power, jumped to me.
“This is my court.” Her wind exploded into a hurricane that tore at my hair and dress and slammed me into the far side of the dome. My breath exploded from my lungs at the impact and the wind whipped it away as the room darkened.
“Amiah.” That sounded like Hawk.
I forced my eyes open to see him barreling toward me. He’d broken free of the spear, leaving a large pool of blood on the floor, and had managed to draw closer.
But the queen’s wind gusted and tossed him sideways toward Cassius, who fought three more ice guards, as well as the queen’s fae men. The wind tore at Cassius’s fire, yanking it from his body and extinguishing it, and thick ice threatened to immobilize him.
With a guttural yell, he erupted in a ferocious blaze, radiating so much heat I could feel it halfway across the room. The ice encasing him shattered, and he snapped a massive fire whip around a guard’s neck and tossed him at the Winter Queen. She wrenched her hand up, sending a blast of wind knocking the guard to the side, and the storm pummeling me stuttered.
The icy power inside me thudded again, and I mentally clutched at its cold slicing through my veins. I willed it, begged it, promised it everything if it would just give me control, just long enough to save them.
The hail and wind vanished and the room fell deathly quiet. Only Titus’s snarls as he fought the wind pinning him to the floor and the crackle of Cassius’s fire broke the silence.
I’d done it. I’d stopped the storm. Somehow I’d taken control of the queen’s wind.
All eyes jumped to Sebastian who panted a few feet away, his complexion gray, his body trembling, then their gazes slid to me, their expressions filled with a mix of fear and horror and rage.
“I said,” the queen hissed, her voice low, barely carrying across the room, and filled with a dark, deadly rage, “this is my court.”
She wrenched both hands up and wind pounded into me. It stole my breath and crushed me against her barrier, cracking my ribs and sending a pain I was far too familiar with screaming through my chest.
Cassius yelled and shot a fire whip at the queen, but both of her fae men encased it in ice and the two remaining ice guards stabbed at him with their spears.
The wind’s pressure grew. I heaved against it, strained to regain control, but couldn’t breathe and could barely think.
Deaglan sent a flurry of shadows at Sebastian, wrenching him off the ground and slamming him into the floor before he could defend himself.
One of my ribs snapped, exploding agony through my chest, and then another.
Hawk leaped toward me, but the werepanther dug his claws into his side and yanked him around with a wild spray of blood that was whipped up into the queen’s reawakened storm.
I screamed and the wind tore the cry from my mouth and devoured it.
Titus wrenched and spat fire. His wings wildly flapped and his claws dug rents in the floor as he fought to break free of the queen’s hold.
All of the guys fought, desperate, panting, and bleeding. Cassius’s fire stuttered, and Hawk staggered as the werepanther raked his claws against his back. Light snapped from Sebastian’s hands burning through some of Deaglan’s darkness but the demon-vampire seized him by the throat and pinned him to the floor.
Another snap and darkness swept over me, promising blissful nothingness. I struggled to stay conscious, to regain control of the wind, do something, anything. I had to do something.
It didn’t matter that I didn’t have power of my own. Everything within me screamed that I had to save them. Somehow. Whatever it took. I would pay it. Whatever the cost. Please. Someone, anyone, save them.