FATED RESOLVE EXCERPT
ANGEL’S FATE: BOOK 5
Time stuttered into horrific slow motion and ice swept through my veins as the Winter Court’s wind held me and the portal’s viscous air started to engulf me. The glow in the glyph Sebastian had activated blazed brighter, lighting up his whole bare side, and Hawk scrambled to his knees, the sheets tangling around him as he started to lunge for me.
But neither of them were going to be fast enough to save me.
The portal was already closing and they were getting farther and father away.
Then Rin, moving faster than both of my guys with his enhanced vampiric speed, leaped through the doorway into the bedroom and dove for me. Hellfire blazed in his black eyes, and his long black ponytail and black sash swept out behind him as he careened toward me.
For a second, his sharp facial features were a mask of terror, then he slammed into me, the portal fully engulphed us, and with a bone-jarring pop, spat us out.
We tumbled together across a cold slick surface and crashed to a stop. My head cracked against something hard and the impact of Rin’s weight on top of me made the air explode from my lungs.
Gasping, I tried to get my bearings, but everything was white and freezing and I was spinning and spinning and—
Rin’s gaze met mine and everything else vanished. There was just him and me, and I was drowning in his hellfire. His strange life force thrummed through me and my body throbbed with desire. My need for him— No, my need to seal our bond, not for him because I didn’t love him, consumed me. It was all I could think about even though a small part of me was screaming that I needed to get up and see where we were in the Winter Court.
Because without a doubt, we were in the Winter Court.
But I couldn’t look away. I was trapped in his eyes just like I was trapped in our soul bond and trapped by the Winter Court’s claim.
Because you promised, the Winter Court hissed inside me.
Rin’s gaze dipped down and his hellfire flared, licking across his cheeks, reminding me that he fought the same aching desire I did—
And I was naked.
Oh, God! I didn’t even have a robe this time. I’d just finished having the most amazing sex with Sebastian and Hawk in order to give Sebastian enough fae magic so Rin could remove his demonic magic infection, and I’d been yanked out of bed. I hadn’t even had time to recover. My unnatural full-body fae glow still blazed with what had been an incredible orgasm.
“Your highness,” Rin said in his barely-there voice, his gaze jerking back to mine.
Not your highness. Your Majesty, the Winter Court howled and its cold roared through me, seizing every muscle in my body with a painful contraction.
I screamed, a desperate cry tearing from my lips, carried on a blast of frozen magic. Except the blast didn’t expel the excess power from my system. The magic just kept growing inside me, its cold rushing through my veins, sinking into my bones, and invading every cell in my body.
I was frozen down to my soul, my limbs heavy and numb, my healing magic telling me I was already on the verge of hypothermia. I wasn’t supposed to have the Winter Court’s magic inside me and I didn’t know how much more my body could take.
Rin scrambled off me, his hellfire and all sense of emotion vanishing from his expression. He swept his gaze around the room, but even without looking, I knew it was just the two of us. I couldn’t sense any of my guys’ life forces or anyone else’s. There was just Rin with his strange alive yet dead, frozen and burning life force, edged with pain that had been permanently embedded in his cells, and me.
You let me in. You agreed. Whatever the cost. The Winter Court released my muscles, but its cold continued to consume me, pounding around my heart, a forceful second heartbeat. You promised.
“I did,” I gasped through chattering teeth, and I curled into a ball, desperate to get away from the cold. But curling up did nothing to warm me or control my shivering.
I chose you and you lied. The court’s wind picked up, stinging my skin. You cut me off and left Faerie.
“We needed to escape.”
You promised. Its power sliced into my soul, drawing another scream and blast of frozen magic from my mouth. You belong to me. You’re my queen.
Its wind seized me and wrenched me off the floor. We were in the center of the Winter Court’s enormous throne room, its white semi-translucent walls, floor, and pillars glimmering like ice in the dim light of the glowing orbs floating overhead. Above, soared the vaulted ceiling, still partially shrouded in shadows, and in front, at the far end of the room on a wide dais, sat the queen’s massive ice throne.
You promised. The court yanked me across the room and shoved me onto the throne. Now take control from her.
Rin bolted after me, leaping onto the dais without bothering with the three shallow steps. “Your highness.”
Majesty, the Winter Court roared. Its frozen magic clenched my muscles again and its wind whipped around me, shoving Rin off the dais and back to the center of the room.
I can’t be your queen. I’m not fae. Your magic will kill me.
I’ll sustain you, but you have to take control of me from her.
Except my healing magic said that was a lie. It didn’t matter how much fae magic the court pumped into me, I was a being from the Realm of Celestial Light. I wasn’t supposed to have fae magic inside me, just like Sebastian wasn’t supposed to have demonic magic inside him.
Please, the court begged. She doesn’t love me. Not like you will. I’m just a power to her. Something to be forced to her will.
Now I was really confused. “But the courts kill high fae to find their monarch,” I gasped, shaking so hard I could barely get my arms around my knees to hug them to my chest.
Rin stood and a spark of hellfire popped from his eye and was swept away in the Winter Court’s frigid gale.
Faerie makes us, the court replied. It takes back its magic until a high fae strong enough resists it. I don’t know why, and I don’t know why I can make a stronger connection with you than her, why I can actually communicate with you. But I won’t be her slave any longer. I’m supposed to be her equal.
Rin’s attention jumped to the closed large doors at the back of the room as a blazing bright, frozen life force snapped at the edge of my senses.
The Winter Queen was coming.
She’ll kill you if you don’t take me from her.
The heavy, intricately carved doors crashed open with a thunderous boom and a frozen blast of wind. The gust sent Rin tumbling back to the dais’s shallow steps and the Winter Queen strode in.
My pulse pounded with a mix of fear from the fury in her eyes and the dangerous cold consuming my body.
The Winter Queen wore a black gown made out of layers of gauzy material that accentuated her pale, luminescent skin. The neckline was cut dangerously low, barely covering her breasts, and the skirt was slitted up both sides, revealing glimpses of her long legs as the pieces of her dress fluttered and snapped in the windstorm surrounding her.
The wind also swept through her long silver-white hair, and with the billowing dress and her hard glare, she looked like the powerful, beautiful, terrifying queen that she was.
Behind her towered two identical ice guards. They were broader and taller than Titus — which was saying a lot, since Titus was one of the biggest men I’d ever met — and each held a large long spear that I knew from our fight in the ballroom could seriously injure any of my guys.
“That’s my chair,” the Winter Queen snarled, and a ferocious wind seized me and jerked me up.
But another wind tore through it and yanked me back onto the throne, making the Winter Queen’s eyes narrow.
Command me. Take me from her. The Winter Court’s frozen magic thudded harder in my chest, overwhelming my heartbeat and slicing deeper into my soul.
“And this is my court.” The Winter Queen raised her hands and an ice storm, spiked with sharp ice shards, roared around the room.
Its ferocious wind buffeted me, stealing the air around me before I could draw a breath. It yanked on my hair and whipped it against my face, neck, and shoulders. Blood welled on my arms from three shallow cuts and was swept away in the storm, the slices happening so fast — and my body so cold — I hadn’t felt them.
I clung to the throne’s arms, fighting to stay seated as blood welled in another cut across my shoulder, this one deeper than the first ones. I had to take control. I’d given myself to the Winter Court to save my guys and now it was time to pay my debt.
And if I didn’t win this fight, I’d never see my guys again. Even if the Winter Queen didn’t kill me, she’d still lock me up in the depths of the court and never let me out.
Rin staggered to his feet, leaning into the storm, and turned to face the queen. The wind snapped and jerked on his long black ponytail, sash, and the slitted ends of his calf-length wrap tunic. His fate was tied to mine, more so than any of my guys. If the Winter Queen killed me, he died too.
I couldn’t be responsible for that. I’d promised we’d get the Heart and set him free, and I had every intention of doing that. I was stronger than the Winter Queen. My guys and my determination to get back to them made me stronger. It had to.
No. It did.
I’d been stronger than her before. I’d be stronger now.
Except before when we’d fled the Winter Court’s ballroom, my control had been momentary, and then she’d unleashed a storm that had almost crashed us into the side of a mountain.
If I wanted to keep control of the court, I had to break her connection with it, and let the court fully take me. There wasn’t any other option.