The Blood Curse
Publication date: March 30th 2018
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
When Clio conned her way into the Underworld, her job was to steal magic that could protect her homeland. Instead, she escaped with the rebel son of a notorious spell weaver family.
And in the process, she exposed his most calamitous spell, putting her people—and all magic—in peril.
Now she and Lyre face two impossible feats: recover his creation, and do it before his family catches up to them. But when the spell is unleashed with devastating results, caution is no longer an option.
Clio and Lyre’s only chance lies in combining their strength, but to make it out alive, they’ll need magic more dangerous than they’ve ever wielded before. And if they fail, the realms will pay the price.
The complete SPELL WEAVER Trilogy:
“Twenty-five yards,” Ash answered before she could. “Get down so the nymph doesn’t see your auras.”
Lyre lay down on the rooftop and Clio flattened herself too. In the silence, the soft sounds of cautious footsteps grew audible. Lyre peeked over the edge and, after a moment of squinting, picked them out of the darkness. The short, slim nymph moved with quick steps, his blond hair gleaming. His chimera partner had a steadier pace, his head swiveling as he checked the shadows all around them.
Ash didn’t budge, watching as the pair passed beneath their position on the rooftop. Lyre bit the inside of his cheek, unable to ask what Ash was waiting for. Any noise would be a risk.
The draconian rose to his feet and put one foot on the ledge, but he didn’t make his move. Down the alley, something clattered. The sound echoed off the buildings and the two soldiers froze.
Ash’s fingers curled. Dark magic swirled in his hand as he prepped a binding spell, then with a flick of his wrist, he flung it downward. It struck the nymph in the back and the daemon fell.
Ash sprang off the rooftop. He hit the ground in a roll and came out of it with a sword in each hand. Lyre lurched up, eyes wide, as the draconian caught the hapless chimera in the middle of dropping glamour.
It was over in a heartbeat. A swift, clean execution.
As Ash pulled his sword out of the fallen daemon, Clio gasped in alarm. Lyre jerked his attention to the nymph soldier. He’d freed himself from the binding spell and was scrambling to his feet.
“Shit,” Lyre growled, grabbing the rooftop’s edge. “Wait here.”
He jumped. Two stories was not a fun drop. Doable for a daemon, but not fun. He hit the pavement hard and rolled. In the time it took him to launch back to his feet, the nymph had bolted in the opposite direction—and he was fast. Ash turned, flicking the blood off his sword, and watched his quarry flee without making the slightest effort to give chase.
“What are you—” Lyre began angrily.
Skidding footsteps. Almost invisible in a patch of heavy shadows farther down the alley, the nymph had stopped. He backed up, hands outstretched as though warding off evil. As the nymph retreated, something else appeared in the darkness.
Something solid. Something big.
A black dragon stalked out of the shadows, its teeth bared and golden eyes glowing. The size of a horse with enormous wings blotting out the alley’s exit, it advanced on the nymph with prowling steps, its curved talons clicking on the pavement.
Lyre didn’t move. He didn’t even breathe.
Ash sheathed his swords and headed for the distracted nymph. Grabbing the daemon by the neck, Ash hauled him backward.
The huge black dragon, only a few paces away, growled softly. Dark fire erupted over its body, engulfing its form so suddenly that Lyre jumped. The flames leaped upward, then died away as fast as they had appeared. With a final poof, they were gone.
And in the black dragon’s place, a little dragonet stood.
Chattering cheerfully, she jumped onto Ash’s back and climbed up to his shoulder. The draconian dragged the unresisting nymph back toward Lyre, and he blinked stupidly when he saw Ash had cast a sleep spell on the daemon.
“Um.” Lyre cleared his throat. “Your dragonet can ... shapeshift?”
Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling Steel & Stone series, which includes Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night, and fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it's not quite that bad) with her comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat— Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.
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