The Blood Curse (Spell Weaver Book 3) by Annette Marie

  The Blood Curse

  Spell Weaver: Book 3

  Annette Marie

  The Blood Curse

  Book Three of the Spell Weaver Trilogy

  Copyright © 2018 by Annette Marie

  All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations for review purposes.

  This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, places, or events is purely coincidental.

  Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.

  PO Box 88106, Rabbit Hill Post Office

  Edmonton, AB, Canada T6R 0M5

  Cover Design Copyright © 2018 by Annette Ahner

  Cover, Book Interior, and Website Design by

  Midnight Whimsy Designs

  Editing by Elizabeth Darkley

  ISBN 978-1-988153-19-3 (ebook)

  Version 03.23.18


  Books by Annette Marie

  The Blood Curse

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Bonus Epilogue

  Blackfire (Sequel Series)

  The Steel & Stone Series

  The Guild Codex: Spellbound

  The Red Winter Trilogy

  Steel & Stone Universe Timeline

  About the Author

  Books by Annette Marie

  Steel & Stone Universe

  The Spell Weaver Trilogy

  The Night Realm

  The Shadow Weave

  The Blood Curse

  The Steel & Stone Series

  Chase the Dark

  Bind the Soul

  Yield the Night

  Feed the Flames

  Reap the Shadows

  Unleash the Storm

  Steel & Stone

  Other Works

  The Red Winter Trilogy

  Red Winter

  Dark Tempest

  Immortal Fire

  The Blood Curse

  Spell Weaver: Book 3

  Chapter One

  Five, four, three …

  Lyre watched the clock’s second hand tick, the exposed gears turning. The weaves aligning. The magic thrumming with power and purpose.

  … two, one, zero.

  With a click, the second hand snapped into place. The weaves flashed gold, the magic pulsed, and then … nothing.

  Snarling, Lyre slammed his fist down on the steel desktop. The clock jumped from the impact and he was tempted to smash the stupid thing into pieces. How many cycles had he wasted on this?

  He dropped onto his stool, growling profanity under his breath. A nearby wooden box overflowed with gems, arrowheads, metal discs, and more junk, all contaminated with failed weavings. With this new spell, he’d be able to clear them instantaneously so he could easily start over.

  Ignoring the pile of half-finished commissions heaped on the other side of the desk, he scooped up a handful of his notes and flipped through the diagrams. The weaves were perfect. The theory was sound. He’d accounted for everything.

  He tossed the papers down and folded his arms, contemplating the clock. The gems set in the gears sparkled back at him. It should work but it didn’t. Something was missing.

  He spun the stool in a slow circle, his eyes going out of focus. Something was missing. But what? He spun around again, the sofa and bookshelves and desk passing by. A spell that could clear lodestones.

  The room blurred as he spun. A spell that could erase magic.

  He dug his heels into the floor, bringing the stool to an abrupt stop. His head roiled dizzily but he scarcely noticed as he stared wide-eyed at the clock. Of course something was missing. A weave to erase magic needed more than magic. But would it work? Was it even possible?

  Nerves tightened his stomach, but his excitement was stronger than his apprehension. Grinning, he reached for the device.

  With a grinding click, the second hand started to move, twitching down the clock face. Lyre’s hand hovered above it, his brow furrowed. The key to wind it sat on the desk, untouched.

  The second hand ticked past the halfway point and up the other side of the face, the weaves priming, the power building. Unexpected panic bloomed in his chest. He wanted to grab the clock and physically stop it, but he couldn’t move.

  Tick, tick, tick. The second hand struck twelve and stopped. The weaves flashed bright gold, then darkened until they were pitch black.

  Ebony power oozed out of the gems and pooled across the desktop. It bubbled upward like a gelatinous liquid, sucking the light into it, and Lyre backpedaled. His stool crashed to the floor.

  The rippling darkness expanded in every direction, absorbing his desk and reaching for more. Lyre stumbled back another step.

  The power exploded outward. It hit him like a punch to the chest and sucked him into the screaming oblivion within it. The world disappeared, darkness swallowing everything.

  He writhed in the nothingness, unable to breathe as it consumed his magic, his life. Somehow, he could feel the power racing outward, spreading and spreading as it devoured Chrysalis. Devoured Asphodel.

  Devoured the Underworld and every living thing in the realm.

  Lyre’s eyes flew open.

  He jerked upright and a threadbare blanket slid into his lap. He gasped for air as he stared wildly around the unfamiliar bachelor apartment. Beside him on the narrow, sagging bed, Clio was curled in a ball on her side, hair matted with dried blood and a bandage taped to her cheek.

  As his heart rate slowed, he raked a hand through his hair, shaking off the dream so he could focus. Where the hell was he?

  He surveyed the room a second time. Dingy walls, a tiny kitchen with barren cupboards, and a pair of mismatched chairs. Two closed doors and a window with nothing but darkness and a few scattered lights beyond the glass.

  Lyre’s bow leaned in a corner, and nearby was another set of weapons—a huge sword in a black sheath, two shorter blades, and an assortment of daggers.

  The back of his neck prickled. He snapped his head around and spotted a pair of golden eyes staring at him from atop the kitchen cupboards before the small creature ducked deeper into the shadows.

  One of the two doors swung open. A daemon walked out of a small bathroom, a ragged towel in his hand. His hair was damp, dark strands that shimmered with wine-red iridescence clinging to his face. He wore dark pants and a black t-shirt, the red tie that was normally braided into his hair hanging from one pocket.

  Without his combat gear, Ash almost looked like a normal guy.

  Cool storm-gray eye
s turned to Lyre as Ash flipped the towel over the back of a chair and dropped into it. “You’re awake.”

  Lyre suppressed a shiver. Even with glamour disguising his dragon-like form, Ash’s deep, sepulchral voice didn’t sound quite human.

  “Surprisingly,” Lyre replied cautiously. “I expected to be dead.”

  He watched the draconian lace up his boots, struggling to piece together how he’d gotten here. He remembered the abandoned park where Bastian had taken him, and Clio arriving to fight her half-brother. He remembered getting hit yet again by the shadow weave, his magic devoured and his body left too weak to move. And then …

  “Reapers,” Lyre muttered. “What happened to the reapers?”

  There had been two of them. Their arrival had spooked Bastian into fleeing with the KLOC, but the reapers had overheard what it could do. They’d planned to take Lyre and Clio back to Asphodel. Then Ash had joined his reaper handlers, and that was the last thing Lyre remembered.

  “The reapers are dead,” the draconian replied.

  Surprise flickered through Lyre, followed by relief. He contemplated that simple statement, sifting through what hadn’t been said. “You killed them.”

  “And destroyed the evidence.” Ash leaned back in his chair. “You fucked up, incubus.”

  “Can’t argue there, but what specifically are you referring to?”

  “Creating that spell, first off. Then letting it out of your control. What the hell were you thinking?” He didn’t pause to let Lyre respond. “What the nymph said about it wiping out daemon armies and destroying ley lines—is that true?”

  Lyre nodded.

  “You’re an idiot.”

  “Thanks for that keen observation,” Lyre said dryly. “Can we skip the part where I explain how the shadow weave was a huge mistake and get on with the important stuff?”

  Ash stretched his legs out. “Samael doesn’t know your spell exists, and it needs to be destroyed before he finds out.”

  Samael, the warlord of Hades and ultimate owner of Chrysalis, wasn’t just the most politically powerful daemon in the Underworld. He was also the daemon who controlled Ash’s life, though by what means, Lyre didn’t know.

  “Is that why you saved us?” he asked, glancing at Clio, still dead to the world.

  “Why else?”

  Lyre drew in a deep breath, forcing himself to think before he made a smart-ass retort. Only days ago they had battled to the near-death in the alleys of downtown Brinford, Ash forced to obey Samael’s command and Lyre desperately defending himself.

  “You’re under orders to kill me.”

  “And I will. Just not yet.”

  Not yet. A quiet chuckle that was part bitterness, part amusement escaped Lyre. “Better than nothing, I guess.”

  “Orders are orders.” Ash shrugged dismissively. “If you don’t want me to kill you, don’t let me catch you next time.”

  “I’ll work on that.” He shifted backward to slouch against the wall. “The nymph prince Bastian has my spell. He’s nursing a grudge against Ra, and depending on how much his ambition outweighs his brains, he might try to incite a war. We have to get it back before he gets that far.”


  “Were you planning to destroy a weave that could annihilate the realms all by yourself?”

  “Who said I was planning to help at all? If I’m seen with you, it’ll be my neck on the line.”

  “How convenient you’re so good at getting around unseen, then.” Lyre let his head fall back against the wall, watching the draconian with half-closed eyes. “You dragged me and Clio here so we could deal with this together, before the worst happens. After that, we can go back to killing each other guilt-free.”

  Ash propped an arm on the back of his chair. “Will you be able to keep up with me, incubus?”

  Lyre smirked, the memory of leaping across Asphodel’s rooftops on Ash’s heels flashing through his mind. “Maybe if I put an arrow in your leg first.”

  Humor fading, Lyre gave the room another slow assessment, his gaze lingering on Clio. “You’re right, Ash. I messed up, and if Bastian unleashes the shadow weave near a ley line, it’ll be bad. I don’t know how bad, but bad.” He exhaled. “I can’t find Bastian on my own. Not in time to stop him.”

  “You need my help.”

  Ash had said those words to him once before, and Lyre gave the same simple answer. “Yes.”

  Ash measured him with a glance. “Wake the girl and let’s get started. I need to know everything you know.”

  Back in that abandoned park, faced with the pair of reapers while too weak and exhausted to move, defeat had weighed on Lyre like frigid ocean waves. But now, as he reached for Clio to gently shake her awake, he felt the first spark of hope. Ash’s power. Lyre’s weaving. Clio’s magic.

  Maybe, together, they stood a chance to fix this before his worst nightmare became a reality.

  Chapter Two

  Clio held perfectly still, trying not to blush.

  Lyre gently held her jaw as he examined her cheek, fingers pressed to the shallow scratch, courtesy of Eryx’s dagger. Heat washed across her skin as he applied faint touches of healing magic.

  She sat on the bathroom counter, Lyre standing in front of her. Ash had left hours ago to hunt for Bastian, and the dingy room outside was empty.

  She still couldn’t quite believe it. After nearly killing Lyre—and attempting to crack his skull after that—Ash had saved them. Keeping the shadow weave out of Samael’s hands was more important to him than following orders, and now the draconian was risking everything to help.

  While she hesitated to trust Ash, Lyre didn’t seem to have any reservations. How he could just forget about the damage Ash had inflicted on him, she didn’t know. She definitely hadn’t forgotten, considering she’d spent hours healing his injuries.

  Lyre’s fingers lifted from her face and he straightened. “That’s all I can do for now. I need to charge some lodestones, though that’ll only help so much. I’m no good at healing.”

  He grimaced at the last part, but the expression did nothing to diminish the mouthwatering perfection of his face. Like her, he hadn’t returned to his glamour form yet, saving every drop of magic while he recovered.

  Exhaustion ached through her body and she felt hollow inside, as though all her innards had been scraped out. She’d never been hit by the shadow weave before, and she never wanted to experience it again. Not even a long shower had relieved the fatigue, so deep and overwhelming she couldn’t think about anything else.

  Well, anything except Lyre so close, his spicy cherry scent distracting her from her weariness.

  “Thank you,” she said, not sure where to look. He was standing almost on top of her, though it wasn’t on purpose. The bathroom was just that tiny.

  His fingers brushed her face again, this time tracing the edge of her jaw. She looked up in surprise, unable to suppress her blush this time.

  “Are you okay, Clio?” he asked softly. He must have been waiting until Ash was gone to see how she was holding up—not from her physical injuries, but the wounds that had cut far deeper.

  She opened her mouth to tell him she was fine, but instead memories of Bastian rushed through her. First, realizing he had been lying to her for years, then facing him again on Earth where he’d ordered Eryx to slit her throat if Lyre didn’t cooperate.

  Her half-brother had nearly killed her, and he hadn’t shown the slightest hint of hesitation or remorse over it. Since her mother’s death, Clio had depended on him for everything, from her livelihood to her sense of self-worth, but that support had been torn away. If she wasn’t Bastian’s loyal half-sister, devoted to helping him and earning her place in his family, then who was she?

  She lifted her head. “We’re going to stop him.”

  Lyre didn’t have to ask what she meant. “We will.”

  Her heart beat faster at the intensity in his amber eyes. Even with almost no magic to fuel his supernatural allure, he w
as mesmerizing. She wanted to touch his cheek where the dark tattoo revealed his bloodline. She wanted to trace the points of his ears, pierced with tiny gold hoops and a diamond stud. She wanted to run her hands in his short, tousled hair, a fine braid hanging beside his face with a ruby at the end.

  “Thank you,” she said again, her voice hoarsening with emotion. “For everything, Lyre.”

  A crooked smile pulled at his lips. “I don’t know what you’re thanking me for. I haven’t been particularly useful.”

  She rolled her eyes. “Instead of arguing, could you just accept it?”

  “Accept what, exactly?”

  “That I would never have made it through any of this without you.”

  His teasing smile faded into a serious stare. “You would have found a way. You’re tougher than you think, Clio.”

  She twisted her mouth doubtfully—and Lyre’s gaze drifted to her lips.

  She had only a moment to realize the shift in his thoughts before his fingers slid across her cheek and sank into her hair. Her heart stuttered as he guided her head back.

  His lips brushed softly across hers and she closed her eyes, instantly lost in the rising heat in her center. He melded their mouths together, deepening the kiss. Winding her arms around his neck, she parted her lips in invitation.

No Previous Page Next Page
Should you have any enquiry, please contact us via [email protected]