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


  “A dead man can’t sell his skills to just anyone.” He waited a beat for Miysis to catch his meaning. “Would you be interested in the services of a Chrysalis-quality spell weaver?”

  The griffin’s eyes widened in disbelief. “What exactly are you offering?”

  “I’m open to the possibility of making myself semi-regularly available to take commissions … at something of a discount compared to the usual rates.”

  Miysis rocked back on his heels as he no doubt ran through the many possibilities.

  “Caveats,” Lyre added. “I won’t weave anything designed to kill, maim, torture, etcetera. I can refuse to weave anything I don’t want to weave.”

  Miysis nodded thoughtfully, well aware that Lyre’s arsenal was impressive even without those sorts of weaves. “On one condition. You will weave only for me. You’ll take no other paying clients, though obviously you can make and give away whatever magic you please.”

  Lyre frowned. “That’s extremely limiting.”

  Miysis’s lips curved into a cool smile and his eyes gleamed with sharp cunning that sent a chill through Lyre.

  “I have more than enough work to keep you busy, if busy is what you want to be. I don’t know what Chrysalis charges for custom work, but I’ll pay to ensure you remain committed to my commissions alone.”

  And by doing that, he would ensure none of Lyre’s weavings ended up in the hands of Ra enemies or political opponents.

  “This arrangement will exist entirely between you and me,” Lyre said. “No one else can know about it. If we encounter each other outside our planned meetings—”

  “We don’t know each other and have never met.” Miysis’s eyes darkened to the color of a twilight forest. “I can’t be known to associate with an Underworld weaver, especially one from Chrysalis. Depending on the circumstances, that could mean I would have to act against you—or kill you.”

  Well, at least the prince was honest. “Noted.”

  “It would be safer if you stayed clear of me otherwise.”

  “That shouldn’t be difficult.” Lyre extended his hand. “Do we have an agreement?”

  Miysis grasped his hand and shook it.

  Lyre stuck his frozen fingers in his coat pockets. “I’ll see what I can come up with for how we’ll communicate and arrange meetings.”

  The prince nodded. “Speaking of communication, I’ll request my first commission now.”

  Lyre’s eyebrows shot up. That was fast.

  “I need spells for coordinating teams over long distances … discreetly.”

  “In what context, exactly?”

  Miysis glanced around the empty park as though expecting to find spies hanging from the tree branches. “I’m searching for something … but some of my people are entrenched in such a way that they can’t report to me and I can’t track their movements.”

  “Hmm. I already have a spell set that might work, but I’ll see if I can tweak it to be less conspicuous.”

  “Excellent.” Miysis reached into his coat pocket and withdrew a pouch. “This is all I have on me, so consider it a down payment.”

  Lyre accepted the bag and peeked inside. Controlling his expression, he slipped it into his pocket. With one “down payment,” his money woes were taken care of for, oh, the next six months at least.

  Relieved he wouldn’t starve, he arranged to meet with Miysis in three months. After that, they would probably connect only once or twice a year—just often enough to swap completed work for new commissions.

  Plans made, Miysis pulled his hood up again. “By the way, I heard an interesting rumor—a very expensive one obtained from an exclusive Underworld informant.”

  “Oh?”

  Green eyes gleamed from the shadows of his hood. “A couple months ago, the head of Chrysalis was killed—by his own son, apparently.” A moment of silence. “The son died too, or so I heard.”

  Lyre raised an eyebrow. “Sounds terribly tragic.”

  “Terribly.” Miysis smiled, pulled the collar of his coat up to block the wind, and walked off into the swirling snow.

  Rolling his tense shoulders, Lyre watched him go. Damn. Well, keeping secrets from the griffin prince probably wouldn’t have worked in the long run anyway. He weighed the pouch of coins in his pocket, his thoughts shifting to other matters.

  Miysis had mentioned Clio, but he hadn’t said how she was doing. Lyre hadn’t asked, and he hoped she wouldn’t come up in future conversations with the griffin. Ten years. He would never survive that long if he dwelled on her all the time. He needed to bury her deep in his thoughts, along with the rest of his past, and he would only think of her when he needed a reminder of what he was fighting for.

  He watched the snow melting on the pavement. His financial problems were solved, but he still needed to figure out the rest—where to live, how to survive as a nobody, how to move around the city unnoticed. He didn’t know how to do any of that.

  Funny thing, though. He happened to know someone who was well versed in surviving on the outskirts of society. And Lyre just so happened to be borrowing that particular daemon’s dingy apartment while he was otherwise homeless.

  He hummed a quiet, thoughtful note. Hands in his pockets, he walked out of the park. Snow swirled quietly, muffling sound as he made his way through the downtown streets. Giving the Ra embassy a wide berth, he headed along a street that would take him to the neglected apartment complex.

  A flutter of sound in the muted night.

  Wings flapping, a small dragon swept out of the snowy darkness and landed on Lyre’s shoulder. He blinked in surprise as she folded her wings and trilled a quiet greeting. Her tail swished, thumping against his back.

  Arctic panic slammed into him. Lyre managed not to stagger, keeping his pace steady. With a deep whoosh of displaced air, huge dragon wings swept wide as the draconian dropped out of the sky.

  His wings shimmered out of existence as he landed lightly beside Lyre and fell into step without missing a beat. Lyre kept moving, their strides perfectly matched.

  “You messed with my wards,” Ash said without even a greeting first, as though only days had passed since they’d last spoken.

  “Your wards were terrible. I replaced them.”

  “I can’t get into my apartment.”

  “I wasn’t expecting you back so soon.” Lyre shrugged, accidentally dislodging Zwi. She chattered in annoyance as she hopped onto her master’s shoulder instead. “You weren’t using the place, so …”

  “I don’t care if you use it, but get rid of the damn wards.”

  “I have a better idea. I’ll just teach you my wards.”

  Ash’s stride faltered slightly.

  “Yours suck,” Lyre added, in case the draconian had missed it the first time.

  Scowling, Ash brushed his snow-dusted hair from his face. “I don’t want your help, incubus.”

  “Consider it a trade. You let me crash in your apartment, and I’ll upgrade your weaving skills.”

  When Ash didn’t argue, Lyre quashed a smile. Though the draconian was under Samael’s command and could only visit Earth while on assignment, he and Lyre could learn a lot from each other. A mutual exchange of skills—and, for Lyre at least, an occasional friendly face among the masses of strangers he could never trust.

  Well, almost friendly. Close enough.

  As they passed beneath a glowing streetlamp, the only light source on the block, Ash slowed to a stop. “Did you destroy it?”

  “Destroy what?”

  The draconian’s stare turned steely.

  Lyre smirked. Passing Ash, he ambled a few more steps down the street. “I took care of it.”

  He turned to find Ash hadn’t moved, the crease between his dark eyebrows cast into sharp relief by the light above. The shadow weave’s fate wasn’t something Lyre intended to discuss with anyone. Along with the method of its creation, the secret would die with him.

  “Before any weaving lessons,” he said seriously, slipping
his hands into his pockets, “I think there’s something else we should figure out.”

  Ash’s frown deepened. “What’s that?”

  Lyre glanced at the snowy sky and sighed. “One of us should probably learn to cook.”

  A snorting laugh escaped Ash, his eyes flashing to a pale gray Lyre hadn’t seen before. The draconian’s smile was brief but genuine, and Lyre grinned in response. The gloomy weight in his chest eased a little.

  Ash started forward and Lyre fell into step beside him. Together, they strode into the night, leaving the lonely glow of the streetlamp behind.

  Lyre & Ash’s adventures continue

  in Steel & Stone: Book 1

  Chase the Dark

  Clio & Lyre will return

  in the upcoming sequel series:

  Blackfire

  Want more of Clio and Lyre?

  - Get the Bonus Epilogue -

  New Release Alerts: Thank you for reading the The Blood Curse! Don’t miss the continuation of Lyre and Clio’s story in the sequel series Blackfire by signing up for new release alerts.

  Please review! Reader reviews play an important role in a book’s success by helping other readers discover stories they might enjoy. Please consider taking a moment to leave a review for the The Blood Curse on Amazon!

  Want to chat? I love hearing from readers, so if you’d like to say hi, ask a question, or chat with me and other readers, come visit my Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/annettemarie

  Feedback: Problem with this ebook? Let us know at [email protected]

  Want more of Lyre and Clio? Join them five years later in the bonus epilogue.

  - Get the Bonus Epilogue -

  To save her world, Piper will need Ash’s strength, Lyre’s cunning, and Clio’s magic … but even that may not be enough.

  Ten years ago, Clio and Lyre fought to protect the realms in Spell Weaver. Five years ago, Piper and Ash battled the evil of Hades in Steel & Stone.

  Now, the story continues in an all-new series that will bring Piper, Ash, Lyre, and Clio together for the first time.

  BLACKFIRE

  Sequel to Spell Weaver and Steel & Stone

  - Learn more and sign up for release alerts -

  Lyre and Ash’s adventures continue in

  THE STEEL & STONE SERIES

  Piper knows the first rule for an apprentice Consul is don’t trust daemons. But when she’s framed for the theft of the deadly Sahar Stone, she ends up with two troublesome daemons as her only allies: Lyre, a hotter-than-hell incubus who isn’t as harmless as he seems, and Ash, a draconian mercenary with a seriously bad reputation. Trusting them might be her biggest mistake yet.

  - See the Steel & Stone Series on Amazon -

  A new urban fantasy series from Annette Marie

  Meet Tori. She's fiesty. She's broke. She has a bit of an issue with running her mouth off. And she just landed a job at the local magic guild.

  Problem is, she's also 100% human. Oops.

  THE GUILD CODEX: SPELLBOUND

  Coming Fall 2018

  - Learn more and sign up for release alerts -

  THE RED WINTER TRILOGY

  YA romantic fantasy by Annette Marie

  A destiny written by the gods.

  A fate forged by lies.

  Emi has spent her life hiding from the creatures that hunt her. The savage earth spirits are determined to kill her before she can become the living host of a goddess, so she stays hidden—until the day she saves the life of one of her hunters.

  Shiro isn’t the harmless fox spirit she thought he was. He’s mysterious, cunning, unpredictable … and now hers to command. He’s sworn to pay his debt to her, but he doesn’t know who she is. If he finds out, he’ll kill her.

  But she can’t send him away—not yet. Her future isn’t what she thought. The lies surrounding her fate have begun to unravel, and she needs answers before time runs out—answers that lie in the spirit realm. Shiro can take her there … if she dares to trust him.

  And only then will she find out how deep the gods’ treachery runs.

  - See the Red Winter Trilogy on Amazon -

  THE STEEL & STONE UNIVERSE

  Chronological Reading Order

  Spell Weaver Prologue

  (included at the end of Unleash the Storm)

  [ 3 years later ]

  The Night Realm

  The Shadow Weave

  The Blood Curse

  [ 5 years later ]

  Chase the Dark

  Bind the Soul

  Yield the Night

  Feed the Flames*

  Reap the Shadows

  Unleash the Storm

  Steel & Stone Collection*

  The Blood Curse Bonus Epilogue*

  (available as a free download)

  [ 5 years later ]

  Blackfire Book 1

  (title to be announced)

  *includes plot crossover between series

  About the Author

  Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced action, bold heroines, and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She proudly admits she has a thing for dragons, and her editor has politely inquired as to whether she intends to include them in every book.

  Annette lives in the frozen wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad) and shares her life 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.

  Find out more about Annette and her books here:

  Website: www.annettemarie.ca

  Amazon author page: amzn.to/2b8ZHlh

  Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnetteMarie

  Facebook Reader Group: www.facebook.com/groups/annettemarie/

  Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/8546572.Annette_Marie

  Twitter: twitter.com/annettemmarie

 


 

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

 


 

 
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