Yield the Night by Annette Marie


  Steel & Stone: Book 3

  By Annette Marie


  After surviving a round-trip to hell, Piper figures she can survive anything. After all, she just lived through the devastating loss of her Consul apprenticeship and a torturous stint at boarding school. How much worse could it get?

  Well, she wasn’t expecting a group of crazy radicals to burn her home to the ground and take her prisoner.

  The Gaians, a.k.a. the crazy radicals, plan to rid Earth of daemons and they need Piper’s help. In exchange for her cooperation, they promise her the answer to all her problems: magic. With her own magic, she could reclaim her apprenticeship, the only future she’s ever wanted. But her magic comes at price—it could kill her.

  With the life she’s always known crumbling around her and her future slipping from her grasp, she needs Ash’s help one more time. But the greatest danger of all lies within her, and no matter what she does, she may lose everything—including him.


  Chase the Dark

  Bind the Soul

  Yield the Night

  Reap the Shadows

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  Yield the Night

  Book Three of the Steel & Stone Series

  Copyright © 2015 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.

  Cover Design Copyright © 2015 by Annette Tremblay

  Cover, Book Interior, and Website Design by

  Midnight Whimsy Designs


  Cover Photograph (female model) Copyright © 2015 by Miranda Hedman

  Model: Miranda Hedman


  Editing by Elizabeth Darkley


  ISBN 978-0-9939102-4-1 (EBOOK)

  ASIN B00RH8BZOI (Amazon)

  Version 3.27.15


  PIPER pressed her nose to the car window as the Consulate came into view. Her first sight of it in two months.

  The car rumbled down the gravel drive, passing the large expanse of lawn that surrounded the massive manor. It looked exactly as she remembered, the glowing windows beckoning amidst the late evening shadows. She touched the cold glass with one finger, her eyes on the front door as her excitement built. She was home. Finally home.

  The car stopped in front of the main entrance. She pushed the door open and dragged her suitcase off the seat beside her. She didn’t bother saying anything to the driver. He was a hired security professional, and recent experience with his type had taught her not to bother with pleasantries; they never replied. Cheerful bunch.

  Predictably, the moment she shut the door the car rolled into motion. Good riddance. She’d been shadowed by enough security guards over the last eight weeks to last a lifetime.

  She rushed up the steps, suitcase bouncing on its wheels behind her. Flinging the door open, she stepped into the wide foyer. Her boots clicked loudly on the marble floor. She stopped in the center of the space, eyeing the glossy reception desk, the grand stairway, and the multitude of doors and halls leading off it. The silence pressed down on her.

  She stood for a moment, waiting for something to happen. Slowly, her anticipation died away. Her shoulders slumped. So maybe it wasn’t fair to expect a grand welcoming when she was home a day early, but still. How many hints had she dropped to Uncle Calder that she wasn’t planning on spending her birthday alone in a dorm room? Short of mailing him step-by-step instructions, she’d given him every opportunity to arrange a little birthday celebration.

  Shaking her head, she and her suitcase headed down the left-hand hall. At the far end, a carved wooden door blocked her path, hiding the spacious office within. She tried the handle—locked. Her father only locked his office when he left the Consulate.

  With a sigh, she went around the bend, down another hall, and into the main-floor kitchen. The lights were off, leaving the dining table and granite island in shadows. Memories drifted like the shadows and she almost expected to feel hands tickle across her sides and a purring voice to whisper, “Hello beautiful,” in her ear. She shook off the nostalgia and focused on the present.

  The entire floor was silent. Consulates were never empty. Where was everyone?

  “Hello?” she called. “Anyone hoooome?”

  Scowling—such an anticlimactic homecoming—she turned to leave.

  “Oh, Piper. It’s you.”

  Starting slightly, she turned back as a woman came up the stairs from the lower level. Her wild red curls bounced as she sauntered into the kitchen, grinning. “The prodigal returns! It’s been quiet here without you.”

  Piper snorted at the prodigal comment. “Hey, Kindra. Where is everyone?”

  “Not here,” she replied casually. “You’re back early. Calder has been gushing about your homecoming for days.”

  Piper shoved her suitcase in the corner and perched on a barstool in front of the island. Trust Uncle Calder to go on about family stuff to the Consulate’s guests, though apparently she hadn’t been obvious enough with her hints about arriving in time for her birthday.

  “I convinced the school to send me home tonight instead of tomorrow morning when everyone else leaves. They were only too happy to get rid of me ahead of schedule.”

  Piper may have set a new record for detentions while at Westwood Academy. She couldn’t help it if the stuck-up brats at that school had practically begged her to bring them back down to reality. Really, she hadn’t been able to help herself.

  Kindra slid into the seat beside her, movements sleek and almost predatory. Lots of daemons moved like that, like wolves on the prowl. Kindra was cool though. Only a few years older than Piper and perpetually easygoing, she was always good company. She hired out her services as a delivery woman, transporting valuable items between Earth and her home in the Underworld. She often spent her time between jobs at the Consulate.

  “A boarding school, huh?” the daemon said. “How was it?”

  “Ugh. It was boring. And snobby. And the human kids were just—” She shook her head. “When they found out I was from a Consulate, it was endless stupid questions. Do daemons suck your blood? Do they all have pentagrams tattooed on their backs? Do they eat babies? Gah.”

  Kindra laughed, tossing her curls over one shoulder. Her long, soft grey sweater and leggings made Piper yearn for something to wear besides her jeans and long-sleeve top. She hadn’t brought enough clothes to the school and was sick of wearing the same things over and over.

  “So,” Piper asked, looking pointedly around the dark kitchen, “where is everyone?”

  Kindra shrugged. “Marcelo is downstairs with Raanan and Fia.”

  Piper grimaced. Marcelo was her least favorite of the Consuls who worked at the Griffiths Consulate. He refused to get over the time she’d broken his nose.

  “There’s only the three of you here?” The Consulate usually had closer to a dozen daemons in residence on any given day. “Why so few?”

  Kindra’s eyebrows shot up. “Why would anyone want to be here?”

  Piper blinked. “Huh?”

  After a moment of confusion, Kindra’s expression cleared. “I guess you didn’t hear about it at the sch

  “Hear about what?”

  “The attacks.”

  “The what?”

  The daemon slid out of her chair to flick the nearby light switch. An orange glow bloomed, shining on the grey counters. Kindra pulled a crinkled newspaper from a stack on the table and dropped it in front of Piper on the kitchen island.

  Piper didn’t have to ask for an explanation. The black letters of the headline screamed at her: SIXTH CONSULATE DESTROYED. Eyes wide, she yanked the paper closer and read at top speed. Six Consulates across the east coast had been demolished overnight by unknown attackers. There were no survivors so far, with five to ten daemons killed at each location, along with two to four Consuls.

  “Holy shit,” she breathed.

  “One each day since last Saturday,” Kindra said. “Most daemons have found other places to sleep.”

  “No kidding,” Piper muttered, skimming through the details of the investigation. A combination of explosives and magic had been used to reduce two-story manors to rubble in the space of an hour or less. In the second attack, it appeared a daemon had survived the explosion only to be shot in the head once he’d crawled out of the wreckage.

  “I—I can’t even—” She shook her head and looked up. “Why would someone destroy Consulates?”

  Kindra shrugged. “That is what the Consuls want to know. The Head Consul and Calder are at an emergency meeting in the city right now.”

  No wonder her father and uncle weren’t here. She supposed she would have to forgive them for missing her birthday.

  She looked at the photo, a blurry shot of rubble and smoke. She’d seen what a demolished Consulate looked like; she’d been inside one at the time it exploded. She read the line again about the survivor who’d been shot dead. Shivering, she set the newspaper down.

  “I’m surprised I didn’t hear about this at school.”

  “I don’t think humans care much,” Kindra remarked. “The Head Consul will sort it out. They’re talking about increasing security.”

  Piper scowled. The Head Consul would fix things. Her father could fix anything, as long as it wasn’t something she wanted his help with.

  “Piper,” Kindra said, her voice suddenly intense. Her green eyes turned into laser beams. “I need to know something.”

  “What?” she asked warily.

  The daemon leaned closer, not blinking. “It’s very important.”


  “I need to know ... what’s going on between you and the Underworld daemon Ash?”

  Piper’s mouth fell open. She sucked in a breath to answer and choked on saliva.

  “N-nothing!” she hacked. “Why do you need to know that?”

  “Nothing?” Kindra scoffed. “Did you not go missing for a week then turn up at the Consulate with him? Everyone is talking about how the Head Consul tried to murder him with a death spell back in May.”

  “What? That did not happen. There were no death spells.”

  “No?” Disappointment dragged at her face. “But it sounded so juicy. No one knows anything about Ash beyond his kill count.”

  “His kill ...” Piper frowned. She didn’t know his kill count. “Ash is not a murderer. Okay, well, yeah, he’s killed people, but he’s not a bad guy.”

  Kindra’s moping dissolved into excitement. “Oh, so you know him well then? How well?” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

  Heat rose in Piper’s cheeks. She’d forgotten Kindra was the biggest gossip this side of the Underworld.

  “Not that well,” she said firmly. A couple kisses didn’t count. Even if those kisses had involved a lot of passion and maybe some wandering hands—but still. “We’re just—we’re friends, okay?”

  Kindra blinked. “Lovers with the draconian assassin I would believe. But friends? No one is friends with Ash.”

  Piper was really starting to dislike this conversation. “Believe what you want.”

  Doubt heavy in her expression, Kindra shrugged. “Well, I’m glad you’re back. I haven’t seen a fistfight in weeks. When’s your next shift? I can keep you company at reception and you can tell me more stupid things human children believe about us.”

  Piper clenched her hands as her mood worsened. “I don’t know.”

  “Let me know then when you get your schedule,” Kindra said cheerfully.

  Piper stood abruptly, not wanting to admit there were neither schedules nor shifts in her future. “Well, seeing as I won’t be getting a surprise birthday party, I’m going to throw my own.”

  Kindra’s mouth popped open. “It’s your birthday?”


  “How old?”


  “Oooh, eighteen!” Kindra’s grin faded as she looked around the silent Consulate. “Your family isn’t here ...”

  “I noticed that.”

  “But they should be here for your eighteenth birthday.”

  Piper shrugged. “That meeting is more important.”

  Kindra shot to her feet, gesturing grandly. “We should have a party for you right now!”

  “Isn’t that what I just said?”

  Kindra ignored the question, her eyes alight. “What kind of party do you want?”

  “The kind where we bake cookies, sit around in sweatpants, and trade stories about all the ass we’ve kicked lately.”

  The daemon, who under the right circumstances was a lethally efficient killer, clapped her hands in delight. “Perfect! Can we make cookies with chocolate chips?”

  Piper laughed. All things aside, it was good to be home.


  VERY few things could trump a chocolate chip cookie still warm from the oven. Piper’s eyes rolled back as the chocolate melted on her tongue. So good.

  Kindra took a big bite and sighed contentedly. They were sprawled on the sofa in the sitting area just off the kitchen, the daemon in her sweater and leggings, Piper in fitted yoga pants, a red tank top, and a black hoodie. She’d tied her hair in a high, messy ponytail, vaguely wishing her current auburn locks were her preferred dye job of black with red streaks.

  She also wore a leather band wrapped twice around her wrist, a memento from Ash. She traced a finger over the buckle with a sigh.

  “You have no idea how nice it is to relax,” she said. “The security at Westwood was over the top. Bodyguards everywhere. I swear the only privacy I ever got was in the shower, and even then I’m not so sure.”

  “Fun,” Kindra commented. She eyed her sixth cookie, perhaps measuring how it might affect her willow-thin figure—or not. “Was anything about the boarding school pleasant?”

  “Not really.” She didn’t want to admit that between her total disinterest in non-daemon-related academia and the classes she’d missed while in detention, she’d barely scraped by with passing grades.

  “Any cute boys?”

  Piper snorted. “I suppose, but they were all afraid of me.”

  “Afraid? Why?”

  “Probably because I got in a fight on my third day and beat up a couple of them.”

  “Oh, well, those kinds of things happen at school.”

  “It’s not usually girls beating up boys though,” Piper remarked dryly. “And then there were the security guards ...”

  Kindra looked worried. “What about them?”

  “Well, one of them grabbed me from behind while I was fighting the boys, and I kind of ... threw him onto the floor.” It hadn’t been a difficult shoulder throw, but it must have looked pretty impressive to the rest of the cafeteria.

  “You threw a security guard?”

  “He surprised me. It was a reflex.” The fight had happened a little more than a week after escaping Samael, so she’d still been pretty jumpy.

  “What happened then?”

  “Then another security guard came running in, and it really looked like he was going to tackle me, so ...”

  Eyes wide, Kindra shook her head slightly. “You beat up the security guards too, didn’t

  “Well, ‘beat up’ would be a bit of a stretch. But the principal told me I would be expelled if I used physical force on anyone again, so that was it for fights. But the other kids just wouldn’t let it go.”

  “So human boys don’t like tough girls at all?”

  “I guess not. They seemed to like the giggly girls a lot more.” She shrugged. “I really don’t fit in with humans.”

  “You belong here anyway.”

  Piper smiled, emotions swelling. She was far more used to hearing how she didn’t belong at the Consulate. As a haemon without magic, she was—according to her critics—ill-equipped to be a Consul.

  Of course, Kindra had no idea why Piper had been sent to the high-security boarding school. Samael had already had her kidnapped once, and she was pretty sure his new plan involved eliminating her before someone else decided to make her their personal Sahar-wielder.

  “So clearly you aren’t suited to human boys,” Kindra said, holding up another cookie. Her examination complete, she nibbled on an edge. “Tell me about Ash. How did you become ... friends?”

  Piper raised her eyebrows, too content to get offended over the doubtful pause before “friends.”

  “It’s a long story,” she said. And not one she wanted to share with casual acquaintances.

  “What’s he like beneath all those black clothes and cold stares? I’ve never spoken to him.”

  “Umm.” She picked a cookie off the plate between them and frowned at it. “Fearless,” she finally said. “Reckless. Loyal.”

  “Paaaaassionate?” Kindra drawled.

  Piper blushed, refusing to answer.

  Kindra sighed. “Fine. Be mean. Tell me what happened two months ago when you went missing. Did you two run off together?”

  Piper shook her head. She didn’t want to get into that story either. The last eight weeks had done little to heal Piper’s emotional wounds from the preceding week in Samael’s tender care.

  Seeing that an answer wasn’t forthcoming, Kindra shifted on the sofa, leaning a little closer. “Tell me then. How do you feel about him?”


  “How do you feel about Ash?”

  “We’re friends, like I said,” she replied quickly.

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