Enchanting Raven, Page 11Jessica Sorensen
My nose crinkles as I grimace. “Those are all terrible choices. I mean it, Kings. None of those give me any hope of this working out the way I want.” I take a swallow of the blood and warmth pours through my body as it spills down my throat. “Can’t you come up with an option number four, one where Rhyland doesn’t have to be king or Nadine isn’t queen?”
“I wish there was one,” he assures. “But so far, I haven’t thought up any other options.”
“How long have you been thinking about this?”
“Since the day they were announced king and queen.”
“But … how did you know that Rhyland and I would end up …?” Falling in love? Is that what we are? “Well, whatever we are. I didn’t even realize I thought of him as more than a friend until tonight.”
He rolls his eyes. “Oh, quit lying to yourself. You and my brother have been in love for years now. You’re both just too stubborn to admit it.”
I shake my head then chug down the rest of the drink. “That’s not true at all.”
His eyes glaze over. “It’s completely true.”
“Is not …” My head feels a bit foggy. “Man, Kingsley, that blood must have been some serious top-shelf quality because I feel blood high right now.”
“So do I.” His brows dip. “But the blood was just normal quality.”
“Hmmm …” He becomes transfixed with my mouth.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” I whisper, wetting my lips.
“Like what?” He leans toward me.
He seals his lips to mine.
Cloudiness overtakes my brain, and I kiss him back, placing my hands on his shoulders.
At first, the kiss is gentle, soft, but then he urges my lips apart with his tongue and the softness ignites into flames. He lays me back on the bed as he kisses me deeply, his tongue tangling with mine. He explores every inch of my mouth as he roams his hands over my body, feeling the softness of my skin. As the moment blazes, my fangs snap out, ready to feed on him.
“Raven,” he whispers hoarsely as I pull away, my gaze dropping to his neck.
“Is it okay if …?” I bite down on my tongue, too afraid to ask.
He bobs his head up and down. “Yes, please. God, please do it, sweetheart.”
Tentatively, I sink my fangs into his neck and start to drink—
“What the fuck?”
I jerk back as the sound of Rhyland’s angry voice chips away at the haze filling my mind. Kingsley lets out a string of curses and quickly pushes off me.
“What are you doing in here?” Kingsley asks dazedly.
“I have no idea,” Rhyland replies as if he truly doesn’t. “I was just …” He shakes his head, glaring at Kingsley.
“What you just saw between Raven and I … it wasn’t what it looked like,” he tells Rhyland as he stands. “We were just …”
Rhyland glances from him to me. The hurt in his eyes mirrors the way I felt when I saw him dancing with Nadine. That was never my intention. I never even wanted to kiss Kingsley.
Then, why did I?
Rhyland steps back toward the door, his body quivering with rage.
“Rhy.” Kingsley cautiously steps toward him. “Just settle down and let us explain. What happened … We didn’t mean for it to happen. Raven was just upset and—”
“Fuck you,” Rhyland spats. “I’ve known for a while you wanted her. I just never thought you’d ever stab me in the back like this.”
Kingsley winces. “I didn’t stab you in the back—”
“You’ve know I loved her for years,” he cuts him off. “So yes, you did.” His gaze lands on me again, and the look of hatred makes my heart shrivel into pieces.
“Rhyland, I …”
He takes off, zipping out the door and heading to who knows where.
“We need to stop him”—Kingsley hurries for the door—“before he does something irrational.”
I spring to my feet, ignoring the spout of dizziness sloshing around in my brain. “What do you think he’ll do?”
“I don’t know, but with how hurt he looks, probably something awful.” He stops at the doorway and glances back at me. “I’ll check the upper floors. You look downstairs.” He doesn’t wait for me to respond, rushing out at vampire quick speed.
I hurry across the room, preparing to leave, when something catches my eye. A wing-shaped barrette. The barrette the fey queen tried to give me, only the vial attached to it is empty now.
When I pick up the barrette, it’s then I see a drop of pale purple liquid drips onto the side of the pitcher of blood. The pitcher of blood Kingsley poured our drinks from.
I sniff the liquid, and my eyes begin to water. “Euphoric faerie dust,” I mutter. I’m not even sure how I know that, other than maybe the extra magic coursing through my blood has given me super senses. “Why would the fey queen want to …?”
It clicks into place. Kingsley and I kissing, how hazy my brain feels—we were doped up by faerie magic. Why? So Rhyland would see? He didn’t seem to know why he was up here. Why would she care if Rhyland saw Kingsley and me?
I think about the bargain she tried to make with me, how she whispered in the forest that we’d hurt each other. She wanted us to turn against each other. Why?
I’m not sure, but I need to find Rhyland before he does something awful, like make a deal with the fey queen.
I rush out the room, fly down the stairs, burst outside, and sprint into the forest. Kingsley may have told me to search the downstairs floors, but I know Rhyland. He won’t hide out in the castle while he’s upset. He’ll go someplace quiet where he can think.
Thankfully, the moonlight has heightened my speed tonight, so I’m able to get to the rock much quicker than I normally would. But I can’t not notice how quiet the forest has gotten, as if all the faeries have gone to sleep.
Something isn’t right.
When I reach the rock, I find out why.
Rhyland is standing on top, and he’s not alone. The fey queen stands before him. The moonlight highlights the grin on her face and the elation in her glittery eyes.
“Rhyland!” I shout, but he makes no move to look at me as he takes something from the fey queen. “Don’t listen to her! Whatever she’s offering will come with a price!” I rush at him, moving quicker than I ever have, as he lifts a small vial to his lips. “Rhyland …” I start to jump for the top of the rock, but my legs give out on me. I sink to the ground, to the dirt, tears stinging my eyes as pain rips through my veins. “What’s … happening … to me …? Where am I …? Who am I …?”
“You’re cursed,” the queen whispers in my ear. “And no matter what your lover thinks, you’ll never get close to breaking it. Because the moment you do, I’ll kill you.”
“Why?” I choke out, gripping the dirt. “Why are you doing this?”
“Because the more you suffer, the more my powers grow, my little moonlight abomination.”
I let out a scream as the pain grows. Then it grows quiet. Soundlessly quiet. And I can’t even remember why I was upset to begin with.
As my eyelashes flutter open, I half-expect to be as confused as I was in the memory. But as the arched ceiling comes into focus, I realize my mind is clear, that I remember everything that happened before I passed out and the memory that surfaced.
The memory of Kingsley and I kissing. Of Rhyland catching us. Of him making a deal with the queen. How the queen set the entire thing up so her power would grow. How she called me a moonlight abomination.
Why? How do I help her power? And what makes me an abomination? If I ever figured out the answers, I can’t remember now. Just like I can’t remember why I went from devouring Rhyland’s blood to passing out into a memory.
“What in the world happened?” I slowly sit up, rubbing the blurriness from my eyes. As soon as my vision comes into focus, I suddenly wish I’d gone blind. “Nadine … What’re you
“It’s about damn time you woke up.” She’s sitting on a chair in front of the fireplace with a glass of blood in her hand and a cruel smirk on her face. “Why the frown, little sis? Haven’t you missed me?”
“Um, not really,” I admit, scooting to the edge of the bed.
She juts out her lip. “That really hurts, Raven. Seriously, I come all the way out to the Land of Moonlight to visit you and you can’t even say you missed me?”
A few thoughts run through my mind in that instant. 1). Why in the world would Nadine visit me? 2). Does she know about the curse? And 3). Where in the disappearing vampires did Rhyland go?
“If you’re wondering where Rhyland is, you should know I locked him out.” She uncrosses her legs and jumps to her feet. Unlike every other creature at the campsite, Nadine is dressed in bright colors—a baby blue dress, a silver jacket, and matching shoes and jewelry.
“Why would you lock him out?” I take a cautious step back toward the flap of the tent as the air grows thick with uneasiness.
She smiles, yet her eyes flash red like how Gabe’s did right before he attacked me.
Hungry vampires, this isn’t good.
She tucks her hands behind her back. “Because he wouldn’t let me do what I’m about to do.”
I swallow hard, debating if I can outrun her. From past experiences, probably not, but I have to at least try. “And what’re you about to do?”
She wanders toward the fireplace and sticks her hand into her jacket. “Teleport you away. I would’ve done it already, but you’ve got some sort of protection thing on you that wouldn’t let me until you woke up and agreed to go. I’m not even sure why. That’s not a normal thing. Then again, you’ve never been normal.” As my lips part, she cuts me off. “And don’t even try to feed me any shit about refusing to go with me. You’ll only make it harder on yourself.” Her eyes darken. “Because you’re going to go with me so we can put an end to this curse. Not that I’ve always minded it.” She gazes into the flames with a hauntingly wistful smile on her face. “There were times I got great pleasure in watching you suffer.”
“Why are you doing this?” I whisper. “What have I ever done to you?”
“Besides feeding from my king?” She glares at me. “Don’t pretend you’re completely innocent in this. You were just as much to blame as the rest of us.”
“I know I was.” Wait, the rest of us? “Wait. You played a part in this, too?”
She gives me a crooked smile. “I assumed you hadn’t remembered that part yet.” She withdraws her hand from her jacket, and clutched in her fingers are my journals. “I figured as much since there was no mention of me in these.”
“Give me those back.” I lunge at her with my fangs bared.
“Like hell. You weren’t supposed to be remembering anything. You broke a lot of rules keeping these, and when the queen finds out just how much you remember, she’s going to end this much quicker.” She laughs as she dodges out of my way. “You’re so pathetic. Seriously. And you’re nowhere near close to figuring it out. And I guess you never will be.”
I reel around and dive toward her again, but then she tosses the journals into the fireplace.
“No!” I shout as the flames eat away at the paper. “There might’ve been answers in there.”
“Yeah, so? Answers don’t matter anymore.”
I spin around, letting my fangs snap free. I’ve never been much of a fighter, but I’m jacked up on Rhyland’s blood right now and am on the verge of exploding. “Answers don’t matter anymore?” I stalk toward her. “Answers are the only things that are going to help us escape this curse.” I reach for her, ready to grab her.
“Don’t be stupid. There’s no escaping the curse anymore.” She raises her hand and sparks of silver shoot from her fingertips.
I freeze. “What …? How …? You have Wiccan powers? Since when?”
“Since recently.” She shrugs. “She was kind to me this curse.”
“The fey queen is never kind without wanting something in return,” I bite out. “You’re stupid to think otherwise.”
“Oh, I know she wants something, and I’m about to give it to her.” She flicks her wrist and fiery sparks shower across my chest.
I turn to run, but my body won’t move, my feet frozen to the ground. “Let me go!”
She ambles toward me, her hand still sparking with magic. “I will, once I’ve handed you over to the queen.” She stops in front of me and sighs. “She wanted to capture you herself, but unfortunately, you being here has made it impossible for her to step foot in the Land of Moonlight.”
I writhe my body, trying to get free of her magic. “Why?”
“Because you’re an abomination.” She leans forward, her red eyes darkening. “And FYI, when the queen kills you this time, you’re not coming back. This”—she gestures at me—“is the end for you and everyone else who played a part in the curse. Sure, she wanted it to go on for a little longer, but you’re remembering too many things this time around and she can’t figure out why.” Her fangs snap out from her gums. “It’s becoming too risky to keep the curse going.” An almost manic smile takes over her face. “I’m glad I got to be a part of the end. I really am.”
“Nadine, don’t do this,” I beg. “I’m so close to breaking the curse. I just need more time.”
She rolls her eyes. “You’ll never break the curse. That’s what you idiots never realized—the curse was a setup so the queen could gain power. Not so Rhyland could have his happily ever after with the love of his life.” She rolls her eyes. “How I ever thought I wanted that loser is beyond me.”
“You won’t get away with this.” I open my mouth and scream, “Rhyland, Kingsley, help!”
Nadine busts up laughing. “Scream all you want. They’ll never get past the shield I put around the tent. Do you want to know why?” She leans into my face again. “Because I’m more powerful than them. And it’s a great feeling. It really is.”
“Nadine,” I beg. “Please, please don’t do this. I know deep down inside there’s good in you.”
She snorts a laugh. “You’re such a liar.”
“No, I’m not,” I say in desperation. “I know you can be good sometimes. And you’re my sister. You can’t just let me die. And Mom and Dad … They played a part in the curse, too. If you give me to the queen and let her end the curse, they’ll die, too.”
She gives a nonchalant shrug. “I never really liked them, anyway. They were always too”—she wavers—“good for my taste.”
I look at her, and I mean, really look at her, wondering if this is truly her or if the queen has made her evil. Sadly, considering what little I remember about her over the past lives, I’m leaning toward the first.
“Now, quit trying to distract me.” She snags my arm and drags me toward the flap of the tent. “It’s time to go—”
She suddenly goes statue-still and the magic around me fades.
“Hurry up and get her out of there!” Ava shouts, appearing in the doorway of the tent. Her hand is out in front of her, her illuminated gaze zeroed in on Nadine. “She’s strong … I won’t be able to hold her for long.”
Rhyland and Kingsley suddenly squeeze through the doorway, each of them carrying a sword. Rhyland’s eyes are wild with panic, while Kingsley seems as though he’s in pain.
“Are you okay?” Rhyland asks, rushing toward me.
I nod as I sputter, “Nadine, she’s working for the queen.”
The muscles in his jaw spasm. “We need to get you out of here before she shows up.”
“She can’t come here,” I tell him. “At least, Nadine said she can’t. She said, while I’m in the Land of Moonlight, the queen can’t come here. I don’t know why. And Nadine could’ve been lying. She’s always been good at that.”
“No, if she was lying, the queen would be here. Trust me,” Rhyland mutters. “This is good. It means we’re safe for now.”
“No, it doesn’t,
because creatures like her can obviously still get to us. And if she does control the rebellion, she has a hell of a lot of powerful creatures willing to throw down their lives for her.”
Kingsley gives a pressing glance in Nadine’s direction then tosses Rhyland a shirt. “We need to get away from here and farther into the towns where more creatures are. It’ll make us less detectable by magic.”
Rhyland sets the sword down to slip the shirt over his head. “The towns are too dangerous, especially for an unguarded vampire king and queen. And we need to find a dragon before her burns end up taking over her body.”
“We will, but we need to hide out for a few days until our scents fade.” Kingsley sheaths his sword. “The towns are our safest bet. There are a ton of creatures there—a ton of scents. Anything trying to track us will have a hard time making ours out. And Raven’s got moonlight blood in her. We can use that to our advantage.”
“I know, but …” Rhyland curses as he yanks his fingers through his hair. “I can’t believe this is happening. And it’s all my fault. All my fucking fault.”
Kingsley shakes his head and gives Rhyland’s shoulder a squeeze. “It’s just as much mine as it is yours.”
“Actually, it might be no one’s fault,” I whisper softly. “Well, except the queen’s.”
They both glance at me, their foreheads creased in puzzlement.
“Did you remember something?” Rhyland asks, his hand falling to his side.
I nod. “And I think it might be something neither of you realize.” Unless they figured it out on their own, they don’t know about the barrette or the euphoric faerie dust that was slipped into the blood Kingsley and I drank that night.
“Can you guys please pick up the conversation later!” Ava shouts, sounding in pain. “I don’t know how much longer I can hold her.”