Authors: Sharon Lipman
Bound to Blackwood
House Blackwood Book One
by Sharon Lipman
Would you surrender your soul for the love of the King?
2015 SLL Publishing
The material in this book is for mature audiences only and contains graphic content.
It is intended only for those aged 18 and older.
Table of Contents
They should have noticed her. Even though Lena hid in the darkness, tracking Vampires was in Fallen DNA. She was uneasy with the development, but schooled herself to patience.
This part of south-west London was rundown to the point of decay. The rotten garden gate creaked when the Fallen entered the decrepit front garden. There were seven of them converging on the house, all well-armed. She had to stifle a growl.
Despite appearing human – like her – they were anything but. Too intent on reaching the civilian Vampires inside, they didn't notice they were the ones being hunted.
The Fallen split up, presumably to initiate some kind of multi-pronged attack on the residents just waking up in the house. She watched some of them disappear towards the rear but one of them ventured towards her. She knew the waiting was over.
From her spot on the adjacent rooftop Lena slipped down to the ground. She landed several feet behind him, but he didn't show any sign that he'd heard her. Vampires were graceful by nature and could move without any noise if they chose to. She moved silently towards him, drawing her sword. It irked her that she couldn’t engage him in a fight, but she wasn’t stupid; the Fallen outnumbered her seven to one.
Instead, she attacked from behind. He didn't even have time to look surprised. His head rolled away with the same expression of concentration he'd worn when he was inspecting the security of the downstairs windows.
She didn't stop to check whether he was dead. Fallen could survive a lot, but not decapitation.
That arsehole was not getting up again.
As she snaked around the corner, she saw another Fallen creeping around the industrial bins at the side of the house.
“Hanging out with the rubbish; just where you belong,” Lena hissed. She flashed her fangs as she smiled.
The Fallen snapped his head up. Glaring incredulously, he growled. “You should know, Vampire.” He made the word ‘Vampire’ sound as if he said ‘evil piece of shit’, instead.
She knew she shouldn't have said anything. She could have dispatched him just as easily as his ill-fated colleague, but Lena relished the challenge, didn't like being some faceless assassin. No, she wanted them to know, and if he called for his buddies to back him up, then so be it.
She sensed his self-confidence and smiled to herself. He wasn't calling anybody. He thought he could do this alone.
Lena beckoned him towards her and whispered. “C'mon, you soulless tosser!”
The Fallen took a few steps towards her. He wasn’t particularly big but he was athletic, moved well and was light on his feet. She wasn’t bothered though. She moved in a blur, her would-be slayer struggling to track her. She crossed the space between them in a nano-second. His eyes flashed with surprise. The look quickly left his otherwise expressionless face, but Lena saw it. It filled her with a sense of satisfaction.
That feeling dimmed as he jumped to his left, using the bins to pivot around her. She swung around, concentrating on his musculature, waiting for the smallest indication of his next move. She saw it in the slightest bunching of his thigh muscles as he prepared to jump. As he went, his body already committed to the move, he drew his own blade.
As he landed in front of her, his expression of triumph turned to one of confusion. His left leg gave way and he collapsed to the floor.
That’s right, dickhead. You were playing Spiderman, I was slicing through the tendons on that leg of yours.
The Fallen glanced at the sword in Lena’s hand. She knew what he saw: blood — his
blood dripping down the blade. To his credit, he didn’t just lay there. He’d lost the use of his leg, but he scrambled towards the dustbins. He was already dragging himself upright as Lena reached to grab a dagger from her thigh holster. He faced her, defiance showing in every line of his face as he lifted his sword again. Lena threw the knife, but he swivelled to his right. She missed.
The suddenness of his movement opened up his wound though, and he was losing a lot of blood. He couldn’t quite recover from pitching himself across the alley before Lena threw again. This time the blade pierced his shoulder and pinned him to the wall. He stared at his shoulder, his black eyes impossibly wide, then tried desperately to free himself. Lena watched on, relishing the struggle. It didn’t last long. With each twist of his body, more of his life ebbed away.
When he looked back at her, she saw no panic or fear, just resignation. Lena nodded once, lifted her sword and took a final swing.
She didn’t have time to enjoy the kill. She heard a gun cock behind her.
. The scum had given his position away already. Lena stood stock-still and listened.
In the time it took the guy to finish cocking the gun and place his finger on the trigger, she’d thrust her blade backwards. There was a sickly slippery noise as her sword gutted him. When she turned around, the guy fell and thrashed like a Nymph out of water. She put him out of his misery with a swift slice across his throat.
She moved on, snaking through the alleys surrounding the building. The next four hadn't stuck together either and were easily dispatched. It was all disappointingly easy.
Lena stood in the quiet as the sounds from the city came rolling back down on the scene. All seven Fallen were accounted for, each missing their heads. Blood that pooled at each kill-site had already congealed. She wrinkled her nose trying to get rid of the revolting stench.
Vampires do drink blood, but even the most desperate wouldn't touch the tainted blood of the Fallen. The thought of sniffing it, let alone ingesting it, made her stomach flip. She thought about calling clean-up, but remembered she wasn't supposed to be here in the first place.
Fallen didn't decompose like humans; they turned to ash, much like all Fae did. The bodies would be gone by morning, and judging by the neighbourhood, anyone who saw them before they disappeared would probably be shit-faced on their drug of choice or simply wouldn't care. She left them there.
Ryver needed some peace and quiet. Unfortunately, the only way get it was by sitting in this dump and letting the screams of the guest "singer," and manic guitar riffs drown out everything else.
“Diablo,” was a Goth club in south London. Housed in a disused warehouse, its red signage was peeling and in need of new light bulbs. From a distance the sign actually read “ia lo.” It had been like that for years and no one seemed to care.
Inside, that huge space was made up of mostly dance floor. A long, once gleaming, chrome and black bar stretched down one side of the building, and the back gave way to a tatty seating area with booths and square looking pouffes that were only kept together by layer upon layer of gaffer tape.
Strictly speaking it was a human club and it had a really crap name. There were lots of wannabes there with their dyed black hair and dodgy contact lenses, but half the Order also hung out in there. He'd spotted a handful of other Vampires from time to time, as well. With his military-short hair and perma-scowl, he fit right in. That, and the fact his civvies just looked like a more relaxed version of his uniform. Tonight he'd gone with a muscle tee and a baggy pair of combats. All in black. Apparently the multiple straps, stud-work and pockets made his outfit, "alternative." Ryver just thought they were comfortable.
He sat at the bar, beer in hand and smiled to himself. He heard Lena before he saw her. How could he not? They were blood bonded and her thoughts were being tannoyed at him as soon as she
barged through the door. Her carelessness surprised him; she was normally so guarded. Of course, as he listened, he understood why.
Well, well, well.
Lena had been up to no good. Again.
Ryver was the only telepath in the Order. Well, he was
only telepath, as far as anyone knew. He could tap into the minds of Fae and humans alike, in a way most didn't like to think about. It wasn't just what they were thinking right that minute. Ryver could “
what they thought last week, last year, or 200 years ago if he really wanted to. If he concentrated, he knew everything about everyone, just by looking at them.
Though he was only fifty years old, the novelty had well and truly worn off. Most Fae had strong mental shields. Unfortunately not all of them remembered to use them and humans were even worse. Random thoughts filled the air around him at all times, which was why he was in this damned flea-pit in the first place. The god-awful music was loud, literally deafening. Unless of course your best friend came in and did the mental equivalent of shouting at you.
Ryver watched Lena as she sat at the bar and ordered tequila. A bottle, not a shot. As she looked across the club, she smiled at the clientele. He couldn't fathom why; the dance floor was full to overcapacity and each dancer seemed to merge into the next until the whole crowd was moving as one. Watching for too long made him feel sick.
She turned back and downed more tequila before surveying the less frenetic scene at the bar. He heard her congratulating herself on a good night’s work. She grinned as she remembered how a blond Fallen had tried to fight back. Feeling pleased with herself, her gaze wandered down the bar to the far end of the room to where Ryver sat with a knowing smile planted firmly on his face.
. Her midnight-blue eyes widened slightly as she met his gaze, and he couldn't help but chuckle. The last thing he heard before Lena slammed up her mental shields was
Ryver knew he was being mean, but this one-woman-army thing had gone on long enough. If he had to take orders, then Lena did too. And it would do her good to stew on it for the night.
The smile slid from Lena's face and her shoulders twitched as she sat bolt upright. He knew without having to
that Lena's old friend, paranoia, was making its merry way up her spine. Guilt pricked Ryver's own conscience.
. Now he felt bad.