Authors: Sedona Venez
Tags: #Credence Curse#1
Breaking the Storm
Book 1 in the Credence Curse series. The books can be read as stand-alone stories, but it is advisable to read them in order to get the most enjoyment from the series.
Credence was destined to succumb to the Credence family curse—they all did.
is put to the test one more time when the one man that she never wanted to see again—‘Rock Star’ Knox Gunner—comes blowing back into her life—back to claim what’s his—Stormy. This time he will stop at nothing to prove that she belongs to him in every sense of the word…
Stormy meets sexy band front man Knox Gunner, there’s no denying him. Willing to take a chance on love, Stormy breaks the most important Credence rule, no relationships—ever—a mistake that results in heartbreaking devastation.
But can she keep her feelings from getting dangerously deep until his game of ‘Breaking the Storm’ is over?
BREAKING THE STORM
Copyright © 2013 by T.L. Clarke
part of this work may be reproduced in any fashion without the express, written consent of the copyright holder.
This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed herein are fictitious and are not based on any real persons living or dead.
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characters, locations, and events portrayed in this book are a work of fiction or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
is a mature New Adult/Adult novel with love scenes and mature situations. It is only intended for adult readers over the age of 18.
all the readers out there, thank you for your enthusiasm and support. You are truly the best.
editors, Amy Eye and Cassie McCown, who spent hours reading, editing, and proofreading
Breaking the Storm
. I really could not have done this without you.
Brandy Little, thank you.
beta readers, K.E.W., Christina, LaToya, and Charity, for volunteering to beta-read this book and provide me with valuable feedback.
many hugs to Irayda, Nikki, and my new street team. Thanks for helping spread the word about my novels.
as always, my love and appreciation to R.C., truly you are the wind beneath my wings. Let’s keep soaring.
am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
William Ernest Henley
I was betrayed. My only warning was the chilling howls before the mangy wolf-shifters—Tiber Alfero's warriors—cornered me like a pack of wild dogs snapping and snarling. I knew what they wanted… for me to go with them peacefully. Hell no! That wasn't going to happen. Capturing me would be like herding stray cats—impossible.
they surged forward, I mounted an attack that shocked the hell out of them. What started out as a routine mission to retrieve “the crazy Credence Fae-witch” turned into an all-out battle to capture me without adding a body count… mission impossible.
was a vicious fighter. Something they should’ve known since my family was one of the deadliest around. They quickly paid for their naivety when I ruthlessly put down five warriors, leaving them writhing in pain on the ground. Not to mention the two warriors that won't be able to walk straight or have sex for a couple of days from my cringe-worthy blows to their groins. Body count… seven for me, zero for the wolf-shifters.
warriors rushed from the shadows, making the battle wage on longer than I was comfortable with. Tired, I made the fatal mistake of taking my eyes off them for less than a second when I was nipped on the ankle, causing me to fall forward clumsily. Disoriented by the pile of shifters that wrestled me to the ground, I could do nothing when they cunningly slapped the thick, gold metal cuffs around my wrists. The invisible chains of magic tightened around me, binding my powers. Double damn… I was outsmarted by a pack of wolves. Zero for me, one for the wolf-shifters.
, I recited the teleport spell that I've used a thousand times. Nothing happened; my powers were gone, which was a disorienting feeling for a witch that relied on her powers as a back-up plan to get out of dangerous situations. And this situation was as dangerous as they come.
warriors pulled me roughly to my feet. I almost swallowed my tongue when a larger-than-life wolf stalked out of the shadows. Shit, I was in big trouble. The Council summoned none other than Tiber to get me. His sea-green eyes were fixed on me as he circled me, snapping and snarling, a warning for me not to move. A warning that I smartly heeded as I tracked him carefully with my eyes… wary of any sudden movement. I gritted my teeth when he snorted sardonically before shoving my legs with his wide, cold nose, sending me crashing to my knees.
his gesture of dominance, I shouted, “Shift back, wolf man, and I'll show you who’s the boss.” My fingers clenched and unclenched, ignoring the pain of the cold cuffs biting into my wrists. He growled, nudging me again, this time harder, sending me sprawling onto my back. His body shook violently as he transformed into human flesh and bones. Tiber stood before me, not as a wolf, but a very naked, tall, golden-tanned, muscular man. His hard, square face was grim; his shiny black hair flowed wildly down his back. A large, black wolf tattoo, the trademark of his bloodline, covered the left side of his massive chest. Its fluffy tail swirling down and wrapping around his well-defined waist. My eyes lingered a little too long below his waist, gawking at what was between his legs. Damn, this man was hung. What a tragedy that it was all wasted on Bianca, the psycho she-wolf.
nodded, prompting two shifters, now also transformed, to pull me to my feet. My mouth twisted, looking at him boldly. “As much as I love a good show of masculine prowess…” I held up my bound wrists. “I must insist that you release me right now! This is harassment, Tiber. I've broken no Other law.” Technically, not true, but he didn't know that. Yet.
is lips curled up at the edges. He had no intention of complying with my demand, especially now that he finally had me just where he wanted—at his fucking mercy. Okay then, on to Plan B: fight like hell until one of us becomes the victor.
vein pulsed along his wide jaw as he watched the not-too-subtle widening of my stance. “Don't you dare try it, Solista.” His voice was deep and gravelly. His eyes narrowed as he absently rubbed the scar on his chin given to him by yours truly years ago in one of our many arguments. He knew that I had no qualms about fighting dirty. Yes, it would be a bloody brawl that I had no chance of winning, but I refused to be a victim of circumstance. Besides, he had no plans to kill me. He needed—no wanted—me alive, that much I knew. He stepped forward, invading my space, cutting off any chance of delivering a wicked kick to the groin.
Okay, on to Plan C: annoy the hell out of him.
be serious if the leader of the Other Council has come to retrieve me.” I pursed my lips and stepped back. He reached forward, yanking my cuffs so hard I was pressed against his slick, taut body. I struggled, locking eyes with him. The weight of his stare tried to force me to look away like every other woman in his pack, but I refused. I would never give him that power over me. He had enough as it was.
, I continued my war of words. “I would think that you have better things to do, like the planning of your big mate-claiming ceremony, than to come to collect a defenseless witch whose only crime is taking a peaceful carriage ride on a cool winter evening.”
warriors snarled, lunging toward me for my disrespect of their beloved Alpha. Impatiently, he waved them back. “Do you love him, Solista?” His voice was hard as steel. His accent was thicker, an indicator of how angry he was.
tilted my chin defiantly. He had no right to ask me anything. Not after he broke my heart. “Why? Are you having second thoughts about me?”
heavily, he reached down as if he wanted to caress me in his familiar way. Stopping short, he abruptly stepped back. “Solista, why do you resent me for something that was inevitable?”
to hell with this. Taking my chances, I shoved him, running away at top speed, barreling into the thick of the woods, flinching with every smack of a branch across my face. I refused to let him hurt me again. I was done with all his bullshit, especially after it was so easy for him to let it all go, turning his back on everything I offered him so freely. No more… I refused to have him twist my feelings for his gain… once again.
sensed him before his muscled body crashed into me, pinning me to the cold earth. I struggled as he grabbed my nape, turning me around to stare into the coldness of his eyes.
was half-transformed with canines dropped. “So this is what it's all about? Getting even with me for refusing to mate-claim you?”
struggled, but he easily clamped my hands above my head. I wanted to spit in his face for his arrogance. I barely got over the fact he wasn't strong enough to fight for us. To fight his pack over their prejudice because of what I was. It was like a knife through the heart that he didn't love me enough to risk it all for me—for us. This brutal truth hurt as much now as it did back then, but I was a Credence. We were used to men disappointing us.
I just wanted him to hurt, like he hurt me. “Has it crossed your mind that I could actually find love after you?” I went for a knee to the groin, but he snatched it, dragging my legs wide open, allowing his body to nestle intimately against my crotch. Feeling the familiar lust bubbling within me, I brutally squashed it.
licked the side of my jaw, nipping at it sensually. I pulled my face away. “The answer is yes. I love a human. And the deed is done. I told him exactly what I am, what we all are, as I'm duty bound to do.”
eyes glowed, a sure sign that he was pissed. “Well, I guess that explains why another human is dead by the hands of the damn Credence Curse.” His voice was icy.
heart stuttered to a stop. I was too late, again.
Council is tired of cleaning up the mess created by the Credence women. Now you must stand trial before the Council to answer for your crime.”
eyes widened. “Crime? Are you serious? Why would I kill the man I love?” I shook my head with disbelief. “Besides, the Council has to collect evidence or find someone who's witnessed me killing him.” This was not possible because I didn’t kill him.
looked at me silently.
sputtered. “That's ridiculous. Who would be foolish enough to bring false charges against me?”
eyes flashed gold before yanking me to my feet. “You know the law. Others are permitted to bring charges before the Council for deliberation.”
is bullshit. Just give me the name.”
said more than I should, Solista. You must stand before the Other Council to hear the charges.” He swiftly cradled me against him and started running through the woods before I could protest. It wouldn't matter if I did, because in a blink of an eye, I was standing beside my carriage. He nodded to one of his warriors, who stepped forward, grabbing me so hard that his fingers bit into my arms cruelly, dragging me into the carriage.
was a setup. The Others had been trying to silence my family for centuries, but I refused to be made an example. Twisting my body, I delivered a decidedly hard roundhouse kick that sent him stumbling backward. Pain flashed in his eyes, then rage as he raised his hand to slap me. A hand that was swiftly caught by Tiber.
snarled. “Do not touch her—ever!” Then he leveled him with a stare so heavy with Alpha dominance that his warrior bared his neck in a display of submission. “Solista, get into the carriage. Now!” he snapped without sparing me a glance.
my feet, too exhausted to run, but not defeated enough to give in to his demands, I responded, “I will not.”
gave me a disgusted stare before pulling me toward the carriage. I struggled, but I was no match for his strength. He lifted me against his body, his familiar scent of earth and musk filling my lungs as he nipped my ear, before saying, “Enough, my little Fae-witch. Do not resent me for my actions.” His eyes softened slightly before he ran his fingers through my thick, wild auburn hair. “Know that I will always love you… in this life and the next.”
was bittersweet to finally hear he loved me after years of being strung along with empty promises. I almost broke from the pain and anguish in his voice, but then he continued. “But I did what was best for all. The pack would have never accepted you. And you would’ve been too much of a distraction to my reign.” He sighed heavily. “Bianca is the alpha bitch. They respect her leadership and, unfortunately, I need her to prevent the brewing pack war.”
knew as much as I did that the pack didn't respect Bianca. She and her self-righteous family thought that they were entitled to the leadership of the pack because of their pure wolf-shifter bloodline and centuries of power among the Others.
not the pack that can't accept me… It's you. Let's speak the truth for once instead of hiding behind meaningless words. You would rather die than claim me as your mate.” I felt the sadness and loneliness creeping up on me again. “Why would you? After all, who would want to breed with a hybrid Fae-witch? Isn't that what you told Bianca?”
face fell with shock. “Solista… I…”
you, Tiber. Don't bother denying it. Imagine my shock when I came back to talk to you after our big argument, only to overhear you saying those exact words to her.” I tilted my chin defiantly, fighting back the sting of tears threatening to fall. “But you know what? I hold nothing against your pack. I know that not all are prejudiced or cowards like you.”
were my parting words before turning my back on him forever and stepping into the carriage with as much dignity as I could muster. Just like that, the line was drawn in the sand. I refused to try anymore, closing off my heart to what could have been. There were bigger issues at hand, such as unraveling who could be behind this trumped-up charge of murder. A charge that could lead to my execution by the only weapon powerful enough to destroy a Credence without retribution by the ancient Fae—the Sword of Souls.
peered at Tiber, the only Other born to wield the power of the Sword as the powerful son of the Alpha. He was handpicked by the goddess of death to wield the most powerful weapon in this realm—the power to take or save a life with one blow. A gift that Others—a society consisting of witches, vampires, and shifters, among other supernatural beings—were pushing him to use to enforce Other laws. Laws so entrenched in prejudice and fear that it made my family scoff at its ridiculousness. Laws like being forbidden to mate or reveal our existence.
eyes locked with the full understanding that if I’m found guilty, a crime punishable by death, the Others would push him to execute me. To refuse would weaken him in the eyes of his pack and the Others. It was a most brilliant, evil plan concocted by someone who hated us both. Given the fact that the Others were unsuccessful in concealing how much they despised my family while kowtowing to our Fae power, the list of enemies was long.
the shadows, they plotted our downfall, waiting for the right moment to pounce and destroy us. Gnashing their teeth as we thumbed our noses at them for centuries, deliberately breaking every law they made—including mating with humans and revealing the existence of the Others. In our defense, we had no choice. Humans were our last resort for the continuance of the Credence bloodline and so was the revealing of the existence of the Others. The magic in our Fae blood bound us to reveal ourselves as Others to any human we loved or risk our death. A double-edged sword that gave us a chance to love and be loved, a chance at happiness that was ruthlessly stripped away by the death of any man we declared our love to.