Authors: Holly Ward
Tags: #romance, #vampire, #adventure, #demon, #paranormal, #angel, #cursed, #demon kissed, #hm ward
Laree Bailey Press
Cursed is the second book in the best
Demon Kissed Series
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This book is a work of
fiction. Names, characters, places, and
incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination
or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons,
living or dead, events, or locales is entirely
Copyright © 2011 by H. M.
No part of this book may
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form without explicit permission. By purchasing an authorized copy
of this book you are supporting H.M. Ward as an Indie author (a
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First Printing: August
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To my children
You are crazy
Thank you to the
Awesome fans who
From the very
A speck of pure red light shone
through the darkness. I could see him. My heart lurched. Collin was
on his side with one hand extended before him, like he was trying
to crawl away from something before he collapsed. I swallowed hard
at the sight of his appearance. His clothing was torn to rags and
covered in filth. His dark hair was matted to his scalp. Deep black
lines were etched into his body. It was as if long blades had
pierced his flesh and the wounds were left open to putrefy. A surge
of rage shot from deep within me, curling my fingers into
I had to get to Collin.
If I could get to him, I could get us
both out of here. But, I had to physically reach him first. My eyes
darted through the inky black space. A dim, red light formed a
jagged circle in the rock surrounding Collin’s body before it fell
into darkness. He was separated by a chasm that stretched between
us. Collin groaned, and the hollow place in my chest felt like it
would burst. I had to get to him. Now. But, time was limited. I had
until someone saw me. And in this shadowy place, someone could have
been standing next to me the whole time, and I wouldn’t have known.
My Martis vision didn’t work as well down here, though I didn’t
Silently, I crept forward with my
heart thundering in my ears. Crouching low to the ground, I moved
towards him, stretching out one leg at a time. My eyes darted
through the darkness looking for other signs that demons were near,
but there were none.
Why was he alone? Did they really
think that I would stay away? Did they think I would abandon him?
My other leg stretched forward, as I shifted my body slowly toward
the rim of the abyss. It was illuminated with the slightest trace
of red light that moved and flickered like fire.
Suddenly the shadows that I called
with my Valefar powers, tried to retreat. The shadows were locked
deep inside me, masking the faint scent of the angel blood that
flowed through my veins. The shadows jerked, and attempted to sever
themselves from within, but I held them tightly. The sensation made
me want to scream. I bit my lip to muffle the sound, hoping I could
hold them in place a little bit longer. As I neared the rim, I saw
demons on the other side. They were behind Collin’s limp body with
their deformed backs facing toward me.
As I slid closer to the edge, the red
light licked across my face, and I peered over. It was then that I
felt the bond tug sharply. I looked up at Collin. His blue eyes
were wide open, staring at me. He didn't move, but the expression
on his face conveyed more pain than I could bear.
His thoughts brushed my
Don’t come closer. He's here. He
kept me alive, waiting for you. Don’t come.
I'll get you
, I replied
It’ll be all right… As soon as I can reach you, you'll be
Collin's blue eyes slid closed as he
My heart thundered in my ears. The
shadows that shrouded me were pulling, trying to slip away from me.
I clenched my stomach hard, knowing that I had to hold them in
place. But I was losing. Without their presence, the demons would
detect me instantly. The angel blood that flowed through my veins
was limited, but potent. They would catch my scent immediately. No,
I had to hold the shadows in place, but there was a force greater
than my own calling them away.
I could no longer contain them.
Slowly, the shadow’s cold presence was ripped painfully out of my
throat, one by one. As the shadows retreated, the demons slowly
turned. I sucked in a sharp breath as dozens of glowing red eyes
landed on me. There was a moment when nothing happened. I wasn’t
certain if the demons would recognize me or not. There wasn’t time
to think about it. The shock that held them still shattered. They
rushed towards me with their razor sharp teeth exposed through
Fear threatened to freeze me in place,
but I wouldn’t let it. I had to get to Collin. There was no time. I
focused all my attention on the ruby stone on my finger and
efanotated. They knew I was here. Using Valefar powers in this
place would expose me, but I already blew my cover.
The sear of heat shot through my body
in a single burst before I reappeared next to Collin. Crouching
quickly, I gripped his limp hand in mine. There was a commotion
among the demons as they tried to figure out where I’d
A smug smile slid across my face. I’d
made it. We'd be gone before they could stop us.
But all my attention was focused on
the demons. I didn't notice the enormous shadow that had stretched
above us. As I looked up, my voice ripped out of my throat in a raw
scream. Massive black scales covered the beast’s body, and it
descended on us like a hawk, poised to strike. Four gnarled
finger-like claws curved grotesquely as black blades elongated from
its flesh. The winged monster descended so fast that the wind
screeched around it. The beast made a horrid shriek that was
amplified to a deafening volume. Between ear-piercing cries from
its maw, the razor sharp claws, and the cracking of its black
veined wings, uncontrollable terror shot through me.
My voice rang in my ears as I
screamed. Shaking, I pulled Collin into my arms, and focused on the
ruby stone in my ring. Efanotating two people was dangerous, but I
could do it. It was part of the powers that I possessed from the
tainted blood that flowed through my veins. If I did it wrong, I
would kill us both. But if I didn’t do it fast enough, we would
both die anyway. The heat that proceeded efanotating blossomed
quickly and licked my belly from within.
Only a few more seconds and that
glorious burst of searing pain would transport our bodies away from
We would be free.
But, fate didn’t allow us a few
seconds. It didn’t allow us any. As the heat licked my stomach, the
beast's massive talloned paw materialized above us. The gnarled
bones flexed as the serpent cried out, and slammed its massive
claws down on top of us.
Sweat covered my face as I sat up
screaming. My fingers desperately tried to find Collin's hand, but
only grabbed air. Sucking in sharply, I wiped the sweat from my
eyes, and pulled my knees into my chest.
"That's the third time that I had the
same vision," I rasped in a shaky voice.
Shannon's hand was on my shoulder. She
squeezed it, as the trembling worked its way out of my muscles.
"The one with the dragon?"
I nodded, feeling too freaked to talk.
That was the third time that I'd seen my attempt to save Collin
fail. And it was the third time that I’d seen my own
I pushed back my seat as we soared
over the Atlantic Ocean. Shannon and I were on our way to the
Martis headquarters in Rome. We boarded the plane that morning and
I hadn’t seen land out the window since.
Some part of me wondered how insane it
was to walk straight into the Martis compound, even if I was
invited. Most of the Martis still thought I was evil incarnate. It
was an honest mistake, but it could have deadly consequences. While
describing me as the Prophecy One was accurate, the evil part was a
little out of date. I proved that fighting next to Julia, the
Regent Dyconisis, and other Martis on Long Island. They had
regarded me as some sort of hero after that. Well, everyone except
Julia. She still had suspicion plastered all over her face the last
time I’d seen her. I was learning that it was difficult to expect a
Martis to look beyond the color of my tainted mark. When she looked
at me, the only thing she saw was certain destruction and
The prophecy foretold of a
seventeen-year-old as the destructor of the world. Everyone
believed that I was that seventeen-year-old. It was hard to deny
since the prophecy was a painting and not just words scratched onto
a sheet of paper. I could have contested words, but not the
painting. The resemblance was too strong. Her face was the mirror
image of mine.
But, it was the violet mark on her
brow that was irrefutable. That intricate mark confirmed that I was
the Prophecy One without a doubt, because I was the only one who
had it. No other Martis had a violet mark. Theirs were all the
perfect shade of blue. Their enemies, the Valefar, had a scar
scraped across their forehead that oozed an ugly red. No, there was
no denying that I was the girl in the painting. My mark and hers
were one and the same.
The Martis were terrified of that
mark. They were terrified of me. I was the embodiment of two
enemies that had been at war with each other for hundreds of
thousands of years. That violet mark revealed that angel and demon
blood flowed in unison through my veins. It showed the delicate and
lethal balance of power that rested in the hands of one human
The Martis and the Valefar were at a
stalemate before I came along, but no one knows what will happen
now. They think I’m a wild card. I was hoping that my actions would
speak loudly and the Martis would know without a doubt whose side I
was on. Being the demon queen and ruling the Underworld held no
appeal for me. And, I had no desire to wipe out the Martis and
destroy the world. The Valefar could go screw themselves for all I
cared. I wasn’t going to help them free Kreturus no matter what
that prophecy said. So, my only option was to try and derail the
prophecy, and hope for a different outcome. Until recently, the
prophecy painting was housed safely in an old church. Now the damn
thing was in the Underworld with Collin…and Kreturus.
And it was my fault.
Guilt gnawed at me constantly. I
wondered what I could have done differently, what I could have
changed to cause different results, but I didn’t know. Collin was
trying to keep the prophecy from happening as much as Eric, even
though they were on different sides in the same war. The Martis and
the Valefar were immortal enemies since their creation, so it was
astounding that Collin and Eric were fighting for a common
goal—keeping me alive. And, here I was, sitting on an airplane with
my best friend, flying thousands of miles from home, to try and
save the boy who sacrificed himself for me. Maybe it was the guilt
that motivated me. Maybe I was stupid. Maybe I was utterly
love-struck. Whatever the reason, I was determined to bring Collin