Darkness Undone: A Novel of the Marked Souls

Praise for the Novels of Jessa Slade

Vowed in Shadows

 


Vowed in Shadows
took me on a dark and sexy and intense ride with two complex, compelling characters.”


New York Times
bestselling author Nalini Singh

“If you like your stories filled with action and romance, plus about two wounded souls, then this is a series for you. This series is wonderful; it has everything you could want to read about.”

—Night Owl Reviews (top pick)

“A solid entry in what is sure to become a classic series in the genre.”

—Fresh Fiction

“Slade’s characters are extremely well-developed, with boundless emotional depth. In this third Marked Souls novel, the story line is gripping, with plenty of sensual scenes.”


Romantic Times

Forged of Shadows

 

“Dark, dangerous, and spiced with passion, this is a well-written tale that will grab your attention from the very beginning.”

—Romance Reviews Today

“The wordplay is riveting and the story line is fast and action-packed.”

—Smexy Books Romance Reviews

“The only thing I can say about this series is WOW!!! Ms. Slade brings the fight against evil from the dark and into the light. This story is so exciting and action-packed that I had a hard time putting it down. I ended up reading it in one night. I can’t wait to see what comes next for this great new romantic urban fantasy series.”

—Night Owl Reviews (five stars)

“[A] heady mix of philosophy and religion … serves as part of the framework for this excellent series and sets it apart from the pack. … Be first in line for book three,
Vowed in Shadows
.”

—Bitten by Books (5 tombstones)

“For readers who love J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, the Marked Souls series will hit the spot.”


Romantic Times
(4 stars)

Seduced by Shadows

 

“Wonderfully addictive!”


New York Times
bestselling author Gena Showalter

“Slade’s debut presents a dark and dense supernatural conflict with high stakes in a world where demons and angels possess humans and use them as tools in the unending fight between heaven and hell … [a] rich crossover urban fantasy.”


Publishers Weekly

“A beautiful and inventive new series start, with plenty of action and wonderful characters!”

—Errant Dreams Reviews

“A gripping, suspenseful story, with some hot romantic interactions thrown in for good measure.”


San Francisco Book Review


Seduced by Shadows
blew me away … Slade creates a beyond-life-or-death struggle for love and redemption in a chilling, complex, and utterly believable world.”

—Jeri Smith-Ready, award-winning author of
Wicked Game

Also by Jessa Slade

Seduced by Shadows
Forged of Shadows
Vowed in Shadows

D
ARKNESS
U
NDONE

A N
OVEL OF THE
M
ARKED
S
OULS

 

J
ESSA
S
LADE

 

SIGNET ECLIPSE
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,
Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
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Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
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Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

 

First published by Signet Eclipse, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

 

First Printing, March 2012
10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1

 

Copyright © Jessa Slade, 2012
All rights reserved

 

ISBN: 978-1-101-57685-4

 

SIGNET ECLIPSE and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

 

P
RINTED IN THE
U
NITED
S
TATES OF
A
MERICA

 

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

 

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

 

If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

 

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

To PopPop:

An engineer first, but an artist too. You gave me some good
material, genetics-wise, and some funny stories.
Miss you.

A
CKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

My editor, Kerry Donovan, and agent, Becca Stumpf, have been with me from
Chapter 1
to
glossary
, from cover art first-glimpse squees to back cover copyedits. “Thank you” is only two words (can I say anything in two words?) and doesn’t even begin to capture my gratitude.

The entire team at NAL brings my books to life—and to bookshelves—and I can’t thank them enough, especially Jesse Feldman and Kayleigh Clark; copy editor Jane Steele (who had to put up with all my beloved sentence fragments); and Gene Mollica and Adam Auerbach, who put a chest (if not a face) on my sexy hero.

Mwahs to my cheerleading beta reader, Delilah Marvelle, whose energy in her writing and in her life inspires me endlessly.

As I write this, Book Blogger Appreciation Week is coming to a close, but I want to give them a shout-out here too, considering how their delight in and ardent support of romance has contributed substantially to my to-be-read mountain. Extra special thanks to Bitten by Books, Night Owl Reviews, Errant Dreams Reviews, Romance Reviews Today, and Smexy Books Romance Reviews.

All families put up with craziness in their loved ones, but maybe writers’ families sigh more deeply, with a little extra angst. To my family and Scott, much, much thanks and love, love, love.

Table of Contents

 

Chapter 1

 

Chapter 2

 

Chapter 3

 

Chapter 4

 

Chapter 5

 

Chapter 6

 

Chapter 7

 

Chapter 8

 

Chapter 9

 

Chapter 10

 

Chapter 11

 

Chapter 12

 

Chapter 13

 

Chapter 14

 

Chapter 15

 

Chapter 16

 

Chapter 17

 

Chapter 18

 

Chapter 19

 

Chapter 20

 

Chapter 21

 

Chapter 22

 

Chapter 23

 

Chapter 24

 

Chapter 25

 

Chapter 26

 

Chapter 27

 

Chapter 28

 

Epilogue

 

Glossary of Terms

 

Vowed in Shadows

 

Dear new Bookkeeper,

 

Sucks to be you.

You’re probably flipping through these mostly blank pages where the notes for the last year should be, wondering why the archives of the Chicago league of demon-possessed male talya warriors haven’t been updated lately. Honestly, as the temp secretary, I’ve been superbusy. Mostly doing my nails.

Hey, sharpened nails come in very handy against the lurking evil of the horde-tenebrae.

Besides, calfskin, goose quills, and illuminated letters went out a long time ago. You Bookkeepers should try Twitter.

So here’re the past eleven months—since the demonic possession of the first female in a couple thousand years (that’d be me) and the return of the mated
symballein
bond—condensed to 140 characters with gratuitous emoticons and random misspellings:

More evul than evuh WTF? Djinn-man wants to destroy the world (X_X) But wait! T&A + witty repartee = True Love Saves the Day! <333 The End …?

Well, that pretty much covers it. I can’t imagine you’ll have any more questions. Now that you’re here, I’ll be out slaying bad things. Don’t worry; just regular ol’ bad things—like ratty little malice, huge stinky ferales, and burning salambes—not insanely powerful, straight-up insane djinn-men like Corvus Valerius, who had the nerve to open a portal into hell before we vanquished him three months ago. No thanks to our former Bookkeeper who betrayed us and helped unleash the repentant demon that possessed me and
started this whole damn mess. We won’t hold that against
you
, though. Really.

We know the ranks of Bookkeeping masters frown on us pulverizing tweaking the traditions the London league has upheld for centuries, but—did I mention?—sucks to be you. Welcome to Chicago.

Sera Littlejohn, Interim Bookkeeper

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