Authors: Billi Jean
A Total-E-Bound Publication
ISBN # 978-1-78184-281-2
©Copyright Billi Jean 2013
Cover Art by Oliver Bennett ©Copyright March 2013
Edited by Sue Meadows
This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Total-E-Bound Publishing.
Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Total-E-Bound Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.
The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.
Published in 2013 by Total-E-Bound Publishing, Think Tank, Ruston Way, Lincoln, LN6 7FL, United Kingdom.
This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has a
This story contains 236 pages, additionally there is also a
at the end of the book containing 7 pages.
Sisterhood of Jade
Book two in the Sisterhood of Jade series
He named her Beauty and swore to keep her safe, but who will save her from his passionate embrace?
Torque is a warrior mage hardened by centuries of battle and death. When he finds the one woman who makes him want to live, he must not only battle the Death Stalkers for her safety, but also her own loss of memory in order to stake his claim. But will Beauty be his salvation, or will the sensuous witch teach him a lesson or two on what it truly means to be strong?
Beauty has no memory of who she is, nor what she can do with her powers. Yet she won’t back down, nor allow her brave warrior to go off to fight their battles alone. Strong, determined, and confident, she takes on not only the Immortal World, but also one very handsome, dominant warrior mage to win her place by his side.
To my lovely, encouraging critique partner Elizabeth. Your encouragement means the world to me! So does your ‘repetition’ in bright yellow.
To my children, hoping they reach for their dreams and realise them.
And lastly, to my friend, and wonderful BETA reader, Nancy. Hugs and well wishes always, lady!
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:
Harley-Davidson: Harley-Davidson Inc.
Aquafina: PepsiCo, Inc.
Hoover: Techtronic Industries
Popsicle: Unilever PLC
Band-Aid: Johnson & Johnson
Susanna walked through a torch lit hallway filled with screams. The echoes of distress flowed through the ancient stone corridors like nightmares. This was a nightmare.
No, no it wasn’t
, she reminded herself. The ragged sounds were real. The cries were only broken off by muffled thuds, and in some cases, the sharp, evil crack of a whip striking flesh. Then the screams would rise again. Their anguish flooded her brain with remembered pain. Helplessness followed quickly with vivid, grotesque images of split, bloody flesh. Images she’d rather not see. Sensations she remembered all too well spread gooseflesh up her arms.
Closing her eyes did no good. The grisly pictures were burnt into her brain. Harsh, dreadful glimpses of ripped, torn flesh and dark, burgundy blood dripping from wounds where she could see the jagged white bone peeking out crowded her consciousness like holiday shoppers shoving their way through the department store doors at five a.m. to hit all the sales.
Shitshitshitshitshit. Stop it! Stop thinking about it.
She huddled closer to the unforgiving wall, and nervously traced her fingers along the chilly stone in a bid to distract herself. The wisp of transparent smoke ahead of her hung in the air, unmoving while she mentally struggled. She was supposed to follow that wisp of hope. Her door had been opened by that nearly transparent smoke.
The faintly accented male whisper rolled around in her mind just as it had ever since she’d woken to see her thick, wooden door standing ajar.
She fought to obey. Spells encased the mosaics embedded in the walls. Spells that were meant to intimidate, no doubt, but also to snag the inexperienced into their seductive pattern. A person could get caught following those lines and never comprehend they hadn’t moved until it was too late.
Susanna squeezed her eyes shut, desperate to escape her reality.
“Not much longer, not much longer. Come.”
The whispered voice sounded louder, more real than before, a safety net in a nightmare where no such thing existed.
Would the voice leave her here, surrounded by her enemies, with no chance of escape? Who did the voice belong to? No one cared if she lived or died. Or screamed until her throat bled. No one. She knew that. She had learned that in the endless days of being here. No one came, no one cared, no one…
No! Someone did care. Right?
The doubts had her clenching her eyes closed. Gradually the tremors racing up the fresh whip marks on her back eased enough to help her deal with the panic. The pain remained. Had she known a time without pain?
She opened her eyes and took another cautious step, then another and another until it became a test of will to inch along the deserted, brightly lit corridor.
The terrified cries grew louder as she edged around a corner. The smoky trail she followed hovered in the air five feet from her like a living thing, waiting patiently for her to gather her courage around the idea of turning down the new and potentially dangerous hallway. She chanced a quick look over her shoulder, and back to the new danger.
No one walked these halls.
No one but me,
she reassured herself. She took another step, her back pressed tight to the rough stones. Some of the jagged rocks dug into her back, but she held herself close to it anyway. Twelve steps down the corridor and the screams grew closer, louder. She broke the horrifying cries down into sensations. Scream—the crack of a whip tearing flesh. Crack—bones breaking. Thud—a body slammed by invisible force into a wall. Shriek—slow torture of heated whips of metal slicing and burning into flesh. Cursing—the last, pain-drenched, hollow sound of endurance spluttering out.
Her legs trembled with each painful memory. She paused after a few more sideways steps. She had to block the sounds if she hoped to survive.
Behind her, in the distance, she heard the echo of pounding boots on flagstones. Susanna’s heart strangled the breath in her throat. She clutched at the rough wall, slicing her fingertips open on the sharp granite. A surge of adrenaline shocked through tender muscles, but brought her dangerous position back into focus.
Escape. I can leave this place.
Such a simple thought, but so full of something she’d not dared dwell on for far too long—hope.
A small, tear-streaked and panicked face rushed through her vision.
Bethany. I do have people who care.
There was life without pain. There was.
I have family. Samantha, Bethany, her beloved Star. People care about me, love me.
Tears rushed her eyes, smarting worse than the fresh cuts on her fingers and back. The boots grew louder behind her. She pushed up from her half-slump against the wall and focused on the hallway. She could do this. She could do this. She repeated it as she began walking forward. She’d been down here before. Not far from here there was a forbidden area of the stronghold. Not even the guards were allowed on this level.
If they found her, if they took her back… She froze.
She couldn’t move. The voice couldn’t imagine, hadn’t felt the bite of sharpened metal dig into flesh, and couldn’t comprehend how each strike ripped out pieces of a person’s soul.
“Hurry, you must hurry.”
Her legs gave out with a surge of relief when she heard the boots move farther away from her position. She fell down on her knees like someone had cut the strings holding her up. Cool stone soothed her heated panic. She pressed her face to the tiles and prayed.
Three Goddesses aid me. Hecate help me. Bridget bring me strength. Danu guide me.
“No time. No time. Get up. Move, move.”
The voice sounded more urgent but somehow farther away. The warm strength of his tone eased her, when nothing had for far too long. She could barely remember comforts. The voice rose up in her mind, ordering her, but with such care, she knew deep inside that without his aid she would surely die here. Struggling with her trembling limbs, she eased to her feet and inched along the wall, placing each bare foot carefully, cautiously so no sound echoed and revealed her presence.
“Who are you?”
“No time. No time. Move. Good, good, keep moving.”
Ahead of her, the hallway ended with a grotesque statute of a mighty boar. The tusks of the monsters impaled two females through their chests. Bile rose in her throat. The sickest thing was the statute looked real. Hideously real. The looks of anguish on the women’s faces appeared so full of suffering Susanna felt certain if she were to move closer, they would open their eyes and beseech her for aid.
She looked away with difficulty. The smoke had floated along a wall and hovered waiting for her. Ahead, a tapestry covered half the wall like a big, ugly stain. It was evil. Everything around her was, but this ancient, hideous cloth was saturated in the pain of its victims. Wicked, bottomless malevolence pounded at her senses, making the blood rush like the beat of a drum to her head. She locked her knees to keep herself upright as darkness reached out to run a ghostly finger down her spine. She jerked back from this new danger, shaking her head in denial. The blood-red cloth, bright with misery, taunted her, torment radiated from every loathsome fibre in the weave, reminding her how hopeless her bid for escape truly was.