Bound by Forever
New York Times Bestselling author Samantha Young writing as S. Young. Niamh Farren has been burdened by knowledge for most of her life. As one of seven fae children born into the human world with the ability to open the gate to Faerie, Niamh’s mission is to guide her fae brethren to do what’s right. Because Niamh has seen what will happen to the human world if she does not protect the gate. Throughout the years, she’s traveled the world with her brother Ronan, using her psychic visions to find the fae-borne and convince them to stay on the path that will keep the gate from opening. She has sacrificed much … but when she loses her brother to the mission, Niamh begins to lose herself. For nearly one hundred and fifty years, werewolf Kiyo has wandered the planet as a lost soul. Cursed with immortality, he spends his awful eternity as a mercenary for hire. When the powerful Fionn Mór confides the truth about the existence of Faerie and hires Kiyo to protect one of the fae-borne, he accepts the challenge out of boredom, not heroism. Yet Niamh is unexpected in every way the werewolf can possibly imagine. Guarding Niamh from her enemies is nowhere near as challenging as protecting the fae woman from herself. If Kiyo is to succeed, he must help Niamh find herself again, and not just for her sake. Ignoring the fierce connection between them may no longer be an option. A new enemy is rising and threatening to rip open the gate between worlds. To remind Niamh of who she really is, Kiyo must make the choice to lower his defenses and give into their bond. Or safeguard his own heart … and in doing so lead the human world to the brink of war.
Release date: November 17, 2020
Publisher: Samantha Young
Print pages: 400
Reader says this book is...: epic storytelling (1) escapist/easy read (1) great world-building (1)
Content advisory: fantasy violence; sexual content
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Bound by Forever
If she was anything but what she was, she would be exhausted. Waiting outside the club, hidden in a cloak created from shadows, she watched. The vision had taken her from Austria through Czechia and Poland to Lithuania.
The dull thud of music vibrated from the old, industrial-looking building. A ton of people had gone in; some loitered outside.
This area of Vilnius was strictly urban. She’d left behind the beauty of Old Town with its narrow streets, tourist shops, and amazing architecture. The club and the surrounding buildings were ugly and severe, architectural reminders of the Soviet era.
She blew out a breath between her lips, her patience waning.
The vampire couple were here. She knew it.
Nerves made her teeth chatter. It couldn’t be the freezing-cold temperature because she barely felt it. Apparently, neither did some of the human clubbers who spilled out of the nightclub doors, no longer wearing the coats they had upon entry. Alcohol did that. It made you oblivious to things like 32°F temperatures. Or so he’d told her.
She threw him from her thoughts.
It would seem the only way she was going to find the vampire couple from her vision was to do what she’d hoped she wouldn’t have to.
She had the same coloring as the human girl from the vision.
That, plus the smell of her unusual blood, would probably draw the vamp couple’s attention away from the girl to her instead.
Butterflies fluttered in her belly and she smirked wryly to herself. One would think, being what she was, that she wouldn’t be nervous to take on a couple of vampires. But these two weren’t typical vampires. What they’d done to humans was … well, the things she’d seen them do haunted her.
They needed to be stopped. Since she was currently without a purpose in life, it seemed only right she should be the one to end them. After all, the visions didn’t just come to her willy-nilly. They meant something. Even if dealing with law-breaking supernaturals was the purview of the Consortium, and she’d likely piss them off with her interference.
Shrugging her shoulders back, she released the shadows covering her from head to foot; they slithered from her body with a shiver before crawling back into the dark corners of the alleyway.
Ignoring the increase in her heart rate, she strode toward the club entrance. The large bouncers at the door dragged their gaze down her body and back up again. They probably thought she was nuts, wearing only jeans and a cropped T-shirt in this weather. Smirking, they stood aside to let her pass.
She felt their eyes on her as she stepped inside the low-lit entrance. She was used to it.
Humans and supernaturals alike were drawn to her.
It never used to irritate her. Nothing really did.
Not so much now. A burn flared to life in her chest sometimes. It had taken her awhile to realize it was anger. Aggravation.
Not for the better.
With a sigh, she threw off her maudlin thoughts and paid for entrance into the club. The bored-looking woman behind the desk gestured to her hand, and she held it out. The woman proceeded to press a wet stamp to the back of it.
The club name glared at her in bold, blue ink.
Drifting off toward the double doors manned by two more bouncers, she held up the hand with the ink and they allowed her entrance. One of the men winked at her. She gave him a coy smile and sauntered through the opening.
Although she didn’t feel it the way a human would, the thick change in the air informed her that the deafening club was roasting hot.
And no wonder.
It was packed with bodies all jumping to the pounding bass of electronic music. As tall as she was, she still had to stretch onto tiptoes to see above the crowd. At the end of the colossal space was a stage and on it, a deejay.
With her heightened senses, for a moment all she could hear was a thunderous din. All she could smell was fresh sweat and the choking, mingling scents of beer, cologne, and perfume.
She stopped and took a deep breath. After a moment or two, the noise was manageable.
But her heart still thudded out of time with the drumming bass.
It must have been hella hot in the space because her hair was starting to stick to the back of her neck. All she wanted to do was take the hair tie that circled her wrist and capture the pale-blond locks up into a messy bun. But over the years, she’d found that her hair was a feminine weapon. And the vamps would like it.
Leaving it to sway against her bare back, almost touching her arse, she pushed with determination into the clogged club. Eventually she would sense them.
The burn she’d been feeling lately flared now and then as hands took advantage of her in the crowd. Pats on her bottom, caresses across her bare waist. When a girl groped at her breast, the burn inside her spit out embers and she grabbed the girl’s wrist. Careful of her strength, she gave it just enough of a twist to cause the girl to cry out in pain. Releasing her, she continued pushing through the crowded club.
Then she felt it.
All the fine hairs on her body rose as if static electricity charged the air.
There was another supernatural in the vicinity.
She veered between triumph and anxiety.
Hoping neither showed on her face, she turned her head to follow the feeling and her eyes locked with a vampire’s.
Beams of light flickered across the vamp’s face, causing his eyes to flash mercury silver.
With a coquettish tilt of her head, she gave him a deliberately bashful but inviting smile and then continued to push through the crowd toward the edge of the room where there was space to breathe.
To her gratification, the nape of her neck tingled. Awareness tightened her muscles.
He was following her.
Once she’d stepped out of the wave of human bodies that pulsed toward the stage, she turned to lean against a wall. It wasn’t hard to pretend she needed a moment to compose herself.
How anyone thought this was good craic, she’d never understand. It was minus craic, as they said back home.
She’d take a cozy fireplace, an armchair, and a bloody good book over this shit any day of the week.
You were born an eighty-year-old woman, you know that?
Pain clawed at her throat and she grit her teeth, forcing his voice from her head.
Then the vampire was there.
He was the same height as she was with a wiry, ropy physique that belied his strength. None of the humans would know just how strong he was. His dark hair was slicked back off his forehead and looked oily under the lights.
She supposed, though, he had a pretty face with his cut cheekbones and pouty, full lips.
She brushed her fingers across the imaginary sweat on her forehead and gave him a shrug. “It’s a bit warm in here!”
He smirked as he approached and then as he inhaled, he tensed. His eyes flashed silver and he stared at her, completely arrested.
Pretending to be oblivious to the reason why, she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and asked shyly, “Something wrong?”
He shook his head. “No. You are just very beautiful.”
The vamp had an accent. Not Lithuanian. She wasn’t sure where he was from. Her vision didn’t tell her that much. He was perhaps Scandinavian or Nordic. She wasn’t schooled enough in accents to be certain either way.
Does it matter? She felt that familiar burn of irritation, this time at herself.
“You’re very kind!” She had to keep pretending that she thought she needed to yell for him to hear her. In truth, they’d both be able to hear each other if they whispered, even in this racket.
What kind of music was this? Could a person even categorize it as music? What happened to melody and lyrics and storytelling?
Christ, I really am an eighty-year-old woman.
The vampire touched her waist, reminding her to focus. She tried not to stiffen at his touch. He smelled faintly of blood beneath his sandalwood cologne. She forced herself not to recoil when his head dipped toward her ear. “Would you like to go somewhere? A place we can talk?”
Her pulse skittered and she knew he probably heard it. Hopefully he mistook it for sexual awareness. She nodded, and he pulled back to smile triumphantly. There was nothing in his eyes but malice and hunger.
She wondered how his victims couldn’t see that.
And where was his partner in crime?
Allowing herself to be led around the edges of the crowd toward a door at the back of the club, she pretended not to notice that when he pushed down on the handle, he snapped the lock.
She further pretended not to notice the way her whole body tightened with renewed awareness, the hairs springing up on her arms.
The female vamp was near now too.
Bracing herself, she gripped the vamp’s hand tightly as he led her down the dank hallway. Everything in this building was built from thick concrete. It was no wonder the noise from the deejay was just a dull thud outside.
Even here in the hallway it was significantly muffled. So much so she heard the door at the top of the hallway slam. Even a human would have heard it, so she knew it was okay to glance over her shoulder.
The female vampire sashayed toward them in a long, seductive, electric-blue dress that clung to her slender curves. Rich red lipstick painted her lips. She walked in six-inch stilettos like they were sneakers. God, this vamp was such a bloody cliché.
“My wife.” The male vamp’s mouth was at her ear. “You don’t mind if she joins us, do you?”
She scanned the hallway for cameras and spotted one above the door entrance on the opposite corner. Ignoring the vamp whose hands were clamped tight on her hips, she turned in his arms and saw the other camera at the opposite end of the narrow corridor. It was pointed at the exit door.
“What are you doing?” His fingers bit into her skin.
“Looking at the cameras,” the female vamp observed as she approached. “Looks like she’s nervous of us. I wonder why?” Then she inhaled deeply, her eyes silvered. “Oh, she smells so wonderful.”
“I know.” His voice rumbled in her ear. “I caught her scent as soon as she entered the club.”
It was hard to ignore them, but she needed to concentrate. Lifting a hand, she flicked her fingers and sent out magic toward the first camera.
She twisted in his hold and did the same to the other.
“What the fuck?” He shoved her into the wall with enough force to cause her head to crack against the concrete.
She winced at the slight ache and glared at the two vamps.
They might not have seen her magic, but they sensed its energy.
“She’s a witch!” The female vampire smacked her lover’s biceps. “You fool.”
That’s what most supernaturals thought.
Oh, how she wished it were true.
Life would be so much easier if she were a mere witch.
“I saw. I saw what you were going to do to that girl here tonight.” She was quiet, her words just above a whisper, but she knew they could hear her. “I saw what you’ve done to all the girls before.”
Violation, blood, gore, terror.
They were psychopaths. Or sociopaths. She always got those two mixed up. Either way, they were particularly nasty feckers.
“You can’t do that anymore.”
“And I suppose you’re going to be the one to stop us?” The female vampire laughed.
And there was something about the dynamic between the two, something she’d missed in the visions.
The female was the one in charge. Which usually meant she was the oldest and therefore the strongest.
Keeping her right hand behind her back where the vamps couldn’t see, magic tingled at her fingertips as she conjured one of the wooden stakes she’d left on her bed back at the hotel.
Without a word, she moved.
She was a blur.
It all happened in two seconds.
Her wooden stake plunged with precise accuracy into the female vamp’s chest, up underneath the rib cage to pierce the heart.
The vampire’s silver eyes widened in outrage before her entire being burst into ash.
She was so shocked by her first vampire kill, she could only stare at the cloud of supernatural dust that caught in the harsh light of the aluminum bars on the ceiling.
Rookie mistake, that, losing focus.
An animalistic roar filled the corridor seconds before the male vampire slammed her to the floor. Burning pain flared up her neck, disorienting her for a moment until he lifted his head and she stared, aghast.
His long incisors, his lips, his mouth were covered in … her.
Wet gushed from her neck even as she felt the tingle of her skin repairing itself.
The bastard had torn out her throat.
His eyes widened as he watched her heal in a way no ordinary supernatural could.
And there was that burn in her chest again.
It was growing in a blaze and suddenly, it wasn’t the vampire she saw in front of her. It was him.
It was them.
And they deserved to die for what they did to him.
The rage consumed her.
It was like a black veil over her eyes.
When it eventually lifted, there was another pile of dust in the corridor.
What had happened …
Tears filled her eyes as she looked at her blood-covered hands. The rust of it was thick in her fingernails, like she’d clawed someone apart. Her hair swung into her vision and she saw it was wet.
Nausea roiled in her gut and she stumbled back against the corridor wall.
She slammed her eyes closed and thought of her hotel.
The dull noise of the club faded, replaced by the hum of late-night traffic. When she opened her eyes, she found herself in the middle of her hotel room. Weariness hit. The building was in Old Town, and traveling always shattered her. She used to call it teleporting until … a friend offered her a different name for it.
Afraid but needing to know, she moved slowly toward the bathroom, careful not to touch anything with her bloodied hands.
She stared at her reflection in the mirror above the sink.
Blood splattered her face, the globs of wet dark red in her hair turning those strands a muddy brown. Her clothes were stained with it.
Clearly, she’d inflicted some serious damage on the vamp before she dusted him.
She’d obviously torn him apart.
She couldn’t remember.
How could she not remember this level of violence?
She lunged for the toilet just in time.
Shuddering, shaking, she hovered over the bowl for a while before she could gather the courage to stand and look at herself again.
What she’d seen those vamps do in her vision was traumatizing. They’d inflicted terror and pain beyond imagination.
But what had she done in return?
Tears slipped down her cheeks.
Who was she?
With a swipe of her hand, the tingle of magic, the blood was gone. Her clothes gone, replaced with clean ones. It was like it had never happened.
But as she peered into the mirror with the same aquamarine eyes as his, she still saw the blood in her hair, even though it was gone.
Who was she?
She didn’t know anymore.
All she knew was that she wasn’t the woman she used to be.
Raising her hand, she gave her wrist a flick and magic transformed her hair color.
She was now a brunette.
You couldn’t see blood spatter on dark hair, could you?
A chill shuddered through her at the wicked thought.
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