Queen Nix thought she won a great prize when she destroyed Synn’s father, the leader of the strongest Great Families. She had no idea she’d be doubly blessed by capturing his son. However, before Synn can become her treasured weapon, before she can use him to bring the rest of the world to its knees, she must break him and bind his soul to hers.
She does her job with brutal brilliance. Synn’s mind is broken and his soul is seared to hers in an unbreakable bond.
That doesn’t stop him from wanting to be free. She may have broken his mind and claimed his soul, but he will find a way to destroy her.
Experience a world of ships that sail the clouds and cites buried beneath the ocean, and survive the fiery battle brought forth by those who control the forces of nature!
I tried to sit up, but my head was pounding so hard, it made me nauseous.
“Lay back,” a soft voice murmured, gentle hands pressing down on my bare shoulders. “Be at ease. You are safe now, Synn Primus.”
I shook my head, falling back onto the soft pillows. My back felt like fire where the pillows touched it. “Not—” It was so hard to speak. My tongue felt thick. “Not my name.”
“Yes it is, you goose.” Something was draped over me.
I let out a startled yell and threw it off. Everywhere it touched burned.
It was draped over me again. This time the hands pressed it down on my shoulders, keeping it in place. “You have been Marked by the House of Wands, so you now bear our name. You are a Primus,
My whole world stopped as my mind caught up.
I’d lost my father. He was—
I closed my eyes and fell back.
I’d watched so many others burned to death, their children made to look on as those they loved were lost.
And now? I’d lost my life to the Hands?
No. I shook my head and rose. No. “No. This can’t be.”
She pushed me back. “How else do you explain it?” A warm thumb ran over my brow. “You survived the fire, Synn.” She pulled the blanket away, a cool finger running over where I burned. “And how do you explain this? This is your Mark, Synn, the thing you have been waiting for your entire life.”
I remained quiet, concentrating on breathing.
“What I witnessed was a Marking. Aren’t you the least bit excited?”
My father’s strong, rigid face swam before my eyes, so fierce and powerful as the fire rose to claim him, writhing with the pain of it. A sob seeped from my chest. “Not like this.”
I was gathered in her arms. She held me close as she rocked me. She crooned a song I’d never heard. I wasn’t paying attention. I was overwhelmed with what I had lost; my family, my home, my self.
The pounding in my head lessened as the woman held me close, easing my pain. Visuals started registering. The red silk of the cover. The black leather of her bodice. Her long, dark hair.
“Nix.” My voice was a bare croak.
She pulled away slightly, staring into my face. She’d removed the odd crown with the spinning birds.
I didn’t have the energy to fight her. My eyes fell closed in a long blink. I opened them, even though I didn’t want to, my gaze falling to the ruby spider resting on her chest.
“Do not fear, young Primus,” she said, her full lips curved in a careful smile. “I am your family now. You will want for nothing.”
I rocked where I sat, my legs sprawled. “Why?” I barely had the energy to whisper. “Why?”
“Why what, Primus?”
“Why did you attack us?”
“You attacked first.”
“I went for a sword to save—” I paused, breathing, blinking back the tears. “—innocent lives. You killed them for no reason.”
“They would not submit.”
I stared at her in exhausted incredulity. “Did you give them the chance?”
She cupped my face and peered at me sincerely. “I do not want empty devotion. I want only to be loved and
“And so you scare children into fearing you.”
“Fear can turn to love.” Her smile was sweet. “You will see.”
She flinched and pulled back. “Do you want to see?” She didn’t give me a chance to say no or yes. She pulled away the cover, her eyes dropping to my chest. “Your Mark, Primus.” She reached out with
her diamond claw.
I stared in wonder. Rivers of fire coursed in a fine web of lines and runes under my skin. I twisted to see my back, but failed.
It’s the same there. Have you ever seen so powerful a Mark as this?”
I shook my head. No. I hadn’t. I touched the lines with a ginger hand. They were sensitive and hot to the touch, leaving the rest of me chilled to the core.
Her fingertips joined mine, her long nails gleaming red in the soft yellow light. “But what can one expect from the house of El’Asim and Ino?”
I jerked, staring at her in surprise.
She threw her head back and laughed. “But of course. Why didn’t I see this before? The two most power Families allying themselves through marriage. Oh, yes.” Her eyes were filled with greed,
her teeth bared in a smile that was more of a sneer.
She looked ready to eat me.
“Do you have brothers? Sisters? Any who are younger than you, unmarked?”
I stared at her in disgust and wonder. “No.”
Her pink tongue ran along her teeth as she dropped her chin and peered at me through her long, thick lashes. “It doesn’t matter. You are mine.”
I straightened my back and stared at her, gritting my teeth with all the will I had left. “Never.”
A smile slithered into place along her lips. “We shall see.” She pulled away and gestured, sashaying to a door I hadn’t noticed before.
Something heavy slammed against my head.
I fought to remain conscious.
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