Home > Born of Blood (The League : Nemesis Rising #14)

Born of Blood (The League : Nemesis Rising #14)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon


Prologue

 

 

There were days when it didn’t pay to be human.

Or Andarion.

And definitely not any combination of the two.

Today was just that day for Jayne Erixour. And as fire, blood, and unidentifiable body parts rained down upon her, she wished herself anywhere but where she was.

Closing her eyes, she tried her best to imagine another life. Another world.

Some safe place where children were wanted and protected. Where people were cherished, and they had someone they could put

 

* * *

 

their faith in.

Where betrayal was unknown and kindness was a given, not the exception. A place where life was something someone valued and not a cheap commodity that was bought and sold without a second thought.

Or worse, something thrown aside with reckless disregard.

Where every life didn’t have a price.

“Jayne!”

She opened her eyes at the sound of a warning call that preceded an incoming bomb screeching overhead. Her heart pounding, she dove for cover an instant before it impacted a few yards away.

Screams filled her ears as the dampeners she’d embedded in her eustachian tubes shielded her eardrums from the percussive damage. She choked on the sudden tears that came with the aftermath, refusing to let them fall. This was war and she was a soldier.

Even if she was only fourteen.

At least that was the lie she told herself. But inside, she was still a girl wanting to be home again. Safe. Protected. Wanting to feel her father’s arms around her.

Wanting to hear her mother telling her that everything was good, and that life was worth living. That the morning would come and return light to the landscape.

But that wasn’t today.

Today it sucked so much that she couldn’t even find a reason why she was fighting so hard for one more stinking breath.

Why bother?

A sane person would walk out and let the bombs end it all. One shot and all the pain and misery would be over.

Just one step.

One shot.

“I’m too young for this shit.” And she was tired beyond belief.

“Damn it, Jaynie!”

She barely heard those words before she felt the pain of a body slamming into hers and driving her into the ground. Shrapnel exploded all around as a shield covered her body. And a pair of eerie light eyes glared into hers. Eyes she knew as well as her own.

Eve of Destruction.

Evie of Salvation.

The one and only person in her life who’d never failed her.

Her precious big sister and the last member of her family who wasn’t dead. Rising to her feet, Eve dragged Jayne with her and shook her.

“What the hell, Jayne?” Those clipped words were even more rattling than the near miss.

Even so, Jayne couldn’t speak. Not at the moment. She was too glad to see Eve alive and whole.

She’d been so sure that her sister had died a few moments ago when the structure shielding her had been blown apart.

But she should have known better.

No one was a better survivor than Eve.

Shadows played in her sister’s eyes that mirrored her own horror and misery. “Get your skinny ass behind me. Now! Fall in line!”

Jayne obeyed out of habit. It was why her sister was a commander at the tender age of twenty-one. She’d risen up through their military ranks faster than anyone in Hyshian history. Her military prowess was without equal. Eve’s intellect was off the charts and her skills far beyond her years.

But then they’d been forced to survive and thrive in conditions no one should endure.

Eve grabbed her. “Are your wings injured?”

Jayne’s eyes bugged at a shouted question they were never supposed to speak about. “No.”

“Then you need to unfurl them and get out of here.”

Was Eve out of her mind? “Not without you!” Unlike her, Eve hadn’t inherited the recessive gene of their family that gave Jayne a set of wings she could hide beneath her skin.

And Jayne wasn’t strong enough yet to carry both of them out of this hell.

Eve shot and killed an enemy over Jayne’s shoulder. “Don’t worry about me. I can take care of myself, but not if I’m worried about you. Get to safety. Now!”

While Jayne believed that, she wasn’t willing to abandon the last member of her family. That wasn’t what Erixours did. It wasn’t what they’d been taught.

“No!”

Eve growled at her. “You stubborn little bitch!” She fired more rounds. Clicking the mic in her ear on, she glared at Jayne. “Tweedle? I need you to turn around and—”

“Ah, hell no, Evie. I just got clear of that shithole. And not by a lot. By the yactos. And I mean the yacto of the yacto . . . of the molecule of a yacto. Are you out of your luna mind, woman?”

“Jed, turn it around or so help me I will skin every piece of you raw the next time I see you. Now!”

He cursed over their comm-links. “Why do you hate me so much?”

“Because you’re one of only two males alive who hasn’t disappointed me. Now move it!”

Tweedle cursed again.

Jayne laughed in spite of the hell raining down on them.

But really, this wasn’t funny. “You’ll be behind me?”

“I’m not going to die and leave you alone. You get into enough shit with me here. I cringe to think of the trouble you’d find without me.”

Kissing her sister’s cheek, Jayne unfurled her wings and took off.

But not before she heard the most precious words from her sister’s lips. “I’m getting you out of this life, little bit, if it’s the last thing I do.”

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Four years later

 

 

Jayne sighed heavily as she waited for Eve to arrive. Heartbroken, she read back over her rejection.

So much for getting herself out of this wretched life . . .

So much for dreams.

She should have known better. Luck had never been her friend and her family was absolutely cursed.

Sitting down, she stared at the bottle of Tondarion Fire with lust and craving. More tempted than she ought to be, she refused to go there. Alcohol had ruined her father.

It’d ruined their childhoods and she wasn’t going to succumb to those demons.

“I’m creating my own.”

And she was, sadly. Maybe that was the curse of life. Period. Either you repeated the demons you knew were bad, or you summoned all news ones to come and torture you.

Why make more for herself when so many were already alive and well in her gene pool?

Just as she was about to give in, her door opened without preamble and Eve rushed toward her.

Her sister’s light eyes were full of sympathy as Eve pulled her in for a tight hug. “I’m so sorry.”

Jayne nodded. “Me, too. It was the last school I applied to. No one wants me.”

“I want you.” Eve tightened the grip she had on her. “It’s not fair or right!”

She appreciated her sister’s righteous anger on her behalf, but it changed nothing. “When has life ever been fair to us?”

Eve pulled back and wiped the tears from Jayne’s eyes. “The day it sent Jinx to me.”

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