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The shadow weave, p.1
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       The Shadow Weave, p.1

           Annette Marie
 
The Shadow Weave


  Table of Contents

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  The Shadow Weave

  Spell Weaver: Book 2

  Annette Marie

  The Shadow Weave

  Book Two of the Spell Weaver Trilogy

  Copyright © 2018 by Annette Marie

  www.annettemarie.ca

  All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations for review purposes.

  This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, places, or events is purely coincidental.

  Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.

  PO Box 88106, Rabbit Hill Post Office

  Edmonton, AB, Canada T6R 0M5

  www.darkowlfantasy.com

  Cover Design Copyright © 2018 by Annette Ahner

  Cover, Book Interior, and Website Design by

  Midnight Whimsy Designs

  www.midnightwhimsydesigns.com

  Editing by Elizabeth Darkley

  arrowheadediting.wordpress.com

  ISBN 978-1-988153-17-9 (ebook)

  Version 01.06.18

  Contents

  Books by Annette Marie

  The Shadow Weave

  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

  Chapter 29

  The Blood Curse

  The Steel & Stone Series

  The Red Winter Trilogy

  About the Author

  Books by Annette Marie

  Steel & Stone Universe

  The Spell Weaver Trilogy

  The Night Realm

  The Shadow Weave

  The Blood Curse

  The Steel & Stone Series

  Chase the Dark

  Bind the Soul

  Yield the Night

  Feed the Flames

  Reap the Shadows

  Unleash the Storm

  Steel & Stone

  Other Works

  The Red Winter Trilogy

  Red Winter

  Dark Tempest

  Immortal Fire

  The Shadow Weave

  Spell Weaver: Book 2

  Chapter One

  Clio’s spine prickled under the weight of watchful stares.

  She shot a glower over her shoulder. The five daemons lingering around the oversized table avoided her gaze.

  Facing the stovetop again, she slapped the spatula down on the pan and flipped a pancake in one smooth motion. The ring of flames circling the gas burner jumped as she overturned the second and third cakes. The glowing oven window offered a blurred view of the thick bacon strips baking to a perfect crisp.

  She should have known better than to cook bacon. The smell had permeated the sprawling manor, and it had taken all of five minutes for the first daemon to wander into the kitchen as though by coincidence.

  Grumbling, she scooped the pancakes onto the plate beside her and spooned more batter into the pan. When the third daemon had appeared—not summoned by the smell of cooking meat, or so his nonchalant attitude had suggested—she’d doubled the pancake recipe.

  Now she was wondering if she and Lyre would have to fight the other daemons for their shares. Not that Lyre couldn’t defeat them all with a choice weaving or two, but he was trying to keep his identity as a notorious Chrysalis spell weaver a secret.

  She cracked the oven door open to check on the bacon. A blast of hot air, heavy with the mouthwatering aroma, wafted over her and she nodded as she closed the door again. Almost ready.

  Her neck prickled again.

  She whirled around. The daemons at the table, staring hungrily at the oven, immediately resumed their attempts to look occupied. She glared at them, waiting to see if any would ask if they could share in her cooking, but she wasn’t surprised when they said nothing. Daemons didn’t like asking for things.

  Four males, one female. She had no idea what their castes were, why they were here, or how dangerous they might be. But daemons also didn’t like those sorts of questions, especially in a place like this.

  As she reached for the carton of eggs and a large bowl, she glanced around the spacious room. It was so different from the dinky kitchen in her townhouse that it was almost like a dream. Shiny granite countertops, a huge center island, stainless steel appliances, recessed lights under the glossy cabinets. She’d never been to a Consulate before, but she hadn’t expected this.

  Demons that visited Earth knew about Consulates—sanctuaries where trained Consuls offered daemons free room, board, and protection. The daemons at the table behind her could have hailed from the Overworld or the Underworld, and short of caste-identifying features, it was impossible to tell where a daemon came from. She was trusting that same ambiguity to protect her identity as a nymph.

  Still, she probably should have kept out of sight. She and Lyre had already stayed here too long. Since their escape from Asphodel two days ago, they’d mostly slept—especially Lyre, whose magic reserves had been completely depleted. She would have slept almost as much except their room had only one bed. No matter how many blankets she piled into a barrier between them, he somehow always shifted closer and closer until she was hanging off the edge of the bed.

  This evening, she’d woken up with his spicy cherry scent filling her nose, his hard body pressed against her side, his warm breath whispering against her neck—sending hot swirls of heat deep into her center and making her twitchy. Even fast asleep he was sinfully alluring. And when she’d forcefully untangled herself, he’d opened his eyes, shadow-dusted amber that could take her prisoner with only a glance.

  Incubus. Lord of seduction. Master of lust. Sex fiend.

  And she’d already had a brief introduction to the taste of his mouth, the feel of his body, the way he could—

  She shook her head violently, almost dislodging her loose ponytail. Growling to herself, she whisked the eggs with more force than necessary. She’d left him in the room to wake up and shower while she scrounged up something to eat. The Consuls provided a few meals a day but also allowed guests to help themselves to anything in the kitc
hen.

  As though summoned by her thoughts, the sex fiend himself breezed into the room. Hair damp and tousled, the kind of face that made women’s hearts skip, broad shoulders that tapered to a toned torso. His tattered clothes should have ruined the look, but they added an extra edge—dangerous and exotic.

  The others in the kitchen noticed his arrival, but they dismissed him just as quickly. Unlike most daemons, incubi were easy to recognize even in glamour. No other caste possessed that stunning combination of golds—white-gold hair, warm golden skin, vibrant irises like a dark patina over rich yellow gold.

  Yes, they recognized him as an incubus—and they didn’t bother to hide their curling lips and wrinkling noses. Lyre either didn’t notice or didn’t care as he swept over to her, his expression brightening for the first time in two days.

  “Clio,” he purred, voice too low for even keen-eared strangers to hear, “your powers of seduction would put any succubus to shame.”

  She blinked at him, the bowl of whisked eggs in her hands and a hot pan sizzling in front of her. His mood was so different from earlier that she couldn’t quite grasp it.

  “Huh?” she managed. How articulate.

  “This is entirely unfair. I have no power to resist such tactics.” He waited a beat. “Are you planning to do something with those eggs?”

  She blinked again, trying to unscramble her brain. Scramble. Right, the eggs. She dumped the mixture into the hot pan. “What are you going on about, Lyre?”

  “Bacon,” he sighed dreamily. “Pancakes. Scrambled eggs. You slay me, my love.”

  On the words “my love,” her heart screeched to a stop so fast it might have left skid marks on her ribs. It kicked back into gear at three times its previous speed and she concentrated so hard on the spatula that she almost went cross-eyed. “You—you can’t be that excited about my cooking. You don’t even know if it’s any good.”

  “I can tell already. It’ll be delicious.”

  She shivered. The way he said that word should be illegal. As she hurriedly stirred the eggs with a spatula, he stood so close he was almost touching her, his body angled toward her as though she held his entire attention. But his gaze, sliding coolly from one watching daemon to another, was distinctly unfriendly.

  She scraped the eggs off the pan, then rescued the bacon from the oven—triggering a stir among the waiting daemons. With her bottom lip caught between her teeth, she pulled a plate from the cupboard, loaded it with food, and held it out to Lyre. She’d cooked an elaborate late-night breakfast to cheer him up, but now second thoughts were crowding her brain. Too late to change her plan now.

  His smile only fueled her blush as he fished a fork out of a nearby drawer, loaded it with eggs, and scooped them into his mouth. She held her breath. The entire room went silent.

  His eyes rolled back in ecstasy. “So good,” he moaned.

  Bang.

  She jerked around. The female daemon had dropped her heavy book on the floor. As everyone looked over at her, pink tinged the woman’s cheeks. She snatched up her book and beat a hasty retreat out of the room.

  Clio swallowed hard, envious of the woman’s ability to flee. Lyre’s moan had been so sensual it had been downright scandalous, and if Clio didn’t put space between them, she was going to start swooning like a complete fool.

  The male daemons didn’t look scandalized, though. They looked irritated. The largest, a bulky guy with a bald head and a thick beard, pushed away from the table. Clio went still as the daemon came up to the island, his glower fixed on Lyre.

  “You gonna share some of that, incubus?”

  Lyre smiled and bit the end off a strip of bacon. “Ask the cook.”

  The daemon faced her and she had to stiffen her spine to keep from shrinking away. She’d fully intended to share the excessive amount of food, but she didn’t like his attitude—or the way he’d sneered “incubus” when he’d spoken to Lyre.

  “Well?” the daemon growled when she didn’t say anything.

  She turned to the counter, grabbed another plate, and piled it so high that eggs threatened to tumble off the edge. She pulled out a fork and stuck it into the top like a flagpole. The daemon reached eagerly for the overloaded plate.

  Raising her chin, she carried it right past him and walked to the doorway.

  “Whoever wants some can have it,” she announced. “But if you eat, then you can clean up too.”

  The aggressive daemon and the other three stared at her.

  She tilted her head at Lyre. “Come on.”

  Casting a brief smirk at the other guy, Lyre sauntered across the kitchen to join her, and she led the way to their tiny room on the lower level.

  Setting her plate on the desk, she dropped into the wooden chair. “They’re so rude. Would it kill them to ask for some? Why do they have to play power games?”

  Lyre pushed the door closed with one foot and waved his fork in an indecipherable gesture. “They probably intended to be polite until I showed up.”

  She frowned. “What do you mean?”

  “Male daemons always feel like they have something to prove when there’s an incubus in the room.” He shrugged and shoveled half a pancake into his mouth.

  She picked up her fork, dismayed by the mountain of food, then lowered her cutlery with a groan. “Oh no.”

  “Huh?” Lyre grunted through a mouthful.

  “I forgot syrup.” She looked up at him, embarrassed. “I gave you a plate without syrup too. I’m sorry.”

  “Clio, it’s fantastic as is. It doesn’t need syrup.”

  “But …” Her brows scrunched together. His plate was already half empty. When had he eaten that much? The food was vanishing at an alarming rate. Maybe it was a good thing she’d overloaded her plate.

  As she watched him scarf it down, a strange feeling twisted through her middle. The last time she’d been this nervous about someone liking her cooking, she’d been treating her half-brother, Bastian, to a meal. No matter what she cooked for him, however simple or extravagant, he’d eat a few bites, compliment her efforts, then put his cutlery down. But Lyre didn’t even have syrup for his pancakes and he was devouring everything like it was the best meal he’d ever tasted.

  The feeling in her middle twisted tighter and she quickly focused on her food before he commented on her gawking. Once she’d eaten her fill, he finished off her plate too.

  Finally done, he sat on the bed with a satisfied sigh. “I could get used to eating like that.”

  As another blush threatened, she stacked the plates and utensils on the desk. “Did you not eat well in Asphodel?”

  “Hmm, I guess I did.” He squinched his eyes in thought. “The cook makes whatever I want and there are dozens of places to eat, but …” He shrugged. “It’s not the same, somehow.”

  Yep, she was blushing again. “You had your own cook?”

  “S’pose so. Cook, maid, maintenance staff. We don’t really …” He trailed off, frowning. “I didn’t do any of that stuff.”

  She said nothing, recognizing his change of tense from present to past. He wasn’t a pampered master weaver anymore. There were no more cooks or maids in his future.

  The same thought seemed to occur to him. The light in his eyes faded into dull exhaustion. His spurt of good spirits, brought on by the shower and food, withered and he slumped back on the blankets.

  She winced. During the brief periods he’d been awake since arriving here, his mood had been dark, grim … defeated. She’d tried to discuss what to do next but hadn’t gotten further than him agreeing that they needed to get his clock spell back from her traitorous bodyguard Eryx.

  “Lyre,” she said softly, facing the bed. “I know you’re tired, but we need to plan our next move. We can’t stay here any longer.”

  He opened his eyes but his stare was lifeless, and she wondered how he’d grown despondent so fast. Unless his energetic confidence in the kitchen had been a show for the other daemons?

  “I don
t know what to do next.” He rubbed his face. “We should head into Brinford, I guess. It’ll be easier to hide there.”

  “We can’t hide forever. We need to get your clock spell back.”

  “How?” He slouched into the pillows. “That asshole Eryx could have taken it anywhere.”

  “He took it to the Overworld.” She hardened her voice. “Now quit moping and help me figure out a plan.”

  “How do you know he took it to the Overworld?”

  “Because he’s Prince Bastian’s bodyguard. He’s taken the clock to Irida to give to Bastian, I’m sure of it.”

  “You mean the prince who submitted Irida’s proposal to Chrysalis?” He finally sat up and focused, but his expression was bleakly incredulous. “You’re saying a ruling family in the Overworld has my KLOC? How am I supposed to get it back from them?”

  She pursed her lips. “Well, I was planning to just ask Bastian.”

  He blinked.

  “Eryx betrayed me and … and left me to die.” The words caught in her throat and she had to force them out. “But Bastian would be horrified if he knew what happened. If I can explain how dangerous the clock is, I can convince him to destroy it.”

  “Eryx overheard me explaining how the KLOC’s power spreads,” Lyre said skeptically. “To him and to your prince, it sounds like a weapon that can wipe out a daemon army’s magic. You think he’d destroy something that powerful?”

  “If we explain how catastrophic it could be, he will,” she said, burying her doubts. “Everything else aside, the most important thing to Bastian is the safety of our people. His highest priority is protecting Irida.”

 
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