It's heeeeere! The finale to this little vampy prequel. I hope you enjoyed seeing Soren's first days as Lord over Salem, and come back next week for a glimpse at the totally smexy cover of the first book in the series!
In case you missed the previous weeks, here ya go!
Soren had never been a patient man. The years since his turning hadn’t tempered the feeling. He was better at not letting it show and ignoring some of the impulsiveness attached to the emotion, but the root was still buried deep inside him.
Five nights. Five damn nights, and he was no closer to answers than when he walked into the woods.
He kicked one of the legs of the chair Theo was strapped to. “Wake up,” he commanded.
Huxley—one of the few vampires he trusted—and Lachlan stood silently behind Theo. The jury was still out on Lachlan’s loyalty, but points added in his favor. He’d shown him the nest, healed Cecily, and sided against Theo. That at least deserved to see it through to the end.
Lida would have told him to build on that loyalty, which was why Hux was the newly-appointed head of security. Roderick had died under the watch of the others, and Soren had no intentions on joining him. He needed loyalty to keep him alive and informed.
Theo’s eyes moved under his lids, but he didn’t crack them open. The pretense of sleep wouldn’t stop the questions or the tactics used to obtain answers. All it did was piss Soren off.
Jaw tight enough to crack teeth, he stalked into the cell and threw the entire weight of his body into the punch. Theo’s eyes flashed open as he—and the chair—tipped over to the side and landed with a grunt.
“Good evening, Theo,” Soren said cheerfully. “Sleep well?”
Huxley snorted and stepped forward to set their prisoner upright, carefully avoiding the silver that kept him strapped in place.
“Sorry if I’m running a little behind tonight. You know how dinner can run late sometimes.” Soren shifted his look to the two standing at Theo’s back. “Hux? Lachlan? How about you? Have any trouble finding a meal once the sun went down?”
“Nope,” Huxley shrugged.
“Never,” Lachlan muttered with a twist to his mouth.
Theo simply glowered. Five days without a drop of blood wasn’t a hardship for the vampire, but Theo always had a glutton’s appetite.
Which was why he uncapped a flask of whiskey infused with blood and held it under his nose. “What do you say, Theo? Want something to slack your thirst?”
The other vampire’s lips parted for a split second before he pressed them together and swallowed hard.
Soren took a swig from the flask and with an exaggerated sigh of satisfaction, but he didn’t look at Theo. Instead, he focused somewhere above the vampire’s head, seemingly lost in thought. A tiny wrinkle of confusion formed to add to the effect. “Why drain them, Theo? What was the purpose of that?”
The question was the same as it’d been for five nights. Demands didn’t get the answer. Threats went ignored. Leaving him to rot in the darkness was slowly wearing him down. Soren could pretend to be the bewildered friend if it got Theo talking.
Gods, he hoped it wasn’t what he suspected. Blood magic had belonged to the fae. The fae had been banished back to their realm. Why any vampire would dabble in it was beyond him, but denying reality rarely worked in anyone’s favor.
Fact: Theo attacked him in the basement of a rundown shack used as a place of murder.
Fact: Theo alluded to using the blood of vampires and humans with his snide little comment, with the additional bonus of directly threatening Soren.
Fact: He’d already been attacked once by a woman wielding silver weapons and smelling of fae.
There were too many missing pieces of a puzzle he desperately needed to solve, and the one person with the clear image refused to talk.
“You don’t know what you’re doing,” Theo seethed. “When the queen hears about this… You’re fucked, Soren. Do you understand me? Fucked.”
“No one has asked about you. Not a peep from Roana. Not a word from anyone else at court. What was it you said the night I came here? That you recommended me and thought I’d do well here?” Soren gave him a halfhearted shrug of apology. “Maybe they just agree. Maybe they’re happier without you trying to stab them in the back.”
Soren crouched down to Theo’s level, then carefully poured the drink on the floor.
Theo watched the last drop hit the floor. The carefully crafted mask slipped from his face and he glared with fiery hatred in his eyes. “You stupid idiot,” he breathed through a smirk. “You think I’m the only one? We’re all around you. Roana doesn’t deserve the throne—”
“And you do?”
Theo bared his teeth. “I wouldn’t have tossed aside everything we fought for. I wouldn’t have handed power to the breathers. The unseelie had it right. The humans are there to serve us. We are their superiors. We are their masters!”
They fought to live, not to dominate. The unseelie came against them to wipe them out and subjugate all life, to turn their world into the bitter wasteland of their original realm. They—vampires and humans alike—were simply trying to survive in the aftermath.
“You will give me the names of your conspirators.”
Theo pressed his lips together and huffed a laugh. “You’ll regret keeping me here.”
“Why’s that, Theo? Someone planning to come break you out?” Soren took a shot in the dark. “Wouldn’t happen to be a dark-haired woman wielding some wicked silver weapons, would it?”
A sense of wonderment spread over his face. “You met Annalise?” he asked, almost in disbelief. At Soren’s silence, he tacked on, “You did, didn’t you?”
Hux and Lachlan both tensed behind him, but Soren didn’t take his eyes off the vampire. Five days, and that was the first new bit of information. A single name, but it was something to build upon.
“Who is she?”
Theo only chuckled and shook his head. “Oh, Soren. Oh, dear, dim Soren. You don’t know anything, do you? You have no idea the trouble barreling down upon you.” He twisted in his seat to try and take in Huxley and Lachlan. “None of you do. You’re dead. All of you are dead! The Void will take you all!”
Soren pushed to his feet and looked down his nose at the other vampire. Decades upon decades of scheming and maneuvering, and this was what it’d come to. Bound in silver in a cage and talking madness with the conviction of a zealot. One of the queen’s favorites was nothing more than a traitor to their kind.
He wasn’t the only one, either. Annalise stabbed him with silver. Annalise spared him because she didn’t hear an order from the Void. He wouldn’t be surprised if Theo collected the blood for this Annalise.
Dangerous to kill him and spark an uprising. Dangerous to keep him alive, too, but there was more to learn. Maybe another five days would shake something else loose.
“Theo Mouzalon, you will not have the satisfaction of a final ending. Not here, not until you give me every last scrap of information in your head. And even then, I’ll leave you starving in the dark until death takes you.”
Soren turned and strode out of the cell, giving a nod to Huxley and Lachlan as he passed. “Bring me his fangs,” he ordered, then made for the stairs.
He had work to do, and fae to hunt.
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