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Five Fates, 1

Cursed since birth, hunted by gods, and desperate for love—she never stood a chance.

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    Half-demon, half-goddess, Jade’s fate makes her a pawn in an epic battle among the gods. Hidden on Earth with her sisters, she successfully avoids the Oneiroi—the dream gods—bent on her destruction until the prophecy, long dormant, awakens a dark shadow within her.

    Roen, a reclusive Worr demon known for his battles against the Oneiroi, is called to protect Jade. Together they must unlock their mysterious connection and find a way to beat back destiny. Can she outsmart the prophecy, change her fate, and find love—even when she learns who is connected to her destruction?

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    Cursed since birth, hunted by gods, and desperate for love—she never stood a chance.

    EXCERPT

     

    Jade froze, her paintbrush hanging mid-air above her palette. The light streaming in diagonally through the bay window cast an eerie, surreal frame over the room.

    Whispers seduced and coerced.

    She scanned the painting. Buildings cast long, ominous shadows, stalking the pedestrians as they made their way to and fro, huddled against the misery of the evening. A man lay sprawled, his lifeblood staining the sidewalk crimson. Half in a deserted alley, he was yet to be discovered. This was the detail Jade concentrated on. She blended a burnt red and used careful brush strokes to complete the scene as the portrait fell prey to the darkness that burned inside her.

    Without meaning to, her gaze was once again drawn to the slain man. She reached up and touched the blood seeping from his body, her fingers coming away wet. Bringing her hand to her nose she closed her eyes and inhaled.

    Instead of the cloying scent of her oils, she inhaled the coppery twang of blood.

    Stunned, her mouth parted on a silent scream. No! Darkness bubbled to the surface, invading her senses with a roar. Unable to fight the invasion, her heart beat an increasing crescendo. Part of her didn’t want to struggle, not with the temptation of death on her hand.

    Deep inside, a macabre shadow stretched. Hungry for more, its long arms clawed for purchase with each breath. Changing her, as part of her argued for the better. The other part—the one that gloried in her fire-kissed hair and shimmering eyes—cried against this crime and screamed for redemption.

    She crouched to welcome the demonic strength as the parasitic monster grew inside her. Evolving into a fierce predator, she was able to taste, weigh, and measure the souls who sifted through her fingers.

    Still, she fought for space in her own body. For control.

    But with the scent of blood, of death, of prey teasing the monster—she was losing fast. It’s happening. Unshed tears burned her eyes. Finally. The curse of the three Fates had begun. With her.

    Slowly Jade stood, bit down on her lip and welcomed the pain. The distraction would help fight the transformation. Dipping the brush into the Caribbean blue, she swirled then began to paint a shimmering cove. The vision soothed the beast that lurked just beneath, but it was temporary, and Jade knew its evil would soon mutiny. The Fates’ curse would change her over time, unleashing an unstoppable power within her to annihilate the gods who created her and anyone who got in her path.

    Including her family.

    Succumbing to a surge of menace, Jade dropped the blue-tipped brush as her back snapped straight and her mouth opened on a silent scream as she lost control. Every cell stretched to accommodate the new presence. Shivering from the effects of her altered state, she briefly shut her eyes, adjusting. When she opened them, her painting was before her, and she viewed the scene anew. Cocking her head, she closely observed a woman who tightly clutched her rain slicker about her body.

    This one will not make it home tonight.

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