Daagiis again added to the story. “Hanos killed Vendeen’s parents right in front of him when he was only eight years old. He raised Vendeen as his own son.”
“His heir,” Vendeen spat out. His fingers stilled in her hair. “He liked me for some reason only his mad mind can conceive of. I was forced to kill on his behalf. To hurt people as I had been hurt. He stole my soul, and every opportunity I’ve had to oppose him has brought it back, a little piece at a time.”
Raven stared at him. She thought of the horror of such a life, to see one’s own parents killed in cold blood and then forced to live as their murderer’s son.
She couldn’t help but find Vendeen utterly riveting. His whole tragic persona and the strength he displayed in trying to thwart the pain that would have destroyed so many others.
Raven swallowed. She didn’t want to admire Vendeen. She didn’t want to feel understanding or sympathy for what had happened to him. Yet she couldn’t drag her gaze from his face.
Trying to hide the rush of these unwelcome feelings, she said, “Holy shit. Let me guess ... he’s tried to kill you for turning on him.”
One side of Vendeen’s mouth twisted in a smile. “Every chance he gets.”
Daagiis tossed his drink back and swallowed with a grimace. “That is who you are going to protect Vendeen against. I have been a warrior for many years, and even I can’t do it on my own.”
Raven looked at the two men. “So what do I need to do first to prepare?”
Vendeen’s gaze sharpened, and alarm coursed through her veins at the calculating smile he gave her. “We can get to that part soon enough. For now, I wish to become intimately familiar with you.”
Releasing August 2013