Born in Chains

Men in Chains (Volume 1)

Caris Roane

St. Martin's Paperbacks

CHAPTER 1
 

 
Chained to a cavern wall, Adrien hung forward from his shackles, arms shaking. The short length of the wrought-iron loops prevented him from falling to his knees, but after hours of torture he couldn’t stand up straight and his shoulder joints were loose and screaming.
The torturers had come and gone.
Through his pain, he heard his half brothers calling to him, shouting his name, forcing him to concentrate.
He tried. But something else snagged him. The power that always hovered just at the edge of consciousness, the power of the Ancestrals that he rejected every day of his life, whispered to him, She’s here.
The vision came over him and his heart seized. He could feel the future in his bones as the images pressed in on him, of a beautiful woman with soft highlights in her light brown hair, gold earrings sparkling and dangling past her chin, a warm smile on her lips. She wore a deep burgundy velvet gown, the color of blood, trimmed with what looked like gold crystals over a bodice that revealed a deep line of cleavage. Her shoulders, arms, and back were bare. And he felt something for her, something that called to his vampire soul, something that made him strain against his manacles.
He needed to get to her, to be with her, to keep her safe.
The vision rolled.
Let’s go, she said. She extended her hand to him. He took it, then just as he felt the softness of her palm and fingers, the vision ended, dissipating like dust in the wind.
But not the sensations left behind, the need he felt to be with her, to get to her. He strained harder in his chains, hurting himself all over again.
Suddenly his stomach cramped and his body seized. He cried out in agony. He heard his brothers shouting at him but he couldn’t respond.
The vision of the woman had ignited his blood-hunger.
Getting just enough blood while chained up had been another form of torture. He and his imprisoned brothers suffered the agonies of blood-hunger, the cramps, the saliva that thickened in his mouth, the dreams during the daylight hours of piercing a vein.
If some act of fortune didn’t break in his direction soon, blood-madness would follow.
“Adrien, talk to us. Adrien.”
He recognized the voice. Lucian, his oldest half brother, the one who carried the sins-of-the-father in his soul. He’d been the one to break them out of their father’s compound, leading them into a new life of shedding years of intolerable pain and channeling all their ensuing rage into fierce fighting skills. They’d become peacekeepers in their world.
“Adrien, come back to us, brother.” Marius this time.
The pain ratcheted up, from both deep bruises and surface cuts. He’d been lashed with a whip then beaten with its stick end. He wasn’t sure which hurt worse.
“Adrien, answer us.” Lucian again.
He tried to speak, but his throat felt washed with fire. In the middle of everything, he’d shouted his pain and his rage.
Fortunately his blood-hunger began to dissipate, and he opened his eyes. Man-made dry-stone walls separated him from his two brothers, so that they were lined up on one side of the cavern like horses in stalls.
“Adrien?”
“I’m here.” His voice was barely a whisper.
But vampires had excellent hearing, so Lucian and Marius shouted their joy that he was still alive. They’d been in this Himalayan hellhole for the past year, sent here by the Council of Ancestrals, now ruled by Daniel Briggs, the monster who had chained them up personally, adding a touch of his preternatural power to the manacles so none of them could escape.
Lucian called to him again. “Adrien, repeat the vows.”
The vows. Yes, the vows had held them together all these centuries, from the time of their escape from the monster’s experiments on his young.
Adrien tried to join in. His lips moved, but he couldn’t make the sound come out.
“In times of chaos, what feeds the will?” Lucian shouted the words.
“Blood!” His brother’s voice resounded through the cavern, catching Adrien’s soul and easing his pain.
“What feeds us in the midst of destruction?” Lucian once more.
“Blood!” Marius cried.
“Throughout our lives, what serves the body?”
“Blood.”
“Blood,” Adrien whispered, trying to do his part, but a thousand whip marks all over his body still trapped his voice.
Pain. So much pain.
His turn to recover today. They’d each been put under the whip once a week, beaten and sliced up repeatedly. Sometimes the women who performed the torture brought clubs and battle chains just to mix things up.
“Adrien, do you hear me?” Lucian called out strong and loud. “Give the response. We’re waiting for you.”
Adrien blinked back the stinging sweat that dripped into one of the cuts on his cheek. His dark hair hung in damp clumps in front of him. The humid air, the torture, and his sweat created a cloud of wet stink and pain. Hanging as he was, his shoulders ached as though fire burned in each. He needed to draw himself back, but he could barely move.
“Adrien,” Lucian called out again, his voice sharp and commanding. “Give the ritual response. Now.”
“Blood,” Adrien said, the word like a soft scratch against wood, a mere hush in the dark vaulted cavern. A metallic taste filled Adrien’s mouth.
He spit on the floor and tried again. “Blood.” Still a hoarse whisper. “Blood.” Louder. “Blood.”
He repeated the word until his vocal cords decided to function again and now he shouted into the jagged stone walls.
He kept shouting until his brothers joined him. “Blood, blood, blood.”
His strength returned slowly until at last he reached back and grabbed the heavy links of black wrought iron. He drew himself upright, his cut feet bearing his weight and causing a new round of agony. But at least his arms weren’t threatening to pop out of their sockets. He hooked his elbow in the slack loop of the chain and laid his head down on his arm, the only way he could sleep.
Yes, sleep was what he needed, but just as he might have drifted off his thoughts snagged on Daniel and the Council he ruled, which had allowed him to send Adrien and his brothers to the vampire prison in the Himalayas.
Over the past two years Daniel had ripped the vampire world apart, removing authority from the five smaller local courts and transferring it to the weak-willed, poorly governed Council of Ancestrals. He was growing in wealth in a heinous, soulless manner, by dispossessing well-to-do vampires of their fortunes and selling off extensive mineral rights to a human named Harris Kiernan, a typical man of his species, full of greed and little else.
Adrien wanted both Kiernan and Daniel dead so that they could do no more harm against the vampire world. But mostly he wanted Daniel dead, his body burned, bones ground to dust, and every last element salted.
He nodded against the chains, his body aching head-to-toe. So help him God, yes, he’d see Daniel dead.
And with his determination shored up once more, he fell asleep.
*   *   *
As darkness fell, and with a lantern in hand, Lily Haven moved up the path that led to the secret cavern prison.
She walked behind one of the jailers, a female vampire of Indian origin, her skin slightly paler than that of her human counterparts. The woman flicked the black leather handle of a whip, a sign of preference, ownership, usage.
Lily couldn’t believe she was here, that any of this was happening, that vampires existed and she would soon be bound to one.
The blood-chain around Lily’s neck, the tool she’d be using to take control of a large male vampire, vibrated almost painfully.
She could feel him now, and the terrible pain he endured, the one whose blood had been forged into the metal that now hung in thin loops around her neck.
Harris Kiernan had warned her what the female guards did to the prisoners, torturing the men to the point of death, each of them once a week, something that had been going on since shortly after the prisoners’ arrival a year ago. He’d told her to prepare herself for a rough ride on every front—that her job here in India, to take charge of the vampire known as Adrien, would only be the beginning of a difficult trek.
Difficult didn’t begin to describe her journey of the last two years. It had started with an attack on her neighborhood while she’d been visiting her sister in Oregon. A vicious group of vampires had gone through her neighborhood on a rampage, killing, raping, and stealing, an event the US government still called “an unparalleled gang-related attack.” That night she’d lost what was most precious to her: a beloved husband, a daughter Jessie, just five, and her son Josh, who had been eight at the time.
She’d grieved without cessation until two months ago when she’d learned that her son was still alive. Josh, now ten, still lived, which is what had brought her here. Kiernan had held her son captive for two years, though well cared for, she’d been assured. And all Lily had to do to get him back was take charge of a powerful vampire and use him to find what was called an extinction weapon. Then Josh would be returned to her.
*   *   *
Lily carried a damp washcloth in her free hand, intending to hold it to her nose given the terrible conditions in the cavern-turned-prison. As she drew near the opening, she saw that the doorway was lined with intricately carved stone blocks, a sign that she had entered a secret vampire world.
The first hint of the stench inside reached her and she jerked her wrist, bringing the washcloth to her face.
The woman glanced at Lily. “Some say it smells like a garbage bin behind a restaurant, only a hundred times worse. I don’t smell it, of course. I’ve got a nose like a hyena.” Then she laughed, whipped her head around, and moved within. “Like the prisoners inside, anyone can get used to the smells.”
Lily remained for a moment near the entrance, breathing through her mouth as much she could, the washcloth pressed over the bridge of her nose. Finally she lifted the lantern high and followed, watching as dirt gave way to a floor made of stone pavers.
Crossing the threshold, she saw that the space rose to at least fifty feet in height, a typical-looking cave made of jagged dark rock, although portions of the walls appeared to have been worked with chisels at one time. Maybe there were even patterns but given the dim light, she couldn’t tell.
She hadn’t gotten more than fifteen feet when a wave of dizziness washed over her and she stopped.
The dizziness again. From the time she’d put the chain on, her senses had come alive in a way she’d never experienced before, as though she could know things if she just focused.
But this time the feeling of knowing became more and more specific until the space in front of her shifted, moving fast all around the edges. A vision emerged as the women brought one of the prisoners from his individual space, an open cell separated from other cells with walls of stacked stones. She recognized him from the dossiers she had on each vampire. He was the one called Adrien, the one she’d be taking with her.
He was naked, the state all the men were kept in, and his dark hair, not quite black, hung in lank, filthy strands almost to his shoulders.
He stared from beneath tight brows as he walked forward, a kind of soft light illuminating her vision. The chains between his manacled feet dragged against the stone, making a scraping sound she wouldn’t soon forget. Male guards stood nearby with Tasers, one of the most effective weapons against vampires. Something about the vampire metabolism made them susceptible to electricity.
Adrien was tall, six-six according to the file on him, and much paler than the resident Indian counterparts, clearly descended from European stock. Despite the length of his captivity, he was well muscled, and in this vision he didn’t have a single wound or scar on him. He was incredibly handsome, his cheekbones strong, a shallow indentation in his chin, his lips full, his brows straight. She had seen pictures of him, but she hadn’t been exactly prepared for the breadth of his shoulders or the flexing of his powerful thighs as he moved.
She was drawn to him, something she didn’t want to be feeling at all given that he was what she despised most: a vampire.
Now she sensed the time sequence. Two hours ago. He’d been tortured only two hours ago.
The vision continued as the guards threatened to use the Tasers unless Adrien did as he was told. He obeyed, backing up to the wall. The guards slipped the loose chains from each manacled wrist over hooks on the wall.
When the whipping began, Lily closed her eyes, but the vision didn’t care and showed her everything anyway, straight into her head, each strike on Adrien’s flesh, each cry from his lips, blood flowing from wound after wound until his flesh peeled away from his body in a hundred different places.
The women took turns flaying him, eyes glittering, nostrils flaring, sweat flowing from the work it took to wield the whip and make the cuts as deep as possible.
Not until Adrien passed out did the vision begin to fade.
“Hey, human, you in some kinda trance?”
Lily blinked and her eyesight returned; her sense of smell as well. Somehow in watching the vision, she’d taken the washcloth from her nose. She returned it now and only with tremendous effort kept from vomiting.
“Take me to Adrien,” she mumbled behind the terry cloth.
“You’re in luck. He’s still hanging from the obedience hooks.” The woman laughed once more. “These prisoners never learn.”
Lily wasn’t far from Adrien now. She could feel him, as though she already knew him, but the sensation rankled. Adrien, and all his kind, deserved to disappear from the face of the earth, so why should she care about his pain? He was a vampire, like the ones who had destroyed her family and her neighbors.
As she turned the corner of one of the high walls made of flat stones stacked neatly on top of one another, there Adrien was, just like in the vision, cut up and beaten. But because two hours had passed, he was well on his way to healing. Like the rest of his kind, he had a powerful ability to recover from the most severe wounds within hours.
He rested his head on the chains, but with his eyes closed, he held himself upright, feet planted over a foot apart.
She set the lantern on the floor. “Where does he go after a whipping?”
“Back to his stall, not much different from this. Smaller.”
With the damp cloth still pressed to her face, Lily glanced at the stone floor at his feet. He stood in a pool of dark blood, his blood, and what she assumed were layers of dried blood beneath.
She tore her gaze away and lifted her chin. The chain-based visions wanted to return, sweeping over her, but she pressed them back. She had seen enough for now.
“Leave this cave,” she said to the woman.
“What?”
“You heard me. I want to be alone with the prisoner.”
The woman opened and closed her mouth, then shrugged. She slapped her whip against her hand and muttered something about human bitches that needed to be drained dry.
When she was gone, Lily drew close to Adrien, standing only four feet away. She continued to breathe through her mouth and held the washcloth close. Even with half-healed cuts all over his body, he was magnificent, like something sculpted from marble. His brows, however, were pulled into a tight knot.
But as she stared up at him the chains hummed, and she knew a deeper truth about the vampire: He was trying to figure out not how to escape, but how to murder someone. She felt his determination as though it released in his sweat.
*   *   *
Adrien returned to consciousness, but he didn’t know why. He was only partially healed, and his body throbbed with pain. Usually he’d sleep for hours to complete his healing process as quickly as possible.
Yet something had awakened him, but what?
Above the usual filth of the cavern, he smelled a scent different from the vampires who usually took shifts—a human smell, one that filled him with rage.
He despised the world of humans, always taking what they wanted no matter who got hurt, or robbed, or dispossessed; the way they traded, for a few miserable dollars, the flesh of their kind into the forbidden sex-slave rings of his world, never to be seen again. And the way they illegally purchased the mineral rights of the caves Daniel Briggs stole from his fellow vampires.
And now a human was here, a woman, in the Himalayan prison.
Small sparks flew through his mind, as though part of him registered what was happening though the other part stayed sunk in denial. The muscles of his arms reacted, flexing in deep pulls then relaxing as if displaying his biceps. His abs knotted up in the same way.
With his eyes still closed, he lifted his head, leaning forward, straining against his manacles, pulling at the chains that bound him. Strength flowed into his arms, and a profound need swept through him to get out of his restraints. He needed to be free to protect his brothers from the enemy, from the human.
He groaned.
“What’s brewing, Adrien?” Lucian called to him.
“The enemy is here.” His voice sounded raspy again. He opened his eyes, but he couldn’t see very well. He’d taken a lot of blows to the head and face this time.
“You mean the human? We can smell her, too.”
He blinked several times and there she was, staring at him from a pair of large hazel eyes.
He breathed in and yes, she was very human, a stench more heinous to him than the putrid smells of the cavern. She had a lantern near her feet but he could see her easily as he adjusted his vampire vision.
The moment she came fully into view, however, he stalled out. His rage left him, flowing backward, and something else rushed toward the woman, something he didn’t want to feel. It was her, the woman in his vision.
A strange combination of desire and need boiled within him. He felt as though he knew her on some level he couldn’t explain.
Then the anger returned, at her kind, for their greed.
“What do you want?” he called out.
“Adrien, what the hell is going on?” Lucian’s voice, louder this time, more urgent, bounced off the jagged stone ceiling.
Adrien couldn’t respond, partly because he didn’t know what the hell was happening and partly because time had just drawn to a hard standstill.
His brothers called to him, but he couldn’t quite hear them. He watched the woman’s lips move, so she must have been speaking as well, but his ears had shut down.
He saw her as though sunshine cascaded over her long, light brown hair. What would her hair look like pulled up high on her head? Did she own a burgundy gown dotted with gold crystals? He wanted her. He needed her. But he couldn’t be feeling this way, not about a human.
His thigh muscles contracted and his knees bent. He tilted his head back and shouted into the heights of the cave, a sound that roared in his ears. His brothers shouted as well, joining him.
When he looked back at the woman, she’d covered her ears with her hands, her face twisted in pain, which caused him a certain amount of pleasure. She should hurt, this short-lived mortal, a representative of a race he abhorred.
He struggled harder against the chains and manacles, bruising and cutting his wrists and ankles as he tried to get to the woman, wanting her to pay.
She moved toward him, tears now running down her cheeks. Why was she weeping? His arms flailed and the chains clanked as he reached toward her. Her expression looked windblown, and he knew he needed to stop all the shouting, but he couldn’t quiet his voice, not until her hands landed on his chest.
His back arched and he cried out one last time. He took short puffs of air into his lungs, but he began to calm down.
Only then, with the touch of her hands easing him, did he realize he was in a full state of arousal.
What the hell was this human doing to him?
*   *   *
Lily’s heart pounded so hard that she’d grown deaf from the sound of the rhythmic rush through her ears. Her fingers felt the split of skin beneath her hands and even wetness from Adrien’s open wounds, but it just didn’t matter. All that mattered was quieting the vampire so that her ears would stop feeling like knives were slicing them up.
He thrashed in his chains, hurting himself even more. His wrists and ankles now bled in long red rivulets. His eyes had a red hue and he’d bared his fangs. She could feel his hatred of her as much from the chain around her neck as the power emanating from his body.
He looked like a madman, his body gyrating, his muscles from stem to stern flexing and rippling as he tried to pull away from the wall to get to her.
And yet he was aroused, which told her the other part of the story, that he had a powerful drive toward her he didn’t want to have. This had all the makings of a nightmare.
She ignored that his erection pressed against her stomach. He didn’t even seem to notice his sexual state. Instead, his eyes bored into hers, and as she kept her hands flat against his chest, he finally grew still, though his nostrils moved like bellows with each breath.
The other vampires in the cavern grew quiet as well, as though sensing Adrien’s growing calm. The three men were half-brothers, though she knew little else about them except that they served as a type of policing force for their kind.
As she stared up at him, chills raced over her shoulders and down her arms. Her chest tightened as a strange sensation gripped her deep in her stomach, something that emanated from the chain around her neck. Kiernan had told her it would recognize Adrien since the specialist—something called an Ancestral in the vampire world—had used Adrien’s blood to create the chain.
She opened her mouth to tell him about her current mission and what she needed him to do, but all she could seem to focus on was the shade of his eyes, an exquisite shade somewhere between blue and green, almost a teal but quieter, softened with faint brown flecks.
She realized that she could see really well in the dark, another result of the blood-chain. Essentially, once connected, she’d be siphoning more and more power from the chain and from Adrien himself after she’d bound him with the matching chain. In the meantime, she could already feel the chain at work on her. The vision alone had told her that much.
She looked at his lips, full and sensual. He strained toward her, leaning into her. “You’re my enemy,” he hissed.
“And yet you desire me.”
“I want you on your back, human, then I’ll make you feel just how weak you are compared with my kind.”
“You speak of my weakness, but I’m not the one hanging from massive chains in a prison. You are. How did you get here, vampire? What brought you to this cavern?”
“Treachery,” he muttered.
“Of course. Your kind always has an excuse. But at least we seem to understand each other, I hate your kind and you despise mine. We ought to at least be on an equal footing when I take charge of you.”
“What does that mean?”
She backed away slowly, and as her hands left his chest his gaze fell to the chain at her neck. His eyes narrowed.
“I’ll be taking you out of here.”
“You’ve got a blood-chain.”
“I do.”
“And you’ve got the matching one?”
She nodded. “I was hired by a private individual to take you into my custody and make use of your powers.”
He scowled. “Daniel would never allow that unless he’d sanctioned the release.”
“Who exactly is Daniel?”
Adrien snorted. “Daniel Briggs, the vampire in charge of everything right now, including this lovely prison.”
“I report to Harris Kiernan, no one else.”
The vampire hissed. “He and Daniel work together, a little married couple.”
“I’ve been told to explain a few things to you. First, you’ll be bound to me and we’ll be unable to get more than a few feet apart at any given time. Second, for either of us to remove the chain will mean death to both. Finally, you’ll have to do as I say. And just to be clear, I’m more determined than you can imagine to see my mission through. I’ve got a lot at stake and I will get what I’ve come here for. Or die trying.” She lowered her chin. “Do you understand?”
“You’re saying you’re putting your life on the line for your mission.”
“That’s right.”
“Have you considered that once bound, I might decide to do the same? That I might find living in this state a worthless venture?”
“Yes, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve made the decision to bind myself to you and if death follows, so be it.”
He nodded slowly. “All right, I believe you. So what’s your mission?” His eyes flared suddenly. “Wait, I can sense something from you, about you. You’re a locator, aren’t you?”
“That’s what I’ve been told. That’s why I’m here.”
“And if we form this bond, you’ll be able to find things, is that it?”
“Yes.” She watched as he started putting the pieces together.
“Shit. You’re after the extinction weapon.”
She drew in a deep breath, vaguely aware that she no longer held the washcloth, nor did it seem to matter. “I am.”
“Do you understand the ramifications of this weapon?”
“That it has the potential to destroy the entire vampire race.”
The other vampires shouted suddenly for Adrien to refuse to go with Lily, but he called out, “The human has already said that Kiernan—and therefore Daniel—has turned me over to her. If he has his hand in this, we can be sure he won’t be far behind in trying to get the weapon for himself. Imagine the control he could exert over our race. I have to do this thing.” He met and held her gaze.
Lily saw the strength of him in that moment, his basic intent—and that the last thing he’d ever do was turn over the weapon once he had it in hand.
Great.
She drew a deep breath and set her shoulders once more.
Okay, one problem at a time.
“I’m glad you’re being reasonable.” Lily began backing away from him. “I’ll get your bath ready.”
She turned, picked up the lantern, and headed out, but the farther she moved away from him, the more the stench returned like a furnace-blast of odor. Somewhere, she’d dropped the washcloth.
She picked up her feet and ran the rest of the way.
Once outside the cavern, now fully dark, she jogged back down the path. The vampire who had led her to Adrien waited for her by her tent.
Furious all over again that she was even here, forced by circumstances as heinous as they were outside her control, she delivered her orders, her words clipped. “Give him another hour or so to heal, then get him clean. I don’t care if you have to use pumice on every inch of his skin, just get him clean.”
“I’ll see that he’s bathed.” The vampire turned and headed back into the main camp to round up her forces.
When Lily went inside her tent, she quickly stripped off her clothes. She moved into her makeshift camp shower, wondering if she’d ever feel clean again. As she soaped up, she shuddered at her memory of Adrien, that she’d found the enemy beautiful, that she’d desired a vampire.
The thought felt unholy as she scrubbed from head to foot.
She would order her clothes burned, especially since they had Adrien’s blood on them. She wanted no visceral memory of her time here if she could possibly help it.
Although the water was just barely warm, even after the staff added hot water to the tank, she stood beneath the shower and shampooed her hair, scrubbed her skin raw, and only quit when she couldn’t smell the cave any longer.
Afterward she wrapped herself up in a thick robe and reviewed the latest email from Kiernan. Her first step was simple: bind Adrien with the matching chain, then take him back to his Paris apartment to get prepped for the mission. Once he was ready, she was to contact Kiernan, who wanted to know every step of her progress.
Sighing heavily, she opened a small case to her right and removed a chain that matched her own, made up of the same small dark loops. Her chain vibrated as she slipped the second chain over her head.
In the box was something else, something to help her remember why she was binding herself to a vampire. She picked up a small piece of cloth, taken from Josh’s shirt, stained with his blood.
As she towel-dried her hair, she heard a thumping on the path outside. A dozen men hurried by, barely shadows in the dark. Two of them hauled a huge stainless-steel tub, which got dumped unceremoniously not far from her tent. Those men raced back up the path in the direction of the cavern.
She heard shouting in the distance.
What the hell was going on?
She moved to the tent doorway and held her robe closed. Other staff arrived and began filling the tub, some with cold water, some carrying buckets that steamed, but all those heads were also turned in the direction of the cave.
She listened hard.
About fifteen seconds later she heard Adrien’s voice. He was shouting, then roaring, then nothing, at least from him.
When the shouting of the guards didn’t abate, Lily got dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, and slid into a clean pair of loafers.
She left her tent and hurried back up the path. By the time she reached the group at the opening to the cave, she realized that the guards were firing Tasers into Adrien, laughing as his prone body jerked in the dust. He moaned each time he was hit.
“What the hell are you doing?” she called out. “I need him.”
The men, all paled-out vampire Indians, turned to her, eyes as vicious as the women’s.
“He gave us trouble,” the tallest man said, swatting at a fly near his head. He glared at Lily.
A lie, of course. The manacles Adrien wore held a preternatural charge and kept him from doing more than shuffling, just as he had in the cave during her vision.
When she glanced down at him, he craned his neck to look up at her.
Meeting his hostile gaze, her own rage flared, not just at him, but at the collective nature of the vampires around her, without decency of any kind. So typical, in her opinion, that they would torture a prisoner like this, one of their own.
“Take him to the bath,” she said quietly. She wanted out of here as soon as possible, and the only way out was to get the vampire clean then bound to her with the second chain.
It took six men to lift that much muscle and haul Adrien back down the path to the large metal tub, now full of steaming water.
Once he was in the oversized bath, his knees pulled up to make him fit, she set them at the task of scrubbing the grime off him. Fortunately, he passed out. She ordered the water changed two more times.
When at last he was clean, she removed the bonding chain from her neck and carefully placed it over Adrien’s head, working it past his thick hair that touched his shoulders, until it rested against the back of his neck and dipped down in front to his collarbone.
A vibration passed from her chain to his. Her heart beat hard in her chest, as though trying to break free. She took deep breaths. A strange tingling moved through her body, from her head, flowing in waves down to her feet then back up as the chain made the connection she’d been told would happen.
The connection solidified and she placed her hand on Adrien’s chest over the chain. She sensed so many things about him all at the same time: his rage, his physical agony, and his desire to keep his world safe.
She looked up at the guard. “Get these manacles off. Now.”
The guard set to work, using a special tool to pound out the bolts that locked the manacles in place. Once both sets were gone, she sent the guard away.
With the blood-chain in place, Adrien wouldn’t be able to move but a few feet away from her.
Oh, God, she was now bound to a vampire.
But her reasons, yes, her reasons were worth anything that happened from this point forward.
 

Copyright © 2013 by Caris Roane