Infernal Bonds goes live tomorrow!! I’m so excited, I cannot wait for this book to go live! I’m been dying to talk about this book, the plot, the characters, for so long. Do you know how hard it’s been for me to not share spoilers!? Squee I’m so excited!
Ahem. I know you’re here for the chapter not my squee’ing 😛 So here’s it is, chapter two of Infernal Bonds!
My body ached. Our backpacks full of varying body parts and fluids sat near the front door; the alchemists could wait. I didn’t want to walk into his lair in my injured and exhausted state. He hadn’t done us any harm yet, but the fact remained that they were creatures of magic, supernals, and thus not to be trusted. I peeled my jeans off and threw them onto the heap of bloody clothes that Quin had already amassed. We’d soon have enough money to replace our entire wardrobes and live well for a few months. The ruined clothes still irked me, though. I stood in front of the full length mirror standing between our bedroom doors and inspected the night’s injuries.
There were four relatively deep holes in my upper thigh, thanks to the final redcap. Claw marks ran down my lower ribs; a lycan had gone rogue and had to be put down. Teeth marks sat around my left wrist where a particularly savage nymph had tried to chew my hand off. I hadn’t known anything like it, the planets really had made them all insane. It had been a long time since we’d encountered quite so much chaos in a single night. Quin danced around behind me, humming to himself as he mixed various powders; he loved playing with alchemy. I’d rather that neither of us had anything to do with magic, but I couldn’t deny that it had its uses. That didn’t make me any more comfortable with the concept of magic; it was too easy to abuse.
I left him to his gleeful mixing and had a quick shower to wash off the worst of the blood and filth. Exhaustion sat in my very bones as I closed my eyes and allowed the steam to build around me. No matter how much I scrubbed, I couldn’t remove the feeling of being defiled by the redcap’s claws. The images of their twisted dirt-caked visage kept forming into my mind. I pushed it away and dried myself off, pulling on a pair of shorts and a strap top. Quin and I were used to being almost naked around each other; we’d lived together our entire lives and had to patch up more injuries than I cared to remember. Any weirdness that may have been there had long since evaporated.
I walked into the living room to see him leap back before a ball of neon pink fire leapt up from the bowl in front of him. He threw some green powder on it, causing it to disperse into a shimmering silver mist. He poked at the remnants of the bowl once more, before he yelped as it set on fire once more.
“Please don’t tell me that’s the healing paste you plan on putting on me,” I said.
He flashed me a large grin. “I’ve almost finished perfecting it!”
The bowl cracked. Dark blue gloop with golden stripes began spreading across the kitchen counter, the same kitchen counter where we made our food. He scooped the gloop into a fresh bowl and did a little dance.
“It didn’t go quite as I envisioned, but I have absolute faith that it will be superior to my previous attempt,” he said.
I exhaled slowly through my nose. The previous attempt at it had burned like a sonofabitch and required a rather expensive salve from the alchemist to fix. He either conveniently didn’t remember that experience, or gleefully ignored it as his face contorted into a look of intense concentration. He twisted around trying to smear some of the stuff onto his ribs and lower back.
His thick black hair began to fall into his eyes causing him to blow upwards; that only made things worse. I flopped down on the sofa and waited for my turn. I knew I should probably have helped him apply the stuff, but I’d seen it catch on fire. Twice. The pain of the injuries was growing and making me stiff, but I was too proud to allow it to show any more than was absolutely necessary. A quiet celebratory noise came from Quin’s direction; I assumed he’d succeeded in coating the wound from the lycan in the healing gloop.
He stood and looked over to me with a grin on his face. “This is a new recipe, it tingles but it should heal things more quickly.”
A weight settled in my stomach. He’d never intentionally harm me, and I trusted him with my life, but I couldn’t shake off the memory of the fireballs. It had been a long night and I really didn’t want to end it by being set on fire. Some of Quin’s previous experiments had resulted in nightmares for weeks. He approached me with a look of eagerness that wouldn’t be out of place on a puppy. With a soft shake of my head, I stood and prepared myself for his latest healing gloop. Our parents had been friends with a very strong old witch. She had taken us under her wing as children and taught us the basics of magic so we could defend ourselves. She also taught Quin the basics of herbs; he loved every second.
The paste really did tingle; I had to fight not to squirm against the cold, almost fizzing sensation.
“Is this from that elf, Kadrix?”
I had to ask. I wasn’t fond of the elf alchemist, myself, but Quin had a way of making friends with all and sundry, the elf being no exception.
“Sort of.” That didn’t fill me with confidence. “He told me how the three main ingredients come together, so I applied what Serena taught me. It seems to be working pretty well so far,” he said with a distracted tone.
He was almost done, and it hadn’t hurt yet. He couldn’t help but keep poking and experimenting with things. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t leave well enough alone. Still, sometimes his experiments did help us, so I kept my complaints to myself. He stepped back, looking satisfied that everything had been done; he looked quite absurd with random splotches of bright pink on his lightly tanned skin.
He wandered into the kitchen to wash up and called back over his shoulder, “It really is a shame you had to kill Serena, I could have learned more from her.”
I sat down slowly, trying to keep the paste off the sofa.
“She tried to kill me,” I said more defensively than I’d intended.
It was still a sore topic; she had been a family friend. I hadn’t enjoyed taking her life, but she’d given me no choice.
Quin leaned back against the kitchen counter, his eyebrows furrowed and his lips pursed. “I’m still surprised that she worked with that coven to have me kidnapped. I don’t understand why she did it, why me.”
I rubbed my eyes, wondering if I could get some sleep before we visited the alchemist.
I said with a sigh, “Why is that a surprise?”
“I mean, she was a family friend.”
I curled my lip; as far as I was concerned, their reasons were irrelevant. The witches were dead and Quin was home, where he belonged.
I looked at Quin and smiled softly. “I’m sure you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
He’d thought highly of Serena; I didn’t want to ruin his memories of her any more than absolutely necessary.
“Do you remember that time the lycan thought it would be hilarious to try and hump your leg?” Quin said, amusement dancing across his face.
I laughed. “He didn’t think it was so funny when I castrated him.”
“I’m not sure if he was more hurt by that or your rather scathing comments on his manhood,” he said with a laugh.
“Well, you’d really have thought that a creature of that size would… have more to show,” I said. I narrowed my eyes at him. “Is this you trying to segue into telling me I need to get laid again?”
He ran his fingers through his hair; that only added some sparkly gold streaks and made it stand up at interesting angles.
“It has been a while, sis…”
I walked to him and pulled him into a hug. “I love you, but I am not screwing a lycan. And no, I don’t care if it would be a fantastic experiment.”
I couldn’t keep the grin off my face as I said it. He meant the world to me, but I’d been subject to more than enough of his experiments.
Like what you read? Want more? It’s only $2.99 on Amazon! It’ll be free with Kindle Unlimited tomorrow!
Not quite sure if it’s for you? Don’t fear, I have a handy ARC review from Faith right here:
As Evie stalks the streets, its protector, she pulls us into the scene. One of Holly’s strengths is her ability to bring the city of Prague to life. These vivid portraits of the setting reveal a deep passion for the city and as Evie communicates her love for it, Holly’s voice echoes it in time.
Read the full review here: ARC review from Faith Rivens.
Thanks for your love and support! You’ve all been absolutely amazing throughout these launches. You’re incredible and I’m so, so, grateful for all you’ve given me. Thank you!