The Abyss (Fae's Captive #7) - Lily Archer Page 0,1

slaves surrounds the remaining Bazaar slavers, their finery torn and their cries pitiful. But I don’t feel sorry for them. I can’t. I leave them to their fate and rush toward Gareth. He’s circling with his sword up, but he keeps shaking his head. Why is he doing that?

I hurry toward him, careful not to slip on any of the ripped turf or the blood. When I get closer, I can tell he’s fighting sleep.

Spires! I forgot that Cenet has that power. He can put changelings to sleep with ease, but it seems his powers can only go so far on fae. “Gareth!”

He looks up, and his eyes widen.

“Are you all ri—”

A hand clamps around my throat, and I’m yanked backward. “If it isn’t my favorite little changeling slave.” Cenet’s forked tongue slithers up my ear.

I throw my right elbow back as hard as I can, but he shakes me like a doll until I’m limp and gasping. “Asshole,” I wheeze.

He brings his sword to my throat.

“No!” Gareth steps toward us as flames begin to leap all around. Zatran’s mansion is ablaze.

“What?” Cenet tightens his grip on my throat. “Is this slave garbage special to you?”

“Release her.” Gold pools in Gareth’s irises, his feral raging.

Cenet’s grip is painful, vicious. He won’t let me go, and he intends to use me to end Gareth. My eyes go watery. Because this is it. I can’t free myself from Cenet. But I can’t let Gareth die because of my foolishness. I turn my head a little, testing Cenet’s blade. It cuts me with ease, the sting a lethal kiss. Good.

“Release her? After you’ve ruined my plans to gut Zatran and take his slaves?” Cenet spits. “Look at the mess you’ve made. Slaves run amok. Do you have any idea how long it will take me to find them all, put them back in chains, and turn them into soldiers?”

“I said let her go.” Gareth’s eyes are pure gold now, and there’s almost a feline quality to him.

I lock eyes with him. I have so much to say. Apologies, mostly. To him. For dragging him here. For not having enough time.

“I should have killed her in the Gray Mountains.” He saws the blade into my neck gently, but that’s all it takes to send blood cascading down my throat.

“Stop!” Gareth’s voice takes on an edge of panic I’ve never heard. It breaks a piece of my soul to see him so anguished.

Cenet pauses. “Put down your sword and kneel in front of me.”


He pushes the side of the blade deeper.

“Stop!” Gareth drops his sword and holds his hands out to his sides.

“Come closer and kneel or I’ll finish her.”

“Gareth, don’t,” I croak. But I know he’ll do it. Because he’s a fool. For me.

Gareth holds my gaze as he approaches. The city burns around us, and screams paint the air—but all I see is him. The one who sets me ablaze from nothing more than a touch. My beloved, he calls me. Have I told him I love that name? I tell him through the bond. If it’s there, maybe he can hear me. I can’t feel it. And that’s another regret. My game of chastity has led me here. I never got the epic claiming he promised. And it’s all my fault. Salt on the wound.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper.

Gareth, only a few steps away, cocks his head to the side. Then his eyes widen as he realizes what I intend to do, but he can’t stop me. I have to save him.

“No!” he yells as I shove myself forward.

The blade bites into my throat, cutting so deep that I know I won’t survive. But Gareth can. Now that I’m gone, he can fight without fear. I sink to my knees as Cenet pushes me away. The pain is almost dull, but also sharp like shards of glass. My vision begins to fade so quickly. Why is death in a hurry?

But my ears work fine. Because the roar that comes from Gareth rattles me to my bones. And when I look up for the last time, I see him. The feral. A proud tiger, his fur a shining gold striped with black. He jumps, his enormous paws flying over me as he tackles Cenet to the ground and clamps his sharp teeth around his throat.

“Beautiful.” It’s my last word. Did I even say it? I hope I did. Because Gareth needs to know that’s what he is to me. Beautiful.



Cenet’s throat crushes in my