Dark Promise (Darkhaven Saga #3) - Danielle Rose

Chapter One

There’s a moment in one’s life when everything changes irrevocably. It’s usually after an awful decision. I don’t think we’re usually privy to the timing of this moment. It happens, we react, and we must deal with the consequences.

Somehow, I know this is that moment for me, yet I can’t stop myself from running steadfast into the unknown. After everything—the promises that were broken and the lies that were told, after I was forsaken and abused by the very people who shared my life’s blood—I am still tethered to them.

I can’t see our link. If I could, I would break it. I would cut it into a million pieces so no one could braid it again. I can’t see it, but I know it’s there, tying my soul to theirs. I want to break free, to run wild with my vampire clan, but I can’t. I’m secured to the ground, rooted in place, until someone speaks.

“Liv is missing, mija,” Mamá says, her voice soft, her eyes tired.

I stare at them in silence. The moonlight casts shadows across their faces, distorting their features into hellish expressions. In this light, they look like monsters.

They don’t want to be here, but they’ve come seeking my aid. For months, I wanted nothing more than to end our feud. I truly believed we could have peace. After all, we fight for the same cause—to stop rogue vampires—but then I dreamed about a spell gone awry. Mamá cut me, sinking her dagger into my flesh. My arm still aches where blade met bone.

Of course, this never happened, but I feel it as sharply as I feel the cold wind against my face and the crunch of frozen ground beneath my feet. I hold my arm against my chest, rubbing a wound that never existed in reality. I tell myself that was only a dream. But was it?

I may be undead now, but I was born a spirit witch with an affinity for clairvoyance. This isn’t the first time a dream morphed into something more, something solid I can fight. After I woke from the nightmare, I was of the firm belief that the witches were up to no good. Now I must decide if my premonition is coming true. Are they here for retribution and vengeance?

But Liv is missing.

A rogue vampire has taken her, and it’s only a matter of time before she becomes a meal or something worse… Something like me.

A witch-turned-vampire is a curious creature. I am not vampire, not witch, but both. I have one foot firmly planted in both worlds, yet I belong to neither.

As I think about what my former best friend must be experiencing, I feel ill. I was blessed to have been saved by Jasik and his comrades. Unlike rogues, my saviors follow a set of unspoken guidelines to maintain peace and anonymity—like not eating people. It’s generally considered poor form to do so.

I know Liv isn’t as lucky, and if she has been taken, she’s running out of time.

My mind is a mess, my emotions clouding my judgment. I replay Mamá’s words over and over again. Each time, I still don’t know if I can believe her. Is this another lie? After the witches’ last betrayal, I vowed never to return to my old life, never to aid them or fight on their side again. I fell asleep yesterday believing I was free, but I woke to another nightmare.

“Will you help us?” someone asks.

Among the witches is Liv’s mother. Her eyes are bloodshot and sunken, her skin pale and wrinkled. Her nose is pink, her lips dry. Her dull hair is frizzy and flutters in the breeze. She shivers from the cold and wraps her arms around her chest.

Liv’s mother never liked me or my coven, but the two seem to have merged into a single covenant. Their intention is to protect Darkhaven, the small village we all call home, from those who keep to the shadows. I once fought beside them, but now I see their prejudice has blinded them from the truth.

Not all vampires are evil, soulless fiends who need to be sent straight to hell.

I find it ironic that Liv and her family are intent on killing us. In the past, Liv had to sneak out just to see me. Her mother, a self-professed flower child and free spirit, didn’t believe in violence. Now she joins the fight as often as she can—and so does Liv.

I saved her from a rogue vampire just last night,