The Unexpected Bonding Vow - Michelle Howard

Chapter 1

Saedra- age 13

“You’re nothing! Do you hear me?! Nothing!”

Saedra huddled in the corner of the kitchen by the freezer unit and nodded frantically at her father’s explosive declaration. Agreement was the only response. She was well familiar with how he got during one of his rages. Throughout the day she’d heard his voice lashing out at everyone in their household.

She’d done well, for the most part, staying in her room, keeping her bedroom door closed. As the hours rolled by with no lessening in the volume of his ranting, she’d watched the imitation sunlight through her window fade and give way to the purple-blue glaze of night. Her thoughts had strayed to her mother and Saedra contemplated if death had given poor Lady Florene the peace she’d never had under this roof.

Saedra would have stayed in her room forever to avoid the nightmare taking place beyond her door except hunger had forced her from her self-protective isolation. It was pure misfortune that Maurin came into the kitchen just as she finished stuffing the last bite of a quick sandwich in her mouth.

His yellow eyes glazed with madness and clashed with the dull hue of his Dragonian golden scales. Her father was descended of hybrid Dragons. Unlike their dragon ancestors, though, Dragonians couldn’t shift into menacing creatures of rage and destruction. They did have twice the strength of their humanoid counterparts and scales covering the majority of their body, which made harming them harder.

Saedra hadn’t gotten any of that. Not one noticeable sliver of her Dragonian heritage. Thus she was average in looks and abilities, making her father deem her useless. She took after her mother as far as her delicate constitution...and in terms of physical stamina. Something she felt fueled a lot of her father’s anger toward her.

Her mother had been a gifted Meeta, her people born with various psychic abilities from healing to telepathic thoughts and everything in between. Florene’s gift had been a magical voice capable of pulling others under her spell. On top of that, she’d been quite pretty to look at with her ice-blue eyes and fall of pure white hair.

Florene caught the eyes of men when she traveled with a music troupe and performed. So it was no surprise when Maurin fell for her but it was a surprise when she fell for him in return. Of course, she’d harbored the hope that he was wealthy enough to take care of her, so she didn’t have to perform anymore.

Instead, he was cruel and abusive, leaving her trapped with a monster. He’d slashed her throat the first night after their marriage to damage her voice so she couldn’t mesmerize him. It had been the beginning of her festering hate for her husband.

“Say something!” Maurin roared into Saedra’s face.

“I’ll go now,” she mumbled with her gaze aimed to the side as she hesitantly rose to her feet and slid her back along the wall in hopes of escaping back to her bedroom.

His eyes darkened from its gold hue to a deep shade of blue and the shoulder length brown hair she’d inherited from him in the genetic lottery stood on end. When his thin lips curled in that familiar way, Saedra knew it was going to be bad. Very bad.

His voice lowered but was no less frightening in its intensity. “You think to get away with no consequences?!”

She didn’t ask what she supposedly was getting away with. It didn’t matter when her father deemed her guilty of some transgression. It never did. That’s why she’d learned to be good at hiding in her room.

The door to the kitchen swung open and one of his men entered. Parson glanced around to identify the commotion, spotted her, and smirked. He’d quickly surmised the situation if his expression was anything to go by. His grin was as evil as his past actions. He did her father’s bidding without compunction.

“Do you need my help with anything, Lord Maurin?”

Parson’s voice was sickly sweet as he used the false title. There was no royalty in their bloodlines. Lord and Lady were just fancy titles her father claimed and demanded everyone use for them here on Quantoon.

Her father released her from his penetrating glare to face Parson. Something passed between them as they exchanged knowing glances that left Saedra shivering. Running would be pointless. She remained pressed against the wall, the food in her stomach curdling.

Would this be the time her father released his men from the unspoken order that no one touch her?