Read Forged of Shadows: A Novel of the Marked Souls Online

Authors: Jessa Slade

Tags: #Paranormal, #Fiction, #Romance, #Fantasy, #Romantic suspense fiction, #Supernatural, #Historical, #Demonology, #Good and evil

Forged of Shadows: A Novel of the Marked Souls

Table of Contents
Praise for
Seduced by Shadows
“Slade’s debut presents a dark supernatural conflict with high stakes in a world where demons and angels possess humans and use them as tools in the unending fight between heaven and hell . . . [a] rich crossover urban fantasy.”

Publishers Weekly
“Slade has created a world within our own. Sera and Archer are sincere characters who show that not every person, nor any love, is ever perfect, but it can survive with work. This is a thoughtful and emotional look into the paranormal world.”

Romantic Times
“The tension between good and evil is well done. . . . It is a gripping, suspenseful story.”
—San Francisco Book Review

Seduced by Shadows
is a beautiful and inventive new series start with plenty of action and wonderful characters!”
—Errant Dreams Reviews
“This compelling page-turner is action-packed and you are thrown into a battle between good and evil. Ms. Slade writes with a deft hand and beautiful description. This is a paranormal romance that will have you glued to your seat till the very end as you await the outcome.”
—Night Owl Romance

Seduced by Shadows
blew me away. . . . Slade creates a beyond-life-or-death struggle for love and redemption in a chilling, complex, and utterly believable world.”
—Jeri Smith-Ready, award-winning author of
Wicked Game

Seduced by Shadows
is wonderfully addictive!”

New York Times
bestselling author Gena Showalter
She held herself taut against the hard plane of his chest. “Is that a hammer in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?”
His soft laughter warmed her cheek and still made her shiver. “Yes.”
Something coiled deep in her, and it wasn’t any demon. A demon would be easy to banish in comparison. “Let me go.”
“Are you going to attack again?”
“If I say yes, are you going to kiss me again?”
He opened his embrace and stepped back. “Just say no.”
Her lips tingled. Her whole body tingled. But that was the hard part about temptation, wasn’t it? Saying no.
Also by Jessa Slade
Seduced by Shadows
Published by New American Library, a division of
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80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published by Signet Eclipse, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, June 2010
Copyright © Jessa Slade, 2010
eISBN : 978-1-101-18819-4
All rights reserved
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Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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To the Rose City Romance Writers (is there room here for a hundred-plus names?) for the cheering, the commiserating, and the whip cracking, as needed. Write on!
Much love to my family for their enthusiastic support during the “Year of the Book.”
Deep appreciation for all the great folks at NAL for “Year of the Book: Part 2,” especially Adam Auerbach and Anthony Ramondo for this cool, sexy cover, and copy editor Michele Alpern for reminding me about antecedents.
Deeper bows yet to editor Kerry Donovan and agent Becca Stumpf, who answered all my curious (sometimes anxious) e-mails during the wood ducklingesque transition from writer to author.
Big, big thanks to my mentors (who don’t really know they’re my mentors), including Michelle Buonfiglio and Sue Grimshaw, for making books smart and superfun, and the PASIC authors for their knowledge and generosity.
Credit (and kisses) to Rainstick Cowbell for the
Seduced by Shadows
theme song.
And to all the readers, thanks for giving the words a place to go.
Gray dust clogged the frigid air. Filthy snow lay all around, streaked with ash and blood and some odd fibrous, gelatinous mess.
He put his hand to his aching head. Bone pulped under the tentative touch and he winced. His fingers came away slimed with crimson and gray matter.
That couldn’t be good.
Stones rained around him, and he choked on the acrid stink of demon- realm winds. Dimly, he remembered. He’d been trapped there, his soul bound into the Veil by that bitch talya and her lover.
But here he was, back in the human realm. His pores beaded with sulfur as his demon ascended, struggling to protect his all-too-human flesh from the stoning.
It coiled through him, the demon, and tightened its grasp.
He’d fleetingly—so fleetingly—hoped to be freed from it after all the long centuries of slavery. Now a slave again.
He tried to weep, but the acid sting of birnenston tears only burned furrows in his cheeks.
He wanted to succumb to the pounding stones, be buried forever. But the demon yanked him upright, shedding dust and ice and blood like some terrible birth cowl. He clenched his teeth, resisting the demon’s intangible grip, but his head ached all the worse and he could summon neither wit nor will. The demon awkwardly coordinated his limbs into a shambling gait.
Worse than a slave.
As the demon rode him like a dumb animal away from the collapsing building—the site of his desperate bid to free the world from the chains of helpless good and hopeless evil that bound it—Corvus Valerius could not decide whom he hated more: the malevolent djinni that had brought him back from the dead, or the bastard league of the teshuva who’d had the chance to kill him once and for all and had failed.
Four months later
What would Jackie Chan do?
Not for the first time, Jilly Chan wished she’d been born with the ass- kicking aptitude of her Hong Kong movie-hero namesake. Lau-lau always said denying her heritage would get her in trouble. She just hadn’t realized trouble meant dead. Duh. How many times did the universe need to hit her in the head with a brick before she learned to duck as quickly as Jackie Chan?
“Dee, Iz, don’t move.” She edged in front of the two kids. As if her five-two self could hide them. Maybe the darkness of the Chicago alley at night would work in their favor.
“What is that?” Iz’s teen voice cracked, which lately made him swear. But he obviously realized they had bigger problems than his impending manhood. Such as their aforementioned impending deaths.
“Did it escape from the zoo?” Dee clutched Jilly’s shoulder.
Jilly elbowed them both backward. She hated retreating, but the thing at the mouth of the alley had them blocked. “I don’t know what it is. But it isn’t friendly.”
“You can tell by the way it drools,” Dee agreed. “Eesh. Is it burning holes in the pavement?”
“Nothing that big has mandibles,” Iz squeaked, stuck on panicked puberty. “Only insects have mandibles like that.”
“Tell that to Supersize- Me Drool Boy over there,” Dee said. “I bet it eats know- it-all nerds for its midnight snack. Which would be, oh, right about now.”
“Fly vomit could, in sufficient volume, theoretically dissolve concrete.”
“Oh, gross, Iz-kid.”
“Quiet.” Jilly took another step back, shooing the kids along behind her.
The creature didn’t move, but a flash of orange eyeshine gave her the sinking feeling it could see in the dark. And it was looking right at her.
A chill that had nothing to do with the rude March wind traced her spine and wrapped around her chest. “Dee,” she said softly, “my cell is in my right pocket.”

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