This Curse: (The Grace Allen Series Book 2 )

 

This Curse

Published by Alisha Basso

Copyright © 2013 by Alisha Basso

All rights reserved.

 

All rights reserved. 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 prior written
permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places, brands, media and incidents are either the product of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously.  The author acknowledges the
trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this
work of fiction, which have been used without permission.  The
publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or
sponsored by the trademark owners.

Published in
the United States of America by Alisha Basso

 

 

Cover Art: Ronnell D. Porter,
Ronnelldporter.wix/design

 

Editor: Mary-Nancy Smith,
mary-nancyseagleeyeediting

 

Proofing: Judy D.,   
judiciousrevisionsllc.weebly

 

 

Acknowledgements

Writing a novel is never a
singular endeavor. I would like to thank a few very special people for helping
the process along. I know it was hard dealing with a slave driver like me, but
we all survived. Melissa Cosgrove, you are a true saint for reading This Curse
over and over until it seemed you really were cursed! Thank you for all of your
wonderful suggestions, as always they were spot on. Helen Godbey, my friend and
my savior. Your help has been priceless to me on so many levels and I love you
for that. Kathy Rodriguez, thank you for all of your thoughts and the crazy
turbo reading sessions.

 

Dedication

To my Aunt Shirley, you are
always with me, everyday.

To my parents, Ralph and
JoLynn Henson, you are the best people I know and I’m proud to call you dad and
mom.

To my husband, Tony, who
tries his hardest to ignore the fact that I’m more married to the computer. And
last but not least, to my best friend, Jamie Yohey, I love you to the moon and
back, thanks for always listening.

Table Of Contents

Prologue
  
3

ONE
  
4

TWO
  
10

THREE
  
12

FOUR
  
26

FIVE
  
31

SIX
  
40

SEVEN
  
49

EIGHT
  
55

NINE
  
67

TEN
  
73

ELEVEN
  
79

TWELVE
  
85

THIRTEEN
  
88

FOURTEEN
  
100

FIFTEEN
  
106

SIXTEEN
  
116

SEVENTEEN
  
127

EIGHTEEN
  
133

NINETEEN
  
141

TWENTY
  
151

TWENTY ONE
  
160

TWENTY TWO
  
172

TWENTY THREE
  
182

TWENTY FOUR
  
188

TWENTY FIVE
  
195

Epilogue
  
206

Prologue

 

My best friend, Lucian, once asked me why I didn’t
use my magic to solve the world’s problems. Why didn’t I use it to end
suffering, or give everyone money, and comfortable homes? Why not use it to go
back in time and make all the bad stuff that happened to us go away?

They were good questions, but the answers were
simple. I had no desire to stop living my life, and I wouldn’t dream of taking
life from others. My answers stumped him at first, and then I explained that
without our experiences, the joy
and
the suffering, our lives would be
pointless. If I made every bad situation go away then the thrill of overcoming
obstacles would never fill us, the joy of achievement would be unheard of
because everything was given, no one would have to fight to make their own
path.

If I changed the past, then the future would be
empty. We have to walk through our own story and move through what life gives
us. Life gave me this power, no one else. I have to use caution I’m not God.
Hell, I’m not even an angel.

So really, what right do I have?

His beautiful lips spread into a smile that turned my
limbs to jelly.

“I’m still giving to charity," he had laughed,
and I punched him in the shoulder.

He was a fine man, my Lucian.

A fine man indeed
.

ONE

 

Tiny daggers of white starch dug into the tender soles
of my bare feet. I ran my fingers through my hair, scratching my scalp in order
to dislodge the more determined grains. 

I slid the soapy sponge along my side and winced with
pain. Memories flooded my mind and my skin broke out in a fine layer of goose
bumps. The hot water sluiced along my aching flesh and I rested my cheek
against the stone tile. The slow ache in my side began to fade; yet, despite
the heat of the water I was chilled.

No matter how hard I tried, my mind always found its
way back to Seth. He invaded my brain far too often for my liking. Even though
we had come to an understanding since our encounter, I still found myself
dwelling on my injury and the mystery of what had happened afterward.

I stepped from the shower and studied my reflection.
The woman staring back at me looked annoyed. Well, pale with huge mascara
smudges under her eyes, but annoyed. I stepped off the bath mat only to
discover that thousands of lethal little shards of rice were scattered all over
the bathroom floor just waiting to jab into the soles of my damp feet. I
cleared them away with a thought and picked up my bridesmaid’s dress. A few
thousand grains of rice fell to the ground as I tossed it into the hamper. I shook
my head; they must have thrown a couple hundred pounds of the stuff. 

Poor Ann I thought, smiling. She was the first human
to ever wed an elf and they wanted to honor her by following all of her native
wedding customs. Oh man, what a mess. They meant well, but from the completely
outdated notion of throwing rice to the monstrosity of a wedding gown the elves
swore was traditional, the whole thing was way over the top. Her dress was so
large that even as pregnant as she was, you would have never noticed. It was a
stiff tower of ruffles and lace that could practically stand on its own. But
none of that mattered to Ann. She was marrying the man of her dreams and that
was all she cared about.

Remembering the groom, I didn’t blame her one bit. He
had been utterly magnificent in his Elvin wedding garb. His beautifully toned
upper body had been bare. The only adornments were a few thin golden cuffs that
wrapped around his wrists and wound up his arms ending in a curling flourish
around his muscular biceps. His pants were made of soft white suede, decorated
with thin gold threads. His long dark hair had been twisted and tied back with
dozens of the thin strands of gold, accenting his handsome face. He was so
incredibly gorgeous that he was almost unreal. Gavyn, the leader of the elves,
had presided over the ceremony looking just as amazingly beautiful.

The women of the village were also responsible for my
beautiful bridesmaid’s dress. It was nothing more than a very large scarf that
they had tied around my body to form a short dress. It matched the traditional
Elvin wedding wear making Ann’s dress stand out even more.

I was the only person to stand up with Ann and in my
mind, that made me the maid of honor but I had no desire to be rude and point
that out to them. They were proud of their preparations and Ann couldn’t have
been happier.

The wedding had been short in duration and Ann and
Tobias were quick to retire to their honeymoon chambers. I’d stayed long enough
to visit with Gavyn and his family. It’d made me incredibly happy to watch my
best friend marry. I felt warm, and glowing when I’d prepared to leave. That is
until Gavyn cornered me. He’d noticed my pain and shocked me by being annoyed.

The steam was evaporating quickly as I stood in my
bathroom, remembering what Gavyn had said to me. His advice had been simple
‘pull my head out of my ass and deal with my new life.’ It was a slap in the
face and made me feel incredibly stupid.

I threw on my bathrobe and twisted my hair into a
thick towel, settling it on my head firmly I reached for the door. The movement
pulled at my side and I flinched.

This was getting ridiculous!

I threw the door open and stalked into my bedroom. I
was a mess and pretty damn tired of it.

I’d struggled with my decision to eliminate my injury
for far too long. I still held on to the idea that to hurt was to be human. If
I still felt pain, it was part of the balance and helped to secure my humanity,
but after traveling to Ann’s wedding, I discovered that the more I resisted
using my powers, the harder it would be for me to accept the new me.

I was once human, an everyday bartender from Reno.
Then in a twisted shift of fate, I found myself the keeper of a powerful and
magical ring. A ring that had hidden itself away until the day it chose me. I
often wonder if it truly was fate that had me sitting on the sidewalk that day.
Was the ring waiting for me to see it sparkling there amongst the sludge? If
this was the case then fate was a real bitch because once I placed that ring on
my finger, I was never the same. Not only did the ring fill me with all of its
power, but it actually changed me physically, altering my DNA.

And this was my current dilemma. I was no longer
human, and it really messed with my head. My mom and dad were human along with
everyone I loved.

Monsters were inhuman.

I didn’t want to be one of the monsters.

As far as I was concerned, I had already used too
much magic for my liking, so I tried to use it sparingly and only if I had to,
which was why my side still burned with pain.

I sat on my bed. Folding my legs, I drew in a deep
breath of air. It was time. I had to step up.

I released my breath and concentrated on the burning
pain that hid deep inside. As Gavyn had pointed out, the reality was that the
wound had healed, my emotions about it had not. He’d said that in order to
heal, one must achieve a form of inner peace that would translate to the wound.
He’d said that in my case, the wound was no longer festering. I felt the pain
because I wouldn’t let the memory go.

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