Kata had lost track of how many years she’d been trapped in the dark, iron-lined cell that was buried six feet beneath Stonehenge. She knew it had to be close to two hundred, but the days had become a continuous blur as she lay on the narrow cot, held motionless in the mage’s spell.

At the moment, it didn’t really matter. Once she managed to free herself, she would tally the time she’d been held hostage and ensure Marika and Sergei suffered for every damned minute they’d stolen from her.

Marika. .

A dark revulsion spread through her at the mere thought of the vampire bitch.

Amazing considering that four centuries ago she and Marika had been twin sisters and deeply devoted to one another.

The daughters of a powerful Romani elder they were openly prized for their dark, sultry beauty. Their hair was long, and as glossy as the finest ebony. Their eyes were dark and framed by long lashes and their pale features were delicately carved. Their sensuous lips had prompted epic poems and the sight of their lush curves attired in simple peasant blouses and skirts had inspired countless fights among the males of the tribe.

But Kata and Marika had never taken an interest in their beauty. From the time they were old enough to walk they had realized that their true power lay in their magic.

Although not witches, they both possessed the traditional magic of the gypsies. They could heal even the most grievous wounds, they could read the signs of nature to predict the weather, and of course, they could conjure curses that made grown men tremble in fear.

They could also speak to one another mind to mind, no matter how far the distance between them.

They had been destined for greatness until that fateful night that Marika had been called to heal an elder from a nearby tribe. Kata had stayed behind to tend to a child who had fallen and broken his arm earlier that day. If only. .


Nothing could have altered the fact that Marika had been attacked and drained by a vampire.

At first Kata had thought her sister dead. What else could it be? Not only was Marika missing, but the sense of her that was always nestled in the back of Kata’s mind had abruptly disappeared.

Unfortunately, she hadn’t been able to leave well enough alone. One of her more persistent faults. She had continued to send out mental calls for her sister, unable to accept the inevitable.

And eventually Marika did return.

Only it wasn’t Marika.

The demon might have her sister’s face and they might still be psychically connected, but the demon who had murdered her sister was an arrogant, brutal predator who had hunted Kata down and caged her like an animal.

For two centuries Kata had been held as her sister’s prisoner, kept on a leash in her lair. Then two centuries ago the power-hungry Marika had joined forces with a Russian mage, Sergei. Together the two had plotted to use a child to resurrect the Dark Lord to this dimension.

The only problem was that the only child that they could use for the creepy resurrection was hidden in the mists between worlds.

A deal breaker for anyone with a claim to sanity, since the Jinn were the only known demons who could enter the mists, and no one wanted to negotiate with a Jinn. The powerful demons were cunning, heartless creatures who were as untrustworthy as they were beautiful. But, Marika’s profound lust for power outweighed something so tediously human as commonsense and with Sergei’s assistance they’d lured a Jinn into their trap using Kata as bait.

Kata’s mind instantly veered from the memory of being locked in the tiny cell with the Jinn. There were some things best left buried. But nine months later she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Laylah.

Well aware that Marika intended to use her half-Jinn daughter to enter the mists and retrieve the child, Kata had managed to smuggle the baby to a witch who had used her magic to keep Laylah hidden.

Infuriated, Marika had demanded that Sergei put Kata into her current prison. In retaliation, Kata had sought to curse the vindictive bitch. Unfortunately that had inspired the mage to wrap her in thick layers of spells that were even more imprisoning than the lead-lined cell that held her.

She couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, couldn’t even open her eyes.

If not for the fact that she maintained her connection to Marika to watch the world from a distance, she would have gone completely mad.

Not that being mentally linked with a psychotic vampire was a joy ride. Marika had a nasty temper under the best of circumstances. Once Kata had snatched away her means for ruling the world, she’d become downright surly, indulging her love for pain at every opportunity. Still, Kata had managed to stay aware of the changing world, and best of all she’d known that Laylah remained safely hidden.

Then fifty years ago, the damned mage had found Laylah and forced her to enter the mists to retrieve the child of the Dark Lord.

Laylah had swiftly managed to escape with the baby, but Kata had known it was only a matter of time before she was once again hunted down.

Which was precisely what had happened just a few days before. She’d sensed Laylah in England, and tried to warn her. She shared the same mind connection with her daughter as she did with her sister, but she’d been too late.

Marika and Sergei had discovered her presence and while Laylah had swiftly fled, they’d been hot on her trail.

Even worse, her psychic link to her sister and daughter had become oddly erratic, as if there was something blocking her powers.

While she was currently struggling with all she was worth against the spells that held her captive.

Laylah was in trouble, and she had to reach her.

Lost in her dark thoughts, she was distantly aware of the Sylvermyst who guarded the tomb where she was held prisoner. They never bothered her, but she didn’t doubt that even if she did manage to free herself from Sergei’s bonds, they would prove a difficult barrier to her escape.

A worry for later.

Then she stiffened as her senses picked up an intruder closer at hand.


She didn’t know who, or even what, Yannah was.

She had to be a demon, of course. No human, or even witch, could possibly pop in and out of the buried cell. But since Kata had been near comatose from Sergei’s spell she had no more than a vague image of a small creature with a low, musical voice who had fluttered about her unconscious form and soothed her when she was troubled.

Over the years she’d become accustomed to the female’s unpredictable visits, assuming that if she wanted to hurt her she’d have already done the deed. Not even the most patient demon spent two centuries fussing over a person before striking a death blow.

In fact, she’d begun to think of her as her guardian angel.

Caught in her frantic battle to free herself, Kata was unprepared when the spells that were holding her prisoner abruptly shattered.

With a strangled gasp she fell off the narrow cot. Still entangled with the shroud that had been thrown over her, Kata was incapable of stopping herself from smacking face first onto the hard floor.



“Are you hurt?” A small, heart-shaped face with the almond shaped eyes that were entirely filled with black suddenly appeared in front of her.

“Yannah?” she breathed.

“That’s me.”

Kata managed to roll onto her back, her gaze sliding over the female’s tiny body that was covered by a plain white robe and the fair hair that was pulled into a braid that fell past her waist.

She might have been mistaken for a child if not for the piercing wisdom that shimmered in the dark

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