And, oh yeah, the mouth full of razor sharp teeth.

Blessed mother.

Fighting her way out of the shroud, Kata rose to her feet, her hands absently smoothing down the thin white nightgown that fell past her knees.

“What happened?” she demanded.

The tiny demon wrinkled her nose. “The spell is broken. The mage is traveling through distant lands.” Her head tilted to the side, as if she were mentally searching for the missing Sergei. “Very distant.”

Kata shivered. There was nowhere distant enough.


But for the moment she was more interested in the stark void in the back of her mind.

“Marika?” she whispered.

Yannah smiled, revealing her pointed teeth. “Ding dong the witch is dead.”

Kata sucked in a shocked breath, feeling nothing but a savage flare of satisfaction. It had taken years to accept that the creature who walked around with her sister’s face wasn’t Marika, but instead the coldblooded bitch who’d killed her. Now she had no trouble rejoicing in the thought of the world without the evil vampire.

She did, however, have difficulty in believing she was really and truly rid of her.

“You’re certain she’s dead?”

“Quite, quite dead.” Yannah wrinkled her tiny nose. “A shame really.”

“Shame?” Kata’s fury (that had had four long, hideous centuries to stew) abruptly boiled over. “I hope the bitch burns in the pits of hell for all eternity.”

“Oh, I’m certain justice will be served.”


“But you aren’t silly enough to think your sister. .”

“That creature was not my sister,” Kata hissed. “She killed my beloved Marika and stole her body.”

“Yes, yes.” Yannah waved an impatient hand. “Cue the violins.”

Kata frowned. “What?”

Without warning the small demon moved forward and poked her finger in the middle of Kata’s stomach.

“Shut up and listen.”


Yannah was supremely unrepentant. “Do I have your attention?”

Kata rubbed her stomach. The poke hadn’t truly hurt, but it did smash her image of Yannah as a sweet, harmless creature who was only there to offer comfort. There was a power that pulsed in the air around her and a ruthless purpose that shimmered in the depths of her black eyes.

“Do I have a choice?”

“Didn’t I say it was a shame Marika was dead?”

Kata remained wary, wondering if this was some sort of trap.

“You did.”

“Well, it isn’t because anyone will mourn her passing.”

“Then why?”

“Because she made a nasty provision in the event of her untimely demise.”

“Provision? I don’t believe it.” Kata’s lips curled at the thought of Marika’s flagrant conceit. “The coldblooded creature was too arrogant to believe anything could kill her.”

“It wasn’t arrogance, it was strategy.” Yannah wagged a finger. “Tricky, tricky vampire.”

Kata sank onto the edge of the cot, her head aching and her stomach queasy.

Not surprising.

In the span of five minutes she’d been jolted out of a spell that had kept her imprisoned for centuries, she’d been violently stripped of her connection to her sister, and every muscle in her body was cramping as they came back to painful life.

“I feel like I am going to throw up,” she husked, “could you please speak clearly?”

Kata wasn’t looking for a plethora of sympathy, but she sure as hell didn’t expect Yannah to smack her on the back of the head.

“Use that brain in your pretty head. Marika was betrayed by Sergei. He was supposed to tell her the very second he discovered the location of your daughter and managed to kidnap her.”

“Yeah, I got that. She wasn’t a bit pleased when the bastard forced Laylah to steal the child of the Dark Lord and tried to keep the baby hidden from her. Do you think I was any happier? He tortured my poor girl.”

“What you felt is meaningless.”

Kata scowled at the tiny demon. Dammit. If Yannah was her guardian angel then she’d gotten ripped off.

Big time.

“What’s your point?”

“Marika realized her pet was a bad, bad boy,” Yannah said, as if Kata hadn’t been intensely aware of Marika’s fury when she’d discovered the mage had not only betrayed her, but had allowed Laylah and the baby to slip from her grasp.

“Yeah, her insane fury gave me a migraine for months.”

“It also made her realize that while she needed his magic for her evil plans, she had to make sure he didn’t decide that she was expendable. If he could get his hands on the child again, he might very well decide to keep the glory for himself.”

Kata snorted. “What’s that saying? ‘No honor among thieves’?”

“Precisely. And you were her. .” Yannah narrowed her gaze, searching for the perfect words. “Ace in the hole.”

Kata shoved an unsteady hand through her tangle of dark curls. She didn’t have to be a psychic to know she wasn’t going to like what Yannah had to say.


“When your daughter disappeared Marika forced the mage to cast a spell linking the two of you together.”

Well that seemed. . redundant.

“Why?” She gave an impatient lift of her shoulder. “We’ve been linked together since our birth.”

Yannah nodded. “Yes, your minds, but not your souls.”

“Our souls?”

Yannah grimaced. “For lack of a better word.”

Kata froze, a sick dread forming in the pit of her stomach. “What exactly does that mean?”

“Marika wanted to make sure that Sergei couldn’t kill her without risking you as well.”

“So if she dies. .” Kata couldn’t finish the sentence. It was too horrible.

Yannah, on the other hand, didn’t have a damned bit of trouble.

“You get sucked into the underworld with her.”

Kata surged to her feet, panic screaming through her body as she headed across the small cell.

“Blessed goddess.”

“Where are you going?”

“I have to get out of here,” she muttered, tugging at the handle of the lead-lined door.

“You can’t outrun the spell.”

“If I can find a witch she can break the spell.”

“There’s no time.” Yannah made a sound of impatience. “Where is that vampire?”

Swearing at the lock that refused to budge, Kata turned to glare at the tiny demon standing in the center of the sparse cell.


“He’s late. Really, I cannot be expected to take care of everything,” Yannah muttered, making Kata wonder at the woman’s sanity. That was all she needed. Yet another crazy demon interfering in her life. Then abruptly Yannah’s expression cleared. “Ah.”

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