Cursed By Destiny Page 42

The hum of witches’ magic buzzed around us when we passed through the border of the first ward. It irritated my skin as if it disapproved of my presence, but couldn’t harm me since I meant no ill will against the weres. The second ward—the one closest to the Den—shoved me with an invisible force and momentarily stole my breath. I shook it off quickly. Although the were magic reinforcing it made it clear I didn’t belong, again it couldn’t harm me. The vampires swore and swiveled in their seats. They’d felt it, too, though not to the extreme that I had. Misha? He had barely blinked.

We passed through the giant wrought-iron gates and into the virtual fortress. The entire campus consisted of massive three-story lodges mimicking an exclusive ski resort. The main building housing the gala was the largest and most impressive, boasting polished cedar floors, granite pillars, and floor-to-ceiling windows with breathtaking mountain views.

We arrived to a packed house. I took in a breath, hoping to catch the scent of my family, friends, or Aric. I detected no one. It bothered me. My insecurities burned a hole into the pit of my stomach. I needed my sisters and friends. Galas and charity balls were not my thing, but then again, I would have felt intimidated at a prom. Yes, I was with the vampires, and, yes, I knew them, but they would never comprehend my discomfort. This was their thing. They loved rubbing elbows, flirting, and flaunting their power. It helped that they also had the goods to back it up, and they damn well knew it. The good Catholics tossed back their hair and flung their hips seductively as they strolled ahead, just as they had at the house, only with a little more sass and a hell of a lot more attitude. Hank and Tim swaggered in like they were doing everyone a favor by showing up. Their smug smiles screamed seduction. My brain screamed for them to give it a rest.

Arrogance was never a quality I found attractive. Confidence, yes, but cockiness was hands-down unappealing. To other vampires it was something of a turn-on. Even a few of the witches in attendance showed interest. There was one who gave Tim the once-over. He nodded toward her, flashing his gleaming white fangs. “Genevieve.”

Genevieve was the Tahoe region’s head witch. A position I’d helped her secure, though it hadn’t been my intent. She was a beautiful woman with dark brows, waist-length ebony hair, and blue eyes that glowed like melted sapphires. When she walked into a room and raised her arms, I could swear doves and butterflies flew out of her armpits. When I raised my arms, it was usually in defense of the evil creature trying to chew them off. She matched Tim’s smile. “Maybe,” was all she told him.

Misha escorted me along the entrance hall while we waited to enter the ballroom. He had been right about the attendants; all the major players from the supernatural world mingled around us. Besides his master, Uri, and the Elders, I didn’t know any of them. But I felt them. Their command brushed against me. It was an unpleasant feeling—challenging in a way, as if their inner entities flexed their muscles in my face. I took comfort in knowing I wasn’t the sole target. Everyone seemed to be involved in pleasant conversations while subtle power struggles occurred amid the laughter and phony smiles.

“Come, my love. There is someone I’d like you to meet.”

I knew who Misha wanted to introduce me to even before we approached her. She was a vampire—an extremely powerful one who matched Misha in strength despite her blatant lack of soul. Aside from Uri, who surpassed Misha’s power only slightly, I’d never sensed a vampire strong enough be his equal. Most masters lacked Misha’s vigor. This vampire lacked nothing but clothing. She was tall and voluptuous with gorgeous light brown hair that fell perfectly straight just below her shoulders. Her bronze skin shimmered as if brushed with glitter, while her glacial blue eyes practically chilled me in place. Humans would have mistaken her for a twenty-year-old girl. Those capable of scenting potent magic, like me, realized she was well over five hundred years old. A vampire that strong had to have been turned a long, long time ago to have gained such supremacy.

Her hairstyle was simple. One length, parted down the middle. That’s where her simplicity ended. She wasn’t wearing any jewelry. She didn’t have to. Her skirt consisted entirely of diamonds, sewn in like the pearls on my dress. I say “skirt” because she wore no other fabric. Her br**sts and part of her stomach were covered in an intricate pattern of diamonds and precious stones that appeared to have been glued on. She must have spent the entire day getting ready. I’d barely taken an hour.

She pushed her hair aside, with her perfectly manicured diamond-encrusted nails. Her smile was pleasant, childlike in a way. But this was a woman who loved attention and had absolutely no problem getting it. Male and female suitors surrounded her. Some admired her with blatant lust while others regarded her with reverence. It was easy to tell that, unlike me, this girl had never spent a dateless Saturday night shoving ice cream down her throat.

The moment Misha approached, her suitors scattered. Misha didn’t hiss, didn’t challenge, and didn’t demonstrate any show of force. Misha just was. The seemingly innocent creature turned to him and offered her hand to be kissed. “You look ravishing, my dear,” he said to her.

“As do you, beloved.” Her voice was extremely feminine, thick with a Russian accent, and highly suggestive.

Their eyes locked. Any moron could see a lot more than the exchange of pleasantries taking place. Misha glanced at her br**sts, just long enough for her to notice. I looked, too, just to see whether he affected them the way he did mine. He did. Bastard. And although he wasn’t even looking at me, mine tingled slightly. When the powers that be handed out the vamp mojo, I didn’t understand how or why “capable of stimulating ni**les” needed to top their superpowers list.

Misha stood and continued to hold her hand. I felt like an idiot when I realized I was still attached to his arm. I tried to leave, but yippy skippy, he stopped me. “Ileana Vodianova, I would like to present you to Celia Wird.”

She smiled at me and dropped Misha’s hand. Her eyes sparkled as she took me in, and appeared genuinely amiable and caring. I would have been a fool to believe it. “Hello, Celia. How good to finally meet you.”

I released Misha’s arm and grinned back, mimicking her phony enthusiasm. My fist knocked her in the shoulder with an obnoxious punch. “How’s it going, kid?”

It’s not that I lacked couth; I could actually be the couthiest. I wanted to make it clear that, despite all her diamonds and preternatural power, she didn’t intimidate me. That’s right, sweetheart. I could so take you on.

Prev Next
Free Novels Read Online | Read Wuxia Novel | Read Xianxia Novel