A snare of vengeance, p.1
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       A Snare of Vengeance, p.1
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         Part #58 of A Shade of Vampire series by Bella Forrest
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A Snare of Vengeance


  A Shade of Vampire 58: A Snare of Vengeance

  Bella Forrest

  Contents

  Also by Bella Forrest

  Problems reading?

  New Generation List

  Family tree

  1. Harper

  2. Fiona

  3. Hansa

  4. Scarlett

  5. Harper

  6. Harper

  7. Avril

  8. Heron

  9. Harper

  10. Harper

  11. Avril

  12. Harper

  13. Avril

  14. Harper

  15. Hansa

  16. Harper

  17. Avril

  18. Harper

  19. Jax

  20. Avril

  21. Fiona

  22. Harper

  23. Scarlett

  24. Harper

  25. Caia

  26. Caia

  27. Harper

  28. Harper

  29. Avril

  30. Harper

  31. Avril

  32. Harper

  33. Caia

  34. Fiona

  35. Harper

  36. Fiona

  37. Avril

  38. Hansa

  39. Harper

  40. Derek

  Read more by Bella Forrest

  Also by Bella Forrest

  HOTBLOODS

  (New supernatural romance series!)

  Hotbloods (Book 1)

  Coldbloods (Book 2)

  Renegades (Book 3)

  Venturers (Book 4)

  Traitors (Book 5)

  THE GIRL WHO DARED TO THINK

  The Girl Who Dared to Think (Book 1)

  The Girl Who Dared to Stand (Book 2)

  The Girl Who Dared to Descend (Book 3)

  The Girl Who Dared to Rise (Book 4)

  The Girl Who Dared to Lead (Book 5)

  The Girl Who Dared to Endure (Book 6)

  The Girl Who Dared to Fight (Book 7)

  THE GENDER GAME

  (Completed series)

  The Gender Game (Book 1)

  The Gender Secret (Book 2)

  The Gender Lie (Book 3)

  The Gender War (Book 4)

  The Gender Fall (Book 5)

  The Gender Plan (Book 6)

  The Gender End (Book 7)

  A SHADE OF VAMPIRE SERIES

  Series 1: Derek & Sofia’s story

  A Shade of Vampire (Book 1)

  A Shade of Blood (Book 2)

  A Castle of Sand (Book 3)

  A Shadow of Light (Book 4)

  A Blaze of Sun (Book 5)

  A Gate of Night (Book 6)

  A Break of Day (Book 7)

  Series 2: Rose & Caleb’s story

  A Shade of Novak (Book 8)

  A Bond of Blood (Book 9)

  A Spell of Time (Book 10)

  A Chase of Prey (Book 11)

  A Shade of Doubt (Book 12)

  A Turn of Tides (Book 13)

  A Dawn of Strength (Book 14)

  A Fall of Secrets (Book 15)

  An End of Night (Book 16)

  Series 3: The Shade continues with a new hero…

  A Wind of Change (Book 17)

  A Trail of Echoes (Book 18)

  A Soldier of Shadows (Book 19)

  A Hero of Realms (Book 20)

  A Vial of Life (Book 21)

  A Fork of Paths (Book 22)

  A Flight of Souls (Book 23)

  A Bridge of Stars (Book 24)

  Series 4: A Clan of Novaks

  A Clan of Novaks (Book 25)

  A World of New (Book 26)

  A Web of Lies (Book 27)

  A Touch of Truth (Book 28)

  An Hour of Need (Book 29)

  A Game of Risk (Book 30)

  A Twist of Fates (Book 31)

  A Day of Glory (Book 32)

  Series 5: A Dawn of Guardians

  A Dawn of Guardians (Book 33)

  A Sword of Chance (Book 34)

  A Race of Trials (Book 35)

  A King of Shadow (Book 36)

  An Empire of Stones (Book 37)

  A Power of Old (Book 38)

  A Rip of Realms (Book 39)

  A Throne of Fire (Book 40)

  A Tide of War (Book 41)

  Series 6: A Gift of Three

  A Gift of Three (Book 42)

  A House of Mysteries (Book 43)

  A Tangle of Hearts (Book 44)

  A Meet of Tribes (Book 45)

  A Ride of Peril (Book 46)

  A Passage of Threats (Book 47)

  A Tip of Balance (Book 48)

  A Shield of Glass (Book 49)

  A Clash of Storms (Book 50)

  Series 7: A Call of Vampires

  A Call of Vampires (Book 51)

  A Valley of Darkness (Book 52)

  A Hunt of Fiends (Book 53)

  A Den of Tricks (Book 54)

  A City of Lies (Book 55)

  A League of Exiles (Book 56)

  A Charge of Allies (Book 57)

  A Snare of Vengeance (Book 58)

  A Battle of Souls (Book 59)

  A SHADE OF DRAGON TRILOGY

  A Shade of Dragon 1

  A Shade of Dragon 2

  A Shade of Dragon 3

  A SHADE OF KIEV TRILOGY

  A Shade of Kiev 1

  A Shade of Kiev 2

  A Shade of Kiev 3

  THE SECRET OF SPELLSHADOW MANOR

  (Completed series)

  The Secret of Spellshadow Manor (Book 1)

  The Breaker (Book 2)

  The Chain (Book 3)

  The Keep (Book 4)

  The Test (Book 5)

  The Spell (Book 6)

  BEAUTIFUL MONSTER DUOLOGY

  Beautiful Monster 1

  Beautiful Monster 2

  DETECTIVE ERIN BOND (Adult thriller/mystery)

  Lights, Camera, GONE

  Write, Edit, KILL

  For an updated list of Bella’s books, please visit her website: www.bellaforrest.net

  Join Bella’s VIP email list and she’ll send you an email reminder as soon as her next book is out. Tap here to sign up: www.forrestbooks.com

  Copyright © 2018 by Bella Forrest

  Cover design inspired by Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations LLC

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

  Problems reading?

  If you experience any problems reading this ebook—such as pages skipping, etc.—it’s a Kindle glitch. Just delete the ebook from your device and re-download it, and the problem should solve itself. If not, contact Amazon’s customer support; they’re usually very helpful and efficient.

  New Generation List

  Avril (vampire): adopted daughter of Lucas and biological daughter of Marion.

  Blaze (fire dragon): son of fire dragons Heath and Athena.

  Caia (part fae/human): daughter of Grace and Lawrence.

  Fiona (vampire): daughter of Benedict (son of Rose and Caleb) and Yelena.

  Harper (sentry/vampire): daughter of Hazel and Tejus.

  Scarlett (vampire): daughter of Jeramiah (son of Lucas Novak) and Pippa (daughter of Cameron Hendry).

  Family tree

  If you’d like to check out the Novaks’ family tree, visit: www.forrestbooks.com/tree

  Harper

  This wasn’t the first mess we’d gotten ourselves into on Neraka, but it was by far the biggest. Needless to say, there was always room for “improvement,” and, in our defense, this mess was more or less deliberate.

  We
’d gathered enough knowledge, resources, and allies to confidently take over the fortress on top of Ragnar Peak. We hadn’t expected Cason and his cohorts to successfully follow Avril’s team back from Athelathan, but we had planned with similar worst-case scenarios in mind. We should’ve anticipated that big-ass horn that Cason had used to summon more fighters from across the land. Not that we could’ve guessed the daemons possessed a horn whose swamp witch charms allowed it to ring loud enough for distant cities to hear, but still. Given our circumstances and the scope of our mission, defending a fortress from ferocious armies fit within our GASP job description.

  Cason’s charred remains were still smoking on the south side of the stony mountain, approximately a hundred yards from the gates—the closest he would ever get to us. His soldiers lined the southern horizon, their drums of war echoing in the distance.

  The sky darkened to an intense tourmaline shade, covered in a blanket of stars as the first moon rose over Neraka. The purplish asteroid belt glistened in a lazy arch above us, but what really caught everyone’s eye was the Adlet flare, burning bright red at an altitude of approximately five hundred feet. The downside was that anyone could spot it, but given that we already had hostiles headed our way and Cason had blown that wretched magical horn of his, it didn’t really matter what other fiends would head toward it. What mattered was that the Adlets had seen it, too. Our new allies, the giant Nerakian werewolves, were hopefully on their way to Ragnar Peak.

  For the first time, I could breathe, despite the oncoming war, because I knew we were not alone anymore. It was the kind of hope that kept me going, filling me with enough strength to tackle an entire army of daemons. As it happened, one was already on its way.

  Avril had released Nevis’s weird little snowflake, too. Not only was it a direct link to the Dhaxanian prince, but the icy, never-melting pendant had also worked as a daemon detector of sorts, burning cold whenever Avril got too close to the enemy. Unfortunately for us, it hadn’t stopped Cason from tailing her group, albeit from a considerable distance.

  I’d sent the Ekar bird back to the Manticores in the northwest, too. With a bit of luck, our allies would be here by dawn. We needed all the fighters we could possibly get for what came next. We could’ve just escaped from Ragnar Peak, but we had to make some dangerous gambles in order to truly progress. We’d already dealt a significant blow to Infernis, and we’d also disabled Draconis, the daemons’ prison city. We needed to cripple Shaytan’s forces even more, in order to cause enough chaos and disruption on Neraka for us to smoothly sneak back into Azure Heights and snatch the swamp witch.

  Lumi was our only chance at bringing down the shield that isolated Neraka from the rest of the In-Between and GASP. Our families and our friends, our partners and allies were most likely worried sick and desperately trying to get here, but the shield didn’t let anyone in or out. It had to come down, and we needed Lumi for that. Besides, stripping the enemy of their only swamp witch was Warfare 101 in these parts of the world.

  We assumed specific positions on the fortress walls, covering all sides. We switched things up and took turns overlooking the south, the north, the east, and the west. Caspian and I were consistently at the front, facing the incoming soldiers from the south, along with Fiona and Zane.

  We’d fended off rogue attacks from daemon hunter packs after we settled in the fortress—they’d tried to come at us stealthily, but our red lenses had come in handy. Now we were on the lookout, aware that more packs would come before the daemon army. There was a hefty price on our heads and, after what we’d done to Draconis, I doubted they still wanted us alive.

  The adrenaline from our earlier fights had dissipated, but we were still quite sharp and alert. I used my True Sight to constantly monitor the southern horizon. The daemons were still too far away for me to spot any useful details, but they were bound to reach us by morning. One thing I could tell for sure was that their numbers exceeded a thousand grunts, and, according to Zane, they were hardcore mercenaries and not the average soldiers we’d dealt with before.

  “They’re killers for hire, then?” I concluded, my gaze fixed on the trembling black mass making its way across the flatlands.

  Zane nodded, scratching his stubbled chin. “And expensive, too. The southern cities are particularly pricey, and deservedly so. They are very good at what they do.”

  “What should we expect, then?” I asked, slowly leaning toward Caspian.

  With everything that was going on, just feeling him there, next to me, was enough fuel to keep me burning for the rest of the night.

  “Increased strength,” Zane said. “Their speed is more or less the same, depending on how much armor they’re wearing. They’re bigger than the regular grunts. That muscle mass is directly tied to the increased strength I just mentioned. You’ll want to keep your distance and try not to engage them in direct combat. The more we can kill from afar, the higher our chance of survival.”

  Faint screeches pierced through the night. Death Claws, still many miles away.

  “Also, that.” Zane scoffed. “They love bringing their pets. Death Claws and pit wolves are the norm. They will usually send them out as their first line of attack. A brute, ferocious force.”

  “Sounds like we’re in for quite the… um, treat,” Fiona replied sarcastically, then nodded at the fortress’s tallest tower, on the southeastern corner. “But we have plenty of that, too. Ours also spits fire.”

  Blaze and Caia had settled at the top of the tower. The structure was thick and sturdy enough to withstand his dragon shifts and landings, especially since it didn’t have a roof. For the time being, Blaze stayed in his humanoid form, leaning against the edge and gazing out into the distance, like the rest of us. He didn’t take pleasure in killing any creature, and it always took a toll on him. It was written all over his face. However, he never hesitated when it came to protecting his people. Whatever or whoever came at us, Blaze was ready to burn them down.

  “Oh, and let’s not forget the Druids.” I chuckled, pointing at Ryker and Laughlan, who’d taken the second fortress tower on the right, southwestern corner. “I mean, we started out nicely with our default formula, but those two up there are absolute gems.”

  Though still weak from millennia of having their souls snacked on, Ryker and Laughlan were holding up surprisingly well. Their thirst for vengeance was monumental, to say the least. Most noticeably, after thousands of years spent inside the meranium prisons of Draconis, both Druids were thrilled to be out in the open. The prospect of spending the night on top of a tower, beneath the starry sky, seemed very appealing to them. Neither could take his eyes off the first moon.

  On the northern wall, across the inner courtyard, stood Patrik and Scarlett, covering the back. Hundurr had managed to rescue one of Cason’s pit wolves earlier, and he’d been keeping the creature company. We’d named the pit wolf Rover, at least until we got a chance to figure out where he’d come from, what Adlet pack he’d belonged to prior to his capture. Both were circling the fortress, enjoying their newfound freedom. Neither of us could understand what they were communicating to one another, but we could all see how thrilled they were to be out of those charmed collars. They’d lost their Adlet forms and had been reduced to these giant, hairless, black-skinned versions of themselves, but their red eyes yielded a semblance of hope that further encouraged me, too. These were resilient creatures, and we had a lot to learn from them when it came to overcoming Neraka’s adversities.

  “How are you on blood and water supplies?” Arrah asked, joining us. Pheng-Pheng was with her. They moved along the fortress walls to replenish our food and whatever else we needed.

  “I caught a couple of moon-bisons down on the northern ridge,” Pheng-Pheng said, offering us a leather bladder filled with fresh blood. I took it, then gave her a thankful nod and a smile. The young Manticore was an excellent hunter and a much-needed ally. Our journey through Draconis would’ve been a lot worse without her, for sure.

 
; “Thanks, Pheng,” I replied, then poured myself a tin cup, passing the rest to Fiona. “How are you girls holding up?” I asked.

  Pheng-Pheng and Arrah looked at each other, then back at us, and shrugged.

  “Still breathing, so that’s good, right?” Arrah chuckled.

  “There’s fresh meat below if you’re interested, daemon prince,” Pheng-Pheng said to Zane, nodding at the courtyard behind us.

  “I’ll help myself later,” Zane replied, then gave her a playful wink. “You didn’t sting the animal, though, did you?”

  “Of course not. My venom is potent enough to kill you even if ingested through another creature’s flesh,” Pheng-Pheng said.

  “Which is why I was asking.” Zane smirked.

  “Is that blood?” Avril called out from the east wall.

  Avril, Heron, Rush, and Amina had settled on that side, and, judging by the eager looks on their faces, they were getting hungry. I couldn’t blame Rush and Amina in particular, since they, too, had been locked up in Draconis for eons, their souls weakened but their appetites recovering. We always made sure to feed the Druid delegation more, to expedite their healing process. It would take months, even years for them to get back to what they once were, but they were still strong and capable enough to assist us in the upcoming fights.

  Pheng-Pheng nodded, then she and Arrah took the two remaining leather bladders over to Avril’s group, who welcomed the fresh blood with radiant smiles. Rush and Amina’s fangs were already out, glistening with delight as Avril filled their tin cups. I could only imagine what it must’ve been like for them. This was their second night out in millennia.

 
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