Unchained beauty, p.1

Unchained Beauty, page 1

 part  #5 of  Deadly Beauties Live On Series

 

Unchained Beauty
 



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Unchained Beauty


  Unchained Beauty

  The Deadly Beauties Live On #5

  #Finale

  by

  USA Today Bestselling Author

  C.M. Owens

  Unchained Beauty

  The Deadly Beauties Live On #5

  Copyright © 2017 by C.M. Owens

  No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without express written permission of the author. This eBook is licensed for your enjoyment only. It may not be re-sold or given away to other people.

  The story in this book is the property of the author, in all media both physical and digital. No one, except the owner of this property, may reproduce, copy or publish in any medium any individual story or part of this novel without the expressed permission of the author of this work.

  Prologue

  Then…

  SLADE

  Hands chained and bound, I stare through the cage bars. It’s quiet today. It’s been quiet all week, in fact. Quieter than usual.

  Something is happening.

  Closing my eyes, I let my head fall against the stone wall behind me, and I see her. Her blonde hair getting tucked behind her ear as she smiles over at someone who is too blurry to make out. She must be farther away today.

  But I see her.

  That’s all that matters.

  I’ve seen this image before. Many times. Her smile keeps me from losing my mind, because I want to see it at least once myself.

  Not that I’ll claim her.

  I just want to see her with my own eyes.

  See if she’s as perfect as she’s been in my head all these long years.

  The ground vibrates under me just enough to cause me to open my eyes and look around. Numerous pairs of eyes meet mine, everyone looking to me like they’re asking me to answer what that feeling of power is.

  Then the ground rumbles, and every cell seems to shift.

  Jerking at the chains, I force myself to my feet, feeling my arms stretched to their limit as everyone else follows my action. As everyone finishes standing to their feet, I listen, hearing something happening far above.

  “There’s a fight going on,” someone whispers.

  Hope becomes a stench in the room. Haven’t they learned better than to feel hope by now?

  Don’t they know how stupidly dangerous such an emotion is?

  Before I can remind them, I hear a loud crack seconds before wind rushes through the cells with such explosive power that it almost blows me off my feet. Numerous others are knocked down or thrown into walls.

  The volatile wind disappears as quickly as it came, and my eyes take in the dull, lifeless cage bars that suddenly look like iron instead of spelled confines. Daring to hope just a little, I glance down at my chains.

  I’m one of the few who is chained inside the cell, because the cell alone wouldn’t hold me.

  With one harsh jerk, the chain on my wrist groans, and a smirk lights up one side of my mouth. My eyes dart around, seeing all the timid, confused prisoners studying their own bars, waiting for a trap.

  It’s always a trap.

  But I know for a fucking fact they wouldn’t risk freeing me.

  Taking a deep breath, I rip both my arms forward. Stone crumbles around the base of the chains for the first time ever, and the chains rip free, taking plugs of the stone with them at the end.

  Eyes widen all around me as I stand to my full height, feeling the power flowing through me like it hasn’t done in far too long. It’s almost drugging to feel it all surge forth with one blast.

  Even in my weakened state, I feel like I could destroy the world right now. And I’m ready to. Ready to burn this place to fucking hell, along with everyone who has kept me in here.

  Feeling the silver burn through my eyes, taking over with a need to be free so fierce that I almost succumb to instinct alone, I barely keep control. My hands turn to fists just as I walk over, almost feeling clumsy with the ability to take a step, and punch the cage door.

  It flies off and crashes into the next cage, mangling it. It’s silent aside from the sound of my chains dragging as I walk in front of Kya’s door.

  She scrambles to uncover my secret journal from a loose stone in her floor that she always sits on to hide. I arch and eyebrow as she smirks, and I rip her door open with one hand. It flies off the hinges as well, slamming into the cage across from hers and clambering down to the ground.

  As if it sets off a tidal wave, the sound of cages exploding all around composes a song of violent, bloodthirsty freedom.

  People start vanishing from all around, the ability to dematerialize finally restored.

  It almost feels like a high when I let my own body move through the fabric of the air around me, rematerializing high in a tree outside of the compound.

  Despite the yelling I hear and the hundreds of people below, I close my eyes, smelling the air around me. It doesn’t smell like home, and this isn’t even the right plane, but it’s sure as hell the closest I’ve ever been.

  But as always, when I close my eyes, I see her. The girl who haunts me. The girl I want to hate for being so untouchable.

  It’s a scene I’ve seen so many times before the visions of her start back over on her eighteenth birthday, and I have to relive those short years over and over, wondering if she dies directly after turning into this hawk, since it’s the last I ever see of her.

  But she never feels gone. Always feels—

  A ripple of awareness slices through me, bringing every nerve on my body to attention, and my eyes dart open, immediately landing on the very bloody familiar hawk that soars into the sky.

  Someone shouts, and I stand in the tree, looking on with some twisting sensation in the pit of my gut. The hawk hammers an invisible force, and I feel the power shatter all around me.

  As a battle explodes to life, my eyes land on the naked form of a woman who is falling. Blonde hair waves in the wind, cloaking a face I’m almost terrified to see.

  When she crashes limply to the ground, something inside me—something dark, primal, and instinctively furious—stirs to life.

  Without intentionally doing so, I’m suddenly at her side as I stare on at her for a split second that feels like an eternity.

  My chest pounds like my heart is beating for the first time in centuries, and I suck in a breath that betrays me by forcing me to inhale her scent for the first time while there are still shackles on my wrists.

  Her eyes are closed, and her breathing is shallow, but whatever power she just used has drained her.

  But I know without a doubt it’s her. I’ve studied every feature of her with my eyes closed. Now, however, my eyes rake over her bare, very real body with my eyes wide open.

  A growl rumbles out of me when I see a small trickle of blood from her nose, and in the next instant, I’m lifting her, cradling her to me as all the life in me begs to claim her.

  Take her.

  Mark her.

  Own her.

  Another growl is ripped from me as I mentally curse her for being here. On this night of all nights. The first day of my freedom. The day I’m finally freed from the cage that has bound me for centuries as torture met me in the mornings for too long.

  Now I feel a tomb being brought up around me, sealing my destiny, caging me in despite all my centuries of planning for this day.

  All because of the blonde, lethal, delicate fucking girl in my arms.

  I use all my strength to launch us out of here, dematerializing us before someone realizes how badly they just fucked up before I can shed these shackles and put forth my plan to never wear another pair again.

  We land in a dark forest, but
the air is almost familiar. It’s not as pure as my memories, but when the trickle of a breeze blows against my face, something hot rolls down my cheek.

  Ignoring the lone tear, I force my eyes open, swallowing down the emotion wadding in my throat as I spot what looks like an empty cabin in the distance.

  I’ve envisioned what this moment would feel like a thousand times, but none of those imaginings were even close.

  I feel like I can breathe again.

  I feel like I can move again.

  I feel like I can finally live to see death delivered to the doorsteps of those on my list.

  I feel…free.

  My eyes drop to the girl in my arms.

  Almost free.

  I carry her into the cabin and leave her there to heal, even though it takes every ounce of strength I possess not to take her with me. I’ve spent centuries preparing to be a monster.

  She looks anything but monstrous, even less so than in my dreams.

  Stepping back outside, I feel power rippling through the air, warning me that someone is coming.

  Kya appears from thin air, then more and more land close by, everyone looking to me. Everyone wanting the same damn thing.

  Everyone expecting me to lead.

  Kya takes her place near me, eyes up and steely gaze on mine.

  “We’re actually free,” she whispers, almost as though she’s afraid to say it too loud.

  “Let’s make sure it stays that way,” I tell her, moving toward the others in the woods.

  “We need to find a point of base,” I tell Kya. “See who can help with that.”

  She immediately gives the order to Simone, who darts away to carry off the task.

  “After we have camp?” the misfit lycan/incubus Halfling asks me.

  My lips twitch. “Then we have a list to work through to find out who the hell has kept us captive all these long years. And we kill them. All of them.”

  Dark, sinister smiles form, showing several sets of white teeth below the moonlight.

  “First person on my list is the traitor wolf witch,” I bite out. “Find her, and we’ll see if she has any secrets to share.”

  A chorus of cheers go off, and I look down at Kya again.

  “Let no one near that cabin without killing them,” I say quietly.

  The surprise on her face is quickly masked as she nods, not questioning what I’m hiding. She’s the only one I trust.

  Picking out a random male, I say, “You.” He looks at me when I point. “Find out how we were freed, who helped, and learn their motives. Meet back here as a rendezvous point, and I’ll decide if you’re ready to join camp based on the information you provide.”

  He vanishes without a word, and I look up as the sky thunders. In fact, we all look up.

  When the first trickle of rain hits my face, another hot tear is dragged out of me.

  I haven’t felt the rain in more centuries than I can count. I haven’t felt water or tasted it in too long.

  My mouth opens, and the first drop of wetness has my body desperate for more. So much more.

  When my eyes close so I can simply feel sensation, I expect to see the blonde on her eighteenth birthday, the loop restarting.

  Instead, I see her inside the cabin, her body still limp and pale but mending as her chest rises and falls steadily.

  Instinct demands I go to her, but I wrestle for control, finding it easier without her being physically in front of me.

  When my eyes open, I feel them burn, and I stare over at the cabin.

  For just a second, a fraction of a moment too long, I understand why my brother faltered. Understand why he wasn’t strong enough to resist. And that makes me hate him a little more.

  As the rain starts to drizzle, I move back to one more person as Simone comes running up.

  “One of our guys knows the perfect place to go,” she tells me.

  “Have him lead the way,” I tell her.

  I wait until everyone disappears, and Kya finally leaves the cabin unattended. I’ve already put an intrusion spell on the place, so no one is getting in, but I don’t even want anyone to see her.

  Just as Kya starts to follow, I grab her arm. “Remember that picture I had you draw two years ago? The one of the man in my head?”

  She frowns. “Yes...the one I sketched for you while you instructed me.”

  Kya was a child when she came to the rings. Drawing kept her from forgetting she was a child, and she got good at it.

  “Find him,” I tell her.

  “Of course. Who is he? Is he part of the rings?” she asks, simply curious.

  “No,” is all I say at first.

  There was never any sound to my dreams. I’ve never heard her voice. I only know her name because of the minimal lip reading I was able to do with the blurry images that seem to be sharpening now that I’ve touched her.

  His image was always sharp enough, and I memorized every feature of him while he put his fucking hands all over her.

  “He’s just someone I want to kill before anyone else gets the chance,” I add before disappearing.

  I was weak and docile the first time I was in this world.

  They’re not ready for the monster they created.

  Chapter 1

  Now…

  SLADE

  “Fucking find him!” I shout at Kya, who winces as she looks away.

  “I’ve tried. Alton is either gone or still the demon’s captive.”

  Bloody demon bitch. I will rip her out of that witch she’s possessing and destroy her one way or another.

  “What about the dragon shifters?” I growl, cutting my gaze away.

  “They’re settled in the Alaskan wilderness, all of them. And their numbers are much greater than they led us to believe, including the numbers of their women. Yet very few children are among them, so I believe them about the fact they’re mostly barren.”

  Music thumping outside has me peering out the window, and it’s all I can do not to kill an incubus when I see him doing some weird fucking dance moves with my people.

  “What the hell is that damn incubus doing now?” I say on an exasperated breath.

  This day is officially my least favorite since I’ve been freed.

  Kya smiles but recovers quickly, her lips returning to a respectable tense line as she clears her throat.

  “I think that’s the Macarena,” she deadpans.

  “What the fuck is the Macarena?”

  She shrugs, looking around to avoid making eye contact with me. I swear her lips are twitching.

  She’s spent too much time with those tossers.

  The music changes to something about a whip and a nae nae or some nonsense, and so do the dance moves.

  “I’m going to kill him,” I bite out, going to the door and jerking it open. My people are bloody laughing like their lives aren’t hanging in the balance during a time of war.

  Have they all gone mad?

  The incubus must be contagious.

  The second Simone sees me, her eyes widen, and the music is killed.

  “If you want to die, then by all means, keep dancing,” I drawl dispassionately. “If you’re here to survive and reap the souls of the ones who contained and tortured us for many long, gruesome centuries, then get your asses back on the training field and do something productive.”

  Everyone scatters, sans the lone incubus, who simply takes a seat, smirking at me.

  “If you were one of the seven dwarfs, your name would be Menacing. Or maybe Kill-Joy,” the pointless male tells me, which makes zero sense at all.

  The dwarves I once knew had no different names than the rest of us.

  “If you continue to be a distraction to my people, I will pull your spine out through your throat,” I growl.

  He doesn’t even bat an eye at the very real threat. “I’ve actually heard that threat too many times to count.”

  When I take a step toward him, he leaps off the seat, laughing as he darts away. Madman.
That’s all that incubus does—run and laugh. Why they insist on letting him continue to be a weak link is something I’ll never understand.

  But I’m sick of him. I’m sick of all of them. All of the queen’s little group who have no clue about the depths of depravity we’re up against, while they continue to laugh and joke about life as though there’s an endless amount of it to expend.

  Kya steps next to me as I try to calm my anger, my fists clenching and unclenching. I was too damn close to having my brother. I could already have him locked away in the personalized prison I built for him, but that damn group wrecked it all.

  And when I get my hands on Gavin, I’m going to kill him. I don’t care what the queen and her minions say.

  Quite simply, I want to kill a lot of people or make them wish they were dead.

  “I need to go check on my sister. Since our joining, her baby seems to be draining her more. She’s not going to be able to help us in the next fight,” Kya says on a sigh.

  I say nothing. I simply turn and walk back inside. Kya has grown as distracted as the rest of them, planning a future that may not come to pass if Hannah the demon wins this war due to a lack of commitment to bringing her down.

  No sooner do I get the star charts laid out in front of me, I feel the familiar sensation in the pit of my stomach. The feeling of being called to by power far too strong to ignore.

  I close my eyes, seeing her the second they’re shut, just as always. I can’t even sleep anymore without seeing her.

  Her silver eyes are flickering to black as energy blasts from her hands, so many colors of energy she shouldn’t have. Blue. White. Red. Yellow. It’s all there, a rainbow of destruction blazing from the most uncontrollable source.

  Blonde hair whips in the wind that violently cyclones around her as a dark grin emerges and plays on her lips. She’s losing herself quickly. Too quickly. It seems to only get worse instead of better.

  Fucking princess. Why does she continue to use her powers with no control?

  I hear someone shouting my name, causing me to snap my eyes open. Groaning, I walk over to the door, watching as Kimber races toward the house.

 
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