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Authors: Zoe Forward

Tags: #Demons-Gargoyles, #Graphic Violence, #Paranormal, #Contemporary

Darkness Unbound

BOOK: Darkness Unbound
13.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Table of Contents

Title Page
Praise for Zoe Forward’s
Author’s Note:
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
A word about the author...
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Darkness Unbound


Zoe Forward

Scimitar Magi Series

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

Darkness Unbound

COPYRIGHT © 2014 by Zoe Forward

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: [email protected]

Cover Art by
Rae Monet, Inc. Design

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at

Publishing History

First Black Rose Edition, 2014

Print ISBN 978-1-62830-523-4

Digital ISBN 978-1-62830-524-1

Scimitar Magi Series

Published in the United States of America

Praise for Zoe Forward’s

Scimitar Magi series

is one of the very few paranormal romances that I have read that I am now hooked on...has just the right amount of love, lust, humor, and ass kicking to make this a paranormal romance that I would be more than willing to read again. In fact, I would even go far enough to say this could be made into a pretty kick ass movie too.”

~Books She Reads


by Zoe Forward is an electrifying Paranormal Romance. This is a story of torment, lust, love and bad guys out to rule the world...Excellent read- highly recommend.”

~Reviewing Vixens



“With a fresh new take on paranormal romance Zoe Forward is great...Zoe keeps the story amped up through the entire book in thrilling anticipation and strong character leads...fabulous job...can’t wait to read more in the future!”



“Is there anything more delicious than a tattooed band of badass warriors? Zoe Forward might have created the best brotherhood since BDB and Dark-Hunters...this novel is the perfect blend of friendship, love, magic and battle that begs the questions: “More, Ms. Forward?” and “How soon?!?”

~In d’Tale Magazine


To my readers. This one’s for you.

Author’s Note:

Glossary of terms after page 310


Big hugs and thank-yous to…

My little one for reminding me daily that “everything is awesome.”

My husband for smiling when I said I wanted to keep my day job and become a writer.

The ever-amazing Eilidh MacKenzie for saying “Yes!” to this series. And for being my editor extraordinaire, logic-checker, and barometer for common sense.

My readers and FB supporters (you know who you are…the ones who give me a push of encouragement at just the right time). You guys make this worthwhile.

My sister’s tough honesty on plot lines and characters.

And last, but never least, to Mom and Dad.


Chapter One

Twelve Years ago.

“Wanna…you know, get together after your shift?” a cocky, likely congressional intern propositioned with laser gaze on her boobs. Astrid’s modest cleavage rebelled against her waitress uniform’s pushup bra and extra small maroon tee.

He leered an

Typical rich brat.

His four cohorts chuckled at an inside joke. One granted her a pity scan.

She balanced the tray of five cocktails above her head while scantily clad undergrad girls pushed past toward the pulsating dance floor. Blue overflowed with spring breakers and DC interns looking to score. The heavy bass pulse rocked inside her skull. Good thing she’d downed two ibuprofen tabs about a half hour ago.

“Anything else I can get you guys right now?” she asked. The guy’s proposal didn’t warrant an answer. She slid the drinks to their owners and scanned for new occupants two tables over, her next job.

Despite the pulsating strobe lights she recognized her best friend and roommate of three years, since frosh orientation. Sylvia claimed one of the recently vacated seats at the table. A tall guy scooted the other chair close to Sylvia and latched his mouth onto her roommate’s lips. Astrid froze. Her stomach plummeted.
That’s my boyfriend!

A hand slid across Astrid’s ass. The entitled bastard behind her likely read her unmoving silence as a neon you-betcha sign. She batted away the groping fingers and forced her feet toward

Blue ranked as the top place to be, at least for people her age. The club’s long wait line attested to that, but they knew she worked here on weekends during the semester, especially over spring break.

She halted within inches of the kissing marathon and forced out, “Hello?”

The two sprung apart. Neither met her gaze. Colin smoothed a hand over his toned pecs and down the T-shirt she’d given him for his birthday last week. She recalled his thank you—his mouth on hers.

She pivoted, intent on exiting before waterworks commenced. She slammed into a fellow waitress whose tray of beers sloshed but didn’t spill.

“Sorry,” Astrid murmured.

“Hey, Astrid! That wasn’t what it looked like,” Colin yelled behind her.

A glance behind her confirmed the asshole had stood to follow. She screamed over the ear-splitting bass pulse, “Spare me. I’m already over it.”
She forced a shrug. “You thought we had something special? See you around.”

She jogged downstairs to the bar’s lower level and to the back hallway where she slid her tray behind one of the ultra-stylized sleek trashcans. A doublewide line of women texting on cell phones while waiting for the bathroom stood between her and the exit. A few scowls greeted her as she squeezed through. She ignored the “Emergency Exit Only” warning, confident alarms wouldn’t trigger, and pushed outside.

This tenth-floor bar’s emergency evac plan involved a stairwell. She shuffled down eight flights, gripping the railing during her descent. Her vision was cloudy and feet weren’t coordinating at one hundred percent. A sharp left out of the stairwell took her into the deserted lobby of some tech company—a nighttime dead space that she’d discovered a few months ago. She spent her breaks down here studying. Quiet. Alone.

She ducked into a dark corner near the elevators and squatted next to a dusty fake ficus tree, batting away tears. With a sob she gave in to a
pity fest.

Why had she believed Colin’s four weeks of love declarations? She thought the past month had been special, even exclusive. Apparently not. Thank God she hadn’t slept with him. Even so, she should tattoo a big L on her forehead.
She groaned at the image of Sylvia lip-locked with Colin. Given her roommate’s history of a new bed partner every few weeks, the girl would no doubt be sharing Colin’s dorm room twin tonight. Maybe this wasn’t their first night together. No, she couldn’t allow her brain to take that journey.

pinged around in her brain. She needed it to be right before she slept with a guy again.

The last time she’d slept with a guy—the only time—was three years ago, high school. The soccer team captain chose her. Seconds after a clumsy, painful, back-seat groping, he had his pants zipped, which the prick hadn’t even bothered to remove past his knees, and was history along with the parting shot, “Not bad for your kind.” The non-country club, non-trendy kind.

When will you learn? Nobody wants you.
Her father never showed up when she’d been born. Her mother drug ODed right after she got her driver’s license, and the aunt that grudgingly took her in to finish high school pushed her out with a clear
the moment she left for college.

She shook her head, trying to bury those self-destructive thoughts. But right now she was lost in those old emotions.
Where’s the one guy out there who wants me for me?

“Why do you weep?” asked an accented deep baritone.

Astrid bolted upright, her head spinning from the altitude shift and that masculine voice. She backhanded all moisture off her face and squinted into the dimly lit lobby at her discoverer. With a gasp she took a step back.

Height was a handicap she battled at close to six feet, but this guy towered over her in a way that put the M in massive. She’d think basketball player, but he wasn’t lithe and leggy. Bulky, chiseled muscle pushed beneath his clothing. Her startled mind couldn’t pinpoint from what century his dark garments originated, but they weren’t modern. Maybe he was an actor from the theater across the street, and still in costume.

As he stepped out of the shadows, her mind scattered. She placed a hand against her belly, desperate to settle its quake and focus on breathing.

Had the Nordic god Thor just stepped into her world? Long wavy blond hair and angular features made for a devastating package. Blue zigzag tattoos trekked down his neck. His eyes trapped hers. Their intensity communicated confidence and ferocity, but not cruelty. She recognized the cool stillness of that gaze from the countless drug dealers her mother had brought home. This man was immune to violence. Dangerous. Every flight instinct in her body ordered she bolt.

“Do you not speak English?” He glanced around as if trying to ascertain what language to try next.

She stared at the exit, calculating her success on a dodge and flee. “I’m fine.”

“You are not fine.” He frowned and stepped back.

“Look, I appreciate the Good Samaritan act, but I don’t need a hero.” She glared her best
, weighing him as an adversary. She’d lose in a physical battle. Most men she could intimidate into a hasty retreat with her patented I’m-a-bitch stare.

“I am no hero.” The corners of his lips twitched upward into a sexy smile.

Except him.

Her pulse roared through her ears. Fear and an undeniable fascination with the power and danger of this man coalesced. “Great, then I’ll just go back to my peaceful moment. And you go back to not being a hero.”

“Did not seem so peaceful.” Heat sparkled in his rich blue eyes.

BOOK: Darkness Unbound
13.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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