50% off Blood Bound by Áine P Massie (House Millar book #2)

How many ways can a hearts true love be shared? After poisoning, near death attacks, consummated passions, and possible insanity visit Anya, Nicholas, and Declán they embark on their future. Or at least they try to. Jealousy can be a pain, in more ways than one.

Can Anya protect her lovers, find peace within herself, and lead the House Millar? With her loves and guards, Nicholas and Declán, she sets out to do just that. If only life, eternal life, were that easy.

Come take a walk with our loving family and witness the strange turns and twists as life, love, and passions collide with greed, politics, and evil.

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“Again!” Geoff barked.

His voice dripped annoyance, as usual. He had me training like Declán, though I didn’t train with Declán. They – Geoff, Jonathan, Nicholas, and Louie – had all certified Declán ‘insane and ready’ to use his skills for something other than ‘playing’ with them. Okay, so he’s not technically insane, I just worry about my human love risking his life hunting our kind – well, the murderous vampires anyway. Annoyingly enough, I still wasn’t allowed to even watch him practice. “This time pretend you actually want to do damage.” Geoff sighed.

Scowling back at him, I retook my stance. I wasn’t allowed to speak. That was considered cheating. We were working on one-on-one combat today, though I still didn’t see why. If it wasn’t at least small groups, then why would I need to fight physically?

“The rules of engagement are simple, Anya – strike. No mercy – strike. Once the commitment is made – kill. Don’t let them touch you – destroy. You cannot appear weak – annihilate. There will be times you can’t rely on your voice as you saw already during your rescue of Nicholas. How would you have fared without being able to fight? Also, it might help you focus some of those cravings that have awakened within you.” Geoff continued with his lecture as he attacked again.

He claimed that I needed to learn not to hyper-focus on just the combat. That I must learn to hear and see all around me, never letting my focus settle for too long. While I understood the logic, and even agreed, I preferred to use my voice to solve issues rather than violence. Okay, so I’m a weird vampire . . . What else is new?

Running forward, I dropped down, catching him hard in the hip, spinning him up and back into a wall. Seemed he hadn’t expected that form of attack. Good. He rolled before I could get to him again, but was unable to make it back to his feet. With a growl, I landed atop him, slamming him to the ground, knees in his back with my nails into the back of his neck. I barely remembered not to  dig them in. From out of nowhere, strong arms pulled me back and slammed me to the floor. I didn’t even feel the hit. It didn’t register at first who held me, as I managed to evade the attempt to pin me.

The growling continued as I flipped around landing a solid kick to the ribs of my attacker while trying to keep up with where Geoff was. He again attempted to strike at me, catching my arm enough to cause mild pain but not clamping down, allowing me to spin out of his grasp and avoid the attempted blow to my back. Nicholas!

It didn’t matter that there were now two attackers coming from different directions. I leapt up to grab the beam above, and the two crashed into each other. Memories of trainings I’d had before may be lacking, but my instincts to survive worked just fine, much to everyone’s confusion and annoyance.

Dropping back down and into a low crouch, I moved forward as they untangled their legs. Springing on Nicholas, I slammed him down on top of Geoff and bent to nip the back of his neck before sliding away. “Stop,” I commanded.

Both Nicholas and Geoff stopped moving. They didn’t even breathe Hmm, Nicholas is bleeding, guess I should do something to fix that. “You both can talk. Just no attacking right now, please.

“Now, Nicholas, a mhuirnín, you’re bleeding. Geoff, are you hurt any?” Were they mad?

The guys separated, moving to either side of me. Geoff appeared  hurt.

“Um, ow! What was that?” Nicholas asked looking a little wild as he reached up to touch his neck. “You actually bit me!” He looked angry. Oops.

“Sorry, but you attacked me. It was only a nip,” I said defensively. They both should’ve been glad I restrained myself, pulling such stunts! “Stop messing with it, so I can heal you.”

Moving behind Nicholas to heal the small gash in his neck, I spoke to Geoff. “Are you hurt? You’re not standing quite right. And just what was all that about? I nearly took both your heads off.”

“Bloody hell, Anya. This was supposed to be sparing practice.  Spar-ring. You weren’t supposed to actually kill us. I think you broke something; luckily I heal fast.” Geoffrey tenderly touched his side while making a sour face in my direction. “Were you planning to kill us or did restraint come to mind at some point?” he snapped.

“I was restrained, thank you very much. I made sure not to drive my fingers into your neck, leaving your head neatly attached and unharmed. I only nipped Nicholas as opposed to what could have happened. And, if I recall your initial instructions, I was supposed to strike without weakness or mercy. Now will you believe that this is too dangerous? I have no desire to harm either of you, especially not considering you got Nicholas in on this. It’s so hard not to let myself get caught up in the power and pleasure of using my strength.

“I’ve tried to make you all understand that this is not a game for me. I know what I am capable of and you, Nicholas,” I grumbled, folding my arms across my chest. “You, of all people, should know better. What if I’d lost control and really hurt you? I couldn’t bear that. Please,” I begged. I understood they wanted to make me powerful and protected, but this was not safe for them.

“Maybe she’s right, Geoff. I know she could have done much worse with only a little more effort. I’d hate to be the one she actually wanted to hurt.” Nicholas rubbed absently at the now healed spot on his neck.

“Um, I suppose,” Geoff sulked. “I just worry about her getting taken or destroyed while she’s out running around. She so rarely thinks of her own protection.

“I would imagine you’re exquisite to watch in true combat sis, but I think I’d like that to not be with me again. At least not for a while. I’m going up and see if Peony would like to play nurse.”

As he shuffled towards the stairs, I noticed his right hip was also not moving correctly. He’d be fine shortly, healing being easy for us, but it bothered me that I managed to hurt them both while restrained. This was the precise issue that made me so afraid, again, of my relationship with Declán. I hated what Marcus and his House., had turned me into – like being a vampire wasn’t deadly enough . . . no, they had to torture me until I cracked. Yet without what I was now . . . how would I protect my family?

 

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