by River Starr
(Shadow Pact, #1)
Publication date: May 5th 2022
@Archaeolibrary, @XpressoTours, @river_starr,
No one survives their meeting with the Angel of Death—except for me.
After being accused of rallying citizens to revolt against him and breaking the rules of engagement with demons to save my best friend—guilty as charged on both accounts—the Angel of Death demands to personally oversee my sentencing in his obsidian castle of demons and death.
I’m done for. This is the end. But my death won’t be in vain—I’ll die a martyr to the Paladins Order’s cause, and I’ll rescue my best friend at the same time. She’ll be safe and the paladins will pick a new leader. They’ll thrive and continue the fight.
Or so I think. When judgment day arrives and I’m knelt before the Angel of Death, with his onyx eyes, his ebony hair, and his seductively imposing stature, my soul doesn’t leave me.
Because when I dare to look the Angel of Death in the eyes, everything changes. And what unfolds in my anger and vengeance’s stead is a thread of events I never could have foreseen.
I survived my meeting with the Angel of Death. But can I survive his love?
OATH-BREAKER is the first of a M/F paranormal demon romance duology full of steamy goodness.
“What do you mean you can’t kill me now?” I asked as soon as we were alone. Alone with the Angel of Death.
“I cannot,” he said, his tone curt.
“Isn’t that more reason to swiftly see my end?” I asked. “You need to kill me quickly before they have a chance to mount a rescue. Otherwise, you’ll be seen as weak, won’t you?” About as weak as him acknowledging and acting upon our bond as fated mates to the court. Maybe that is why he hadn’t clarified his choices to his court.
He smiled weakly. “On the contrary, I think keeping you alive will force the paladins to hold off. Two leaders of their Order killed within months of each other isn’t good for morale.”
My jaw clenched. “I hate you.”
“I know,” he said. “But you will not always. Fate has brought us together.”
I chuckled darkly. “Until you kill me in three days. What do you hope to accomplish in that time? Why not one day?”
Had I not been so close to the Angel of Death, I might not have noticed the twitch in his lips as I said that, or the nervous blink in his eye. “We will accomplish much.”
“We,” I spat, “won’t be doing anything.”
He stepped closer to me, fully enveloping my space. I took several steps backward until my back slammed into a wall. Curse this tiny room. “You made a deal.”
I stood straighter. The Angel of Death was taller than meand owner to power I wasn’t sure I could match. But I would not stand down or cower beneath my fiancé’s murderer. “I made a deal to trade myself for Jessa.”
“And I let her go,” he said so matter-of-factly, with such an edge of calm that it made me want to punch him. I might’ve had being this close to him not utterly stolen the breath from my lungs. His scent, the aura of his power, his very presence made it hard to breathe. His gaze burned me, through me, as if I could hide nothing from him.
Every part of him was all-consuming.
I breathed in his scent. Every move I made curled his very magic around me, sending coils up my arms and down my legs. It was as if he were touching me without physically doing so, holding me in an embrace I didn’t want, but my body did. Part of me, small as it was, craved this demon king’s hold and power, and I couldn’t deny it to myself. But I’d sure as hell fight it.
I’d already had a mate. I didn’t need—or want—another one, least of all in this ruthless overlord.
“How do I know she’ll make it to past the city line?” I asked, hating how breathless I sounded in the presence of this demon.
He licked his lips as his gaze dropped. Watching me be breathless. Watching my form start to lose some of its stiff determination to stand up to this man. This demon. “I gave you my word.”
“You’ll excuse me if your word means nothing to me,” I spat, a little more power behind the words this time. “You’re the Angel of Death.”
His cold, dark gaze lifted back to mine and he closed what little space remained between us. We were both nearly flush with the wall now. The cold stone pressed against my back, keeping me trapped between it and this demon.
The Angel of Death lifted his hand as if he were going to touch my face but stopped just short of doing so, the tips of his fingers a hairsbreadth from my cheek. “Lucius.”
My brow furrowed even as my gaze darted to his hand. Watching it. Waiting for any indication an attack was imminent. I could stun him, maybe. At least get to the door. But between his personal bodyguard and the other demonic soldiers, I doubted I’d get far. No, if I was going to escape this castle, I’d have to be much sneakier about it.
I surrendered to this realization, but such surrender must have registered on my face, because the Angel of Death—Lucius—relaxed. “Is that your name?”
“Yes,” he said casually.
“Why are you telling me this?” Normally, sharing personal information was a captive’s tactic to stay alive. A way to form a relationship with your kidnapper. He was no captive, and I was in no way going to give this demon king anything more than he’d already taken from me.
Lucius leaned in, our foreheads barely inches apart. “Because we are mates.”
I was suddenly aware of how much space he was taking up around me. Of how small I was now pressed between him and this wall. And although there were instincts within me to run from or fight demons, they were quiet in the wake of Lucius’s presence. Not just his demonic powers, but the fate bond that did exist, as much as I hated it. And I thought he’d hated it too. Lucius had certainly appeared pissed by this turn of events. But now here he was, head inclined toward me. And here I was, my gaze dropping to his full lips. Before I knew it, I was wetting my own.
A magnetic force held me in place, a desire to run my hands along his chest. To pull him in. An invisible electricity seemed to zip between us where our magic met. My cheeks warmed with the growing awareness of how much I didn’t at all mind how close we were. How he’d not dropped his hand, as if he were waiting for any indication it’d be okay to touch me. And gods, a part of me wanted it.
Disgust washed through me with the realization, stifling this growing bond between us. Curse the fates who had decided mates should be a thing, and curse the fates that’d chosen to give me two.
I batted Lucius’s raised hand away and slammed both bound fists into the center of his chest, shoving him backward. Lucius barely moved backward, and his eyebrows rose in surprise, but the motion had created more space between us, small as it was. That was all I’d wanted.
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River Starr writes books that help you escape, especially fantasy romance full of magic and supernaturals. Favorite things: coffee, wine, chocolate, and a heavy dose of books to chase away the dark... or invite delicious darkness in. Author links: https://twitter.com/river_starr https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRiverStarr https://www.instagram.com/authorriverstarr/ https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20463942.River_Starr https://www.bookbub.com/authors/river-starr