Home > Thorns (Blood Prophecy #2)

Thorns (Blood Prophecy #2)
Author: L.H. Cosway

 


1.

 

Present

The waves crashed violently against the sides of the boat as we approached the island fortress. Seagulls cawed overhead, almost like they were screaming a warning, Go back. There’s nothing for you here. I stared up at the giant stone building covered in magical thorns and vines with no small amount of dread. It would be my home for the foreseeable future. No, not my home. My prison.

All I could do was hope and pray I got out alive.

 

 

2.

 

Ten days ago

It was a beautiful night.

If I wasn’t so distracted by the rope burning my hands, I might’ve taken a moment to look up and admire the stars.

It was Games Night at St. Bastian’s Institute for Magic and the Supernatural. The event was held each year, sort of like the sports days they had at human schools, and I was taking part in a violently competitive game of Tug o’ War: magical edition. The rules of the game were simple: the team to successfully pull the rope to their side won. However, the nature of it was vastly more complicated. The rope was no normal rope. It was bespelled to change and morph.

One moment it was blazing hot; the next icy cold. Similarly, the texture could change from rough to spiky to slippery smooth. All of which added an extra layer of difficulty. Currently, both teams were struggling to keep hold of the rope as it burned into our palms. My team consisted of my boyfriend, Peter, my friends, Nic and Ren, my cousin, Grace, and me. The opposing team included Belinda, the popular girl I recently learned resented me for various silly reasons, her best friends, Anna and Liz, and twin brother warlocks, Harry and Henry. They were identical, and I could barely tell them apart.

Peter’s best friend, Sophia, and my ex-blood donor, Angela, were on the sidelines cheering us on. Being the strongest of our group, Grace headed up the line, followed by Ren, Nic, and me, with Peter directly behind me, his solid frame anchoring us. I was constantly aware of his heat, his looming, heady presence as I tried to focus my energy on the rope. It was difficult when the object of all my affections was directly behind me, his scent making my mind wander to inappropriate places.

“Focus,” his low voice murmured in my ear, his front meeting my back. “You almost lost your grip there.”

“That’s because the rope is singeing my hands,” I gritted as a pleasant shiver trickled down my spine at his rumbly voice. My mind conjured images of him grabbing my hips and pulling my body into his.

“You’ll heal. I, on the other hand, will need to cast a spell.”

The heat of the rope turned to ice, and I gasped, “Oh my God.”

“My palms have gone numb,” Anna complained from the other team.

“How is this supposed to be fun?” Ren asked. “Aren’t Games Nights supposed to at least be enjoyable?”

“If you’re not cut out for this, you can always let go,” Belinda fired at him from where she headed up the opposing team.

“Never!” Grace shot back and gave an almighty tug. Belinda’s team wasn’t ready for it, and all five of them were propelled forward while my team fell back. Peter’s large body cushioned my fall as we landed on the grass, and my sister, who had been refereeing the match, blew a whistle.

“Looks like we have our winners,” Rebecca declared, and Grace shot her a triumphant grin while Belinda crossed her arms, gave a huff, then strode off in annoyance. Not a gracious loser, clearly. Anna and Liz hurried after her while Harry and Henry came to congratulate us on our win.

“Want to go check out some of the other games?” Peter asked, his mouth close to my ear again, his hand gently touching my hip, causing warmth to bloom in my cheeks.

I shook my head. “How about a walk instead?”

I motioned to the nearby forest, and there was a flash of heat in Peter’s eyes, his answer husky. “A walk sounds good.”

My gaze lowered to his throat, where his Adam’s Apple bobbed attractively. I slid my hand into his, and we wandered away from the crowd, passing a rowdy match of five-aside football. Quite like the game of Tug o’ War, it was no ordinary match. Instead, the students manoeuvred the ball using telekinesis.

The forest neared, and we passed through the trees. The tall, ancient foliage of the Yellowbranch Forest often felt like it encapsulated you in its wisdom and protection as soon as you entered it. There was a faint rustle of leaves, but other than that, it was soothingly quiet. The sounds of the Games Night faded into the distance as we walked in companionable silence.

“Did you visit your brothers yesterday?” I asked after a time. Peter had three younger siblings, Simon, Conor, and Arthur. He cared about them a lot, and I knew it was tough for him to live away from them now that he had his own apartment.

Peter nodded. “They’re well.”

“And your parents?”

“My mother seems to be doing okay. Dad was predictably absent while I was at the house. I think he’s decided to pretend I don’t exist.”

“Very mature of him.”

Peter shrugged. “I kind of prefer it. It’s better than having to actually deal with him.”

“Yes, well, I’m glad you didn’t have to see him yesterday,” I said, reaching up to stroke his jaw, and he seemed drawn to my touch, melting into it. “You’re always so tense after dealing with your father.”

“And you are amazing at making all my tension disappear,” he murmured as he backed me into a tree. My shoulders met the rough bark, the earthy scent of the forest in my nose blocked out as Peter’s smoke and amber filled my senses. My boyfriend was a warlock, and the scent and potency of his magic had a way of making me feel dizzy. Dizzy in an all-consuming, lovely way.

His hand clasped the side of my neck, and my blue eyes met his brown ones as his mouth descended on me. As soon as his lips touched mine, I shuddered, my body coming alive with a kind of desire only he could solicit. His tongue sought entrance, and I granted it hungrily, my hands sliding up his arms before coming to twine around his neck.

Peter’s hips pressed into mine, and as our kiss deepened, I felt him harden against me. My stomach tightened with need as his mouth left mine and trailed hot kisses down my neck. “Are you hungry?” he asked roughly against my skin, and I shuddered.

Somehow, Peter had become my unofficial blood donor in the last few weeks. Ever since Angela’s attack, it had been necessary for me to find a new donor. The whole thing with Peter had evolved organically, and though it wasn’t exactly against the rules to drink blood from your romantic partner, it was a bit of a grey area. Yes, my father fed from my mother, but they’d been together for a long time. With new relationships, giving blood could get complicated, but Peter had been so willing, and I was so lost in my feelings and attraction for him that I couldn’t say no.

My parents knew about our arrangement, and though I sensed they had their reservations, they hadn’t outright instructed me to stop feeding from Peter. I guess it might’ve been hypocritical, given their situation.

My fangs emerged, and I watched as a shudder went through him. There was a flicker in his jaw, his eyes going to my mouth. Being able to draw this kind of desire from him made me feel powerful. The connection between us was already so strong, and every time I fed from him, it strengthened further. Peter cast spells to defend against becoming addicted to my bite, but those spells didn’t do anything to weaken the intimacy of the act.

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