Dark Possession

By: Christine Feehan

Juliette held up her hand, a frown settling over her face.We’re scaring her, Riordan. Stop pushing at her. Listen to her heart. She is very frightened, beyond what should be normal. Is it possible whatever is affecting Manolito is affecting her?

Riordan was silent a moment. MaryAnn had always struck him as a strong, courageous woman. Although he didn’t know her very well, she seemed to be acting out of character.If she is his lifemate, then it might be so. But how could she be his lifemate’? Why wouldn’t he make his claim on her and put her under the protection of our family? It makes no sense, Juliette. He should not have awakened. Gregori locked him to earth, and when we brought him home, we took him to the richest soil in the rain forest and Zacarias ensured he would stay in the ground. I know of no others more powerful. How is it possible Manolito awakened before his time?

Could the bond between lifemates override a binding command from the healer or from the head of our family?

Riordan rubbed his chin. The truth was he just didn’t know.

Well she’s scared to death and we have to do something.Juliette took a deep, calming breath. “MaryAnn, I can see you’re very distraught. I’m going to ask Riordan to step out of the room and we can talk about what’s bothering you.”

MaryAnn ignored her and ran the last few steps to the huge bathroom, slamming the door closed and locking it. She raced to the sink and turned on the water, hoping it would deter Juliette from following her. Splashing cold water on her face helped to clear her mind, although she was shaking, frightened at the thought of what she had to do. It wouldn’t be easy to escape from the Carpathians. She had little defense against them, but Gregori, second in command and guardian of the prince, had been the one to put her under his protection, and he had given her a few safeguards. She just had to use them and keep from panicking until she could find her way back to the airstrip.

She had always had a sixth sense about danger, yet she hadn’t seen this coming. Now the fear was growing inside of her, blossoming into full-blown terror. She couldn’t trust these people. They weren’t at all what they seemed. Everything was wrong. The huge estate, with its layers of beauty, was only designed to lure the unwary into the hands of the monsters. She should have seen through them all.Gregori should have seen through them all. Was it a huge conspiracy? Were they all involved?

No, she would never believe it of her best friend, Destiny, or Destiny’s lifemate, Nicolae. They needed to be warned. Maybe they were already in trouble, or maybe it was just the De La Cruz family who had aligned themselves with the vampires. Spies in the Carpathian camp. All along there had been something different about them. She shouldn’t have trusted them.

She stared at herself in the mirror, the red, swollen eyes, the signs of grief ravaging her face. The spot over her breast that never quite healed throbbed and burned. She had been certain it was a bite of some kind that she was allergic to. She’d had it ever since she’d been in the Carpathian Mountains, but now she feared it was far more. Perhaps Juliette or Riordan or Rafael De La Cruz had marked her in some way.

She had wanted to go home, desperate to be away from the violence of the Carpathian world, but Juliette had come to her with a story about her younger sister, one MaryAnn had been unable to brush aside, even though her grief and despair had been overwhelming. Was Jasmine even real? MaryAnn doubted it. They were supposed to be at a huge cattle ranch in Brazil, one where during the day many people surrounded them, but Colby and Rafael, Juliette’s brother-in-law and his lifemate, along with Colby’s brother and sister, had gotten off the plane at a private airport, and MaryAnn had continued on with Riordan and Juliette to an island.

She was trapped. MaryAnn drew in her breath and let it out slowly. She would not die in this place. She was a fighter, and she would somehow get word to Destiny and Nicolae that this branch of Carpathians was traitors. Fear skittered down her spine as she realized what she had to do. Escape into the rain forest, find her way back to the airstrip and somehow get the pilot to take her to an airport where she could catch a flight home. Hastily she looked around the huge room, trying to figure out what she could take with her.

Nothing. There was nothing. She would have to improvise. She went to the window and peered out. The grounds were fairly wild, the rain forest creeping toward the house like an insidious invader, vines and shrubs stretching toward the courtyard. It would be a short run. She caught the edge of the window and attempted to lift.


She shrieked, nearly jumping out of her skin, pressing her hand to her pounding heart as she whirled around. Vapor streamed under the door and through the small keyhole. Juliette and Riordan shimmered into human form, Riordan by the window, Juliette by the door.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Riordan demanded, his black eyes snapping with fury. “You would be killed within five minutes of entering the forest. We are responsible for your safety.”

His voice seemed slow to her ears, a growling rumble that reminded her of demons she’d seen in movies, as if the sound was being played far too slow. Fear beat at her, rage filled her and confusion reigned. The counselor in her stepped back to try to make sense of the jumble of emotions pouring in.