About the Book
The "strikingly original" (Booklist) Midnight Breed vampire romance series continues with a pulse-pounding novel of paranormal passion and suspense from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Lara Adrian.
Carys Chase is accustomed to making her own rules and letting her heart lead the way--no matter what anyone else has to say about it. A rare Breed female and a daywalker as well, headstrong, beautiful Carys is one of the most powerful of her kind. She lives passionately and loves without limits, especially when it comes to the lethal cage-fighting Breed warrior called Rune.
Unbeatable in the ring, Rune exists in a brutal world of blood and bone and death. He's made his share of enemies both in and out of the arena, and his secrets run as deep and turbulent as his past. A dangerous loner who has survived by his fists and fangs, Rune has never allowed anyone to get too close to him...until Carys. But when the bodies buried in his past rise up to threaten his present, Rune must choose between betraying Carys's trust or putting her in the crosshairs of a battle neither of them can hope to win on their own.
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"This series is a long running one and while most series would have ended or run out of steam, the Midnight Breed series seems to have picked up steam. Lara Adrian has managed to keep the series fresh by adding new characters . . . without having to say goodbye to the original ones that made the series so popular to begin with. Bound to Darkness has all the passion, danger and unique appeal of the original 10 books but also stands on its own as a turning point in the entire series with new pieces to a larger puzzle, new friends and old enemies."
—Adria's Romance Reviews
Excerpted from Bound to Darkness
by Lara Adrian
Published by: Lara Adrian, LLC (July 2015)
Copyright © 2015 by Lara Adrian LLC. All rights reserved.
(Note: Excerpt may contain explicit language and sexual situations).
Titanium spikes slashed the fighter's face, spraying blood across the floor of the steel cage and thrilling the crowd of cheering spectators inside the underground fighting arena. Gritty industrial music pounded from the dance club upstairs, bringing the din to a deafening pitch as the long match between the pair of Breed males built toward its finish.
Carys Chase stood near the front, among the throng of avid spectators as Rune's fist connected with his opponent's face again. More shouts and applause erupted for the undefeated champion of Boston's most brutal arena.
The fights were technically illegal, but highly lucrative. And since the outing of the Breed to their terrified human neighbors twenty years ago, there were few sporting events more popular than the outlawed gladiator-style matches pitting a pair of six-and-a-half foot, three-hundred pound vampires against each other in a closed, steel mesh cage.
Blood was essential to Carys and her race, but sometimes it seemed mankind was even more thirsty for it. Especially when the spillage was restricted to members of the Breed.
Although even Carys had to admit that watching a vampire like Rune fight was a thing of beauty. He was dangerous grace and lethal savagery.
And he was hers.
For the past seven weeks-since the night she'd stepped into La Notte with a small group of friends and first saw Rune battling inside the cage-they had been practically inseparable. She had fallen fast and hard and deep, and hadn't looked back for a second.
Much to her parents' dismay. They and her twin brother, Aric, had all but forbade her to see Rune, basing their judgment on his profession and reputation alone. They didn't know him. They didn't want to know him either, and that hurt. It pissed her off.
Which is why, with a full head of steam and a stubborn streak inherited from both of her parents, Carys had recently moved out of the Chase family Darkhaven and in with her best friend, Jordana Gates.
Leaving home to get her own place hadn't gone over well, particularly with her father, Sterling Chase. As the commander of the Order's presence in Boston, he, along with the Order's founder, Lucan Thorne, and the other district commanders, were the de facto keepers of the peace between the Breed and mankind. No easy task in good times, let alone the precarious ones they lived in now.
Carys understood her father's concern for her safety and wellbeing. She only wished he could understand that she was a grown woman with her own life to lead.
Even if that life included a Breed male who chose to make his living in the arena.
All around her now, the spectators chanted their champion's name. "Rune! Rune! Rune!"
Carys joined in, awed by his domination of the fighting ring even as the woman in her cringed every time fists smashed on flesh and bone, regardless of who was on the receiving end. And she could admit, at least to herself, that being in love with him had made her hope for the day he might decide to climb out of the cage for good.
No one had ever beaten Rune-and more than a few had died trying.
He prowled the cage with fluid motion, naked except for the arena uniform of brown leather breeches and fingerless gloves bristling with titanium spikes. The sharp metal ensured every blow was a spectacle of shredding flesh and breaking bone for the pleasure of the crowd.
Also crafted primarily for the entertainment of the sport's patrons was the U-shaped steel torc around the fighters' necks. Each combatant had the option of hitting a mercy button inside the cage, which would deliver a debilitating jolt of electricity to his opponent's collar, halting the match to afford the weaker fighter a chance to recover before resuming the bout.
Although Rune had been the recipient of countless juicings when he climbed into the ring, he had never stooped to using the mercy button.
Neither did his opponent tonight. Jagger was one of La Notte's crowd favorites too, a black Breed male whose own record of wins was almost as impressive as Rune's. The two fighters were friendly outside the arena, but no one would know it to see them now.
Being Breed, Jagger healed from his injuries in seconds. He wheeled on Rune with a deafening roar, plowing forward like a bull on the charge. The contact drove Rune back against the cage. Steel bars groaned, straining under the sudden impact of so much muscle and might. The spectators directly below shrieked and shrank away, but the fight had already moved on.
Now it was Rune on the offense, tossing Jagger's massive body across the cage.
Game or not, the clash of fists and fangs brought out the savage in just about any Breed male. Jagger got to his feet, his lips peeled back from his sharp teeth on a furious sneer. His dermaglyphs pulsed with violent colors on his dark skin. He rounded on Rune, amber fire blazing from his eyes as he crouched low and prepared to make another bruising charge.
Opposite him in the cage, Rune stood tall, his massive arms at his sides, his stance deceptively relaxed as he and Jagger circled each other.
Rune's Breed skin markings churned with raging colors too. His midnight-blue eyes crackled with hot sparks as he studied his opponent. Rune's fangs were enormous, razor-sharp tips gleaming in the dim lights of the arena. But beneath the sweat-dampened fall of his dark brown hair, his rugged, granite-hewn face was an utter, deadly calm.
This was Rune at his most dangerous.
Carys's breath stilled as Jagger leapt, catapulting and cartwheeling in a blur of furious motion across the ring. One foot came up at Rune's face like powerful hammer, so fast, Carys could hardly track its motion.
But Rune had. He grabbed Jagger's ankle and twisted, dropping the fighter to the floor. Jagger recovered in less than an instant, pivoting on his elbow and sweeping Rune's legs out from under him with another smooth kick.
The move was swift and elegant, but it opened Jagger up for sudden defeat.
Rune went down, but took Jagger with him, tackling him into an impossible hold on the floor of the cage. Jagger struggled to break loose, but Rune's spiked knuckles kept the fighter subdued.
Howls and applause thundered through the arena as the clock counted down on the end of the match, with Rune about to claim yet another win.
As Carys cheered his certain victory, she felt a prickle of awareness on the back of her neck. She glanced behind her toward the back of the club. Two of her father's Breed warriors had just come inside.
Dressed in the Order's black fatigues, Jax and Eli scanned the massive crowd, ignoring the spectacle inside the cage as they sought to locate her. She was getting used to seeing the Order's babysitting patrol every night, but that didn't make it any less annoying.
Maybe her father's patience had finally reached its end. She knew him well enough not to put it past him to send his warriors out to collect her and eventually bring her home. By force if needed.
Ha. Let them try.
As one of the rare few females of the Breed and a daywalker, Carys was every bit as strong as any male of her kind. Stronger than most, given that her mother, Tavia Chase, was a laboratory-created miracle comprised of half-Ancient and half-Breedmate genetics.
But she didn't need to resort to physical strength to avoid Jax and Eli. Carys had another ability at her disposal-this one inherited from her father.
As she stood among the crowd near the front of the arena, Carys quieted her mind and focused on her surroundings. Gathering and bending the shadows around her, she concealed herself in plain sight. No one would see her so long as she held the shadows close.
She waited, watching the pair of Order warriors stroll deeper into the club to scan the hundreds of humans and Breed packed inside. Carys drifted deeper into the throng, unseen by anyone. Jax and Eli gave up after a few minutes of searching. Carys smiled from within her magic as she watched them finally leave.
Meanwhile, the match in the cage was over. Rune and Jagger had taken off their metal torcs and gloves. They clapped each other on the shoulder, both mopping the blood and sweat from their faces as the announcer declared the winner.
Carys let her shadows fall away then. The hatch on the cage opened to let out the combatants. She raced to meet Rune, shouting his name and applauding with the rest of the throng as her man collected yet another victory.
Rune's rugged face lit up with private promise when he saw her. The brutal, fearsome fighter stepped out of the cage and caught her around the waist, hauling her to him.
His dark eyes glittered with need he didn't even try to conceal. Ignoring the cheers and applause that swelled around him, he took her mouth in a possessive kiss.
Then he scooped her up and carried her out of the arena.