A deathbed promise
Arlyn’s quest is simple: Find her father and let him know her mother is dead. After all, Arlyn had promised her mother she’d go. The problem? Her father's people are myths and legends, and he doesn't even live on Earth. But despite a long journey through the mysterious mists of the Veil, finding him turns out to be the easy part.
A dream long-buried
After five hundred years, Kai has given up on finding his soulbonded. So when he stumbles across Arlyn after returning from his latest mission and recognizes her as his mate, Kai starts their bond in haste. But he never could have imagined that his bonded is his best friend’s newfound daughter. Whoops.
A hidden conspiracy sparked to life
Though the sight of Kai makes Arlyn’s heart pound, she isn’t sure she can forgive him for starting their bond without her permission. But her love life is the least of her problems. Her father is an elf lord, and his sudden acknowledgment of a half-human heir reignites the same conspiracy that took him away from her mother in the first place. Now Arlyn and her family must face iron wielding assassins, bigotry, and her newly awakened magical abilities if they hope to come through in one piece.
Arlyn thought she would return to Earth after meeting her father. Now she must fight to save the family she never knew she wanted.
Bethany’s social media:
From Soulbound by Bethany Adams
The broken branches were small, but Kai had scouted these woods with Lyr since boyhood and knew they signaled strangers in the area. Travelers weren’t allowed in this section, and larger animals ranged far from the portal. Slipping between the trees, Kai followed the subtle trail left by their intruder. Scuffed grass here. A shoe print there. He frowned. The print was smooth like the flexible soles the sonal favored, but a scout would have passed without a trace.
Kai almost tripped into the camp as he slammed through a thin barrier and snagged a foot on a large lump of cloth. He righted himself, hand reaching for his dagger, and checked around the small clearing. A moment before, it had been empty. Now, a small, banked campfire appeared in the middle, surrounded by a bedroll and the bag he’d almost fallen over.
No sign of their owner.
Pain pierced his head as he used a precious bit of magic to examine the spell surrounding the clearing. Thin, subtle, and an awkward imitation of Lyr’s own energy. Similar to an apprentice who hadn’t mastered their art. The edges of the spell were ragged, and the whole thing wavered like a leaf in the wind. Cell phone. Inexperienced mage. The signs weren’t good.
Then a ray of sunlight escaped the thinning clouds above and glinted silver near the bedroll. Frowning, Kai knelt, brushing away the blanket that had been tossed aside. And the breath left his body. A steel sword. Great Goddess Bera protect them. Kai’s allergy to iron, and thus steel, was fairly mild, but Lyr was not so fortunate. If the intruder wielded either, his friend would be at a serious disadvantage.
Kai spun, darting around the pack and through the field of energy. He pulled his shields tight, though the draw on his energy had him swaying on his feet for a few strides, and rushed back the way he’d come. In moments, he’d made it to the main trail. He slowed to a fast walk and forced his expression to neutral. If their uninvited guest didn’t know they’d been discovered, Kai would rather not give them a hint.
Could a human have made it through the Veil to Moranaia? It was a long, treacherous crossing for those without the talent of the guide. Humans were much more likely to stumble into Sidhe hills than a world as far removed as this one. But the cell phone was a human invention, something only found on Earth, and couldn’t be here otherwise. Unless a Moranaian exile had found their way through the magic that kept them from returning through the portal? They’d certainly have cause to hate Lyr. Their gatekeeper.
At the sight of the woman approaching along the path, Kai slowed. Nothing about her screamed threat, and yet something about her bothered him. His eyes narrowed on the clothes she wore, the cut different from any in this area of Moranaia. Really, any area he knew of, though he hadn’t traveled to every holding on the vast continent. Perhaps she was a visitor from a distant branch.
Then again, the camp had also been different.
The red of her hair blurred into the brown of her tunic as he pulled energy into his hands. Kai shook his head against the dizziness and tried to focus. By the time his vision cleared, the woman’s brow had pinched into a concerned frown. Had he wavered on his feet? She’d certainly picked up her pace. When she drew to a halt in front of him, her hand lifted as though to touch him. Then her green eyes met his gray, and she froze.
With a shuddering breath, Kai opened his energy to scan the woman for any sign of a threat. As his energy found hers, his mind went blank. “Gods,” he gasped.
“Are you okay?”
All the power he’d gathered seemed to drain out at once, leaving him hollow. Kai pulled his essence back and scrambled for something resembling real. Surely, it wasn’t this. Finding one whose soul could join with one’s own was rare, and after five hundred years, Kai had long ago given up hope of meeting his soulbonded. But he knew—knew—it was her. This stranger.
“Seriously, do you need a doctor?” She shifted on her feet and glanced behind her before returning her attention to him. “You’ve gone pretty pale.”
Why did she seem so familiar? The cast of her eyes and her high cheekbones reminded him of someone, but he couldn’t have met her before and not recognized her as his bonded. “Where are you from?”
Her brows rose. “Are you just going to ignore my questions?”
“I’m sorry.” He ran a shaky hand across his face. “I’m in a rush, and you startled me. I’ll be fine.”
He hoped. The woman’s lips twisted as she studied him, but she let him get away with the evasion. “I’ll let you be on your way, then.” She stared at his still form. “If you’ll let me by?”
The mental image of Lyr impaled on a steel blade, as Lyr’s father had been, warred with Kai’s fear of losing the woman. His bonded. “You didn’t tell me where you’re from.”
She shrugged. “Far away. Really far. I’m visiting relatives.”
The dull throb of energy depletion twisted in his head to mingle with the rising panic. What if she left before he could find her again? Kai lifted a hand to his burning chest and wrapped it around the pendant that had slipped free as he ran. The pendant. How different were her customs? Surely, even the distant branches understood bonding. If she took it, he could find her again. Always.
“There is danger near, my lady, and you are unarmed.” Kai pulled the chain over his head and held it high, the round medallion glimmering in the sun. “I would prefer to see you protected.”
Uneasiness filling her eyes, she stepped back. “I’ll be okay.”
“I can’t take that risk. This will shield you.” And it would, for if he sensed her in danger, he would kill any who caused it. Didn’t she understand that? “I have to find Lord Lyr at once, but I hate to leave you.”
Her mouth pinched into a thin line, and she shook her head. “That looks important. I couldn’t accept it.”
Kai tried to send a mental call to Lyr but was still too far away. He swayed, pain sparking behind his eyes. He had to go while he still could. Surely, she would recognize the bonding magic once he activated it. “i’Tayah ay nac-mor kehy ler ehy anan taen.”
The flash of light from the pendant reflected for a moment in her widened eyes. “What?”
“Please, take it.” Pain crashed through his skull as the forming bond pulled at his energy. “It’s yours now.”
She reached out a hand, her fingers almost brushing his. “Are you sure?”
“Very sure.” More light flared as she accepted the necklace. Kai almost dropped to his knees from the surge of power. He tried to smile around rising nausea. “Be careful. At the first hint of danger, call for me.”
His bonded frowned up at him as the chain settled around her neck. “Thank you. I think.”