Born of Betrayal

By: Sherrilyn Kenyon

For all the dreamers of the world who never give up, no matter how hard life tries to knock you down. You are the bravest of the brave and stand as heroes for us all.

To my readers, who are ever my source of comfort and joy. Thank you so much for all the smiles you’ve given me. And to my friends and family who understand my weird, quirky ways and are willing to share me with the voices in my head.

To my agent and editor, and the staff at St. Martin’s (and my copyeditor), who work so very hard on our behalf to make each book the best it can be. You, too, are our silent, unsung heroes. You take a lot of fire in the background and yet march ever onward into the face of opposing forces to make sure we have the books we all cherish every month. Thank you for all you do.

May we never see a day where we live without our imaginary worlds and people to transport us away for our escape on those hours when we need it most.





Prologue





“W

here are my clothes? And what did you do with my towel?”

Furious and defiant, Galene Batur lifted her chin with a dignity she definitely didn’t feel as she faced Fain Hauk in the male locker room of their school.

Her worst enemy. Lying bastard.

Faithless dog!

Seething, she raked a glare over his perfect naked body. A body that earlier this day would have left her breathless with heat.

But now…

Now she wanted every inch of that lush, caramel skin flayed off his bones. Most of all, she wanted his betraying heart in her fist.

“It’s true, isn’t it?” she asked breathlessly.

Fain scowled at her. “Is what true?”

“Are you in love with a human?”

“Excuse me?”

“Don’t you dare deny it! Merrell Anatole just told me that he saw you and Omira Antaxas having sex yesterday! Yesterday! After I left you and went to get ready for the party! How could you?”

The color faded from his face, confirming her worst fear as he stammered, no doubt searching for a believable lie.

For a full minute, she thought she’d be sick. Tears filled her eyes as she struggled to breathe. No wonder Fain had asked her to leave a few minutes ago when she’d been trying to give him what she stupidly thought was joyous news. He no longer loved her. Merrell had been right. Fain didn’t care. She’d lost him completely.

To a human!

“You’re pledged to me, Fain!”

A tic started in his jaw. “By our parents. Before we even started school. Neither of us had a say in it.”

As if that mattered? A pledge was a pledge. To an Andarion, it was as binding as marriage. And he was supposed to honor his word.

Honor her. No wonder he’d refused to touch her again all these weeks since his birthday. He’d barely come near her after she’d given him everything she had of herself. Her heart and body.

Her very soul.

Now she knew why. And here she’d stupidly thought he might have gone stralen. That, she could have lived with. But this… this she would have never believed. Not of her precious Fain. He’d promised to love her forever.

There’s only you for me, Stormy.

Apparently not.

Agony choked her. “You’ve betrayed me!”

He looked away. “I’m sorry, Galene.”

Furious, she snatched her pledge ring from her finger and threw it in his face. He didn’t react at all as it struck his chest and bounced away. Damn her bad aim! The least she could have done was put out his eye!

How could he do this to her after all these years? Tears choked her even harder as his words shattered her heart.

Worse, they shattered her dreams. She’d come here to share with him the most blessed news. This was supposed to be the happiest day of her life.

Instead, it was the most miserable.

No, he was the most miserable!

Since their parents had pledged them over a decade ago, she’d lived only for the day when they’d marry. Had dreamed only of a life partnered with Fain Hauk.

Now he’d not only dishonored her, he’d done it with a human. A human!

“Where are my clothes?” he demanded again. “What did you do with the towels?”

She’d hidden them both, but damned if she’d tell him that. “Why don’t you ask your woman?” She started for the doors.

Fain caught her. “Galene! This isn’t funny.”

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