Home > Soulbound (Darkest London #6)(3)

Soulbound (Darkest London #6)(3)
Kristen Callihan

The female spirit was eyeing him as if he might soon bite. She was right to worry. He wanted to bite. But the glow that surrounded her form distracted him. He stared at it, disbelief, hope, and emotion writhing within him until he feared he might double over. That glow, soft gold mixed with sharp silver. The light of her soul. He did not have to glance down at his body to see the exact match of her soul’s light to his.

It was her. After all of these years. The endless searching. He’d found her. Why, then, did a strange, desperate rage fill him now?

“Your name?” he asked of her. Tension rode his frame hard.

The spirit narrowed her eyes, her gaze sliding up and down Adam’s form as though inspecting something distasteful. Perfect. Wonderful. They were off to a grand start.

Her voice, when she spoke, was clipped, with the flat tones of a Yank. “Eliza May.”

“Mmm.” It came out as a dubious rumble. Adam flicked his attention to Mary. “I’ll have a word with you, sweet Mary Chase —”

“And you are?” Eliza May cut in, her translucent hands upon her hips. Like a little fishwife. His little fishwife.

Again the anger, the helplessness. He didn’t want to need her. Didn’t like the urge that rode him hard and demanded he fall at her knees and weep with relief. He found himself snapping. “Not to be interrupted, treats.”

The lass’s pert chin lifted. “I’ve a right to know your full name, sir.”

Oh, but she would be interesting. Of that, he was certain. Adam put on a smile meant to chill and sauntered over to the hovering spirit. The temptation to touch her was too great. He traced the line of her cheek, and a shiver licked over his skin. She was warm, solid, to him at least. For at this moment, she lived in his realm. She didn’t even realize she’d passed into it and that what the lovely Miss Chase and Mrs. Ranulf saw of her was merely a spirit, barely clinging to their world. “My Lord and Master, My Irresistible Liege,” he murmured, while his cock throbbed against his trousers. “Pick whichever one you want. Then shut up. I am speaking, and not to you.”

He was being a bastard, unworthy of the knight he once was. And yet he couldn’t seem to stop himself where she was concerned. She’d turned him into a truculent, possessive child. In truth, if he didn’t have her spirit bound to his soon, he was likely to break down and cling to her skirts.

Unhinged, Adam turned his attention to Mary – he had things he needed to discuss with the lass – but he stopped as he spied Eliza’s body laying bloodied and battered upon the cobbles, her skirts still rucked up, a pool of blackening blood widening about her head like a macabre halo.

Had she been violated? A new sort of rage lit through him. So strong that the dark alleyway was illuminated with golden light, and he knew his eyes were glowing.

Eliza, seeing the direction of Adam’s gaze, swished to hover over her body as though she might hide it. “Don’t look at me, it.” Her teeth bared in a snarl. “At my body.”

Her pride was a feral and beautiful thing. My sweet dove, if I could, I’d tear those who hurt you into pieces.

“Why?” he asked mildly, as if he wasn’t aching for violence. “It’s dead. And if you want to keep it, it’s also mine.”

Mine. Mine. Mine. It was a rampant refrain in his head.

Eliza flinched, her mouth gaping before snapping shut. “I thought… They said that you wouldn’t want…”

And like that, his desire wilted. She feared him. With good reason. The poor lass had just been abused. Adam was better than this. Usually. Still, the disgusted look in her wide, brown eyes irked.

“Devil take it. I quite literally have beings knocking against each other for the opportunity to have me.”

Even now, ghosts stuck between worlds gathered, straining along the periphery of the alleyway as though held back by an invisible wall. The silent, wraithlike figures twisted and undulated in unmistakable entreaty. They always did. Thanks to his curse, almost all beings craved his touch and attention. Except this one. His supposed fate and savior. Adam glared. “I’ve no interest in unwilling, prissy misses.”

The lass sneered at him. “Oh, how the other ghouls must envy you.”

Wee smarmy… Adam took a step in Eliza’s direction. “Let us get this over with. Will you swear fealty to me?”

“What would I have to —”

“Yes or no. Right now, Miss May.”

He needed her capitulation. Now.

Eliza May glanced between Mary and Daisy, her expression unsure and pained. She’d get no help there. His lovelies were forbidden to talk to her at this moment. It was his law. “Tick, tock, Eliza.”

“All right.” She drew herself up, all five and a half feet of sweet curves and bitter resentment. “I swear it.”

The triumph that filled Adam was absolute, yet not at all the satisfaction he expected. No, he feared. Feared that she’d somehow slip through his fingers and be lost to him again. Unacceptable. “Excellent.”

With a flick of his wrist, he’d conjured a thin, golden chain and struck. The chain coiled around Eliza’s spirit and her body. Adam gave the chain a lazy tug, and Eliza flew into her body. A great gasp broke from her lips as her body arched off the ground and then flopped back, struggling against the golden bonds like a fish in a net.

He felt her pain. He felt everything. Finally. Freedom. Finally, it was in his grasp. All he had to do was keep Miss Eliza May by his side. Forever.

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