Home > Soulbound (Darkest London #6)(4)

Soulbound (Darkest London #6)(4)
Kristen Callihan

Chapter One

Three years later… London 1888

The young man stretched out upon the table struggled to remain still. That much was evident in the way his taut, bared flesh twitched along his muscled thighs and lean abdomen. As the whitening of his wrists where they were bound with crimson satin ropes to the table, and in the way his narrow hips shifted ever so slightly, a tiny thrust upwards as if that one restrained action would bring some relief to his member.

Eliza tried not to look there, at the obscene, angry length of him, bobbing about with each breath he took. Nor did she want to meet his eyes. She did not want to know what lay behind them, if he was in agony or in ecstasy. She settled for studying the pale length of his flank, smooth near his buttock, furred with blond hairs along his thigh, now glistening in the dim glow of the room.

“This one is wonderfully obedient, is he not?” murmured a feminine voice in her ear.

Eliza forced herself to stir, and she swore the tight clench of her corset threatened to put her off her turtle soup. “He has lasted longer than the others.” A benign statement but the only one she could muster. For there had been others. A parade of young and beautiful creatures looking for sensual pleasure in the hands of Eliza’s Auntie Mab and her court of fools.

At Eliza’s side, Mab’s ivory skin was luminous and without line or flaw, her auburn hair holding glints of gold, bronze, and copper. An ageless beauty that did not seem natural. Unless you took into account that Mab was fae, an immortal.

Fairies. Fae. Eliza had never paid myths much mind. In Boston, one was far more likely to hear stories of the Headless Horseman than those of little winged creatures. How very misinformed she’d been. Fae were beautiful, powerful, and able to alter their appearance to pass as human. Mab confided it took a measure of power to maintain, and that once their bodies were destroyed here, the fae must return to their lands to regenerate. Decidedly strange creatures. And, according to Mab, Eliza had their blood running through her veins.

A year ago, Eliza would have thought her aunt mad if she’d claimed to be one, save Eliza had once been chained to the demon Adam long enough for the wool to be irrevocably pulled from her eyes. This brave new world was not the bland, colorless life she’d once lived amongst normal society.

Around her, fine gentlemen and ladies ate a grand feast at the fifty-foot long white marble table. Candlelight and crystal turned the world into glitter and gold. Wine flowed with the generosity of Bacchus, servants dressed in emerald green ready to refill a glass should it lower even an inch. Which made for sloppy drunkenness. A respectable lord tossed a chicken leg across the table, and the room erupted into laughter as it landed with stunning precision directly between the large globes of a countess’s breasts.

The countess merely plucked the little limb from her bodice and bit into the meat with pearly teeth.

Eliza took a bracing sip of wine and immediately regretted it, as a low burn traveled down her throat. Sticky-sweet smoke drifting from hanging brass burners made her head light. And the poor lad laid out before her, desperate for attention, seemed to give a silent sigh, his body growing ever more tense. At Eliza’s side, Mab chuckled before leaning forward to trace a path with her tongue along the young lad’s ribs. He moaned in response, his pale length arching. A mistake.

Mab lifted her riding crop and snapped it down on tender, unprotected flesh, eliciting another moan from the man. “Silence.” She whipped him again, much to the room’s amusement. “I did not give you leave to make a sound. Or to move.”

And so he tried again to behave. Mab turned to Eliza, and her dark eyes were alight with glee. “A sturdy hand, Eliza. They relish it, you see.”

Yes, she saw very well. Mab was grooming her. It had happened slowly, the fall into this particular niche of debauchery. It had been lovely at first, being given costly gowns of the finest silk, velvets, and cashmere, living in Mab’s luxurious home, eating rich and luscious foods every day. And the parties. Endless parties. No one to tell her that she was too loud, too brash, clumsy, frivolous. No one stalking her for favors she did not want to give. Eliza was free. To be herself, to indulge in whatever whim pleased her.

But then came the cruelty. Eliza had seen enough of the world to understand that those who begged to be tied up and whipped did so in the pursuit of pleasure. They’d come to the wrong place. For Eliza suffered no illusions now; Mab’s pleasure derived from the pain and suffering of others. And the lad upon the table would soon end up like those who had come before him. Dead.

Unable to take another moment, Eliza pushed back from the table, her voluminous, aubergine satin skirts undulating as she rose.

Mab’s delicate auburn brow lifted. “Surely you are not leaving.”

Eliza could make many excuses. She chose the one most likely to repulse. Leaning down, she whispered in Mab’s ear. “Privy.”

Her aunt’s pert nose wrinkled. “Horrid, the human body.” Her pale hand waved in lazy fashion. “Go. And be comforted in the knowledge that soon you will not suffer such indignities.”

Why? Eliza hadn’t the courage to ask her. It seemed her courage had left her on the day she’d fled the demon. She ought to have fought him for her right to live free.

Cool damp swarmed her as she stepped onto the stone terrace that ran along the back of the house. From inside, ribald laughter continued, a trilling sound that scraped her nerves. But here all was clear and still. Eliza hugged herself close. She did not want to be in this house, in this life. And though she was likely as foul and morally wrong as they were, she did not want to be. She could run. Again.

Hot Novels
  • Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Chris
  • Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3)
  • Never Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #2)
  • Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)
  • Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine’s Peculi
  • Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)
  • Fallen Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #1)
  • Forever Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #3)
  • Ugly Love
  • Allegiant (Divergent #3)
  • Hold on Tight (Sea Breeze #8)
  • Bared to You (Crossfire #1)
  • The Destiny of Violet & Luke (The Coinc
  • Captivated by You (Crossfire #4)
  • Uprooted