Home > Soulbound (Darkest London #6)(7)

Soulbound (Darkest London #6)(7)
Kristen Callihan

Eliza coughed and sat back on her haunches to get away from the swirling dust. Just as fast as it had appeared, the dust dissipated. A strangled sound escaped her. There, on the stone floor, lay not a dog but a man. Long, muscular limbs, broad shoulders, narrow hips. He was battered and wasting away now. Muscles stood out like thick hemp ropes beneath too-tight and too-pale skin. Skin that was slashed and bleeding.

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.” Gaping down at his badly broken leg, Eliza found herself too shocked to move.

The heady scent of myrrh and heated male flesh surrounded her with dizzying effect. She knew this scent. The torment of it and how it made her breath quicken and her nipples tighten. No, no, no. It cannot be. With a trembling hand, she reached out and plucked away the linen that covered the man’s head. Her heart turned over in her chest as her insides plummeted.

“You!” Her shout echoed in the small space.

Gold eyes peered at her from under a mop of black hair. His rich, dark voice was weaker now, slurred and stilted. But it still had the power to unsettle.

“Hello, dove. Did you miss me?”


During his seven-hundred-odd years stuck in this life, Adam had been tortured numerous times. He’d like to think that, eventually, he would become accustomed to the pain. No such luck prevailed. Agony held him in a tight grip from the tip of his big toe to the top of his head. For months now, he’d been battered and humiliated by the fae bitch. His life had become this cell. This pain.

And now there was the added ignominy of having her, She of the Accusatory Stare, the very one who’d landed him in this hell, looking down upon his ruin. He wanted to snarl again. Instead, he tried to steady his breathing and concentrate upon the cold floor against his skin so that he did not cry out for mercy.

Eliza May – and oh how he’d struggled not to even think her name during these many months – stared at him out of liquid brown eyes, her expression haunted, as though he were a ghost. The irony nearly had him laughing. “So then,” he managed through his teeth, “no rejoicing in this reunion?”

Her pretty face scrunched up in a scowl. “I thought you were a helpless dog.”

“I gathered.” That she preferred a mangy dog to him didn’t burn in the slightest. Not at all. Adding insult to injury, his stomach gave a great gurgle of hunger that echoed throughout the cell.

Her lips quirked, a smile she quickly smothered. “I brought some sausages. I thought the dog would like them.” With a tentative hand, she offered him one.

Instantly, his mouth watered, and he grabbed it from her, his pride nothing in comparison to his physical needs, it seemed. Not meeting her gaze, he devoured his food in hard, greedy bites. His eyes nearly watered with relief. Pain was one thing; starvation was another.

Golden waves of hair slithered over her shoulder as she tilted her head and regarded him. “Why are you here?”

“What can I say?” He grunted as a shard of pain lanced through his broken ribs. “There are times a man longs for a good cell to rest in after a rousing bout of torture.”

Her scowl grew, the plump curve of her lower lip pushing outward. “Think you’re funny, do you?”

“No.” He was too tired to spar anymore. Wet stones pushed against his cheek, and he closed his eyes. Just for a moment.

The sound of silk rustling filled the silence, and then her scent – light and sweet like roses in this filth – grew stronger. Adam’s eyes flew open just as she moved closer. He did snarl then. “Do not touch me!”

Paling, she halted. “I’m trying to help, you oaf.”

“I do not want your help.”

“Perhaps not, but you need it.”

He sagged again, panting through the pain. “For the entirety of our association, you’ve wanted nothing more than to get away from me. Pray, do not change the pattern now. Go on with you. Get out.”

The smooth curve of her jaw tightened with a stubbornness that he’d grown far too familiar with. “At the very least, let me give you something for the pain —”

“Out.” He could not bellow as he wanted to for fear of alerting the fae bitch or her cronies. But he infused all his hate and frustration into the words, snapping his teeth at Miss May. “Get the fuck out of here.”

Abruptly she stood, and he closed his eyes. He wanted her gone, but he didn’t have to see her walking away from him. Again. Her retreating footsteps echoed, and then blessed silence descended. He drifted in a haze of pain and fevered thoughts. Eliza. Her scent, her heat, the golden glow of her soul’s light. Even now, when the light of all other souls was hidden to him, he could see the faint illumination of hers. Like a mockery.

A soft touch upon his shoulder had him flinching and his eyes flying open. “What the bloody —”

“Don’t you go cursing at me, or I’ll… I’ll…” She left the threat hanging as she eased next to him, and he lost the will to protest. The cool rim of a glass touched his lower lip. “Drink,” she ordered.

Bitterness flooded his dry mouth and numbed his tongue. He swallowed it down. A concoction to ease his pain. He did not resist when she offered him another cup, this time of fresh water. In the dull light of her lantern, Eliza’s pale hair glowed like a nimbus around her heart-shaped face.

“Now then,” her voice trembled in the dim, though she did an admirable job of hiding it, “I’m going to clean you up.”

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