The Heir of Death

By: Becca Andre

CHAPTER 1





Elysia stepped out of the room and tried to pretend that the door closing behind her didn’t sound so final. This was the last of the job interviews—and the one she thought the most promising. Apparently, she was wrong. The woman interviewing her had done little more than glance at her sparse résumé before sending her on her way. Lifting her chin, she steeled herself to deliver the bad news and walked down the hall toward the small lobby.

James rose to his feet and picked up her wool coat from the plastic chair beside his. Circling the receptionist’s counter, he met her at the elevator. “Not good?” he asked, helping her with the coat. Had he read her expression, or had he come to expect failure?

“No experience.” It had become a theme at every job interview over the past few weeks. She jabbed the down button on the panel beside the elevator. “How can I get experience if no one will hire me?”

“Someone will recognize your worth eventually.” He took her hand.

His warm palm pressed against hers and her spirits lifted. She looked up, meeting his gaze, and saw his sincerity. He was the one sane thing in her insane life right now. Although a relationship with him was all kinds of crazy. Not that logic ever came into play where James was involved.

The elevator arrived. Elysia considered pulling James inside for a quick kiss. Unfortunately, the elevator was occupied by an older woman in a rumpled pantsuit.

Still hand-in-hand, Elysia paused long enough to hit the lobby button, then retreated to the corner of the car with James.

The woman turned to watch them. Her fair eyes settled on James, and she lifted her brows.

Elysia wasn’t surprised. With his dark hair, vivid green eyes, and easy smile, James frequently attracted the attention of the opposite sex—though he rarely seemed to notice.

The elevator door slid closed, but the woman’s gaze didn’t move away from James. Elysia was about to say something when James pulled in a breath. Suddenly, she felt the brush of another necromancer’s touch along the bond that linked her and James. The woman’s eyes had lightened a few shades.

Not bothering with subtlety, Elysia slammed her full power into James, getting a gasp from him and the woman. Elysia fed him her soul until she knew her own eyes were completely white. Then she released him.

The woman took a hasty step away from her, no doubt noticing the way Elysia’s eyes reverted from white to her natural brown in an instant—the hallmark of an exceptionally powerful necromancer. The woman’s own eyes by contrast were still faded.

“Touch him again and I will Make you,” Elysia whispered.

The woman turned to the control panel, punching several buttons until she got the one she wanted. The elevator stopped and the doors slid open. The woman backed through them, her eyes falling to Elysia and James’s clasped hands.

“Necrophile.” She hurried away.

Elysia frowned after her until the elevator closed. She got the necrophile comment a lot from other necromancers, even her own family—though they never used that word. Aware of the silence, she glanced up at James. “I probably shouldn’t have done that.”

“I thought it was cool.”

She lifted a brow.

A slow grin spread across his face, and he leaned against the elevator wall, his black leather jacket creaking faintly. “You’re sexy when you go all badass like that.”

Her cheeks heated. “Yeah?”

“Hell, yeah.” He pulled her to him, then bent down and took her mouth with his.

She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and kissed him back. Other necromancers couldn’t understand her attraction to James because no necromancer ever saw the dead as anything besides an object to be controlled. James might be dead, but he wasn’t a walking corpse. He was a grim: a shapeshifter animated by hellhound blood. In most ways, his body was alive. He ate. He slept. He had even grown to adulthood. All he lacked was a heartbeat—and a soul. At least on the mortal plane.

The elevator slowed and Elysia stepped out of his arms.

James watched her like the predator he was, his green eyes glowing faintly where his magic had responded to hers, like to like. Their intense magical compatibility was the only thing that stood between them. Elysia didn’t know where the magic ended and her true feeling began. But after spending most of the last month around him, she was beginning to believe that the magic wasn’t as big a factor as it seemed. Not a deciding factor, anyway.

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