Read the first chapter of Blood Magic!

It's ALMOST time for Bronywyn and Tarnley! I for one, cannot wait for you guys to get this series in your hands. I have been wanting to write this since the moment I realized these two were destined to be together. It's the first time I've written characters with such an entangled history, and it was an absolute delight weaving the strands of their past into the present.

I know you're not here to hear me babble though, so here it is! Chapter one of Blood Magic.

Happy reading!

Copyright 2021. Jessica Wayne. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 1


Twenty-One Years Ago

Crisp morning air surrounds me as I watch the sun rise. Painting Billings in gold, it transforms the world from night into day, and with that transformation, it sends the majority of my clientele back into the shadows.

At least, the ones who aren’t currently recovering below in my clinic. I bring the mug to my lips and tip it up, drinking the strong, black coffee down and hoping it gives me the strength I need to get on with my day. Typically, a night spent healing supernaturals would lead to a day of rest, but today is not that day.

No, today, I have to face off with the council and defend what it is I do in hopes that they don’t shut me right the hell down. Aristocratic bastards. As if they have a single leg to stand on. The majority of the violence is because they refuse to enforce The Accords on matters that don’t suit them.

Inter-faction relationships? They’ll shut that shit down before someone can get their pants off. But supernaturals killing humans? Drawing the attention of the eldest Astor sister? No, they don’t give a shit about that. And while, from what I’ve heard of Delaney, she doesn’t exactly hunt and kill without mercy, she will still wipe out an entire clan should one of them step out of line.

Not that I blame her—it is her job, after all. Her mission as a hunter.

Just as it’s mine as a healer to save those I can.

“Bronywyn!” Someone bellows my name, and I spin just as the doors to my bedroom are thrown open and a vampire blurs in, two of my guards right behind him.

A crimson gaze meets mine just as Brunt slams a meaty fist into the back of the vampire, sending him to his knees. He doesn’t even try to fight back, just hangs his head low, hands splayed on the floor as he sucks in breath after pained breath.

I wave a hand and shake my head, letting my guards know that this particular vamp is no threat to me. Setting my mug to the side before I drop it, I rush across the room and kneel before Tarnley. “What is it?” I search him for any visible wounds, but see no blood on his caramel skin. Skin that, for the first time since I met him, isn’t currently hidden beneath a suit.

Instead, his slacks have been replaced with grey sweatpants, and a black tank top bares unmarred, muscled skin. He looks up at me, eyes tortured, face taut with pain.

“What is it?” I repeat, reaching forward and taking his face between my hands. The contact is warm, but I ignore the way my heart hammers as he stares into my eyes. He’s a mated vampire, a taken man. Even if he hasn’t seen Allison in thirty years, she is still his. Just as he is hers.

“Allison,” he chokes out, and I stiffen, my blood chilling.

“What about her? Is she here? Did she do this to you?” Magic flares to life beneath my skin at the thought that someone hurt him. Mate or not, I’ll rip her apart.

He shakes his head. “Dead,” he chokes out a breath, before he turns his head to the ceiling and groans, hand going to his chest and clutching the thin fabric there.

His words break through my anger in a way that terrifies me. If she’s dead—oh no. “Get him downstairs, now.” At my order, both Brunt and Trey reach down and lift Tarnley as though he weighs no more than a child. I slip out before them and race down the stairs.

“What is it?” Mrs. Winnifred McCallen, my human house manager, comes into view below. She wrings her hands on her apron as she takes in the three of us rushing Tarnley downstairs.

“I need cool water,” I tell her. “He’s dying.”

She says nothing, just rushes off, heels clicking on the floor.

We hit the bottom of the stairs and pick up the pace, running through my house and toward the entrance to my clinic. My heart races, my body numb, as I offer a nod to the guard standing in front of my clinic door. He immediately moves to the side and pulls open the door.

If she’s dead, the bond will be excruciating as it breaks, and likely, it will kill him in the process of severing. Vampires can only mate once, their bodies needing the blood of their mate to survive. They’re connected on a level even stronger than wolves.

Lights illuminate the hallway as we descend the stairs. The first door to the right is wide open, meaning it’s vacant and clean, so I rush inside and flip on the light. “Put him on the table.”

They do as they’re told then step away as Tarnley thrashes and growls, his canines sliding down. I fill a syringe with a tonic that will sedate him as I work, but when I get close, he gnashes his teeth, nearly taking a chunk out of my arm.

“Hold him down, but watch his teeth!” Adrenaline surges through my system, giving me tunnel vision. First, sedation, then I can find a way to save him.

Brunt grabs one side while Trey pins his other arm. They use their heavy weight to hold him to the table while I inject the tonic into the side of his neck, right into the artery that pulsates just beneath his taut skin. Tarnley instantly relaxes, his head falling back onto the table, and both of my guards carefully release him and step back.

“He’ll be out for a while, but just in case, stay within earshot.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Thank you.”

They both offer me nods before stepping out into the hall and shutting the door softly behind them. Then, I turn back to Tarnley and take a deep, steadying breath. He may be out cold, but his expression is still pained, letting me know that he is not, in any way, shape, or form, at rest. Reaching forward, I run a finger over his cheekbone, and he turns into my touch. Even in his sedated state, he’s seeking comfort. This strong man of few words, leveled by a broken bond he claims to have never wanted in the first place.

“I’m so sorry, Tarnley,” I whisper, as I run a hand over his smooth cheek. “I’ll make the pain stop, I promise.”

Quickly, I go to work, grabbing my grimoire and thumbing through the pages in search of a spell that would break a mated bond. As far as I know, it’s damn near indestructible, which is why most vampires refuse to give in to it.

They tend to be a selfish bunch—vampire in front of me aside—and don’t like it when their immortal souls are tied to another. From what I know, Allison went off the deep end some thirty years ago—about a decade after their bond was solidified—and Tarnley has had limited contact with her since.

Despite knowing him for well over a century, Allison never cared for me. And while they were together, his contact with me was limited out of respect for her. Something I understood, even if it hurt like hell to lose my friend.

But as evidenced by his reaction, time does not soften the blow when that bond is severed abruptly, as it clearly has been now. “Come on, there has to be something.” I glance up as he groans, head rolling to the side. Sweat beads on his brow, his hands clenched into fists.

Picking up the pace, I scan each page as I pass, feeling the minutes ticking by in rapid succession. Soundlessly, Winnifred slips in with the water and a cloth. Dark hair pulled back in a bun, she looks every bit the part of nursemaid.

“Wipe his face, but keep an eye on him. If he starts to wake, you need to move.”

“I know what I’m doing, dear. This is hardly my first sedated vampire.”

Despite my fear, I offer her a smil