Lost Paradise

Promise Me - Book 8

by Tara Fox Hall

While the vampire Devlin rejoices at news of his impending progeny with Sar, werecougar Theo braces for more challenges to his Ranked title, content that after Sarelle has the dhamphir child Devlin will be out of their lives forever. Yet when The Lust reappears, Sar's world again turns upside down as old hatreds make themselves known, resulting in a steamy affair with the weresnake Lash, a new friendship with the werecoyote Serena, and the severing of Sar from the last remains of her old human life in favor of a new Paradise with Devlin.


Chapter One

When I woke up the next morning, my werecougar lover Theo was still sleeping beside me.

The problem was likely all that scotch my stepfather had plied him with in celebration of us becoming parents. Deciding to wake him after breakfast was ready, I left him sleeping and went out to my hungry and vocal pets.

After I got the sausage cooking more than a half hour later, I began to be concerned. Usually Theo was in the kitchen by now with plate in hand, waiting for the first piece to be done. But he hadn’t emerged from the bedroom. Hoping he wasn’t sick, I went in to wake him.

“Theo,” I said firmly, shaking him.

He didn’t respond.

Even if the scotch were to blame, his body would’ve metabolized it by now.

“Theo!” I said loudly, then felt for his heartbeat. It was beating, but slowly, much too slowly. His skin was hot to the touch, burning with fever. He wasn’t sleeping; he was unconscious.

He’d been poisoned! Theo had almost the same symptoms my vampire paramour Danial had when he had been poisoned years ago. Danial had mentioned the assassins after him and Theo only days before, when we had celebrated our recent Oathing—a vampire version of marriage—with a late honeymoon at Letchworth State Park. One of those assholes had gotten to Theo somehow. But this time, I couldn’t save the day. My blood that had once helped a stricken and dying Danial was useless to Theo.

Panicked, I ran for the phone. I needed sorcery to undo this. I needed Titus! Thank God for Danial having a brother who wielded considerable power...and that Devlin was also my lover, under the terms of the same Oath that bound me to his brother. Devlin’s demon sorcerer was sure to know an antidote. At this moment, it didn’t matter if Titus ate people so long as he saved Theo’s life.

I clutched the phone, started to dial Hayden, then stopped. Was it better to just teleport to Titus at Devlin’s estate, or call him first? What if this was some type of were poison? Could it affect other weres besides cougars...Oh God, Elle had been around Theo all night. God, please let her not be sick, or dead!

I called Danial’s cell immediately. It went to his voice mail.

“Shit! Danial! It’s Sar. Something’s wrong with Theo. Shit! I’m going to try Terian.”

I dialed Terian, Danial’s half demon/half faerie bodyguard. He answered after seven rings, his voice heavy with sleep. “Hello?”

“Terian!” I screamed. “Get to Elle now! I think she’s been poisoned!”

“What the hell?” he yelled. “What?”

“Keep her away from other weres if she’s sick!” I gasped, hyperventilating.

“Theo’s comatose, he’s not responding. I’m taking him to Titus now!”

“I’ll meet you there!” Terian replied, and hung up.

I held onto Theo and teleported, ending up in the kitchen at Hayden. We scared the hell out of some blond woman.

She ran out of the room screaming, “Hayden is under attack! Help! Help!”

“Help!” I echoed at the top of my lungs. “Titus! Devlin! Help! Help!”

There was the sound of feet running down the stairs, then Devlin was before me, his dark shadow of a guard Lash right behind him. He lunged in front of Devlin and faced me, his gun drawn.

“Get back!” I yelled at him. “This might be were poison! I need Titus!”

Lash—a were himself, of the cottonmouth persuasion—stopped in his tracks at the word ‘poison’. To my relief, he nodded and backed out of the room, his non-human snake eyes on Theo. Devlin came past him to my side and crouched down. “What happened to him?” Devlin asked, the expression on his handsome face half worried, half irritated.

“Theo’s unconscious,” I gasped, then toppled over myself onto the floor.

“Sar!” Devlin yelled, all traces of his arrogance gone. He punched buttons on his cell, then screamed into it, “Titus, get your ass here now! Sar’s sick! It may be poison!”

Seconds later, the demon Titus was beside me, a red light emanating from his hand bathing my skin. “Poison for sure,” Titus said with a lot of hostility. “Were poison. It’s affecting Sar because of the child she’s carrying.”

“Heal her!” Devlin demanded. “Do whatever you have to. Don’t let her die!”

“I can’t do anything,” Titus said, cutting Devlin short. “The cure might hurt the baby. Sar will be fine if she rests. She’ll just feel as if she has a cold. I need to work on Theo, though, Dev. He’ll die if he isn’t treated soon.”

Devlin glanced down at Theo, then his gaze beheld me a second before his golden eyes looked away.

“Save him, please,” I beseeched him. “Take my blood, if you need it—”

“Save him, Titus,” Devlin said with a sigh. “She might die if he dies.”

“Rest, Sar,” Titus said, his deep voice soothing. “I’ll draw out some of the poison that’s in Theo. It’s most likely just cougar-targeted, so everyone else should be fine even if some of Danial’s men were around Theo at your house.”

Elle...I moved to get up, then lay back, sickened. Devlin crouched near me, murmuring soothing words as Titus worked on Theo, incanting some spells that seemed to have no effect. Then, miraculously, Theo stirred slightly. He sat up at once, opening his grey blue eyes which fast became incredulous.

“What the hell? How did I get here?”

I went weak with relief. Devlin and Titus moved back, rising to their feet.

Theo noticed me prone beside him. At once, he pulled me up into his arms, cradling me. “What happened to us?” he asked. “Are you okay?”

“You were poisoned,” Titus said in his low grating tone. “You were near death when Sar brought you here. I gave you an antidote which will draw it out of you. You should be fine in a few days.”

“I’ll pay you,” Theo said stiffly, not smiling. “Thanks.”

“I’ll send the bill to Danial,” Titus said disdainfully, his red eyes unfriendly.

Terian appeared, holding Elle in his arms. “Hurry, Titus!”

I let out a scream, Theo started, and Devlin rolled his eyes in disgust. “Just great!” he said accusingly, glaring at Theo. “How many others did you infect?”

“How is she?” I asked hysterically, my eyes all for Elle. She looked pale as death.

“Elle!” Theo cried, staggering as he tried to get to his feet.

“Keep back from her,” Titus warned. “You’ll re-infect yourself, cougar.”

“She’s conscious, just barely,” Terian said worriedly. “Danial is beside himself. What happened?”

“Poison,” Devlin said, getting to his feet. “Meant for Theo, probably.”

“Give her to me,” Titus said, motioning to Terian. “I’ve got to make more of the antidote. Come with me to my lab, son, and I’ll show you what to do. Odds are, you’ll be making it again soon.”

My skin crawled at his surety. Theo had more than one hit out on him. What if Titus was right. What if this happened again?

“You’ll be fine, Theo,” Devlin stated, glaring at his rival, whose eyes were all for Titus as he took Elle downstairs. “Go home and get some clothes on before we all go blind. I’m going back to bed.”

“Here.” I handed Theo my blue velvet bathrobe. He took it, covering himself.

Devlin helped me to my feet. “Did you get anything in the mail, Sarelle?” he said, his worried eyes searching mine. “This poison came in contact with you somehow. You and Elle wouldn’t have gotten sick just from being near Theo unless he had some on his skin.”

An enemy had tried to poison Theo with something similar only last Christmas, sending a package for Theo through the mail to my house. The deadly missive had been intercepted, barely. “Nothing, there was nothing—”

Tara Fox Hall - "Lost Paradise"


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