Unchained by a Forbidden Love (Eternal Mates Romance Series Book 15)
Lost to the darkness, Fuery wages a daily war against the corruption that lives within him, constantly in danger of slipping into the black abyss and becoming the monster all elves fear. Work as an assassin gives him purpose, but what reason is there to go on when he killed the light of his life—his fated mate?
Shaia has spent forty-two centuries mourning her mate. Tired and worn down, she agrees to wed a male of her family’s choosing, following tradition that has always bound her as a female and hoping she will be able to gain just a little freedom in return. But as she resigns herself to being the mate of a male she could never love, fate places an old friend in her path—one who tells her that her lost love is alive.
Will Shaia find the courage to break with tradition and leave the elf kingdom in search of her mate? And as a ray of light pierces his soul again, can Fuery find the strength to win his battle against the darkness or will it devour him and that light of their forbidden love forever?
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Shaia despised having to walk with the male beside her, hated the way he treated her as if she was fragile and liable to break. He never spoke to her as an equal, never entertained her when she tried to converse about things he believed she didn’t need to know about purely because she was a female.
It annoyed her.
Almost as much as the ridiculous outdated traditions of elf society that had bred those opinions into him.
But he was necessary.
She had put off her family for so long that they had finally reached the end of their tether and were determined to marry her off at last.
They had found a suitable male for her, had negotiated with him, and now it was time to seal the deal.
She cursed elf society.
It treated her like a possession or an asset.
Not a living, breathing thing with free will.
Shaia scoffed under her breath at that. Free will?
She looked around the rolling green landscape bathed in light, at the fields that lined the worn earth road, and the males who toiled in them. Males. Ahead, in the village that nestled between one of the hills and the broad stream, the stalls of the market and the mills would produce the same results.
Not a single female ran a store or a mill. Not a single female toiled in the fields to turn the earth or harvest the crops, restricted to tasks like sowing seeds that society thought fitted their more delicate constitutions.
Not a single female fought in the ranks of the elf army.
Her heart plummeted in her chest and she pushed away from thoughts of the legions, but she wasn’t quite quick enough to spare herself the pain that came whenever she thought of that noble duty or saw soldiers passing through the village.
She felt Eirwyn’s eyes on her as a vile shudder over her skin and glanced across at him. Concern lit his violet eyes. Concern she could almost fool herself was real. Perhaps she was misreading him again, mistaking frustration for concern. He often became annoyed with her whenever she fell silent, drifting along in her own world and captured by her own thoughts rather than talking with him about whatever dull topic he had chosen and believed suited her feeble female mind.
Gods, she wished she had the strength and courage to stand up, tell her family that she would never marry and she was going to leave this small world behind and search for a meaning in life in the greater one beyond the borders of the elf kingdom.
Borders that had been her cage for her entire life, one she had never quite been able to break free from despite her best efforts.
She had travelled the length and breadth of the kingdom, had visited every region but the one around the palace, but not once had she managed to muster the bravery to do something her family would view as unforgivable.
Something society would view as disgraceful, and akin to committing a damned crime even though males could do it freely and without consequence or scorn.
She had never crossed the border.
She had reached it once, had stared down from a high mountain peak into the valley beyond, knowing it was part of the First Realm of the demons. She had gone back and forth for hours, fighting with the idea of setting foot in it and breaking with convention, flouting the rules of her family and society.
In the end, she had lacked the courage to take that step.
Her family were all she had, and although their relationship was strained by the things they had done, the thought of them turning their backs on her because she had done something society would view as disrespectful towards them, and unladylike of her, hurt too much for her to dare go through with it.
Even when her heart longed to see what lay beyond the elf kingdom in those shadowy lands she had surveyed from the peak.
She stared into Eirwyn’s eyes, verging on speaking her mind and telling him that she hated what he represented, she despised that she was going to willingly leave one cage to enter another. The black slashes of his eyebrows dipped low and his lips thinned, a flare of irritation lighting his eyes as he slowed to a halt.
Could he see everything she wanted to tell him in her eyes? Could he see into her heart and see that it would never be his?
It belonged to another.
Gods damn convention and the slow pace of her species.
Other species in Hell had moved forward, their females given freedom and power, and a will of their own.
Why couldn’t the elves move at that same pace?
Had anything really changed in the last forty-five centuries? The village was the same. The people in it hadn’t changed. Even the larger towns had barely progressed. Her world was stagnant. Boring. She longed to shake things up, to do something that would alter her cage or perhaps break free of it.
Gods, she longed for that.
She had tasted true freedom once, so many centuries ago. It still felt like yesterday to her at times, when she allowed herself to think back to those halcyon days and managed to feel warmth from remembering them, hope and light, not cold and pain.
Four thousand five hundred years had passed since her birth, and what had truly changed in that time? Society had barely shuffled forwards a few steps. Females were growing stronger, beginning to gain more power and more respect, but it had taken her entire lifetime for it to happen and such power and respect was limited to the larger towns. In the villages, females were still treated like chattel, given to the male who offered the best payment to her family.
In her case, Eirwyn had offered both the highest bid and been the most persistent of her suitors.
Her family had caught her at a low point, when she had been depressed from the long months she had passed alone at her small home far from the village and her feet had carried her back to her family’s house, a need to speak with others and see the faces of her kin dragging her back to them.
She had been weak, tired from fighting with them when she wanted to spend time with them in peace and happiness, wanted to relive the days that had come before she had matured and they had started looking for a suitor for her, an eligible male that filled their every need and desire.
She had regretted agreeing to it just seconds after the words had left her lips, but Eirwyn had been swift to swoop on her and announce their future marriage to the entire village, and now the deed was done.
She would marry him, and she would live with him.
But she would never love him.
She stifled another sigh and forced a smile for him. He was handsome enough, with his regal features and his long black hair tied into a neat ponytail at the nape of his neck, allowed to flow down his back to blend with his tailored black tunic that reached his knees and accentuated his fine figure, but she felt nothing for him.
Whenever she looked at him, she saw another. She saw a male who had lit a fire inside her, a spark that had burned in her heart and had given her strength, and more than ever she wanted to find the courage to stand on her own two feet and push back against tradition to claim the life she wanted for herself.
He began walking again, talking about the crops this year, as if he played any part in their success. He owned land, paid males to work it, and profited off their success.
Coin was the one thing she lacked, and the one thing it was impossible for her to come by without her parents, or a male. Eirwyn would at least provide that for her she supposed. No more scrounging for seed to grow her own vegetables and fruit, or relying on her parents to send her an allowance.
Hopefully, Eirwyn would allow her to continue working with nature in his garden, and she could lose herself in it for hours, filling her day with work and avoiding him as much as possible.
Shaia stared off into the distance where the windmills stood proud on top of several of the hills above the village, their blades rotating slowly in the gentle breeze that stirred the wheat fields surrounding them.
Her thoughts drifted as her eyes settled on one windmill in particular, set away from the village and high on a hill above the others.
She had met the son of that family several times in her youth, could remember how proud his family had been when he had joined the legions and had been chosen to serve under Prince Vail, and how relieved they had been when he had survived the battle near the borders of the free realm, a war begun by that prince when he had turned on his own men.
At the time, Shaia had cursed them, had wished it had been another male who had returned from that brutal battle and not their son.
The loss of that male, and the darkness of her desire for him to have survived and their son to have died instead, had propelled her into a deep depression that had consumed her for years, had clouded her heart and her mind, and had taken her decades to escape.
It was a depression that still consumed her from time to time.
“Shaia?” Eirwyn’s bass voice penetrated her thoughts and she pulled herself away from her past and the pain that lived there and back to him. “You seem out of sorts today. Shall we not go back?”
She shook her head. “The walk will do me good. It will lift my spirits.”
A lie, but one that came easily to her when the alternative was returning back to her family home while her parents were out. She didn’t want to be alone with Eirwyn and he would insist on remaining with her until her parents returned. It was better to be out in the open, surrounded by others, tasting what little freedom she had.
What she really wanted was to convince him to walk the hills with her, or visit the stream so she could wade in its crisp waters and cool down, escaping the blistering heat of summer. Eirwyn would refuse though. He had made it clear that he thought it unladylike of her to want to do such things, and that her constitution would suffer.
She scoffed under her breath at that.
Females weren’t as delicate as he believed.
Her eyes drifted back to the mill in the distance again. That family had a daughter too, one younger than she was and a female who was often the subject of rumors in the village. Shaia loved to hear the latest tales of her, pretended to be affronted and shocked, and even dismayed by the things she heard while being envious and wishing she were in Iolanthe’s boots.
Iolanthe roamed Hell, traveled far and wide, and even into the mortal realm at times, an independent female bent on doing things her way.
A strong female.
One who didn’t allow anyone to stand in her way.
It inspired her, kept that fire burning inside her, but the flames fanned by whatever latest tale she heard soon died back, leaving only a feeble spark behind, one quickly constrained again and subdued.
Eirwyn gestured towards the hills on the other side of the stream, to the trees that blanketed several of the slopes, and she nodded and smiled, did her best to be congenial and please him.
Her family had caught her at a low point when she had come to visit them, had convinced her that if she married, she might be happy again.
She knew it was just another cage, but she was tired, and everything seemed so bleak now. Her life no longer had any meaning. What reason did she have to go on existing?
Gods, she hated how easily she slipped into these dark moments that felt as if they were going to consume her, her will stripped from her and a desperate need for company filling her, as if that would chase the cold emptiness from her heart.
It was after a particularly brutal bout of depression, when she had still lived at home with her family, that her parents had called in a doctor from the nearest town to tend to her.
Depression was a cage, but it had given her some freedom.
The doctor had spoken with her parents, stating that she needed a hobby or some space to help ease her mood. When her parents had asked her what she wanted, she had spoken from her heart, requesting that she be allowed a small home of her own to run, away from the village.
Her parents had been reluctant but had eventually agreed when the doctor had pressed them. Her new home had lifted her spirits and had given her a taste of freedom, allowing her to come and go as she pleased. She had buried herself in her garden, the long days flying past as she toiled from the moment it grew light until it became too dark to see.
But the loneliness, the solitude, got to her at times, especially during the longer winter nights, and her thoughts always turned to her past, and a time when her heart had been full and overflowing.
Then, the emptiness rose inside her to consume her again.
Driving her back home in an attempt to fill it.
“Shaia?” A male voice curled around her and she frowned and looked around as they entered the fringes of the village, seeking the source of it.
None of the males coming and going along the avenues between the thatched houses were familiar to her.
“Do you know that male?” Eirwyn said and she glanced up at him, catching him scowling in the direction of the village square as he smoothed his ponytail, his actions clipped and reeking of irritation.
Shaia looked there.
A handsome male strode towards them along the broad road between the grey stone two-storey buildings, his fitted black tunic detailed with elegant pale green embroidery around the edges of the two long panels at the front that reached his knees, the matching ones at the back, and around the cuffs. Tight black trousers hugged his lean muscular legs, tucked into polished black knee-high riding boots. Their silver clasps reflected the light, dazzling her as much as his wide smile and bright violet eyes.
Eirwyn pulled a face beside her, and she could understand why. While his own tunic and trousers were fine and tailored for him, they couldn’t compare to the ones the male wore.
They bore symbols only those high in the court of Prince Loren could wear.
The male’s smile became a grin and he waved, glanced over his shoulder and said something to someone behind him, and then picked up pace, heading towards Shaia.
She blinked as she finally recognized him.
Book 1: Kissed by a Dark Prince (FREE AT SELECTED RETAILERS)
Book 2: Claimed by a Demon King
Book 3: Tempted by a Rogue Prince
Book 4: Hunted by a Jaguar
Book 5: Craved by an Alpha
Book 6: Bitten by a Hellcat
Book 7: Taken by a Dragon
Book 8: Marked by an Assassin
Book 9: Possessed by a Dark Warrior
Book 10: Awakened by a Demoness
Book 11: Haunted by the King of Death
Book 12: Turned by a Tiger
Book 13: Tamed by a Tiger
Book 14: Treasured by a Tiger
Book 15: Unchained by a Forbidden Love
Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you’re a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.
If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.
If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places: