Forsaken by Tenaya Jayne

How far would you go to change your fate? 

The moment I made eye contact with Tristan, Destiny bound our souls together. No way was I going to live my life tied to that murdering rapist. So, I killed him. But even beyond the grave, his ghost haunts me. No one has ever seen Destiny, but I will have no peace until I track her down and make her answer for what she did to me. 

Everyone thinks it’s impossible and I’m crazy, maybe I am. Chasing a myth with little more than a hunch where to look, jumping through other worlds, and facing dangers I can’t even name. Every day I have to be ready to pay the ultimate price. I’ll cut down anyone in my way. I won’t stop. I won’t slow down. There’s nothing I won’t do to take back my life and chart my own destiny. 

There’s nothing I won’t sacrifice…except Rhain. I love him more than my own life, but happily ever after could be the real task that proves impossible. 

AMAZON

Read an Excerpt:

You shouldn’t be here…but you don’t know where you are or even how you got here. More than anything, you hope you’re asleep. It’s just a nightmare, you try to console yourself. You don’t belong here. The air is bitter. The smoky light is bitter. The landscape before you is bitter. Bitterness is imbued inside everything in this place.

Look to the sky, but you won’t see it. There is no sky. You are underground. The faint light shifting over you coats your skin in muddy color. You never knew light could feel so tainted, and you cannot tell its source. Grey flecks float in the pungent air. Reach up and touch one. Ashes. Ash falls like a lazy snowfall.

Before you are the ruins of a great cathedral. The stone pillars and foundation are brown and grey. It’s not beautiful. No vines grow on the walls. Compelled, you know you must go inside. You turn your head from side to side, but you see no one and nothing. You hear it though, the raspy, wet, snarling of a beast. It’s a warning.

The entrance of the courtyard is flanked by statues of crouched hyena-like monsters. They too are ruined, places of the carved stone are missing, leaving them deformed. You pass slowly, and your heart clenches. The growling is coming from them. Their eyes are set with onyx, and they glint at you. The stone grinds. The statue to your right opens its mouth, baring broken, stained fangs.

Mustering your courage, you continue forward into the cathedral. A tree stands in the center, its roots snake over and through the brick floor. Pity and revulsion in equal measures enter your heart as you gaze up at its bare, twisted branches. The black trunk is covered with mouths. Each one is different. Some hang slack. A few smile predatorily, the teeth broken and stained brown. And a few are babbling, the words crossing over one another in conflicting subjects, making it all unintelligible. Every mouth quiets and smiles.

“Visitor,” the tree purrs with every mouth simultaneously.

A wet tongue drags along the lips of the largest mouth. “Sweet blood in your veins.”   

“Sweet blood,” all the other mouths whisper excitedly.

You take a step back.

“You must give me a taste if you wish to pass. One bite, that’s all. Give me that, and I’ll let you see her. That’s why you’ve come after all. No one ever comes to see me… But still, I must exact a price.”

“Just one bite?” you ask.

“One bite, one bite, one bite…” all the mouths say.

Stepping forward, shaking with fear, your heart beating painfully hard under your ribs. “Okay.” You tell yourself it is okay because you know you’re dreaming. You have to know who is beyond.

Your shaking grows stronger as you move closer and press your forearm against a mouth. The lips part, soft as flesh, moist as a passionate kiss. The teeth break through the membrane of your skin. You step back as the mouth swallows. It wasn’t so bad.

“Sweeter than I thought,” it says.

Branches whip out and down, wrapping around your arms and ankles, jerking you into the air like the legs of a spider. It laughs at your screams and tears your clothes to shreds. Tongues, lips, and teeth, assault your bare skin. Powerless against the branches, it moves you up and down all over itself, each mouth taking a turn.

“Stop! You said one bite!”

“Silly, sweet thing.” It laughs with cruel pleasure. “One. Bite. Each.”

The statues outside howl, the sound mixing gleefully with your screams. The harder you strain to get free, the deeper it bites. Blood runs from each mouth in bright red lines, sliding into the bark’s crevices. Knowledge bites into you harder than the teeth. You aren’t getting out of this.

The tree is eating you alive.

Moans of pleasure vibrate deep inside the tree as it swallows your flesh. Your vision darkens, cold penetrates your empty veins.

“That’s enough,” a woman’s voice chides.

The tree drops you to the ground, your blood soaking its roots. Nothing left to pump, your heart slows. 

An angel with no face leans down and picks you up. She is the night sky. Her hair is moonlight, and her skin swirls with galaxies and sparkles with stars. She gazes down at you. You know she’s looking at you even though she has no face.

She turns to the tree. “Just couldn’t help yourself… So spiteful, Darksong. You could have at least let me talk to her before you killed her.”

The largest mouth heaves an exasperated sigh. “I’ll leave the next one alive for you. Promise. Although I don’t see the point. None of them make it out alive whether I bite them or not.”

The sky angel says something else to the tree in harsh tones, but you cannot make out the words. All you can hear is your heart. Count the beats in your head. One…two…three…four…