Blood Grace Book 3
Their love could last forever – unless the king’s assassins cut her life short…
Cassia has reunited with her beloved Lio in the land of eternal night. She longs to become a Hesperine like him so they can stay together for all time, but she’s torn between their happiness and her duty to the kingdom of mortals. To win her freedom, she must convince the humans to ally with the Hesperines, despite centuries of conflict.
Lio won’t force her to stay by revealing their blood bond, although certain death awaits him if she leaves. While they negotiate for peace in public, he tempts her in private with the promise of everlasting passion. But the king’s agents will block an alliance at any cost. Can Lio protect Cassia when she becomes their target?
Blood Sanctuary Parts One and Two were previously published as one ebook.
Praise for Blood SANCTUARY PART ONE
“It is as immersive and captivating as the first two books in the Blood Grace series, and I can’t get enough of Lio and Cassia! Their story continues as they try to form an alliance between their people, while politics, sabotage, and secrets threaten them at every turn.”
– Julie, One Book More
“This book is phenomenal! I’ve been in love with Cassia and Lio from the start and each book keeps getting better and better.
This cover is absolutely stunning, and the story inside is just as amazing!” – Kaija @strictlybookish_kai
“The third installment in Vela Roth’s Blood Grace series, and I’m still as obsessed as ever with these amazing MCs and the plot!” – Sahana @books_and_draws_eclectic
“Guys, I’m just addicted to this series… It subverts the common expectations of light and dark and really delves into the question, what makes a monster? It’s quickly climbing into comfort read status.” – Brittany @bookwyvernlovestea
The taste of Cassia’s blood lingered in Lio’s mouth. Her aura filled his residence. Her scent was all over his bed. He watched her sleep and counted the freckles on her left shoulder.
Now that she was with him, he no longer missed the Dawn Slumber. Polar night was a balm when it meant he could lie awake with her sleepy face against his chest and her body relaxed in his arms. He didn’t dread the return of sunrise months from now, either. If he dreamed of her, he would awaken to find she was not just a dream. She would be here to satisfy his Craving for her. His addiction to her blood would be no torture, only a pleasure for them both.
By the time polar night ended for the season, the Tenebran embassy would be gone—short one member. Cassia would still be here in Orthros. She would have the chance to choose a future here for herself. That was Lio’s silent vow to them both, and he would keep it, no matter what challenges they faced during the Solstice Summit.
She didn’t even know she was his Grace and that without her, his Craving for her would be fatal to him. She had only spent one night here so far.
But what a night. He was certain he was already making progress in his unspoken effort to convince her to stay. She had revealed her feelings to him through the Blood Union. His Hesperine nature imparted that empathy and bound him to all living things, but Grace bound him and Cassia together most powerfully of all. The change of heart she had experienced in his arms last night had been as good as a promise.
Over the sound of her restful breathing, he heard the bells of Selas chime second moon across the capital city. Unease uncoiled within Lio, but he tried to let it go. Of course it was excruciating that Cassia must return to the guest house. Of course it would be grueling to act as if they meant nothing to each other.
But they were equal to the task. Cassia was the courtier, traitor and unsung hero who held her violent countrymen back from the brink of war. Lio was the diplomat who had convinced immortal, unchanging Hesperines to invite a human embassy from Tenebra to Orthros for the first time in history.
The peal of bells ended, and Lio knew he must wake the unseen hand of Tenebran politics. Should he kiss the lips that swayed free lords with a word? Perhaps he ought to nibble the short, upturned nose that could scent the king’s lies a mile away. No, he would nuzzle the temple of the mind that devised brilliant schemes.
Cassia stirred and burrowed deeper in the silk sheets to tuck herself closer against his body.
“With a good moon like that,” he murmured in her ear, “I hope you’ll stay for breakfast.”
She ran her hand down his chest, as if testing to see if he was solid and not one of the illusions he conjured from light. “I really am in your residence at House Komnena. Last night wasn’t all a marvelous dream.”
“No. Shall I pinch you to convince you you’re awake?”
“I don’t think that will be—ow!”
At his bite on her earlobe, she laughed. He followed the nip with a slow suck, and a shiver went through her hip under his hand.
“I don’t have to leave yet, do I?” she asked.
“Not quite yet. I’m afraid I only let you sleep for an hour.”
Cassia let out a relieved sigh. “The hours are indeed long here. I can’t believe how much has happened since we sailed into Harbor last night. Time hardly seems to pass at all in Orthros.”
“Such is the pace of life here. We don’t rush anything.” He twirled his fingers in slow circles on the back of her thigh.
She told him how much she liked that with a caress from her foot, which had enjoyed such devoted attentions from him the night before. She lifted her head and blinked at him. The stained moonlight pouring in through his windows caught and gleamed in her hazel eyes. “I’m in Orthros.”
He caressed her face. “We made it.”
They shared a smile that they both understood. That only they understood.
Her beautiful, fierce determination stirred in her aura. “Now we have to make it through the Summit. We have to win.”
“They couldn’t stop us before. Not the King of Tenebra, not the Mage Orders of Cordium, not the heart hunters they hired.” Lio cupped Cassia’s cheek, holding her gaze. “We will win.”
“Their warmongering is no match for our peace. We will see the king’s alliance with Cordium broken to bits and Tenebra’s ancient truce with Orthros thriving like roses in the dark. This Summit isn’t going to end like the last one.”
The last one, when any chance of peace between their peoples had shattered. When the threat of war had separated him and Cassia and trapped them on opposite sides of the border for half a year.
The Equinox Summit had almost parted them forever. She had just said aloud she didn’t want that.
“That time is over.” Lio gave her an adamant kiss.
She kissed him in return with all the zeal he felt in her aura. Her hand tangled in his tousled hair, catching the one braid he wore. She knew that thread of a braid meant a powerful promise to her, but her touch felt like a promise to him.