Blood Grace Book 5
She’s ready for her eternal future with him. But the past won’t let them go…
The night Cassia has fought for is here. At last, she’ll drink Lio’s blood and join him as an immortal Hesperine, fulfilling their Grace bond. But then an unexpected guest returns to Orthros with a revelation about the past she never imagined. Secrets lay hidden in the illustrious Empire, where she must travel with Lio to find the truth.
Lio has risked everything for his Grace before, and he’ll do it again. He’ll stand between Cassia and the politics pulling her back toward the human world. He’ll push his magic to new limits to keep her safe. Even if it destroys his life’s work as a diplomat – or Cassia’s trust in him.
Praise for Blood Union Part One
“It ticks all the boxes: Beautiful writing. Immersive world building. A tender, fated love willing to conqueror all. A sexy Beta hero that gets to really show us his fangs this book, if you know what I mean ;)”
– S.L. Prater, author of The Secret Witch of Kriegspiel
“The thrill and the suspense is freaking awesome and kept me hooked the entire way… Vela Roth never ceases to amaze me. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.”
– Anshul @stories.buddy
“I devoured this book in less than 24 hours, forgoing sleep and work. Totally worth it…”
– Reader Brittany C.
“Another excellent book in this series! This author has created such a phenomenal world, and such endearing and compelling characters.” – Reader Nina D.
These were the last hours Cassia would ever spend as a mortal.
She had survived the twenty-two years of her human existence. Tonight it would end, and her life would begin.
Before this night was through, she would have fangs, magic…immortality. She would be a Hesperine.
At last. Her Gift Night had arrived.
“Your heart is pounding.” Lio touched a hand to her chest.
She looked up at his handsome, beloved face. He was at her side, just like every night since she had come here to Orthros, leaving her old life in Tenebra behind. He would be at her side every night from now on. Forever. “I almost can’t believe it. We made it this far. It’s finally happening.”
The front doors of House Komnena stood open before them, waiting for Cassia to make her grand entrance to her Gift Night celebration. Spell light and familiar voices, happy music and the aromas of her favorite foods spilled out into the night. The grand white marble edifice of Lio’s bloodline was filled with guests.
Her home, her bloodline, her family and friends. All gathered here tonight for her.
Lio leaned down and gave her a tender kiss on her lips. She sensed his veil spell close and reassuring around them. She knew his concealing magic was the only reason no one spotted them and pulled them into the celebration.
Lio ran his hand up and down her back in soothing strokes. “We don’t have to go in until you’re sure.”
“Of course I’m sure.” She swallowed.
Her hound stood near, concerned and attentive. Knight’s shaggy fur would soon be all over her and Lio’s formal silk robes, but the shedding was just more evidence of his comforting presence.
“Is there anything else you wish to do first?” Lio asked.
“I’ve had weeks to prepare. And if we wait any later in the season, there won’t be enough time for my seclusion before we leave for Orthros Notou on Migration Night.”
She glanced up at the bright stars overhead. Orthros’s astrologers assured her that tonight’s celestial portents were auspicious for a Gifting. Even the martyrs’ constellations agreed that she was ready. So why were her palms sweating in her silk gloves?
“Come.” She took Lio’s hand. “Everyone is waiting for us.”
He tugged her closer. “The entire world can wait for as long as you need. This is your Gifting. This night is for you. You don’t have to take a single step until you are certain and comfortable.”
He adjusted her cloak and kept holding her. The garment might be enchanted to protect mortals from the cold of Orthros, but Lio’s embrace was her true warmth. She knew he would stand there with her in the polar night for however long it took her to feel ready.
She leaned into him. “I love you.”
“And I love you, my rose.”
“It has to be tonight, Lio. I can’t wait any longer to begin our new life. And this is the night. The night we met. One year ago, I first saw you by moonlight in the woods, at the Font of the Changing Queen.”
“And you faced me so fearlessly.” He caressed her cheek, his gaze full of emotion and memories. “I can scarcely believe it’s only been a year. It took you so little time to completely change my eternity.”
Eternity. Her heart fluttered again, and she ran her hands over his chest. “Lio. Tonight. I’ll finally get to taste…your blood…you.” The thought of it made her throb much lower than her heart.
A huge grin spread over his face, showing her the full length of his fangs. “Patience, my hungry Grace.”
“Being your Grace offers many magical benefits, but patience is not one of them.” The now-familiar Craving stirred in her, the proof of their Grace bond. It still amazed her that even as a human, she could feel their addiction to each other. He kept her sated with pleasure, but soon she would know the satisfaction of both his body and his blood.
“You need all your strength for tonight,” she said. “I still think you should have had breakfast.”
“I’m still satisfied from dinner.” His smile reminded her of how good last night had been. “Weeks of drinking your blood has fully restored my health and made my Craving for you much easier to bear.”
She tucked a strand of his black hair behind his ear, observing the healthy flush upon his pale, nocturnal complexion. Under the trimmed lines of his light beard, his face was no longer gaunt, and muscle now strengthened his lean frame. “I suppose I must take you at your word.”
“My parents will give me the Ritual Drink tonight before we begin, so their power will be potent in my veins—for you and me.”
“You truly don’t need to feast on me before we start?”
“No, Cassia.” His voice was a low purr. “The next time I feast on you, you will be feasting on me as well.”
It was difficult to imagine any pleasure greater than what he had given her mortal body. But what they would do tonight, once her body was powerful like his, would be far better. “I can’t wait to experience the Feast.”
“Neither can I. Cup and thorns. At last, I’ll feel your bite.” He reached for her with his mind magic. The thelemancy that gave him the power to control a person’s Will now touched Cassia’s thoughts with the utmost gentleness.
At the intimate caress of his magic inside her mind, she bit back an indecent moan. Starting tonight, their bond would be even closer than it was in moments like this. She would hear his thoughts even when he didn’t use his magic, and she would sense his emotions, as he did hers. “Finally, we’ll get to experience Grace Union all the time.”
“I can’t wait to show you,” he said.
She studied the gleam of anticipation in his dark blue eyes. His body felt strong and relaxed against her. He took his duties to heart, and Gifting her was one of the greatest responsibilities he would ever undertake. But there was no sign he harbored any self-doubt in this case. “You feel ready.”
He looked into her eyes, his own full of love. “Everything will go beautifully for you tonight. I will make sure of that.”
She stood there in his embrace a moment longer.
“And you, my rose?” He held her gaze. “Are you ready?”