Can she let go of her hate and learn to love again in order to kill the man who destroyed her life?
Released from the containment spell trapping her in a diary, Cassia Kallias finds her family embroiled in a war with the egotistical god who spelled her there, but Zeus still covets the power he senses deep within her.
As the demon king, Lucien struggles to contain the chaos spiraling out of control throughout Dark World, but when he accidentally hits the diary of judgments with his demon flame, he releases Cassia from her curse.
Reunited with the daughter she was forced to leave, Cassia must come to grips with all she has lost, accept her growing feelings for Lucien, and learn to control her new powers to defeat Zeus to save Dark World and those she loves.
Demon Realm, Dark World
“We can’t let that twisted pipsqueak of a Greek god win this war.” Lucifer pivoted like the general he was and retraced his steps across the dark jewel-toned slate floor, his long blond hair flaring behind like a cape with each turn. The Overlord of Dark World was in a fine snit.READ MORE
“Zeus is behind this, Lucien. I know he is. He’s always wanted my job and control of my domain. I’d let the idiot have it, but I don’t relish being tortured for another millennia by Big Britches upstairs. Besides, I know Zeus too well. His tyranny would destroy everything we’ve worked toward—what I’ve worked toward. After eons of waiting for even the tiniest hint of a positive response, I am so close,” he growled, jabbing a fist in the air in front of him. The ever-present darkness surrounding him rippled, swelling and distorting like a building tornado.
My boss’s face darkened to a lobster red. Not a good image for the lobster, much less the ex-archangel. I had learned long ago it was best to let Lucifer work out the frustration in his system. Interference could be deadly, and I had too much work left to do in this ridiculous war to die today.
I brought my attention back to Lucifer, surprised to discover him standing before the fireplace, staring into the undulating white flames. My eyes watered from the brilliant aura until everything went fuzzy. Blinking to clear my vision, I focused instead on Lucifer’s leather-covered back and fought the urge to smile. Red leather. No wonder early Christians believed a red-skinned devil hid in the shadows, biding his time for someone to do something wrong.
Lucifer had been the peoples’ advocate and God’s best soldier until a certain sniveling Greek God—Zeus, to be exact—manipulated events. Now my boss controlled Dark World, trying to prove his innocence and regain his position by God’s side, which meant he needed proof the little Greek shit had done the manipulating in the first place.
“Discover what he’s up to, Lucien. The Oracle’s predictions grow more dire with each passing day.” Lucifer’s fists flexed at his sides, the whitened knuckles a stark contrast from his tanned skin. “I don’t have to remind you everyone’s future is at stake. Find him and destroy him.”
With a single nod to my boss, I left the room. So much banked on Sabine and Willow’s spell. Not only did I need to rescue my brother, but we needed Gerard’s vast knowledge and magic to help them. Help us.
With a slow, steady pace, I thought about everything that had happened in the short time Johnna and Willow had appeared in Dark World. My world. I couldn’t help but worry what Zeus had in store for all of us. His plans were notoriously bad for everyone. I stopped in the doorway of my conference room and studied the people within. My amazing family.
My gaze landed first on Johnna and I felt my lips curving up. I couldn’t be prouder of my niece, how well she’d adjusted to this crazy world. I refocused on Willow, her wild honey-colored mane of hair hiding her face as she and Sabine worked on the spell. While Willow might not be related to me by blood, my heart was drawn to the young woman. It was no wonder Malachi had fallen for her. She was just as amazing as Johnna—perhaps more so, because of her tragic past. She was strong, whether she realized it yet or not.
Sabine straightened with a satisfied nod. “Done. And if I do say so myself, this is the best spell I have . . .” Her gaze dropped to Willow and smiled. “We have ever written.”
Willow returned her smile. “It’s the best for me because the last spell I wrote summoned a demon. Anything has to be better than that. Now what do we have to do?”
“Say the spell and, hopefully, rescue my brother.” A twinge of trepidation reared its ugly head, but I shoved it away. This wasn’t the time for doubt. The thought of losing the people I cared for the most, though . . . I refused to think about it, instead refocusing on the task at hand as everyone faced the huge window.
I moved the curtain to one side with a flick of my hand. The sight from behind the glass reminded me of a picture Sabine had showed me last year of a house decorated for the Mortal Realm’s Christmas celebration. Giant bottles had lined the porch, each stuffed with LED lights—at least that’s what Sabine had called them. They were almost as beautiful as what I now stared at.
“What are those?” Willow whispered.
“Souls,” Malachi replied.
Sabine positioned everyone in an orderly line in front of the window. I stared at their superimposed reflections, the glittering souls shining through their almost transparent bodies. A chill skittered over me as I held Niki’s yellow gaze.
Keep them safe, Enforcer. I used our mind link, trusting Niki to do just that. I had no doubt he would give his life to save the people in this room. I wanted to go with them, though, to be certain they all returned—including my brother. But while my two best enforcers were inside the Well, my place was here. Leaving my realm unprotected would mean losing it to Zeus.
Standing near the large table in the middle of the room, I watched as they all held hands. Willow laid her head on Malachi’s shoulder. “I know I said I’d follow you no matter where . . . But, we have to go in there ? I would much rather abdicate and let Gaia take the throne. Lucien can have yours.”
I smiled, hearing Malachi’s exasperated sigh. “Gaia and Lucien have to revitalize the army and protect the Demon Realm, remember? He supplies the Summoned demons and as the earth goddess, she heals them. To answer your question, yes, kitten. We do have to go in there.” He kissed the top of her head, and I rubbed my suddenly aching chest. “Now quit stalling and say the spell.”
“Fine. Here goes nothing.” Willow chanted the spell in a low, singsong voice. “We go to the land of souls to find an innocent lost. All realms to be reclaimed and an evil deceit stopped.”
I blinked and held on to the table, willing them to reappear, safe and sound, but the souls got in the way, bouncing and crowding together as the orbs pressed against the glass.
I did something I hadn’t done since I was a very young demon.
Please keep my family safe . . .
Demon Realm, Well of Souls
“I thought we agreed to use Sabine’s spell?” Niki snapped. “Crossing the barrier from the Demon Realm to the Well of Souls is dangerous enough, but it’s deadly if you misspoke even one word in the spell.” He focused his accusing glare at Willow, who’d been the one to spell them here in the first place. “You took a chance with all our lives, including Gerard’s.”
“Quit yelling at her, Niki. She got us here, didn’t she?” Malachi’s voice deepened menacingly as his arm slipped around Willow’s shoulders, pulling her deeper into his embrace.
I watched them, through what I referred to as my ‘Snow White mirror,’ from what had been my ‘home’ for the last twenty-five years—my sister Sabine’s diary of judgments. The telescoping view I had from the diary allowed me to focus on individual faces while the peripherals remained unfocused and fuzzy.
For so long now, my world had been reduced to a black and white film.
I hated it. Before Zeus cursed me, I was known as Cassia, immortal daughter of Gaia, the Earth Mother. Now, I was a Greek Erinys without my power of judgment, no corporeal body, and if I couldn’t figure out how to escape, no hope for a future.
Pulling my gaze away from Willow’s sad face proved to be impossible. I had waited such a long time to lay eyes on my only daughter. To touch her. She was so very close . . .
I had sacrificed everything in order to protect her. And I hated Zeus for cursing me into this damned diary. He used the old demon queen to do it, but it had been Zeus all the same. Sabine would’ve been proud of me. I’d fought him like a tigress. Like the Greek god I was . . . well, used to be. In this compact form, I wasn’t much of anything anymore.
Unfortunately for me, although bodiless, I still felt every single emotion coursing through me, anger being the more prevalent. If I allowed myself to think about it, sadness and maybe regret would be the next two. Of course, being forced to live within the diary of a Greek Erinys—every sin and judgment recorded behind my aged leather cover—definitely had something to do with my current anger-filled situation. I refused to admit that, however.
I stared at the people on the outside fringes of my world. More than anything, I wanted to reconnect with my daughter and the rest of my family. Almost as strong was the desire to achieve something in my life instead of being stuck for eternity in a book. Zander’s death had been a terrible blow but being forced apart for almost a quarter of a century, I’d had a little bit of time to process it. I let out a tiny sigh. This wasn’t how I’d envisioned my life. I’d married a gorgeous Watcher; had just found out about my pregnancy when Zeus interfered. Now, twenty-four years later, I was no better off. My husband was dead and my daughter didn’t know who I was. Everyone probably believed me dead, too.
Damn Zeus to the depths of Tartarus.
I refocused my attention back to the small group and what they were saying. Sabine, Johnna, and Willow were my family. Niki and Malachi were my friends. And none of them had any idea I was nearby. If I had a bottom lip, I would’ve pushed it out in an obvious pout. I slumped a little more into my ever-present depression.
Malachi’s giant arms were still wrapped around my daughter. Willow. My baby was all grown up. Her loose, sassy curls resembled a wind-tossed halo, and her wide eyes bestowed a sweet innocence to her pretty features. A fuzzy warmth filled me. From the way they shimmered, she had Zander’s light-gray eyes.
I had missed her entire childhood. As a book, I couldn’t shed real tears, but my heart was breaking all the same. I had been young when I had Willow. Since the age of six, I’d dreamed of being a mother, but Gaia had insisted I follow in the footsteps of my other sisters and become an Erinys. Grudgingly, I had, but it had never been my calling. Even though I’d only had a few precious months as a mother, I treasured each memory. I would’ve been a kick-ass mom if Zeus hadn’t interfered.
Malachi slowly rubbed his chin back and forth across Willow’s head. I listened to Sabine as she talked to herself—glad she’d never outgrown the childhood habit; otherwise, I wouldn’t have known how much I owed the Fallen leader. He had saved my daughter in so many ways. I’d never be able to thank him enough for doing what I couldn’t.
With every gentle caress and tender kiss, their love was evident to everyone around them. The way their gazes constantly searched for each other reminded me of what I’d had with Zander. Since he was the first Watcher to fall in love, no one knew whether or not we were true mates, but to us it never mattered. We loved each other anyway.
I studied my sister’s face through the large picture window, separating me from the Well of Souls. I prayed they wouldn’t move away from the window or I wouldn’t be able to hear them anymore. Sabine looked older, which was unusual for an Erinys. As an immortal, we generally stopped aging around twenty-five. What had happened? A haunted expression lurked in the depths of her weary eyes.
Johnna moved into my narrowed focus, worry etched on her young face as well. Sabine and Gerard had done well raising their daughter. At least I assumed they had. The only times I heard any news about family was when I was pulled out of the stasis realm I usually lived in, to record a judgment. Recently, however, I’d found myself able to connect with the outside world whenever I wanted. Had Zeus’s powers weakened?
I refocused on my niece. Johnna was so beautiful and incredibly intelligent, something I had also learned from Sabine’s muttering. The few times Johnna had possession of me, I’d found her sense of humor refreshing. It reminded me of my own. She, too, had found her true mate, Niki. I’d known Niki as an up-and-coming enforcer and considered him a friend. From the few times I’d seen him in action, he was one scary demon when crossed. Thankfully, I’d never crossed him.
My sister had always been the lucky one. She lived her life without fear and had always bounced from one nerve-wracking escapade to another. As her younger sister, jealousy was, of course, a requirement between siblings, and I’d had it in spades. Looking back now, my jealousy and pettiness regarding Sabine had been stupid. I’d found out the hard way life was too short.
After Zeus had seared my incorporeal form to this book, somehow magically gluing it to the inside of each page, I’d made myself a vow. When I escaped, and I would escape, I wouldn’t waste time on petty jealousy. I wanted to experience freedom again and feel the thrill of fear and the passion of love.
How had I ended up like this? I asked myself for the millionth time.COLLAPSE
mauireader on Amazon wrote:
The Curse That Binds by Heidi Vanlandingham is an amazing story to read. This is book number three in this amazing series that I have loved reading very much. I highly recommend this story to everyone who loves reading about romantic suspense, fantasy and paranormal romances.
N.N. Light (Vine Voice) on Amazon wrote:
Great engaging paranormal read
This is a book that is active and on the move, there is a war afoot and a lot of players. There is plenty of suspense and treachery, allies and enemies to keep track of. It is a power play against Zeus who has gone completely off the rails seeing absolute power. This book can certainly be read as a stand alone, but it is book three of an ongoing storyline and you would really enjoy reading the other two books first. The main characters from the first two books show up and play some important roles. A great HEA, great characters all around, and an interesting and creative plot.
Takes the reader on an incredible journey
The Curse That Binds is a thrilling conclusion to this series, one who stuck their claws into me and didn’t let go until the very end. The author blends mythology and fantasy with action scenes so intricate, it felt like I was watching a movie. I had high expectations for this book, and it didn’t disappoint. There are some familiar characters from Greek mythology as well as some classic figures from Christianity. Heidi Vanlandingham breathes new life into these characters and takes the reader on an incredible journey. The plot moves at a great pace with descriptive narration, compelling characters, emotional depth, along with the action. I read late into the night, just to see what happened next. If you’re a fantasy romance reader, this is a must-read. While this can be read on its own, I recommend reading the whole series. Highly recommend!