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Broken Promise by Tara Fox Hall

Broken Promise
Promise Me, Book 2
by Tara Fox Hall

Melange Books

eBook ISBN: 978-1-61235-473-6
Print ISBN: 978-1-61235-472-9

Shocked at Danial’s betrayal, Sarelle returns to her old home to consider her options. Yet even as Sar plans a reconciliation with Danial, Terian arrives, confessing his desire. When Theo witnesses Terian and Sar kiss, he angrily confronts Sar, leading to startling consequences. Will Sar’s heart choose Danial, Terian,…or Theo?

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Chapter One

I woke up around midnight, groggy but content, and went into the bathroom. In the bright light, there was blood on my underwear, enough for me to realize my period had started.
God damn it! Were the forces of nature against me? My period had been late, and now I’d gotten it just as I was beginning a whole week with Danial all to myself.
By the time I’d showered and voiced more than a few curse words, I started to cramp. That was expected. I’d broken the cardinal rule to never have vigorous sex the day before a period. I wanted to lie down but Danial had drunk a fair amount of my blood the night before. Instead of resting, I went to the kitchen in search of food and vitamins.
“Sar!” Cia squealed as she ran over to me. “Congratulations! Danial told us this evening that you gave him your oath. It’s almost like a double wedding!”
“Thanks.” I hugged her, trying to ignore my cramps and how much I didn’t want anyone to touch me. “Where are the dogs?”
“Out with Ivan for a run,” she said, laughing. “He says they’re better than him at catching mice now.”
I tried to laugh, but it came out as more of a grimace. “Good.”
I didn’t feel any better even after eating some cereal. If anything, the pain was worse. “I’m going back to bed. Have a good night.”
“Are you okay? You look sick.”
“I got my period today, of all days. It’s no big deal—”
A sharp pain ripped across my abdomen. I crumpled with a gasp. Cia grabbed me before I hit the floor and helped me to a chair. I sank down in it just in time for another pain to hit, shallow breaths tearing out of me.
“Something’s wrong! Call 911! Call Doctor Camlyn!”
She turned and bolted for the phone. I tried to stay in the chair, but my stomach muscles hurt too much to sit up. I slowly eased myself to the floor and stretched out. It was better that way. The pain was manageable there.
“Sar!” Cia screamed. She was at my side in an instant, pulling me up.
I tried to tell her that hurt more, but she either didn’t hear me or didn’t listen.
“I called Doctor Camlyn. He’ll be here in an hour; he said it’s likely food poisoning. He gave me instructions to help you throw up—”
An hour? “Call 911!”
She shook her head. “That won’t help. The closest hospital is an hour and a half away. The local EMT’s don’t know there’s a house back here and there’s a spell—”
“Call them and have someone lead them here!”
“Doctor Camlyn’s office is less than an hour away. He’ll be here the fastest. Just hold on—”
She cut off, scenting the air rapidly. Another wave of pain hit me, making me cry out as I eased back down to the floor.
She looked down, suddenly terrified. “Lay still. I don’t know what else to do.”
“Get Theo,” I groaned. “This isn’t food poisoning. The pain’s too bad.”
She was already dialing. “Theo? Get here as fast as you can. There’s something wrong with Sar!”
I felt a sudden wetness, as if I’d peed myself. My eyes traveled down my body to see blood soaking my legs.
I’d miscarried. I’d been pregnant with Danial’s child.
Everything went grey.
****
I woke a few minutes later when Theo slammed into the house and tore into the room.
“What happened?” he said, crouching beside me.
“She fainted. There’s blood. Doctor Camlyn’s on his way, but he said it’d be an hour—”
“I’m miscarrying,” I gasped.
Cia’s mouth fell open, her eyes wide in surprise. Theo’s expression held nothing.
“You knew,” I whispered to him. “You knew this might happen? And you said nothing?”
“Help me get her into the bedroom,” he said to Cia. “I’ll lift her, but I want you to try to keep her as still as you can.”
He picked me up as if I were light as a feather. Cia helped him bring me to Danial’s bed, our bed, the same bed our child had likely been conceived on. The child that was bleeding out of me. Oh, God…
“Sar, hold onto me. Cia, get some towels and take off her pants. We need hot water and a washcloth. We need to make her as comfortable as we can.”
Cia darted out of the room.
“Sar, stay here with me,” Even under strain, he was still commanding. “Stay awake.”
“I’m here. The pain’s not too bad now.”
Cia came back with the water, washcloth, and towels. Theo lifted me as she laid the towels underneath. Then she began taking off my pants, and the pain came back worse than before.
“Stop, don’t move me. It hurts—”
“Sar, hold onto me. I’ve got you,” Theo said, his arms like granite around me.
I held onto him as if my life depended on it. Cia got off my pants and began to clean me off.
As the pain lessened, I was embarrassed to be half-naked in Theo’s arms. “Don’t look,” I whispered to him. “I feel so—”
“Shh, save your strength. You can make all the wise-ass comments you like when this is over.”
Cia went to get fresh water and a new washcloth.
Theo nudged me hard with his hand. “You have to keep awake.”
I didn’t answer. God, I was so tired.
“Theo,” Cia said, scared.
“What?”
“The bleeding. It’s not stopping.”
A jolt of fear hit me, waking me. Why was there so much blood? Was I dying?
“Call Danial, if you haven’t already,” he said calmly. “He should be on his way back by now. Tell him everything we’ve done. See if there’s anything else he wants us to do for her.”
Cia nodded and left, giving me a long anguished glance.
“Stay awake. I need you to stay awake.”
Panic hit me. He thought I was dying, too. “Please save me,” I whispered.
“I can’t. I don’t know what to do, damn it! Danial will be here soon, be calm—”
Danial couldn’t save me. He didn’t have the power to make me a vampire… A shiver went through me. “Don’t let him give me to Devlin.”
“You’re talking crazy! What—”
“Not even to save me from dying! I don’t want Devlin having power over me. Promise me!”
“Danial’s not giving you to Devlin. He would never do that.”
“He gave me a child without telling me it was possible he could. Don’t let him—”
“I give you my word. Devlin will never touch you, no matter what happens,” he growled. “Now, keep still and talk to me. Tell me about your pets; describe them and tell me their names. How many do you have?”
“Three . . .” I yawned. “Three cats, two dogs.” I yawned again.
“Their names. Tell me their names.”
I started to drift and didn’t answer.
“Sarelle!” he yelled in my ear.
“I hear you,” I said groggily, coming back to myself. “Stop yelling.”
“Where’s Cia? What is taking her so fucking long?”
I began to drift again, and bit my lip hard. I wasn’t going to end this way, I didn’t want to become a vampire…wait. There was another option.
“Theo, change me,” I whispered.
He went utterly still. My rapid panting was loud in the small room.
“You’re oathed to Danial,” he said, pushing my sweat-damp hair back so he could look me in the eyes. “I’d need his permission.”
“Please, save me—”
“You wouldn’t survive. I’d have to give you a mortal wound in animal form. Even a strong person doesn’t always make it. And I’ve never done it before, never even tried to do it—”
“Try it, please!” I said desperately. “Please, Theo! I don’t want to die or be vampire.”
He looked at me for a long moment, his blue eyes unreadable. Spellbound, I watched as they suddenly changed from blue to the light yellow of his cougar form.
The bedroom door burst open. Doctor Camlyn and Cia came in.
“How long has she been like this?” Camlyn asked, crouching beside me, and moving my legs apart.
“About forty-five minutes,” Cia said.
“Sarelle, when did the bleeding start?” he asked quickly.
“A little before midnight.”
“Hold still for me.”
I winced when he inserted cervical clamp. Theo held me tightly, his eyes again blue, as Cia stroked my shoulders.
“The bleeding seems to have stopped, but we need to get her to my office so I can perform a D&C on her.”
I nodded, dazed. I’d been right. I had been pregnant.
“Cia, stay here. Call Danial and tell him to meet us the office—”
“No way in hell I’m staying here!”
“You’re staying,” Theo growled at her. “Tell everyone Sar is sick and we’ve taken her to the doctor. You need to keep everyone calm, especially Danial.”
She wanted to argue, but when she looked at me, her resolve seemed to vanish. She nodded once. “Okay.”
Theo carried me as Camlyn helped Cia wrap me in the sheet from the bed. I tightened my grip on him as he picked me up.
Stephen drove us to his office. The ride seemed to last forever. Theo sat in the back holding me. I felt very weak, but I was in a lot less pain. After we arrived, Theo carried me inside and laid me on an examining table, covering me with the sheet as best he could.
“I’m going to be right here. Don’t worry.”
I gave him a weak smile. Camlyn came in, dressed in scrubs. “Wait outside, Theo. This might take awhile.”
“I’m not leaving her,” he growled.
Camlyn nodded and turned to me. “Have you given Danial your blood recently?”
“Last night. And it was a fair amount.”
“Then I can’t give you any anesthetic. You might go into a coma.”
I closed my eyes. “Please, just do it.”
“Don’t bear down, and try your best not to move.” He sat down, put my feet in the stirrups, and began the procedure. Theo turned his back to the doctor and held my hands, leaning over me to keep me focused on him. But I couldn’t ignore the vacuum sound or the sensations as Camlyn did what he had to. It was unpleasant but not too bad.
“Scream if you need to,” Theo said, his eyes worried.
“You’re not being comforting—” I cut off as the first wave of real pain hit me, crying out as my back reflexively arched off the table.
He leaned into me quickly, his arms going around me. “You’re safe. Hold on to me.”
I screamed more before Camlyn was done, even though there’d been less pain than I’d worried there would be. When it was over, I wanted to sit up, but Theo wouldn’t let me.
Camlyn washed his hands and returned to my side, bringing me a glass. “Let her sit up, Theo. Drink this, Sar. It’ll help hydrate you. Do you have any pain?”
I took the cup, thankfully drank the cool contents, and handed it back. “No, not really.” I ached a little inside and felt nauseous, but I guess that was to be expected.
“Have you been with anyone besides Danial in the last three months?”
“No,” I said defensively. I understood why he asked, but I still didn’t like it. Besides, I had questions of my own. “Why did this happen?”
“This wasn’t your fault. You can go home. You need to keep off you feet for the rest of the night.” He turned to leave.
Of course, it wasn’t my fault. “Tell me the truth. How did I get pregnant with Danial’s child?”
He stopped and spoke without turning to me. “You know the particulars of how.”
I still felt weak, but now that the worst was over, I was angry. “Answer me, damn you!” I would have gotten off the table if Theo still hadn’t held me. “Danial told me vampires can’t have children!”
Camlyn sighed and turned to me. “I don’t know. He took those ancient potions even when I warned him there might be unforeseen side effects. At his request, I tested him to make sure they weren’t changing him to the point where he might be able to get you pregnant. His last results were negative. This shouldn’t have happened. I’m sorry.”
The door closed softly behind him.
Theo flipped open his phone and called Danial. I inferred from what was said that he’d be there in a few minutes. I thought about Camlyn saying he was sorry and remembered that night in the kitchen when he’d said similar words to Danial.
Your results were negative, Danial. I’m sorry.
And it all fell into place. The potions Terian had made for him.Devlin and Danial talking that night I overheard them at the door. The cryptic message on voicemail from Devlin. Theo’s face when he saw me on the floor. He hadn’t been surprised I could be pregnant, but Cia had been stunned.
“Your strategy is compelling, Danial—”
Devlin had known, too.
All those conversations I’d thought had to do with his lack of ability to make vampires—it had never been about that. Danial had planned this from the beginning, from when he’d met me. Maybe I wasn’t the first human he’d tried it with. I’d been stupid thinking he loved me for me. Who was I, anyway? A widow of small means willing to give herself to a stranger. And I’d sealed my fate last night when I’d given him my oath. My tears trickled out.
“Don’t cry,” Theo said gently, hugging me. “You’re going to be okay.”
“No,” I choked. “I am not okay. And I’m not going to be.”
“Sar—”
“You knew. You knew and you didn’t warn me!”
He disentangled himself from me and retreated to the wall. “I didn’t know you were pregnant. But when I saw you bleeding, I knew what was happening to you. I’ve seen another woman—a werefox—miscarry when she changed form not knowing she was pregnant.”
“Why did he do this? Do you know?”
“He loves you. He would never want what happened tonight to happen to you. You heard Camlyn. He’s been checking regularly to make sure that he wasn’t able to get you pregnant. This was an accident.”
“Maybe he didn’t want this, but he sure wanted me to get pregnant! And he never said a word to me about it. All this time, all this effort, and he never told me, never asked!”
“You don’t know that. You need to talk to him and ask for the truth.”
“Why bother?” I said bitterly. “He never tells me the truth.”
“It’s true he loves you.”
I turned away from him. “No. That’s what I don’t know.”
His footsteps retreated, the door closing as he left. Alone, I tried to make sense of all of it.
The more I thought, the more certain I was that Danial wanted a child. This hadn’t been a by-product of those potions he’d taken: it had been the goal. And I’d had no idea. Why would he want a child with me? Why now? He was a vampire, for God’s sake. I’d never heard of one wanting a child.
Why had I miscarried? Instead of being sad over it, I was guilty to be grateful. If I had a child, I didn’t want it to be an accident or because of anything other than my choice.
The door opened. I froze.
“Sarelle, are you awake?” Danial asked.
He knew I wasn’t sleeping; he was being polite. “I’m awake.”
He came to the table and put his arms around me. If he had said anything at that moment, I think I would have screamed at him, told him to get out and never come near me again. But he just held me.
As time passed, emotional turmoil eclipsed my anger. I turned to him and buried my face in his chest, long, choking sobs ripping out of me. He held me tightly and stroked my hair. He made no noise, but I felt his tears on my forehead as they fell. Eventually I ran out of tears and lay in his arms, my nose stuffed, my eyes sore and red.
“Let’s go home.”
He picked me up very gently, wrapping me in the bed sheet, and took me out to the waiting SUV. Theo drove us home and Danial carried me to our bed, laying me down on fresh green sheets. He then left without a word.
I took a deep breath, relieved the blood was gone and that he’d left me alone.
The door opened and Cia came in. She sat on the bed and hugged me. “I’m so sorry.”
“Me, too.”
“I’m here to help you out of those clothes. Doctor Camlyn doesn’t want you to shower tonight or take a bath—”
“Please, I’d rather do it myself. Just bring me a washcloth and some warm water.”
“Fine. But don’t get up, except for the bathroom.”
“I promise I’ll stay right here in bed. I’m exhausted.”
She brought me the water, washcloth, and some pajamas from the wardrobe. “I’ll be right outside. Call me when you’re done.”
After she left, I slowly cleaned myself up. It felt good to smell the scent of soap and to feel the warm water on my skin. I put on the new pajamas and got into bed. “I’m done.”
She came in and gathered up the soiled laundry and water. “Just yell if you need anything. I’ll be right outside. ”
“How is he?” I asked her, hating myself for caring.
“He’s very upset, almost wild. He blames himself for what happened. He and Theo are outside talking, but he’ll be in as soon as he calms down.” She patted my arm. “He didn’t want to upset you any more than you were.”
Good, Danial was to blame. I was glad we were on the same page about that.
She left and I laid there thinking about what to do. I’d been through hell and was dead tired, so I didn’t get very far before I fell asleep.
When I awoke, I was no longer alone. Danial was beside me, holding me close, snoring softly. It took me a long time but I eventually fell back asleep. In that time, I decided what I had to do.

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One Response to Broken Promise by Tara Fox Hall

  1. tarafoxhall says:

    Thank you so much for having me today, Renee! Happy New Year!

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