Reign (Marko Delacroix #5)

By: Alaska Angelini


To Dee and Nadine. You both supported Marko long before Prey ever came close to being published. The encouragement you gave when others thought it was a bad idea for me to take this route with my writing meant so much to me. Thank you for being there through the betas of each book, and for falling just as much in love with Marko as I did.

To my street team AKA Alaska’s Sexy Subs. You ladies ROCK!! Thank you for all the promotions, for blasting each Marko cover on every post asking for them, and for voting and nominating. Your love for Marko means so much for me.

And a special thanks to Nicole Johnson. Your love for the Marko series never once escaped my notice. <3


Axis Headquarters—Aetas

Stories were plentiful for our kind. The origins of how we came to be had been speculated on for as long as I could remember. It was once said that we were demons, reborn into this realm to corrupt the souls of weak mortals. To seduce the good and the noble. We’d change their path and take over not only the dark realms of existence, but spread our evil to walk amongst the living.

The debate was never-ending and not worth the time to think about. There was no evidence, nor would there ever be of our birth. Love, hate---kindness and cruelty. We, vampires, had it all. Our actions were our own and the way I chose to rule would never be altered by fear of a higher power. God, the devil, neither existed that I was aware of. To me, I was both, and I challenged a power so great to stand against me. I controlled the fate of not only our kind, but of the world. I let them live or die—no one else. Me. It was all because of me. I was the ultimate ruler, the perfect balance. I was not pure of heart, nor was I opposed to the torturing of souls.

“It is no secret why I gather you here tonight. One of our own is missing. A vampire of blood so powerful that his newborn status makes it imperative that he is returned to me as soon as possible. The threat he poses could change this world forever.”

I stepped from my throne in the cathedral, scanning over the hundreds of eyes who stared up at me. Amongst the front, were what remained of my members. Behind them in rows on each side of the aisle, the rulers of our kind.

My hand rose, and with it, the door to the holding chamber opened. Footsteps of the enforcers pounded against the silent room in a steady cadence. Whimpering and cries immediately echoed along the walls as they pulled Margo and Gina into the opened space. They tugged at the heavy shackles that kept their hands restrained behind their backs. In sliding motions, their feet fought to gain footing against the marble floors.

Whispering began to buzz throughout the room as they were carried down the aisle.

“Please. Pl-ease.” Margo’s eyes searched the crowd as both of the men on her side drug her closer. “He’s going to kill us all. You know I speak the truth. Please!” Her voice got louder as she neared. When her head jerked to a stop, her eyes flared. “Princess Tessalyn! Please, I beg of you!”

A large hand settled on the Black Princess’s shoulder while she tightened her jaw repeatedly. She was here to bear witness to the sentencing of my former allies, as they all were. It still didn’t stop Marko, her mate, from feeling Tessalyn’s internal need to do something at the call for help.

“Our leader’s intentions are not honorable,” Margo said, louder. “Dehlia saw it before her death! She saw Aetas leading us into a war we cannot win! Do not bring the vampire they call Hunter back to Headquarters. Do not give Aetas the tool that will destroy us! Kill the newborn! Kill Hunter!”

I collected the energy around Margo with my mind, jerking her out of the enforcers’ arms to slide the ten feet that remained between us. Before she could gasp through the shock of what I’d done, I spun her around to face the room.

“Betray me if you must,” I warned everyone, loudly. “But know that if you do, your fate will rest in my hands. I assure you that’s not a place you want to be.” I tore her head free of her body in one hard tug, lifting it for all to see. The flat band representing her status still rested on her forehead and blood dripped to the floor as I held tightly to her hair. My eyes stopped first on Marko Delacroix, and then the Black Princess, Tessalyn Delacroix. Tessalyn stood along the aisle on second row and Marko held rank beside her.

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