Crown of Thorns – Legends and Lovers Read Online Terri E. Laine

Categories Genre: Dark, Erotic, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 44
Estimated words: 40676 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 203(@200wpm)___ 163(@250wpm)___ 136(@300wpm)

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Crown of Thorns - Legends and Lovers

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Terri E. Laine

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Innocent eyes shadowed in the darkness that enveloped us cast a hopeful gaze up at me. Only their light can’t pierce the blackness of my soul. Her dreams of being saved by me are foolhardy at best. At worst, I’ll damn her soul to an eternity of pain like the crown of thorns upon my head. But letting her go is not an option.

LEGENDS AND LOVERS is a collection of dark legends and star-crossed love stories from twenty bestselling authors. Woven with mystery and magic, love and lore, romance and suspense, this multi-author collaboration promises to make your heart pound and keep you reading late into the night.
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Terri E. Laine


Duncan - Scotland

* * *

The weight of the crown in my hands was far less than the price it would cost me to wear it. It should have been forged from thorns for the burden it would become in my life if I wore it. Yet it might be the bargain I must make for the events that would come to pass.

Crashing waves far below the castle walls in my Scottish sanctuary didn’t calm my staying thoughts as the niggling feeling that had bothered me all morning gained traction. She neared despite the obstacles I’d created in the hours waiting for her to turn back around. Thick fog that covered my lands hadn’t stopped her. And it wasn’t by road she’d come. The wicked lass had found the path carved in the cliffside that led to the beach, unencumbered by fog.

Her approach tormented me with all I must endure to be in her presence and the danger it would pose. Soon she’d realize her mistake. She’d come looking for a grace I no longer possessed. I’d lost that many years ago as darkness consumed me.

She sought absolution and answers to questions I couldn’t give. If she assumed I would keep her safe, she’d be wrong. I was the monster she should run from.

Still, I set the crown back in its cage. The glass case that didn’t keep hidden my burden and forced me to never forget the choice I had to make every time I laid eyes on it. Like the one I made now.

Instead of staying put, I left out the back of the castle toward the beach. I traversed through gardens no longer maintained like the showpiece they had been and through the hedge maze so I could steal one close look at her. Just one untarnished glance before I forced myself to send her away again.

There, off in the distance I found her. She wasn’t hard to spot given she was the sole person on the beach. As a product of her time, she strolled along in a T-shirt and jeans that hugged her curves, leaving me too much to imagine.

Her leisurely pace belied there was a predator nearby. With her shoes in her hand, her ankles were left bare. I remembered a time that would have been considered scandalous as I drank in the sight of her.

When she was close enough for me to see her eyes, I found in them an innocence I wanted to corrupt. It would be as easy as having her naked and writhing beneath me. I hardened at the thought.

For a second, any ideas of letting her go were forgotten. I’d waited too many years to count for her arrival. Though I should turn her away, damn any soul I still possessed, there was no way I could.

I stepped out, certain of my choice, when suddenly we weren’t alone. It wasn’t me her eyes had fallen on, but another.


Elin- North Carolina, USA

* * *

The sun set like a rolling wave of darkness that blanketed the sky. I watched the change of colors with utter fascination from my perch atop the seawall railing. I was only steps away from my family home in downtown Charleston. Yet I felt the weight of the rule I was breaking by being out here.

I’d grown up sheltered, rarely leaving my ancestral home. There were strict rules about never, ever leaving the house at night and in the day never without being accompanied by my mother. It was a risk I’d decided to take to mark my birthday with a bit of rebellion. Besides, I could reach my front door in a matter of seconds. If tourists could walk our streets, why couldn’t I?

Before the sky changed from midnight blue to solid black, I finally moved. I hopped from the top of the wall back to street level and waited for a break in the cars going by before I darted across East Battery Street to my home.

When I opened the door, I startled Mom, who was walking my way. For a second, neither of us moved until she ran in my direction. I opened my mouth to explain, but she reached me first. She yanked me inside, slammed the door behind me.

“What’s going on?” I asked, alarmed by her reaction. The look in her eye was so daunting, I knew I’d frightened her.

“I told you never, never go out. But it’s too late for that. They will know where to find you now.”

“Who is ‘they?’”

“Elin, we talked about this.”

I threw my hands up. “About demons? Seriously, Mom, there aren’t demons. That’s just on TV.”

She caught them and stared ominously into my eyes. “It isn’t. There isn’t time to explain. They will be here for you. And you don’t want to be caught by a demon. They will use your gifts until there is nothing left to win the war that began with the dawn of man.”