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Born of Betrayal

By:Sherrilyn Kenyon

Born of Betrayal
Sherrilyn Kenyon

       For all the dreamers of the world who never give up, no  matter how hard  life tries to knock you down. You are the bravest of  the brave and stand  as heroes for us all.

To my readers, who are ever my source of comfort and joy. Thank you so   much for all the smiles you've given me. And to my friends and family   who understand my weird, quirky ways and are willing to share me with   the voices in my head.

To my agent and editor, and the staff at St. Martin's (and my   copyeditor), who work so very hard on our behalf to make each book the   best it can be. You, too, are our silent, unsung heroes. You take a lot   of fire in the background and yet march ever onward into the face of   opposing forces to make sure we have the books we all cherish every   month. Thank you for all you do.

May we never see a day where we live without our imaginary worlds and   people to transport us away for our escape on those hours when we need   it most.





Prologue





"W

here are my clothes? And what did you do with my towel?"

Furious and defiant, Galene Batur lifted her chin with a dignity she   definitely didn't feel as she faced Fain Hauk in the male locker room of   their school.

Her worst enemy. Lying bastard.

Faithless dog!

Seething, she raked a glare over his perfect naked body. A body that earlier this day would have left her breathless with heat.

But now …

Now she wanted every inch of that lush, caramel skin flayed off his   bones. Most of all, she wanted his betraying heart in her fist.

"It's true, isn't it?" she asked breathlessly.

Fain scowled at her. "Is what true?"

"Are you in love with a human?"

"Excuse me?"

"Don't you dare deny it! Merrell Anatole just told me that he saw you   and Omira Antaxas having sex yesterday! Yesterday! After I left you and   went to get ready for the party! How could you?"

The color faded from his face, confirming her worst fear as he stammered, no doubt searching for a believable lie.

For a full minute, she thought she'd be sick. Tears filled her eyes as   she struggled to breathe. No wonder Fain had asked her to leave a few   minutes ago when she'd been trying to give him what she stupidly thought   was joyous news. He no longer loved her. Merrell had been right. Fain   didn't care. She'd lost him completely.

To a human!

"You're pledged to me, Fain!"

A tic started in his jaw. "By our parents. Before we even started school. Neither of us had a say in it."

As if that mattered? A pledge was a pledge. To an Andarion, it was as   binding as marriage. And he was supposed to honor his word.

Honor her. No wonder he'd refused to touch her again all these weeks   since his birthday. He'd barely come near her after she'd given him   everything she had of herself. Her heart and body.

Her very soul.

Now she knew why. And here she'd stupidly thought he might have gone   stralen. That, she could have lived with. But this …  this she would have   never believed. Not of her precious Fain. He'd promised to love her   forever.

There's only you for me, Stormy.

Apparently not.

Agony choked her. "You've betrayed me!"

He looked away. "I'm sorry, Galene."

Furious, she snatched her pledge ring from her finger and threw it in   his face. He didn't react at all as it struck his chest and bounced   away. Damn her bad aim! The least she could have done was put out his   eye!

How could he do this to her after all these years? Tears choked her even harder as his words shattered her heart.

Worse, they shattered her dreams. She'd come here to share with him the   most blessed news. This was supposed to be the happiest day of her  life.

Instead, it was the most miserable.

No, he was the most miserable!

Since their parents had pledged them over a decade ago, she'd lived only   for the day when they'd marry. Had dreamed only of a life partnered   with Fain Hauk.

Now he'd not only dishonored her, he'd done it with a human. A human!

"Where are my clothes?" he demanded again. "What did you do with the towels?"

She'd hidden them both, but damned if she'd tell him that. "Why don't you ask your woman?" She started for the doors.

Fain caught her. "Galene! This isn't funny."

She snatched her arm from his grasp and bared her fangs at him. "No, it   isn't. At all! You have shamed me and I curse you for it, Fain Hauk. I   hope you spend eternity in utter agony!"

Before he could recover, she shoved his naked ass through the doors,   into an auditorium full of sentient beings  –  parents, students, and   teachers  –  and locked the doors behind him.                       
       
           



       

This was their graduation.

In more ways than one.

A tiny bit of regret went through her over what she'd just done to him,   but she refused to let it take root. He deserved it, and more.

This is about payback.

After this, everyone would laugh at her, just as they were laughing at   Fain right now. Once word got out that Fain had chosen a human over her,   she would be tainted for the rest of her life. No decent family would   ever accept a pledge from hers again.

With his actions, he'd damned them both.

So be it. She didn't need a husband. She damn sure didn't need one whose heart belonged to some human female.

And still the agony of losing him was there. An agony that would only   worsen once her parents learned of this. They would be so disappointed   in her.

Galene pulled her ornate veil from her hair and let it fall free. Forget   graduation. There was nothing here for her, except more humiliation,   and she'd had enough of that in her life. She would not go out there and   be laughed at or pitied.

Fain wanted a human. She wanted dignity.

And by the gods, she would have it. From this day forward, she would never again trust in anyone. She knew better.

Human. Andarion. It didn't matter. Sentient creatures used and they lied. And she was done with them all.

"You better hope I never lay eyes on you again, Fain Hauk." Because the next time she did, she would kill him.





Chapter 1





I

t was all-out war.

Prime Commander Galene Batur stared at the report of the League attack   on an Andarion outpost where almost two hundred civilians had been   mercilessly slaughtered.

And for what?

Human vanity? How she hated their inferior species. Humans had never   brought her anything but utter misery. Now they had brought her a whole   new bloody war that would cost the lives of countless Andarions. Cost   her the lives of her loyal soldiers who would be forced to protect their   repugnant species.

How she wished she could bomb the entire human race into oblivion.

"Commander?"

She looked over her shoulder at her lieutenant commander's call. Dressed   in the standard red and black Andarion command uniform, Talyn wasn't   just her second-in-command and adjutant, he was the only male she'd ever   trust at her back.

At twenty-nine, he stood head and shoulders above her, and most everyone   else. Muscular and unbelievably handsome, he wore his long black hair   in typical Andarion warrior fashion  –  tiny braids that were held away   from his face by a red band. Her only complaint with him was the   well-trimmed moustache and goatee he'd started wearing lately. It was a   current fashion trend she didn't care for. At all. But he thought it   made him look more masculine and sexy.

As if he needed help in either of those departments.

Still, his presence caused her heart to soften. It took everything she   had not to reach out and cup his beloved cheek and kiss it tenderly. But   he wouldn't approve of such open affection before the rest of their   troops.

Her Talyn was always prim and proper. Always circumspect. Respectful.

"Yes?"

Talyn saluted her. "I have an urgent message for you from the royal house."

Galene forced herself not to wince. It must be the tadara wanting information she had yet to gather about the attack.

Sighing that she didn't have more to offer, she headed for the secured   line. She placed the link in her ear before she opened the channel.

Instead of Tadara Cairistiona eton Anatole, it was Tahrs Nykyrian who   showed on her monitor. Unlike his fraternal twin brother who'd been   removed from succession, Nykyrian appeared human with his white-blond   hair and green eyes. The only part of him that betrayed his Andarion   roots was his set of fangs …  along with his height and military prowess.   While she might not appreciate his human half, she definitely respected   his exemplary war record and battle skills.

She gave him a curt bow. "Your Highness, to what do I owe this honor?"

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