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Born of Defiance Excerpt

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Excerpt Grimacing Talyn pulled himself up in bed He d just been released from the hospital that morning and was still in enough pain that he wanted to kill the tahrs himself And forget what he wanted to do to Chrisen and Merrell He d sell his soul to have them alone for five minutes While they wouldn t enjoy it he d get his jollies and then some Pain sliced him as his thoughts turned to Berra and Farina Two more innocent lives lost over their cruelty Payback was coming And he intended to shove it down their throats with both fists How you doing He looked to the door to see Lorens hesitating Anger splintered him at the sight He still wasn t sure Lorens hadn t ratted him out about the report he d made on Chrisen The timing had been extremely suspicious Fine I had worse beatings in grade school from Hyshian girls At least externally that was true

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Lorens came in and gestured toward the padded chair in the far corner Mind if I join you for a bit He frowned at the male Where s Felicia I asked her to give us some time There s something I wanted to discuss with you in private Every instinct in his body went off at that About What you ve been through Talyn curled his lip He had no intention of talking about it with anyone Least of all his commander and his female s older brother and someone he suspected of having betrayed him I ve already signed the nondisclosures Commander I m well aware that if I speak about any of what was done to me that I ll be put to death for it And he didn t want to think about what they d do to his mother and Felicia That s not what I m here about Talyn arched a brow Well it is but it isn t I don t understand Lorens moved the chair until he was so close that he could whisper But first he scanned the room for a bug and put up a static jammer Talyn arched a brow at his actions What are you doing I m not the one who told the Anatoles about your report Talyn I stupidly trusted that information to the prime commander and asked for his assistance on how best to proceed That was my stupid naive mistake and I can t apologize enough to you for it The gods know I never meant for you to have that blowback Lorens clenched his teeth before he continued He s the one who went to Merrell and Paers ezul Nykyrian without my knowledge and deleted the report I d prepared against them Had I known what he was about I would have protected you and warned you I swear on the lives of my children SherrilynKenyon com

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I never meant to bring you harm in any way Either he was a damn good liar or he was speaking the truth Even though trust didn t come easy Talyn nodded I m glad to know you re not a rat bastard after all Contrary to popular belief and what my younger sister would normally say I really try not to be His gaze haunted Lorens swallowed hard You should also know that I m here on behalf of another organization he whispered in a tone so low Talyn had to strain to hear him Ever heard of WAR Yeah it s my stock and trade Lorens gave him a droll stare Warriors Against Royalty His blood ran cold as he thought back to Rhys who d been killed when their colony was overrun by the last group of scavengers the old male had died protecting Terisa while Talyn had protected Berra I know of them Lorens dropped his tone even more They re not the traitors in this regime They re patriots who are sick of what s being done to innocent Andarions on the whims of the royals Andarions like you who are minding their own business and are ripped from their homes and tortured for no reason whatsoever Talyn shook his head We shouldn t Listen to me Talyn My youngest brother was assassinated before his wife and children so that Merrell Anatole could marry into the lineage of his widow My sister was taken and raped by Nyran Anatole Like you she was forced to sign a nondisclosure saying that if she ever mentioned it to a living soul she d be executed Every day Andarions are killed brutalized threatened and taken for no reason whatsoever The royal family is out of control and has never been smaller than it is right now They ve virtually murdered each other into extinction and now is the time to finally stop their bloodthirsty reign The entire history of the Anatole lineage is written in the bloody feuds of their children As soldiers we are SherrilynKenyon com

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the ones who have sworn to protect our fellow Andarions from all enemies Enemies that include a royal family drunk on its own power Imagine an Andaria where males and females like you can live their lives without fear Yeah right He d still be bastard born and hated by all Even if they brought down the entire royal family nothing in this empire would change for him It s treason Talyn repeated in a whisper even though he agreed that changes should be made He still wasn t sure this wasn t some kind of setup While he fully intended to personally slaughter Eriadne and Chrisen he wasn t stupid enough to let anyone know his plans Did you know the tadara had her own grandson killed Why Because he looked human Tahrs Nykyrian was slaughtered in cold blood He was just a child when he was ripped from his mother s arms and sent to his grave You ve seen the tizirah You know she s not right in the head because she knows her own mother killed her son and can t handle the truth of it I have it on tape where Tahrs Jullien himself brags about it and the fact that his grandmother intentionally keeps his mother her own daughter in a drugged stupor so that she won t have to answer for her actions Talyn hesitated If this was a setup Lorens would be in even more trouble than Talyn for speaking those kinds of accusations Then why haven t you taken it to the media Because the station we gave a copy to was bombed before they could air it Everyone in the building was killed instantly and the Phrixians were blamed for the attack Just like what happened with you Before I could make the report against an Anatole it and you were erased The royal house has spies everywhere Yes they do And if they find out about SherrilynKenyon com

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They won t We are very careful who we recruit Sure they were Then why are you recruiting me Because of your record and history with them And what they did to you You had no reason to stand up for the females in your squad who had never stood up for you and yet you did the right thing knowing it could cost you your career His eyes burned into him I know the truth of your character Talyn But have you seen your military file lately Talyn shook his head It s above my clearance level Yeah well here Lorens handed him a thick folder I ve made a copy for you And by the way you re not a captain as you were told After your interview with the tadara more disciplinary action was added to your history You ve been demoted back to a lieutenant s rank and pay Sick to his stomach Talyn stared at him in complete disbelief What Lorens nodded As further discipline against you you won t be eligible for a promotion again for three years provided you keep your mouth shut over what was done to you Talyn felt like he d just been punched by Death Warrant I didn t do anything That s our point My brother didn t do anything either He just happened to have married into the wrong lineage And don t get me started on Tahrs Nykyrian eton Anatole His biggest crime was that his mother slept with a human and he happened to look more like his father than his mother For that matter Jullien Merrell and Chrisen single handedly drove the entire War Hauk male lineage from Andarion soil because the last thing they want is for any of our beloved heroes to be here to stop them Talyn went silent as old memories stirred Lorens sat back I knew Keris Hauk he was one of my best friends from childhood He rose too fast through the Andarion military ranks for their taste and they couldn t stand it Merrell hooked him on drugs and saw to his execution through the hands of Keris s wife It s a fact I know but have never been SherrilynKenyon com

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able to prove Likewise I know they re the ones who drove Fain out of his family And don t you find it odd that it was Jullien and Chrisen who were in the pod with Dancer Hauk when it crashed You think that was a coincidence They escaped unscathed but he damn near died and because of that Dancer was barred from Andarion military service Forever They deprived him of his birthright It s why he s working for The Sentella now Talyn s head swam as he tried to digest all of that He would call Lorens out but it strangely made sense Especially given the insane hatred Jullien Chrisen and Merrell bore him personally when he d done nothing to them other than try to stay out of their way And it corroborated a lot of what they d said to him about his father s family How do you know all that We ve been gathering evidence on the royals for a long time But every time we try to come forward we re put down like rabid lorinas Like Rhys Farina and Berra Then what s your agenda To remove the royal family from power and institute a governing body that the people control A republic of officials who are reasonable responsible and honorable A governing council that won t dare abduct our race and beat exile and rape them at their leisure Talyn couldn t agree more He wanted blood Royal blood Lorens must have smelled it on him But if he joined ranks with them he d be committing treason With witnesses He wasn t sure if he trusted anyone that much One snitch in their group and everything he loved would be brutalized and lost If he didn t They were out to get him and that wasn t paranoia It was fact His new rank showed that Either way his mother and Felicia were targets And he had no idea how to protect them from SherrilynKenyon com

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harm on his own Not with his bastard status and low caste Strong alone Stronger together That was the motto for The Sentella group his aunt Jayne had helped to found One Andarion alone couldn t make much difference But thirteen War Hauks had saved their entire race from enslavement and extinction Lorens rose to his feet Look I know I ve given you a lot to think about and I blindsided you with it Just consider what I ve said If you decide to join us call and invite me to a party at your house I ll know by that phrase that you re in If you decide not to just leave a message saying the party s canceled Since you live with my sister no one will think anything about either comment And I know what I m asking from you Believe me I know It wasn t an easy decision for me to make either It goes against everything I was raised to believe Everything I thought I was But when I stood over my brother s closed casket because of what they d done to him and saw my children there his children I knew I couldn t stand by and let them die next Not when I had the ability to stop it Andarions don t live in fear We fight back Lorens placed the file on the bed and left Sick to his stomach Talyn opened the file and read his demotion letter first Rage burned through him He d worked and fought his ass off to get the rank of major Honestly after four years and given his training lineage record and education he should have been a colonel or commander by now But no A minsid lieutenant Beginner s rank for the next three effing years For disciplinary reasons Bellowing in rage he threw the file across the bed as the injustice tore him apart Talyn He didn t respond to Felicia He couldn t Not while he hurt like this He wanted their blood so SherrilynKenyon com

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badly he could taste it She stooped to pick up the pages that were strewn across the bed and floor Without reading them she returned them to the folder and set it on the nightstand Did my brother upset you I ll bar him from the condo if he did No he breathed The commander didn t do anything other than tell me that I ve lost my rank What she asked in a shocked tone He drew a ragged breath I m now Lieutenant Batur Oh honey I m so sorry Sitting down beside him Felicia rubbed his back Did he say why Because of my history of write ups and disciplinary problems The fact that I ve been disrespectful to my superiors and my blatant disregard for check ins and military protocol Can t you appeal it To whom Felicia Eriadne herself busted my rank Who s going to believe the word of a worthless bastard against the tadara I can t even apply to regain a captain s rank for three years I m so sorry Talyn I should have just let them kill me Don t say that Why not It s true What am I fighting for Really No matter what I do it all comes down to the fact that I have no paternal lineage Even when I m ten times better than anyone else I m seen as only half as good He touched his bald head and cursed at the reminder of what they d done to him A lieutenant a fucking lieutenant Do you know what kind of shit assignments they re going to stick me with I can t even fly with a rank that low It relegates me back to flight deck prep Cleaning toilets He could hear the mockery already Gah he was so sick of the abuse Tizirah Tylie said that your mother would be your CO She won t SherrilynKenyon com

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I m a lieutenant Felicia I m no longer qualified for palace duty I have to go back to reg staff Disgusted he stared at the wall as bitter resentment and hatred filled him Felicia swallowed against the wave of tears she felt for him There was so much raw agony in his eyes that it made her ache Did Anatole say why they did this to you He let out an acrimonious snort Because they hate my parents What Talyn nodded My father pissed them off in school and I look enough like him that it chafes the tahrs s ass He met her gaze But most of it is because my mother refused to pledge with Anatole when she was younger They can t attack her She s a high lineaged female and as such she has rights through the courts Rights that were denied to him Is there nothing your mother can do No And you can t breathe a word of this to her It would kill her to know they attacked me because of her past with them No wonder he d refused to look at his mother in the hospital It made total sense now Why hasn t he used you to blackmail her Anatole can t Her family is equal in status to your father s For that threat she could have him arrested He s hoping if he abuses me enough I ll say something to my mother and her guilt will force her to negotiate with him He doesn t know you very well does he Talyn shook his head I m not his pampered ass Beatings I can take Even being a lieutenant I survived it once I can survive it again SherrilynKenyon com

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But there was more to it than that He was sugarcoating it for her and she knew it She d heard her half brothers laughing about the hazing that was done to low ranking officers Hazing that was mitigated depending on the families the officer was tied to She could only imagine how horrific it would be for someone like Talyn who had no lineage protection at all Who is your father Talyn What difference does it make He was right But Can t you go to his family His mother could adopt you as hers She won t My mother tried that when I was an infant and she threw my mother out of her house insulting her the entire time The only one who was willing to do it was his grandmother but his grand father refused to allow me their name He said I wasn t worthy of carrying their lineage If my father was such a disappointing son he could only imagine how much worse I d be Your mother told you that She would never hurt me that way I was in school when my mother was wounded and couldn t come get me My gre yaya showed up and just as I got into her transport my gre paran arrived yanked me out of my seat and threw me to the ground with my things He told her to leave me in the gutter where I belonged The rest he sneered in my direction while they screamed at each other in the parking lot She was aghast at the horror he emotionlessly described He did that at your school How old were you Eight Appalled she stared at him Your great grandfather told your great grandmother to leave you at school alone with no one to care for you while your mother was in the hospital He nodded SherrilynKenyon com

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Please tell me your great grandmother didn t do that She had no choice Oh dear gods What happened to you My teacher took me home with her and kept me until my mother was released Felicia ground her teeth as fury seethed deep inside How could anyone do that to a child How It made her feel selfish and bitchy for everything mean she d ever said to her father for his actions that were nowhere near on par with this So no Felicia My father s family despises him for shaming them and me because I come from him As far as they re concerned whatever happens to me is no concern of theirs All I have in this entire universe is you and my mother And Galene had no idea how bad things were for her son For the love of his mother he said nothing to hurt Galene s feelings Never had she loved Talyn more than she did right now Rising up on her knees Felicia pulled him against her and held him tight I think you re wonderful Talyn You re more Andarion than anyone I ve ever known or met Or even heard of You have the heart of a mighty War Hauk Talyn flinched at her choice of words In her mind she thought she was complimenting him After all his father s bloodline went straight back to the most heroic legend of their people What it really did was slap him in the face and remind him of the heritage that should have been his Edited for SPOILERS Talyn sighed His paternal grandfather had been pledged to Tizirah Cairistiona at one time The Baturs had practically beaten down the door of his grandparents to pledge their daughter to his father Had his parents married he would have been Talyn of the Warring Blood Clan of Hauk the only male of his entire generation who could legally use that prestigious name To the Andarion race that was even more SherrilynKenyon com

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impressive than Jullien of the Most Sovereign Blood Clan of eton Anatole But that was a title that would never be his Not as long as the royal family was in power and not as long as the old traditions stood You could change that All he had to do was call her brother and help WAR overthrow their government Closing his eyes Talyn wanted to play by the rules He wanted to believe that hard work was rewarded Yet the one thing he d learned in the Ring was that sometimes you had to take that cheap shot Even when it was repugnant Even when you didn t want to Sometimes just sometimes you had no choice No one could win a fair fight when your opponent didn t respect the rules Fight fire with fire He d spent his entire life doing what he was supposed to And they d figuratively gelded him for it It was time to leave the gloves in the locker room Time to meet them on the terms they d set when they bound his hands behind his back Degradation was a bitch and it was time he acquainted her with Jullien and the entire Anatole family SherrilynKenyon com