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Dust to Smoke: The Last Tritan, Book III

Dust to Smoke: The Last Tritan, Book III

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He feels everything. Covets every breath and gasp of pleasure as he lets her feast… but only if it's from him. And now, nothing matters. Not her grief or wretched self-loathing.

Defeated, her choices reduced to cinders in a smoking wreckage, she has to bend or she will breakwhen she was meant to burn…

Main Tropes

  • Enemies to Lovers
  • Threat of Forced Breeding
  • Obsessed Possessive Villain
  • Magical Bond/ Rejected Mates
  • Hurt/ Comfort/ Healing from Trauma
  • Trapped Together


Tritan’s last true priestess is gone.

Killed in a trap of her own making, Sasha was swallowed by righteous flames that consumed the only mentor Mila might ever know. And with her, the very last one standing between Mila and true annihilation is dead.

And now, no one can save Mila from him.

Asher holds a power never seen on this side of the veil.

He's a better predator. One who will rewrite the laws of nature just to see her every whim satisfied. Her every need met, his obsession tempered by knees bent and bruised in service to his wicked desires.

And it was her own fault. All of it.

Guilt keeps her marooned on a lonely, forgotten spit of land, guarded by a man who holds all her secrets in a legendary vice of perfect control.

He feels everything. Covets every breath and gasp of pleasure as he lets her feast… but only if it's from him.

And now, nothing matters. Not her grief or wretched self-loathing.

Defeated, her choices reduced to cinders in a smoking wreckage, she has to bend or she will break…

... when she was meant to burn...

Sample of Chapter One

She was dying.

I could feel it on the wind.

Hear it in the quiet hiss and pop of heated crackling coming from within her depleted husk.

Could see it in the quiet glow still flickering in her veins, where dying embers glowed a soft, gentle blue in muscles with nothing left to give. Her body intact, and yet… badly compromised.


It was there in the pull behind my ribs, where she’d touched me with her gifts. Where she’d built protection I had thought to be a trap. Blinded by my helpless fury and never-ending quest for vengeance.

My impotent, boundless rage… and helpless, unforgivable ignorance.

And now it was too late. My apologies would land on ears that only looked perfect. Their inner workings intact, the structure sound enough, but… connected to nothing.

The Head Priestess couldn’t be saved from the bone chilling void.

I knew it.


Still, I reached for her. Crushed beneath the protective weight of a possessive male, I extended one trembling hand and took her ankle in hand. Wrapped it in fingers grimy with soot—stained by the ashen remains of the elites she’d sent to escort her into the void—and threw everything I had into the abyss.

To bring her back.

Fueling her dying body with what little remained of my corrupted gifts.


It was a warning in a voice I didn’t quite hate.

One I ignored as I wilted beneath his weight, faltering with the effort needed to sustain her broken shell when I had so little left to give. Desperate to hold her here, on this side of the veil.

Where I needed her.

Where I could apologize for the hurt I’d caused.

Chaos reigned all around me. The screams of the dying and ruined were a haunting symphony, wailing in tribute to the power of Tritan’s last true priestess. A master of the art, whose death meant the loss of wisdom I couldn’t begin to fathom.

Flickering with a poisonous green, flames consumed the podium that was meant to be our final stand. Sluggish, but hot enough to crisp the cheeks of any daring or foolish enough to get too close.

I felt nothing.

Nothing but the dusting of frost, burned by the bone-chilling cold of the quiet place she’d gone… where I meant to follow…

Mila, stop.”

But I couldn’t!

Not now, not as I watched her lips turn blue. Her chest so still. And her skin… it was… crumbling. Flaking, to be carried off on a sinister wind. Damage he could fix, surely. The same way I’d seen him do before, using stolen priestess magic to heal himself. All I had to do was stop the flames from seeping through the cracks…

A warm, calloused palm caressed my cheek a moment before lips moved against my ear. “You have to let her go.”

It was cruel to ask for such a thing when I hadn’t given everything I could in the attempt to save her.

“There’s nothing more you can do.”

At this, a wordless sound of pain and denial crackled over my lips. Aggravating the blisters lining my throat, where I’d inhaled the searing heat of her final moments. The dust and smoke of her doomed escort.

Long fingers carded through my hair, soothing, despite the catch of callouses that pulled at my scalp. “Let her go before she takes you with her, little warrior. Before she takes us both.”

My grip tightened around that slender ankle. Nails biting into flesh growing cold and spongy, dimpled in a way that seemed unable to bounce back. Still, I held on, despite the way the cold spread. “I... I don’t care...”

Lips pressed to the corner of my jaw, the rasp of his beard prickling against my ear. “Your fight isn’t over,” he murmured and caught my chin. Turning my eyes away from the woman I’d failed, he ensnared me with an unblinking stare. Trapped me in twin pools of swirling, inky depths that seemed so much more than bottomless. Brimming with so much that would have to go unnamed.

A primal call to arms, he dared me to fight. Issued a challenge in a language I couldn’t speak but could no longer ignore.

Anguish splintered through my chest, and I sobbed, torn right down the middle. Brushing up against her spirit, just once more, before he reeled me in with a leash I’d handed him. Allowed a single, silent farewell before he pulled me back from the edge with the reins I no longer held, he smiled as he fit me with a muzzle built by the very best of my kind.

And it was a kindness, in a way. To ease that terrible burden from shoulders too slumped to carry it for another moment.

Sasha slipped away, fading into nothingness so quickly and irrevocably, that for a moment I wasn’t sure if she’d ever really existed at all.

“She’s gone.”

It was spoken in a voice thick with pain. One I didn’t recognize as mine or his.

It simply was.

He brushed a lock of tangled hair back from my face, careful where it stuck to tear-stained cheeks tacky with grime. Patient, he was content to wait, ignoring the flames and the chaos. The screams of his people and mine.

And to my horror, a flood of tears washed over my lashes—I saw it in the reflection of eyes gone dark as pitch. “She… she killed herself,” I rasped, eyes wide. Reeling, my hairline growing damp and itchy. “Killed them all.”

“I know,” he whispered, and traced the delicate angles made wet with shock, brushing at the deluge of tears that tracked down my cheeks and cleansed me of the soot of the dead.

“It was a trap. The”—I whined—“the instant he touched th-that cannon, h-he—” Traumatized, gut wrenching sobs broke through my illusion of inner strength. Thawed the frost and left nothing but anguish in the hollow. Cinders that began to smoke with the threat of new heat.

Hushing me, he sat back and pulled me into his lap, cradling my cheek tight against his chest, where my tears were hidden from the hordes of frantic Caledonians trying to escape. Where they might dry against his skin and couldn’t be burned away by the heat of Sasha’s final stand or the puddle of noxious plasma that had swallowed a general whole. “She knew what she was doing.”

The offer of comfort bought only another flood of pitiful anguish, and I clung to him.

My enemy.

A man I’d hated.

The only one who knew exactly what it was that twisted and lashed behind my ribs. Clawing for freedom until my throat was wet and raw, singed by the caustic burn of gifts I’d been cursed with.

He knew because he was already inside.

Fingers winding tight into the sodden fabric of his formal wear—gritty with a dusting of unspeakable grime—my lips moved of their own volition. “She died an empath,” I murmured, quiet enough that I wasn’t sure he heard my confession. “And I gave her the idea. It was my fault,” I whispered, and it echoed all around us with the ring of truth. “I killed the Head Priestess.”

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