Shadow Bound (Unbound Series #2)

Shadow Bound (Unbound Series #2)

by Rachel Vincent

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778313434
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 05/29/2012
Series: An Unbound Novel , #2
Edition description: Original
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 4.30(w) x 6.44(h) x 1.23(d)

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent loves good chocolate, comfortable jeans, and serial commas. She’s older than she looks and younger than she feels, but is convinced that for every day she spends writing, one more day will be added to her lifespan. Now absorbed in the dark, tangled loyalties of her UNBOUND world, as well as the travails of a teenage banshee in her SOUL SCREAMERS world, Rachel can be found online at www.rachelvincent.com or urbanfantasy.blogspot.com.

Read an Excerpt

Kori

If you live in the dark long enough, you start to forget what light looks like. What it feels like. You may remember it in an academic sense. Illumination. A possible source of heat. But after a while those abstract memories are all you have left, and they're worth less than the memory of water to a man dying of thirst.

I didn't know how long I'd been in the dark. Long enough for most of the pain to fade into dull aches, though the latest batch of bruises would still have been visible, if anything had been visible. Long enough that I couldn't remember what shade of gray the walls were. Long enough that when the light came on without warning, it blinded me, even through my closed eyelids.

I'd lost all sense of time. I didn't know when I'd last showered, or eaten, or needed the toilet in the corner of my cell. I didn't know when I'd last heard a human voice, but I remembered the last voice I'd heard, and I knew what the sudden light meant.

Light meant a visitor.

And visitors meant pain.

The door creaked open, and my pulse leaped painfully—fear like a bolt of lightning straight to my heart. I clung to that one erratic heartbeat, riding the flow of adrenaline because I hadn't felt anything but the ache of my own wounds in days.

If not for the pain, I couldn't have sworn I was still alive.

"Kori Daniels, rise and shine." Milligan was on duty, which meant it was daytime—outside, anyway. In the basement, it was always night. There were no exterior windows, and no light until someone flipped a switch.

The dark and I used to be friends. No, lovers. When I was alone, I walked around naked just to feel it on my skin, cool and calm, and more intimate than any hand that had ever touched me. The dark was alive, and it was seductive. We used to slide in and out of one another, the shadows and I, always touching, caressing. Sometimes I couldn't tell where the dark ended and I began, and at some point I'd decided that division didn't really exist. I was the dark, and the dark was me.

But the darkness in the basement was different. It was false. Broken. Weakened by infrared lights I couldn't see, but I could feel blazing down on me. Caging me. Draining me. The shadows were dead, and touching them was like touching the stiff limbs of a lover's corpse.

"Kori," Milligan said again, and I struggled to focus on him. On my own name.

The guard shift change had become the ticking of my mental clock—the only method I had of measuring time. But my clock skipped beats. Hell, sometimes it skipped entire days. If there was a pattern to the granting of meals, and showers, and company, I hadn't figured it out. They came when they came. But mostly, they didn't.

I didn't sit up when Milligan came in. I didn't even open my eyes, because I didn't have to. I hadn't sworn an oath to him, and I hadn't been ordered to obey him, so participation was at my discretion. And I wasn't feeling very discretionary.

I rolled onto my stomach on my mattress, eyes still squeezed shut, trying not to imagine how I must look after all this time. Skinny, bruised, tangled and dirty. Clad only in the same underwear I'd been wearing for days, at least, because humiliation was a large part of my sentence and I hadn't been granted the privilege of real clothing. My period hadn't come, which meant I wasn't imagining not being fed regularly, and water came rarely enough that I'd decided I wasn't being kept alive, so much as I was being slowly killed.

I'd been a bad, bad girl.

"Kori, did you hear me?" Milligan asked.

I'd had no problem with him on the outside. He'd respected me. At least, he'd respected the fact that the boss valued me. Milligan had never gotten grabby and he'd only leered when he thought I wasn't looking. That was practically chivalry, on the west side of the city.

Now, I hated him. Milligan hadn't put me in the basement, in that rotten fucking cell of a room. But he'd kept me there, and that was enough. If I got the chance—if I ever got out and regained my strength—I'd put a bullet in him. I'd have to, just to show Jake Tower that I was down, but not out. Beaten, but not broken.

Milligan would be expecting it, just like I would, in his position.

The door creaked open wider and I buried my face in the crook of my arm, nose pressed into the dirty mattress, braced for whatever would come. Prepared to turn myself off and make the world go away. That was the only way to survive in the basement. Convince yourself that whatever they do to you doesn't matter. And really, it doesn't. How can it, if you can't stop it and no one else wants to? So I dug down deep, to a place where there was no pain and no thought. Not my happy place. Thinking of a happy place—any happy place—only reminded me that I wasn't really there. That I never would be again. I went to my empty place.

"Tower's on his way," Milligan said. "I think you're getting out."

My heart leaped into my throat, but I didn't move. Surely I'd only heard what I wanted to hear. If I wasn't careful, I sometimes imagined things, and there's nothing more dangerous in the dark than unwarranted hope.

"Kori?" he said, and that time my eyes opened. "You're getting out today."

I sat up slowly, blinking furiously in the light, wincing over the residual pain from the gunshot wound in my shoulder. I'd heard him, but it took forever for the words to sink in, and even once they had, I didn't let myself believe it. It could be a trick. Jonah Tower—Jake's brother—had told me I was getting out before, but he only said it so he could watch me suffer when I realized it wasn't true.

"If you're lying, I'll fucking kill you," I croaked, my mouth and throat so dry my tongue felt like it had corners.

"I'm not—" Milligan glanced down a hallway I couldn't see as a set of firm, even footsteps echoed toward us. "Here he comes."

I swallowed a sob. I'd expected to die alone in this false dark. In these dead shadows.

Milligan stepped back, and Jake Tower replaced him in the doorway, a steel-spined symbol of power and authority in his white button-up shirt and suit jacket, sans tie. I hated myself for how relieved I was to see him, when he was the one who'd locked me up. I hated his clean clothes, and combed hair, and tanned skin. I hated the apple wood smoke clinging to his clothes from the grill, making my stomach rumble and cramp. I hated the slight flush in his cheeks that told me he'd had two glasses of red wine with his steak—never more, never less, because Tower was in control. Of everything. Always.

Jake Tower was the heart of the Tower syndicate. We—the initiates—were the lifeblood of the organization, but Tower was the pump that kept us flowing through the veins and arteries of this living machine. He pushed the buttons and pulled the strings, and we belonged to him, all of us, bound into service, sealed in flesh, by blood and by name. We lived and died according to his will. And we obeyed because obedience was a physical mandate. Even when our minds resisted, our bodies complied, helpless in the face of a direct order.

But I'd found a loophole. I'd disobeyed the spirit of an order, if not the order itself, and as punishment, Tower had thrown open the gates of hell and shoved me inside. He'd locked me up and given Jonah free rein, and for all I knew, Jake had forgotten I even existed until…

Until what?

Until he needed me. Why else would he be here? Why else had he let me live, if my current state could even be called living?

Tower's nose wrinkled—I didn't smell good—then he closed the door at his back and sat on the edge of the bare foam mattress covering the raised concrete slab that was my bed. He grabbed my chin and tilted my face toward the light, studying me. I knew what he saw, though there was no mirror in my cell. Bruises. Dark circles and sharp cheek bones. Split lips. And the damage didn't end with my face. I looked like hell and I felt worse.

Tower looked.satisfied. "Does it hurt?"

"You fucking know it hurts." Everywhere. That was the whole point. With my existence reduced to fear, and pain, and dead shadows, surely I would never even consider another betrayal. "The lights?" I didn't want to ask, but I had to know. "Your idea?" Jonah wasn't smart enough to think of something like that.

Tower's lips curled up in a small smile, like he'd just remembered some distant childhood pleasure. "An irony I hope you fully appreciate. Absolute, inescapable darkness for the shadow-walker. Imprisoned by the source of your own abilities. How did that feel?"

I am a Traveler. A shadow-walker. I can step into a shadow in one room, then out of a shadow anywhere else I want to go, within my range. I can see better in the dark than most people. Sometimes I can look into one shadow and see through another one, somewhere else, like looking through a periscope, or one of those paper-towel-roll telescopes we used to play with as kids.

But the basement darkness was anemic, thanks to a grid of infrared lights, too high up for me to reach. So while my cell looked absolutely, claustrophobically dark to the naked eye, that darkness was too shallow for me to travel through. The shadows were dead. I was trapped in the element that had always been my ally. My escape.

How did that make me feel?

Like I'd been betrayed by my own body. Like I was lost to the rest of the world. Like I no longer existed at all, which would have been easy to believe, if not for the pain anchoring me to the reality of my own miserable existence. But I wasn't going to tell Tower that.

"It sucked, on ice. Happy?"

He said nothing. Whatever he wanted to tell me would come on his terms, and making me wait for it was just another way of making me suffer.

"Why?" I demanded, pissed off that my voice was as weak as the rest of me. "Why didn't you just kill me?" He'd killed others for far less than what I'd done.

"You needed to pay for your crimes, and others needed to know you were paying." He said it like he might explain that grass is green, as if it should have been obvious, and the emptiness in his voice was the scariest thing I'd ever heard.

"You told them?"

"You were an object lesson, Korinne. I showed them." He glanced at the slab of one-way glass in the top half of the interior wall, and my blood froze in my veins. I started to shake, and I couldn't stop.

"You let them watch?" He'd invited an audience to see me beaten, and broken, and humiliated, and… I closed my eyes against this new layer of humiliation.

"Only those who needed to see."

"Kenley?" No. Please no. I didn't want her touched by this. I didn't want her to know. If Tower was void of human emotion, Kenley was made of it, and she couldn't defend herself. That was my job.

Tower shook his head. "Your sister only knows that you're alive. She's anxious to see you."

I exhaled slowly and blinked back tears that would never fall, using them as fuel for the rage burning deep in my gut. Fury that would have no outlet for four more years. Anger that would fester and burn as I planned for the day when I'd be the one throwing punches and spilling blood. Jake Tower would pay. Jonah would pay. Milligan and the other guards would pay. Everyone who'd watched would fucking pay.

I would listen to them beg while they bled out on the floor.

But I'd have to survive to get revenge, and to survive, I'd have to play Jake's game. It was always his game, always his rules, and the only cards he dealt me were penitence and obedience. So I would play the shit out of penitence and obedience—anything to get out of the basement—and keep the cards I'd dealt myself up my sleeve. Until it was my turn to deal.

"I have an assignment for you, Korinne," Jake said. "A chance to redeem yourself."

I said nothing, because nothing was required, but my pulse raced so fast I had to lean against the wall to steady myself. Milligan was right. I was getting out of the basement.

"Ian Holt."

"Who?" I licked my lips, but my tongue was too dry to wet them, and now that I knew I was getting out, I found it hard to concentrate on the details, rather than the promise of regular meals, and showers, and relative freedom.

"He's a Blinder of extraordinary skill."

"You want him killed?" I'd never heard of him, which meant he wasn't ours. And if he could be used against us, he was a target.

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Shadow Bound 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
STACYatUFI on LibraryThing 5 months ago
BLOOD BOUND was a slam dunk for me so when I saw that SHADOW BOUND was set to release it was a must have on my wish list. I was all set to purchase the book so that it could join BLOOD BOUND on my bookshelf and then I read a review on SHADOW BOUND and was so disappointing that I might not like the book so I was all set to not even read it at all. Netgalley ended up throwing it up for review so I was like what the heck at least I will know what happens so I can read book 3 when it comes out and not be lost. I just got done reading it and THANK GOODNESS I didn't pass it up It looks like SHADOW BOUND will be joining book 1 on my shelf after all. If you have read book 1 you know who Kori is and what went down. SHADOW BOUND starts up 6 weeks after the previous events with Kori getting out of her punishment for her role in what happened in the Tower house. She has been beaten, raped and all around tortured. She is then send for more punishment as Tower forces her to be a new recruited personal recruiter and get him to sign anyways she can or else he will subject Kori's sister to the same treatment she herself was forced to endure. Ian is on a mission to kill Kori's sister to save his brother from a binding that was placed on him and that is slowly killing him. He never expected to be attracted to Kori let alone not want to kill her sister for fear of hurting her.The main parts of SHADOW BOUND takes place over a very short couple days so some of the stuff written is a little unbelievable. Kori and Ian's attraction right off was a little off because of what Kori went through but in her defense she was far from throwing herself at Ian. I think Vincent did a good job of writing in her feelings I just think it would have made more sense if a little more time had passed. I enjoyed both of their characters and the world building of the unbound series was again pretty darn awesome to witness. I love that past characters got a little role and I hope that that continues with the next books. The emotions are pretty dark and I admit I was bawling my eyes out a few moments throughout. I went in thinking that I was going to hate SHADOW BOUND but I ended up pleased with the outcome. I'm interested to see who will be the main characters in OATH BOUND.
pacey1927 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
There is no doubt that Rachel Vincent is among the best authors of paranormal novels on the market today. She has a more than proven track record. That said, I was somewhat disappointed with Shadow Bound. With the Unbound series, Vincent has created another amazing, horrifying world for her characters. It is a world where very few people have any kind of freedom especially if you happen to be one of the skilled. If you have an skills (Kori, our heroine is a traveler and Ian the hero is a Blinder) at all then you are wanted by one of the powerful syndicates (think the ultimate mob lords). Kori is bound to work for Jake Tower. After the events of the previous novel, Kori has been removed from Jake's elite security team and has been punished, tortured, and locked in the basement. Jake finally removes Kori because he has a job for her. A very talented blinder has emerged with extremely rare skills. Kori needs to woo Ian and get him to sign on with Jake's team or he will hurt Kori and her sister Kenley, a binder. What Kori doesn't know is that Ian has an agenda of his own. Ian wants to get to Kenley.This world is truly horrifying. The consequences for disobedience are often fatal. Shadow Bound was interesting enough and I flew through the pages fairly quickly. The problem for me was that it felt like not a lot really happened. Kori and Ian meet and fall in instant love, much like it is in any romance novel. There are secrets between them. They talk a lot. They go out in public and get attacked every time. After awhile I wanted to yell at them for being dumb enough to go outside again. Then they come up with a plan to let everyone hopefully make it out of the book alive. I really liked the last part of this book. It was a great climax and the ending leaves the series in a very intriguing place. However, I just didn't think there was enough action along the way. This book ended up being just okay for me.
SmalltownSR More than 1 year ago
Another fantastic Rachel Vincent story.  
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AnitaBlakeFan More than 1 year ago
This was another great story be Rachel Vincent. At the beginning of this story you know that Ian and Kori are going to end up together at the end, but seeing how the story comes together is great. It's amazing to me how she pulls her characters out of impossible situations and still keep the story realistic (or as realistic as a fantasy fiction can be) :) there are some surprises in this story and we see many of the characters for Blood Bound. Can't wait to see where we go in the next story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Graet story action love heart break si fi comedy mystery this series has it all keep up the great stories rachel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Rachel Vincent! She's amazing! =) Definitely a good read for anyone who enjoyed her Soul Screamers book but was looking for a more adult feel.
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HackaroosReviews More than 1 year ago
Shadow Bound by Rachel Vincent Goodreads Description: If you live in the dark long enough, you begin to forget the light… KORI DANIELS is a shadow-walker, able to travel instantly from one shadow to another. After weeks of confinement for betraying her boss, she’s ready to break free of the Tower syndicate for good. But Jake Tower has one final job for Kori, one chance to secure freedom for herself and her sister, Kenley, even if that means taking it from someone else… The job? Recruit Ian Holt—or kill him. Ian’s ability to manipulate the dark has drawn interest from every syndicate in the world, most notably an invitation from Jake Tower. Though he has no interest in organized crime, Ian accepts the invite, because he’s on a mission of his own. Ian has come to kill Tower’s top Binder: Kori’s little sister. Amid the tangle of lies, an unexpected thread of truth connecting Ian and Kori comes to light. But with opposing goals, they’ll have to choose between love and liberty…. Why did I pick this? If you don't know by now, you should know that Rachel Vincent is my favorite author. I fell in love with this world in Blood Bound. I could not wait to get myhands on the second book in this series. I think I actually drooled a little bit. ;-) What did I think?Like I mentioned above, RV is my favorite author so I might be a little biased. But.... From the very beginning paragraph, the mood is set for the entire book. If you live in the dark long enough, you start to forget what light looks like. What it feels like. You may remember it in an academic sense. Illumination. A possible source of heat. But after a while those abstract memories are all you have left, and they're worth less than the memory of water to a man dying of thirst. I've always thought Vincent had a way with words. This has to be one of the best first paragraphs I've read in a while. Unlike the first book in this series, Blood Bound, this is told from the point of view of Kori and Ian. If you haven't read the first book, beware of spoilers. In Blood Bound, we were introduced to this world where a man's life is his word. And you are bound to it. It was a very interesting twist to that expression. I loved the world that Vincent created. It was dark and so unlike anything I've read before. In this second book, it picks up right after what happened with Kori and Jake Tower. Kori went against Tower's orders and got him shot. Which is a bad thing considering he is her boss and she was his guard. I was in total captivation the entire time. I had no idea what was going to happen next. None. Vincent kept throwing punches and Kori kept taking them. Let's talk about Kori. Wow. Just wow. Really. Kori has been through some shiz. For real. But she also has to be one of the strongest, caring, most badass chicks there are out there. There were times where I did an actual fist pump for her and the next, I wanted to cuddle her up. Ian. Is. Hot. I loooooved him. Dark, daring and so strong. I loved how Kori was hard where Ian was soft. It's usually the other way around. He was the perfect match to Kori's crazy. They both complimented each other so well. I didn't think that Vincent could top Faythe Sanders in a badass chick, but she just did with Kori. One of the things that I loved about this book is the unpredicatbility of it and the fact that every decision that had to be made was practically life or death choice. That was the world. They lived in it. Every day. I couldn't imagine what that would truly be like. Kori gives a damn good idea though. It's so hard to talk about a book without having any spoilers. I truly cannot do this any justice. Rachel Vincent has done it again. I've never read a book of hers that I did not like. She is a brilliant author. Period. Now I seriously cannot wait until the next installment. Favorite Quotes: Kori- Once those milling in the entry had their chance to see me, Nina guided me into the main event. Into the snake pit, where every hiss would feel like praise and every bitelike a deep, hot kiss. The venom would flow like honey, too think to swallow, but too sweet to entirely resist. -Pg 28 Ian-When she didn't object, I pulled her closer, until our knees were touching. "I want you. I want only you. I want all of you. But I'll take whatever you're ready to give." -Pg 301
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LilyElementBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Kori is a Traveler, she is able to walk into any shadow and go where ever she wants that is within her range. The skills in this series vary and are much sought after by syndicates. There are Blinders who are able to draw shadows (darkness). Healers, which are pretty much self explanatory, they are able to heal. And there are also binders, who are able to make contracts between people that if broken can lead to pain/death. Kori is recovering after being tortured and asked to prove herself by recruiting someone into the syndicate. With little choice she meets Ian, a Blinder with significant power. The syndicate's leader, Jake Tower, tells her to do anything to recruit him. Being the rebel that Kori is, this means she shows Ian all the negative things about being part of a syndicate so he will make an informed decision. Little does she know that Ian has an ulterior motive. The book legitimately made me pissed off for Kori. She was tortured, and treated like crap and I felt really bad for her. I found Kori to be an interesting character and made me want to read more. The writing is amazing, as usual for a Rachel Vincent novel. If you have enjoyed any of her previous work I highly suggest you read this series. If you haven't read a Rachel Vincent book, do yourself a favor and go buy one now!
jenababy13 More than 1 year ago
Bad ass and rebellious, but still in same dark world we know and love. When I read Blood Bound, it had instantly become one of my top three favorite books. Everything about this series is sinister, binding, violent, and yet thrilling and enticing as hell. And, Shadow Bound in no way let me down. We start off where Blood Bound essentially left off, except now we're in Kori's brain. She disobeyed her boss and for that she was punished and tortured. But, lucky for her, she's given a chance to redeem herself with a new job. And redeeming herself and protecting her sister is all the matters to her. Jake tells her she must do whatever it takes, and I mean whatever, to recruit Ian Holt. Otherwise she and Ian will be killed... leaving her sister alone. Ian has the ability to manipulate the dark which is extremely rare. But, Ian has a job of his own and that's to kill Kori's sister Kenley. As the two grow close, they'll have to determine what's more important each other, the syndicate, or their families. The concepts of this world never cease to blow me away. Despite how menacing the Unbound world is, I constantly find myself falling in love with it and its characters. Through every bloody turn and every uneasy encounter, I always find myself needing to know what happens next. Rachel also has such a way of intertwining her words into perfect sentences. I felt like every other page there was a line or paragraph I was quoting. Lines that hit me so deep. It's just yet another thing that makes me love every part of Shadow Bound. With Blood Bound, I fell in love with Liv and especially Cam. Cameron Cabellero has a special spot in my heart, no doubt! And I was extremely happy to see them again and their roles in Shadow Bound. Although, I found myself loving our new narrators: Kori and Ian as well. Kori is one of the strongest female roles you will ever read about. And I don't just mean in the I can kick-ass, wield weapons, and castrate you way... which she can. Kori is also emotionally strong. Her family is what matters most to her, and no matter how tortured she's been she still always has that goal in mind. If I was in Kori's position, I'm not sure I would come out on top and she certainly shows the strength to do it. On the other side is Ian. Ian is also a bad-ass hottie but, he's not the snarky bad boy role... he's quite the opposite. He's kept himself low on the radar, he cares completely about those he loves, he's extremely protective, and most importantly he's an extremely good guy. I found myself loving both of their stories and watching them collide together. Overall, I intensely adore this series. With it being adult it gives me everything I could ask for. Bad-assery, Romance, Cursing, Drinking, Family, Sex, Fighting. And I love every single moment of this dark world. If you haven't read this series... well start! If you've read Blood Bound, well I'm sure you'll love Shadow Bound as well!