Zodiac Academy: Cursed Fates
by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti
Book 5 in the Bullies and Beasts series
After the devastating events at Zodiac Academy, we have to deal with this darker world we're faced with.
Lionel seeks to hurt us, the Nymphs seek to hurt the entire Fae race, and between all of it, we just have to try and survive each day as it comes.
I'm afraid of everything falling apart, but it looks like it already has.
Zodiac Academy: Cursed Fates by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti is the fifth book in their Supernatural Bullies and Beasts series, and starts off immediately where we left off. Darius and Tory are dealing with the consequences of Tory refusing the mate bond with Darius. The physical proof of it in their eyes is a blow to everyone around them, but the inner turmoil and pining they each feel is the hardest part. But despite the curse that is set on their shoulders, it seems lessons are learned. As Darius does all he can to win over Tory's affections after all he has done to her, the other Heirs reign in the worst of themselves for the sake of their friend, and what they find with the Vega's is something they never expected - friendship. As they all try to figure out a way to defy the stars, and give Darius and Tory another chance, though, Lionel is plotting to take the throne for himself. He will stop at nothing to gain it. But is Tory and Darcy, and the Heirs, strong enough to defeat him?
Oh my god guys. This book was fucking huge. Did it have to be? Again, no, but I actually LIKED the filler this book. So much happens in terms of plot in this book, that it's needed. Because this book was heavy. Like ... thank god I was wearing sunglasses on my work commute to hide the tears heavy. Those fluff moments with Darcy and Orion were needed ---------spoiler --------> considering what happens in this book. I mean, I always knew that they would be caught, but I was hoping for a better outcome. But in true self-sacrificing hero style, Orion just had to lie, and get himself imprisoned and powershamed. Ugh. And the way he broke it off with Darcy when she visited him. UGH! I get his reasoning, but its dumb. They suspect their Elysian Mates. Does he think just because she is a royal she would refuse that bond? Why suffer when it's inevitable? <------------. The moments between Tory and Darius were some of my favorite of the book, but were not filler, as it was needed to build up their relationship. It is important to the story, and makes the ending of this book SO MUCH HARDER TO DIGEST. --------spoiler-------> Honestly, I think I will gag if I find out in the next book Lionel and Tory have sex. Since she was forced to give herself to the shadows, forced the guardian bond, and Lionel tortures her to submission, I think it would make me sick to find out he takes advantage of that and rapes her too. I wouldn't be surprised, but it would be difficult to read. <-------------. Another favorite part of this book was .... the bullying is done! FINALLY! I was, frankly, sick to death of it. And the bonds that slowly form between The Vega's and the Heirs were what made this book. And while it was a slow start, after what happens with Orion, their friendships with one another really pick up. Especially Seth and Darcy, which, after everything Seth has done, was surprising. -------spoiler---------> but when they all combine forces and take away the one thing that Kylie loves the most in retaliation for what she did to Orion and Darcy - attention - I fucking loved it. In that moment, I could see Orion's wishes for the Heirs to share the throne with the twins. The six of them powerful and united. <-------------------.
Cursed Fates is really a book of lessons learned. It's unfortunate that the catalyst for it was Tory and Darius becoming Star-Crossed, but we can't deny that it affects everyone around them. Darius finally understands that there are more important things than power, and Tory learns to try to forgive. Seth, Caleb and Max, seeing the consequences of their actions in their brother's eyes and demeanor, learn through Darius the same lesson he learned. And Darcy - well, I feel like her journey and the lessons she needs to learn are coming. With what happened with Orion and the conclusion on this book, I suspect the next book will be her getting stronger - both in terms of power and emotionally - on her own two feet. Either way, after the conclusion of this book, I can't wait to dive into the next one.
Tory giving Orion a friendship bracelet
Orion bringing Darcy on a Nymph hunt
Orion setting off the alarm so him and Darcy could hook up in the supply closet. HOT.
Darius announcing to everyone that Tory said no to him. not the other way around
the hashtags are always funny, but in particular, the ones telling Mildred Darius would rather rub griffin shit on himself then be with her
Tor exposing Xavier's order to set him free
Tory winning the cheer competition, and Darcy winning her first pitball game
Darius giving Tory the necklace
Tory finally apologizing too
Darcy's gift to Orion
The Heirs finding Tory's ex and getting an apology video from him
Seth's apology to Darcy
THE HEIRS AND VEGAS STANDING TOGETHER AGAINST KYLIE
Tory rushing when she realizes she is late meeting Darius, and finally smiling at him the way he has been dreaming of
Tory finally seeing the bike, and Tory's gift to Darius
The heirs and Darcy working together to save Tory
Darius: “Don’t ever let go of her, Lance. You fucking fight for her until your last breath, you hear me?” Orion: “Do not eat in my classroom!”
Orion barked, his harsh tone sending an injection of adrenaline into my veins. Tyler gaped at him, swiveling in his seat to point at Tory who was still munching on her pastry.
Tyler: “But Tory Vega’s eating!”
Orion: “I don’t care if Tory Vega is starting her own bakery back there and using Polaris as a rolling pin, I’m talking to you, Corbin,”
Orion snapped and I suppressed a laugh, sharing a look with Tory as she smirked.
Tyler: “That’s so unfair,”
Orion: “Fair is a concept,”
Orion said with a shrug.
Tyler: “But you’re a Libra! You’re all about fairness.”
Orion: “Wrong. Ten points from Terra. Libras are about justice. And I decide what that means to me. And if I say that Tory Vega can have a bake sale and employ her sister as a cupcake stand, then I will be the first in line for the grand opening. But you, Corbin. Do not have that right. So clean up your mess and see me in detention on Thursday.”
Tyler pursed his lips, rising from his seat and marching towards the sweets scattered all over the floor, starting to pick them up and muttering about favoritism.
Orion: “My favorite students are the ones who don’t piss me the fuck off,” Orion: “And I’m sure at least one of you have items you’d rather keep out of sight. I for one, don’t take any pleasure in turning out freshmen rooms. You can only imagine the amount of fucking Order porn and weird and wonderful sex toys I’ve had the displeasure of discovering. If you get this spell right, you’ll have a shot at hiding them. Of course, I am unfortunately very apt at discovering concealment spells so unless you can disguise your magical signature too, you’re most likely fucked.” Tyler: “I wonder how many sparkly Pegasus horn vibrators Caleb Altair has hidden around his room,”
Tyler mused as he dropped back into his seat with a full bag of sweets and laughter exploded around the classroom. I glanced at Tory with a smirk, but she didn’t even have it in her to smile. And that just broke my heart to pieces. Orion pressed his tongue into his cheek, leaning back against his desk and clasping the edge of it.
Orion: “Well, I’ve only found the one, but Mr Altair’s skill could mean every lamp, candle and potted plant in his room are concealing glittering dicks. Not that I’m judging.” Orion: “If you try to fuck me over, kid, I’ll break every bone in your body. And if you try to fuck over the Vegas, I’ll rip out said broken bones one by one, put them in a blender and feed them to you through a straw. I know some nasty fucking spells that will make sure you stay alive through the entire thing. Mark. My. Words.” My lips popped open and hell, I was shamefully turned on by him in that moment. Diego straightened his spine and balled his fists.
Diego: “I swear I won’t. I’ll swear it on the stars if that makes you feel better.”
Orion’s eyes slid down to Diego’s hand extended between them then he clucked his tongue, turning and striding back to his desk. He opened his drawers one at a time, rummaging through them for something before finally producing a beautiful blue Lapis Lazuli crystal.
Orion: “I’ll go one better. You will make a star promise with me and Blue. Then you will do it with Darius and Tory when you see them too. If you break the promise, we’ll feel it. And the stars will curse you for the rest of your miserable days. Which will be a sum total of one, during which the bone-breaking-smoothie fest will commence.”
I would have laughed if he hadn’t looked so damn serious. I really did think my crazy Professor boyfriend would have made Diego drink his own bones in the world’s most messed up milkshake. Darius: “You’ve seen the way she looks at me. She hates me.”
Orion: “Hate dances a fine line with love more often than not. Darcy: “Do you think she loved me?”
I whispered, not sure if I was really expecting an answer from him or just wondering the thought aloud to the universe. Had there ever been a reality where I was a daughter loved by her mother? Did she cradle me against her chest and pray I’d never come to harm? Had she truly cared what kind of girl I’d grow up to be? And would she be proud of the one I was? Orion trailed his thumb along my jaw, down my neck and across my collar bone, his gaze following the path he took.
Orion: “How could she not love you?” Orion: “I’m not telling you to stay because firstly, you’re a fucking force to be reckoned with, beautiful. And secondly…”
He stepped closer, taking my hand and firmly kissing the back of it.
Orion: “We make a fucking excellent team, I’d be doing us a disservice to leave you behind.” Orion: “I happen to like that about you. It means I’ll always be able to catch you.”
Darcy: “You’re a Vampire, you’ll always be able to catch me anyway,”
Orion: “Not when you fly away from me,”
Darcy: “Do you think I’m so clumsy that I’ll hit a rainbow and fall out of the sky?” Darius: “Just so you know, Plan B was me turning into a Dragon and taking the brunt of that,”
Darius pointed out and I turned to him with a relieved smile.
Darcy: “And yet here you are, Fae sized and safe.” Darcy: “You’ve put that dead body in that bag, haven’t you?”
I deadpanned. Darius and Orion exchanged a mirthful look then shrugged. Orion: “Waste not, want not,”
Darius: “Don’t worry, Darcy, I was gentle about it. I dried him out like beef jerky then folded him up like origami, didn’t I Lance?”
Orion: “He did, it was very tasteful actually,”
Orion mused and the two of them sniggered. I shook my head at them, trying to stop the smile that was fighting its way onto my lips.
Darcy: “Should I expect a lesson in bone magic soon then?”
Darius: “I reckon Lance has been giving you plenty of bone lessons already, hasn’t he?”
Darius quipped and a laugh tumbled from my throat. It was pretty weird to be standing here in this creepy ass house laughing, with him of all people.
Orion: “Yes and this night has interrupted those lessons spectacularly so let’s get the fuck home,”
Darius: “You two are…well, fuck the law for saying you can’t be together,”
Darius said, folding his arms. My heart squeezed at his words and I saw so much pain in his eyes that I strode forward and wrapped my arms around him. It wasn’t that I’d forgiven him, or even that I was remotely convinced he was good enough for my sister. But maybe he could have been. Maybe if they’d made better choices, followed their hearts instead of their pride.
Darcy: “Fuck the stars too, Darius,”
I breathed and his muscles tightened around me as he held me close.
Darcy: “Fuck every shining, gleaming one of them.” Maybe he needed me alive to keep feeding his demons and thriving on my fear. Maybe he’d never end this suffering. Because monsters need prey to feast on, and without me he’d starve. Gabriel: “You’re one and the same.”
Tory: “No. We’re not. Because I said no. Because I might have a thousand faults of my own. I might be stubborn and selfish and unforgiving at times. I might be harsh and hard and damaged, but I have enough self respect to know that I’m worth more than some overdue apology blurted when there was no choice but to make it.” Tory: "You’re saying that if I’d been reasonable too, talked to Darius instead of freaking out over the idea of him hurting me again then this whole thing might have turned out differently? Because of one conversation?”
Gabriel: “Wars have hinged on less. Fate is a fickle and temperamental beast.” Darcy: “Was that better than the Cardinal Magic hardback?”
I panted through a laugh and he pulled his fangs free of my neck, chuckling as he stepped back. I turned around, leaning down to tug up my panties with flushed cheeks. He rolled up his fly then his mouth pressed to mine in a long and deep kiss that had my toes curling all over again.
Orion: “That was even better than the collector’s edition of Advanced Numerology, beautiful. And that little slut knows how to make my spine tingle.”
I slapped his chest with a wild laugh.
Darcy: “You’re one dirty, book talking Vampire, you know that?”
Orion: “I know that.” Orion: “Assholes! Despite the grunge hair Capella is sporting and the fucking worst mohawk of the century Rigel seems to think is cool, this is not a fucking mosh pit at some prissy indie rock gig. So get your asses up and start fighting like Fae or you’ll all be in detention for the rest of the week.”
I tried not to bat my lashes too hard at Orion, but holy hell when he used that voice and blew that whistle, and looked…mmm. Orion: “I could have smashed his head in the second Darius told him to back off of us, but I held back. Because you know what’s more satisfying to me than beating the living hell out of him, Blue?”
I shook my head, my throat too tight as I absorbed the passion in his expression.
Orion: “You doing it,”
he breathed with a seductive grin.
Orion: “He’s all yours, beautiful. I want you to make him scream. I’m gonna be right there with a fold-out chair and a bag of freshly popped popcorn to enjoy the show. But I won’t be the one breaking bones – and trust me I really want to be that guy, but not this time. Seth Capella has written his fate in the stars. She’s coming for him like a monster in the night. And her name is Darcy Vega.” Marguerite: “Get comfortable watching from the sidelines, Vega. Because this is the last time you’ll get to wear that uniform.”
Caleb: “Don’t say that. Seeing Tory in her cheer uniform is a damn important part of our practice sessions. Isn’t it Darius?”
I tried to fight it but I couldn’t help but glance at him again and I was instantly sucker punched by the filthy look in his black ringed eyes. It really shouldn’t have been legal for him to look at me like that because then I just ended up remembering where those looks had led us before and how that wouldn’t be happening ever again and – gah.
Darius: “Yeah. It is,” Tory: “So you were just in the mood to point out how terrible she is in bed?”
I asked, ignoring the pang of jealousy that went through me at the thought of him and her.
Tory: “Was she really that awful?”
I asked because morbid fascination was a bitch and apparently I was in the mood to torture myself.
Darius: “It was like sticking my dick into a sack of potatoes and shaking it around to see what happened. I would have had to question my own performance if it wasn’t for the way she was screaming.”
Tory: “Is that so?”
I refused to blink at the subject matter, but my fingernails were most definitely cutting into my palms. I just had to hope he couldn’t tell.
Darius: “Yeah. She sounded like a pig with a carrot stuck up its ass. I didn’t even finish.” Orion: “One day soon, I’m going to shrink you down into a pixie-sized Fae and put you in a jar that I can keep in my pocket.”
I smacked his shoulder and he growled in amusement.
Darcy: “Maybe I’ll shrink you into a tiny little Vampire who can suck on my thumb while I go about my life kicking ass.” Darius's mom: “He’ll kill you for exposing this,”
she breathed, her eyes wide with fear.
Tory: “I’m pretty sure he plans on killing me anyway. At least if he kills me for this, it was for something that matters.” Darius: “You did this to…help him?”
Darius asked like he couldn’t understand why the fuck I’d do that and I narrowed my eyes at him. Tory: “I’m only an asshole like, ninety percent of the time. The other ten percent I’m a fucking saint. So yes, I did it to help him." Tory: “I really hope I’m going to predict that I’m about to be sent back to bed for rest of the morning.”
She flipped over the top card of her deck and The Fool stared up at her.
she muttered and I laughed as she tossed the cards back into her bag.
Text: Lance: I forgot to buy dessert but luckily I have a can of whipped cream and a voracious appetite for you. So I won’t go hungry at least. Selfish fucker, aren’t I? Caleb: “Stop flirting with me, asshole,”
I joked, shoving him so that he almost fell out of my lap.
Seth: “Stop smiling so much when I do then,” Max: “What if we invite your friends too?”
Max suggested, his eyes firmly fixed on Geraldine. I wondered vaguely if he’d even realized how hooked he was on that girl.
Max: “You can come too, Gerry, and all the other Asses.”
Geraldine: “Be still my beating heart, what a beautiful suggestion. I feel so honored to receive this most wonderous of invitations. And look how stunningly crafted it is-”
She unfolded an imaginary invitation and Tory and Darcy grinned as she proceeded to pretend to read from it.
Geraldine: “Their un-royal un-Holinesses Maxy boy, king of the trouts and Sir Seth, ruler of mutts, formally request your attendance at their birthday party. There will be unsavory characters around every corner and the chance of having your drink spiked with unmentionable potions. Not to mention amorous dongles galore, ready to invade any unwitting lady garden they can find. Please don’t forget to bring a toothbrush and spare pair of panties just in case you fall for any of their baloney under the light of that tricksome minx Venus and end up on your back beneath one of them before waking up filled with morning after shame.”
Even I had to laugh at that and Max grinned as he leaned towards her.
Max: “So you are expecting to end up beneath me then either way?”
Geraldine rolled her eyes dramatically.
Geraldine: “Heavens forbid I get near your slippery eel again.” I didn’t miss the undertone which said she thought I might hook up with him. But was I really going to go there with Caleb again? I hated to admit it, but the only person I really thought about like that these days was Darius. But that was an impossibility now. So was I going to just become celibate because I couldn’t have him? The scariest thing about that question was that I didn’t even know the answer. If the stars have stolen sex from me then is life even worth living?? Caleb: “What do you say, Tory?”
Caleb asked, his fingers brushing across my hands where they were still tied at the base of my spine.
Caleb: “I have a theory that with the bangles hiding both of your magic and me thrown into the mix while we hide down here, the stars won’t be able to figure out what we’re doing.”
Tory: “And the blindfold?”
I asked, my breath catching as I tried to buy myself a moment to process that idea.
Caleb: “Because it’s hot as fuck,” Darius: “The stars might have decided that you can never be mine, But I am yours. No matter what. I don’t care where we end up or who we’re with, I’ll always be yours. And I’m going to fix the damage I did to us even if the stars don’t care. I’m going to prove to you that I could have been worthy of you if I’d just listened to my heart sooner.” Orion: “You’ll do great. You’ve been killing it in your practice sessions. You’re the best Pit Keeper we’ve had in years.”
Darcy: “Are you just saying that to get into my pants, Coach?”
I teased and he chuckled darkly.
Orion: “No, Blue. I’m saying it because it’s true.”
He smiled and my heart started to slow as I drew comfort from his confidence in me.
Darcy: “Thanks. So are you wearing a cheer ribbon for me today?”
I taunted and he leaned in closer with mischief in his eyes.
Orion: “Yes, but I had to wear it somewhere no one would see. So it’s tied in a very special place.”
I burst out laughing, gripping his waistband.
Darcy: “Are you telling me it’s tied to your-”
Orion: “You can find out exactly where it’s tied after the game, but only if you do well.” Geraldine: “Are you saying I should be ashamed of my buoyant Brendas? Because I’ll have you know that the Fae body is a glorious thing and I won’t have you try and shame me, Maxy boy-”
Max: “You can’t seriously think I have anything other than appreciation for your bouncy Bettys or whatever you wanna call them. I just don’t want them on show for any and every asshole in sight,”
Tory: “You’re killing it out there,” Darius: “Thanks. Are you looking for me to make some cheesy statement like I’m thinking of you every time I tackle someone?”
Tory: “Nice to know I’m on your mind every time you have someone pinned beneath you in the mud,”
Darius: “I think I’ve made my desire to pin you beneath me pretty clear,”
Geraldine: “One more word, Seth Capella, and I shall not only castrate you, but I will castrate your sons and your sons’ sons. There will never be another Grus in all of existence who will not proudly display a pair of Capella balls on her nightstand!”
Yep, it’s official. I’m into my straight best friend. Thanks for the headfuck stars. It would feel about as comfortable as shoving a pineapple up my ass, but I was going to try and be…nice. Shudder. Darius: “I love you, Roxy. And I know it doesn’t change anything. That it can’t change anything. But I’m going to prove it to you. I’m going to do everything I can to make it up to you, for the rest of my life if that’s what it takes. I’ll never forgive myself for bringing this curse on us. And I’m never going to stop loving you either.”
Orion: “How’s Blue?”
Darius: “Fucking furious. She beat the shit out of Seth in front of the whole school. He’s been howling all fucking night and day since.”
A merciless laugh escaped him.
Darius: “That’s my girl.” Caleb: “I…no, I don’t really want her for myself. Not now. There was a time when I used to daydream about it. Me and her being something…different. I dunno. She keeps me on my toes, she makes me laugh and the sex was fucking-”
I growled at him and he smirked as he shrugged.
Caleb: “You’ve been there, man, you know exactly what the sex is like with her.” Darius: “This conversation is likely to end in your death,”
I muttered as I tried to rein in my anger and jealousy and just deal with the fact that I should have gone after her when I’d first seen her instead of waiting and letting this situation play out. Caleb: “You seem to want to fight for her, you want to prove to her you’re more than the monster she thought you were. What’s the point of that if you don’t believe there’s any hope for you?”
Darius: “Because that’s what love is. It’s giving everything without expecting anything in return. It’s sacrificing your heart and happiness for someone else and it’s owning all of your mistakes and trying to make them right. Not because you expect to get something in return for it. But because the person you love needs to know how you feel.”
I got to my feet, intending to leave but Caleb shot upright too, catching my arm before I’d even made it a step away.
Caleb: “Doesn’t she deserve to have love then? Doesn’t she deserve to wake up every day in the arms of someone who loves her? To have laughter and happiness and a hundred fucking Dragon babies if that’s what she wants?”
Darius: “She does, but-”
Caleb: “But nothing. That’s why all of us are working so damn hard to figure out a way around this for you. Because we believe you both deserve that. So stop selling yourself short. Stop selling her short. And decide right here and now that you’re going to fight for your girl. Really fight for her. Not just achieve this bullshit mission to right all your wrongs against her. Prove to her that you deserve her and then climb up into the fucking sky and tear the stars right out of it for her if they still don’t agree.”
Darius: “I’d take death over life without you,” Caleb: "If you stay here, I’m going to lose control. I’m going to bite you, and then-”
Seth: “Then you’ll feel a hell of a lot better. You know you can’t function when you’re hangry.”
He smirked at me and a hollow laugh fell from my lips.
Caleb: “This isn’t like craving a sandwich.”
Seth: “It had better fucking not be. I’m no sandwich. I’m like a goddamn triple chocolate sundae with sprinkles and syrup and the juiciest damn cherry on top. Don’t compare me to a basic lunch, Cal, you’ll hurt my damn feelings.” Darius: “Why?”
I asked. I mean, I was all for going and messing with the fucker but I didn’t get it.
Seth: “Because you wouldn’t just do a strip tease or sing her a song like a normal lovestruck idiot so I had to think outside the box. And deep down, I think that a girl who the stars chose to be your perfect match must really want a badass kind of gesture over chocolate hearts and flowers. So I say we go kick the little gangster’s ass for what he did to her and you can cut off his balls and put them in a box for her…or just take a photo, whatever you think she’d like best.”
Darius: “Probably the balls,” Tory scowled, stepping closer to me.
Tory: “Want me to punch that smile off of her smug face?”
Darcy: “No. I want her to hurt far worse than that.”
Seth: “There’s one more thing I should have realized. You could never be my mate, Darcy Vega. Because we’re not equals. You’re far better than me in every way imaginable.” Tory: “Okay then, let’s follow the creepy ghost footsteps. No reason to worry about that,” Darcy: “I don’t care that you’re here. You could be on the moon and I’d still find a way to love you.” Darius: “As much as I ache for the feeling of your body against mine – and I really fucking do – I think if I was allowed a single cheat against this curse that keeps us apart, I’d just want to be able to hold you in my arms. Just to wake up with you there, knowing you were safe.” Tory: “Fuck fate. No one gets to pick my future for me. I choose what I want and I want you.” Tory: “Holy shit, Darius. “How much did this cost you?”
Darius: “I’d buy you fifty of them if I knew they’d all make you smile like that,”
Darius: “Can’t you just be the kind of chaperones who just shut the fuck up and look at the wall or something?”
Seth: “No chance,” Darius: “Forever?”
I confirmed, moving so close to her that the sweet scent of her skin enveloped me and I never wanted to exhale again.
Tory: “Forever,” Lionel: “I offered you the world, boy. And what did you choose? A girl who threatens everything you’ve ever known. Whose father was a savage who nearly destroyed our kingdom. Who broke your heart as easily as breathing.”
Darius: “The world means nothing to me without her,”