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A Bargain in Silver is the first book in the Solis Invicti series.

Blurb[]

If the price of safety were slavery, would you bargain your life?

A deadly infection threatens to wipe out humanity. The only people who can stem its advance are the Silver, a vampiric race who offer a simple exchange: protection in return for blood and subservience. It's not a deal that Emmy's willing to make, but as her world burns around her she finds herself in the arms of the enemy and the line between oppressor and saviour begins to blur. After an attack by the infected, Emmy is rescued by the handsome Drew who introduces her to the world of the Silver. Desperate to escape subjugation and confused by her attraction to him, she gathers what remains of her surrogate family and plans to make a break for freedom. But despite her efforts to resist, she is drawn further into the intrigues of the mysterious Silver through the agency of their ruler, the Primus: Solomon. Emmy refuses to submit to the cold and detached Primus and an attempt on her life makes it clear that he is unable to protect her from the political machinations of his race. As the connection between them deepens she must choose between her desire and her will to rebel, but can she trust his intentions when everyone is after her blood?

A Bargain in Silver is book one of Josie Jaffrey's Solis Invicti paranormal romance series, set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic London.

Events (Spoilers)[]

This section will contain detailed spoilers. Many characters in this series also appear in other Silverse books, so clicking any links may lead to spoilers not only for this book but also for other series - use caution!

Two days after the Revelation, Emmy is walking home from work when she is attacked by Weepers. She is rescued by Drew, who takes her to his flat and shows her a broadcast by Solomon that explains the existence of Weepers and the Silver, and explains that humans will need to make their way to safe houses, so that the Silver can protect them in exchange for blood donations. Drew kisses her neck, and Emmy is surprised at the strength of their chemistry. When she accidentally cuts her arm, Drew heals her injury with a kiss, leaving a silver mark where the wound was.

When Emmy heads to the safe house, she is horrified by the state of London, which is eerily empty and bloodstained. Drew explains that a large percentage of the population has been turned into Weepers, but that the Silver have set up a perimeter to keep them out. They meet Thomas, who notices the silver mark on Emmy's arm and realises Drew has silvered for her; he warns Drew to be careful. Humans gather in Paternoster Square for a broadcast, where Emmy meets Benedict for the first time. As Emmy listens to Sol's plans for the human race, she is disgusted and makes a break for it.

At Parker's, Emmy reunites with her colleagues, who hid themselves from the Silver's search. Jeff points out that the Silver are maintaining the infrastructure of the city. They try to plan an escape from the Silver safe zone. While they monitor the situation, they realise that the Palace Hotel across the road is being turned into Solomon's headquarters. Danny and Emmy attempt to raid a supermarket for food, but are attacked by Weepers; while escaping, they are discovered by Benedict, who kills Danny. Emmy escapes and makes it back to Parker's, but discovers her friends have also been killed by Drew, who had tracked her scent to the club.

Emmy searches for somewhere else to hide, but is caught in a trap by Cameron, and Thomas and Drew arrive to take her in. Weepers attack, and Emmy attempts to escape from the Silver in the confusion, but Drew knocks her out and takes her back to the Palace. She meets Solomon for the first time and is surprised by how charismatic and attractive he is. Emmy declares her intention to resist the Silver takeover, and Sol explains that life as she knew it is impossible to return to - that he is only trying to ensure the survival of both of their species. Drew asks Emmy to give them a week to prove that the Silver are not monsters, and, persuaded by their arguments, she agrees. After a tense exchange with Sol about who will take care of her, Drew carries an exhausted Emmy to a suite in the Palace, where she is to stay; he apologises for killing her friends, saying that he didn't want to but they resisted being taken into custody. Emmy feels very conflicted about him, but allows him to stay the night to keep her safe. When he attempts to comfort her after a nightmare, they almost kiss, but Emmy continues to deny her attraction to him.

The next morning, Sol and Drew argue over who will take Emmy through the admission process so she can be integrated into the new society; Sol wins. Emmy's wrists are tattooed with her blood type and a mark that indicates she is under the protection of Sol. In order to ease the pain of the process, Sol kisses Emmy, and she responds despite herself. The kiss of a strong Silver can provide a measure of pain relief, but Sol states that he did it mostly because of their mutual attraction; the kiss also leaves a scent mark on Emmy, which upsets Drew. There is visible animosity between Drew and Sol over the subject of Emmy, and Drew explains that Emmy's tattoo and the scent mark designate her as Sol's special property, and that the bond will only get stronger, since it strengthens with each kiss but will also make her desire him. She resolves to avoid Sol until the mark wears off, and demands to be allowed to live at Parker's with the other humans, rather than in the suite in the Palace next to Sol's apartments. He reluctantly agrees, but gives her a choker to wear which will mean she is protected from the other Silver even once the mark has worn off.

Emmy begins living and working at Parker's, which has been renamed Sol's and opened as a bar for the Silver. She objects to the uniform, which is skimpy, and complains to Sol; during this discussion, Sol realises that Drew has silvered for Emmy. She has a conversation with Benedict in which he warns her about the Silver in general, and tells her that Drew killed Jeff and Sarah in cold blood, and not, as Drew claimed, because they resisted him. Emmy meets Laila, who is in charge of the club, and is left to manage the bar on the first floor. It becomes clear that the Solis Invicti, Sol's bodyguard, are acting as security inside the bar; Emmy meets Genevieve, who is friendly to her. There is a performance which horrifies Emmy, of Laila drinking and playing with a human man's blood. Emmy argues with Drew. After her shift, Viv tells Emmy Sol is waiting for her, but Emmy decides not to meet him; instead she goes to bed, where she meets Alice, a naive human who idolises the Silver. They find a kitten in the dormitory and meet the other residents.

That night, Emmy chats with Cam, who tries to convince her that the Silver aren't monsters. He offers to try to keep Drew away from her for a couple of days. There is an altercation and the Invicti kill a rowdy member of the Silver, closing the club early for the night. As Emmy clears up, she falls off the terrace; she is saved by Sol, and they have adrenaline-fuelled sex and he drinks her blood. This renews the mark on Emmy, and Sol says he will defend it this time, making her belong to him alone, which enrages Emmy, and he backs off a little, saying he won't force her into anything she doesn't want. As Sol cleans Emmy's wounds from the fall, he explains that she didn't fall, but that she was pushed by an unknown Silver moving too fast to be seen. She falls asleep, feeling more comfortable with Sol. The next morning, Drew is furious to discover Emmy's night with Sol, and Drew and Sol argue about who has more claim on her; Emmy angrily tells them both that she is her own person, and leaves.

Emmy bumps into Cam, who takes her out drinking with Ed and Carrie. Sol appears and tells Emmy off for being physically affectionate with Cam, despite the fact that Cam is gay. Sol insists Emmy goes to bed and that Benedict stands guard outside the dorm. During the night, a Weeper gets into the dormitory through an open window. It appears to be tracking Emmy using a shirt she wore. Emmy fights the Weeper until the Solis Invicti arrive and remove the Weeper; it is revealed that the Silver do not know how to kill the Weepers without infecting the air and water. Sol takes Emmy back to the Palace to treat her wounds, and explains that the Weeper virus can be transmitted via open wounds; he lies to the Silver that he has tested her and found her free of the virus, as otherwise she might have been killed immediately by Benedict to rule out any risk. Emmy will be placed into quarantine, but Drew argues that he should be allowed to try to make Emmy Silver to remove any doubt. Sol explains that this might kill her; Emmy refuses, as she does not want to die or to become Silver.

During Emmy's quarantine, Drew questions her about her relationship with Sol and why she prefers him to Drew. He points out that it is unfair for Emmy to blame him and not Sol for her friends' deaths, but Emmy refuses to back down, though she starts to consider whether Benedict is telling the truth. Drew makes pancakes and tells Emmy some of Sol's history. Emmy becomes confused about her feelings due to Drew's kindness and flees back to Sol's to distract herself with work. Tommy asks her to look after some VIP clients, including Sol, who asks her to wear the choker he gave her to protect her. Emmy refuses. A group of clients, including Charles, makes her uncomfortable, asking to drink her blood. She goes down to the taproom to fix something and is locked in with Charles, who taunts and bites her; she is rescued by Tommy and Benedict, but is close to death.

Benedict says he will take Emmy to the Palace to be cleaned up, but she wakes up on the roof of a building. Benedict reveals that he has been pretending to be nice to gain Emmy's trust so that he can use her to take down Drew and Sol and gain control of the Silver; he has been behind all attempts on her life so far. He explains that Drew has silvered for Emmy, and that this means that if she dies, he will too. He leaves her, dying of blood loss, to be eaten by Weepers and either killed outright, or turned into one.

In the nick of time, she is found by Sol, and healed by Drew. The two explain that they cannot punish Benedict without revealing weakness in one or both of them, which would be very dangerous. Sol makes it clear that this has to be the end of his attachment to her. Emmy and Drew talk about the silvering, and Drew says he won't push her into a relationship; the two seem to get back to good terms, but Emmy asks him to give her some time to recover, grieve for her friends, and think.

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