DARKER

Darker-Book 6:

Alexa O’Brien is fighting a losing battle with the dark power growing inside her as she struggles to cope with the absence of her wolf mate, Shaz. There’s no time to feel sorry for herself. She must find a way to stop Lilah, a demon queen hell bent on forcing Alexa to willingly surrender her blood to break a centuries old curse. With her power bound, Lilah is ready to play dirty. Even if it means killing Alexa’s wolves, one by one.

It isn’t easy to stay a step ahead of the demon, especially with the FPA on her case. The government organization is to blame for the disappearance of vampire, Kale Sinclair. When she looks into his whereabouts, the discovery of some shady secrets paints the FPA in a whole new light.

Alexa’s vampire lover and twin flame, Arys Knight, doesn’t quite see the demon situation her way. The conflict between Arys and Alexa grows hot when Arys wants to ally with Shya, a demon with his own sinister agenda. But Alexa can only deal with one demon at a time. Nothing else matters when Lilah targets someone deeply important to her. Alexa will do anything to make it right, including walking straight into the demon’s clutches.

 

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Urban Fantasy
Full Length Novel

Editor: B. Leigh Hogan
Cover art by: Michael Hart

Chapter One:

Sin and sacrilege. From the fornication and bloodletting to death and obsessed addiction, those two words seemed to sum it up quite nicely. The Wicked Kiss was all that and more. It was also the only place I felt comfortable with myself these days.

Blood dripped into my mouth, taking me away to a place where right and wrong ceased to exist. The scent of desire accompanied the steady pulse of arousal deliciously coating the atmosphere. I drank it in, savoring the heady sensation of spiraling headlong into euphoria.

“Bleed for me, my dear.” Arys’s throaty murmur was thick with yearning. He nuzzled the neck of the woman sprawled on the bed between us, driving her wild for him.

I lay back, holding her bleeding wrist above me so the scarlet nectar dripped from the vampire inflicted wounds into my mouth. The irony wasn’t lost on me. Both Arys and I were doing the very thing we’d sworn never to do, feed from the willing victims at The Wicked Kiss. I wasn’t proud of myself. In fact, I’d be downright disgusted with my actions when the high wore off.  

If I’d been alone, I likely would have killed her. It was Arys that kept me from doing something I’d hate myself for. As the dark power inside me grew, so did the hunger. I was still mortal. A werewolf with a twin flame connection to a vampire. The balance of our yin yang bond was shifting. 

Arys believed his darkness would consume me. Two witches had warned us of the dangers of our connection. One had gone so far as to show Arys a vision of our future; my death at his hand. There were too many possibilities and not enough concrete answers. All we could do was take it one day at a time. In the meantime, I needed to sate the bloodlust, preferably without adding to the blood on my hands. 

Our victim writhed in pleasure as we fed upon her. It was the reason the club was constantly crawling with willing victims. They got as much as they gave.

It didn’t take much for Arys to stir her into a frenzy. The right words whispered in a low, seductive tone, a carefully placed caress or two and she was a swooning mess. Perhaps it should have bothered me to watch my lover so easily seduce another woman. Instead, I found it enticing.

Watching Arys in action was mesmerizing. It stirred my hunger to life as well as my libido. He wasn’t always like this though, a careful predator manipulating his prey into bliss. The things Arys did when he wasn’t with me were far more horrific. Screams, begging and fighting. That’s what Arys loved in a victim. There lies the essence of where we were different. He was a monster who loved every minute.

 “Alexa, my love.” He beckoned me with a finger.

I dropped the woman’s wrist and sat up. At Arys’s command, I joined him near her head, watching as he sank fangs into her throat. Blood welled up from the wounds, spilling down her neck and chest. She moaned, clinging to Arys with a desperation that bordered on fearful.

He disentangled himself from her and turned to me with a devilish glint in his midnight blue eyes. Pulling me into his arms with a demanding aggression, he kissed me hungrily. Blood dripped from his mouth into mine, tangy and hot.

With a low growl I slipped a hand up into his mess of thick black hair. A crimson drop escaped the corner of my mouth to slide down my chin and neck. Arys quickly captured it with his tongue, warm and moist against my sensitive flesh.

I quivered at the sharp sting of fangs scraping over my skin. I wanted him to take me right then and there. He would have gladly done it too but it wasn’t something I was willing to do with a stranger present. Most certainly not one we were using as a food source.

“Arys, stop,” I gasped when he buried his face in my cleavage. “We can’t do this here.”

“Like hell we can’t.” Ignoring my protest, he sought to free me of the tight black top I wore.

I shoved his hands away. “I can’t do this with you. In this place. I feel dirty.”

I left the bed and stood awkwardly near the door. Glancing around the room, I felt suffocated by its close confines. The back rooms at The Wicked Kiss were private enough for those seeking a place for some dirty fun. However, they were no less sleazy than any cheap motel room.

Four weeks, three days and sixteen hours. That’s how long it had been since my wolf left town. Shaz Richardson, the one person that fully understood me. Or so I’d thought. Recently there hadn’t been enough understanding between us. We both had issues we chose to hide rather than share with one another. I had thought it would get easier, him being gone, with the passing of time. I was wrong.

Turning away from the sight of the vampire on the bed with a bleeding, quivering victim, I left the room and stood awkwardly in the hall. I’d been feeling sorry for myself lately. It was ridiculous and time to cut that nonsense out. I had also been looking over my shoulder far more often than usual since a cursed demoness tried to have me killed. Self pity and cowering wasn’t my thing. I was ready to snap out of it.

A scream rang out, muffled slightly by the door I’d just closed. Arys’s devious laugh followed, sending a chill down my spine. I walked away. I had to. I walked too close to the edge when the bloodlust rose. Knowing what he was doing was as horrifying as it was alluring. I clung hard to what remained of my humanity. Every night I felt it slip further away. I could mourn it or I could accept it. I had yet to do either.

Making my way down the hall back to the main entrance to the club, I found myself overwhelmed by the onslaught of metaphysical energy leaking from every occupied room. Sex, blood, violence and pleasure. It oozed through the atmosphere like a metaphysical gas leak. The tantalizing blend of vampire and human essence called to me, beckoning like a wanton lover.

My pace quickened. I reached for the door that separated the nightclub from the back playground. The sound of a commotion beyond greeted me before I turned the knob. I almost collided with Josh as he rushed toward me.

“I don’t know who you pissed off now but we’ve got problems,” he shouted over the noise. The panicked bartender pushed by me, heading for the back exit.

Couldn’t say I blamed him. I’d have loved to vacate too. As it was, the co-owner of the club had been missing for weeks so I was the only one left to deal with this shit. Once I got a good look at what exactly was going on, I wished I’d stayed in the back.

A gang of vampires were happily trashing the place. Like a bunch of delinquents they overturned tables and smashed liquor bottles. However, it didn’t take them long to target the patrons. Total hysteria broke out as they savagely attacked stray humans. People stampeded toward the door.

The vampires that frequented the place as well as the few on my security staff attempted to fight back. They were quickly tossed aside or dealt a death blow that left them in piles of ash and dust.

I leaped into the fray, dodging a flying table and fighting to avoid being trampled by the crowd that rushed against me like a powerful ocean wave. I gathered my power but couldn’t use it with so many innocent people in the crossfire. When I had a clear shot of one of the vampires, I let loose with a psi ball that threw him hard against the wall. Guiding my focus, concentrating hard, I flooded him with enough power to make his head burst.

Sating the bloodlust had honed my senses, sharpening them to a delicate point. I was able to take out another vampire and slash the throat of a third before taking a heavy punch. I would have given just about anything to have my dagger then.

Forged by a demon, the Dragon Claw had the ability to kill a vampire with just a nick of the blade. It didn’t even need to pierce the heart. Unfortunately, it was sitting tucked away in its velvet lined box right where I’d left it. In the trunk of my car. Real helpful.

I stumbled backward and fell gracelessly over one of the lounge style couches. Before I could get to my feet a large vampire with a meaty hand grabbed my arm and dragged me up. I didn’t hesitate, shoving power into him with my focus on his heart. Blood burst from his eyes, ears and nose seconds before he exploded in a shower of dust.

I expected further attack but nobody grabbed for me. The remaining vamps hung back, looking to a shadowed figure standing mostly unnoticed near the entry.

Brook stepped into view, oblivious to the people shoving past him in their haste to escape. The demon’s black wings were hidden from sight by some form of illusion. His eyes were void of any emotion. Brook was a lesser demon, lower on the hierarchy but still no one to be messed with. I’d been brushing up on my demonology since Lilah decided I was a problem that needed taking care of.

“Back off blood suckers,” the demon barked. “That’s enough brainless destruction. Don’t we have something for Ms. O’Brien?”

“Whatever it is, I’m sure I don’t want it.” What I wanted was to kick the ass of the one who sent him. She had been laying low since our last encounter.

“Why of course you want it. It does belong to you after all.” Brook gestured to a vampire who came forward with a box big enough to hold many things. I knew I didn’t want to see what was in there.

The vampire placed the box on the bar, never once taking his eyes from me as he backed away. I couldn’t resist. I focused on him and let go. His head exploded first, his body quick to follow. The sense of satisfaction that followed was short lived.

“Disposable,” Brook said with a shrug. “That’s why she sent them. We came to deliver a message. This is my queen’s territory, wolf. You’re nothing. Not even worthy of the power you have. Lilah needs something from you. She wants to make sure you know she’s intent on getting it.”

With the help of a demon I truly loathed, I had played a part in binding Lilah’s power. She was a demon cursed into the form of a vampire. I had stripped her vampire power, leaving her vulnerable enough for Shya to bind her.

Clearly it had worked. She was relatively powerless, or so it would seem since she had sent another here in her place. Unfortunately, to break that curse, Lilah needed my blood. So here we were.

“Get out of my club.” I held Brook’s solid black gaze, refusing to be intimidated.

“And miss you opening your gift? Now that would just be rude of me.” He gestured to the box sitting untouched on the bar. “Lilah owes you a little payback for that damn binding stunt you pulled with Shya.”

I considered reaching out to Arys through our mental connection, then decided against it. Things were tense but nothing I couldn’t handle. I strode to the bar, keeping Brook in my sight. The stench hit me immediately. Death.

I didn’t pause, didn’t so much as hesitate with his eyes upon me. I tore open the box, knowing what I’d find before I looked inside. I didn’t know who though.

Double take. Then another. This couldn’t be real.

Staring up at me with vacant dead eyes and a look of frozen horror etched permanently on his face, was the severed head of my fellow pack wolf, Zak.

Brook oozed satisfaction. “Consider this a warning. You have something she needs. All you have to do is provide it. Or this won’t be the last wolf.”

He took advantage of my stunned silence. Slipping away with Lilah’s remaining minions in tow, he left me there staring down at what used to be one of my wolves. Hot, angry tears filled my eyes. I clenched my teeth, gripping the side of the box with clawed fingertips.

I’d taken enough shit from manipulative vampires and demons. I had already made the decision to cut the puppet strings that held me. I wasn’t like them, wasn’t one of them. And there was a damn good reason for that. Lilah thought she could play me but she didn’t know me. She had no idea what I was capable of. In many ways, neither did I.

We were both going to find out.

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