Millie had created something dark, and she liked it. She approved of the darkness. She embraced it as she would her own mother.
She herself was dark. She knew this fact. She did not dispute it. She acknowledged it. She celebrated it.
She looked down from the open stairway landing that she stood upon. From that vantage point, she could see the entire space below her. And she marveled at what she had created there. She gazed down through the gothic stair rails at the environment that she had created.
What she had created was an invitation for the dead and those living who wished to commune with them. Only candles illuminated what she had created. Only candlelight was pure enough to light her world.
She looked down on the flame-lit scene and smiled. Bathed in the light was a table, circular, but not quite a circle. It had five sides equal in length, a perfect pentagon.
Each side had a chair pulled up to it. These were highbacked gothic things, upholstered in black leather.
They had cost Millie a pretty penny. But they were worth it. They added to the ambiance that she wished to create.
On the pentagon table sat a table cloth. It was almost completely black, as black as onyx. It was entirely black except for the crimson embroidery work that had been done upon it.
Millie looked down from her vantage point on the stairs. She looked down on this embroidered tablecloth with great pride. She herself had done the needle-work. The crimson pentagram that she had created contrasted nicely with the black fabric of the table cloth, or so she had always felt.
She gazed upon the walls of the room. They had been covered with gothic-style tapestries. These showed various medieval themes. Millie knew that none of them were authentic. They were all reproductions. They were good reproductions. To her this was what mattered. It was the atmosphere that she was trying to create.
Millie was almost completely satisfied as she stood there on the stairs, soaking in the pleasure that came from viewing her homemade lair of darkness. She estimated her internal satisfaction gage was at 99 percent.
She highly desired that elusive last percent. She knew what she would need to capture it.
She would need first and foremost to be patient. If she were patient, she knew that the final element to her room would come into place.
“Patience Millie,” she mumbled to herself. “Just be patient.”
But it was so hard to be patient. Indeed, she felt giddy like a dark-hearted school girl.
She looked at her hands. They were shaking.
She grasped the banister in front of her with both hands. She gripped it firmly. Yet, she still felt the tremors of anticipation running through her like highamp currents surging through the body of an electric eel.
She felt short of breath. She tried to control that. In through the nose, out through the mouth, she thought as she tried to regulate the exchange of oxygen for carbon dioxide in her lungs.
Despite her efforts, she felt dizzy. She must not lose consciousness. She must not fall down the stairs. Such a mishap as that would lend poorly to her goal of becoming 100 percent satisfied.
Slowly, she descended the stairs. Slowly, she more fully engulfed herself in her lair of darkness of which she was the creator. As she descended the stairs, she had the sensation of one descending into a pleasantly temperate pool.
“Patience Millie,” she chanted. “You must remember to maintain your patience.”
No matter how much she tried. She felt unable to control her body. Her lungs continued at the rate of a steel mill bellows. Her heart continued to race.
She imagined her heart beating free of her chest. She imagined it smashing through her sternum as a bullet smashes through a clay target. She pictured this in her mind and giggled. It was a funny thought. She imagined her heart sprinting around the room and touching all the dark objects. Then she suddenly realized that she was doing just that herself. She danced about. She caressed the candles. She stroked the table and chairs. She made contact with everything.
“Calm down Millie old gal. You must have patience.”
On a hook was a robe. She grabbed it and put it on. It was made of shiny black satin and caressed her already excited body, making it even more so.
Under where the robe had been, on that hook was an amulet. This she also put on over the robe. She loved this charm. It was one of her favorite symbols of darkness, a pentagram.
The doorbell awoke her from her giddy self-induced trance. The first of her guests had arrived.
As she went to the door, she felt energized. That elusive last percent had been captured. Actually, she felt her internal satisfaction gage jump to at least 110 percent.
She was barely able to stand. The excitement was overwhelming her. She reached for the door. She turned the knob.
She could hardly contain her enthusiasm as she opened the door. Her first guest had arrived. She welcomed them in.
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His arm came off, and along with it, the sword. Maezy spun on her heel and jammed her blade into the next attacker. She wasn’t in the mood to dance around as they tried to grab her and instead, resorted to ending the conflict as soon as possible.
He crashed to the ground as Maezy yanked out the sword. “There's too many! We have to fall back!”
The world was a frenzy of armor and swords. Metal flashed in the bright sunlight. Elves preferred their swords, bows, and arrows to guns. Keeping to the rules of war etiquette, Maezy used the sword to deflect another attacker. This one, like the last, made a concentrated effort to pull her along with him. Refusing to be kidnapped, which she could only guess was his intention as he deflected her blows and tried to grab her, Maezy took the first opportunity to smash him over the head.
“FALL BACK!” The trumpet sounded as the Captain gave the order.
“Maezy!” The voice calling blended with the sound of another sword thwack!
“Hold on!” Maezy returned, as she parried, thrust, spun, and blocked again.
Sweat drip, drip, dripped into her eyes. The salty sting had her blinking double-time as she predicted her attacker's next move. His other hand reached out to grab her wrist and yank her off balance. With another parry, arm straining above her head, she reached for her belt, grabbed, and shoved her dagger into the heart of the warrior in front of her.
He collapsed without a sound.
Turning and leaping over fallen bodies, Maezy charged into another opponent who was about to strike one of her own down. Stabbing him through the heart, she leapt over his body and runs forward.
“MOTHER!” Screaming and pointing, she rushed to her mother's defense. Striking the new threat over the head with her sword handle, Maezy shoved him out of the way. His sword missed her mother by a breath.
Exhaling her own breath in a long wisp, Maezy helped block a sword thrust from the warrior attempting to behead her mother. “Why isn't your spell working?” Maezy cried.
“I don't know! There must be a counter spell blocking my own. They keep trickling in!”
“We need to fall back to the castle! You’re too exposed out here!” Maezy slashed and skewered several who charged at her and tried to surround her.
More men met their maker.
“Whose men are they?” she called.
“Your father's,” her mother returned.
That explained it. The king wanted her. They should have known he would resort to all out war. Her mother had told her this day might come. Tucked in their own realm, several dimensions away, Maezy hadn’t thought it would be possible for him to find out about her.
“RETREAT! FALL BACK!” The Captain's cries surrounded them and were repeated.
“FALL BACK TO THE CASTLE!” Maezy added her own cry.
Maezy's sword blocked, sliced, and rang out as the troops fell back and surrounded her and her mother. Soon, they were encased in a shield of men and armor. Their men continued to fight and block the Elf King’s men as they retreated.
At the bridge, they crossed as quickly as possible. Shields covered their heads as the enemy realized they were losing ground and resorted to arrows to take them out. Maezy noticed none of the arrows came too close to her.
They want me alive, she thought. Wouldn't father be angry if I was accidentally killed?
“WHAT DO WE DO?” Maezy shouted.
“I'M UNSURE! I NEED TO GET TO A QUIET PLACE TO ASSESS THE SITUATION!” Her mother tossed another fighter away with the flick of her wrist.
“TO THE CASTLE, MEN!” Maezy shouted to the nearest warrior.
They were inside the gates, doors closing even as the last few of their men streamed through. The doors stood open as long as they could before each steel-enforced structure slammed shut in the face of the intruders.
“Inside!” Maezy and her mother scrambled to the front doors, and launched them open. Servants scuttled back, and guards followed. “Keep them out as long as you can. We're going to find out how they came through.”
The Captain nodded and hurried back out the open doors as others took up their posts inside and out.
“Mother, what happened to the protection spell? How was he able to break through?”
“I don't know. I don't know! It's one of my most powerful spells. It should have worked against anything he threw at it. There must be someone else.”
Closing the doors to the library, Maezy returned her sword to her belt and began pacing. “I wonder how he even found us? We're within a whole other dimension! We need to reinforce the spell.”
Her mother sat on the edge of a chair and closed her eyes. Hands out at her sides, she took deep breaths in and out. Maezy watched her, eyes darted back to the door, and tried not to scream.
What can I do?
Spells were her mother's domain. Hers was fighting. She had grown up learning to defend herself for a day like this. The Elf King was a collector. Anyone with a special power he could possess was captured and added to his collection. Maezy didn’t want to be the one he caught next.
“Bring me the book, Maezy, and stop wearing a hole in the carpet.”
Doing as asked, she found the Book of Ancient Sorcery and ran it to her mother. “Should I call the others in?” Maezy wanted to know.
“No, we need them fighting with everything they have while I search for a solution. There’s only one-- No! It can’t be.”
“Mother, what’s going on? What do we do?”
“I have an idea. I don't know if it will work. I may need your assistance.”
Looking up, her mother's blood red lips smiled. “I'm glad you said that.”
After stumbling upon an otherworldly ritual, Kitty Fairlow discovers that her own incredible hunting skills are not merely due to a lifetime of training. She has been gifted powers from an ancient spirit, passed down by her father. She is a Constellation.
And she's not the only one.
A new generation of heroes have each inherited unique abilities in order to prevent the corruption of their world by the Tenebri, a race that thrives on life energy. Kitty, along with a high-born dancer and a snarky juggler, must find their allies before the Tenebri army picks them off.
With the powerful enemy emerging, can the Constellations gather in time to put an end to the threat for good, or will their foe succeed and wreak the same destruction they have unleashed on their own world?
And the town of Ransom is in total chaos…
Just as twelve thousand Vypers are about to descend on Ransom, California, to seek revenge for the attack on Shane, the GSA moves to take over the slayer facility and test their termination program on the supernaturals.
But Hunter’s back and he’s ready to reclaim his city from this horror by any and all means necessary. Now, locked and loaded, he’s determined to kill anyone who gets in his way.
Hunter King will take no prisoners. He will ask no questions. And he will do whatever it takes to re-take his city and protect those he loves.
Vampires. Werewolves. Humans.
They all want the same things: Territory. Autonomy. A “life.”
But which of the factions will prevail?
HUNTER’S HELL is Book Seven in April M. Reign’s Disciples of the Damned, the bestselling series of vampire bikers versus werewolves versus humans in an alternate history California where all supernaturals are controlled by the government. And they are bloody angry about it, too. Don’t miss this exciting, fast-paced science fiction / fantasy / paranormal series with heroes and heroines to cheer for—and villains to die for...
Can Charity be trusted?
She says her name change was to show her commitment to charity, yet she has a dark secret and darker purpose.
Ronald Foster sinks into her clutches after his memories have been ripped from his brain, when his whole existence is in meltdown – and she wants him.
To keep him close she calls on Susie and Dimple, but Ronald has a mission of his own. Faced with his obstinacy, these three women ruthlessly exploit his greed, pride and lust – driving him to murder.
Against the odds, Ronald persists in his quest for vengeance, totally unaware that he’s staked his life on a bet.
In the end, Charity is unmasked and Ronald forced to confront realities beyond his comprehension.
His response is to tell his story – to warn anyone who’ll listen.
'No! I refuse to get on any more of your merry-go-rounds. This has to be a dream … a nightmare.’
‘As you wish,’ she conceded too easily. ‘It’s all a nightmare. Your sleeping imagination has dreamed up a wonderfully elaborate charade, a whole series of charades. Soon you’ll wake up and be back— ah, but where? That really is a question.’
Opening my eyes, I was relieved to see that tonight’s dream was a romantic veranda overlooking a Hawaiian beach and the ocean, and I was curled up in an exquisitely comfortable chair. The salty smell of the surf was pleasant and candles stood everywhere, their flames dancing in the warm night. The stars and the moon were shining brightly, gracing the terrace with an iridescent glow as the breeze flitted softly over my skin, tugging at my buttery-smooth silver gown and my free-flowing hair.
With a thought, a small table appeared near me with a bottle of red wine and a crystal goblet. Sighing in happiness and relief, I poured a glass and sat back, fully intending to relax until something popped up in the corner of my eye.
Entering dreamland had always been a mostly pleasant experience for me, and was usually my escape from the world. Since my powers blossomed on my eighteenth birthday, I had been able to control my dreams except for one little thing…
“Ian!” I screeched at the tall, dark, devastatingly handsome and yet loathsome man who had plagued my dreams at least once a night for five years. My subconscious loved to terrorize me with dreams of him, and though I had often tried to change them, it hardly ever worked.
“Hello, Alexandra. Took you long enough.” A slow smile spread across his lips and I shivered. No one should ever look that good, especially not him.
“Fuck you!” I spat the words at him as I gulped the wine and placed a ring of candles around him with a flick of my wrist, their flames shooting up more than seven feet in the air, effectively imprisoning him. Goddess, it felt good to do that!
“Alexandra, stop being childish. We need to talk.” Ian’s stern tone almost made me obey him out of habit but instead I shook my head, even as his eyes flashed dangerously at me. He crossed his arms over his form-fitting black t-shirt, which hid a tightly muscled chest. I barely stopped myself from drooling. Each time he appeared, he looked even more delicious than I remembered.
“I don’t think so, Ian. This is not childish. What’s childish is my subconscious tormenting me with dreams of you, or you running away and leaving me hanging for five years - don’t you think?” I snapped at him.
Oh, great, I was taunting Dream Ian again. You’d think I’d learn, but I guess not.
The candles around him went out with a whoosh as he strode determinedly to my chair and picked me up, silencing my shrieks and protests with a kiss.
I whimpered against his mouth as his tongue invaded, seeking mine. I wrapped my arms tightly around him. This was the only benefit of having this asshole in my dreams: because he made me feel like no other could, even when we clashed. Although it was just a dream, I melted like butter when his hot flesh touched mine.
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Destiny knows no boundaries in this explosive, epic space adventure of honor and deceit, love and loss and high-stakes battles with vicious foes. Will Aric save his home planet's people, who wait in peril for the young king to return and claim the empty throne? Will Jade prove to his people that she's worthy to be their royal queen?
QUEEN OF CEREN is April M. Reign's third futuristic science fiction romance novel in the Human Alien Species Hybrid (HASH) series.
“You just don’t understand. But you soon will Jake. I’ll not return here until everyone you know and love is long in the ground. My work was almost done. Now I must hope that I have done enough.” Jake noticed a faint blue outline appear behind Smeets as the wind kicked up around him.
The trees whistled and strained as a gust whipped up along the hillside. To Jake, it felt like his ears had just popped as he saw the blue glow strengthen into the shape of a doorway. The big man put his cases on the floor, bowing his head and removing his dark glasses. He spoke as he looked at the ground, the wind blowing his coat around his long legs.
“Do you know why you’re stood here, Jake? This very minute?”
Suddenly unsure of himself, Jake hesitated. “No, why?” he shouted over the roaring wind.
“Because I wanted you to be. You are my gift to a friend. Now I must leave you.” He looked up at Jake, his red eyes penetrating the night. Jake’s mouth fell open as he swayed on his feet.
Smeets took two steps back, turning his head to the blackness behind him. “Enjoy him, Anya, for he is fresh and very healthy.” He walked backwards until he vanished from sight, the blackness swallowing him whole.
Jake took a step forward, dumbfounded. His mind a whirling maelstrom. He stopped in his tracks when another figure emerged from the void. He stared in horror at the figure, dressed in a dirty grey gown that fell almost to her white bony ankles, dark mottled blotches covering her bare arms. Her yellow eyes are searching out and finding Jake, who felt like the earth was tilting at a strange angle.
She smiled at the sight of him, her dirty canines filling her blackened mouth as she moved closer. He tried to move backwards, tripping on a fallen log and crashing into the crook of a small tree. She sensed an advantage and moved to within ten feet of Jake, edging closer to him with shuffling feet. He wanted to turn and flee, back to his car, back to the safety of his house where he could bar the doors from all this. He then remembered his friend who lay dead on his lounge floor.
Not even his house would keep him safe from this. He was brought back to reality as two hands seized the lapels of his coat. He looked into the eyes of the woman as they bored into his. The yellow light seemed to dance like firefly’s, slowly taking away his fears. He welcomed the inevitable. He could almost see himself floating in a red river as her face filled his vision. He was at peace as her hands yanked apart the material of his clothing, exposing the flesh underneath.
Two things happened at that moment.
Firstly, his ears were filled with the deafening sound of her screams. Second, his eyes were blinded by a flash of light from below as he felt the hold on him released. The woman staggered backwards, her hands in front of her face, trying to fend off the piercing light that threatened to engulf her. Jake tried to rub his eyes and blink away the fuzzy shapes that floated in his vision as he suddenly felt a searing pain on his chest, followed by the smell of roasting flesh and burning hair.
He tried to grab at whatever it was that was causing the pain, his fingers touching the pendant that hung there. He pulled his hand away at the intense heat, flapping his fingers in the cold air. The bright light had dissipated enough for him to see that the woman had made it over to the glowing blue doorway between the two trees, one hand resting on the trunk as she tried to recover her resolve.
“Next time we meet, you’re mine,” she hissed before turning to trudge into the blackness.
A hand wrapped around my arm and I was pulled back to sit again. The contact of that hand was gentle, but I could feel the change. Power pulsed through my system. It was happening again.
“Nia, listen to me, okay? It wasn’t your fault,” Kane’s voice said, the olive-green of his aura both bold and calming.
Wait. Aura? How was that possible? I had felt the change, felt my body absorb something just like it had that morning, but for some reason, the colors were still there. My body was filled by a wild strength, as though I had the ability to lift a car off the ground one-handed.
What was wrong with me? What was I?
I'm Dhellia Hunt, princess of the underworld. Daughter of Lucifer and Adana. This is my story.
While on a quest for the other “keys,” Dhellia recovers two artifacts that contain the most dangerous secrets on Earth, ones that could, in the wrong hands, turn the tables between good and evil. Dhellia gears up to prepare to battle “downstairs” in a way that no one ever has--aside from her mother.
Dhellia is a funny, fresh and sassy, fast-paced series about a young woman whose birthright is princess of the underworld—she’s mad as Hell about it, and is determined to use her powers to beat her father at his own game!
"You've come to the Rims. This is the place of High Adventure!"
It all began with One Last Errand (SylverMoon Chronicles Vol V). Before Dungias, before JoJo Starblazer, before the games being played to change the known universe... First there was a single young boy touched by fate.
Orphaned at a very young age, Valian Styrke found himself in a realm far away from where he was born. Adopted and raised by the House Jhormynn, Valian was part of a world to which he never truly belonged. A world that tried to label him - a world that tried to change him.
But Valian kept to his heritage; he maintained his identity and most importantly, he kept to the dedication of courage and honor demonstrated in his parents’ final act... A dedication and loyalty which will be tested time and time again in his quest to become the man his parents meant him to be. In the Inner Rim Empire, there is a paragon of skill and power called the KnighT. Valian is but one hopeful, seeking his place in their number.
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Good journalism, somebody once said, is a nation talking to itself. That’s “talking to itself,” not yelling, screaming, shrieking, talking over one another and engaging
Author: Kathy Coopmans Narrators: Lacy Laurel & Logan McAllister Length: 7 hours and 30 minutes Publisher: Kathy Coopmans Released: Sep. 29, 2017 Genre: Romance Synopsis:
Syntax is the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences. The cumulative goal of sentences in fiction should be to please the reader’s