Bridgette replied “Yeah, I mean, it would be totally weird for one to transform into a 1960’s Black Ford Mustang and try the same dumb trick in nineteen ninety-eight as it probably pulled back in thirteen ninety-eight. I mean, seriously, they would have to modernize their game.” Sophie shrugged and said “Well I would think incorporating the car to be a pretty nifty adaptation. Besides, Kelpies have more important things to think about than keeping up with human toys.” Bridgette cocked her head to the side and asked “Really? Like what?” Sophie’s face grew dark as she said “Like the drainage of the wetlands to make room for mini-malls, the destruction of the forests for corn-fields, the murder of innocent animals for sport, the rape of resources for convenience, the never-ending backwash of putrid chemicals flushed into their homes… oh, Bridgette, a Kelpie, like all fairies, has a great deal things more important to consider than finding new ways to trick men to their death when the old ways work so well.”
Sophie took a step towards her and her teeth clenched. Her black hair began to move and wave as if it had a mind of its own. Bridgette’s eyes widened in fear. Sophie said “All of the Kelpie’s problems, Bridgette, have a singular answer. A simple, singular answer. The easiest way to end terraforming, clear-cutting, hunting, desolation and pollution is to simply end mankind itself.” Bridgette’s heart began to throb in her ears. Sophie’s eyes grew so dark as to turn black. Soon they became entirely black with no cornea to be seen. Sophie’s flesh and clothing began to melt and shimmer growing black as oil in color with a sheen to match. Sophie continued “You ask too many questions but I only have one.” Sophie held up a hand and her fingers began to bend backwards against their joints. They waved and waggled in a tentacle-like fashion. Sophie slung out her hand towards Bridgette and it elongated with incredible speed. Before Bridgette could even react, it wrapped the long, black, tentacle-like fingers around her throat. Sophie said “Did you actually think you would be walking out of this bathroom alive after challenging me?”
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Anxious, Shariel scrambled up the hill at a brisk pace. Soon her muscles burned and her lungs ached. Afraid to stop, she scolded herself for being lazy during winter.
Pebbles skittered down from a high boulder and startled her into a crouch. She slipped a dagger from her boot and gripped the blade. Two pointed ears and a head popped over the boulder.
She released pent up breath. “Chacka! I should’ve known it was you.” The silver wolf stared down from a rocky perch as his glistening white teeth formed a canine grin.
Shariel climbed to his level. “Don’t sneak up on me like that. My nerves are all jittery since I imagined someone watched me near the village.”
Chacka sniffed the breeze and rotated his ears. Hackles bristling, he stared down the mountain trail.
“My imagination’s working overtime,” she chattered unaware of the wolf’s defensive posture. “I’d lay odds we’re in for a storm. I get spooky just before a big blow, but a spring storm shouldn’t last long.” Shariel wiped her forehead and eyed the woods. “Why does your mate hide? Haven’t you told her I’m a friend?”
Chacka kept his head low and menacing, a deep growl rumbled in his chest.
“She’ll learn to trust me.” Shariel climbed the trail, talking. The wolf stayed nearby until she reached the cabin, and then he melted into the forest shadows.
Shariel shouted, “Bye, Chacka. See you later.”
“Talking to your wolf again?” Aunt Bess stood in the door. “Don’t you know wolves would just as soon eat you as say howdy?”
Shariel grinned. “If Chacka ate a human, he’d pick one who doesn’t like him.”
Bess laughed. “I’m too tough to be appetizing. Did you get everything?”
I'm Dhellia Hunt, princess of the underworld. Daughter of Lucifer and Adana. This is my story.
In an attempt to balance her father’s unruly attitude “downstairs,” Dhellia steps forward to represent a soul at his trial by fire against Lucifer and his demons—a decision she trained long and hard to attempt on her own. But as good and evil get closer to a global confrontation, Dhellia owns her powers, hones her skills and puts herself in harm’s way in order to save those in the line of fire. What she discovers is that life isn’t always fair and some will stop at nothing to see her fail.
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!
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.
I'm Dhellia Hunt, princess of the underworld. Daughter of Lucifer and Adana. This is my story.
Being princess of the underworld has its perks, but being imprisoned for all eternity with undesirable duties cast upon her is not one of them.
When Dhellia runs away from home, she never expects her father, Lucifer to become her brutal enemy.
Little does she know that when she abandons her birthright to the underworld, it comes at a heavy price. Fighting for her life and on the run, Dhellia must discover powers she never knew she had to survive.
“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.
The moisture in the air condensed into droplets, then began to whirl. It danced for me, like the water wanted nothing more than to bring joy to me.
I stared. It was me. The water had answered my call. I had asked its help and it had answered me happily, like an old friend.
“I am the Gray One,” I whispered, my mind and body in perfect accord with the earth.
How could I have forgotten something so wonderful? Water, air and stones were my friends. I had missed their company.
He turned his eyes to meet mine through the water and a small smile came to his lips. “You are far more than I ever imagined you could be,” he said and sat forward, his elbows on his knees. “My magic, mixed with Fenrir’s, as well as the magic you inherited from your parents makes you—”
“A weapon, I know,” I interrupted, unwilling to listen to him.
I quickly flagged down one of the casino workers—I swear to you that it seemed to be a requirement for employment at this hotel that the women all had to look like they’d just stepped off the photoshoot for the latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue—and the platinum blond pixie cut, would make any man quickly forget the throaty beauty in the café, whose name I didn’t bother to read smiled and pointed in the direction of the blackjack tables.
I hurried over, hoping to find Charlie, and grab onto the one lifeline I could count on to help drag me back from the edge and make some sense out of whatever the hell was going on. It wasn’t hard to find him at all once I got to the area; his booming laugh at some joke he’d just heard was a welcoming beacon to my ears.
When I got to his table, the first thing I noticed was a ridiculous number of chips piled up around his area of the table. Much like I had seen at the baccarat table earlier, it looked like everyone at the table was doing well but Charlie’s stack was approaching Mount Olympus in size. He was good at this game, I easily admit, but not that good. No one was.
The second thing I noticed was the enchanting young Carrie—still in her hotel uniform but her nametag was now gone—draped on Charlie’s right arm and looking like she was there to stay. That wasn’t the least bit ridiculous at all. He was good at that too, as I’ve mentioned before, and he really was that good in that arena.
“Hey, Pete,” he exclaimed when he saw me. “Pull up a chair and join us.”
“Not right now thanks,” I said. “Hey, I think they got our bags mixed up and one of mine is in your room. I was hoping you could let me in so I could get it.”
That seemed to me to be a perfectly reasonable explanation to get Charlie out of the casino where I could talk to him without any unwanted eavesdroppers. Unfortunately, my lifeline went and threw me the anchor and sank my plan in less than a heartbeat.
“No problem, buddy, here’s the key.” He flipped his room card in my direction with one of those Friday night goofy grins of his face that I knew all too well. “Just leave it in my room. I don’t think I’ll be needing it.”
Somehow, Carrie managed to snuggle even closer to Charlie than she had before. Even as I snagged the tumbling card out of the air, I tried to come up with some excuse, some pretense to get Charlie up and moving. But something in both of their expressions told me that it wouldn’t matter one bit what I said or did next. Charlie wasn’t moving from that chair anytime soon and when he did, he wasn’t doing it just to go off somewhere with me.
I’d lost my wingman, my lifeline and maybe my only hope of figuring out what had happened to us. Charlie turned back to the table, and his new girlfriend, without so much as another word in my direction and I stumbled away without any direction in mind other than to get away from the creature who’d once been my best friend.
Before I realized it, I found myself in an abandoned area of the casino, empty chairs stacked around a few unused card tables and standing face to face with Liz. How long she had been watching me, how much she had seen, I simply did not know. But there she stood with an odd, sad look in her eyes.
“Aren’t you going to ask me how you can be of service?” And I am sure there was more than a hint of bitterness in my voice, certainly more than she deserved to be on the receiving end of.
“No,” she replied without reproach for my tone. “At this moment, Mr. Childress, you are looking for any exit that will lead you back to the outside world. I simply can’t help you with that. All I can suggest to you is this—perhaps you are looking for the way out of here in the wrong direction.”
“What does that mean?” I asked in confusion.
Something from behind me suddenly caught her attention at that moment. Her eyes quickly flickered to whatever it was for a brief moment before returning to meet mine.
“Your room opens up to the central park,” she said after a moment’s pause. “We see so very few of our guests ever bother to go out and fully explore it. Perhaps you should visit it. You may find it to be peaceful and relaxing.”
She moved suddenly then, as if to walk past me without another word. But just as she drew even with me, her lips just inches from my right ear, I heard her whisper in a tone almost too soft for me to hear.
“You might even find it very enlightening, Mr. Childress.”
Then she was gone, moving on into the casino to engage some of the other guests in conversation. As I turned to watch her walk away, I noticed what it was that had distracted her earlier, what had appeared to make her suddenly cautious not only in what she said but how she appeared while saying it.
Standing out there in the middle of the casino, clearly scanning the crowd for someone in particular, was the hotel’s manager. But before he could look over in my direction and take notice of me, I darted toward a much darker area of the casino and eventually made my way back around to the entrance without him seeing me at all. For a reason that I could not put a logical explanation to, I suddenly had a very strong urge to be as far away from that man as I could possibly get myself and do it as quickly as I could.
Even within the seemingly limited, but very gilded, confines of this nightmarish trap that I found myself in.
Juliet Adams is as normal as an Oregon thunderstorm, but working as a nurse allows her to live vicariously through the past adventures of her favorite patient, giving her hope for her future. However, when her fiancé dumps her six months before the wedding, that hope crumbles.
Brokenhearted and in dire need of support, Juliet gives into her sister’s request and agrees to spend a week on the coast. Unable to escape the reminders of her loneliness, she stumbles upon a mysteriously glowing cave and an equally mysterious man.
This chance encounter with the magnetic Marsh Darrow sends her on a whirlwind adventure, filled with myth, legend, and creatures beyond imagination. As her idea of normal falls apart, Juliet discovers an inner courage that shows her she is more than she ever dreamed— the prophetic key to a war that centers around centuries-old secrets.
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Utopia by Thomas More Narrator: Douglas McDonald Published by Cornerstone Studio on 06-23-17 Genres: Classics Length: 4 hrs and 19 mins Format: Audiobook Source: Publisher