- The Darkest Seduction
Mine, Disaster whispered inside his head, pride bubbling to the surface and washing through Kane’s entire body.
Yeah, Kane knew these minions belonged solely to Disaster. Long ago, the High Lord had lived in this section of hell, had ruled here, and then had chosen to leave it all behind and escape. And even though thousands of years had passed since that time, the connection hadn’t faded. The minions, or lesser demons, had sensed their leader inside of Kane and rescued him from his attackers.
Currently Kane was perched on a throne of the freshly…excavated bones. Okay, okay. That was a nice way of saying the bones used to belong to the Hunters who’d thought to hurt Kane, and only a few days ago they’d been plucked out. And, when you considered the fact that Kane’s shirt and pants were made from the tanned and leathered skins—because of the heat, the process had been swift—well, a chair of femurs? No biggie.
They were gifts, the minions had said. And like he could really say, “Thanks, but I’d rather have a toaster.” In return, all they wanted was his sperm.
Yeah. That’s right. His baby juice.
Seemed his demon had once possessed a jealous streak and, true to his name, had caused a disaster that wiped his male minions from existence. Only females remained and they were desperate to procreate with their favorite Evil Overlord.
Kane hadn’t had sex in centuries; the act was simply too risky for his partners. So yeah, his body was primed and ready. Gnarled the demon hands might be, but they still stroked and gripped just fine. His mind, however, was so not on board.
“Back up, ladies,” he commanded. He could have been nice about it, sure, but something he’d learned was that demons only responded to strength. Nice wouldn’t get him crap.
Still, he expected a fight. Instead, moans of disappointment echoed and contact ceased. They obeyed him, inching backward. But they lingered nearby, prostrate, still reaching for him, clearly hoping he’d change his mind.
Inside his head, Disaster prowled with purpose, unhappy with the distance. The females belonged to him, they were his right, and he wanted to mate with them. Take, he said.
No. Kane wasn’t the type of guy who could walk away from his kids, even half-demon ones, and that’s what he’d have to do in this situation.
I said no. He’d rather find a way out of here. But every time he stood, and no matter what he said while he was standing, within seconds the females would swarm him, pushing his pants around his ankles. He wasn’t sure whether Disaster had trained them to react so swiftly, or if Kane was just special.
Two things he was certain about. His friends were worried about him, and they were searching for him. He didn’t want them coming down here, risking their lives when his was no longer in danger.
Take one, then. Just one.
Ah, so they were supposed to negotiate now, were they? Well, the answer was still a resounding hell no. But…maybe he could pretend, Kane thought. Maybe if he picked one of the females, got her alone, he’d have a better chance of sneaking out of the cavern.
His gaze skated over the kneeling, writhing bodies. Some had horns protruding from their spines, some had pointed wings. Some had red scales, some had green. Beyond them was the cavern, blood caked on the jagged rocks, fires blazing in every corner, and screams of the damned floating on the hot, sulfur-scented air. When he found a smaller body with no horns or wings, her scales on the lighter side of jade, he pointed.
“You.” If for once in his eternal life, his good luck held, she would be a weak link.
Gasps of surprise. Hisses of jealousy.
“I want you,” he reiterated.
His chosen stood. Her legs were twisted, facing the wrong way. Her feet were hoofed, and when she smiled, he saw a mouthful of bloodstained fangs. Disaster slammed against his skull, bang, bang, desperate to leave him, to touch her, to pound inside her.
Mine. She’s mine!
And just how would the bastard react when—hypothetically—Kane nailed her? Murder Kane, the same way he’d once murdered his own people? Probably. Because if he managed to end Kane’s life, he could remain here, a place he’d once fought to escape but now realized he missed. Sure, if that happened, Disaster would be crazed from the loss of his human host, but the demon would be free to screw whoever he desired, all by himself.
Talk about a messed-up sitch.
Demon Girl limped to the throne, and the wanton gleam in her eyes suggested she intended to climb Kane like a carnival pony the second she reached him, while everyone watched.
Bang, bang. Disaster was on board with that.
Kane shook his head and extended a hand, palm up, to stop her progress. “Nope, sorry. Don’t come any closer.”
A frown pulled at the corners of her mouth as she obeyed.
“Privacy,” he said. Bang, bang. Harder, faster. “I want to…take you in a tent.” He wasn’t sure what verbiage these demons would understand.
“Massster?” Her forked tongue swiped over too-thin lips.
“I will not take you out here.” Or anywhere. Bang, bang. Damn it. His demon needed to settle the hell down. “So, build me a tent.” Bang. “All of you.” Bang. And hell, maybe, with his present run of good luck, he wouldn’t have to wait for its completion. Maybe the females would be so distracted during the building of the tent, he could stomp out of the cavern while yelling, whistling, whatever, and they wouldn’t notice.
“Tent?” she asked, still so clearly confused.
“Yes. I want one. Build the tent now, and you can have babies later.” With someone else.
Most of the minions rushed away to gather the necessary supplies, shoving each other out of the way, but a few stragglers remained behind, staring at him. And by a few, he meant a little over one hundred. He sighed. So, there’d be no stomping, yelling or whistling his way out.
He wished he were more like Paris. Wished he could plow through them—in bed and out—and be stronger for it while remaining emotionally distanced and unconcerned with the consequences.
Of course, then he’d also be a drug addict obsessed with finding the woman who’d tried to kill him, but at the moment, drugs and obsession seemed like a nice change of pace. And damn. When Kane got home, he was gonna be teased mercilessly about his precious seed, his needy harem girls, and his refusal to fertilize their petunia patches.
Bring it, boys. At least he’d be home.
Home… The word echoed through his mind, a wave of foreboding slamming through him.
Something was about to happen, he realized with a twist of sickness. Something terrible was about to happen. A disaster…a tragedy of the worst sort…inside the fortress in Buda, where all the Lords and their significant others lived. His fortress. His demon knew it, sensed it, and in turn, so did Kane.
He was on his feet and running for the exit, not slowing even when multiple females latched on to him and held on for the ride.
VIOLA TRAILED AFTER the gorgeous warrior named Maddox as he carried his very pregnant wife, Ashlyn, up the stairs, past naked portraits of his friends holding rainbow-colored ribbons and stuffed teddy bears. This was the fourth time one of the Budapest residents had foisted her off on someone else, and she couldn’t understand why no one wanted to spend more time with her.
From Lucien to Anya, whom she’d met in Tartarus centuries ago. They’d been cell-block-B mates. Anya had always been jealous of her, of course. Who hadn’t—and wasn’t? Earlier today the minor goddess had pretended not to recognize her, but Viola had taken the lie for what it was. A plea to hear all about Viola’s magnificent life.
An hour later, Anya had handed her off to Reyes and his Danika. Viola was still puzzling over Anya’s parting words to the couple. “Here you go. Take her. And you’re welcome. You won’t need to stab yourself to please your demon for at least a year, Reyes.”
Just how was Viola supposed to have pleased an anguish-happy fiend like Reyes? He was possessed by the demon of Pain, yet she was perfectly…perfect, a joy to look upon and listen to, a veritable fount of shiny, priceless pearls of wisdom, with a keen sense of fashion and a knack for home decorating.
Speaking of those little life skills, she’d already decided to put them to good use. From now on she would be dressing everyone here, as well as redesigning their mansion’s interior and exterior. And she wasn’t even going to charge them—more than a few hundred thou.
Her eyes filled with tears as her hand fluttered to her heart. She was such a giver.
At one time, centuries ago, she’d done something not so giving and sent herself catapulting into a shame spiral, but she couldn’t recall what that something was. She never did. Her demon stored negative memories away, hiding them from her. Anything to continue her love affair with herself. As if she would ever end it.
Anyway. An hour into their conversation, Reyes had handed her off to Aeron’s angel, Olivia. And fifteen minutes after that, Olivia had sweetly suggested that Viola shouldn’t deny Maddox the pleasure of her company. Five glorious (for him) minutes later, Maddox had stomped away, muttering something about finding his wife and Viola could join him if she insisted. So, here they were, headed to the couple’s bedroom.
“I’m sure I could whip up some kind of mechanical chair that would cart your wife around,” Viola told the warrior. He was shirtless, and the crimson butterfly tattoo stretching across his shoulder blades—the mark of his demon—seemed to be scowling at her. “I’m handy with tools, as you probably guessed, and your back is probably strained from her massive weight.”
Ashlyn smothered a laugh with one hand, but she failed to smother Maddox’s snarl with the other.
“She is light as a feather,” he snarled. “I enjoy carrying her. I also enjoy having her all to myself.”
“Okay, but it’s your back’s funeral. In a few years, you’ll probably need a brace.” Oh, yes. His tattoo was indeed scowling at her. A gnarled, skeletal face had formed between the wings, fangs extending from a tiny mouth. The edges of the wings sharpened into daggerlike points, curling toward her.