UnholyCravings, page 1
Book 2 in the Immoral Hungers series.
When Soren and Donar escape their hellish prison, their memories are erased and evil threatens to consume their goodness. They find solace in the same woman, a healer who’s lost faith in her powers and the respect of her people. As the men spend time with Tara, they begin to change…each taking on personality traits of the monsters inside them. They try to resist, but when Tara’s life is threatened, the darkness entwines with their human side, transforming them into sexually charged beings who crave so much more than the healer’s soothing touch.
Tara knows she should be wary of the evil inside Donar and Soren, but she craves their erotic interludes, only feeling complete when surrounded by both men and monsters. She wants to help them control their inner darkness, but can only offer peace to one, dooming the other to a life of torment. Who should she choose to save? With each erotic encounter, it becomes more impossible to decide.
Donar collapsed behind the bush and tried to catch his breath. How long did they have to keep running? Any normal human would have given up the chase by now. Then again, they weren’t being chased by normal humans.
Soren, his best friend and twin brother, collapsed beside him and took off his boot.
“Did you see them?” Donar asked.
Sonar shook his boot over the ground until a small rock fell out, then slipped it back on. “They aren’t that far back. I think it’s only a matter of time before they find us.” The moon’s rays shone down through the trees overhead and highlighted the small fleck of a diamond in his right ear. Donar wore a matching earring. They had gotten them as teenagers. It was part of a rite of passage into an elite club of assassins and a bonding experience for both of them.
That life was over, however. Two years ago they had vowed to go legit and had been recruited to be part of a secret FBI unit. Working for the government was supposed to bring some stability to their lives, but instead everything got even more fucked up.
“What do we do now?” Soren asked.
Good question. Donar ran his hand over his face. It felt as if they had been running forever. They needed to get somewhere safe, but where?
“I don’t know. There’s a mole somewhere within the FBI, so we can’t go to them, and goddess only knows where Darien is hiding.”
“Shh…” Soren put his finger to his lips and sat up. “You hear that?”
Donar strained his hearing. “No.” Then it was there, a sound off to his left. He widened his eyes. Footsteps. “Well, fuck me.” How could the deahmans find them so quickly?
“I don’t understand why we have to do this in the middle of the city.” Urian’s voice traveled through the crisp, cool air to where the twins hid. Urian had been their teammate, another agent betrayed by the mole within the FBI ranks. Now he was a monster, a deahman, and his goal was to find and kill Donar and Soren.
“Ah shit.” Soren winced as he grabbed his stomach and shut his eyes.
Donar clamped his hand over his brother’s mouth. “Shh, they’ll hear you.” Please, not now, brother. You’ll get us both killed…
Soren was having another round of pain. The darkness inside them both was eating them alive. If left unchecked, then the evil would consume everything good about them, leaving only emptiness and hate. Then they’d become the very things they hunted, the very monsters that were chasing them now—deahmans.
Deahmans were the things of nightmares, vile creatures of the underworld who wanted to take over Earth and make it as corrupt as their home. Soren, Donar, Urian and the rest of Darien’s FBI team were the only things that stood in their way. That was, until they were captured, tortured and tainted with an evil so strong that none of them could fight it.
Urian had succumbed to the evil inside of him and Darien had vanished. Soren was supportive, but couldn’t make decisions if his life depended on it. He preferred to follow Donar’s lead. It was up to Donar to get them out of this mess and to thwart the deahman’s plans. That was a hefty responsibility for one man. Never before had Donar felt so helpless and alone.
“FBI headquarters is right around the corner, for fuck’s sake. It’s suicide,” Urian’s voice trailed back to them as Soren buckled over into the fetal position on the ground. Donar covered his brother’s body with his own. If Soren started thrashing, then the noise would alert the deahmans and they’d be both dead.
Donar kept his hold tight on his brother as he peeked around the bush. Three humans, all taller and paler than any normal human he had ever seen, walked in a straight line toward a large tree just off the path.
“Shut it, slave,” the leader shouted over his shoulder to Urian.
Urian’s eyes narrowed as he fell in line. His thick, black hair was tied at the base of his neck with a leather strap, and his once olive skin had paled to the color of moonlight. He looked less human, more monster. There was no doubt in Donar’s mind that if he called out to his friend, Urian would kill him on sight.
Donar glanced up at the night sky. The moon had already begun its dip back to the horizon. They didn’t have too many hours before the sun would be back in the sky. The sun’s rays were like poison for deahmans, frying their skin with third-degree burns. Donar and Soren only had to last a little while longer before the deahmans would be forced back into hell.
He looked down at Soren, who seemed to be in the throes of his episode. Soren was fighting it, but the evil presence inside of him was winning. Donar knew through experience that it would be at least another ten minutes before his twin would find peace.
Donar felt helpless as he peeked back around the bush at the deahmans. They didn’t look like a search party. Instead they strode with purpose, as if they all knew their destination. What were they doing here?
Donar gritted his teeth as his own inner darkness rose up in response to the nearby deahmans. He had to stay in control. If he became as useless as Soren, then they’d both be dead for sure.
Urian slowed his steps and looked around. Then another deahman slave slithered up to him. They whispered to each other as they followed their leader.
Donar would give his front teeth to know what they were talking about.
“Quiet!” Urian snapped at his friend. His eyes shone bright crimson and his teeth appeared sharp and foreboding. Donar shrank back at the forceful tone in his former friend’s voice, but it didn’t seem to affect the other deahman. The leader glanced back at the pair, then dismissed them.
“This is all Darien’s fault.” Urian’s voice was just loud enough to hear, and his hatred struck a chord deep within Donar’s soul.
Darien, their fearless FBI leader. Darien, their betrayer—or so Urian wanted them to believe. Donar refused to believe that Darien would be so cruel as to abandon them. There had to be an explanation.
They had descended into hell to retrieve the deahman stone, a relic that held enough evil to obliterate mankind. Instead of destroying the stone, they were betrayed and made into deahman playthings.
It took months for Donar and Soren to find a way to escape hell, but they still weren’t safe.
The deahman leader stopped in front of an old oak tree on the far side of the common. The sun had set long ago and the inky black night settled on the city. No one would stumble out to find them—not tonight.
The leader began to chant. He felt the familiar pull on his psyche, forcing his muscles to relax and his thoughts to scatter. It was a spell to make sure the humans in the immediate vicinity slept. Odd, that. If the deahmans didn’t want to be seen, then why didn’t they just kill the humans in the area? Then again, if those deahmans were half as tired as Donar w
He embraced the darkness inside of him and his inner deahman helped him to resist the temptation to sleep. Being a half-breed made him even more vulnerable than before, it seemed. Donar felt Soren go limp.
“Don’t fall asleep,” he whispered. “It’s a spell.”
“I know.” Soren’s voice was clear, signaling that his episode had finished. Donar straightened and stared at his brother’s eyes. They were still a pale blue, thank the goddess.
Soren sat up and rubbed his temple. “What happened?”
“Shh.” Donar pointed to where the three deahmans had gathered around the old oak tree.
The leader raised his arms and faced at the tree. “Come forth, great spirit, and greet your faithful servants.”
An eerie quiet settled over the park. The leader urged Urian and the other slave to raise their arms and kneel to show respect. Donar felt a strong compulsion to follow the deahman lord’s lead. He resisted the urge to kneel and instead braced himself against a nearby tree.
After a moment, a column of smoke sprung forth from the base of the oak and swirled around the three deahmans. The smoke had the same crimson glow that Donar had seen come from the deahman stone many times before. Urian stood and inched back as it passed by him.
“Kneel, you fool!” the leader roared.
Urian knelt back down as the smoke curled and oozed to the center of the semi-circle. Then it rose up to form a tall column.
The leader put down his arms. Urian and the other slave followed his lead. Donar’s head began to throb with pain.
“What the hell are they doing?” Soren asked.
“I have no idea, but whatever it is, it’s affecting my deahman,” Donar said.
“Mine too. The bastard is running around like crazy in my head. I think there is a presence here that’s calling to it. I sensed it earlier.”
“You could be right.”
The smoke climbed upward, changing colors as it moved from blood red, to a deep blue, to a royal purple, to smoky gray, to finally a brilliant gold.
When it dispersed, a large man—too large to be human—stood before them.
“I don’t like this.” Soren started to back away, but Donar put his hand on his arm to stop him.
“Just a few more minutes. This looks like it’s important.”
“Do you want to die?” Soren asked.
“We won’t die.”
The deahman leader pressed his forehead to the ground. “All hail, most evil one.”
Donar felt an enormous imaginary hand push down on his head, so that he had no choice but to bow as well. He saw Soren bow out of the corner of his eye.
“You disappoint me,” the figure said.
The deamhan lord kept his head to the ground. “It was that human, Darien Lange. He helped the Iatros destroy the stone. This is all his fault.”
“Silence!” the figure roared. “I am all-powerful and all-knowing. You think you could fool me with your deamhan lies?”
“Silence! Stand up.”
The deamhan lord stood, but still kept his eyes focused to the ground.
“You have disobeyed me for the last time. I have not poured my life—my blood—into helping you forge the stone only to have my plans destroyed by incompetence.”
“As punishment, you will lead no more.”
The figure held up his hand. “I have already chosen a successor—someone who knows how the mind of this Darien Lange operates.”
The deahman leader gnashed his teeth. “Tell me. Tell me his name.”
The figure shifted his gaze over the first slave, then focused on Urian. “Names are inconsequential to you now. He knows who he is.” He turned back to the leader. “I have already planted the seeds of rebellion in his mind.” The figure frowned. “Look at me.”
The deahman leader looked up from the ground and faced the large spirit. The figure put his hand on the leader’s shoulder. “You are incompetent, but strong. Your power will go into cloaking the new stone I will forge once all five shards are found.”
The leader’s pale face fell.
The figure laughed. “Consider it a privilege. Not everyone gets their soul fed to the stone.”
“Shards?” Soren asked.
“Shh,” Donar said.
“You’ve disappointed me for the last time,” the figure continued. “Now feel the power that birthed the stone.” He curled his fingers in a come-to-me type of way. The deahman lord’s eyes went wide with fear as his body seemed to move of its own accord. He whimpered as he walked up to the tree and wrapped his arms around the large trunk.
As soon as the deahman leader touched the tree, something in the air changed. A loud inhuman cry escaped his lips as his blood poured out of his ears, eyes and every other opening in his body.
“What the hell is going on?” Soren asked.
“I don’t know.” Donar glanced at his brother. “Your jeans are glowing.”
Soren reached down and pulled a small shard of crystal out of his pocket. “It’s the shard we found back by the portal. Do you think it’s part of the stone?”
“Put it away, you idiot. Do you want them to see us?”
Large flames erupted from the ground and surrounded the deahman leader’s body. The smell of burning flesh stung Donar’s nose. He made a face and turned away, unwilling to watch the torturous display any further.
“What’s happening to Urian?” Soren asked.
Donar glanced back and saw Urian jerked his head up to the sky. A look of pure ecstasy flooded his features. Then he met the figure’s gaze.
“What the…” Donar couldn’t help but stare at the scene before him. What was going on?
The figure’s face softened, and it seemed as if they were conversing, although no words were being spoken.
After a few moments, Urian nodded to the spirit, then stood.
The spirit hesitated and then nodded as if making a decision. Then his fist sliced through the flames and smashed the deahman leader’s charred skull. Donar shuddered as pain exploded through is body. Both he and Soren fell to the ground and writhed in agony.
Then the sensation vanished. Donar scrambled to his feet and peeked back toward the large oak. The flames had died away, changing into an inky black fog. The cloud swirled in the air, then dipped and circled the pile of ash on the ground.
The spirit’s cry shattered the night sky. The mist swirled and oozed around both the spirit and the deahman leader’s remains until it covered both of them completely.
Then the mist continued to swirl and rise, going through the entire rainbow of colors as it reached for the sky. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning came out of nowhere. A thunderous echo reverberated throughout the common as the mist caught fire and spread down the column to the base of the tree. A loud crack fractured one of the roots and the column of mist poured back into the tree.
“Let’s get out of here,” Soren said.
“Just one more minute.”
“Donar, this is crazy. We’ll be caught.”
“One more minute.” Donar shook his head, his gaze fixed on Urian. “Something just happened, something important. I want to know what it is so we can report it to Darien when we find him.”
“Assuming Darien is still alive,” Soren muttered.
Donar ignored his friend and focused on the scene before him. Urian held out his hand. The fire jumped from the tree to his palm and Urian ground his teeth against the pain.
“Fuck,” Soren said. “What’s happening to him?”
“I’m not sure. It looks painful.”
“That’s putting it mildly.”
Finally, the smoke and fire disappeared.
The spirit’s loud voice echoed through the common. “You have been branded in my name and will hence forth be known
Urian grunted and fell to his knees.
“What did that thing do to Urian?” Soren asked.
“I don’t know, but I think I’ve seen enough.” Donar nodded to the swirling circle of color half-hidden in an alley not far from where they hid. “There’s the portal.”
“Fuck, that’s a good two miles from where we entered this world. How does it keep moving like that?”
“According to my research, I learned that the portal comes from a tear in the fabric between hell and earth. The fabric is not stationary, and the tear can move within a certain radius from a power source.”
“By why does it move? And what is keeping it open?”
“For the love of the goddess…Soren, I don’t know. Look, we can stand here and discuss the physics of portal movement or we can get the hell out of here. Can you run?”
“If my life depended on it, yeah.”
Donar snorted. “Let’s go.”
Soren scrambled to his feet and they both sprinted across the last portion of the common, across the street and toward the portal.
“Did you hear that?” Urian’s voice echoed from behind.
“Ah hell, we’ve been discovered.” Donar pushed his brother in the center of his back. “Run faster!”
* * * * *
“Did you hear that?” Urian asked.
“Hear what?” Nergal seemed much more relaxed since that spirit went back into its prison within the tree. The deahman slave seemed almost carefree and optimistic.
“Maybe it was my imagination.” Urian glanced at his hand, examining the tattoo the spirit had placed there. Three sixes intertwined around a stone. It was a sign. He was the deahman leader now.
There was that sound again, a rustling of leaves. Were they spotted? No, their former leader had placed a spell over the area. Urian closed his eyes and felt the ripple of magic around him. The spell was still there, but there was something else too. Urian felt two new shifts in the magic around him. Two energies he hadn’t felt in a long, long time.
Urian opened his eyes and glanced at Nergal. The deahman nodded and drew his sword. He had heard it too.
by Suzanne Rock have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes