Eros Dexter, a demon who has been living among humans for the past year, is summoned back to Nethermore by the Queen, his mother. Word has it that Eros has been a good boy on the Earth’s surface, befriending humans and also mating with one, and she’s not happy. Eros denies everything until a battered Warren Ambers enters the Queen’s chamber. Eros had ended things with Warren seven months ago to protect him from Eros’s family, but he never stopped loving Warren.
Now he must save Warren before his mother can get her claws into him.
First Warren Ambers was held prisoner by vampires, then he’s whisked to Nethermore, only to find out he’s the Queen of Nethermore’s intended concubine.
Things get worse when he sees the only man he has ever loved, Eros Dexter, standing by her side. Apparently, Eros isn’t human and he’s the Prince of Nethermore.
Eros tells Warren that he still loves him and will find a way to save him from his mother. But can Warren trust him? The last time he did Eros broke his heart. What will happen this time? Will it only be heartache Warren suffers, or something much worse?
Warren Ambers’s entire body ached, from the arches of his feet to the top of his head. Even the ends of his hair throbbed with rawness if that were even possible. He tried to focus his eyes on the darkness enveloping him. He could hear the being’s heavy breaths. He could smell the stench of sour milk and vinegar.
He knew one of the vampires who had held him hostage for the past six months was nearby, waiting, observing. He sensed him but for the life of him he couldn’t see him in the cloak of blackness.
The carriage he sat bound in kept rattling and shaking manically when its wheels rolled over obstructions on the cobblestone road, like large rocks or bumps. His body slammed against the side of the carriage or the back of the wooden rest whenever it happened, which amplified the pain coursing through him.
Where the hell were they taking him and why were they transporting him in a carriage and not a car?
As if on cue, a deep, resonating voice said, “We’re almost there.”
Warren jumped when he saw the red embers of Rex’s eyes as he peered at him in the pitch darkness from only a few feet away. Warren hadn’t expected him to be the vampire his senses had picked up and he certainly hadn’t guessed he was so freakin’ close, either.
A haunting chill rolled over him and he gasped. Of all the vampires in the Draco clan, Rex and Oscar frightened him the most.
Ever since they invaded the home Warren shared with his parents and brother Vincent six months ago, these two vampires had inflicted pain and misery on him and his family. They had bitten and fed on Warren’s parents before kidnapping him and Vincent. He quaked in his shoes any time they were in his vicinity.
They were the most conniving and taunting of the clan, the evil brains behind the group and their operation. Rex and Oscar enjoyed seeing the look of dread in their eyes and especially of anger and loathing. They obviously relished provoking them for their pure entertainment.
At least Vincent had been able to escape yesterday.
He had found the rusty screw wedged in the brick wall in the basement of the farmhouse the Draco clan had made their lair and had used it to fray the rope tying his wrists together until he broke free.
Vincent had then untied Warren and they had made a run for it. Unfortunately, Warren had sprained his ankle in the attempted breakout. Two vampires caught him and brought him back to the farmhouse. Vincent, though, had made it to the road and escaped. At least Warren hoped and prayed he did.
If he had, then he’d come back when he could to help Warren escape. If the tables were turned and it was Warren instead of Vincent who had escaped, that’s what he would be trying to do as soon as he could.
The Ambers brothers were ten months apart, Vincent being the older sibling at twenty-nine and a half, while Warren was twenty-eight.
Ever since they were toddlers they had been inseparable. Their mother always commented, with a hug, kiss, and a smile, that even though ten months separated them in age, they were as close as identical twins and she couldn’t be happier. She knew they’d always be there for one another when it mattered most.
Tears welled in Warren’s eyes and he brushed them away. That happy memory of his mom and the one six months ago, as she took her last breath after Rex finished feeding on her, clashed in his mind and wrenched his heart. He missed her so much.
“Ah, are those tears I see for your brother?” Rex asked in mock sympathy.
Warren didn’t reply. He simply turned his gaze away from the evil red glowing eyes that studied him.
“Vincent won’t find you, you know.”
Panic made Warren’s hair stand on end. How did Rex know what Warren was thinking, that he hoped and prayed Vincent would find him? Trying desperately not to offer Rex any more pleasure in seeing him shocked or frightened, Warren attempted to steel his emotions.
“We’re already far away from the farmhouse and soon, once we cross the barrier, he’ll never be able to find you.”
Warren was fighting the urge to ask him where he was taking him and what type of barrier was he talking about. He knew Rex was pushing him, egging him on. But Warren wasn’t going to let him get under his skin.
Rex took a big sniff. “Mmm, I can smell the fear pumping in your blood.” Warren heard Rex’s stomach growl. “I want to feed on you now, but I can’t.”
Rex, Oscar, and several other vampires in the clan had been feeding off of Warren and Vincent ever since they had been holding them captive.
The vampires had offered Warren and his brother vitamins and blood as nourishment, not food, in all the months they had kept them prisoners. They claimed food would taint Warren and Vincent’s blood and would make them sick when they fed on them later on.
“Eleanora won’t be pleased if I deliver you in a weakened state,” Rex added.
Unable to keep his silence any longer, Warren asked, “Who is Eleonora and why are you taking me to her?”
“Eleonora is the vampire demon witch queen. We were supposed to deliver to her two hybrids in exchange for weapons and immunity, but now that one of the two has flown the coop, she won’t be happy.”
“Vincent and I aren’t hybrids. We are human.”
A long, gaunt face formed around the red glowing eyes as Rex came closer and the faint rays of light seeped into the carriage. He sneered, his pointy fangs perching over his full lower purple lip. “You were human. Now you’re not.”
A low rumble deep in Rex’s chest turned into a chuckle as it rose to his throat. “Oscar and I lied to you and your brother. That rats’ blood we claimed we were feeding you all of this time was really a cocktail of vampire and demon blood, along with the blood of many other creatures of Nethermore.”
Nethermore was the land inside the Earth’s core where the Heavens had banished all creatures of abomination—vampires, demons, titans, and any other evil mystical entity folklore and legends were made of.
They had been condemned to live in Nethermore for all eternity up until the man-made virus and plague Omega X-12 came along many years ago. Almost two thirds of the human population had been erased from existence when the plague reached all the corners of the world, affecting everyone.
Only a little over a third of the population survived and built an immune system against the virus. After the population had dropped drastically, the barrier dividing Nethermore and the earth’s surface was opened, allowing some, not all of the creatures from below to rise to the surface to procreate and repopulate the earth.
In a shaky voice, Warren uttered, “You’re lying.” Though deep in his heart he feared Rex was saying the truth. Because what would he gain with this lie now?
Rex inclined his head laughing hysterically. His chest heaved with his movement, and then he shook his head. “No, Warren. You see, Eleonora wanted special hybrids she can use as concubines to mate with and produce offspring. She paid us a hefty sum and offered us weaponry and immunity if we conditioned two fertile human males for her. We of course chose you and your brother. The moment we learned of you two, we knew you’d be the best specimens, considering how virile and good-looking you both are.”
“No, no!” was all Warren could say. His body and lips were slowly becoming numb.
“Yes, yes!” Rex countered as his eyes fixed on Warren’s and his nostrils flared as he breathed deeply.
Then Rex rumbled. “We’re almost in Nethermore. But I can’t take it anymore. The smell of cortisol, the stress hormone, in your blood is intoxicating. And I haven’t fed all day.
“Eleonora will be pissed, but then again we are just delivering one concubine instead of two already. What will my feeding on you beforehand do? Her wrath will come either way, anyway.”
Licking and smacking his lips together, Rex drew closer. Warren was unable to move thanks to Rex’s hypnotic stare.
Just before Rex’s canine vampire fangs pierced into Warren’s neck, he said, “One last bite for old time’s sake.”
About the Author:
Jordan Ashton is a writer and wife whose passion for reading romance novels led her to writing them, too. She believes love can conquer all and that it makes the world go round, not money. Her heroes, heroines, and the worlds she creates bring this belief to life. She is and will always be a true romantic at heart.
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