Protecting humans is the Bringers’ duty. Sending demons to the Shadow World is their pleasure.
In one night, Ravyn’s life plunges from barely tolerable to deadly. Forced to flee the only home she’s known, she stumbles headlong into the clutches of Icarus, a powerful demon intent on stealing her powers. Unfortunately for him, she has no intention of cooperating.When Rhys realizes the woman he’s rescued from the Bane Demon is no mere human, his obligation as a Bringer dictates he protect and train her in the ways of his people. But he’s unprepared for the intense desire he feels for the fiery Ravyn. To surrender to his need may mean her death.
As the Demon King’s desire for ultimate power escalates, fathers are slated against sons, and foes are made allies. The Bane threat upon them, Rhys and Ravyn must quest to unite the last of the Bringers—and explore a passion too powerful to ignore.
Menda Abbey, Itta Territory, Inness
One Thousand Years after the Bane War
The demon’s gaze narrowed. “Let me see her.”
Beautiful and horrifying, Icarus moved toward Brother Powell with frightening grace. Sinewy muscles rippled under taut, black skin as he prowled toward the crumbled wall of the abbey. His leathery wings scraped the tree branches overhead and waves of ebony hair, banded with rings of gold, cradled two spiraling horns that jutted upward.
Powell glanced away, refusing to gaze into the mesmerizing, reptilian eyes.
The demon’s deep purr poured over him. “What troubles you, Brother? Are you not happy to see me?”
The monk ignored the question and swiped the cold rain from his eyes. He held the hissing torch higher to reveal a young woman. She stood unnaturally still, compelled by the monk’s hypnosis—a spell taught to him by the demon. Her thin shift clung to her bony frame, and her dull eyes stared ahead. Angela had been lovely once, but like so many, she hadn’t been woman enough to withstand the honor of his attentions. They never were, always crying and pleading to be left alone. Lucky for them, the Demon Bane preferred their sacrifices pure.
“This is not what I asked for.” The deadly calm of Icarus’s voice belied the danger of his statement. “Where is the other woman—the gifted one?”
“In her cell. She doesn’t trust me.” Powell stroked Angela’s limp, blonde hair. “But she’ll not be able to resist the cries of her closest friend.”
“For your sake, monk, I hope you are right.” Icarus held out his hand. “Come to me.”
The compulsion whispered past Powell, sweeping across his skin with the promise of pleasure. He slipped his hand under his robe and adjusted his erection.
The demon’s call slithered toward Angela and wrapped around her like a sensual net. Before the force could ensnare him as well, Powell released his hold and backed away. She glided forward.
He watched, immobilized with morbid fascination. Her progress faltered when she reached the holy ground’s boundaries. He leaned toward Angela, willing her to cross the invisible barrier.
“Come to me,” Icarus repeated.
Weak of mind and body, she lumbered forward through the opening in the wall and away from the protection of the abbey’s sanctified ground.
The demon stood before her and grasped her frail arm. With the smooth curve of his talon, he caressed Angela’s cheek.
She didn’t move.
Powell cringed, excited and repulsed at the same time. He ached for a taste of the power Icarus would give him one day.
“So pure,” Icarus crooned. He trailed his talon down her neck. “So sweet.”
Powell squeezed his holy medallion, its ornate embellishments biting deep into his skin. The pain kept him present and protected against the call of the Bane, a call he wanted to answer. Riveted, he held the torch higher, trying to shed more light on the black demon.
Icarus slid his claw lower, coming to rest between Angela’s breasts. His energy pulsed and reached for its prey. The compulsion grazed Powell’s mind. The medallion slipped from his grasp, the chain catching on his fingers to hang loose. Forgotten.
“Awaken, little bird, and let me see your fear,” Icarus whispered.
Like a parting veil, Angela’s deadened expression cleared. She gasped, frozen by the sight of the towering demon before her. She twisted and fought for her freedom. Bare heels dug into the soggy earth, but the slick grass provided no traction. Icarus jerked her hard, his hold unbreakable.
“No!” Her scream shattered the silence of the night, its echoes hanging in the air like a heavy mist.
He pressed his fingers against her heart and pricked her delicate skin.
She convulsed, her strangled cry dying in her throat. With whispers as soft as the lightest breeze, the silvery essence of her soul sighed and bled from her body. Gossamer threads slithered around Icarus’s hand like small, white snakes, encircling his arm and swirling along the planes of his rounded biceps in an achingly slow, erotically sublime dance. The demon tilted his head and closed his eyes. Angela’s shimmering purity crept up his neck and hovered at his lips. He inhaled and drew her in, stiffening as if in the throes of passion, absorbing every delicate wisp.
The intimate union between predator and prey mesmerized Powell. He crept forward, forgetting the danger. The seductive and deadly act held a perverse beauty. Powell stroked himself, dragging the rough material of his robe over his erection, losing himself in The Taking. Time had no place; the tap, tap of rain on the leaves the only disruption brave enough to break through the reticence of the night.
When the sparkling vapor faded around her heart, Icarus retracted his talons and released his hold. Angela’s body slumped to the ground, dead. He stretched and smiled, his fangs glimmering in the torchlight. “That’s better.”
Powell’s heavy breathing punctuated the quiet. His body quivered from the demon’s feral presence. As the pleasurable effect began to fade, he opened his senses and scrambled to ingest the lingering scraps of Bane essence. Its pure power raced through his body and filled his veins with an intoxicating fire.
Icarus bent and scooped up Angela’s body. Four powerful strides brought him to the abbey’s border. He heaved his burden at Powell. The monk shrieked and jumped back, his euphoric haze evaporating. Bones snapped as the body landed in a crumpled heap at his feet. Bile rose in his throat. For a fraction of a second, remorse pawed at him, but, just as quickly, the sentiment disappeared.
“Bring me the other—now.” Icarus’s wings unfurled and stretched behind him. “Do not fail me, monk.” He crouched and pinned Powell with a yellow stare. “Or I won’t be as kind to you as I was to the girl.”
Powell glanced at the broken body at his feet and swallowed hard. Meeting the demon’s stare, he nodded.
With a powerful leap, Icarus launched into the sky and was instantly swallowed by the darkness.
Thanks for stopping by! Boone