The Desolate Ch. 6

Iahanna understood the fear in the younger female’s eyes when she looked up at Marous. He was certainly one of the most imposing of her mate’s brothers. He stood near seven feet and was thicker than most of his brothers. And it was all muscle.

For a human girl like M.J. he had to be a little bit terrifying.

She didn’t know the full story of how the human had ended up in the demon world, but she suspected there were more out there. For some reason, when the wolf god had brought a bunch of Dardaptoans to the demon world, he hadn’t been able to discern between them and humans with extra gifts.

It was going to take someone a while to find all of those poor humans and ensure they were completely safe.

Somehow.

She easily sensed M.J. was tiring, but the other female wasn’t about to let that show. M.J. was not very trusting, and it had taken her a while to warm up to Iahanna. If they hadn’t had such terrible things happen out in the streets of Thrun—they ran into each other at least weekly over the last five months—then they possibly wouldn’t have been as friendly as they were.

The demon world wasn’t exactly welcoming to those who did not fit in well with the Dardaptoans.

She knew that from bitter experience.

Iahanna was the head of the House of Woald, the most despised House in the Dardaptoan Kind. More weeks than not she had people making that fact known to her.

She had barely healed from her own bruises.

“M.J., I know you will have a difficult time believing me, but you are safe here. In the Great Hall. No one will ever hurt you again.”

“Wait a minute, Iah…did he say I died? I sure as hell don’t feel dead. Am I…undead?”

 

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The Desolate Ch. 5.

She had green eyes. Not gold, like a Dardaptoan, but green. Her hair was dark brown and long. She was small, barely bigger than Iahanna—the smallest Dardaptoan female he had ever seen—and skinny. She had almost no curves to speak of.

She was the most beautiful female he had ever seen.

He wasn’t too thrilled with the idea that she was here in the demon world, though. She had been human. She should have been safe back in America. Or wherever she came from.

Not here in the demon world where the three hells were about to erupt and possibly wipe every realm out completely.

And he would be at the front of the fight.

He was Adrastos, and that was his way.

Which meant this poor girl would face the war every single day. It wasn’t exactly what he would have wanted for his mate, was it?

**

Vampire guy must have taken a real knock to the head. M.J. was pretty well stunned into silence—for once—and she just stared at him as Iahanna lectured him on the proper way to treat a female. Especially one who’d been through what M.J. had. She appreciated the other woman’s defense, but, well…

Iahanna looked small enough for the vampire guy to eat if she made him mad enough. “Iah, I’ll deal with him. I don’t want to make trouble for you.”

Iahanna had enough troubles of her own. The second time M.J. had met the other woman a big dude with a black scarf had cornered Iahanna and was trying to force her to…well, he didn’t succeed. M.J. made sure of that with a big stick upside the asshole’s head.

She and Iahanna had kept an eye out for each other when they were both on the streets together, but still respected each other’s space.

Although Iahanna had offered to let M.J. live with her and her cousin, Cayri once.

But M.J. hadn’t wanted to be a burden on the small group of mostly women and children who were dependent on Iahanna to lead them. She wasn’t raised to be a burden.

She was actually raised to keep her head down and always moving.

Well, the demon attack had stopped that, hadn’t it?

Iahanna patted her hand once. “Do not worry about me, M.J. This is one of my Rajni’s brothers. He will not hurt me. Nor will I let him hurt you.”

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The Desolate Ch. 4.

M.J. opened her eyes to something far different than her little cave in the demon woods. For one thing she wasn’t shivering in her thin blankets, hoping the small fire she’d lit was still burning—matches weren’t exactly prevalent in the demon world—or stiff from sleeping on those blankets spread over a cave floor. She’d been in the process of gathering enough leaves and grasses to make herself a bed, but her allergies didn’t like grasses in the demon world either. There wasn’t much else available for her to use.

And she wasn’t alone. Someone held her hand. M.J. looked at the blonde woman quickly. She relaxed slightly, seeing the woman who had did that healing mumbo-jumbo after the first demon had nearly nabbed M.J. “Iah.”

“Well, fine mess you’ve gotten yourself into this time. Demons just seem to love you, don’t they?”

“What can I say? It’s my charm…” She shifted carefully on the bed. Her arms burned, but…not as bad as they had earlier. “So…what’s the extent of the damage?”

Iahanna hesitated. “M.J.—“

“Ok. What did I miss?”

“You died. And we had to convert you to Dardaptoan. You have no business being here. How did you get here and why didn’t you ask someone for help?” A harsh male voice asked from some other side of the bed.

“Marous!” Iahanna glared at him. M.J. turned her head and there he was. The vampire who’d fought off the green demon. “Not now!”

“Who are you? And what business is it of yours?” M.J.’s mother hadn’t raised her to be a coward in the thirteen years she’d had with her. This vampire guy wasn’t going to scare her.

But…M.J. figured they knew. Cat was out of the bag, so to speak.

He leaned over the bed and she struggled to not scoot away—even if it had been possible. He was big and dark and strong and male—and had fangs instead of canine teeth. Not to mention the way he glared down at her. “I’m your Rajni. And you are never to put yourself in that kind of danger again.”

“My what?”

“In your terms and under Dardaptoan law, I’m your mate. Your new husband. And you will never do anything so foolish again.”

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The Desolate Ch. 3.

M.J. knew she was in deep trouble. And she probably should have stayed in her little subterranean home today. The demon had followed her into the library and had her trapped against the back wall. She screamed an instinctive response when the demon’s claw sliced too near her face.

There was nothing in the library for her to defend herself with.

And she had nowhere to run.

She knew exactly what was about to happen to her—she was going to become its lunch.

M.J. scooted along the back wall, hoping there would be some place she could escape. She suspected it was futile, but she wasn’t a quitter. She wasn’t about to just lie down and let this thing kill her. She’d fight until she took her very last breath. Period.

M.J. pulled her arms up in front of her face when the demon slashed again.

This time his claws sliced into the flesh of her arms.

M.J. screamed again.

**

He was too late. He knew that the instant the demon cornered the girl and attacked. No mere female of any Kind could withstand the claws of a karscasun demon. He’d battled his fair share when he’d been a predatoi, tasked with protecting the Dardaptoan Kind—inspiration for the human vampire legends—from rogue demons who would slip into the Gaian world and hunt humans for food.

But there was always a slim chance.

He refused to let fear keep him from his task. He attacked.

Within moments he had driven his sword through the beast’s heart and was turning back toward the female on the library floor.

“Come, we must get out of here. The library is cursed according to hose who would know.” He stepped closer to the female. She was small, dark-haired and covered with blood. Human blood. Which meant she was mortal.

He cursed and scooped her up gently.

Two months ago it would have shocked the three hells out of him to find a human in the demon world, but his brother Adric had found his Rajni—his mate—in a human girl who’d been mistakenly brought here by the Lupoiux wolf god.

The girl cried out and he tightened his hold on her, wishing he could take the pain away.

He ignored the weeping and the injured and the dead and hurried toward the Great Hall. There would be healers there, though the city of Thrun could not support the full power of a Healer’s Hall, but there would be healers inside. With his family.

He bellowed for the healers the moment he entered the heavy doors.

A small blonde wearing Healer blue and a pale yellow hasha around her waist ran up to him.

“She’s human.”

“Get her in here.” She placed a hand on the girl’s cheek and turned her face. “It is M.J. I have healed her before.”

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The Desolate Ch. 2.

Marous Adrastos battled the demons with the skill of the warrior that he was. It was the fourth demon attack on the great city ran by his cousin Nalik in two weeks.

There had to be a reason for it.

The last attack had focused on the center of the city near the library and had almost taken his brother Havrich’s mate, and their sister Aureliana’s babe. Something was building in the demon world they’d all been relocated to. And it wasn’t going to be good.

He dispatched the last green winged beast with a thrust of the sword he’d inherited from a cousin long since gone and turned to see where he could make himself useful again. He was Adrastos, and he would not stop until the fight was at an end.

Somehow the battle had pushed him closer to the center of town, toward the cursed building that had once been the library. His brother Rion’s mate had almost died inside it during a previous demon attack.

A flash of dark hair caught his attention.

A female, slim and dark-haired, was slipping between the two broken columns that mostly blocked the entrance. Nalik should have had it boarded up completely, but apparently someone didn’t have a problem defying the orders of one most powerful beings in any of the eighteen realms. Was she that foolish?

A karscasun demon slipped into the library behind her.

He was a Dardaptoan male, and it was his duty to protect and defend every female in need. He did not hesitate to follow.

The library was a large cavern filled with the remnants of the city’s former occupants, who had been gone a long time. Books were decaying everywhere. Vines prevented him from seeing the girl at first.

But he heard her.

He cut the vines separating him from her with the sword in his hand, his heart beating ten times as fast as it had just moments before when he could have died at the hands of demons.

It was her.

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The Desolate: Ch. 1.

It was a dark and nasty and pitiful and horrific kind of night and I was minding my own business, walking across the campus of the best vet school in Indiana when something jumped out and nabbed me. I didn’t have a clue then what had happened and even now, six months later, I’m not certain I know any more than I knew then…

Meghan Jane Taniss, formerly known as M.J. to the people she’d left behind in the human world, stared at the paragraph she’d typed into the screen of her laptop and did an internal happy dance. It had taken her five months to find a power source for the computer but thanks to some yellow and purple stones she’d found near the Demon River a week ago, she had finally found a solution. Who knew that the small rocks the size of strawberries would conduct a weird type of electricity when placed close enough together. As long as the rocks formed a complete circuit by touching, she could create a crude power system. She’d been working on the rockattery in her spare time for well over a week. She’d scavenged the parts she’d needed from the area when no one else in this strange demon city had been looking and she was finally pleased with the results. She’d just wanted to be able to power up her laptop again. That was all. Not like she expected there to ever be internet in the demon city of Thrun.

That was so not likely to happen.

Thrun was a city straight out of a sci-fi/fantasy novel, complete with towering buildings unlike any she’d ever seen, vampires populating the city—both during the night and the day, dispelling that particular myth—and demons walking around like they owned the place.

Big, sexy, sex demons who sometimes didn’t take no when a human-in-hiding gave them that answer. She’d barely escaped with her clothing intact the last time she’d been unfortunate enough to have a run in with an Incubus demon.

She figured it was best to just keep her head down and her fingers inside the vehicle at all times.

Hiding out was her new motto. She’d had to become damned good at it over the last six months.

Ever since some weird guy who claimed to be a wolf swooped over head and yanked her into another dimension.

It was a wonder she hadn’t been eaten by now.

She’d come too damned close to having just that happen one time too many.

She looked at her arm, at the still healing rip and the bruises that surrounded it.

Some demon had tried to cart her off to his lair. She wasn’t certain what he’d intended to do with her once he got her there, but she could probably figure it out.

Sex demons populated this world, after all. She’d either have ended up in the demon’s bed—or in his soup pot. Some of the demons ate human, and like it or not, there weren’t all that many humans floating around the demon city Thrun.

In fact, she’d met two. Two women around her own age who’d had the same thing happen to them. They kept to themselves, same as she did.

She didn’t know where they hung out and they didn’t know about the little cave she called home just on the outskirts of the city. It wasn’t much, but it was her home now. It had two caverns, one much smaller than the other, and a small stream flowed through the larger. She had fish and clams and a weird looking type of lobster—sometimes dinner was delivered right to her door. Grains and vegetables were easy to pilfer in the fields that surrounded the city.

If she was careful. Sometimes she wasn’t.

Sometimes hunger just got to be too much.

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