The Desolate Ch. 11


The area known as the Bottoms was probably the worst in the city. Thrun had been built millennia ago by Midreno demons for the then king. The current king of the demon world was the brother of Marous’ sister Aureliana’s mate. The queen of this world was a healer Marous had known for centuries. The Dardaptoan people had been relocated to the city of Thrun for two reasons. One, the former occupants–a nasty breed of red demons known as the Rhacshas–had been annihilated from this city when they had tried to kill Aureliana. And two, it was the only city built for a creature the same size as the average Dardaptoan.

But the Bottoms were the dredge of the city, and where the filthiest of the Rhacshas had once lived.

That Iahanna’s people, young vulnerable females, had been consigned there sickened him. And his mate lived near the Bottoms?


“It is worse here than I feared,” Havrich said. “I have not brought Iahanna back here since she recovered from the demon attack last week.”

“You will not be able to keep her away much longer,” Adric said. “Her House will want its Equan back soon.”

“She is healed, but…I will get her House moved out of the Bottoms and to my own territory in the city. This…this is an abomination. None of our females should be housed here.”

“It has been our father’s task to police and maintain the Bottoms. It is obvious the old bastard has greatly failed in his duties.” Adric said. “Perhaps that should be the mate’s rights tasks I put before him?”

Adric’s Rajni Miranda had been assaulted by their father when the older male had knocked her down nine stone steps simply because she got in his way. Dardaptoan law gave Adric the right to set the punishment for the attack against his Rajni. He had six more weeks to decide how the public punishment was to be set.

“Someone needs to,” Havrich said. “There. That’s Iahanna’s home there.”

Marous felt sick just looking at it. The outside of it was in great disrepair, but someone had spent time cleaning up around it. There were Woald yellow curtains fluttering in the breeze. Flowers, once again Woald yellow–Woalds had always had great plant affinities–lined the walk. But it was small and dilapidated and not fit for the head of one of the most ancient of Dardaptoan Houses. What had happened to Iahanna Woald was a travesty in itself. “You will be addressing this with Sebastos, correct?”

Theodoric Sebastos was the final decision maker on matters of justice for the Dardaptoan people. But the fines levied against the Woald House for Uruses’ treason were a travesty themselves. Levied by none other than Sebastos himself.

No one understood why.

Havrich had a battle on his hands.

The Desolate Ch. 9

Iahanna chased him away, and M.J. appreciated it. She was so tired. Since coming to the demon world, she’d either been tired, hungry, wet, hurting or terrified. Or any combination thereof. Now she was confused, as well. “You sleep. When you wake is time enough to decide on the future. It gets here no matter what we do to delay it.”

“Sometimes, Iah, I’m convinced you’re an old woman.”

“Hardly. Thirty-eight, last birthday.”

“You Dardaptoans are so weird. Not sure I’ll ever figure any of this out.”

“I’m still trying. Sleep. I won’t let him cause you any trouble. At least not until you are ready.”

M.J. thought that sounded like good advice. This time when sleep threatened to take her, she let it.

When she woke Iahanna’s cousin Cayri was there next to her, Iahanna was at the foot of the bed, and there was a redhead with corkscrew curls and green eyes peering down at her.

“Who are you?”

“Who are you?”

Damn. They even sounded alike, didn’t they?

The other woman looked down at her from green eyes identical to the ones M.J. used to see in the mirror. When she had a mirror. Caves didn’t run to such luxuries as mirrors.

“Miranda. Used to be Taniss. Now I guess it’s Adrastos.”

Miranda. “Wow. You look pretty good for a kid who died twenty-four years ago, little sister.”

The green eyes widened. “Excuse me?”

“Guess what? I’m your big sister, and I thought you were dead.”

“Really? So you know about Teagan, too, then?”

“Teagan. Three years older than I am. Supposed to have died as a baby. But you never could trust what dear old Dad said. Mom, though…she thought you were dead. And Teagan. And Reagan and Thea and Rhea. We’re not all that unique, you know? He kept her caged for more than fifteen years, just making babies for his little games.”

“So how do you know all of this?”

“Because he let her keep me. Until he wanted me for his stupid games and Mama told me to run. I ran.”

Miranda wrapped her fingers around M.J.’s. “I didn’t know how it happened, but I grew up in foster care. I’m sorry for what he did to you. To her. Teagan…Teagan lives in the werewolf world with her be-winged boy-toy and their children.”

“Because I was thirteen when I finally got away. Before he could kill me or give me away like he had the rest of you.” Thirteen when her mother had told her he’d figured their secret out, had found them again. And when her mother had sacrificed herself so that M.J. could live.

Her sister.

Her sister stared down at her.

M.J. started to shake once it sank in that she wasn’t alone in the demon world anymore. Still, she didn’t have a clue what to do with this woman next to her. Or if she even wanted to do anything with her, honestly. She’d seen the woman a time or two–they’d inhabited the same general territory, and the girl had always been hunting rocks or something crazy along the river. They’d never spoken before.

She’d been afraid to even consider it. If she had, would it have made much of a difference?

But what was she supposed to do now?

She was no longer human. And she didn’t have a clue what that meant.

Or what was about to happen.

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.


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. 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.

Next Post: The Desolate Ch. 2