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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