Erin sat with her back against the wall opposite the open side of her black rocky cell and stared into the hazy fiery distance, watching volcanic vents spewing lava high into the air and listening to the constant screams. She couldn’t remember if it was five days or twenty since the Devil had visited her, but it had been a long time since she had seen anyone.
The other two who had been with the Devil during his visit hadn’t come back to check on her. Someone slid a meal through a grate in the bottom of her door from time to time. She ate only the vegetables, unable to stomach the thought of eating more of the final unicorn in existence let alone the meat itself.
She could have been somewhere more comfortable if she had complied with the Devil’s desires.
He had told her that before storming out of the cell and slamming the door behind him, leaving her alone with the dismembered wings of the last creature who had dared to defy him.
She had felt sick, reliving the Devil ripping them from the demon’s back, whenever she saw them so she had gingerly dragged them to the open side of her cell and tossed them down into the fiery river far below.
She could have escaped this place if she had gone with him. Not the Devil, but the other one who had visited her. At first, she had thought it was the Devil. The man had flown up from the abyss on huge black feathered wings, his wild hair as dark as midnight and his eyes as golden as a hawk’s. The only items of clothing he had worn were a black loincloth covered by tattered age-worn strips of armour and boots that reached his knees and had gold-edged black moulded plates that completely covered his shins.
His sudden appearance had startled her and he had looked so much like the Devil that she had fled to the back of her cell and had done a double take. Only on closer inspection had she realised that this man was different. If it hadn’t been for the black wings, she would have thought him an angel. He had been handsome, but darkness had clung to him, a sense of evil in the twist of his lips as he smiled at her and told her that she could have her freedom if she came with him.
It had tempted her more than the Devil’s offer and she had almost considered placing her hand into the man’s and letting him take her away. Only that lingering sense that he was evil beyond words, as likely to murder her as he was save her, had kept her at the back of her cell. He had hovered near the open wall of her prison, beating his wings and using the rising heat to keep him close to stationary. When she had refused, Erin had expected him to enter her cell and force her to leave with him, but he had snorted, a feral sound that had made her jump, and then swooped out of sight.
She had been too scared to race forwards and see if he really was gone. She had sunk to her backside close to the door of her cell and stared out at the world beyond her prison, wondering what would have happened if she had gone with the stranger. Would he have freed her or would he have taken her to the Devil, or would he have killed her?
His reluctance to enter her cell and the wary glances he had given it had left her with the impression that he hadn’t been willing to breach it for some reason. He had wanted her to extend her hand to him, beyond the boundaries of her prison. That had led her to settle on the idea that if he had entered the cell, something would have happened. What, she didn’t know, and she didn’t care.
She would have her freedom somehow, but it wouldn’t be with the help of a man who had looked like some sort of demonic angel.
Erin rubbed her knees, idly trying to get rid of some of the layers of dirt from her bare skin. At least it was warm in Hell so her scant clothing wasn’t a problem. She laughed at herself, the sound loud and echoing around her cell, jarring with the endless screams that rose up from the abyss.
Was that where the Devil was right now? Too busy tormenting his victims to come and visit her and try to convince her to do as he had asked.
He had told her that she could have her freedom if she would cast aside her sentimentality and kill her sister. Her stomach rolled in response to that memory and she slammed her mind shut against it, unwilling to contemplate such a thing.
Erin buried her face in her knees and hugged them, tired right down to her bones and starving. The few morsels she ate whenever food came through the door weren’t enough to keep her going. Without eating the unicorn meat, she was slowly growing weaker, the effects of the few mouthfuls she’d had wearing off a little more each day. Her throat felt like sandpaper too. The Devil clearly didn’t understand that the constant heat of his hellish realm was dehydrating her.
Then again, did he really care if she died?
She was bait. Whether she was alive or not didn’t matter. Or did it? He had been genuinely angry that she had been held captive for days on end without him knowing and without food or comfort. She could have had that comfort and all the food she could eat if she had only complied with him one way or the other. Play bait or do his work and kill her sister for him.
Erin wanted to do neither. She didn’t understand why the Devil wanted her sister but she didn’t want Amelia to come to Hell and try to save her. She would rather die here and rot in this cell than see her sister come to harm.
She shifted onto her knees, the rough basalt floor cutting into her dirty flesh, and pushed herself onto her feet. Her steps were unstable but she made it to the side wall of her prison and held onto it as she moved forwards, towards the edge.
Hot air blasted upwards from the inferno hundreds of feet below and almost knocked her backwards. It curled around her, blowing the fringe of her straight black hair upwards and stinging her eyes. She squinted and stared out at the unforgiving bleak landscape that stretched around her, all black rocky crags and flaming rivers. Huge black-skinned beasts roamed the land, their dragon-like wings furled against their backs and weapons in their hands. They tormented any smaller creature they passed, bullying it until it either escaped or gave up and cowered at their feet.
She had grown strangely used to the existence of this place and the creatures that dwelled within it, as though she had always known it was real and not the stuff of legend and myths.
Her gaze tracked the demons far below. Erin had watched the comings and goings of the creatures who guarded the prison, trying to figure them out and see if they had any weak spots. They didn’t. Nothing could stand up to them.
Nothing except the Devil at least.
She couldn’t see him amongst the creatures below her.
Erin leaned further forwards and assessed the ragged cliff face. She might have been able to make it down that way if she had been a champion rock-climber. She wasn’t. She was a weak, exhausted and sometimes scared woman who had never climbed anything bigger than a hill, let alone scaled a sheer rock face several hundred feet high.
The door opened behind her and Erin didn’t make the mistake of whirling to face the visitor this time.
She turned slowly, expecting to find either the Devil or one of his cronies come to torment her.
It was neither.
A bloodstained and beaten man wearing tight black jeans that emphasised the thickness of his thighs and a black t-shirt that stretched across the impressive hard cut breadth of his chest stood in the doorway.
He was holding a very big sword.
Had he come to kill her?
She glanced back at the abyss below her feet. What would be a better and less painful death? Falling to this scarlet-haired man’s sword or plummeting into the volcanic river?
“Erin, I presume?” His deep voice wrapped around her and Erin couldn’t miss the concern that laced the weariness and irritation in it.
Erin looked back at him.
He slid the broadsword down his back and scrubbed his hand across several days’ worth of dark growth on his handsome face.
One good-looking man had fooled her already and it wasn’t going to happen again. This man was every bit as lethal, brutal and vicious as the Devil. It was there in his eyes and the way he held himself, legs spread in a warrior’s stance, ready for a fight.
He looked as though he had already been through several battles recently. Now that she looked closer, she spotted tears in his t-shirt that revealed startlingly enticing glimpses of hard packed muscles.
Erin dragged her gaze down to her own feet.
She must have lost it in the past few days. She had finally plunged into crazy, her mind frazzled by her captivity and being in Hell. She had to be insane to be ogling the man who had clearly come to kill her.
“Why don’t you just do it and get this over with?” she said, feeling a spark of defiance ignite in her chest. If she was going to die, she might as well go down fighting.
“Excuse me?” He frowned at her, a quizzical look filling his dark eyes. “Get what over with?”
His dark red eyebrows pinched together. “If you’re not Erin, I might.”
It was her turn to frown. “You don’t want to kill me?”
“Are you Erin?”
“Then I don’t want to kill you.” He stepped into her cell and she noted that he didn’t bother to stay close to the door. If she were entering a cell on a mission to save someone, she would certainly keep one foot in the door in case a bad guy came along and shut them both in. Did he have another means of escape if that happened? He raked dark eyes over her and she shivered under the heat of his gaze. “You are not what I was expecting.”
“Ditto,” she said and shrugged when he looked into her eyes, confusion lighting his again. “I was expecting the Devil to come back.”
“The snide little fucker actually paid you a visit in person?”
Erin frowned at how casually he badmouthed the Devil, as though he wasn’t afraid of him. She stared at the man, taking in his impressive height and build. He was taller than the Devil and much broader too, thick sinewy muscles visible beneath his tight clothing. His biceps were huge, so large she would struggle to wrap both of her hands around one arm. Her fingertips and thumbs wouldn’t touch if she tried. Matching black and red tribal tattoos curled around those biceps, a tantalising peek of a larger design that disappeared under the sleeves of his t-shirt.
Erin found herself wanting to strip his top off to see the rest of it.
She really had lost her mind.
“Are you alright?” He frowned again.
“Just a little brain damage,” she said, trying to make light of everything.
He crossed the black floor and stopped before her, towering close to a foot over her, his immense body overshadowing hers and making her feel tiny. He slid one large hand along the line of her jaw, tilted her head back, and stared down into her eyes.
Erin swallowed. It should be illegal for a man to be so handsome yet so lethal-looking. He screamed danger but she wasn’t quaking under his touch because of it. It was a whole other feeling that had her trembling.
“You don’t look crazy,” he whispered and she added his sultry low voice to the list of reasons someone should stamp him with the words ‘dangerous’ and ‘forbidden’. “Now… all opposed to being rescued, raise your hands, otherwise, I’d like to get the fuck out of here.”
Did you enjoy today’s tease?
Caris Roane is also posting a Teaseday snippet, so be sure to check out her blog and read it!
Her Demonic Angel
A demonic angel with a heart of ice, Veiron walks a dark path with vengeance on his mind. Nothing will sway him from his mission to destroy his master… until he risks his life to enter Hell once more to save a mortal female. The fiery beauty makes him burn with hungers he must battle and needs he cannot deny, tempting him to surrender body and soul to her.
Erin is convinced her refusal to do the Devil’s bidding will see her die in a terrifying realm straight out of her nightmares. The last thing she expects is the lethally sensual warrior who breaks into her cell and awakens the darkest desires of her heart and a fierce longing to know the heat of his caress.
Pulled into an incredible world where war is set to ignite and darkness is on the rise, Erin races with Veiron to escape the Devil’s legions in a journey fraught with danger and filled with passion that flares white-hot.
When Erin is faced with a life-shattering realisation and an extraordinary destiny, will their love give them the strength to battle both Heaven and Hell or will they be parted forever?
You can get your hands on the first book in this series, Her Dark Angel, for FREE right now on selected Amazon Kindle, Kobo and Apple iBooks Stores. Find out more at my Paranormal Romance Ebook Offers page.
If you haven’t had a chance to read any of the books in the Her Angel romance series yet, they’re all available at major ebook retailers and in paperback, and you can find the links and samples of the books at my website:
Her Dark Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #1)
Her Fallen Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #2)
Her Warrior Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #3)
Her Guardian Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #4)
Her Demonic Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #5)
Her Wicked Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #6) – Coming September 21st 2013!