This week in my Talking Tuesday post, I had the task of posing questions to Thorne, one of the demon kings in my Eternal Mates series. Now, grab yourself a hot beverage and lets take a look at his paranormal romance book, Claimed by a Demon King.
The moment the demon King Thorne of the Third Realm set eyes on the mortal huntress Sable, he knew she was his fated one. The fiery, dangerous female awakened hungers he had never experienced before, a dark craving and passion that has consumed him in their time apart. As the lunar cycle wanes, she enters his world again and nothing will stand in the way of him claiming his forever with her—not the relentless assault from the Fifth Realm or the dark elf male determined to seduce her out of his grasp.
Intent on achieving the coveted position of commander at Archangel, Sable leads her small team into the dark underworld and the Third Realm, to a war where her allies are the very creatures she normally hunts—vampires, werewolves, and demons. Her eagerness to lead the deadly mission has everything to do with winning her promotion, and nothing to do with the kingdom’s brash, lethally seductive demon king—a king who stirred fierce desire and wildfire heat in her with just a look and an innocent touch when they first met, and has been in her wicked dreams ever since.
As the gathering storm between rivals unleashes irresistible passion that flares white-hot and the heat of the battle brings life-shattering realisations, can Sable place her duty before her heart? Or will she surrender to her deepest desires and be claimed by a demon king?
This pulse-pounding and passionate paranormal romance is available in…
Now how about an excerpt from this passionate paranormal romance book!
Sable checked her weapons for the millionth time, a light morning breeze playing in her long black hair, causing rogue strands from her ponytail to flutter over her shoulder as she stood in the middle of the training ground in the courtyard of the elegant sandstone building that was Archangel’s headquarters in London.
She ran her fingers over the twin rows of small throwing blades strapped to her ribs beneath her arms, the leather holster laying them flush against her tight black t-shirt, and expelled her breath. It wasn’t a sigh. She wasn’t nervous.
It wasn’t. She wasn’t.
She had been telling herself those two things on repeat throughout the endless briefing she had endured, trying not to let her senior, Mark, and the high-ranking staff notice her nerves.
Not that she was nervous.
Eager to get going. Excited about the prospect of taking command of a unit of hunters for the first time in her life. It was a big deal and an opportunity she wasn’t going to squander. Archangel had chosen her to lead a team of fifty into Hell to the Third Realm to assist in the Third King’s war against the Fifth Realm.
Her belly fluttered.
That was definitely nerves. Not something else. Not a reaction to just his name whispered in her mind.
An image of the brawny demon king flashed into her head, sending fire rushing through her veins. Intense dark crimson eyes. Wild russet brown hair. Rough masculine features. Shoulders so wide that they made the biggest of her hunters look scrawny and muscles that bulged beneath bronzed tight skin.
Not to mention those rich brown horns that curled from behind his ears and that lopsided grin.
He was six-feet-seven of Heaven and ruled a realm in Hell.
Sable expelled another breath. Not a sigh. A girl had to breathe.
Several of the male hunters near the front of the group were studying her.
She cleared her throat and finished her weapons check, using it to push Thorne out of her head.
It had been growing increasingly difficult to keep the brash demon from her thoughts over the past month and almost impossible to lock him out of her dreams. Heat burned up her cheeks and she dropped her head, turning it slightly away from her team so they wouldn’t notice her blushing like a schoolgirl. She checked her folded compact crossbow and the quiver of bolts attached to her belt, trying to focus on them in the hope it would shove Thorne to the back of her mind. What was wrong with her?
Get a grip.
She shut down her emotions one by one, locking them back in place and restoring order. This was a mission. Her chance to secure the rank she had desired for so long now, ever since she had joined Archangel. There were only a handful of commanders in the entire organisation and she wanted to be one of them.
Sable lifted her head and pinned her team with a deadly look. “Fall in.”
They responded immediately, forming five neat rows of ten before her. They were the cream of Archangel’s hunters in London. While that was a good thing, it also meant that they were highly experienced and used to working alone. If she didn’t exert some authority and failed to lead them well, they would branch off and fall back into old routines. That would prove disastrous.
None of them were familiar with Hell.
She only knew the elf kingdom herself and only had Prince Loren of the elves’ reports on the demon realms to go by, but he made them sound like forbidding lands filled with creatures liable to chew mortals up and spit them out before they could even think about drawing a weapon to defend themselves.
If her team didn’t act like one and work together, none of them would make it out of the place alive.
She was damned if she would lose a single hunter on her first mission in charge.
“Listen up,” she barked and they snapped to attention. “We don’t know much about the situation we’re heading into or the territory of the domain. We will need to be on our guards. We know from intelligence given to us by the elves that the kingdom known as the Third Realm has been under attack from the one known as the Fifth Realm for the past twenty-one months. The Fifth King seeks to defeat and absorb the lands of the Third King, and the Third King has asked for our assistance.”
Sable pointedly looked at all her hunters in turn, ensuring she still had their attention. A few women at the back shifted foot-to-foot. She couldn’t blame them for being nervous. They were all of fifty mortals heading into a demon war, but they had back up. Prince Loren was bringing a whole legion of elf warriors and they would work together on the battlefield.
“I don’t need to tell you how important this mission is on many levels. This is an opportunity to form an alliance with the Third King and to gain intel on the realms and political landscape of Hell.” She still couldn’t get her head around that. Hell. She had popped in and out of the elf kingdom there several times over the past month, but that realm didn’t look like Hell in her eyes. It looked like paradise—lush, green, and beautiful—an oasis surrounded by darkness on all sides. “Anything you think is important for Archangel to know about, you document it and report it to me or to Evan, and I’ll gather the information and pass it on to Archangel. We’re to assess the threat level of every species we meet. The more information we can bring back from this mission, the better we’ve done. Understood?”
They all nodded.
“We’re leaving as soon as our transport arrives, so prepare yourselves.”
Sable turned away from them and blew out another breath, trying to expel the tension cranking her muscles tight. She rolled her shoulders and flexed her fingers, and resisted the temptation to perform another weapons check.
Some of the hunters broke away from the main group, heading towards the stacks of black ribbed metal cases and luggage. She had placed Evan in charge of their equipment. As the most experienced hunter in the team, she trusted him one hundred percent with the task and with his role as her second in command.
The tall blond man motioned to the five men he had taken with him to the cases and they began checking everything against the list on his tablet one more time.
Sable paced, hoping to work off at least a little of her tension before Loren arrived with his elves. She really didn’t need him noticing that she was wound tighter than he had ever been during his courtship of her best friend, Olivia.
She could do this. Mark had told her as much before she had left his office barely an hour ago. He wanted to give her the title of commander and this was her test. She wouldn’t fail him and she wouldn’t let anything stand in the way of her achieving that rank.
She had busted her arse over the past month, working twice as hard as normal in order to convince Mark and the senior staff that she was the perfect candidate for the role of commander on this mission.
It had absolutely nothing to do with getting a pass into Hell and seeing Thorne again.
Not at all.
She was going because she wanted the position of commander.
A familiar female voice cut off a deep male one and Sable smiled as she turned to glance across the courtyard.
Their transport was arriving. Scores of elves dressed in their tight black scale-like armour appeared before her eyes, the air shimmering around them. Prince Loren led them across the courtyard towards her, his long strides eating up the distance and his left hand resting on the hilt of the black sword sheathed at his waist. His black eyebrows knit into scowl and his purple eyes darkened.
The slight brunette beside him shook her head, causing her long chestnut hair to sway against the shoulders of her dark t-shirt, and waved him away. “I’ve told you a million times, Loren… I am going on this mission.”
Loren’s lips compressed into a thin line. Olivia was trying her mate’s patience again. He looked ready to grab her and teleport her back to the realm of the elves and leave her there.
Olivia had a mean stubborn streak though and that was another reason why Sable had been eager to win this mission. Olivia was her best friend at Archangel and she didn’t want her friend in the firing line during a war, but having her there was necessary. They needed a doctor on hand to take care of any injured. That and Sable needed the moral support of her friend on this mission. She would go crazy without her.
“Olivia,” Loren started and then seemed to think the better of whatever he had intended to say and scrubbed a hand over his face instead. He threw Sable a pleading glance.
Sable shrugged. Helping him was above her pay grade. She couldn’t overturn a decision made by Mark and the board of senior staff. Loren scowled again and turned back to his mate, speaking in a low voice now.
Sable glanced at Bleu as he strode to his prince’s right, meeting his green gaze. It was strange seeing him in better control of his emotions than Loren was, able to retain a more mortal appearance, concealing his normal purple irises and pointed ears.
She smiled at Bleu as Olivia began to rant.
Bleu raked long fingers through his wild black-blue hair and gave her a warm smile in return.
“I am going whether you like it or not,” Olivia snapped at Loren and then softened. “I know you’re worried but I’ll have you there with me, and Sable too. Archangel assigned me to this mission as the medic and to research any new species we encounter… and you know both of those things are very important to me. So I’m going and that’s final.”
Loren looked as if he had just lost a war. His shoulders slumped and he let out a long, weary breath. “Very well, Ki’ara.”
Bleu shook his head. “Olivia, you sound more like my sister every day.”
Olivia didn’t look sure whether that was a compliment or not. Sable had seen Bleu often over the past few weeks. He had visited Archangel whenever Loren had and Loren was rarely away from Olivia when she was working.
The dark elf commander was a great sparring partner and had helped Sable step up her game during their training matches. She was glad he didn’t hold back when he was fighting her.
Well, he didn’t hold back much. She knew he wasn’t going all out on her and in a way, she was glad. She had seen him fight and part of her knew she wouldn’t stand a chance against him, even if her pride wouldn’t allow her to admit it.
The only time Bleu hadn’t been with Loren was when his sister had returned to his family home for a rare visit. Bleu had disappeared like a shot. Sable had asked about this elusive sister and Loren had informed her that Bleu had only one sibling, a younger sister, and that he was forever getting her out of scrapes, but that only seemed to make him love her more dearly.
The indulgent and amused twinkle in his eyes at times made Sable feel that he was beginning to view Olivia with similar brotherly affection. It would be nice for Olivia to have family again after everything she had been through.
Sable idly rubbed her right wrist, her thumb caressing the stylised black cross on the inside of it, and tamped down the dark thoughts that threatened to rise and ruin her mood.
“Is everyone ready?” She checked her assembled team and then the elves. Loren had finally given up trying to convince Olivia not to come on the mission and was speaking with Bleu and several of his men. He motioned towards the crates and baggage, and a group of elves broke away, heading towards them.
The rest of the elves made their way over to her team, one for each member. A few low giggles broke the silence as the female hunters in her unit met the tall, darkly beautiful male who would be teleporting them.
Sable sighed this time. “Rein it in. This is a mission, not a Club 18-30 holiday. Remember that.”
Her hunters jolted to attention and nodded as one.
Sable just hoped that she could remember it. Whenever she thought about seeing Thorne again, she got the jitters. Stupid of her considering she had only met him once and for little more than a handful of hours. It hadn’t stopped her from desperately trying not to hang on every word whenever Loren had spoken of the demon king. It wasn’t like her, but she couldn’t help herself. Something fundamental inside her had changed the moment Thorne had barged into her life.
Thorne met often with Loren to discuss their arrival and arrangements, and to keep him abreast of the situation in the Third Realm.
Loren relayed everything to her.
It hadn’t satisfied her in the slightest. Loren never said how Thorne was coping with everything or how he seemed to him.
She wanted to know how he was doing and wanted to see that he was still well, and still the same brash male she had met a month ago. Of course, she refused to admit that to Olivia whenever her friend pressed her about Thorne, and her friend had pressed a lot over the long four weeks.
Sable had denied everything, refusing to admit that she couldn’t stop thinking about the demon king.
She couldn’t get that moment in the cafeteria out of her head. Thorne had teleported them back to Archangel after they had defeated Kordula, freeing Loren’s brother Vail from the bitch-witch’s spell. Thorne had stood with his hand on Sable’s arm, as if he couldn’t bring himself to let her go, and had stared at her for so long that she had ended up lost in his crimson gaze. He had opened his mouth to speak, had turned frustrated about something, and had teleported out of her life as quickly as he had come into it, leaving her confused and curious.
What had Thorne wanted to say to her?
Whatever had been balanced on those firm sensual lips, she wished he had just come out and said it because it had been driving her completely crazy. She had found herself pondering it at the strangest times. Dangerous times. A hunt was no place to lose track of your surroundings. That moment kept invading her head though, replaying in infinite detail, every shift in his body language and expression captured perfectly. With each replay, she found herself wanting to know more than ever what he had meant to say.
The first chance she had, she was asking him about it.
Sable grimaced and reminded herself again that she was going to Hell on a mission, not just to see Thorne. This was about the mission. This was about her future with Archangel. This wasn’t about the big, rough, demon male.
She jolted when someone took hold of her arm and looked up into Bleu’s eyes. Flecks of purple broke through the green, slowly taking over until not a trace of emerald remained. His violet gaze narrowed on her and he moved closer, towering over her, a vision of dark beauty and lethal grace. His lips parted, flashing white daggers at her. His fangs were down. The tips of his ears turned pointed. He had shaken off his mortal guise, revealing his true nature.
“Ready?” he murmured, his fingers lightly flexing around her arm and his gaze locked intently on her.
Sable blinked herself back the courtyard and nodded.
Her world disappeared in a swirl of cold black shadows. She closed her eyes against it. The heat of the sun on her skin gave way to the icy chill and then became a blast of moist warm air. The shrouding silence of the portal shattered under the explosion of grunts and roars and the metallic clang of weapons clashing.
The scent of morning became the odour of blood.
Sable snapped her eyes open and her heart leaped and pounded, quickening her blood and preparing her body.
The first thing she saw was Thorne shirtless and swinging his enormous broadsword at an equally massive bare-chested warrior. His opponent blocked with his own blade and growled, flashing huge fangs as he swung a meaty fist. The blow connected with Thorne’s right cheek and he stumbled, grunting as he struggled to regain his footing and ready his blade to defend himself.
Sable’s hand instantly went to the folded crossbow at her side and she flicked it open, pushing away from Bleu at the same time. Another immense demon attacked Thorne before he managed to right himself and the dagger sliced across the Third King’s thickly muscled right shoulder.
Thorne roared and finally launched himself at the males, taking them both on at once. They weren’t alone. The wide oval courtyard of the dark stone fortress was in pandemonium. Sable counted at least two dozen demons, all focused on him with their weapons drawn and at the ready. No other fought on his side.
The sight of him standing alone against so many adversaries, bleeding from multiple wounds on his torso and arms, brought a red haze down over her vision.
Sable launched herself into the fray just as one of the males attacked. Her heart raced, pumping adrenaline that made her feel high as she reached beneath her left arm, slipped her fingers into the rings on two of her throwing knives, and hurled them with deadly accuracy at the warrior. They nailed him in the left of his broad chest and his shoulder, and she didn’t give him a chance to recover his focus. She loosed a barbed dart from her crossbow at him, reloaded in the space of a heartbeat, and shot the other male now attacking Thorne.
The barbed dart embedded into the demon’s left thigh and he grunted, his eyes glowing crimson as he turned his attention on her. Good. She had to give Thorne a moment to recover his wits and get back in the fight.
The warrior stomped towards her, blood pulsing down his leg with each step, turning his black leathers slick and shiny. He growled, his top lip peeling back off his fangs, and shook his head. His dusky horns curled further, forming a loop and flaring forwards into twin dangerous points near his cheekbones.
Sable made a mental note to avoid them and drew the short blade strapped to her other thigh, ready to fight him. He swung the moment he was within reach and she ducked beneath the long silver blade, rolled forwards and came to her feet behind him. She slashed up his back, her knife splitting tanned flesh and scraping over bone, and grinned as he arched forwards and roared.
The thrill chasing through her blood increased, consuming her, driving her to keep going and embrace wildness it unleashed within her. She had been born to fight monsters and she felt it now more than ever as she faced off against the enormous demon males, swiftly calculating their every move before they could make it, ready for anything.
Sable grabbed a bolt with a thick cylinder on the end from her quiver pouch. Explosive dart. God she loved these things. She loaded it onto the small crossbow and swung to her left, aiming at the group of males storming towards her.
She grinned and pulled the trigger.
A large bloodstained hand clamped down on the weapon, grasping it and holding the bolt in place.
Sable growled in frustration and released her crossbow, leaving it in the demon’s hand. She thrust hard with her blade, blindly stabbing at her new enemy.
The huge male grabbed her wrist before she could drive the cold steel into his flesh. The tip pressed into his muscular chest and she froze when she realised it was Thorne frowning down at her, his rough masculine features crinkled in confusion.
“You seek to harm me, Little Female? I thought we had discussed this before?”
His deep gravelly voice washed over her and his thumb caressed the inside of her wrist. Sable trembled. The hot shivery ache rolling through her increased in intensity as he tugged on her wrist, gently drawing her closer to him, his red gaze holding hers, commanding and powerful. She couldn’t break its hold on her. She tilted her head right back, lost in his eyes as he towered over her, making her feel small and weak, vulnerable to him.
Sable dropped her blade, the clang of it hitting the stone slabs beneath her feet jarring in the thick silence. She breathed hard, firmly under his spell and unable to form a response.
She had forgotten just how gorgeous he was and how his presence lit her up inside like fireworks on November fifth.
“Well?” Thorne cocked his head to one side and a hank of wild red-brown hair fell down onto his bloodstained brow.
Sable slowly shook her head and forced words up her dry throat and past her lips. “I was trying to help.”
A smile worked its way onto his firm lips and he flashed short fangs. “That is very kind of you… but I do not require your assistance to spar with my men.”
Sable inched her gaze towards the demon males to her left. They had all stopped and were staring at her. She looked to her other side, at her team and the elves, and cringed. None of them had moved. She alone had leapt into the fray.
A blush burned up her cheeks before she could stop it. Thorne canted his head again, raised his free hand and lightly brushed the backs of his short claws across her left cheek. She shuddered under the gentle caress, her pulse quickening for a different reason as the heat burning inside her exploded into wildfire. She had to get a grip. This was a mission.
“Did you believe me to be under attack?” he husked in a low, quiet voice that sent a fierce shiver through her, cranking up her temperature another thousand degrees.
She couldn’t bring herself to look at him. She nodded, and admitting it left her feeling like a fool.
“And you came to my aid?” Had he moved closer to her? His breath washed over her cheek, moist and hot, smelling faintly of something sweet and the coppery tang of blood.
Sable nodded again.
“You are but a little mortal female… yet you desired to fight all these demon males in order to protect me?”
When he put it like that, she couldn’t stop herself from blushing harder. She had reacted on instinct but the tone of his voice and the way he drew her closer still, until she could feel his heat rolling off him and over her, told her that he thought she did it because she felt something for him.
She cleared her throat, finally locked down her emotions and found her voice again, and even the courage to lift her gaze to his. “Not out of favouritism or anything. I’m here on a mission and that mission entails protecting you and your kingdom from demons. I saw you battling a score of demons and I did my duty.”
She twisted her hand free of his grip and hated the sharp disappointed edge his eyes gained. It made her feel like a bitch. She grabbed her blade from the dark stone pavement and jammed it into its sheath, and then snatched up her crossbow and checked it over, taking her time about it, stewing under the intense heat of his gaze.
Sable kept her head bent and holstered her crossbow and the unused explosive dart. Thorne continued to stare at her. So did everyone else. She was not going to blush. She racked her brain, trying to think of something to say to make everything go back to normal, and diligently kept her gaze away from Thorne.
She had also forgotten how impossibly tight his dark mahogany leather trousers were. They clung to his muscular thighs, stretched over them like a second skin, held closed by criss-crossed lacing over his crotch.
Not staring. Not staring.
Her eyes betrayed her, leaping to the impressive bulge in his trousers, and she forced it upwards before anyone noticed. Thorne’s gaze locked with hers again, holding her immobile.
“I’ll need my blades and bolts back now,” she muttered, not quite with the world or aware of what she was saying.
Thorne nodded. “Of course.”
He signalled his men and Sable realised just what she had asked, and felt dismal as the men immediately tore the barbed darts and throwing knives from their flesh without giving a single grunt or revealing a flicker of the pain they must have experienced.
They came forwards and placed the weapons into Thorne’s outstretched hand. He wiped the blood off them on his leather trousers and then held them out to her.
Sable swallowed her guilt and took them from him. She slipped the blades away beneath her arms and put the darts back in her quiver. The silence in the courtyard thickened again. She wasn’t sure what to do. She had made one hell of a first impression—on her team, on the elves, on the demons.
She wanted to groan and bury her head in her heads.
She needed a do-over on everything after she had appeared in the Third Realm. It really hadn’t gone as planned.
Sable tossed Olivia a look and her friend wiped the smile off her face and nudged Loren. The tall, slender elf prince looked down at his mate, his black eyebrows pinned high on his forehead. Olivia gave a subtle jerk of her chin towards Sable. Loren looked her way and understanding dawned in his purple eyes.
“King Thorne.” Loren broke away from his legion and Olivia, and crossed the short distance to the demon male.
Thorne’s gaze finally left Sable. “Prince Loren.”
Sable seized her chance to slink back unnoticed to her team. Some of them gave her funny looks. She ignored them and Bleu’s inquisitive stare and checked her team over, making sure they had all arrived safely.
Thorne’s focus landed back on her. She could feel it whenever it happened. A shockwave of heat rippled through her, awareness so intense that she could almost pinpoint how far he was from her and could visualise the way he was looking at her. Whenever he looked away, returning his attention to Loren, cold stole through her, fierce and frigid.
She rubbed her wrist, her actions mimicking the light stroke of Thorne’s thumb over her tattoo. It ached and burned. Had she hurt it in training? Or was it a response to the way Thorne had caressed that patch of skin?
She gathered herself, squared her shoulders, turned on the spot and calmly strode back to Thorne and Loren.
The two tall men looked at her. Their height and fangs were the only things they had in common. Loren was unnaturally beautiful, lithe and held an air of darkness around him that stemmed from more than just his black hair and obsidian armour. Thorne was rugged, immense and had an aura of danger surrounding him that warned even her away.
His gaze held darkness as he finished discussing the war with Loren.
She had the answer to one of her questions at least. Thorne was troubled. The war was taking its toll on him, pushing him to his limit, wearing him down.
“King Thorne,” she said without a trace of tremble in her voice and bowed her head. “I would like to introduce my team.”
He ran an assessing gaze over them and then returned his attention to her. “Little Female. It is kind of Archangel to send a small contingent of your forces to assist in my demonomachy.”
Sable bit her tongue, stopping herself from pointing out that she had a name and that this was a large contingent of their forces and all they could spare. She supposed that in comparison to the thousand immortal warriors that Loren had brought with him, her fifty mortal hunters did look rather pathetic.
“Sable,” Loren started and frowned when Thorne bared his fangs on a growl. Thorne cast his gaze down at his boots and clenched his fists. Loren arched an eyebrow at him, sighed, and continued, “Your hunters must desire to settle themselves in their quarters.”
Thorne growled again and this time Sable had the impression it was because Loren was suggesting things that he should have thought of and suggested first.
“That would be good.” Sable kept her focus on Thorne, pretending he had suggested it, hoping to calm him.
“You men,” Thorne barked and a group of demons near the large arched doorway of the impressive dark grey fortress saluted, pressing their hands to their bare chests. “Show the mortals and elves to their quarters.”
He signalled another set of males and gestured to the elves standing guard next to the black crates and bags.
“Take their belongings and follow their instruction to ensure they all end up with their owners.” Thorne glanced at her. “Come.”
He turned away and walked with Loren towards the arched doorway of the large three-storey stone building that formed a wide corner in the curved courtyard. Arched windows lined the first and second floors, smaller in the longest side of the building to her right but larger and more decorative in the main part ahead of her. A balcony extended to the left of the first upper floor, giving the building a staggered appearance.
Demons patrolled the battlements at the top of the building and the walls that connected to it.
It wasn’t a castle as Loren had, with towers and conical roofs, and a verdant courtyard filled with trees, grass and flowering shrubs. It was squat and heavily fortified, and bore the scars of war in many places, the stones cracked or long grooves cut into them. It had been built with defence in mind and reminded her of many of the castles in England or Wales. There was even a well in the courtyard. This place was a military stronghold.
The demons Thorne had ordered to take her team to their quarters reached her hunters and led them away, speaking in broken English to them. Loren had warned her that only the high-ranking demons could speak her language, and that many of the warriors only understood the demon tongue or could only speak a small amount of English.
The elves split into groups, some going with the mortals, some following Loren towards the doors, led by Bleu, and others going with Evan to deal with the crates.
Olivia came over and linked arms with her. “Well, that went well.”
Sable scowled at her friend. “Don’t start. I really hope I don’t make a fool of myself any more today.”
“You weren’t to know he was training,” Olivia whispered as they followed Thorne and Loren towards the main building of the large fortress.
The wall surrounding the courtyard was so high she couldn’t see anything but a strange dark orange sky. Was it day now, or night in this realm? Whenever she left Archangel to come to the elf realm, she ended up at the opposite time of day. She had left in the morning, so this was the evening?
The elves brought light into their realm via portals. Loren had explained the demon realms had a sort of day and night because the light of the elf kingdom reached far into many of their realms. The sheer number of torches and fires blazing around the courtyard illuminated it as if it was day.
She guessed there was no shortage of fire in Hell.
She glanced back at Evan to check on him. He was already glaring at the demons. He looked her way and pointed to a square three-storey building that intersected the wall behind her, opposite the main building. An armoury? There were several buildings like it along the curving wall. Huge demon males prowled the top of the wall between each building, or loitered near their entrances, talking and laughing. Laughing. It was a little weird seeing a demon laugh. She had imagined them all to be as serious as Thorne.
But even Thorne had smile-lines bracketing his mouth and at the corners of his eyes.
“Earth… I mean, Hell to Sable?” Olivia nudged her.
Sable shook herself back to her friend. “It’s a lot to take in.”
She nodded to Evan and he turned back to the demons and elves assisting him. Many of the demons stared at Evan’s tablet as if it were magical, their deep red eyes wide and expressions locked in lines of fascination.
A few males looked her way as they entered the main building. They grinned and bent their heads together. Whispering about her no doubt. The silly little mortal throwing herself into a battle between two dozen demons to protect their immortal king.
Olivia shifted her arm, wrapping it around Sable’s shoulders. “It’s really not that bad.”
But it was. She wanted to make Bleu take her back to Archangel and find a way to undo the past hour so she could do it all over again.
“If I look like I’m about to make another tit of myself, do feel free to hit me over the head with something blunt and heavy before it happens.” Sable leaned her head on Olivia’s shoulder and then straightened when Thorne spoke to Loren.
“I apologise for not being ready for you.” He rubbed a dark cloth over his torso, wiping the blood away. “I thought I had more time.”
“No need to apologise,” Loren said. “It was our fault. Archangel were eager to send their team in on the mission.”
Thorne glanced over his right shoulder at Sable, his eyebrows rising. She looked away, locking her gaze on Olivia and Bleu. When had he fallen into step with them?
She couldn’t look at Thorne. If she did, he was bound to see straight through her and see that she was the reason they were early. Bleu talked to Olivia about Loren and Sable drifted along beside her, not taking in the impressive carved columns that supported the vaulted ceiling in the wide hallway. She was too busy doing her best to ignore Thorne. She could block him out, keeping her eyes off him, but she couldn’t ignore how she felt whenever his gaze landed on her.
Hot all over. Flushed from the intense feel of his eyes on her.
Bleu moved around Olivia and her, ending up walking beside her. “You fought well.”
She shrugged off the compliment, uncomfortable with his praise, and thought of something to say to keep him around. His presence lessened the fierce reaction she had to Thorne’s eyes on her and she needed that right now.
She had to find her balance again before she did something crazy.
Like kissing a demon king.
As always, my comments are open, and I’d love to hear from you!