Haven landed on the ground with a grunt. Looking up from his crouch, he locked eyes with the man directly in front of him.
He saw the stranger sniff the air and narrow his eyes. “Step down, warlock,” he said with a growl, so harshly that spittle flew from the corner of his mouth.
At that moment Haven knew the score. Still, the insult made his blood boil. “I’m not a warlock,” he gritted out between clenched teeth. “I am a necromancer.”
The guardian—and obviously a keeper of the water symbol due to the little display Haven had seen the ice do—glared at him. “I said step down,” the guy tried again. “If you interfere with my mission, you will be dealt with accordingly.”
Thinking of the creature behind him, Haven asked, “What are the hellhound’s crimes?”
When the slayer made no attempt at answering him, Haven closed his eyes and calmed his heart through practiced breathing techniques.
Once he had control, he switched on his powers. Opening his eyes he could see fractured shadows attached to the guardian representing rogue souls he had collected. But what horrified Haven were the splinters of light peeking out beneath them.
“You’ve killed innocent people,” he whispered to himself.
When Haven saw the male frown and shake his head, he felt his stomach turn sour.
“No one is innocent,” the rogue spat.
Feeling his fear return, Haven’s vision snapped back to normal. But not before he saw the rage that ate at the demon’s soul.
Backing away from the guy, Haven said, “Your soul is…dying.”
Lower-born demons, like the one in front of him, lived centuries. But at each passing day their soul started to deteriorate unless they could share the burden with another of their own free will.
The demon before him stood at the edge. It showed in how aged and weathered he appeared. So close to the nephilim mindset. A state of madness that would turn him into a monster that craved flesh.
Now the shattered light made sense. The male had tried to replace what he’d lost. Or at least what he would lose in due course if he didn’t bind his soul to another.
When the guardian went to raise a hand to attack Haven, Haven felt his heart skip at hearing a snarl that sounded more like a lion’s roar. Haven found it both terrifying and beautiful.
Looking out over the frozen banks of the lake, he saw the big black hellhound that he no longer considered mangy, but beautiful. Peeking back at Mr. Crazy, Haven watched the male shift the direction of his hand toward the hound as the world seemed to slow.
Feeling that odd zing race down his spine again, Haven made a split-second decision and moved so fast he didn’t know how he did it while chanting in one breath a good luck spell.
Calling up the Earth’s energy, he boxed in the guardian’s power and jumped on top of his hellhound when he charged by.
As soon as he draped over the dog’s back, Haven opened a portal in front of them that the hellhound ran right through.
Just like he’d planned.
Quickly shutting the portal, Haven felt the air had warmed to almost an uncomfortable level. Feeling the downy weight of his winter coat as they entered the backroom in the bar beneath his home, Haven thanked the greater powers that be when he lifted his head and saw the room looked like it had the last time he’d used it.
“Haven?” the voice questioned.
Looking toward the door, Haven saw one of his favorite bouncers. “Hey, Forrest,” he said in a friendly voice.
From next to Forrest, Ashton smirked. “Bringing home another injured dog, Haven?”
Haven felt the rumble first rather than heard it, but when it finally reached his ears it reverberated around the room sounding menacing.
Quickly sliding off the hound’s back, Haven took a step toward his friends.
When another growl echoed off the walls, he froze and said, “We’re not going to hurt you, hellhound. You’re at Hell’s Mouth.”
When the dog took his weary eyes from Forrest and Ashton to lock on to Haven, his breath sped up as he felt his skin flush.
“Uh, Haven?” Ashton said almost nervously. “Get over here. Now!”
Confused, Haven opened his mouth to ask why when the hellhound snarled as Ashton jumped into action.
Ash wrapped him in his arms and ran from the room. Just as the hellhound jumped into action, Forrest slammed the door.
On the other side, Haven could hear scratching and howling. The sound broke his heart.
When Ash dropped him unceremoniously to the floor, Ash gave a howl of his own.
“Ashton,” he said, lumbering to his feet. “What’s wrong?”
When he went to reach to check his friend out, Ash jumped a foot in the air backward warding Haven off with his hands.
“Don’t touch me,” he practically whined. “Dang, Haven. Why’d you shock me?”
Confused, Haven asked, “What are you talking about?” he hadn’t used his powers.
Ash became deathly still before saying, “Haven, where did you get that male?”
He felt like crying. “I was on the job Salem sent me on. I was hiking in the woods when I came across him and a guardian.”
“Haven.” Ashton lowered his head. “Are you certain the guardian wasn’t a shadow assassin?”
Haven felt his stomach drop as Ash then said, “Do you have any idea who you brought here?”
“What do you mean?”
“That…hellhound…his eyes, they don’t look right. What color are they?”
Haven stood there for several seconds when he finally remembered. “Oh, my gosh. They’re red.”
Ash’s whole body jackknifed. “Holy hell. This is worse than I thought.”
“Wow, red?” Forrest asked drawing their attention. “I thought hellhounds’ eyes could only be yellow besides those that turn blue when they find their heart or whatever y’all call it.”
Looking at his sweetly naïve human friend, Haven started freaking out about how much crap he’d just brought down on his home, saying, “Red eyes mean he’s a member of a private legion of hellhounds belonging to Lucifer.”
“Yeah,” Ash said sounding defeated. “But that’s not even the half of it.”
Confused, Haven looked at the door. Hearing the scratching and howling just on the other side, he asked again, “What do you mean?”
“His eyes…the colors were inverted…Haven, you just brought a hellhound here who not only worked for Lucifer, but pissed him off.”
“What about you?” Jeremy said lying kisses along his neck. “What’s your story?”
Controlling his breathing, Haven tilted his head to give Jeremy more access and said, “Not much to tell. I’m not sure what realm I was born in. I was sold by my mother on the black market to Otho. Since then my life has been good. I lucked out.”
Jeremy worked his way up to Haven’s ear. Haven’s breath came heavily as he felt the wet spot on the front of his pants growing where his hands rested. He felt like he could come at any second.
“Lucked out,” Jeremy parroted. “How so?”
Looking at the ground, Haven said, “Well, I was in line to be sold to someone else.”
Jeremy remained silent for a second. “Who?”
Peeking at his mate beneath his lashes, Haven said, “A coven of witches. Apparently I was a cute kid.”
Haven was shocked when he heard Jeremy growl. “What do you mean cute kid? I think you’re cute now.”
To emphasize his words, the hellhound dove in and captured Haven’s mouth. They nipped each other playfully as their hands roamed each other in a frantic need to make contact with skin.
Haven felt like he sat floating on a cloud of bliss. He’d never been this close to shooting his load just by kissing. He wanted it to last, but knew deep down that would be asking for the impossible.
Pulling back, Haven panted for breath as he tried to get his libido under control. He only had a few seconds before Jeremy hauled Haven over his shoulder and stood up. Turning around, Jeremy gently laid him on the center of the bed like a sleeping baby.
Stepping back, he pulled off his shirt and tossed it without a care on the ground. Within a few more seconds the hellhound was completely nude.
Stalking forward, he slowly and methodically stripped Haven of his clothing barrier, as if he were a present. It made Haven smile till he lay naked. Then feeling Jeremy run his hands over every inch, Haven felt a little embarrassed and tried his best to cover himself.
“No,” Jeremy said sliding onto his knees between Haven’s spread ones. “Let me see you, viscer.”
Gulping, Haven let his arms slide to lie beside him. He had never fooled around with the lights on. He’d always been too embarrassed.
Chancing a look up at Jeremy, Haven saw his eyes had turned blue again. Looking over the rest of his mate, he took in the hound’s features. His hair was black and shaggy. Haven knew from his talks with Ashton and his brother that hellhounds’ hair didn’t grow on their human form while they’re in their hound form. But even with that said, Jeremy had about a day’s worth of stubble on his chin. His nose was patrician and matched his sinfully lush lips.
Letting his eyes wonder further down, Haven was confident in saying that Jeremy’s body was the kind that the saying “brick house” had been thought up for.
His muscles weren’t overly developed yet he was in remarkably better shape than Haven. With that thought, Haven went to cover himself again.
Then unexpectedly, Jeremy growled and pinned Havens hands above his head.
“Hey,” he said giving a little wiggle. When he saw his flabby midsection jiggle, he felt his cheeks heat in embarrassment.
Lowering his body, Jeremy pressed Haven into the mattress and said, “Stop.”
Going stalk still, Haven asked, “Stop what?”
Jeremy leaned his head down and licked Haven from his chin to ear and whispered, “Thinking. Just stop…and enjoy.”
Letting out a small burst of air, he couldn’t help but think that easier said than done. How can Jeremy even stand to look—
Haven’s thoughts were cut off when Jeremy let go of one of his wrists, reached down, and grabbed Haven’s prick in his frying-pan sized hand.
He stroked and fondled the length making Haven breathe in little bursts. He groaned as Jeremy swept his finger over the tip and smeared the pre-cum around.
Looking up at him, Haven bit his lip to hold back a groan. Jeremy growled as he leaned forward and placed a hand next to Haven’s head just so he could lean in and nip Haven’s lip in reprimand. “Let me hear you.”
“Ung!” he cried as Jeremy let go of his cock to grab one of his legs at the apex behind the knee. Jerking it up, the hellhound rubbed his shaft up against Haven’s hole.
“Grab your knee and hold it up,” Jeremy commanded.
Once Haven’s hand replaced his, Jeremy snuck down and palmed one of his cheeks. Gasping at the sensation, Haven then let out a whine when Jeremy smacked him lightly on one of the round expanses.
Grasping a handful of flesh, Jeremy began to knead it as he said, “Fuck, your ass is perfect.”
Giggling, Haven rocked his hips up and said, “You can do more than just pet it.”
His mate leaned forward on both hands and curled his lips away from his fangs. “You may live to regret saying that.”
Lolling his head back, Haven unthinkingly bared his throat. The next thing Haven knew, Jeremy’s dagger-like teeth pierced his neck. After the initial shock, Haven entered a state of euphoria.