Jorg has lost his mate again and again, his punishment as a traitor to the gods. He is driven to protect her and fated to lose her. Ilona...Caitrina...Yzabeau...
They know him. Their bodies remember Jorg's touch, and they will do anything he asks to experience what they remember. In the night, they are his, born to revel in every carnal sin. Then comes the day. With the sun, sanity returns, and danger stalks them.
Rober started off using Jacquine as bait to trap the Mad Deceiver. Now he has to convince her to be his mate or face breaking printing. If Veriel shows his face, Rober is ready to meet him, madman to madman.
"This is definitely not a "feel good" light kind of read. This story is filled with tortured souls, lost love, and the inhumanity of man. It explores the darker part of life; from torture, bought women, and the struggle for power, we gain an insight of how a favored warrior can become a beast. For all you lovers of the darker side of the human soul, this story is one I recommend putting on your TBR list." Reviewed by Chere Gruver for Sensual Romance
Jorg stood in the midst of the Christian hell. He'd thought nothing could touch his cold heart save Regana's soul reborn, but this chilled even that organ.
The small village had been attacked like the others had, savaged nearly beyond recognition, the structures burning...and the crops, the populace decimated. The dead included not only able men and boys, but also women, the elderly, and babes. No one had been spared...knowingly.
The boy was small, even for his age, and Jorg guessed him to be about eight. He was shivering in Evul's arms, though he was wrapped in a fur and seated as close as possible to the fire. Jorg suspected he shivered more from fear than from the night air that heralded the coming winter.
"These men," he began in a soothing voice he'd thought he'd lost a century or more before. "Did they make demands of the people of your village?"
The child's voice was tremulous and ragged, most likely from crying, though he was certain not to admit such a thing. "No demands, master." He'd already learned that Jorg's men called him master; he was an intelligent boy.
"Did they ask anything?" An attack like this was meant to do something. While Jorg rarely concerned himself with human wars, this one had his attention. It defied all reason.
The hair rose at the back of his neck, a warning that Jorg was missing something basic, something dangerous.
"Nothing. They simply came into the marketplace and started cutting down anyone they saw." He bit back a sob, and Evul held him closer to his big chest.
Jorg's man had once had a son. Perhaps the boy would be as good for Evul as the former farmer would be for the orphaned child.
"Did they say anything?" he demanded, certain that the child had been spared to give some clue. What gave him that certainty when nothing else in life was sure, he could not say.
"They were looking for someone," the boy offered.
That was more like it. "Who?"
"I know not. A woman, they said."
"What description did they give? Did you hear it?" His heart sped, and again he could not state why it did.
"I was close. They gave no description."
"Then how did they hope to find her?" he asked, exasperated.
"They said..." He paused, looking to Evul as if seeking counsel.
"Answer the master, boy," he was instructed, though kindly so.
The child nodded. "They said this woman would find them, if they encountered her...lair."
Jorg's heart stuttered. "Regana," he breathed. Surely, no woman but Regana would seek out confrontation with such men.
"Master Jorg?" Evul asked.
"We follow, Evul. As fast as we can."
"And the child?" his man asked.
"If he slows your pace, leave him in the care of a few who will protect him well. They can travel at their own pace." If it was Regana, he owed this child more than he could name. He considered what would likely come next. "That might be wise, Evul. And the men should dress for battle at all times."
Jorg left the fire, waiting to dematerialize until he was well away. No one asked what he intended, though no one knew why he would follow immediately in brigands' wake.
* * * *
Ilona stared down the length of her sword, hating the man she faced with every muscle and tendon, every bone and organ she possessed. It wasn't enough to single out hating him with all of her heart. This went deeper, taking all of her.
Cessius had killed her family, everyone from her warm old grandmother to her sister's youngest, a babe no more than a few weeks into this life. He'd done it while she was far afield, and it had been over before she'd had time to respond to the fires he'd set to destroy the rest. The men had been slaughtered in the outlying buildings, probably before the beast had descended upon the few women and children, though he might have taken them in unison, splitting his troops to accomplish the task.
No. That was unlikely. Cessius was a man who seemed to enjoy his slaughter a little too much for that. He would have wanted to see every life stolen personally.
His smile widened. "You cannot be serious, girl."
She noted the rough men closing slowly in nothing more than the same cold detachment. "You need your men to fight one armed woman?" she challenged.
"I have need of no one."
Ilona would have said the same until that day. She did need others, but now her others had been destroyed. Even the crops would be gone, if an unexpected rain showed no kindness to her.
She almost snorted in disbelief at that thought. When had anything or anyone but her family showed her kindness? Never that she could recall.
Cessius spoke again, perhaps believing that she had no intentions of speaking now that her challenge had been issued. "You and I, then," he decided.
She nodded slowly, retaining her calm.
He drew his sword, gazing down its length with a fondness that was unseemly and unsettling. Then he came at her.
Ilona was no babe with a sword, but she found that even she was pressed to match him. Not that she intended to fail in that regard. Though his men would surely kill her for it, she would make sure Cessius preceded her to death.