Escaping the Dream

If only I could wake up.

Consciously I know this is a dream by the scent of the forest, the way I float above the ground, and the sparkling mist rising above the pond. I should feel calm, at peace. Instead, fear grips my vocal chords as I struggle to cry out. For whom? There's no one here to help me.

I'm alone, vulnerable and unable to defend myself.

"That is not true, sweet thing," a male voice whispers.

But I scan the surrounding forest and it is empty of any human presence.

"That is because I am not human."

I turn to run, but something grips my ankle, yanks, and I fall flat to the wet, cold earth. I struggle to cry out as I'm dragged across the ground, but sound can't get past the lump of fear in my throat.

Help me!

"Relax, lovely. It will be easier if you relax, embrace your destiny."

I close my eyes and dig my fingers into the ground to stop the momentum. I will not give up as willingly as my mother.

I am Destiny. I am a fighter.

"And you are mine."


To Save a Brother

I take a deep breath and ready myself to leave my world and journey through the portal. I don't enjoy travelling to the mortal realm. Interacting with mortals is, in a word, distasteful.

But my brother has chosen to seek his revenge in the mortal world and I must stop him, convince him that revenge can turn on its seeker.

The transition from dark to mortal realms arcs through my chest as if I've been struck by a lightening bolt. The shock pierces my mortal heart, an organ I do not need in my world. As a mortal, the heart is my core; as a demon my darkness keeps me alive. I detest the feeling of being mortal, of sensing compassion grow inside me.

Now in the mortal realm, I drag my body to a nearby tree and use it for balance as I stand. Searching the countryside I spot one of my own, another Ash Demon, being put into the back of a truck, a girl standing beside another man, both looking quite pleased. I fist my hands and take a step, but waver, falling to my knees. The transition has left my body weak and useless.

Damn this mortal body. Damn this mortal world.


Desperate to Save Destiny

The visions were growing stronger, more clear. If I didn’t save Destiny she would not only be lost to forces of the dark realm, but she’d take with her the universe’s only hope for peace.

I wander the halls of St. Yve Manor searching for the one person who needs to hear my plea. Lady Aurora could order Destiny be brought to England where I would train her and keep her safe.

I pass the library and spot Aurora consulting a thick volume.

“I’ve been looking for you.” I join her and glance over her shoulder. As I suspect, she is researching the prophecy of the demon lord and crystal goddess.

A prophecy, perhaps, but it feels frighteningly real.

“We must bring her here,” Lady Aurora says in her usual, businesslike tone.

“Yes, I agree.”

Aurora snaps the book shut and looks at me. “You can’t be the one that retrieves her.”

I ache with guilt. I should have gone for her years ago, but I had given my word.

“Who, then?” I ask.

“Someone who is beholden to us.” She paces to the window and glances out onto the Enchanted Forest in the distance. “As fortune would have it, he’s being held captive in the chamber below.”

“Captive?” My heart skips. “You mean he’s…?”

She turns to me, her expression regretful but determined. “He’s Ash demon. And he’s our only hope.”

And its then I know our hope is lost.

Edwina, Healer & Teacher


Mersey Bane: Pest Control Specialist :-)


Have you been wondering about me? A lot has happened in the past few months. I've taken an extended leave of absence from the Cadre. Me, I feel as though I may never return, yet the smallest part of me wants to keep my options open. In case, well...this is a wicked world; one never knows what will come up. I see Squire once in a while when he drives into London. That's rare though, because that dude just never gets out from the dungeon.

So I moved in to London (no, not with Jack—yet). I moved permanently into my apartment close to King's Cross. I'm thinking about taking some college courses on history and language and maybe even some business. Someone I know has a real problem with accounting, and it would make his life one hundred percent easier if I could take over the books for his business.

Actually, it's our business now. That's our business card up there. Simple. A little vague. But for the people who need our help, they know exactly what we do. We're freelance demon hunters now, both of us. I still use the crystal capture method, unless we've both determined the culprit is a nasty, then I stand back and let Jack blast it. He likes to blow things up. :-)

I just like Jack. How can a girl not? He's sexy, but he doesn't know it. He's charming, but rough around all the edges. He's strong and...well, he knows that. He carries me around his flat over his shoulder a lot. (I love it. I just...love it.) And can you picture a man in his skivvies doing upsidedown pull-ups with a gravity bar and boots? Oh, baby. He's the coolest thing that has ever happened to me. And he is 'the one' that my mother chose for me before she died. She made a good choice. (Jack thinks so, too.)

So if you're ever in London, and you feel a dark creepy stalking the shadows close to you. Don't worry. We've got your back.


The Scent of War

(Introducing characters from Saving Destiny, November 2007)

“Revenge will not ease your pain, brother.” Kadenshar had to try and stop Tendaeus. Too much had already been lost. Kadenshar did not want to lose his brother as well.

“I am surprised you have such a passive attitude.” Tendaeus leaned against the Weeping Willow at the edge of the Enchanted Forest of St. Yve Wood.

Lust sparkled in his eyes as he focused on the manor in the distance. His expression was like that of a lust demon poised to enter, ravage and possess.

Kadenshar worried that his little brother was being controlled by his passion for vengeance.

“If I could get into the chamber where they hold our kind prisoners and free them,” his voice trailed off. He turned to Kadenshar. “They would be in my debt and I would amass an army that would swiftly destroy our mortal enemies.”

“It is not worth the risk.”

A hollow laugh echoed in the forest as Tendaeus turned back to study the manor. “When did you become so weak, brother?”

“It’s not strength, but intelligence that will determine our victory.”

“Then I will be intelligent in my quest to destroy them. Who knows?” He glanced over his shoulder. “I may take a mortal female or two in the process. One of the Cadre leaders, perhaps? They say a mortal’s love is all consuming, stripping the creature of its senses, even self-preservation. I would like to taste that kind of surrender. What do you say, brother? Will you join me?”

“Not today,” he said. Tendaeus was young, impulsive and foolish. Yet Kadenshar must protect him, especially from his own folly.

Kadenshar had made a promise and he would keep his word. It was his penance.


I Must Destroy Her?

I almost touch her.

My mortal fingers tingle with wanting.

I get so close she feels my presence. I know because I recognize the fear in her eyes. I am the cause of that.

Another reason to stay away.

The thunderous sound of Grigori drums pounds against my chest. I am sucked back into the world where I belong, into the dark realm.

A soldier appears before me. “They are waiting.”

“Yes.” I do not ask why or to what I owe this honor. In Grigori presence it was best to listen, not speak.

We are transported to the temple, and I stand before the great ones who rule the dark realm.

“How can I serve my masters?” I bow, not risking eye contact. Even for an Ash Demon, the most evolved of the daemon sapiens, making eye contact with Grigori is considered a challenge.

“You are to influence a mortal female,” the leader orders.

“Yes, my masters.”

“Her mortal kind is determined to destroy us. In mortal form you will seduce her, discover secrets about this army called P-Cell and help us annihilate them before they can destroy more of our kind.”

“Seduce her?” I ask. I am known as an intellectual, not an incubus.

“Yes, Marcus. Seduce her. You have met her before. She will easily open to you.”

My demon chest fills with dread. I sense what is to come. “I have met her before?”

“Yes. She is Elizabeth, the daughter of Edward Burke, the female mortal you protected from your cousin ten years ago.”

I automatically snap my gaze and catch myself.

“We know everything, demon. You saved her and now you will use her to destroy our enemies. Are you up to the charge?”

“Yes, my masters.” I say without hesitation.

“Go then, do your duty for the Ash Demon race.”

I turn to leave.

“But young Marcus?”

I hesitate.

“If she does not fall easily into your influence, you must destroy her to prevent her from alerting her father.”

Destroy her. The creature that’s elicited such intense feelings inside of my cold, empty chest.

“I will destroy her,” I agree, knowing I will destroy myself in the process.

(To read more about Marcus and Elizabeth, check out the online story, Demon Seduction at www.eharlequin.com starting Monday, October 1.)


I'm Baaaaack!

I am back from the Dark Realm at last! And armed with a temptation so alluring the Lady Dawn shall not resist me. I shall have her, every part of her, under my command. Under me.

For luck was with me this trip to my home, that Darkest of places, that hot, roiling cauldron of joyful sin. Demons love to gamble, and the high and mighty are no exception. Me? I am neither high nor mighty...I am but a simple demon of—-well, never mind what my Directive is. Let that be a surprise to all in the Mortal Realm. In any case, the high and mighty Rofocale, infamous demon of destruction and member of the Grigori, the ruling council of demons, has gifted me with a win of immense value.

For from Rofocale I have won a precious gem, the Demon Stone, in a game of chance. The Demon Stone, which the Earl of St. Yve has long searched for. And with it I shall surely tempt his sweet and innocent daughter into my bed.

Because the Lady Dawn has made a grave error. She has spoken an ancient spell aloud, which summoned me back from the Dark Realm. An accident you say? What do I care? The deed is done and I am back, for better or worse. For me, the better. For her, the worse.

Beware, mortal! Beware the fatal flaw within you, for it shall surely call forth your own demon. And he will answer, granting you your darkest desires. As I shall do for the lovely Lady Dawn.

It is indeed time to indulge in a little... NIGHT MISCHIEF.


He Watches Me

It worked! It truly worked! Elizabeth threw her hands up in the air and broke into a dance, a public display that would surely horrify father. She couldn’t help it. She’d finally figured out the proper wiring to make the demon tracker even more effective than the one P-Cell was presently using. This would certainly earn her a spot on the elite team of para hunters.

For her dream was to join the fight in destroying evil paras, especially demons. Destroy them and make father proud.

“Are you having an attack?”

She spun around at the sound of the male voice. It was only Mickey, P-Cell agent, and her biggest critic.

“I’m excited,” she said, lowering her arms and putting away her supplies.

Mickey stepped up beside her. “I’ve got something that will really excite you.”

He was so close she could smell his cigarette breath. Disgusting.

“What do you say, Lizzy?”

“Not interested.”

“You’re sure ‘bout that?” He grabbed her arm.

Oh, how she hated bullies.

Suddenly his demon tracking device started to click. Mickey eyed the forest and whispered. “He’s out there, taunting me. I’ve been after that bastard all night.”

Mickey released her and headed for the forest, his finger warming the trigger of his blaster.

Good, he’d leave her alone and fulfill his duty to destroy a ruthless demon, making the world a safer place.

Warmth crept up her neck. Grabbing her pack, she held it to her chest and scanned the perimeter of the forest. There was something out there, waiting, watching…her. Panic settled low. She didn’t carry weapons of destruction. She had no way to defend herself.

I will not hurt you.

That’s how demons seduced their victims…by earning their trust. She backed up, focused on taking slow, deep breaths. If Mickey didn’t destroy him, would the demon come for her…again?


My Enemy, My Love

I watch her from my spot in the Weeping Willow at the edge of the enchanted forest. I don’t know what it is about Elizabeth Burke that fascinates me other than she is the only mortal I’ve seen close up…the only mortal I’ve touched. I am unable to forget the warmth of her breath on my skin, the trembling of her body against my mortal chest. I feel that warmth even now, and it’s been ten years since we touched, ten years since I protected her from the horrors of my own kind.

Is that my curse? Did she cast a spell on my demon soul, damning me to be obsessed with that which I can never have? I drop to the soft ground and start back toward the portal to return to my world and forget about this one.

To forget about Elizabeth.

I have to stop doing this, stalking her like a lovesick boy… more like a homicidal maniac. That is what she would think of me, an Ash Demon of the dark realm. She would use her equipment to trace my position and alert her allies, the PCell destroyers who get high from killing paras.

Especially demons.

A soft cry makes me turn. I can’t help myself. Elizabeth’s long, copper-streaked hair brushes across her shoulders as she does a silly little dance, quite pleased with herself. She has probably tracked an innocent para, captured him in her hexagon-shaped metal box, or in a crystal. No, she isn’t a Cadre adept.

She is much worse: she is the loving daughter of a demon murderer. She is Marcus’s enemy.

But why, then, can't I tear myself away?

A question I am forever unable to answer. I will return to my world where it is dark, safe and ordered. And this time, I will make a pledge never to return to the mortal realm in search of Elizabeth.

I will give her up. I have no choice.


Wicked is as wicked does

Ha! I have the place all to myself. This utterly splendid arena of words and pictures and information so easily obtained at the mere press of a finger. And since no one is looking...

There seems to be a rumor regarding my 'ostracization' from the Black Court. Such a cold accusation. Unwarranted? Mostly.

It was not a forced leave; I left the court, and Faery, with purpose and of my own will. I swear it! It was this mortal realm, you see. It fascinates me. It lures me. I am drawn to the atmosphere of contradictory morals as a moth to flame. The stodgy rituals and reign of the court left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Raskin, you must bow for the queen. Raskin, do not wear the gossamer silk when in the Grand Lady's presence. Raskin, how could you do something so wicked?

Yes well. It is not as though wicked is bad. In fact, wicked is rather exquisite, I will have you know. And if any from the White Court would try to convince you otherwise, then I grant you leave to sneer and cast them from your eye. We faeries, you see, enjoy mischeif and wicked delights.

It is the White Court that deems to punish me and my own. So their princess is pregnant by a Black Court prince. I loved her. For the moment. It is far too much to ask me to squander all my affections upon only one when there are so very many fine females to seduce, pet, and lick.

So I am to be a father quite soon. I fear the child may be shunned by the White Court for it's paternal ties. Perhaps it is wise to steal the infant away. I cannot fathom a life lived unloved, taunted and trained to be something it is not. My child will know the world beyond the glittering deceptions of Faery. My child, shall be just like me.