Home > The Dark Ones (The Dark Ones Saga #1)(4)

The Dark Ones (The Dark Ones Saga #1)(4)
Author: Rachel Van Dyken

It was emptiness.

It was death.

I needed to stay far, far away from him if I wanted to live.

The only happy thought that occurred to me was that someone as old as Cassius most likely despised humans enough not to toy with them. Unlike the vampire and siren, who found it amusing and harmless.

"Do you know your duties?" Cassius barked. "Or am I to go over them with you? From the looks of Alex, it seems he's been too preoccupied to do much of anything except fill the air with his arousal."

Alex's nostrils flared, but he said nothing.

"And, Stephanie, what's your excuse?"

She dropped her head and gave a little shudder. "Sorry, Cassius."

"Mason?" He turned to the werewolf. "Your looks don't betray you, but your rapid heartbeat does. Tell me, does she set your blood on fire?"

The werewolf rolled his eyes. "Only in irritation, my lord."

"Ethan…" Cassius barked. "You've been quiet."

"I've been watching." Ethan tilted his head, making himself look more vampire than before. The way his eyes glowed in my direction sent shivers all the way down my spine. "I think I'll keep her."

Stephanie jumped up from her seat. "Ethan—!"

"Please." Ethan waved her off. "He owes me, don't you, Cassius?"

The temperature in the room dropped at least thirty degrees while Cassius stood and, with little effort, threw Ethan across the room. He slammed into one of the rock walls.

Pieces of dust flew into the air. I gasped, covering my mouth with my hands.

"Dramatic," Ethan huffed beneath an array of rubble and rock. "Then again, you've always been dramatic, haven't you, Dark One?"

Cassius released Ethan and turned to face me. "You will go with Ethan. You will do your… duty." The way he said it made me feel dirty, like I was being whored out.

"I don't need to explain the rules, but I will, for your sake, explain them once. You're hired to do a specific job for us. You are not here to try to land yourself an immortal husband, so leave those hopes and dreams at the door. Physical contact between you and an immortal is forbidden, and if you are on the receiving end of it, outside of your duties, you will be the one punished, not the immortal.

Yeah, that was what I was afraid of.

"They may touch you, may do whatever the hell they want with you. But if you seek them out, touch them without proper invitation…" His voice trailed off, his nostrils flared. "Do you understand?"

Not at all. But I had no choice. I gave a quick nod, wringing my hands together. "Yes."

"Ethan," Cassius turned, "consider my debt paid."

Ethan's smile grew to gigantic proportions. "Oh, it's been paid," he licked his lips, "in full."

I knew that look.

I was going to die.

Because there was no way that vampire wasn't putting his hands or his fangs on me — and it would be my fault because I was the human.

To them, we weren't victims. Just nuisances they put up with.

"Well then…" Ethan held out his hand in my direction. "Shall we?"

Fear kept me rooted to my spot.

Then suddenly warmth spread throughout the room. I quickly glanced to the siren; Alex had his hand raised in the air, and I could almost see the heat radiating from his hand toward my body.

Be calm, he whispered in my head. Ethan will not harm you.

And you?

None of us mean you harm.

My gaze flickered to Cassius.

Alex gave a slight shake of his head. Yes, human. He means you harm. You are never to be alone with him. Ever. If you are, I cannot help you. I cannot shield you from his power. If he touches you, if he claims you, it will be the last time you own your own body, soul, and mind. He will destroy you. If you must… run.

My hands shook at my sides, but I managed a nod in his direction.

Ethan held out his hand again. "Come."

I followed him, careful not to touch his hand lest he have the same effect on me a Dark One would, and followed him through a side door.

He moved silently next to me, opening door after door, finally leading me into a dark parking garage where a black unmarked town car was waiting.

"Hurry, get in."


He shoved me in the car and ran to the other side, faster than my eyes could follow, then sped off as if we were being chased.

"We don't have much time." He looked behind him. "Damn it, we have less than that much time."

"What are you talking about?"

"He will hunt you."

"What?" I gasped. "Who?"

"Cassius…" He spat. "He wants you. I could feel it. Could see it in his mind's eye as if I was living it myself. The reason you're here isn't for the immortals. It's for him."

"But, my mom said that—"

Ethan barked out a laugh. "Yes please tell me what your human mother told you about what your job is to the immortals?"

I swallowed the dryness in my throat. "I'm to educate you about the ways of the humans so you don't have to interact with us. Teach any of the immortal children how to use the Internet, cell phones — technology — and at the end of the day, I—"

He roared with laughter, interrupting what I thought was a pretty good speech.

"So that's what they tell you now?"

"Wh-what?" I looked behind me only because he kept looking behind us. For Cassius to fly overhead? Or what? We were in the middle of Seattle. It's not like the immortal would want to be seen.

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