Home > Dark Surrender (The Dark Ones Saga #3)(14)

Dark Surrender (The Dark Ones Saga #3)(14)
Author: Rachel Van Dyken

He grinned.

And then.

She. Is. The. One. The words were repeated in my head with such resounding loudness that I stopped breathing for a few seconds.

“Hi.” Hope peeked around my body and waved at the wolf, like she was Little Red Riding Hood and he wasn’t going to steal all her cookies, eat her grandmother, and then try to kill her too.

“You don’t wave at a wolf,” I grumbled. “That’s just begging the bull to charge, and the last thing I need is to get gutted by one of his claws because he ‘slipped.’” I made air quotes and glared in Mason’s direction.

“One time, Siren.” Mason shrugged. “And I did slip.”

“Slip my ass,” I said through clenched teeth. “My insides nearly spilled onto the floor!”

Hope made a gagging noise.

And then she was walking toward Mason, like he was the freaking welcoming committee and she had absolutely no reason to be terrified of his fur, or height, or freaking canine teeth!

She reached out and then jerked her hand back. “I’m sorry, I just… can I feel your fur? There’s something about it that just….”

Arrogance floated off Mason and slammed into me in fitful waves. My stomach clenched as he knelt down and held still.

Hope touched his arm and then moved her hand higher as Mason let out a low rumble and started to pant.

“Any lower and he’s going to have a problem.” I said casually, even though it was a lie.

I could feel Hope’s embarrassment just like I could feel Mason’s irritation at making her stop. It felt good to him, and I knew more than anyone that the last person who had touched him in wolf form had their hand cut off, the time before that was his mate.

He didn’t have friends except Genesis and us.

Meaning. Mason never let anyone touch him.


But he allowed Hope.

I refused to acknowledge what that meant just like I conveniently forgot that she had elf blood running through her puny weak little body.



Black tendrils of heat wrapped themselves around my body, squeezing it tight like a smoke-filled prison. And I breathed. In and out I breathed. It pissed me off.

The only time I could feel was when I allowed the darkness to take hold. Every other minute of the day, I was numb. Filled with a heat that could never be dampened. Filled with needs that were never met. Lust that would never be sated.

I was in a constant state of ruthless agony and a never-ending thirst that couldn’t be quenched.

With a snarl I tossed the cup of human blood back. The liquid spilled against my parched throat and slowly, the cells knit across my flesh, from the inside out, and peace settled over me.

This one.

I stared down at the cup.

She had been good.

So good.

And that was why I’d killed her.

Not because I loved death and destruction — but because a part of me would always be jealous that she could smile, that she felt a temperature other than heat, that the smell of sulfur mixed with a deep burning wood wasn’t her constant companion. That when she closed her eyes she didn’t even realize the air called to her, the mountains trembled with her human presence.


All of them.

And too soon, the cells died in my throat.

I felt their death as if it was my own.

And I was back to square one.

An empty demon.

A heartless monster.

Darkness laughed.


I wasn’t sure what I hated more. Myself for what I was — or the being who refused to hear my cry long after my voice went hoarse and my lungs burned with injustice.

I was helping to lead a war I wasn’t sure we could fight — let alone win, if Bannik didn’t pull his head out of his ass or at least leave his dungeon of doom.

That was what the boys and I had started calling it. The dungeon of doom. Nothing good ever happened there. And nobody ever left breathing.

I found a sick satisfaction in the fact that Bannik, with all of his powers, was still having trouble keeping his brothers from ripping his throat out.

The last one that got loose ended up nearly tearing out the being’s intestines with his teeth. I laughed while Bannik limped back to his office and screamed at the top of his lungs.

It made me downright cheerful that the man could still feel pain, though at times that cheerfulness turned to jealousy. The only time I felt anything was when another being’s blood ran through my body.

Demons were by nature, feeders. Without another human’s essence, we lost control of our human appearance, which was bad enough, but without their blood, we also lost our damn minds.

With a chuckle I tossed the last drop of human blood down my throat, my tongue rejoicing with the moment of sanity and peace it brought me.

“Timber.” Bannik’s voice rumbled and shook through my office.

“Well.” I sighed and stood. “Speak of the devil himself.”

“I’m much better looking,” Bannik said in such an arrogant tone that I had half a mind to call upon whatever forces of evil still were willing to fight on my side just to prove him wrong.

Then again.

That was the trouble with darkness; it rarely took sides. It mindlessly fought for whoever had the most power, and right now, in this moment.

That person.

That being.

Was standing before me, all ten feet of him. With dark brown hair and shots of red.

He looked like he’d been formed from the side of the mountain, and his glaring white teeth gnashed into a snarl as he drove his hand through the front of my desk, splintering it in two.

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