Dariel's World

Hi. I'm Dariel Raye, an interracial/multi-cultural paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and psy/suspense author, and every day of this journey is a learning experience. I'm also a counselor, musician, and animal lover. My stories are about all-conquering love and romance, and I enjoy hosting other authors as well. Enter a world where werewolves, vampires, multi-shifters, vamp-like Nephilim, Vodouin Fey, and all things paranormal capture our hearts...

You might also like to visit my website.

Monday, November 19, 2018

"Devil's Claim" Excerpt: "Wings of the Wicked" Boxed-set

Author Spotlight
is on
Devil's Claim
Dariel Raye and Muffy Wilson
USA Today Bestselling Authors
@pendarielraye and @SexyMuffyWilson

featured in
Wings of the Wicked
A Limited Edition Urban Fantasy Collection Kindle Edition

Available from All your Favorite Retailers
PreOrder ***N*O*W***
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Featuring NY Times, USA Today, WSJ Award-Winning Bestselling Authors and they're coming in Wicked!

Available from All your Favorite Retailers


★✩★Authors Featured in this Collection★✩★

Rebecca Hamilton
Charlene A. Wilson
Dariel Raye
Muffy Wilson
Carolyn Reilly
Kim Carmichael
J.R. Thorn
Lynda Kaye Frazier
Lexi C. Foss
Ravenna Tate
Maddie Wade
LaVerne Thompson
Shereen Vedam
Colleen S. Myers
Ditter Kellen
RS McCoy
K.B. Everyly
Amara Kent
Erin Lee
Erica Gerald Mason
Zachary Paul Chopchinski
Drea Shane
Nichole Riley
N.K. Stackhouse
Amy Cissell
Leona Bushman
Betty Shreffler
Khardine Gray
Anita Hunter

Boxed Set Blurb:

Wickedly Dangerous and Sinfully Seductive.

Indulge in 25 breathtaking adventures of dangerous worlds where the lines blur between saints and sinners.

Come meet the creatures that fuel your every lust filled nightmare, where angels are not always encased in a light of righteousness and demons are not always dealing in all manner of debauchery. Where you might just end up rooting for the bad guy…

Warning: If you like demonic games, angelic interventions, and thrilling temptations, you’ll love this urban fantasy and paranormal romance collection of twisted proportions in Wings of the Wicked.

Author Spotlight
is on
Devil's Claim
Dariel Raye and Muffy Wilson
USA Today Bestselling Authors
@pendarielraye and @SexyMuffyWilson
Available from All your Favorite Retailers

Generations ago, he died for her. Now, it’s her turn.

Pride kept them from looking at one another, but their bodies could not lie. Recognition lived in their souls, rekindling memories of passion, love, betrayal….and death.

Apache Elder Aidan Stringfellow, V, is a very wealthy man with one wish – to free his only son, the brilliant, yet abrasive David, from the curse that has plagued his family for generations.  When his controversial plan for a cure is revealed, shock and disbelief are only the beginning, for David has deadly, yet beguiling secrets of his own.

Choosing to honor Aidan’s wishes, David and Katala unwittingly awaken an ancient evil desperate to lay claim to the last-born Stringfellow – David. The tumultuous consequences of a vengeful pact spanning generations, defies time, tradition, and death itself.

Katala finds herself falling in love with a man whose gaze and touch ignite long-forgotten passion, propelling her to fight for his life. She unearths one devastating clue after another on her winding journey toward the truth, but unseen forces escalate their attack as truth collides with myth. Clinging desperately to her own sanity, she must find a way to reconcile the two, for even her own identity comes into question. Trust no one. Not even David.

Time is running out. Promises will be kept, and if the devil has his way, souls will be claimed.

David hit the button to start his playlist, then turned to face Katala. His speech was halting, but deliberate. “What do you need me to do before we move forward with this agreement?” 
“Where did that come from all of a sudden? A moment ago, we were talking about work.”
Following the wedding, they used most of their extra time moving into a new free-standing flat. Katala had actually taken a six-week leave from work, but cried the night before she had to return. Now, she sat barefoot on the sofa in a long pink cotton gown.
“David, I don’t want to talk about that right now. I hate the way you change the subject in midstream like that. I – I’d just like to know you better. You know, feel more comfortable with you. I don’t want to just have sex because we’re supposed to.”
David’s gaze followed her as she moved closer to him. “What do you need to know?” he asked.
She gave a short laugh. She had to admit, she liked his straightforward manner. Despite her initial distrust, she was beginning to change her mind. One thing she realized she did not have to worry about with him was lies. He was so used to getting his way there was absolutely no guile in him. He simply said ‘I want this or that’, and people did whatever he wanted. She never doubted she would be any different. Honestly, he lit a fire inside her she’d never felt before, but she refused to give in just yet.
“David, I want to know how you feel, what you think, what’s important to you. You know - things that I’m sure most married couples know about each other. Nothing out of the ordinary.”
He smiled. “How about I don’t like waiting. Is that enough about how I feel and what I think?”

About the Author:
Dariel Raye, an author, musician, counseling psychologist, and animal rights activist, writes interracial/multicultural paranormal romance and dark urban fantasy featuring shifters, Nephilim, angels, and reluctant demons, all filled with action, alpha heroes, and strong heroines. As a child, she could always be found curled up with her dogs, cats, and a good book, even if the book was a dictionary or encyclopedia. Things have not changed much.
Dariel is a classically trained soprano and plays more than 11 musical instruments. She also completed coursework and passed comprehensives for a Ph.D. in Instructional Design (ABD), teaches piano and voice, tutors writing, algebra, and statistics, and readily admits to being a Netflix paranormal and action series binge-watcher. For more about Dariel, join her VIP Readers’ club, follow her on BookBub, or visit her website.

Read More about Dariel Raye

Website  Blog  Amazon AuthorPage  BookBub Author Page  Twitter  Pinterest  Facebook  Facebook Fan Page  Facebook Street Team   Newsletter Sign-Up  Goodreads   BookSprout   Instagram 

About the Author:

Muffy Wilson is a USA Today Bestselling and 2017 SWFRW Joyce Henderson First Place Paranormal Award-Winning author of provocative, paranormal, and fantasy romance. An American author of the popular Shadow Seduction Series, The Heart Series, and Ribbons of Moonlight Series, she has penned dozens of other books and anthology collections. 
Muffy’s father was a career Colonel and pilot in the U.S. Air Force which required the family to travel extensively. Muffy spent her formative years in Europe and 'came of age' in France forging her joie de vivre and love for books and writing. Married and living in the tropical paradise of SW Florida along the Gulf Coast, Muffy writes and enjoys life in the sun with her husband and wee Havanese pups, Buddy and CoCo Chanel while volunteering as a foster mom to rescued Havanese dogs and puppies through HALO and HRI, both 501c nonprofit charitable organizations.
Join Muffy's mailing list to get the scoop on her new releases and special promotions at www.MuffyWilson.com. Follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/wilsonmuffy or /MuffyWilson.com and on Twitter at @SexyMuffyWilson. Muffy also blogs daily here: http://muffywilson.blogspot.com ~ Contact Muffy at Muffy@MuffyWilson.com.                                                                            ~ Live, Laugh, Love with Passion

                      Read More about Muffy Wilson

Website | Blog | AuthorPage | Readers'FavoriteReviews BookBubAuthorPage Twitter | Email Facebook | FBFanPage | YouTubeTrailers | MailingList | Google+ | LinkedIn | Tumblr |  Pinterest Triberr | Wordpress | Goodreads | Yellow Silk Dreams Publishing | The Romance Review | Authorgraph | AuthorsInfo | Manic Readers | The Muffy Wilson Daily | Muffy Wilson Literotica | Cheerleaders in Heat News

Lock in YOUR 99c Boxed Set Price
 before the
 Price Goes up!
Available from All your Favorite Retailers


Available from All your Favorite Retailers

Get 39 Great Books for only 99cents!
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You'll receive a total of 39 books when you order 
Wings of The Wicked: 
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Monday, November 12, 2018

Gone, but Never Forgotten: Happy Veteran's Day, Daddy

It's no secret that I've always been a daddy's girl. This Veteran's Day I'm reminiscing about my father. Yes, I realize Veteran's Day was actually yesterday, technically, that is, but since we're observing it today, here I am with a few poignant memories and musings about my dad.

My dad grew up in what we call 'the country,' served during the Korean War, and moved to the city, met my mom, and the rest is history. Always an early riser, he woke at 3:30 or 4 a.m. EVERY day, including weekends. Unfortunately, no one else in our house inherited the early rising gene. The rest of us have always been night owls. What I did inherit though, was the ability to enjoy my own company and seek quiet, uninterrupted time wherever I can find it.

So, allow me to share a few endearing facts about my dad with you... 

On weekdays, he always followed the same routine. He'd mop the floors before the rest of us woke up and got in his way, brew my mom's coffee and take it to her while she sat on the side of the bed doing her best to wake up and get her day started, then prepare breakfast for me and my sister. afterward, he'd patiently wake us while we grumbled, yawned, and complained, and do his best to coax us into eating breakfast.

When my mom and sister went shopping, something I hated with a passion, I often stayed home with my dad. Sometimes we'd hang out in his shop where I'd talk his ears off while he kindly responded with phrases like "Oh, yeah?" or "Ya don't say?" Other times we'd talk, laugh, and watch detective shows together.  Now that I've owned my own home and see the need for home repair, I wish I'd shut my big mouth long enough to learn some of his carpentry skills. He could make anything!

He was a carpenter by trade, and a teacher by nature with the patience of Job. 
I remember needing something for science fair when I was in middle school, so he taught me to make a pulley out of wood. I won first place. He also helped me ace mathematics, taught me how to drive, tie a man's tie, and paint the trim on cabinets just to name a few things.  There's so much more I could say, but I'll wait until Christmas :-)

Gone, but never forgotten. Happy Veteran's Day, Daddy. We miss you.

Friday, November 9, 2018

"Kicker" by R. Grey Hoover

World War II is raging. A young father must choose between his family and duty to his country- a decision that could cost him everything.
Based on actual experiences of United States veterans and official military aviation history records from World War II, this is the thrilling story of a family’s journey into war. While his loved ones struggle with shortages and rationing at home, Sam endures relentless Japanese attacks against his unarmed aircraft over the treacherous mountains and torrid jungles of Asia. His job is to drop supplies to Merrill’s Marauders and over 750,000 allied soldiers fighting in the perilous jungles of Burma. If the enemy is not stopped, the American way of life will end.
If you like non-stop action with a touch of humor and romance and the chance to learn about the “forgotten front” of WWII, then this is the book for you.

R Grey Hoover is an Air Force veteran with a family tradition of military service that dates back to the American revolution. He wrote his book “Kicker the forgotten front” to honor his father and the other veterans of World War II who fought in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre.  During the war, the European and Pacific theatres got most of the supplies and media attention leaving the CBI theatre with the leftovers. Even in today’s media coverage of World War II the CBI theatre is never mentioned. The author’s book is an attempt to correct this gross oversight.

R Grey Hoover’s social media links:

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

"Oney": "My Escape From Slavery" by Diana Rubino and Piper Huguley

by Diana Rubino and Piper Huguley

Oney’s Story…

Teenaged Oney Judge was Martha Washington’s ‘favorite servant.’ Oney and Martha both longed for freedom, but in very different ways. Martha hated being confined to the president’s house, forced to entertain politicians and foreign diplomats. Oney hated being someone else’s property, forced to do labor and wait on her owners day and night.

After President Washington served one term as president, he wrote his farewell speech. He and Martha started packing for their retirement at Mount Vernon, but it was not meant to be. He was elected again—unanimously. He did not want to serve another term, but gave in under pressure.

Martha had no say in it whatsoever. But as she hosted her tea parties and levees, she became close friends with several forward-thinking women, such as Abigail Adams and Judith Murray, feminists of the time. Their radical ideas rubbed off on Martha—education and job training for women to be self-supporting instead of depending on husbands. By the end of George’s term, she experienced a steep character arc. She even changed her attitude toward slavery. When Oney escaped at age 20, at the end of George’s final term, Martha was very resentful: “She was more like a child to me than a servant.” The Washingtons knew that she’d escaped to Portsmouth, New Hampshire and made several attempts to recapture her. But in a sudden act of lenience, Martha gave up on Oney and let her remain free. During her husband’s presidency, Martha complained, “I am more like a state prisoner”, so perhaps she put herself in Oney’s place and realized she deserved liberty, too.

As our first First Lady, Martha Washington evolved from a  grandmotherly wife and homebody to an outspoken champion of women’s rights. She provided freedom for her slaves at her death.

While living in Portsmouth, Oney married a sailor, Jack Staines, and had three children. She outlived her husband and children, and lived her remaining free life in Greenland, New Hampshire. Somewhat of a local celebrity, she lived in poverty, but the locals supported her and she took in sewing to supplement her meager income. She declared in an 1847 interview, “I am free now and choose to remain so.”


The hour finally came—while they ate dinner.

Nothing heavied my heart—not remorse, not guilt, not sadness upon fleeing my master and mistress. Raw thirst for freedom overcame all that. I walked straight past the Washingtons and out that door. When I shut it, I left them—and my forced bondage— behind me.

I tore through the muddy streets in pouring rain. Gasping for breath, soaked to the skin, my heart slamming in terror, I glanced behind me, again and again. No one pursued me—yet. I dreaded and expected pounding footsteps, a clap on my shoulder. But, I asked myself, who would chase me through the driving rain? No, it is not possible, I affirmed—they didn’t even know I’d left the kitchen.

At the Jones house I slowed and caught my breath. When Absalom opened the door, I staggered inside, laughing, sobbing, gulping for dear life.

I spent the night pacing the attic room, hands clasped. “I beg of you, dear God, walk beside me on this journey. See me through this safe. Don’t let them capture me. I only want to be your servant, no one else’s.”

As daybreak nudged away the darkness, I fell to my knees, weary with fatigue. “Thank you, dear God, for ending my final night of bondage.”

Serendipity at Work

In May 2014, popular romance author Brenda Novak had her annual auction for diabetes—authors donate books, critiques, etc., and people bid on them, similar to Ebay. I donated one of my other books, and I also donated a free manuscript critique. An author named Piper Huguley won the critique auction, but the auction ended and I never heard from her. I thought oh, well, she doesn't want it after all. About 3 months later, she wrote me and sent me her story, A CHAMPION’S HEART, to critique. It's a romance about an African American girl, set in rural Georgia in the 1910s. Very moving and powerful story. I loved it. It was published in 2016 by Liliaceae Publishers.

I'd been wanting to find an African American author to go over my Oney novel, but never looked for anyone. I thought of asking one of my grade school classmates, but just didn't get to it...well, one day I decided to ask Piper.

Right after I asked her, she wrote back and said she'd be happy to help. Then I went on Facebook and saw that Piper just posted that her mother passed away that morning. So I sent her a message of condolence. Then she wrote this back to me:

And I appreciate your kind comments about my mother. You see, I see your request as "heaven sent" for I think I told you about how my mother told me about Oney. I know that she would want me to work on anything, do anything to forward that story. So, even in the midst of a difficult time, I look forward to helping you--something I really didn't expect after you had helped me so much. Thank you for that.

I don't remember her telling me that her mother told her about Oney. I've heard so many stories about people who pass away, and send 'signs' etc. to their loved ones, this was just too strange to be coincidence. Piper helped me a great deal with Oney’s story and became my co-author. We dedicated the book to her mother.

Purchase ONEY:

About Diana and Piper:

Diana writes about folks who shook things up. Her passion for history and travel has taken her to every locale of her stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. Her urban fantasy romance FAKIN’ IT won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. When not writing, she runs CostPro, Inc., an engineering business, with her husband Chris. In her spare time, Diana bicycles, golfs, plays her piano and devours books of any genre. She spends as much time as possible just livin' the dream on her beloved Cape Cod.

Piper Huguley is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.
Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.
She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Connect with Diana and Piper:

Twitter: @DianaLRubino

Twitter: @PiperHuguley

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

"Heart of the Vampire": The Redcliffe Series Book 5 by Catherine Green

Heart of the Vampire (A Redcliffe Novel) – Book 5 –

It is almost Halloween in Redcliffe, Cornwall, and Jessica Stone is not the woman she used to be. Her summer was hijacked by werewolves, she fell in love with a vampire, and now she is learning how to be a witch, and what it means to celebrate Samhain with her new coven. Her vampire boyfriend, Jack Mason, is busy at work as a police detective, and his identical twin brother Danny, the werewolf alpha, refuses to let go of the woman he has chosen to protect his pack.

Jessica must learn about control, power, and the love that she truly feels for her vampire boyfriend and his brother.

The Redcliffe novels series follow the adventures of bookshop owner Jessica Stone as she meets a man and falls in love, only to discover the hidden werewolf secrets of her close friends. That includes Simon Bunce, manager of the Ship Inn, who turns out to be lieutenant to the Redcliffe werewolf pack, and lover to the wolf alpha Danny Mason. He fights to protect his master from the ethereal animal familiar who threatens to claim their pack. Who knew the Cornish coast could be so deadly?

Read the first four Redcliffe novels now so you can catch up with the story so far – Buy on Amazon; Buy from other stores. Keep searching and sharing #TheRedcliffeNovels online to get your hands on the new release.

Are you Team Jack or Team Danny? Sign up now and receive your FREE story from #TheRedcliffeNovels series set in Cornwall, England.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Paranormal Romance Book Fair



Sponsored by 
The Authors of

November 1st through November 30th - 2018



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(Must be 18+ to enter giveaway. Valid email required.)

**Book Fair Contains Adult Material**

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Link to original post: https://rukiapublishingbookblogger.blogspot.com/2018/10/pnr-book-fair-get-your-book-on-99cents.html

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Halloween Flash: "Familiar"


He was never going to let me leave. I saw my one opportunity to escape and took it, slipping out the window of the top floor. He owned the building, but no one had ever seen me – not the real me, anyway. They only saw what I wanted them to see, what he wanted them to see.

The moment he realized I was gone, a frightening storm rose up from nowhere. It was supposed to be a clear night, but he was angry, so angry I feared he would do anything to find me. I hated the rain, thunder clouds and lightning even more. Heavy rain pelted my coat, causing my lungs to fight for air as I skittered along the back alleys.

I had to find shelter…somewhere…but no one would help me if they saw my true form. They assumed I’d be fine on my own, just set some milk out and throw me a fish head. Idiots.

A young man with stringy hair burst out of a back door, slamming it behind him. I watched from the shadows as he emptied the contents of a large trash can into the dumpster. He didn’t see me. He was angry. He reeked of it. So, what? I was pretty pissed, myself.

I slipped into the back door of the 24-hour convenience store behind him, plastering my body against the wall. He made so much noise as he stomped along, muttering under his breath, he wouldn’t have noticed me if I’d tapped him on the shoulder – not that I could have in my present state.

Two more warm bodies loitered on the inside, moving aimlessly, so I easily slipped past them. Before shifting, I needed something to wear. I could feel him scrying for me. It wouldn’t be long now, and I had to feed before challenging him.

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” What a stupid thing to say, I thought, but it would have to do. I snagged the stupid T-shirt with my teeth and dashed into a dark corner to shift.

“Where’d you come from?” The man behind the counter frowned, a confused look on his face as he addressed me. They were so unaware of the world around them, sometimes I actually felt sorry for them. It was sad the way most of them walked around in that fish bowl, so vulnerable and gullible, certain they were the master species. Ha! Hilarious.

I smiled, effecting the most alluring voice I could muster. “The storm came up so suddenly, I just slipped inside. I hope you don’t mind.”

His gaze traveled the length of my skimpily dressed body. The T-shirt fell to mid-thigh, and my legs in this state were especially long. I was also barefoot, of course, and still a little wet.

He continued to stare, dumbfounded. I gave myself a nice, sweet name that I’d always liked, then sauntered over to him. “I’m Lisa. Please excuse my rather unkempt appearance. I ran in to get out of the unexpected storm.”

Finally, his trance was broken. “Oh, oh that’s, you’re, uh, it’s fine. I, uh, yeah, I’m Bruce.”

“Hi, Bruce. I’m really embarrassed. My boyfriend pissed me off and I, well, here I am running around in the rain half-dressed with no shoes.” Well, at least part of it was true.

Bruce glanced down, then back up within seconds. “I’m getting off work in a few minutes. I’d be happy to drop you off somewhere if you like.”

“That’s very kind of you, Bruce.” Now, don’t judge me...or do. I don’t much care, but I just want to let you know I don’t run around accepting rides from strange men often. Let’s just say I’ve got a sixth sense for human nature – you know – determining good from bad. Bruce had some of both, but more important than anything, he smelled delicious! Of course, the fact that I was starving probably accounted for some of that, too.

I made myself scarce until time for him to get off work, then planted my bare bottom in his pick-up.

“Where to?”

“About that, I don’t really want to go back to my place, Bruce. I don’t usually do this, but I just feel right about you. Does that make sense?”

He nodded.

“Do you live far?”

He appeared to be surprised at first, but quickly let me know he did not. About an hour later, we stepped into his apartment. Not much clutter, neat and tidy, just the way I liked it. A twinge of pain struck me, piercing the spot right where my heart was supposed to be, and I almost had second thoughts. It was too late. I could feel Abel getting closer. Bastard. Why can’t he just let me go.

“Nice place.” Pretty weak thing to say, but one of those necessary social graces.

He stood in the middle of the floor, then turned to face me. “Thanks. I, uh, do you want something to drink? You hungry? I should have asked if you needed me to stop somewhere on the way.”

“I’m fine. You’ve already gone above and beyond. So, tell me about yourself, Bruce.” I didn’t care about him at all, but I actually was hungry, I needed a place to stay out of Abel’s hellish rain, and I wanted to be sure no one would come in and interrupt us once I started feeding. I traced the perimeter of the small room, sliding my index finger along his furniture, taking special care with the photographs. They always told so much about a person, and his let me know exactly what I needed - there was no significant other in his life. Excellent.

I placed one knee on his worn couch, making sure the hem of the T-shirt I didn’t have to pay for, by-the-way, rose just enough, then slid down on the seat and crossed my legs.

Bruce’s shocked expression confirmed that he was getting quite a view, so I started swinging my legs and winked my index finger at him to upset him more. Ha! So funny. If only he knew what was really going on in my head.

Hmm. He wasn’t moving as fast as I expected. In fact, he just stood there, frowning. He wasn’t gay, married, or even seeing anyone. Damnit. What the hell? I realized he wasn’t looking at me anymore. He was looking over my shoulder.

I turned, but didn’t see anything. “Something wrong?”

“Uh, no. Of course not.” He rubbed his palms on his jeans, then finally came over and sat next to me – a bit too hesitant for my taste, but not enough to stop me.

I was starting to feel faint, so I didn’t waste precious time with small talk. “I really appreciate you bringing me to your place.” Yeah, I know that was small talk, too, but I kind of had to say it to prime him.

“Oh, it was nothing.” He glanced down.

I dipped my head and pressed my lips to his, placed my palm at the nape of his neck, then stopped kissing him just long enough to whisper in his ear. “Sleep.”

My incisors elongated the moment I spoke the one-word incantation, and I immediately sunk my teeth into his carotid. I’d been told it didn’t hurt the meal, but then again, he couldn’t even cry out if it had.

Hot, slightly sweet nectar slid down my throat, familiar…too familiar. I couldn’t let go until…I slumped against him, unable to keep my eyes open, vaguely aware that something was distinctly WRONG with his blood. Tainted. Bespelled?

“Thanks, Bruce.” Oh, hell! I woke to the voice of my captor. I would have known that voice anywhere – Abel.

I lay on the sofa as both of them stood, looking down at me.

“Who, what is she? Vampire? Witch?” Bruce asked. He reached up and touched his neck where I’d bitten him.

Abel turned slightly, enough to give the poor man the ‘look’ that only he could give, the ‘you wouldn’t understand if I poured it into your limited skull’ look. Truth was, I was all of those things, yet none of them – at least I wasn’t limited to just one, and I could only do as much as Abel allowed. As far as I knew, I was the only one of my kind left – an anomaly. Abel was the closest thing to me in this world.

Placing his hand on Bruce’s shoulder, Abel tilted his lips, those lips I’d come to crave, and Bruce slumped, falling to the floor as if he’d been folded up and gently placed there. There was no need to say anything. When he woke, he wouldn’t remember any of it, not even meeting me.

“What am I going to do with you, Sheba?” Abel lifted the amulet from his chest and held it toward me, the bane of my existence.

“How did you find that?” I’d been extra careful about getting rid of it this time.

“Same way I always find it. Although I have to say dropping it in the toilet was a first for you. It will always surface, and I will always find it, the same way I will always find you.” He sighed, beckoning for me to come closer, and my traitorous body migrated in his direction of its own volition.

“You could just act like you didn’t find me and let me go.”

“And I would have to answer for that. You were placed in my care as an alternative to a place much worse, and I take that very seriously because I don’t want you to end up there. Without my intervention, would you have been able to stop yourself?”

I looked down. He knew the answer, and he knew I hated admitting it. “No.”

“Do you really want another life on your conscience?”

Once again, he knew the answer, and he knew I didn’t give a damn because there was no conscience to consult. The only thing I really cared about was the look on his face when I screwed up, but I wasn’t about to admit that. I chose to glare at him instead. Annoying questions like that didn’t deserve a response.

Shaking his head, he beckoned for me again. “Is it really so unbearable being with me?”

“No. It’s not being with you that’s unbearable.”  
I took a few more steps toward him, then glanced down at Bruce’s inert body. “Wait. His blood…”

“A simple spell. I tainted it with my own, and we both know the effect it has on you.”

His blood… “Speaking of that, I didn’t finish feeding.”

“Soon as I get you back home. Now, stop stalling.” With that, he spoke the incantation and once again I was lost in a sea of lavender. The golden twine acted as bars for my eternal prison, and I slept in my cocoon, nestled against his chest.

As if part of a dream, I heard Abel whisper, and once again I stood on two feet, facing him. We were home. He controlled my ability to leave or use my powers while he wore the amulet. The curse made sure of that. The last one-hundred years proved it.

Without another word, he sat, and I wrapped myself around him, our bodies fitting together perfectly…familiar. I framed his face with my hands, sinking my teeth into him immediately. There was no other taste like him, a rich, intoxicating taste that rendered me unconscious every time he allowed me to feed. I purred softly as I drank from him. 

He knew everything about me, every life I’d taken, every last unforgivable act I’d committed, yet he treated me with patience and kindness beyond my capacity to understand. I hated him for that, and I hated myself for loving him.

As for my freedom, there would always be tomorrow, and one day I would find a way to destroy every chain binding me, including Abel, but he knew that, too.