Embrace the Darkness

By: Alexandra Ivy


Without warning the vampire was flowing forward and Shay found herself trapped in the corner with his hands on either side of her head. "You are mine."

His face was so close that she could see the flecks of gold in the midnight eyes. Easily sensing her flare of desire, Viper stilled above her, his fangs lengthening as his own body reacted.

Her eyes widened. "Don't."

With a slow, relentless motion his head began to lower. "You fear me drinking your blood?"

"I don't like being a meal on wheels for anyone."

His cool lips skimmed her mouth before brushing her cheek. "There are many reasons for a vampire to share blood. Trust, friendship, love... lust."

Her heart crashed against her chest as a dark heat spread through her body. He was touching her with nothing more than his lips, but already a flutter of excitement was rushing through her.

It had been so long.

The satin of his hair tickled her nose as his mouth stroked down the curve of her neck. He smelled of expensive cologne and something far more primitive. Something starkly male.

His mourn lingered on the frantic beat of her pulse before his tongue traced the large vein in a wet path back up her throat...

* * *

Chapter One

The auction house on the outskirts of Chicago didn't look like a cesspit.

Behind the iron fences the elegant brick structure sprawled over the landscape with a visible arrogance. The rooms were large with vaulted ceilings that boasted beautiful murals and elegant chandeliers. And on the advice of a professional, they had been decorated with thick ivory carpets, glossy dark paneling, and hand-carved furniture.

The overall atmosphere was the sort of quiet hush that only money could buy. Lots and lots of money.

It was the sort of swanky place that should be peddling rare paintings, priceless jewels, and museum artifacts. Instead it was no more than a flesh market. A sewer where demons were sold like so much meat.

There was nothing pleasant about the slave trade. Not even when the trade was demons rather than humans. It was a sordid business that attracted every decadent, demented slime ball in the country.

They came for all sorts of pathetic reasons.

Those who bought demons for mercenaries or body guards. Those who lusted after the more exotic sex slaves. Those who believed the blood of demons could bring them magic or eternal life. And those who purchased demons to be released into their private lands and hunted like wild animals.

The bidders were men and women without conscience or morals. Only enough money to sate their twisted pleasures.

And at the top of the dung heap was the owner of the auction house, Evor. He was one of the lesser trolls who made his living upon the misery of others with a smile on his face.

Someday Shay intended to kill Evor.

Unfortunately it would not be today.

Or rather tonight.

Attired in ridiculous harem pants and a tiny sequined top that revealed far more than it concealed, she paced the cramped cell behind the auction rooms. Her long raven black hair had been pulled to a braid that hung nearly to her waist. Better to reveal her slanted golden eyes, the delicate cast to her features, and the bronzed skin that marked her as something other than human.

Less than two months before she had been a slave to a coven of witches who intended to bring Armageddon to all demons. At the time she had thought anything was preferable to being their toady as she helplessly watched their evil plotting.

Hell, it's tough to top genocide.

It was only when she had been forced back to the power of Evor that she understood that death was not always the worst fate.

The grave was really nothing compared to what waited for her beyond the door.

Without thought Shay struck out with her foot, sending the lone table sailing through the air to crash against the iron bars with astonishing force.

From behind her came a heavy sigh that had her spinning to regard the small gargoyle hiding behind a chair in the far corner.

Levet wasn't much of a gargoyle.

Oh, he possessed the traditional grotesque features. Thick gray skin, reptilian eyes, horns, and cloven hoofs. He even possessed a long tail he polished and pampered with great pride. Unfortunately, despite his frightening appearance, he was barely three feet tall and worse, as far as he was concerned, he possessed a pair of delicate, gossamer wings that would have been more fitting on a sprite or a fairy than a lethal creature of the dark.