Authors: Erin Tate
It takes one male touching Rhal’s mate for him to lose control. Cara belongs to him, now and forever. Except every action has consequences and for Cara to save him, she betrays his darkest secrets. The question becomes can their love survive? Cara’s not so sure.
RHAL is a five-part serial (like a TV show) with a new installment out every Friday. The entire storyline will be available for FREE with Kindle Unlimited, or you can wait to download the full story as a bundle for $2.99.
—did not realize who she toyed with. She had forgotten Rhal’s essence, the reason for his existence, and the evil that lived in his heart. Before Cara, he killed without thought. Now, he would kill for her. He would destroy anyone—human or Ujal—who brought a tear to her eye.
There were more than a few tears threatening to spill.
He did not know what part of his past upset her so, but he did not need the knowledge. He would destroy the source regardless. He could not kill her, but he could force her to wish she was dead.
“Otta, I told you this morning, you are not welcome in my dwelling and you were forbidden from approaching my mate,” he growled, his blood pounding, muscles tense with the need to physically remove her from his home.
“Trying to keep your dirty secrets?” A small smile played around Otta’s lips as she returned her attention to Cara. “Don’t you love that thing he does with his tongue? I taught him that.”
The female looked so smug, so proud that she’d taken everything from him. Humans would call the female a stone cold bitch and he would agree with their assessment.
When Cara sucked in a rough breath, he knew Otta’s words hurt her.
“Otta, leave,” he growled, holding himself back. He wanted to rip her into tiny pieces and scatter her remnants across the seas.
stroked a single sharpened nail down Cara’s arm, leaving a red line in her wake. His mate jerked from the female’s touch, but the room’s other occupant cut off Cara’s retreat.
Based on the glare and sneer that curled his mate’s lips, he wondered if the male had done anything beyond halting her retreat. The stare was too deep, emotions on her face too strong for there to be nothing more than shallow anger.
What had the male done in Rhal’s absence?
Rhal would discover the answer to that question and inflict vengeance if needed. Though with the anger stretching his skin, he may cause pain just because he wished to.
“Leaving, pretty?” the guard sneered. “When
have things I can teach
“We can show you both together.” Otta’s voice was a seductive murmur, a tone he knew well, and she stepped closer to his mate.
Words were hurtful, but not reason enough to strike out at the duo. He would demand they leave his home, but he could not use force. Yet. “Either of you touch her and it will be the last thing you do.”
“You don’t share?” She raised her eyebrows. “Kaag, I told you about when Lady Disheer and I—”
” Rhal’s bellow had Cara flinching, but Otta remained in place, face impassive.
Then the mistake he waited for was committed. Kaag, the lumbering male that had risked his mate’s life and stood too close to Cara for his comfort reached out. Cara’s gaze was on him and Otta, eyes darting between them, was oblivious to the guard’s actions.
Rhal was not. So when the male reached for his female and grasped a handful of her strands, her hair running through his fingers, it was
who took control of the situation. He let that part of himself free, allowed his inner hatred rush from its place behind his emotional door, and out it came. In one fluid move, he dove between the two females, at the guard. His shoulder struck the male in the stomach, sending him flying backward. When the stranger would have taken them both down with his stumble, Rhal flipped free of the tangle to land on his feet behind the male.
As the guard stumbled to upright, Rhal struck once more, a fierce punch to the male’s back to the right of his spine followed by another. He was sure agony coursed through the guard’s body, those two punches familiar to him. When the stranger would have fallen forward once more, Rhal snatched him back. With one arm, he yanked the male to him and fisted his hair.
With the other, he drew his blade free. It was always on him, hidden from view, but never leaving his side. He wrenched the guard’s head to the side, exposing his vulnerable neck. The male struggled, but there was no reason. Rhal fa Adar, the king’s specter of death, did not lose his prey.
“Do you see this blade?” Rhal held it high, allowing the male to see the gleaming metal. “
“Yes,” the male whispered and trembled.
“And what do you see?” Kaag didn’t immediately reply, and Rhal lowered his voice and whispered in the male’s ear. “Tell me.” Kaag whimpered, the shakes increasing, and a subtle change in the male’s shudders had Rhal speaking once more. “Don’t piss yourself. Do that, and this may last forever.”
“Rhal?” Cara’s voice reached him and yet it didn’t. It was like a gentle breeze against his scales, noticable, but it held no strength.
“Now tell me what you see?” Rhal flipped the blade between his fingers, the hilt and length perfectly balanced.
“Death.” The word was said with a soft exhale.
“Yes,” Rhal confirmed. The sight of a blade in his hands,
blade in particular, told of death. “Death for your touch and death for risking her life days ago.”
Sudal had a hand in the game, but there was no doubt this Kaag did as well.
“Rhal?” Her voice was more insistent, drawing some of his attention to her, but he would not break his concentration.
Family. Truth. Ujal. The first king’s words finally held meaning to him. Meaning to the male who’d been raised without a single touch of caring
There was more hidden within that word, though. Justice. Strength. Vengeance.
“I should take my time, remove the fingers that dared touch what belongs to me.” More whimpers, more trembles. “But I do not wish to waste my time. Say your prayers to the sea and make your peace.”
The male’s lips trembled, a jumbled prayer and plea leaving his mouth.
” Cara snapped at him, but he would not be interrupted in his task.
Rhal lowered his blade, the sharpened metal that had tasted hundreds of bodies. It was his killing blade, his weapon of justice and treachery. It did as demanded just as Rhal had for so many years. He was intent on the male’s throat, relishing the fear that coated Kaag and looking forward to the blood that would coat his hands. It would be warm and slick, slide over his black scales as life left the male. He brought the knife closer, few inches separating the gleaming metal from flesh. It would—
A small hand stopped him, the fingers curled around his wrist, digging into his scales. The person jerked against him, yanked his arm and forced his downward strike to slow… to stutter… to…
Rhal followed the line of that pale arm, coral tinting the skin, higher until he finally met Cara’s gaze.
“Stop.” She ordered, her bright eyes intent on his. He tugged against her hold. “I said stop.”
He bared his teeth, hoping to scare her away. “He touched you.”
His mate remained in place. “He’s not worth it, Rhal.”
Rhal narrowed his eyes, glaring at her and then the male he still clutched. Hope filled Kaag’s eyes, and he hated seeing that emotion on his face. “No one touches what is mine.” He tugged on her hold. “Release me.”
“No.” She dared.
Did she not know who she stood before? Otta cowered in the corner, afraid of him. The male in his grip trembled, afraid of him. This female glared. Gave him a look that promised her own flavors of retribution if he did not relent.
And the darkness in him begged to retreat. It no longer wished to taste blood but ached to return a smile to her face. He did not believe he was wrong, but he was willing to wait until he was no longer forced to meet her gaze. He would return in the night, creep into Kaag’s quarters and exact his vengeance then. The male would never touch a female without permission again.
Rhal released the male and shoved him to the ground, no longer wishing to have his stench on his skin. “You owe your life to my mate. Thank her for her weakness.”
Her increased glare told him she would whip him with her words when the two were gone.
When Kaag did not immediately speak, he nudged the gasping male with his foot. “Now.”
The male proved his stupidity. Proved that he wished to die by Rhal’s hand. He’d ached to kill him for touching her hair. When Kaag pushed to his feet, shoving Cara as he rose, he knew there was nothing that would save the male now. He would make it quick for he no longer wanted to toy with the guard.
Or rather, he
made it quick, but then he heard Cara’s scream, saw her fall against the low table in front of their couch and then scented the sweet, coppery tang of her blood.
He did not give Kaag a chance to save himself. He struck once and then again, his third stab sinking into the male’s chest, but not his heart. He would tear that from Kaag’s body as it still beat and tried to keep the male alive.
Cara was injured because of him.
Cara sobbed because of him.
Cara stumbled to the couch, blood coursing down her arm, because of him.
Kick. Stab. Slice.
He ignored Otta’s scream, knowing the yell was filled with blood lust. She did not want him to stop. No, she wanted him to continue, to draw more and more of the red liquid forward.
This time there were no shouts from Cara, no pleas to halt him.
But there were arms, thick as tree trunks, wrapped around him, the skin a familiar deep red. They had captured him for a bare moment before he slipped free, careful to leave the male uninjured. Vados did not deserve his rage. Then there were more, the color telling him Niax joined the battle. A third had his hands on Kaag, dragging him away, and then a fourth joined him, dragging him from the apartment and into the hallway beyond. With luck, Kaag would die. If not, Rhal would finish the job at a later date.
He now hated the safeguards he’d put into place. He’d been alerted when Cara granted someone entrance—a male and female—and immediately demanded security and medical personnel to meet him. He wished he would have waited to summon them. Then he could have spent more time beating on the male.
Kaag groaned as he was pulled away, leaving a trail of blood in his wake.
Vados still held him firm while Niax’s arms continued to confine him. Unacceptable. He needed to get to Cara. Needed to care for her. Needed—
” The snarl bellowed in his ear, Niax’s voice firm.
It was not enough if they still held him fast. He jerked and wrenched, intent on getting to his mate. “Cara,” he snarled, still fighting. “Release me.”
A flutter of robes drew his attention, Sece striding into the apartment. Faim stopped in the hallway and dropped to his knees beside Kaag. “Faim! You will attend my mate first. Let that piece of dung die.” He took a step forward, dragging the two males with him. “I will take your life now if you do not see to Cara.”
“Rhal, I’m okay.” Her voice was a soothing balm, but not enough. “Let Faim do his job.”
“Kaag touched you. He injured you. You bleed because of him.” With those eleven words, Faim’s demeanor changed. He strode away from the downed male and went to Cara, his hands gentle as he tended to her wound.
Sece took a step back, her attention drifting to Kaag, but her sire’s voice forestalled her. “You will leave him to live or die. It is the sea’s choice.”
“But…” The female had a large heart. One that would break and shatter someday. She was too kind, too delicate.
,” Niax’s growl cut off whatever Faim would have said, and fire flashed in the female’s eyes.
Perhaps she was not too delicate.
A stretcher came into view in the doorway, other medical personnel standing in the hallway.
Faim rose to his feet, turned toward Rhal, and tipped his head in an acknowledgment of his position. Rhal’s emotions still raged inside, but that tiny movement and calm expression on the doctor’s face soothed some of his fiery rage. “She is well. With your permission—”
“Permission? He—” The feminine voice was shrill and filled with panic. But not his Cara’s. Through his battle, she’d become annoyed, but never afraid.
This female… Rhal turned his head and focused on the cause of this drama. Otta. Always Otta with her machinations. “Silence,” he hissed. “Or I will forget my vow and end you were you stand.”