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Authors: Larissa Ione

Tags: #Fantasy, #Romance, #Paranormal, #Werewolves, #Adult, #Vampire, #Urban Fantasy

Sin Undone

BOOK: Sin Undone
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For all the medical personnel out there. You’ve been the inspiration behind these books. I admire the work you do, and I thank you for the risks you take with your own health and safety. I’ve imposed on many of you for advice regarding some of my medical scenarios, and I can’t thank you enough.

Also, for my sisters-in-law, Stephanie Rice, Andrea Etheridge, and Anna Walker. Your support means so much to me… and it’s a bonus that you like the books!

And for Steve Gitre. I know you would have been proud. You are missed.

Acknowledgments

As always, I have about a million people to thank for their help, support, and just plain awesomeness.

First of all, thank you to everyone at Hachette who has done such a fantastic job with these books! Huge thanks to Amy Pierpont, Alex Logan, Anna Balasi, and Melissa Bullock. I’m sure I make you crazy at times, but you never let on. And I can’t forget everyone in the art department, who has given me some seriously man-chesty goodness on my covers!

Special thanks to Renee, Karissa, and Arlene for Karlene, and Ashley Hopkins and Christy Gibson for their helpful medical advice.

Thank you to Lea Franczak, Melissa Bradley, Michelle Willingham, Ann Aguirre, and Stephanie Tyler for their help and reads. I owe you margaritas. With double shots.

And I owe so many people for just being cool and supportive, not just to me, but to the romance community, readers and authors alike. So a big shout-out to Valentina Paolillo, Larissa Benoliel, Jodie West, Joely Sue Burkhart, Heather Carleton, Diane Stirling, Ryan Rohloff, Tigris Eden, Mandi Schreiner, Hasna Saadani, Sarah Gabe, and Ericka Brooks.

Finally, thank you to all my wonderful readers. I’m truly blessed to have you.

Glossary

The Aegis—Society of human warriors dedicated to protecting the world from evil. See: Guardians, Regent, Sigil

Carceris—The jailors of the underworld. All demon species send representatives to serve terms in the Carceris. Carceris members are responsible for apprehending demons accused of violating demon law, and for acting as guards in the Carceris prisons.

Council—All demon species and breeds are governed by a Council that makes laws and metes out punishment for individual members of their species or breed.

Dresdiin—The demon equivalent of angels. See: Memitim

Fakires—Derogatory term used by vampires to describe humans who either believe themselves to be real vampires or who pretend to be vampires.

Guardians—Warriors for The Aegis, trained in combat techniques, weapons, and magic. Upon induction into The Aegis, all Guardians are presented with an enchanted piece of jewelry bearing the Aegis shield, which, among other things, allows for night vision and the ability to see through demon invisibility enchantment.

Harrowgate—Vertical portals, invisible to humans, that demons use to travel between locations on Earth and Sheoul.

Infadre—A female of any demon species who has been impregnated by a Seminus demon.

Maleconcieo—Highest level of ruling demon boards, served by a representative from each species Council. The U.N. of the demon world.

Marked Sentinel—Humans charmed by angels and tasked with protecting a vital artifact. Sentinels are immortal and immune to harm. Only angels (fallen included) can injure or kill a Sentinel. Their existence is a closely guarded secret.

Memitim—Earthbound angels assigned to protect Primori. Memitim remain earthbound until they complete their duties, at which time they Ascend, earning their wings and entry into Heaven. Also known to demons as dresdiin. See: Dresdiin, Primori

Orgesu—A demon sex slave, often taken from breeds bred specifically for the purpose of providing sex.

Pricolici—Werewolves who are born as such. Pricolici can only conceive during the breeding heat, and offspring are almost always born werewolves, even if the father is varcolac. Pricolici are born with a mark that identifies them as pricolici. See: Varcolac

Primori—Humans and demons whose lives are fated to impact the world in some crucial way.

Regent—Head(s) of local Aegis cells.

Renfield—Fictional character in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Also, derogatory term for any human who serves a vampire. A vampire groupie.

S’genesis—Final maturation cycle for Seminus demons. Occurs at one hundred years of age. A post-s’genesis male is capable of procreation and possesses the ability to shapeshift into the male of any demon species.

Sheoul—Demon realm. Located deep in the bowels of the earth, accessible only by Harrowgates.

Sheoul-gra—A holding tank for demon souls. The place where demon souls go until they can be reborn or kept in torturous limbo.

Sheoulic—Universal demon language spoken by all, though many species speak their own language.

Sigil—Board of twelve humans known as Elders, who serve as the supreme leaders of The Aegis. Based in Berlin, they oversee all Aegis cells worldwide.

Swans—Humans who act as blood or energy donors for vampires, either actual undead or fakires.

Ter’taceo—Demons who can pass as human, either because their species is naturally human in appearance or because they can shapeshift into human form.

Therionidryo—Term a were-beast uses for a person he or she bit and turned into another were-beast.

Therionidrysi—Any survivor of a were-beast attack. Term used to clarify the relationship between the sire and his therionidryo.

Ufelskala—A scoring system for demons, based on their degree of evil. All supernatural creatures and evil humans can be categorized into the five Tiers, with the Fifth Tier composed of the worst of the wicked.

Varcolac—Werewolves who were once human, turned into wargs by the bite of another. Both born and turned werewolves can infect a human with lycanthropy. Offspring conceived outside the breeding heat are always born human. Offspring conceived during the breeding heat are occasionally infected with lycanthropy in the womb and are born as werewolves. See: Pricolici

Classification of demons, as listed by Baradoc, Umber demon, using the demon breed Seminus as an example:

Kingdom: Animalia

Class: Demon

Family: Sexual demon

Genus: Terrestrial

Species: Incubus

Breed: Seminus

Prologue

“The wargs must die.”

Sin paced back and forth in the master chamber of her assassin den, her mind working overtime to process Bantazar’s words. The Assassin Guild’s messenger stood near the cold fire pit, outstretched hand holding a parchment scroll. Sin snatched it from the Neethul male, who must stand seven feet tall even without the platform Goth boots he wore. With them, he was at least two-and-a-half feet taller than she was. Still, the Guild’s lackey didn’t intimidate her. She’d killed much larger demons than him.

“Eight of them?” Sin asked. “Eight werewolves at once?”

He nodded, his shoulder-length, snowy hair catching on his pointed ears. The Neethul were—externally, anyway—a beautiful race, elven in appearance. “An entire pack.”

Which included a two-year-old cub. She cast a covert glance at the male standing in the corner, saturated in shadow and silence. Lycus, her only warg assassin, might as well have been a stone statue. The news that the contract would end the lives of several of his own people didn’t faze him at all. Not that she’d expected it to. He was a professional. Cold, efficient, and ruthless.

Biting back a curse, Sin stopped pacing. She couldn’t afford to show nerves or reluctance. The Guild was watching her closely for signs of weakness, would seize any excuse to crush her and take her assassins for themselves. She had to be more ruthless than ever right now, especially since she’d already declined to bid on nearly a dozen contracts, and she’d only been an assassin master for three weeks.

She scanned the details scrawled on the parchment in Sheoulic. “Who else has this job been presented to?”

“You know I can’t tell you that.” Bantazar’s ruby lips peeled back in a lecherous smile. “But if you use some of your succubus talents on me, I might let some names slip in a moment of passion.”

Sad as it was, she was actually tempted to screw the bastard if it would get her the information she needed. She had to offer on this job, but she needed to ensure she overbid and wouldn’t win the contract. Knowing who else was bidding would give her an edge.

“I’d tell you to go to hell, Bantazar, but no doubt you own a large chunk of it.” The Neethul were wealthy slave traders whose holdings included massive sections of Sheoul, and as a minor assassin master, Bantazar was definitely on the same path.

“Deth would have taken me up on the offer,” he purred.

“I wouldn’t brag about that.” She studied the ring on her left index finger that used to belong to her dead boss. “Deth would have screwed a spiny hellrat if he could catch one.”

Bantazar laughed as he moved toward her, sinuous as a serpent. “Your assassin slaves grow restless, half-breed. Are your human morals interfering with your ability to manage them?”

She snorted. “I have no morals.” Maybe she’d started out with them, back before she found out she was a demon, but all the things she’d done in her life, both forced and of her own free will, had chipped away at her heart and soul, and there wasn’t a lot left.

At least, there hadn’t been until she’d started a plague that was killing werewolves all over the globe. Something about that action had scraped her emotions raw, exposing a nugget of regret that sat inside her like a pebble in a shoe.

And now there’d been a mysterious increase in the number of hits put out on werewolves—wargs, as they liked to be called—and she was having a hard time bidding on contracts that would set her assassins against them.

She was already killing them by the dozens, without ever having touched them.

Absently, she rubbed her right arm, her palm registering the difference in temperature between her bare skin and the sharp lines of the tattoo that had appeared when she was twenty. The dermoire, a paternal history of her demon heritage, had come with a raging libido and the ability to infect anyone she touched with a disease that killed within minutes. As sucky as that was, her twin brother, Lore, had gotten off much worse. She could at least control her “gift.” He couldn’t touch anyone but his siblings and mate without snuffing them.

“Well?” Bantazar cracked his knuckles, an annoying sound that echoed off the chamber’s smooth stone walls. “Will you bid, or will you let your slaves mutiny?”

Thanks to the bond that connected her to her assassin slaves through the assassin-master ring, they couldn’t raise a hand against her—not so long as she remained in the den or at assassin Guild headquarters, or in a place protected from violence, like Underworld General. But they could attack her anywhere else in Sheoul or aboveground, in the human realm—which was why assassin masters rarely left their dens.

For the millionth time since she had accepted the position of assassin master, she cursed her situation. She hadn’t wanted it, but she would never let her brother know that she’d taken it to prevent his angelic mate from being forced into the job Idess had won by killing Detharu. Idess would have lost her soul over this job, and since Sin figured she’d already lost hers…

Yeah. No big deal.

Snagging a double-ended penknife from the hip pocket of her leather pants, she scrawled an absurdly high monetary figure on the parchment. She signed, and then flipped the pen over and sliced her thumb with the sharp blade. A drop of blood splashed onto the page, and instantly, red, pulsing veins sprouted from the fluid and wove their way through the document. Within seconds, the parchment had gone from a crisp, stiff square of dried skin to a pliable, warm scrap of flesh that would become a binding contract if the individual behind it accepted her bid.

Disgusted, Sin handed the thing back to the Neethul, her stomach churning as he sauntered to the exit.

“That was hard for you,” Lycus said, after the huge door slammed shut. From behind her, his hands came down on her shoulders, his fingers kneading, but his touch made her tense up only more. “Take me up on my offer. Mate with me. We’ll rule the den together.”

“Are you deaf, or just really stupid?” Not once since taking this job had she committed violence against one of her underlings, but she really was tempted to turn around and introduce her knee to his balls. “How many times do I have to say no?”

His lips brushed the top of her right ear. “I can say no, as well.”

She stiffened. “Blackmail, Lycus?” He was one of her few, precious bedmates now; since becoming master of the den, most of her assassins, the ones who had shared her bed for years, had become wary or afraid of her. Although it was within her rights to force them to service her, she would never do so. Lycus allowed her full use of his body, but it wasn’t because he knew that she’d die without sex.

He wanted her job, wanted her as his mate so he could assume shared control over the den. But as nice as it would be to shove off the hard decisions on someone else, she couldn’t give Lycus what he wanted. She could never, ever be someone’s mate. Could never belong to anyone again.

Funny how she’d considered sleeping with Bantazar for information, but she had issues with bonding with a male in order to pass off distasteful but necessary duties that kept the den running and her assassins happy.

BOOK: Sin Undone
4.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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