Read Soulless (The Heartless Series Book 2) Online
Authors: Kelly Martin
Tags: #demons, #heartless, #thriller, #Angels, #Paranormal
Heartless: Book Two
by Kelly Martin
Copyright © 2016 KELLY MARTIN
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part, electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright violation.
Copyright © 2016 KELLY MARTIN
Cover Art by P.S. Cover Design
LACKWELL BROUGHT ME A CUPCAKE
The smell of chocolate and vanilla turned my stomach, and I motioned for him to get the nasty thing away.
I couldn’t see him. Not exactly. My eyes hurt. My head hurt. My stomach was on fire. I smelled the sweet aroma of the chocolate mixed with something I couldn’t place. Something I should have recognized instantly, but I didn’t.
Not at first.
I could smell the iron.
Smell the blood.
My eyes hurt.
My head hurt.
My stomach was on fire.
I wanted to tell him no.
I tried to tell him to let me die.
I didn’t want this.
I never wanted this.
I felt his hand slide behind my head, tilting it up.
I smelled the blood.
I wanted the blood.
I never wanted this.
Why didn’t he let me die?
Stay with me.
Then my world turned black again.
ART HASN’T LEFT MY SIDE.
I don’t think he has anyway.
Time shifts at strange rates. Sometimes, it seems to drag on, and other times, it seems only minutes since I watched the gates of Hell open.
Since I helped to open it.
No, I hadn’t meant to. It wasn’t intentional. Doesn’t change the fact that my blood opened it. That I’m the Abomination. That I have angel blood in me… demon blood in me… and that I’m destined to destroy the world if I’m not stopped before I fully turn.
So, the best thing I can do is sleep.
Keep my eyes closed. Pretend the world around me isn’t falling apart, because I most definitely am on the inside.
Sometimes I dream. Not the dreams or the nightmares I used to have. Hart isn’t in them. He isn’t torturing me. And there have been no more cameos by those of the dead—the girls I’m responsible for killing, even if I hadn’t meant to kill them.
I’ve done a lot of things I didn’t mean to do lately.
It’s like I can’t control this thing inside of me.
Maybe Seth is right.
Maybe I’m better off dead.
Not that I want to be dead. I don’t. If I have my choice, I’d live to be a ripe old age of 107 with kids and grandkids and great-grandkids. I’d have a home, a little farmhouse on five acres of land with a beautiful pond in the middle where all my kids would learn to swim. I’d live there with Sam Asher.
The love of my life.
That’s who I dream about.
The Sam who isn’t real. Who has never been real. He’s just been the meat suit for Hart this entire time. Hart, the demon, can’t be on Earth in his body unless he is close to the Hell gate. The Sam who I’ve loved for two years. Who changed in the last week. Who I didn’t think loved me anymore.
Turns out, he was never real to love.
He was a demon.
I’d fallen in love with a demon.
No. No. I didn’t fall in love with a demon. I fell in love with Sam… the real Sam. The human Sam.
It’s sad to think about. Sam isn’t even the body’s real name. Hart doesn’t know it. He found the body in a morgue somewhere. Sam has a family somewhere. He has to. Someone has to be looking for him, someone who has spent the last two years worried sick.
Still, in my dreams, it’s me and Sam. We’re walking along that pond on our land. The sun is filtering through the trees, warming us with its summer rays. We’re laughing, happy, giggling even. I’m in a yellow dress—I know it can’t be real because I don’t even own a dress, much less a yellow one—and Sam is dressed in clothes I used to see on
. Brown pants. A white shirt. Suspenders. Not modern at all, but in my dreams I don’t care.
We are happy.
I’m running from him, not fast enough to keep him from me, but fast enough so he has to play along. I giggle when he catches me around the waist and lowers me to the ground under him. The grass is so tall there we could get lost. The sun makes his brown hair glint with little yellow strands. He’s beautiful. He’s mine. He will always be mine.
I want to stay here.
“Stay with me?” he asks.
It’s a question. Like he doesn’t realize he has me, and I’d never leave him. He asks like he’s uncertain. That the way his fingers are trailing down my cheek aren’t affecting me in the most primal of ways. That the way he’s looking at me, like he wants to take me then and there, isn’t enough for him. That he wants more from me. Am I giving him the same look? Am I not showing him that I’d do anything for him?
Of course I want to stay! Staying there with him… I’m safe. The world is safe from me. I won’t hurt anybody. There is no one to hurt.
Just me and Sam. Sam whose eyes are changing colors under the darkening sky.
I’d never hurt him.
I never would.
I love him too much.
YMN OF THE
rouses me from my dream. Such a strange tune to set my alarm to, and for a second, I don’t remember any of what is going on around me. I’m a freshman at the University of Tennessee—Crimson Ridge campus. I live with my boyfriend, Sam, who used to love me but has changed in the last week until I’m not sure he even likes me. I normally talk to one person. Tina. She lives in California and is an Internet friend. I’ve never met her. I’ve never known my father. My mother lives about thirty minutes down the road in Prospect, and my Aunt Willow is in a mental institution and has been for the last two years. Since about a week before I met Sam.
Slowly, though, it comes back.
Sam isn’t real. He’s just my demon tormentor in human form. My father was a bastard angel, the third son of Adam and Eve, who, in a fit to get even with God for destroying his family and the world, made me with a human mother. Human plus angel makes Abomination. Apparently, this equals a very big bad. Give me enough demon blood, and I almost turn.
“Almost,” I’d heard Seth say as he dug the knife into me at the Hell gate. Almost. Which means I haven’t fully turned yet. Which means there is still hope for me. As long as the second thing isn’t “When she turns nineteen…” or something, I can stop it. Right? I can keep from doing it, whatever it is. I can stay human, or whatever the hell I am.
I can’t say I’m entirely sure what I am.
Not really. Abomination sure doesn’t sound like a good thing.
What I do know is that I’m cold, just like always.
I can feel the heavy covers over me, weighing me down—comforting me.
And I can still hear the sweet melody of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” whistling through the room. I can smell my chocolate candle, so I know I’m in my room—unless someone went to the trouble to make it seem otherwise.
I should open my eyes and face the world.
That’s what a brave person would do.
Just open her eyes and deal with life.
Part of me is still very scared, though. I don’t want to see what I’ve become thanks to all that demon blood Hart fed me.
Speaking of… I’m so thirsty.
I don’t remember ever being so thirsty. I’m not really hungry, though a rare steak does sound appealing.
Then it hits me.
I’m craving blood.
My eyes fly open, and I sit up in the bed, horrified at what I’m becoming. Blood! I want freakin’ blood like a freakin’ vampire in a freakin’ book!
I sit up so suddenly that the room starts to spin, and I regret ever sitting up so fast. I start falling back down to the mattress below when I’m met with a very sudden stop.
I focus and see Sam’s big, brown, puppy dog eyes looking down at me. Almost like they had in my dream.
Only it isn’t Sam.
It’s Hart. The man who has tortured me since my birth. The demon who took me to Seth, who tried to kill me.
The thing I’ve never known life without.
“Whoa. Hey, take it easy,” he says.
His voice is strangely calm. Dare I even say compassionate? Hart Blackwell being compassionate seems strange.
I guess that’s the point though. Keep me close. Then knock me down. Keep me anti-social and afraid of the world.
He did his job well, and a big part of me wants Sam back.
Not that there ever was a Sam
, I have to remind myself. The Sam I fell in love with. The one who took me to my senior prom and fixed me pancakes for our one-year anniversary. That Sam had been Hart all along. So maybe Hart had been compassionate in the past. Maybe.
My head hurts.
Everything hurts, truth be told.
My stomach hurts most of all.
I’m still lying in Sam’s—in Hart’s—arms. He looks like he’s concerned. I have to admit, I am too. I also have to admit that this isn’t the worst feeling in the world, being held by him this way.
I really have to figure out what to call him now.
“It hurts,” I manage to say, though my lips are so dry and my throat burns so bad I flinch when I try to swallow. And I’m weak. I didn’t expect to be so weak, but I should have. I was stabbed after all. Left for dead by the side of the Hell gate. Nothing strange or unusual about that.
“I know.” He holds me tight and places his chin on the top of my head. His grip makes my chest hurt, and I want to tell him to let up.
But I don’t because it feels so good just to be held. I don’t care at the moment that it’s a demon holding me. Why should I worry about that now? I’m worse than he is, right? I’m the thing that is supposed to destroy the world, am I not?
I shouldn’t even be alive.
No matter what I tell myself, or how much I thought I might have hope, I know me being alive is a bad thing.
The world would be better if I weren’t.
I hear the sobs before I realize they are coming from me. Every time my stomach contracts, it makes me flinch, but I can’t make it stop. I dig my fingernails into Hart’s shoulders, and I hold on to him for dear life.
For the first time since it started, heck for the first time in forever that I could remember, I cry. I really cry. There’s no stopping it. There’s no backing up and wiping the tears away like I’m embarrassed to have cried in front of Sam… in front of Hart. No. There is only sadness and depression and all the things I can’t control.