Authors: Lacey Savage
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Copyright ©2007 Lacey Savage
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It’s been two years since Heidi Cole’s encounter with Luke Howard and
the demon that ripped him from her arms. Much has changed during the
past twenty-four months, especially Heidi herself.
Driven by haunting memories of losing Luke, she’s joined the Scarlet
Summoners, a team of demon-hunting conjurers who draw their powers
from sexual energy. Her goal is simple: destroy every demon who
crosses her path and hope to one day become strong enough to conduct a
Summoning --and rescue her lover from the depths of Hell.
But magic makes no guarantees. When Heidi is finally able to open a
portal into Hell, she brings back not only Luke but also his cellmate, a
man whose raw sex appeal is only matched by the secrets he keeps.
Publisher’s Note: Summoning Darkness is the sequel to Lacey’s Jack-O-
Lantern, Dark Desire, but it also stands alone as the first book in a new
The depths of the Underworld
A long, long time ago
It was a damn good day to die.
Varin crossed his arms over his bare chest and leaned against a sharply jutting edge of phosphorous black rock. The smell of sulfur and molten lava blended with the acrid stench of fear, drenching the damp air. He sucked in a deep breath, filling his lungs with the heady mixture.
Glorious. Like everything else about this place
. Although he’d been appointed Demon Guardian Overlord almost a millennium earlier, the euphoria that came with receiving new souls hadn’t yet begun to fade. Time had no meaning in the dark place beneath the mortal realm. Here, there was nothing but suffering and everlasting torment. The culmination of countless lifetimes of sin. An intoxicating, potent rush heated his blood, bringing with it a torrent of pleasure. He reveled in it as he watched vessels carrying newcomers sway on the black waters of the underground river. The roiling turmoil beneath the surface of the stream mirrored the pounding of his heart. Frothy whitecaps blossomed to the top, stirred by the passing of the long, sleek ships.
Varin flexed his arms, feeling the rock dig deeper into his back. A tang of pain slid down his spine, shooting a jolt of adrenaline and arousal into his veins. He waited patiently as the newcomers disembarked, mere pale shades of the humans they once were. The occasional scream or wailing sob reached his ears, filling his soul.
This was what he was meant to do. Serve the Prince of Darkness as his most trusted Guardian of the Underworld, oversee the arrival of souls and ensure none ever crossed in the other direction, through any means.
“That’s the last of them, Master.”
He shot a glance to his right, where a long, ghostly shadow rippled in the hot breeze. “How many?”
“Three hundred and nineteen.”
“That’s twice as many as yesterday,” Varin said. “Baal will be pleased.”
The souleater bowed low at its shapeless waist, materializing into a solid figure. “If you’ll approve the delivery, we’ll transfer the new souls into your care immediately.”
Varin scanned the paperwork the shadow handed him. Etched in black on a pristine white surface, the names of those condemned to spend eternity in torment glistened on the form. The record was separated into two sections, and Varin’s gaze immediately jumped to the bottom, where a dozen names stood apart from the others.
His grin broadened. “The list of Forgotten continues to grow. You’ve done well.”
The apparition quivered with barely contained excitement. His dark eyes glowed red-hot for a moment, reflecting the unsettled waves of the river.
“Do you think the Prince will reward me?”
Varin made a show of thinking about it. He’d served Baal for as long as he could remember. In all that time, the Prince of Darkness had never shown a shred of appreciation toward anyone. The Lord of the Underworld was quick to punish for the smallest infraction, but positive reinforcement wasn’t part of his leadership philosophy.
“Perhaps.” Varin glanced back at the names that had caught his attention. Forgotten souls belonged to humans captured before their time and hauled into Hell by force rather than by fate. Many had been destined for the
place, but would now never see it. For that reason, the Forgotten were among the most prized of prisoners. Unlike those who’d earned their stay in the Underworld, the Forgotten maintained their humanity after crossing over. They felt the sweet burn of every whiplash ten-fold. They could never die, and they would never escape the depths of Hell.
They were Varin’s triumph. Before him, no other Guardian Overlord had ever been able to draw the souls of those who had not yet passed over to linger on the other side. But Varin had known it was possible. He’d trained the souleaters himself. It had taken a century of constant instruction and countless fruitless journeys into the mortal realm, but it had all been worth it.
Excitement stirred his blood, jolting his cock. Overseeing the soul transfer to the Underworld always left him eager to fuck.
After consulting the record one last time, Varin brought his hand to his mouth and bit down on the pad of his index finger. Blood so dark it was almost black sprung up to the surface. He pressed the glistening drop down on to the paper, where it sizzled slowly, imbuing the air with a scorched scent.
Restless and aroused, he tossed the clipboard back to the souleater. “Find a lesser Guardian to take possession.”
He strolled away, following the edge of the river until it came to a sharp bend in the uneven trail. Ducking his head beneath a six-foot opening in a side cavern, he pressed his palm to the slick rock. At the contact, the barrier slid aside with a tumultuous rumble that made the ground quake beneath Varin’s feet.
He stepped inside and waited while his eyes adjusted to the dim interior. Decorated in a dark mixture of deep violet, crimson and midnight black, the cavernous room allowed him all the space he needed to indulge his cravings. Trickling streams of lava dripped along the stone walls, the light casting a soft glow over the minimal furniture in his chamber.
“Welcome home, Master. We were starting to get restless.”
Two succubae lounged in leather armchairs on either side of Varin’s bed. Tall and slim, with long black hair, plump breasts with rosy nipples, and hairless cunts, they looked like mirror images of each other. Anger lit a fiery trail through Varin’s veins. “I’ve told you never to enter my chambers uninvited. And yet you insist on defying me at every opportunity.”
The succubus on the left batted her eyelashes. “We keep hoping you’ll change your mind about letting us entertain you.” She trailed her fingertips over her breasts, pausing to tweak a nipple and roll it between thumb and forefinger. “We pleased you once, remember? We can please you again.”
It had been years since he’d allowed either succubus to touch him. Despite their lithe, willing bodies and savage cravings, tonight, just like on countless other nights, Varin craved something --
“Bring her,” he commanded, barely tossing another glance in the succubae’s direction. “Then leave us.”
again. You’ve been fucking her exclusively for far too long. I wonder how much longer Baal will continue to ignore your deviant behavior. It’s not natural for a demon to prefer one of the Forgotten to those of his own kind.”
The petulant tone in the succubus’s voice didn’t escape Varin. His hand went to his belt. He drew it out slowly, then slipped it through his fingertips and snapped it before letting it land on the black bedspread. He didn’t have the inclination to punish her, even knowing she’d enjoy every slap of the leather against her perfectly shaped ass. No, he wanted nothing to do with either succubus. There was only one woman who could relieve the pressure hardening his cock to painful proportions, and she didn’t have a drop of demonic blood in her.
“Do it now,” he ground out between gritted teeth, knowing he didn’t have to repeat his original order.
The stone doorway shifted to allow the succubae to leave. Varin removed his loose silk pants, letting the hot air permeating his room ruffle the curls at his groin.
Though his back was turned, he knew the exact moment when Lillian arrived. He felt her, even before the sentient stone guarding his chamber slid aside to let her pass. Her scent, musky with a tinge of something floral, even after all this time in the Underworld, taunted him.
“You asked for me, M-master?”
Varin frowned. It had been years since he’d snatched her from the mortal realm and brought her down to the Underworld with a batch of Forgotten. He’d been instantly taken with her and had immediately summoned her to his bed. She’d resisted him at first, but now she came willingly. Yet even though he’d sheltered her and had made sure she endured none of the torment the rest of her human brethren experienced, calling him Master still felt foreign to her. The word halted on her tongue each time she spoke it.
He turned to her, his breath catching in his throat. Lillian was the epitome of innocence, the embodiment of everything the Prince of Darkness sought to eliminate from the mortal realm. A full mane of shiny gold-spun hair tumbled around her shoulders and fell down her back. Her brilliant blue eyes glistened as she watched him in expectation, lower lip clenched between her teeth.
Crossing the distance between them, he swept her into his arms and pressed her light, curvy body to his much stronger one. She didn’t protest when he claimed her mouth but kissed him back eagerly, her lips parting to allow his tongue to slide inside. He poured everything he had into that one kiss, as though it had been years since he’d last held her rather than merely hours.
He spun her around and tossed her on the bed. She bounced lightly, a giggle escaping her throat, the crystalline sound echoing off the walls of his chamber and imbuing the dark interior with an instant pulse of joy.
I can almost see it
, Varin thought as he lowered his body over hers, the glow she emitted, the golden aura that the Underworld hadn’t been able to rip from her. Her presence seemed to lift the dark shadows lingering in every corner of his chamber. Even her blonde hair shone like a halo in the orange lava glow.
He should hate her. He knew that with every ounce of logic he possessed. If Baal learned that Varin’s feelings for Lillian were more than simple infatuation, his punishment would be as severe as hers. Yet even that knowledge wasn’t enough to convince Varin to send her away. Everything from her light, spicy scent to the pliant softness of her full lips conspired to drive him out of his mind.
He couldn’t get enough of her.
He loved her. With every beat of his demonic heart. Varin trailed kisses down the line of her chin. Her pulse fluttered in the delicate hollow at the base of her throat and he paused to lick there, eliciting another giggle from his beloved.
The foreign sound should have grated. His Guardian training and his demon heritage should have instantly driven him to eliminate all traces of the exultant harmony. Yet he licked her again, and again, thinking he’d never tire of making her laugh.
He continued his path of exploration down between her breasts, his tongue sliding deep in the valley between them. She tasted of sweat and feminine allure, the light, spicy flavor making his mouth water for more of her.
Grabbing an ankle in each hand, he tossed her feet over his shoulders and buried his head between her thighs. A soft moan of pleasure escaped her throat. The urge to sample her delicate nether lips was too much to bear, and he swiped his tongue along the length of her slit, parting her labia. Lillian was so different from the succubae. She craved tenderness and gentle lovemaking while they delighted in the sweet burn of never ending pain. Even the feathery thatch of pubic hair was foreign to him. Succubae had no body hair, their smooth, sleek forms perfectly designed for driving a man to the brink of insanity.