Read The Dark Side Online

Authors: M. J. Scott

Tags: #Paranormal Romance, #Urban Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Vampire Romance, #Werewolf Romance, #Werewolves, #Vampires, #magic, #Accountant, #The Wild Side Series, #FIC027120, #FIC009060, #FIC009000

The Dark Side

BOOK: The Dark Side
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PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF THE HALF-LIGHT CITY

Iron Kin

“Strong and complex world building, emotionally layered relationships, and enough action to keep me up long past my bedtime. I want to know what’s going to happen next to the DuCaines and their chosen partners, and I want to know
now
.”

—Vampire Book Club


Iron Kin
was jam-packed with action, juicy politics, and a lot of loose ends left over for the next book to resolve that it’s still a good read for series fans.”

— All Things Urban Fantasy

“Scott’s writing is rather superb.”

— Bookworm Blues

Blood Kin

“Not only was this book just as entertaining and immensely readable as 
Shadow Kin
—it sang in harmony with it and spun its own story all the while continuing the grander symphony that is slowly becoming the Half-Light City story. . . . Smart, funny, dangerous, addictive, and seductive in its languorous sexuality, I can think of no better book to recommend to anyone to read this summer. I loved every single page except the last one, and that’s only because it meant the story was done. For now, at least.”

—seattlepi.com


Blood Kin
 was one of those books that I really didn’t want to put down, as it hit all of my buttons for an entertaining story. It had the intrigue and danger of a spy novel, intense action scenes, and a romance that evolved organically over the course of the story. . . . Whether this is your first visit to Half-Light City or you’re already a fan, 
Blood Kin
 expertly weaves the events from 
Shadow Kin
 throughout this sequel in a way that entices new readers without boring old ones. I am really looking forward to continuing this enthralling ride.”

—All Things Urban Fantasy


Blood Kin
 had everything I love about urban fantasies: kick-butt action, fantastic characters, romance that makes the heart beat fast, and a plot that was fast-paced all the way through. Even more so the villains are meaner, stronger, and downright fantastic—I never knew what they were going to do next. You don’t want to miss out on this series.”

—Seeing Night Book Reviews

“An exciting thriller . . . fast-paced and well written.”

—Genre Go Round Reviews

Shadow Kin

“M. J. Scott’s 
Shadow Kin
 is a steampunky romantic fantasy with vampires that doesn’t miss its mark.”

—#1 
New York Times
 bestselling author Patricia Briggs


Shadow Kin
 is an entertaining novel. Lily and Simon are sympathetic characters who feel the weight of past actions and secrets as they respond to their attraction for each other.”


New York Times
 bestselling author Anne Bishop

“M. J. Scott weaves a fantastic tale of love, betrayal, hope, and sacrifice against a world broken by darkness and light, where the only chance for survival rests within the strength of a woman made of shadow and the faith of a man made of light.”

—National bestselling author Devon Monk

“Had me hooked from the very first page.”


New York Times
 bestselling author Keri Arthur

“Exciting and rife with political intrigue and magic, 
Shadow Kin
 is hard to put down right from the start. Magic, faeries, vampires, werewolves, and Templar knights all come together to create an intriguing story with a unique take on all these fantasy tropes. . . . The lore and history of Scott’s world is well fleshed out and the action scenes are exhilarating and fast.”


Romantic Times

“A fabulous tale.”

—Genre Go Round Reviews

THE DARK SIDE

By M. J. Scott

THE DARK SIDE

Copyright © 2014 by M. J. Scott

All Rights Reserved

EBook Edition by
emscott enterprises

All characters and events in this book are fictitious.  Any resemblance to real people, alive or dead, is entirely coincidental.

For everyone who occasionally feels the urge to howl at the moon.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Sarah for beta reading, Sharon for being a web-goddess extraordinaire, the lovely Lulus for writer sanity maintenance, Miriam who is always awesome, and everyone else who has been there for me during this crazy year

Chapter One

“Ever heard the phrase ‘out of the frying pan into the fire’?” Dan muttered as we stared at the huge, black-mirrored doors.

“You know, that’s what I love about you, always the optimist,” I said, trying to convince myself there was no reason for my reflection to look so nervous. Beyond the doors subterranean bass pounded, vibrating through my chest like a warning. A warning I had to ignore.

“We can still leave,” Dan said, sounding calm but looking grim.

“This will get me off the hook with Lord Marco,” I reminded him. And, frankly, repaying a debt to the oldest vampire in Seattle was the only reason good enough to get me to walk through these particular doors. Into Maelstrom—darkest of the city’s dark clubs—and, even worse, into a meeting with Lord Esteban, the vamp who owned the place.

Dan frowned, rubbing the fading scar on his right wrist. “It will get you off one hook.”

Like I needed the reminder that this favor wasn’t all I owed Lord Marco. After all, Dan and I had been fighting about my other debt for six weeks now. The fact that I owed blood to an Old One wasn’t exactly easy to forget. Talk about making a deal with the devil.

Though I’d done it to save Dan’s life. And some would argue that, for an Old One, and the ruler of Seattle’s vampires, Marco was hardly devilish. From what I’d seen of him, he ruled more with the velvet glove and less with the iron fist. But velvet glove or not, I was certain that welching on a debt to him would be a bad idea.

So I was trying to tough it out even though Marco was sending me into the lion’s den, so to speak. I still hadn’t figured out why he’d asked me to assist Lord Esteban—probably his biggest rival for power—to clear my debt. Strange are the ways of vampires.

I shot Dan a reassuring smile. “Let’s focus on right now, huh? We see what Lord Esteban’s problem is. It can’t be that bad. Marco can’t ask me to do something that could hurt me. That was part of our agreement.”

I sounded certain. I doubted Dan would buy it but I had to at least try to sound more optimistic than I felt. I tugged at the leather halter I wore, trying to make the pointed edges meet the waist of the matching pants.

It didn’t work. It hadn’t worked any of the hundred or so times I tried to do the same thing since my assistant, Jase, had kitted me out in the latest in dark club chic. Which equated to sleek black leather and not that much of it.

I’d wanted to wear body armor.

Jase said that’d only flag me as fresh meat. In a dark club, that could have an all too literal meaning.

Hence the dominatrix Barbie look I was sporting. Leather, chains, too much black eyeliner, and wine-red lipstick. Not me at all. Clients tend to like their accountants to wear suits, not spikes and skin. And, speaking as their accountant, I prefer it too.

Dan had been subjected to Jase’s fashion direction as well. But I liked
his
outfit. Black leather pants hugged his long legs, outlining every hard-earned muscle, and a thin black T-shirt that was exactly the right degree of tight did the same for his chest.

I let all that hard male flesh distract me from Esteban for a moment and stepped a little closer, breathing in his scent. “You know, I think you should keep these clothes.”

One side of his mouth lifted. “Really? What did you have in mind?”

“How about I tell you later?” I pressed closer to him, felt his heart speed up and saw the smile widen, just a fraction. I was happy to see the smile, even if it was only half an expression. Things between us were kind of strained. Six weeks ago, I’d kind of proposed. And he’d kind of accepted. But that was before he’d found out about Marco and the deals I’d made.

Before we’d had the mother of all arguments.

“You should tell me now,” Dan said, smile still lingering. I wished it would stay in place just a bit longer. Since the argument we’d been circling each other warily. He hadn’t produced a ring and there’d been no talk of weddings, despite some not so subtle hints from our pack’s Alphas. What there had been were some spectacular fights and some even more spectacular make-up sex.

There hadn’t been many smiles. There had been lots of me feeling like I was walking on eggshells and failing miserably to not crush them. Especially since Marco had called in his favor two nights ago.

I was hoping getting at least one of my debts settled might ease things between us. Get us moving forward again. Maybe give me back some semblance of a normal life.

“More fun in private,” I said.

Dan’s smile disappeared. His head turned back to the door. “Private? Ash, inside those doors most people wouldn’t blink an eye if we did it in the middle of the dance floor.” His voice gave no hint of the growling rumble it held when he was happy. Or horny.

Talk about a mood killer. I stepped back, as the reality of where we were returned. A dark club. Where the crowd played rough in more than one sense of the word.

BDSM, vampires feeding on willing—and maybe not so willing—victims and other things I didn’t really want to know about. And that was just the public areas.

The rumors of what went on in the private rooms were nasty. Though they were just rumors. No one had ever successfully prosecuted an owner of a dark club.

And Lord Esteban was the biggest, baddest owner of them all.

Maybe Dan was right. Maybe I should just go back to Marco and tell him no deal. But then I might just have two pissed off Old Ones on my case. While there was a chance that Marco might be willing to let me off, everything I’d heard about Esteban suggested the concept of letting it slide wasn’t one he was familiar with.

Marco had always treated me with courtesy. But I’d never met Esteban and I couldn’t assume he’d do the same. The one vampire of his lineage I had met hadn’t seemed that friendly. Therefore, backing out was not an option. Even though, not for the first time since Dan had reentered my life, I wished desperately that I could go back to being boring old Ashley Keenan, forensic accountant.

Not Ashley the werewolf, killer of psychopathic vampires and debtor to Old Ones.

Sadly that was about as likely to happen as me enjoying the next thirty minutes.

“We’re going to do this like we agreed, right?” I said, watching Dan’s face. He’d flat out refused to let me come alone. I was happy to have backup but had insisted that he let me do the talking. Cue yet another fight. He’d finally accepted my argument that looking weak in front of Esteban was hardly going to keep me safe. “Dan?”

I got one short nod and a growled “Fine.” I suddenly felt more eggshells crumbling beneath my feet but there wasn’t anything I could do to fix things right now. So I turned back to the doors, resisting the urge to turn tail and bolt. Instead, instincts screaming at me, I stepped forward and pushed them open.

Time to ride the whirlwind.

* * *

As we stepped through the doors, the music crashed over us like thunder. I fought the urge to wince. I needed to look tough. Jase had drilled that into me. No backing down or I’d just be inviting trouble. Cringing at the screeching industrial metal assaulting my senses was definitely not tough.

I squared my shoulders, relying on the nearness of Dan’s scent to know he had my back and moved farther into the club. The darkened space smelled of heat and sweat and too many people in a place that never saw sunshine. The odors of wolf and vampire and human mingled in dizzying jumble of scent that made my nose itch. Underneath it all I smelled fear. And blood. Old and new.

My throat tightened. The smell was too familiar. I still smelled it in my nightmares—the ones I tried to forget and mostly succeeded—except when something triggered the memories all over again. Like the scent of blood.

No freaking out allowed
. I tried to breathe through my mouth and slow my heartbeat. No point acting tough when most of the people around you can hear your heart pounding with fear.

As my eyes adjusted to the lack of the light—one advantage of being a werewolf—I tried to get the lay of the vast room. Bodies packed a huge central dance floor, twisting and writhing to the relentless music. Ultraviolet lights shone down from weird angles, turning skin unnatural shades of gray and purple, making it difficult to make out individual features. In the middle of the dance floor was a raised square platform. Empty. Thank God for small mercies. I had no desire to take in the sort of floorshow a dark club might offer.

Spiky-looking metal tables of various heights formed an uneven square around the dancers. To our left a steep metal staircase led up to the metal-railed balcony ringing the room. According to Marco, we’d find Esteban’s office upstairs. Apparently the entrance to the private areas of the club was up there too. The areas I
really
didn’t want to see.

Any more than I wanted to meet Lord Esteban. The thought of climbing those stairs suddenly felt as inviting as walking the plank. I was all too aware that there were many, many sharks circling.

BOOK: The Dark Side
9.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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