Authors: Alaska Angelini
Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
THEIR DARK HUNTER
Masters of Darkness, 1
Copyright © 2013
“And you too shall be set free from your wicked ways, and hence become immortalized into a new breed known as
.” A cackle came from the homeless man’s mouth as he went back to rocking to and fro against the side of Vex’s club. The scraggly beard of the beggar was knotted and littered with dirt and grime. Pieces of food were still visible as he brought the bottle back to his cracked lips.
Vex shook his head and laughed. The former veteran’s hard life
didn’t appear to be a pretty picture, the first time he had looked into the man’s soul. Blood and loss were two things Anthony Gilroy had seen plenty of. Although he would have been easy prey for the demon master to take, Vex couldn’t allow him or any of his demons to make the man’s afterlife any worse than the one he led now. Vex’s heart might have been black, but deep within the core it harbored a tiny, little spark of something.
Try to get some food this time, will ya? I swear I give you more money than I pay my staff.” He took in the man’s tattered clothes. The red plaid shirt was ripped at the shoulder seam, revealing pale skin. Blue jeans that were once a light color now looked dark from layers of filth. “I see you at least bought new shoes like I told you to. Good. Now I don’t have to worry about stepping on your toes as I walk past.”
“Maybe if you drove a car instead of time traveled, you wouldn’t have to worry about my feet.” The laugh echoed through the dark alleyway again, and Vex sighed.
The man had seen too much over the years, but it didn’t worry
Vex. Toby was far from sane, and even if he did tell people what he saw, it wasn’t like they’d believe him anyway. “It’s called materialization. Not time travel. I stay in the present. I’m just disappearing to and from whatever location I want. As long as I’ve been there before, it’s a piece of cake. It’s impossible for me to go somewhere I’ve never seen.”
“Interesting. Well, that’ll be twenty more bucks for my time, master of clowns. You’ve kept me from my bottle too long.” Shaky hands reached in his direction.
“Clowns? I should be offended, but you’re probably right.” Vex slipped him the money. “You get some food. I’m serious. Or you’ll not be getting another dime from me if you don’t.”
Rotten teeth flashed as he smiled and took the cash. As Vex turned around and rounded the corner of the club, the evil pushed against the insides of his skin, completely taking him over. “Boss,” the bouncer said, looking down quickly. The demon was new. His fear and respect washed over Vex, and the master in him ate up the emotions as if they were as essential as air.
“Jim.” Vex nodded as he walked through the main doors.
Rap music engulfed him and thumped loudly as he stepped inside. Off in the distance, strobe lights cast an erotic effect on the couples grinding against each other on the dance floor. It looked as though they were moving in slow motion. The tables that rested between them were full of people drinking and having a good time.
Vex’s eyes automatically went up to the small balcony upstairs that sat VIP
––in other words, his top demons. Trace, his master-in-training, was leaning against the railing staring right at him. A black shirt stood out in contrast to his pale skin. Blondish-red hair was styled with gel, and his green eyes practically glowed from the power he was soaking in watching the lustful activity below.
Vex headed up the red
, spiral staircase. Two demons stood guard at the entrance of the thousand-square-foot room.
“Didn’t think you were coming in tonight.” Trace walked over
, casually, and sat at their usual table.
“I wasn’t going to.” An empty glass appeared before him from Jazel. He looked up at the dark haired demon and took in her body. He smiled, slowly, feeling her growing powers. She’d come far in the last few years. If he
had been smart, he probably would have picked her to teach. Training Trace held way too much temptation. “You’re forgetting something,” he told her.
Lips pressed against his cheek, and he groaned as her teeth gently pulled at his earlobe. “Good girl. Now out.”
Vex turned to Trace, who had one of his eyebrows cocked. “Just fuck her already. She’s been panting like a bitch in heat now for years.”
“Too easy.” Scotch began to slosh around as Vex’s palm hovered over
the glass. “I’m not a man whore like you, Trace. I like my woman to be a challenge.” He looked up and met his eyes. It was hard pretending there was nothing between them. “By the time I break down their resistance, they know who their master is.” The scotch felt good and Vex let it take over his senses. “Speaking of man-whoring? You have a new mark.”
The demon opened his mouth,
no doubt to bitch and complain. Vex narrowed his eyes and stopped the process before it even started. Only two weeks had gone by since Trace had brought the last one to him, but since he’d already missed two marks over the last two months, he was punishing him. It had to be done, even if Vex didn’t like it. If Trace was going to be a master, he needed to know how to corrupt even the hardest target.
“She’s here.” Vex stood and leaned against the edge of the balcony.
Through the foggy effects of the dark club walked a woman wearing a tight black dress. Her long blonde hair moved against her back as she swayed her hips, seductively. “Blonde hair, black dress, in front of the bar. Tell me what you see.”
“Blondie’s not human.”
His stare got stuck, and Vex knew he was taking in the darkness oozing from her skin. Not everyone could see it. Not even the average demon could. It took a master. One whose power had reached beyond the limits of the everyday, soul-snatching sadists Vex called his men.
“Didn’t see that one coming, did you?” Vex finished off his scotch. “
You will not fail me, concerning her. You’re reaching a master’s level. Don’t make me find someone to replace you. Demons come a dime a dozen.”
Trace ran his fingers through his hair and became tight lipped as he picked up on the warning. Vex wasn’t playing, and he knew
the demon was all too aware of that. When he made a threat, he always followed through. Period.
“So, who is she? And why
He turned his attention to Trace. “
You’re kidding me, right?” He sighed. “That, my friend, is an immortal. Her biggest sins are lust, envy—“
A laugh exploded from the demon’s mouth. “That’s
, in general. What makes
The evil deep within circled around Vex’s chest. He did not have time for jokes.
That was Trace’s biggest problem. He treated their relationship more as friendship, than master and demon. It was starting to become too casual between them. He’d tried to be nice, but demons weren’t regular people. Nice was the last thing they needed.
“Maybe you missed the part about her being immortal. She’s in transition right now, and trying to make it back to her sweet
, little angel status. She’s fucking gold. You’re going to convert her to the dark side, completely.”
Trace’s mouth parted. “How in the hell am I supposed to do that? She’ll know what I am once I get within five feet of her.” He paused. “She’ll try to take me out.”
It was his turn to laugh. “Are you scared to die? How sweet.” Vex rested his arms against the balcony and looked as the blonde woman laughed and talked with a group of humans. She was trying so hard to fit in, but her beauty was her downfall. The men wanted what they knew they couldn’t have, and the women? They were threatened by her angelic looks and perfect body. “She’s lonely. Use it against her. Befriend her. Fuck her. Make her fall in love with you. I don’t care. You get her working for me and you’ll become master, like you’ve always wanted. Then you can take care of your own demons.”
The all too familiar longing appeared behi
nd the demon’s eyes. Vex knew Trace wanted the promotion more than anything. But what was he willing to do to get it? That was the question.
“You have five weeks. If you fail, you’re out.”
Vex turned and pounded down the stairs. College kids were thick throughout the crowded space. Without thought, they stepped aside. Deep in their minds, they felt his power. Were frightened to their core of his evil. But to them, it would register as nothing more than an uncomfortable sensation. For reasons unbeknownst to them, they began parting like the Red Sea, and it was beautiful.
Blue eyes flashed in his direction and he smiled at the immortal
woman. She had no idea what or who he was … the perks of being a demon master. It came from hundreds of years of learning, building, and perfecting his skills. To her, he was nothing but a man that had a sense of authority. It was time to see if Trace could pull off the same persona.
Was he master material? The question was tricky.
Vex had seen deep into his mind. At times, all Trace would have to do was smile, and his good looks had even the purest woman dreaming sinful thoughts. He looked like he belonged on the big screen. Those deep green eyes and full lips drew the ladies in. Hell, even men. He was a smooth talker, and a hell of a liar. It was possible he stood a chance. That was, if he didn’t screw it up by using that mind of his. Damn guy thought too much. He questioned everything. It drove Vex crazy.
The salty sea air hit
Vex hard as he walked out onto Club Street. He’d made his appearance, and now it was time to get the hell home. The club scene just wasn’t his thing lately. Whether it was from the decades of the same old thing, or he was feeling every year of his age, he wasn’t sure.
c and laughing filled the block long strip. Tons of young, half-clothed kids stood in lines to get into the hottest nightclubs in the city of Corpus Christi, TX. It was a demon’s playground, and master’s office. His men were laced everywhere throughout the scene and he couldn’t help but smile at the thought.
Whistling came from his lips as he began to stroll to
his penthouse down the street. It wasn’t a far walk. Just under a quarter of a mile. Red and blue lights flashed off in the distance. With the police station downtown, it was a common sight on his nightly walks. And no doubt, it was probably just another public intoxication or drunk-driving incident.
Footsteps pounded up from behind him and he could sense Trace without even having to turn around. Anyone who belonged to him was linked. It made tracking them down a hell of a lot easier if they decided to rebel, or run from him for some reason.
He turned around
and sighed. Fear clouded Trace’s face. Whatever had happened wasn’t good. So much for making it an early night… “What now? I just left, for crying out loud. Don’t tell me you’re already giving up on the immortal girl.”
“Of course not,”
Trace said, offended. “I was actually able to approach Evangeline without her knowing who I was. We only got the introductions in before Dray pulled me away.”
Vex narrowed his eyes and looked back toward the door of
Sinz. Some people were beginning to leave, but nothing appeared out of the norm. He immediately headed in the direction. “Talk.”
already has the restrooms closed off. Says he was in the stall, and Malcolm was waiting by the sink for him when he heard the door open.”
The crowd moved as Vex glided through the entrance and headed to the back. “And?”
Light blue eyes peered up at him as Dray nodded in his direction. Laughter burst from the three men, directly in front of Vex. They were beyond drunk, given the way they were stumbling, and not moving out of the way like most people would have. All Vex wanted to do was knock them to the side so he could hurry up and get inside. As sweet as it would be, it would only cause more trouble.
“Closed,” Dray yelled. The music was pumping loud, drowning out the quietest of noises. He motioned for them to leave, but one of the men groaned.
“Come on, man. I’ve got to piss, bad. Let me through.”
“I said it’s closed.” Dray leaned forward, pushing his energy out through his eyes. It was the only way a demon could get through to someone that intoxicated. Dray was powerful, indeed, but not quite near master level. It wouldn’t be long, though. He was definitely going to have to keep his eye on the guy.
The men turned around and Vex let them pass. He glanced at the demon standing guard and stepped inside with Trace following.
Bass echoed off the walls as the door closed behind them.
?“ Vex walked forward and cursed under his breath.
sat half against the wall, slumped over. Black blood covered his shirt, and a single bullet hole proved to be the culprit. But it wasn’t from any gun a human carried. Vex placed his palm against the wound and made it disappear. With a wave of his hand, he hid any trace of blood anyone might see.