I posted all of the first Hellbourne book. There is a second one and I had planned on writing a third. What is your opinion of re-issuing. Should I reprint with 1 & 2 then write 3 or should I wait and put them all together? What are your thoughts?

Keys Read-A-Long!

Hi everyone! Sheri here, Amber and I have decided to do a fun readalong of Keys. So to kick it off, I figured I would give a few e-copies away to those who might not have it. Winners picked Sunday morning.

The readalong will have daily discussions in Amber’s Reader group on FB and a final wrapup here on the blog. To join her FB group, CLICK HERE!


Previously Released

My name is Octavius Septimus Stalk, but my friends call me Oss. I live in the City of Keys, a town of gears, keys, locks, and wonder. Our forefathers banished magic long ago, bolted the doors and locked everything up tight to keep people out and the town’s secrets in. Four Lock Lords control what information is left, and everyone else is left struggling to survive.

Despite what Thorne, my naïve lover, thinks, I was an orphan, but not a victim. When I walked the streets at the age of twelve, I learned fast where to steal the best food, how to use my daggers, and where to hide my would-be attackers’ bodies. No one suspected me of such violence. No one knew then or now that I have magic inside me.

Now, power hungry men intend to release the magic for their own benefit—at the expense of the rest of the city. We will stop them, even if Thorne must battle his own kin, even if I must reveal my hidden talents and the role I seem destined to play.

I do hope you’ll join us, there may be prizes and Amber will be joining in on the discussions in the group. If you don’t already own the book, it is a fantastic story and I know Amber is writing in the world as we speak so more to come!

Hellbourne blog story part 12

Chapter Twelve

When Luc’s vision cleared, he was standing in his father’s throne room, looking up at the chair of bones.
“Luc, my son. How kind of you to bring me visitors. I’ve always wanted to meet this wolf of yours, but you know, I’m not allowed to visit the earthly plane.”
There were many moments in Luc’s life where he felt scared, but they were all eclipsed by the sight of his father smiling at the love of his life.
“It’s a shame that Galthine was so easily able to influence you.”
Bran bowed his head but not before Luc saw his disgruntled expression. He knew the werewolf felt bad enough, it didn’t help that everyone kept throwing it back into his face.
“I almost killed you when you broke my son’s heart, but I decided it was more punishment to let you live without him.” Lucifer turned his frightening gaze onto Luc. “But then you forgave him. Why is that, son? Why would you forgive someone who hurt you?”
“The same reason I forgive you each year, Father. I love him.”
Despite being the king of evil, there were moments in his life that Luc cherished moments that involved his father. Like when he was five and his father made it snow in hell because Luc had read a story about snow and wanted to see it, or the litter of hellhound puppies he got for his tenth birthday. Not to mention freeing Luc from hell so he could explore the earthly plane. Yes, Lucifer did many things to help his son, but that didn’t make him a good guy.
“What do you think I should do, Luc? You escaped from your prison and got your brother to kill the twins. It will take a great deal of energy to bring them back. What do you think is a suitable punishment?”
“Letting him go.” Freen appeared out from behind Lucifer’s throne, his dark eyes gleaming with malice.
“Let him go?” Lucifer frowned at his son. “Why would I want to do that?”
“Because I’m certain Michael sent the wolf after Luc, and if he doesn’t show up soon, the angel will be very angry. We don’t need a holy war because you’re peeved.”
Lucifer waved a hand and Freen was thrown across the room. His slim body slammed into the rock wall and he tumbled to the ground in a graceless heap.
Luc tried to feel sympathetic, but since the man had just spent a gleeful hour torturing him, it was difficult to drudge up a proper amount of sympathy for his brother.
When he looked up, his father was stroking the beard on his chin, his malicious eyes luminous. “He does have a point as much as I hate to say it. Did you want to go spend your life with this wolf of yours?”
Luc nodded. “Yes, Father.”
“Very well. Then you can both stay here,” Lucifer said it as if he were conferring a great favor.
Luc felt his heart stutter. “Bran is not going to stay in hell.”
“Why? Doesn’t he love you enough?” His tone was perfect, almost fatherly. “I’m sure Michael wouldn’t object if you were with the love of your life.”
Luc knew that Michael wouldn’t be able to do a damned thing if Lucifer kept him.
“I love him enough,” Bran said, stepping forward. “I’ll stay with him if that’s what I need to do to be by his side.”
“I wasn’t talking to you,” Lucifer said, his eyes glowing red.
There had to be a way out of this. Luc couldn’t think, couldn’t function. Images of his beloved wolf trapped in hell for eternity spun his thoughts like a hamster on a wheel.
Remembering Michael’s words, Luc pulled the guitar around the front of his body and started playing. His fingers strummed a tune, a forgotten melody that floated through his brain and flowed through his fingers.
Before he knew it, Bran was grabbing his arm and pulling him backwards.
Luc looked up and his fingers froze on the strings.
“Keep playing.”
Swallowing the lump of fear in his throat, Luc backed away slowly, letting Bran guide his steps. The chair was dissolving. Bones set in the chair for centuries were rising from their place and reforming into their former shapes. By the end of Luc’s song, six angels had regained their skeletal structure and flesh was starting to grow and cover the bones.
Luc wanted to stop and run out screaming, but if he stopped now, they would only be partially formed. He let Bran lead him away step by step. When the last angel formed, the six turned on Lucifer. Screams followed them as they ran out of the room.
It felt as if an eternity had passed since Luc last saw the welcoming doorway of his room. Grabbing a pillowcase, he snatched bits and pieces of his life in hell and stuffed them inside. He wouldn’t be returning here, ever.
“Ready to go?” Bran asked, taking the pillowcase to carry for his lover.
With a final glance around the room, Luc nodded. “Yeah, I’m done here.”
“Take me with you,” Stiln said.
Luc looked at his brother in surprise. “Why would I want to do that?”
“Because Sal is my lover and I don’t want us to be parted.”
Luc looked at Sal and his brother.
“Forget it,” Bran said. “You tortured Luc for years.”
“I had to.” Stiln turned his one eye to Luc. “I won’t say that I wasn’t jealous, but I never wanted to hurt you. Father always had the upper hand and would make threats if I became reluctant. You know I always took it easy on you.”
Luc nodded. That was true. As easy as a person could who was supposed to be torturing you.
“Please, Bran,” Sal begged the alpha. “I have never asked for anything, but I am asking for this.”
Knowing Bran would make the right decision in the end, Luc closed his eyes and formed a portal in his mind. When his eyes opened, he could see into the living room of his house.
“Fine, come with us,” Bran growled. “But if you do anything to hurt Luc, I’ll rip your head off of your shoulders.”
“Fair enough,” Stiln said.
Only a demon would think that.
“Everyone through, I have to go last.”
One by one, everyone walked through the portal. Luc took one last look around. “Goodbye, Father,” he said sadly before exiting hell for the last time.
He left hell and walked into the arms of his vampire.
“Are you all right?” Nikko clutched Luc as if they had been separated for centuries.
“Air,” he gasped.
“Oh, sorry.” Nikko relaxed his hold, but he still didn’t let go of Luc entirely.
Luc looked over the vampire’s shoulder to see Jerrod and Carn looking at him with astonishment. “Hello, boys.” He wiggled out of Nikko’s embrace, escaping with just a few bruises from the vampire’s tight grip.
Jerrod ran across the room and wrapped himself around Luc. Sobbing, his body shook. “I-I was s-so worried,” he wheezed, clutching Luc tight. He placed soft kisses all over Luc’s face.
Luc pulled Jerrod away so he could look at him. Tears raced down the vampire’s face. “It’s okay, honey. I’m all right.”
“Did they hurt you?”
Luc nodded. He couldn’t lie to the vamp. “But I’m fine now, and I won’t have to go back again.” He didn’t want to think about what would happen if Lucifer overpowered the angels again. His father wasn’t the forgiving type.
“He couldn’t even if he wanted to.” Michael’s voice boomed through the room. “It’s nice to see you’ve chosen your side.”
Releasing Jerrod, Luc turned to confront the angel. “What happened back there?”
Michael threw back his head and laughed. “What do you think happened?”
Bran growled. “How did Luc make those angels reform?”
“The song was an unbinding spell. It destroyed the spell your father created to set the angels in his chair. When you played it, you freed them from their confinement and they were able to overtake Lucifer,” Michael said.
“Will he be all right?” Luc hated himself for asking, but Lucifer was still his father.
Michael nodded. “But he probably won’t be in any condition to run hell for quite some time.”
Bran stepped forward to wrap an arm around Luc in a show of support.
Luc smiled. “Thank you, Michael, for everything and for sending Sal and Bran to help me.”
“Thank you for getting me out of there,” Sal said from the shelter of Stiln’s arms. “But I don’t know what I’ll do now. I can’t return to the pack after Bran killed me in front of them.”
He had a point. The pack wouldn’t accept him after everything he’d done, even if he did it for Luc’s benefit.
“You and Stiln can stay here with me,” Luc said.
“Really?” Stiln’s face lit with joy, an expression Luc couldn’t remember ever seeing before. “Thanks, Luc. I won’t be here forever, just until I can figure out what to do with myself.” He nuzzled Sal’s cheek with his nose like an affectionate cat. “And my lover.”
Luc watched as Sal glowed. Who knew that his psychotic one-eyed brother was a closet romantic?
He turned to his own lover. “Bran, we still have the problem of where you’re going to live. You can’t just leave your pack. And Jerrod and Carn can’t go and live with the wolves.”
Bran held Luc’s face between his two large hands, forcing him to look into his eyes. “Despite my past behavior, I know where my future lies. I will come and live with you. I want to sleep beside you, wake up beside you and fight over who gets the first cup of coffee in the morning. I’ve missed your skin next to mine, and if one day you decide you wish to be a demon lord, I’ll murder a basketful of kittens in a playground full of kindergarteners if it will send me to hell to be by your side.”
Luc stroked Bran’s hands with his own. “I don’t know if that is the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard or the most disturbing,” he said, leaning up and placing a soft kiss on his lover’s lips.
“I give up, I can’t compete.” The pair turned to see Nikkolai looking at them with disgust. The vampire had his hands on his hips as he regarded them. “You win, Bran. I release any claims I have on Luc. Sorry, Luc, but Bran’s your man, and from that display, I can see I don’t have the devotion to even be in the running. But I guess you knew that.” The vampire gave a self-effacing grin. “Jerrod would give his life for you, your demon would let you take him back to hell to be your servant, the wolf let himself be killed so he could help you and this one,” he waved his hand towards Bran, “would do anything for you. I love you, but I don’t think that I’m ready for the amount of commitment you require, and according to Michael, I’m not supposed to for several years anyway.”
He gave an evil glare to the werewolf who glared back. “Luckily, werewolves don’t live forever and by the time your devoted pet is gone, I’ll be ready to be yours. Until then, consider me your mate in waiting.”
Luc stepped away from Bran and walked over to the vampire. Looking into Nikkolai’s eyes, he removed his necklace and placed it in the vampire’s hands, closing his fingers over it. “Then why don’t you hold onto this until we’re ready.”
Nikko nodded and slipped the priceless necklace into his pocket. He put his hands-on Luc’s shoulders. “If you ever need anything, anything,” he said with a little shake, “I will be here.” He leant forward and whispered in Luc’s ear, “I know what you did for me with the demons and I owe you one.”
Luc smiled and gave Nikkolai a soft kiss on the lips, barely brushing them. “Maybe you should look for another mate instead of waiting for me.”
Nikkolai laughed. “You’re kind of a hard man to replace. No, you can live happily ever after with your wolf, and when that part of your life has run its course, I’ll be here waiting.”
“Make sure you have hot sex with a lot of hot guys while you’re pining.” Luc laughed.
Nikko placed a kiss on each of Luc’s cheeks. “Will do but know that all of them will wear your face.”
Luc nodded, but couldn’t keep the sadness from his expression as he watched Nikko leave. He gave a smile to his lover when Bran walked up behind him and gave him a hug.
“He’ll be fine,” Bran whispered in his ear.
“I know,” Luc said, turning to kiss his lover. “I know.”

* * * *

Nikko left Luc’s house, fingering the necklace in his pocket. When he got to his room above the club, he went to the sideboard and poured himself a glass of aged brandy. “I will have you one day, my love,” Nikko said, sipping. “One day, we will be together.”
Nikko knew he had done the right thing. He couldn’t stand the thought of Luc torn between the two of them for the next few decades. Letting the beautiful half fae off the hook was the biggest sacrifice he could make for his lover. He knew something was lacking when he was the only one not willing to go to hell for Luc. Did that make him weak or just practical, he didn’t know, but he knew he wanted his lover to be happy. A conflicted lover wasn’t going to be a contented one.
Although it was tempting to take out the werewolf sooner than later, he’d rather have a sad-eyed beauty leaning on him for support than an angry hell lord sending him down under. Sitting down in an elegant upholstered chair in his beautiful empty suite, the powerful vampire leader leant his head back and dreamt of the day when he could call Luc his own.

Hellbourne blog story part 11

Chapter Eleven

“He’s not worthy of you, you know.” Galthine smiled.
Luc could see the pleasure in his brother’s eyes as he looked at him hanging by manacles in the middle of Galthine torture room. His body was a mass of bloody cuts, bruises and bits of hanging flesh. There was very little that didn’t hurt, and he was hanging on to his sanity with the last thread in his arsenal, his devotion to Bran.
He didn’t want to disappoint his lover. The alpha would be heartbroken if Luc didn’t return, not to mention what would happen to Jerrod and Carn. He hoped the two of them would get together, but that would never happen if they were pulled into the depths of hell after him.
Luc gritted his teeth as Galthine jabbed at one of his open wounds.
“That must really hurt especially since you can’t heal.” His brother’s face had the first smile Luc could ever remember seeing. It sent tremors of fear down his spine.
Luc could feel each cut and bruise on his body, but he didn’t need to wonder how he looked because there was an enormous mirror opposite him, an added dimension to his torture. He wondered idly what would happen if he never healed. Would Bran still love him and his scarred body?
I can survive. I can survive. Luc replayed the words over and over again in his head. It was his mantra for getting out of hell. If he showed any weakness to any of his brothers at any time, they would move in for the kill.
He wasn’t going to be stuck here. He’d promised Bran.
His attention snapped back to Galthine when the demon placed a hot brand onto his leg.
Luc screamed. It wasn’t just hot; Galthine had laced the brand with poison so that when he stuck it to his leg it seared into his skin along with the brand. He could already feel his leg going numb. He tried to stay awake.
“Pay attention!” Galthine snapped.
The demon calmly placed the brand back against the wall like a gentleman would his walking stick.
“I can’t believe you would go through all this with a wolf that would toss you aside so easily.” Galthine laughed bitterly. “After all those years together, he didn’t even wonder about his sudden yearning for a litter of pups.” The demon picked up a spear with his right hand and pierced Luc’s left leg with one powerful thrust.
Luc’s mouth gushed with blood as he bit his tongue, holding back his screams.
Galthine’s words suddenly sunk into his pain-fogged brain. “You entranced Bran,” he forced through his cracked, puffy lips.
His brother laughed. “Yes, and you didn’t even stay and fight for him. It wasn’t that much of a compulsion. I was testing you to see how strong your love was.” The demon shook his head sadly. “You didn’t even put up a resistance. You fought harder for that damned vampire with the Pithel demons than your soul mate.”
“You sent the Pithel demons?” It was all starting to make sense. He had to survive this if only to tell Bran how very sorry he was.
“Don’t worry about your little puppy. He won’t have time to mourn you. After I get done here, I’m taking a few of my men and wiping out everyone in that little house of yours. I’ve learned that your misery has a fabulous energy. I’m going to live off of that for a long, long time.”
Anger surged through Luc, stronger than any that came before. There was no way he was going to let anyone touch his lover.
Bran had to survive.
Galthine leant forward and whispered in Luc’s ear, “Before I kill him, I’m going to fuck him and find out why you’ve been so loyal all of these years. He must be a great piece of ass since you could have any male on the planet, and don’t bother going to Father. He encouraged me to help you break your earthly ties. I will have so much fun.”
The ember of anger flared until Luc could only see a glow of white before his eyes. Images of his brother touching Bran filled him with fury until he wanted to kill something. To slash anything between him and what was his.
“That’s it.” Galthine laughed. “Think of me and your pretty wolf. I could use a new pet since the last one killed himself to be free of me.”
Luc’s brain went primal and memories of his brother’s last pet, a pretty blue-skinned demon, played in the back of his mind, like a film.
“Maybe I’ll make him shift then skin him for a new rug.”
Luc felt something in his brain snap.
Must protect Bran. Must protect Bran.
He pinned his brother with a fiery look of hate. For the first time in his life, Luc saw a new expression in his brother’s eyes. Unadulterated fear.
“No one touches my wolf.”
The manacles hissed and fell to the ground like shards of glass. Luc fell three feet and walked across the sharp pieces barefoot towards his brother.
“No one!” he said, his powerful voice echoing throughout the room. The floor shifted and the walls shook with his fury. “You will never touch my wolf or anyone else who is mine.”
As he walked, Luc’s vision cleared along with the brands, cuts and whip marks from his body. Unaware of his impromptu healing, he marched up to his brother. “And if you ever do, I will banish you to the void forever.”
The void was the ultimate threat. Few things ever reappeared from the corridor between heaven and hell and the ones that did generally killed themselves within the first few minutes.
In the void there was nothing except your own mind, and some people’s minds were a frightening place.
Galthine’s laugh was more nervous than mocking. “You don’t have the power to access the void.”
Luc was caught off guard. Galthine was right. Only his father and the angels had the ability to open the void, but in that moment, he knew he also could open the place that even angels feared to tread.
“Don’t bet on it,” Luc said. “Now, I think it’s time to find Father and tell him that you all failed.” He knew that his smile was miles from nice. “I wonder what he has in mind for punishment.”
Galthine paled.
After grabbing his guitar and waving to his brother, Luc walked out the door. How did he heal? Did Father take pity on him after all?
It didn’t take long to reach Lucifer. The halls of hell repositioned themselves to give him the most direct route. Obviously, he wasn’t the only one who wanted him gone.
His father was in his usual perch on his throne of bones.
Lucifer eyed his offspring as Luc walked to the bottom of the stairs leading to the devil’s throne. He gave his father a low bow.
“I see they failed once again.”
“Yes,” Luc said simply.
“I’ll have to think of suitable punishments for them,” Lucifer said. The smile he gave Luc had more teeth than usual. “Now, my dear son, I suppose you think I’m going to let you go now that you’ve survived your brothers once again.”
Luc frowned. “That is the agreement.”
“It was.” Lucifer gave another disconcerting smile. “But did you verify the rules before you came through the portal?”
Shit. The number one rule of hell was to verify the rules before entering. Since they did the same routine each year, Luc had grown lax and hadn’t verified the rules before going through the portal. There was no way this was going to end well.
“So, instead of sending you back into the bosom of your lovers and friends, they are going to have to come here to claim you.”
Because there was no way his lovers could retrieve him, Luc knew he would spend an eternity trapped in hell.

* * * *

“He’s taking too long,” Bran said, pacing the floor. He bit a nail as he looked once again at the clock. Step, step, check the time, step, step.
Nikko looked up from his book, his eyes following the pacing werewolf. “What do you mean?”
“He means it’s almost two in the morning. Every other time Luc was back by midnight.” The deep, familiar voice of the Archangel Michael filled the room.
Bran turned around to meet the fathomless eyes of the angel. Over the years he’d had occasional contact with Michael, but it never got any easier. He always felt like an ant beneath a magnifying glass. The energy that rolled off the angel burned his skin and caused Bran to growl in anger. It was easier to show rage towards the archangel than admit he was scared shitless that his lover was trapped in hell.
Nikko came to stand beside him in an unusual show of solidarity.
“I think Lucifer has decided to keep our baby Luc. Someone will have to go get him.”
“I will,” Bran said.
Nikko was silent.
Michael pinned his cold gaze on the vampire. “Are you not also going to volunteer?”
Nikko shook his head. “I’ve done some horrific things in my life. If I were to step a foot in hell, Lucifer would keep me for eternity. I love Luc, but I can’t chance it.”
Michael nodded as if he already knew the answer. Bran decided that the all-seeing angel probably did. “We need someone to stay here anyway to help pull Bran and Luc back over.”
“I’ll go.” Jerrod peeked around the corner; his eyes wide with apprehension. “I can’t leave my master in hell.”
“I’d prefer to stay here.” Carn stood slightly behind Jerrod looking frightened. “Galthine might decide to keep me if I show up in hell. I can’t take the chance.” The demon shivered, his body shaking with fear. “If Luc stays there I have to return, but I can’t go any sooner. I just can’t.” Carn started to sob.
Jerrod wrapped his arms around the shaking demon. “Shh. It’s all right. Bran and I will go after Luc. You stay here and keep Nikko company. Shh.”
After much stroking, Carn settled down. “I told Luc I would return to be with him if he stayed in hell. If it turns out he’s staying on purpose, have him send for me. I might not be brave, but I owe Luc my life.”
Jerrod stroked Carn’s rich red skin, tracing the swirls of gold across one cheek. “I don’t think my master would’ve left us voluntarily. Something is keeping him there.”
Bran watched the two interact and wondered how close Luc’s new pets had grown in such a short space of time. Jerrod’s touching was intimate as if the pair was a bit more than friends.
Holding back his tears, Bran knew Luc would love to hear about it. His lover had a romantic streak three miles wide, and if he guessed correctly, Luc had hoped Carn and Jerrod would get together when he assigned the demon to the vampire. He would be excited to learn that his plan had worked.
Straightening his spine, Bran looked at the archangel. “What do I have to do?”
Michael looked the group over. “I can only send one. Bran will be the one to go.”
“I can’t go also?” Jerrod asked, his eyes wide with worry.
“No. Only one.”
Nikko glared. “Then why ask me?”
“I wanted to know the level of your devotion to Luc. If you were more dedicated, then I would send you instead of Bran.”
“It’s not a matter of devotion to not want to be trapped in hell.”
Michael shrugged, raising his wings an inch off the floor. “That’s a matter of perception.”

* * * *

Luc looked at the bars on his cave cell and knew there was no way out. Those weren’t the usual metal bars. These held the spirits of dead men’s souls. If you listened close enough, you could still hear them screaming. To break them, meant Luc would be dragged into the void for eternity. Something Lucifer knew his youngest son wouldn’t chance.
“Nice touch, Father,” Luc mumbled. He knew that Lucifer wasn’t far. The devil would let his son sweat it out before turning up the torture. Maybe he’d send Galthine to try again, but he doubted it. His father wasn’t one for repeating his past mistakes. Since Galthine failed to persuade Luc the first time, he probably wouldn’t get a second chance.
Luc turned around.
Salvador walked up to the bars, his eyes shining with tears. “Looks as if I came just in time.”
Luc frowned. “What are you doing here?”
Sal’s clothes were torn, showing more than one bite mark through the tattered cloth. It looked as if the three days he’d spent in hell were rough ones. “I came to save you.”
“B-but didn’t you try to send me here only a few days ago?”
Sal shook his head. “I knew that by poisoning you, you would be restored, but Bran would kill me, sending me here. Now that I’m here, I can rescue you from your father.”
“Let me get this right. You tried to kill me so that you could get here before me to save me.”
Sal nodded.
“What kind of whacked out plan is that?”
Sal smiled. “Ask your angel. He’s the one who came up with it. Michael had a premonition you’d need help.”
The pieces of the puzzle fell into place for Luc. No wonder Salvador’s sudden wish to become pack leader and take Luc hadn’t made sense. It wasn’t his plan. “You have no desire to be pack leader, do you?”
Sal shook his head. “I told Michael you’d figure it out, but he still sees you as a kid who can’t handle the truth.” He stepped closer to the bars. “I wanted to tell you but now isn’t the time to chat. Let’s free you.”
Luc could see the longing in his former pack mate’s eyes. “I don’t see how you can get me out of here.”
Sal produced a ring of keys from his pocket. “I didn’t spend the last few days kicking my heels. I’ve been trying to devise a plan to get you out of here once you were trapped. Luckily, there’s no such thing as discretion in hell. I heard two demons talking about your father’s plan to trap you and figured out how to help. I lifted these off the dungeon master so we’d best get out of here as soon as we can.”
Luc warned, “Be careful not to touch the bars. They’re made out of souls of the dead and will suck you into the void if you make contact.”
“Good to know.” Sal cautiously approached the jail cell, careful not to touch the bars as he placed one key after another into the lock. The fifth one fit and the doors swung open.
Luc jumped back as the door screamed past him. Not taking a chance with having the cell close again, he rushed out, holding his breath until the door resealed behind him. He was glad that he’d hurried.
“What now?” he asked, hoping Sal had a follow up plan.
“Can’t you just make a portal and get out of here?”
Luc shook his head. “I have to do it from my childhood bedroom and if I’m not mistaken, it’s two floors up from here.”
Sal swallowed. “You can make it. When you get back, please tell Bran that I’m sorry for everything.”
Wrapping his arms around Sal, Luc squeezed him tight. “You can tell him yourself,” he said as he stepped back.
“If Michael sent you here to help me, then you aren’t meant to stay. Come with me and I’ll get us out of here together.”
Sal cupped Luc’s cheek. “I’m sorry, Luc, for everything. I’ve always loved you and I hated to die with you thinking I wanted you dead. If I don’t get out of here, I want you to know that I was always your friend.”
“I know, Salvador.” He pressed a kiss on each of the wolf’s cheeks. “Now, let’s get our asses out of hell.”
Sal laughed and grabbed Luc’s hand. “Do you know how to get to your bedroom from here?”
“No. If you haven’t noticed, hell moves at my father’s will.”
“That explains why I got so lost yesterday. I thought I’d taken a wrong turn.”
Luc squeezed Sal’s hand. “I’m surprised that you were able to get to me.”
Shrugging, the wolf tugged Luc through the iron doorway and over the fallen guard.
“Did you kill him?” Luc asked curiously.
“Just knocked him out. I wasn’t sure what the penalty was for killing someone in hell. I didn’t want to have a reason to stay here, in case Michael ever remembered me and tried to get me out.”
“Good thinking.” Luc knew that it didn’t matter if you killed someone in hell. They always came back. After all, they were in hell because they were dead souls or demons and neither could be permanently killed.
The pair turned the corner and Luc caught his breath. Galthine stood blocking their way, his large body making it impossible to get around him unnoticed.
“What’s wrong?” Sal asked as Luc pulled him back around the corner.
“My brother is out there,” Luc whispered.
“Will he help us?”
Luc shook his head. He didn’t want the demon to hear him speaking.
“Come out, come out, baby Lucifer,” Galthine growled. “I know you’re close. I can smell you.”
Luc’s body started shaking. He didn’t know how he’d healed the first time, but he doubted he would be able to heal from whatever his brother planned for him this time.
“Come on, baby brother. Ripping your head off will only hurt a little.” The demon’s voice was low and persuasive.
If Luc were any less powerful, the lure of Galthine’s magic would have him running into his arms. That was how Galthine got his prey despite his sinister appearance.
Sal leant forward to whisper in Luc’s ear. “What do we do?”
Luc pressed his hand to the wall and imagined his room. For a second, he thought he felt the wall shift but it stopped before anything formed. Since hell usually allowed him a path, his father must be controlling the structure.
“I’ll go distract him,” Sal said.
“No.” Luc grabbed the wolf before he could do anything. “I’ve got an idea.”
He whistled in a low tune. Seconds later, a trio of hounds appeared. They panted while sparks shot from their mouths.
“Get Galthine,” he commanded in a low voice.
The fiery hounds looked at him with soulless black eyes before giving a ringing bark and racing down the halls. From around the corner, he could hear his brother curse.
“That’s cheating!” Galthine shouted.
Peeking around the corner, Luc saw his brother go down beneath the pile of hellhounds and quickly pulled Sal down the hall behind him. There was just enough room to squeeze by, but Luc knew Galthine wouldn’t stay down and that he would come after them as soon as he was free.
“Run, Sal!” Luc shouted, picking up speed. He felt the wolf running behind him, his breath hot on Luc’s neck.
Luc followed the familiar path to his room and luckily, it was still the way he remembered. Hell hadn’t reformed into different pathways.
It struck him then that Lucifer wasn’t trying to stop him. Something else was going on.
Unfortunately, he didn’t figure it out until he crossed the portal to his bedroom and into the arms of his brothers, Tavo and Lain.
“Gotcha,” Tavo said with a wide smile. “Father thought you would come back here.”
Lain gave an equally chilling smile. “Too bad you’re so predictable. What is it about the wolves that has you so enthralled?” Lain slid his gaze over Sal like he was a piece of meat. “Maybe we should try one out and see what we’re missing.”
“Yeah, we don’t usually get a chance to play with the shifters,” Tavo agreed, setting Luc to one side.
“Now boys, you know Father told you to leave this one alone.” Stiln walked into the room, looking the twins over with disfavor. “If you touch him, I’ll tell.”
The twins stood around Stiln like matching bookends. “Don’t make us hurt you, brother.”
Stiln flipped back his white-blond hair. “Father will make you suffer if you harm me.”
Tavo shrugged. “Maybe, but not if we bring him Luc.”
With blindingly fast motions, Stiln whipped out a pair of swords and separated both twins from their heads. Warm blood squirted across Luc’s bare chest. He held back the bile surging up his throat like an upcoming tide.
“Stiln,” Sal said disgusted. “I can’t believe you did that.”
Before Luc’s surprised gaze, his brother walked forward and kissed Sal with a passion that should’ve set his bedroom on fire.
“I may be a substitute for Luc, but I’d never let them harm a hair on your beautiful head,” Stiln said to Sal. He turned to Luc; his eyes colder than a hellhound’s heart. “Take him with you when you go, and I will owe you a favor for eternity.”
“I would’ve taken him with me anyway,” Luc confessed. He didn’t know what had got into his brother, but he wasn’t going to shove aside some help. Scanning the room, he grabbed some of the clothes he’d left there and his guitar. He didn’t know who had returned it to his room, but it was time to get the hell out of hell.
A loud pop filled the air and Bran appeared in the room.
“Bran!” Luc threw himself into his lover’s arms. Joy filled him until he thought he’d burst, but it was quickly followed by stark terror. “What are you doing here?” he shouted. “My father will kill you.”
Bran gripped Luc’s arms and gave him a good shake. “There is no power in heaven or hell that could stop me from coming for you.” He took Luc’s lips in a brutal kiss that conveyed need, love and fear. All the emotions the were normally kept bottled inside poured from his body and into Luc’s.
When they finally broke apart, Stiln was clapping. “I’m beginning to see why he’s stayed with you all these years. Too bad you aren’t loyal.”
Bran glared at Stiln.
Luc turned Bran’s face towards him. “I found out that wasn’t your fault.”
“Galthine planted the idea into your head and placed a spell so it would consume you. He didn’t count on your wolf denying the claiming.”
Bran smiled. “I wondered why it had become so important to me. Even while I was pursuing the females, I longed for you, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself.”
Brushing the tears from his wolf’s eyes, Luc gave his lover a gentle kiss. “I’m glad. Now let’s get out of here.”
For the first time, Bran noticed Sal. He growled and flashed a set of suddenly sharp teeth at the other man.
Luc smacked him in the chest. “Stop that. He did it all for me. Michael put him up to it.”
“What?” Bran stared at Luc as if waiting for him to say he was kidding. “Is there anything in our life that wasn’t orchestrated by someone else?” he asked disgustedly.
“Us. We might be soul mates, but no one can predict love.”
Bran gave Luc a sappy smile and interlaced his right hand with Luc’s left. “Let’s get out of here, beautiful.”
Luc nodded. “Let’s.”
Before Luc could start his chant, the room dissolved.

Hellbourne blog story part 10

Chapter Ten

Luc’s sweat-slicked skin dripped on the cushions. He needed a shower, badly. Careful not to disturb his lovers, he eased himself from Bran’s hold and climbed off their makeshift bed.
As he got to his feet, he could feel his body pulsing from their evening of sex. Sex magic was one of the most powerful ways of recharging. From the energy coursing through his body like an electric current, Luc knew the ceremony had worked, but at what price? Looking back at the men lying on the cushions reminded him why his stomach churned uneasily. How could he enjoy himself when he’d traded his relationship with Bran to lay with Nikko?
In all the years they were together, he had never brought another into their relationship and Nikko didn’t want this as a one-time thing. To the vampire, Luc was partly his and Luc couldn’t in good conscience deny him, but he knew there was no way the alpha wolf would share his mate, no matter what he claimed before the ceremony.
Bran wasn’t the type to share and trying would only fracture the already tenuous relationship they’d rebuilt after the wolf dumped him for a female. Their relationship had some patching up to do and Luc had a feeling Nikko wouldn’t do anything to help the relationship along. The vampire master made no bones about how much he wanted Luc for himself.
With a soft kiss on Bran’s cheek, Luc went to take a shower.
He stripped and turned on the faucet, waiting for the water to reach a scalding temperature. Pleased with the steam level, he climbed in and stood under the shower to soak his hair, closing his eyes to protect them from the water. His head hit the tile when a pair of strong arms enveloped him.
“Oops. Sorry, love,” Bran’s deep voice eased Luc’s tension. “I wanted to give you one last power boost.”
Looking at his lover’s expression, Luc saw that the alpha wolf’s eyes didn’t match the jovial tone he was projecting. Bran was scared.
Luc stretched up and kissed his lover. “No matter what happens to me, my love, I will always return to you.”
“I know,” Bran whispered. “But I can’t stand that they torture you every year and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m the alpha wolf. I should be able to protect my mate. You’re in a league of your own, my sweet, and I’m not powerful enough to protect you from the bad guys in your life.”
Luc stroked Bran’s cheek. A tender gesture that always made his wolf’s eyes shine with adoration. “Show me how much you love me, and I’ll take your love down with me to the depths of hell.”
Bran lifted Luc from the tub, forcing him to wrap his legs around his lover in order not to fall. “No matter what they do, remember me and I’ll help you through.”
Luc knew that Bran believed that. His lover didn’t know the trials he survived. If he even had a hunch, Bran would’ve found a way to lock Luc up, away from his relatives.
Their lovemaking was slow and easy, not their usual hot claiming. It was as if Bran was trying to soak up the moment. Slow kisses and sensual touches eased Luc’s tension. When Bran finally entered him, Luc felt immersed in his lover’s spirit as if they could never separate their two auras again.
With slow measured strokes, Bran pumped inside Luc, the werewolf’s cock sending him into ecstasy.
Bran whispered in Luc’s ear, “You are mine. And no matter what they do, they can never take that away from us.”
Luc could feel the desperation in Bran’s voice. On some level, he knew his lover was saying goodbye in case this was their last time together.

Twenty minutes later, Luc was clean and dressed, wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt he’d got as a gift from the pack years ago. It was blood red with the words The Devil Made Me Do It in bright white letters. Somehow it seemed appropriate for his upcoming day.
Bran had gone to the kitchen to get some food, and Luc was too anxious to sit. He idly paced across the antique rug, wondering how long it would take to wear a path in it.
Luc’s skin sizzled and the smell of marshmallows alerted him that he was no longer alone.
“Hello, Uncle Michael,” Luc said without turning around. He wondered if anyone ever had the gall to tell the alpha angel that he smelled like marshmallows.
“Hello, Baby Luc.” Michael’s deep voice vibrated up Luc’s spine. It was always nerve-racking to be so close to that much power.
Slowly, he turned around to face the archangel. The man towered over Luc, his white wings on full display. In his hands, he held Luc’s guitar.
“My guitar!” Luc shouted, reaching for the instrument. “I knew Jerrod retrieved it from Nikko’s club but I’ve been too busy to play.”
Michael lifted it out of reach. “It is imperative that you take this with you when you go and don’t let them part you from it.”
“Your father won’t be easily persuaded to return you to this realm. From what you tell me, he is eager to have you stay. Keep the guitar as close to you as possible at all times, it could be your salvation.”
Luc shrugged and took the guitar. It glowed brightly in the lamplight. The instrument was a gift to Luc on his eighteenth birthday by the angel Gabriel. Every year he took it to hell and every year he brought it back. Luc smiled when he stroked the golden instrument. The guitar was made from some extinct tree that Luc had long forgotten the name of.
“Promise me,” Michael’s deep voice demanded.
“I promise.” Luc slid the strap over his head. “They’ll be coming for me soon. Don’t forget your promise.”
Michael’s large hands clasped Luc’s shoulders. “I promise to sever your link to Bran if it looks as if you won’t be coming back.”
“And if I come back tainted?”
The chill in Michael’s eyes was both reassuring and frightening. “I will destroy you so completely that even your father can’t bring you back.”
Luc let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. “Thank you.”
Michael placed a kiss on Luc’s forehead. “For luck.” He glanced over to where Nikko was still sleeping. “What do you want me to do about the vampire?”
Luc shrugged as he stepped back from Michael’s embrace. “Nothing. I think he’ll be fine without me.”
“You don’t believe the two of you are mates?”
Luc’s gazed at the master vampire. Nikko’s gorgeous body was only partially covered by the sheets, leaving a great deal of smooth, silky skin exposed. “I think he wants a mate so badly that he’ll take the first person he feels a connection to. But no, I don’t think we’re mates.”
“Then you’re wrong.” Michael’s eyes glowed as if he was looking into Luc’s soul. “You are mates but not in this time. The three of you are joined souls, but souls only properly linked in twos. Now is the time for you and Bran. Once Bran’s place on this earth is through, your soul will link with Nikko’s until Bran’s soul is reincarnated.”
Luc held back his tears. “Am I going to continually lose my lovers and have to find them again?”
Michael placed a finger beneath Luc’s chin and lifted until they were eye-to-eye. “No relationship can last centuries without change. You are lucky enough to have the two mates of your heart forever. You were never meant to meet Nikko during Bran’s lifetime, so it makes me wonder whose hand is dabbling in your life.”
Luc sighed. “It doesn’t matter because we met and now, he thinks he should have part of me.”
“Get through your punishment in hell, and I’ll see what I can do on this end. Make sure you come back whole.”
Luc nodded. “I’ll do the best I can.”
With a final kiss on his forehead, Michael vanished in a cloud of dust.
“He always knew how to make an exit,” a deep voice said from behind Luc. He spun around to see Bran standing in the doorway with a tray of food.
“You could’ve come in instead of lurking by the door.”
Bran shrugged. He brought the tray to the living room table before giving Luc a light kiss on the lips. “I didn’t want to interrupt in case he came to give you information to help with your ordeal. Interesting thing about the vamp.”
Luc nodded but he could feel sadness choking him, a ball of tears clogging his throat. He didn’t know if he wanted to survive incarnation after incarnation of his beloved wolf. He was greedy and wanted to keep the one he had.
Bran took Luc into his arms, holding his lover close. Luc inhaled. The scent of his lover filled his lungs. Even in the depths of hell, he knew he would remember that intoxicating combination of wildness and spice.
“He can have you in the next life. In this one, you’re mine,” Bran said before taking Luc’s mouth in a perfect kiss. It was the kind of kiss that only appeared in dreams.
The slow slide of the werewolf’s tongue sent spikes of desire through his body. They didn’t have time for any more sex, but he cherished the warm flood of desire flowing through his body. When the alpha pulled back, Luc knew that if that was the last embrace he would ever have, it was perfect.
Luc knew his brother had arrived when he felt the flash and fire heating his backside.
“Greetings, Galthine.” He didn’t need to turn around to know which of his brothers came to fetch him. Galthine was the only one of his brothers powerful enough to punch a hole through dimensions.
Luc could do it at the age of five. Another reason his brothers hated him.
Bran’s chest vibrated, a deep growl growing inside.
“Down, puppy,” Galthine taunted.
Luc placed a tender kiss on his lover’s cheek. “I’ll see you later.”
Bran gripped Luc’s upper arms, giving him a gentle shake until Luc met the were’s eyes. “I will see you later,” he demanded.
Breaking away from his lover’s embrace, Luc turned towards Galthine. The demon stood before an open doorway awash in flames. Giving one last longing look at his lover, Luc walked through the portal.

He emerged in his father’s throne room. Four of his five brothers stood around Lucifer—Stiln, Tavo, Lain and Freen stood two on each side of the devil’s chair of bones. Some people thought the chair was made from the bones of humans who annoyed Lucifer, but Luc knew the horrible truth. They were the bones of the other angels who’d fallen with him.
The only way to insure you were king of hell was to get rid of the competition.
So Lucifer had killed his brethren and magically enchanted them into the throne so they could never reassemble and challenge him for hell. If you looked closely on the back of the chair you could see the bones of their wings.
Luc was careful to never look at it directly when his father wasn’t sitting in it.
“Greetings, Lucifer,” the devil said with an evil grin.
Luc looked up at his father. Despite the pleasant smile on his stunning face, Lucifer’s eyes told the real story. His father was determined to keep him here. Leaving this time would take a lot more effort.
“Greetings, father.” Luc gave a low elegant bow. One always bowed to the devil especially if you didn’t want to.
Lucifer kept a jar of ashes by his throne. They were the remains of those who refused to bow before him. Their screams often filled the throne room until it drove petitioners mad.
One of Luc’s goals in life was to never give his father a reason to add him to the ash jar.
“I’m giving you one more chance to voluntarily agree to join my ranks as my right-hand man.”
Luc kept his head down and his eyes on the black marble floor. He could feel the glares of his brothers searing into him. They slaved for their father to gain the attention and respect Luc got just by being alive.
“I respectfully decline.”
Lucifer’s laugh was enough to chill Luc’s blood. “Respectfully?” The devil laughed again. “You are such a sweet boy. It’s a shame we have to break you before you can be my top hell lord.”
The devil’s voice was filled with remorse. Luc would’ve believed him if he didn’t know the blackness of his father’s heart.
“Let’s see.” Lucifer tapped his chin as if he were thinking things over. “Let’s go by age, youngest to oldest. Stiln first, then Tavo and Lain, I know how much they enjoy torturing together, then Freen and we’ll save Galthine for last. You each have one hour to persuade him. That good for you, boys?”
The five agreed. Luc rolled his eyes. It wasn’t as if any of them would dare to disagree. Stiln headed down the marble stairs, his one eye flickered with an unnatural light as if there were fireflies trapped in his pupil. Luc shivered with unease. Stiln was usually the easiest on him, but he didn’t think it would happen this time.
“Let’s go,” the demon said, reaching Luc’s side. Of all his brothers, Stiln looked the most like Luc and Lucifer, but his brother’s hair was a shade whiter than gold and his skin bronzer.
Rumor had it that when he was born, Lucifer was annoyed with his imperfections and said that if he was going to have a bad copy, he wanted it to be completely ruined. It was a miracle that he wasn’t killed at birth. Luc knew that his own looks were a source of anger for his brother.
Sighing, Luc turned to follow Stiln.
“Just a moment, Luc.”
Shit. Reluctantly he turned to face his father again.
“Just to make things interesting this year I’m removing your healing powers. Your brothers won’t have to work so hard if they don’t have to redo everything their predecessor did before.”
Luc paled. The only thing that kept him surviving each year was his ability to heal all the damage done to him from brother to brother.
Before he could say a word, Lucifer waved a hand and Luc felt something drift away from his body. Feeling increasingly vulnerable, Luc turned to see his brother’s wide smile.
“Come, baby brother, and let’s have some fun.”
“I have a feeling my idea of fun and yours are not the same,” Luc said.
“Luc.” His father’s voice stopped him right in the entryway. He didn’t bother to turn.
“I really like your shirt.”

Luc followed his brother through unfamiliar hallways with stone walls and marble floors. “Redecorated since I left?”
“Hell hasn’t reformed for you yet,” Stiln said as they continued their trek.
Luc stumbled on a jutting rock. “What do you mean?”
“It reforms every year when you come.” Stiln stopped and looked back at his brother. “How could you not know that?”
“I thought it liked that shape. I didn’t think it had anything to do with me.”
Stiln gave a bitter laugh. “Didn’t you know everything has to do with you?”
“Stiln,” Luc started.
“Forget it, Luc. Let’s get this over with. I have other things I want to do today, but if I don’t give my best effort, Father will hear of it and take my other eye.”
His brother lived under the devil’s threat to blind him at any time. Luc would’ve felt more sympathy for him, had his brother avoided torturing him every year. When they were children, they had played together, but Lucifer never let Stiln forget he was an imperfect copy. Eventually his brother’s anger drove a wedge between them.
They ended their walk in a cool, white chamber. It was completely empty with a white concrete floor and blinding white walls. It was as if he was in the middle of nothing.
“So shiny,” Luc smirked.
“Just for you, baby brother, just for you,” Stiln muttered an incantation. A platform rose from the floor and a pair of manacles descended from the ceiling.
For a moment, Luc thought of bolting, but he knew the repercussions of not taking his punishment. Holding back his sigh, Luc headed for the platform.
“Strip first.”
Nodding, Luc propped the guitar against one white wall before stripping off his clothing.
“What is it about you and that guitar? Is it a weapon?”
Luc shook his head. “It’s just a guitar.”
“Hmm.” Stiln gave it one more look but didn’t mention it again. He waited until Luc stripped and stood on the dais. “Nice necklace. I’ll let you keep it on, it gives you a slave boy air that I find quite enchanting.” He quickly fastened the manacles on each of Luc’s wrists before stepping off the dais.
Walking over to one wall, he pressed a button Luc had missed in his first scanning of the room. The wall rotated. On the other side was a large assortment of torture devices. Covering the wall in a tidy array were whips, knives and blunt instruments.
Luc swallowed his fear, closing his eyes to try to center himself. He could do this. He had to return to his lovers. Unfortunately, one of the rules was he had to keep conscious or he would forfeit. This was the first year where that was a real possibility.
“Father banned me from marking your face, so your eyes are safe.”
Over the years, Stiln’s favorite taunt was that he was going to take Luc’s eyes so that the devil could see a marred image of himself, but Lucifer always was careful to tell his sons that Luc’s face was sacred, and any damage would be reflected permanently on the offender. It kept his face from total destruction; however, the rest of his body was free for mutilation.
“Father told me you if I don’t punish you properly, he’ll kill my lover.”
Luc was surprised that his cold brother had taken a lover, but in hell you didn’t have to be a nice guy to get someone to fuck you.
“We both know you will come out of this just fine one way or another. Father won’t let you get killed, but he has no such problem with my lover,” Stiln said, snapping a metal tipped whip through the air. “It doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to this.”
Luc fought his instinctive cringe when his brother slid the whip across the floor. The scrape of metal against the marble reminded Luc of all the other times he’d been the recipient of that whip.
He closed his eyes. Sometimes it was better not to see what was coming. That didn’t stop him from listening though. A whistling in the air warned him seconds before his skin was flayed. He felt the warm, wet trickle of his blood flowing down his back.
Luc screamed as the whip fell again and again. He hoped Michael remembered his promise because the chances of him surviving this time weren’t favorable.
“Don’t worry, brother. This will hurt me much more than it will hurt you.”
Luc hissed as the whip ripped into his flesh again. “Somehow I doubt that,” he gasped.

* * * *

“He’ll never love you, you know,” Bran said casually.
Nikko flashed him a fanged smile. “I don’t need his love as long as I get everything else.”
“You just keep telling yourself that,” Bran growled. “I know you were listening to Michael. You weren’t even supposed to meet Luc yet.”
Nikko shrugged to hide his annoyance. He didn’t like the fact that Luc was supposedly Bran’s this time. He went to the bar and poured himself a glass of red wine. He saw Carn standing in the doorway listening to them, but he didn’t care. The demon would stand by whomever Luc chose. “What’s to say an accident won’t befall you, and poor Luc will be all alone and have to cry on my shoulder.”
Bran growled deeply. “Because if anything happens to me, Luc will kill you. He might look like a fragile boy, but he can crush you if he chooses. And trust me, if I’m dead he’ll be very angry.”
Nikko laughed. “Luc wouldn’t hurt a fly. The most he could do would be to drown me with his tears.” The vampire held up his hands. “I adore the man but he’s not exactly butch.”
“What part of potential hell lord don’t you understand?” Bran asked, flashing his fangs.
“He killed those demons for you,” Carn said, stepping into the room.
“What demons?” Nikko asked.
“The Pithel that came while you were gone.”
Nikko walked over to the red-skinned creature. “Why didn’t I hear about this?”
Carn shrugged. “Luc asked your people to keep it quiet.”
“What happened?”
“They came demanding your territory and Luc informed them they had the wrong place. One of them objected so Luc tore out his heart. End of discussion.”
“Huh?” Nikko took a drink of wine. “Looks as if me and the pretty boy are going to have a little chat when he gets back.”

* * * *

A punch to the back had Luc arching to avoid the strike. It was difficult to do when a punch from the front jerked him back. The twins were double teaming him. After Stiln whipped the skin off his body, he dragged Luc and his guitar over to the twins’ chambers.
The dual demons liked to use their fists. They said it added a more personal touch.
Tavo punched him again from behind and Lain in front. Each time they let out a grunt like prizefighters making a particularly good hit. He was certain some internal bleeding was involved.
“How are you doing, Luc?” Tavo asked, placing his punch right in the base of Luc’s spine. “Ready to give up yet and tell Father you’ll join us.”
“No,” Luc said through gritted teeth. He was certain there would be a solid black bruise across his entire body.
The pair looked at Luc with merciless eyes. Identical twins were rare in the demon world, so they were considered quite a catch by the other demons in hell. With their black hair, yellow eyes and golden skin they were handsome to demon kind, but Lucifer never let them forget that they didn’t favor him. Their mother had been a demon concubine that he’d killed after she gave birth to the twins. According to Lucifer, she’d outlived her usefulness.
“We don’t want you to join us anyway,” Tavo said.
“We’d rather kill you,” Lain agreed, flashing a pointy-toothed smile. “But father won’t let you die so it’s rather pointless.”
“But it doesn’t matter because this time he’s not letting you go.”
“Wh-what?” Luc gasped out between hits.
Tavo stopped punching to stand next to his twin. “Aww, didn’t you know? Father has decided to keep you this time so you might as well give in. He’s not going to let you go back to your handsome wolf. But I bet he’d let you have all the demons you’d like.”
“The best part about this, is that you aren’t even competition because you’ll only want the males.” Lain looked quite pleased that he’d figured that out on his own.
For the first time, Luc couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. Misery wrapped Luc in its dark embrace. He would be truly trapped.
“I think we’ve lost his attention,” Tavo said.
“No problem,” Lain lifted his foot and slammed his heel into Luc’s upper thigh, smiling when he heard a loud crack.
Luc screamed.
“See, now we have his attention,” Lain smiled.

Freen was waiting in his torture chamber when Luc was carried in.
“What’s with the guitar?”
Tavo shrugged as Lain put Luc on the torture seat. It was a reclining leather chair that Freen had custom designed for his victims. As a chair it was remarkably comfortable with good back support and padding. If you didn’t notice the arm and leg shackles, it appeared like a luxurious piece of furniture.
Freen positioned Luc so he could strap Luc to the arms of the chair, shackling his wrists.
There was nothing remarkable about Freen’s appearance. He looked more like an accountant than a hell lord. Freen’s mother had been human and he’d inherited none of Lucifer’s amazing looks or powers. He made up for his ordinariness by being the best torturer the devil had. His plain face hid the soul of a true sadist.
He shook his head sadly at the twins when he saw Luc’s condition. “You didn’t leave me much to work with. He’s already so damaged a lot of my artistry will be lost.” Freen prided himself on creating carved designs on his victims. Some of them were quite beautiful if you overlooked the hours of torture used to create them.
“Not our problem,” Lain said. The twins walked out the door before Freen could complain any further.
Freen gave Luc a scowl. “What’s up with the guitar?”
“It soothes me.” He was hoping his brother wouldn’t try to destroy it. Luc was pretty certain Gabriel bespelled it so it couldn’t be damaged, but he wasn’t positive, and he didn’t want Michael angry if it was destroyed.
Freen laughed. “Well, by all means, let’s make sure you’re soothed while I torture you.” He picked the guitar up and set it on the table next to his assortment of torture implements. “There, now you’ll feel all better.”
He chuckled while he picked up his favorite flesh-slicing knife. “Do you know that our father had a new set of knives made for me just for this event? I want you to know how very grateful I am to you for that. These will never dull and magically clean themselves after a torture. Best quality around.”
His plain brown eyes lit with an unnatural glee. “I hope that you appreciate my technique. I’d love to be your chief torturer when you become Lucifer’s right-hand man. There’s a lot of competition in hell, you know, and a little nepotism never hurts.” Freen chuckled at his own joke. “Well, it will hurt you.”
Luc felt the cold blade slicing into his stomach followed by indescribable pain. To keep his sanity he concentrated on Bran, remembering his lover’s kiss, reliving his touch, absorbing the memory of the werewolf’s scent. He trusted his love to get him through.

Hellbourne blog story part 9

Chapter Nine

The Pack house ring howled as Luc walked back into the bedroom. Tired, Luc sighed as he grabbed his phone from his pocket and pressed the answer button. He was going to have to change that ring tone until the wolves started calling with good news.
“Are you leaving me to Nikko these days?” he greeted the caller.
Bran growled. “He better not have touched you.”
“Well, he’s not here right now, but I’m wondering how much longer I’ll have to stay. I’ve only got two more days before father calls me back and I was hoping to spend them with you.”
Bran cleared his throat. “I’m trying to settle things with the Pack. Betsy’s alpha already sent a note about his disapproval and the Pack is upset about Sal.”
Luc sighed. “I’m worried about Sal too, but I used most of my power to heal Carn and I need you to recharge.”
“Who’s Carn?”
“Demon friend,” Luc said breathless. “I don’t know how to tell you this Bran, but I don’t have any reserves. I’m not going to make it this year,” he said softly. “I’m going to ask Uncle Michael to dissolve our bond.”
“Don’t you fucking dare,” Bran said in a low, menacing voice. “I didn’t go through all of this to have you ruin it. You leave your uncle out of this and keep your beautiful self, right there. Get some rest and I’ll think of something, but whatever you do, don’t call your uncle. Promise me that, Luc. Promise me you won’t ask to have our bond dissolved. You’re the only thing I have to live for.”
“Fine.” He didn’t want his mate to lose all hope in life. “I won’t ask him to dissolve our bond.”
“Thank you. Now, sit tight at Nikko’s and I’ll come for you tomorrow.”
“When did you and Nikko become so tight?”
”We share a common goal of keeping you safe.”
“Love you.”
“Love you too. Behave.” With that final warning, Bran hung up.
The door opened and Jerrod and Carn appeared.
“Hello, boys.”
“Hello, Master,” they said in stereo.
“I need you two to stand guard outside my door while I talk to my relative.”
Carn’s head snapped up. Luc could tell he was dying to ask which relative, but as a well-trained lower demon he knew better than to ask questions. “Yes, sir.” He bowed.
Jerrod looked from one to the other, questions flying from his expression.
Luc waited, careful not to offer any information.
“I’ll wait outside,” Jerrod said.
The look Jerrod gave Carn told Luc the vamp liked his new companion.
“Don’t forget to feed.”
They both shot him identical smiles as they left the room.
At least someone was happy.
Sitting on the floor on folded legs, Luc closed his eyes and focused. After only a few moments, he got a response. Michael was always at hand this time of year.
Lucifer, my sweet boy, what do you need?
A favor.
I‘m coming.
Luc opened his eyes as the pressure in the room changed and his skin sparked with electricity. In a showy display of power, white wisps danced through the air amid streaks of lightening, forming the shape of angel. Powerful shoulders crowded the room and enormous white wings brushed the ceiling.
Standing, Luc waited to approach the white creature until it dimmed its light.
“Michael,” he greeted the angel as the glowing light faded.
A gorgeous angel with dark hair and silvery eyes looked down at him. “Luc.”
He shivered as power rolled over him. Standing next to an angel was never a comfortable feeling and Michael had more power than most.
He looked into the angel’s silver eyes. “I’m not going to make it this time, Uncle. I don’t have it in me. When I don’t come back, I want you to remove me from Bran’s memory.”
Technically, this wasn’t asking for removal of the bond. After all, you can’t bond with someone you don’t remember.
The angry rustle of wings brought his attention back to the angel. Michael’s expression wasn’t encouraging. “What do you mean you aren’t going to make it? You’ve fought your father for two hundred years. Why is this year any different?”
“Because this year my brothers are really going to try to torture me and I already used most of my energy healing Carn. I’m tired, Michael. I’m really tired.” Luc tried to hold back his tears, but he started sobbing uncontrollably.
Before he could say anything else, he was wrapped in a pair of warm feathery wings like a baby chick. A feeling of tremendous well-being filled him.
“I’ve watched over you since you were born. I’m not going to let you lose your soul.”
They stayed intertwined while Luc absorbed what comfort he could from Michael’s embrace.
After a few minutes of cuddling, Michael stepped back and pinned Luc with his powerful gaze. “There is one way to bring you back to full power. You need to perform the vitality ritual.”
Shaking his head, Luc sat down on his bed. “I don’t think sex with Bran will be enough, and he would feel the need to kill any other wolf touching me.”
“Then you will need another non-wolf. What about Nikko?”
“What about Nikko?”
Michael’s gaze entranced Luc until he couldn’t look away, couldn’t blink.
“A combination of Nikko and Bran would give you enough power.” The angel looked away. “I foresee it.”
“Do you foresee them ripping each other’s throat out? Because I can see that without any powers at all.”
Michael laughed. A buzzing sound that rocked Luc’s body. Not a comfortable feeling. “For you, they would put aside their differences.”
Luc closed his eyes. “I don’t know about Nikko. My bond with him is a shallow thing next to what I feel for Bran. I can’t ruin my fragile relationship with the wolf.”
Michal’s expression was filled with pity. “A torpedo couldn’t hurt that relationship. Your wolf has learned what’s important to his heart. His pack will soon fall in line. Sal is sitting with your father, learning the error of his ways.”
It was painful to hear of his ex-friend’s punishment. Despite his methods, Sal had been a good friend for many years before the madness crept in. Living with his father would be a new form of torture, because that was what Lucifer excelled at—knowing what would hurt his denizens the most.
“Focus on one thing at a time,” Michael said, reading Luc’s mind. “If you survive this, I’ll help you help your friend. If you mess this up and let your father have you, I’ll burn your body and keep you from becoming one of your father’s minions.”
Luc’s fear faded as the angel renewed his vow. Every year, Michael made the same promise. Only this year Luc knew it was a real concern. There was a good chance he wouldn’t survive. Even if he could convince Nikko and Bran to play nicely together, it might not work.
“Now, you have to get your men together and make them cooperate.”
Luc laughed. “You have obviously never met Nikko. He’s not the cooperative type.”
Michael flicked his necklace. “He will be if he wants to keep his pretty pet alive.”

* * * *

They moved the party to his rental house, neutral territory, for this discussion. Luc sat in a high-backed chair on one side of the room while the alphas sat on opposing loveseats so they could glare at each other properly.
With only five people, the large living room shouldn’t feel so full. Luc looked at the two alphas glaring at each other across the room and leant his head back in his chair. This was never going to work. They would kill each other before any clothes came off.
A hand patting each of his legs had Luc looking down. His demon and vampire sat on either side, stroking him like they were soothing a wild beast.
“You two can sit on chairs and everything,” he offered.
They shook their head in unison. Creepy.
Closing his eyes, Luc decided he could just sleep until his birthday. Would it be less painful if he just gave up as soon as he reached hell? His brothers couldn’t torture him if he readily agreed to be a Hell Lord. How much could it really hurt to have his soul ripped out? It was twenty-four hours until his birthday. He could sit here until then.
“I’ll do it.” Nikko’s voice was low and angry.
“Don’t put yourself out,” Bran said. “I’d hate for it to be too much trouble to fuck Luc and save his life when you could be sucking an unsuspecting vagrant dry in the streets.”
“At least I didn’t toss my lover out of the house so I could fuck women,” Nikko taunted.
“Enough.” Luc jumped to his feet. The room spun a bit and he swayed only to have Jerrod and Carn catch him on either side.
“I won’t have you two fighting over me. You,” he pointed at Nikko, “only want me as a trophy. And you,” he pointed at the smirking alpha wolf, “would not even be here if your wolf hadn’t refused Betsy. So don’t bother whitewashing our relationship.”
Both men growled.
Long fingers plunged into his hair and cinnamon-flavored lips captured his. Instinctively, Luc wrapped himself around the taller form. Jerrod’s familiar scent filled his nose as he gave in to the vampire’s embrace. Power flowed from the young vamp into his body. When Jerrod released him, he felt strong enough to stand on his own.
“Thank you,” he whispered, placing a kiss on Jerrod’s cheek. If the vampire were older, or more powerful, Luc could’ve used him to recover.
Carn turned to him, and for the first time, Luc took a good look at the demon who had changed a great deal since he saw him last. The demon’s skin was a deep sensual red with gold-colored designs swirling across his skin. His nails were gold tipped and there was a bony ridge across his forehead. A sign of beauty for his kind. His eyes were a deep gold, matching his long, straight, silky hair. He was dressed in a pair of jeans and a white shirt that contrasted well with his richly colored skin.
He was a beautiful demon.
His eyes fixated on Luc as he cupped Luc’s cheeks with his long red fingers. “You saved my life, Baby Lucifer. If you choose to return to the home of your father, I will accompany you. You gave up your life essence so that I would survive and that is not a debt I can ever repay. My life is your life to do with as you will, but I implore you to try to get these men to do what is right because there is nothing right about what will happen to you if you go back to hell.”
It was the most he’d ever heard the demon speak, maybe collectively over their entire relationship. Carn placed a soft kiss on Luc’s lips before stepping back and giving Luc a sad smile. “I know we will never be lovers as we are too much like brothers under the skin but know that I will do whatever is necessary to help you through this.”
Luc hugged Carn close even when the ridges of bone on his back dug into his arms. “Thank you.”
Feeling stronger, Luc stepped away from the pair and turned towards the alphas now standing in the middle of the room, staring at him as if he’d grown a pair of wings.
Or horns.
“What do you think, gentlemen? Can you put aside your differences long enough to save my life?”
“I can,” Nikko growled, taking a step closer to Luc.
“So can I,” Bran responded, also stepping closer. The wolf leant forward and pressed his cheek to Luc’s. “Even if my wolf hadn’t wanted you and I’d gone ahead and mated with Betsy, never think I wouldn’t have missed my beautiful boy. I feel lost whenever you leave my side.” He placed a soft kiss on Luc’s cheek. “You are my heart and soul, and if you let your father have you, I will live the rest of my days empty inside.”
That snapped Luc out of his funk. He realized for the first time that he was feeling abnormally passive about the whole thing. Where were his spark and the will to combat his father’s control? Ever since leaving hell, he’d been preparing to lose.
“Nikko, can you search for spells?”
The large vampire nodded. “What am I looking for?”
“A suppressor or something that would take away my will.”
Nikko muttered some words Luc couldn’t hear as he waved his hands over Luc’s body. A green glow flared around him like a shield.
“Fuck,” Nikko growled. “It’s an incubus spell. This one is set to drain you of all feeling.”
“Galthine must’ve put it on me when I left hell.”
“Can you remove it?” Bran asked
Nikko nodded. “Come here, babe, and take my hands.” When Bran stepped up behind Luc, Nikko shook his head. “Go to the other side of the room I don’t want it clinging to someone else when the spell disperses.”
Bran hesitated but did as Nikko asked. His gaze examined every motion the vampire made. Luc had no doubt that if Nikko made a wrong move, Bran would take him down.
Nikko placed his hands on Luc’s shoulders. “Just relax and clear your mind. You can close your eyes if you want to.”
Deciding it was best to block everyone out, Luc closed his eyes and practiced the meditation Michael was always harping on him about, breathing in slowly and letting the air out with equal measure.
“Good.” Nikko’s voice was low and soothing. “Now I’m going to count back from ten. Ten…nine…eight…seven…”
A blast of power shook Luc from head to heel. He opened his eyes just in time to see Nikko go down under the large alpha wolf.
Luc felt amazing. For the first time in days, his mind felt clear and focused.
“Stop it!” Luc shouted. Fists started to fly. “I said, stop!”
Balls of lightning rolled across the pair, jolting them apart. Luc fell to the ground. The little power from the exchange with Nikko flashed away.
“Shit,” Luc cursed.
“Why did you attack me?” Nikko asked Bran as he picked himself off the floor.
“You didn’t give him until zero.”
“He was tensing up. He wasn’t going to make it to zero.”
Luc didn’t intervene, the two men were communicating at least. Even if he didn’t think he’d been tensing.
“Do you feel better?” Nikko asked.
Luc nodded. “Yes, I do.”
“We have less than twenty-four hours until Luc’s birthday. We need to decide how we’re going to do this.”
“I was planning on being on top,” Nikko said with a flash of fang.
Instead of taking the bait, Bran gave the vampire a smug smile. “That’s because you’ve never felt Luc inside you.”
Nikko snorted. “You’ve never bottomed.”
“I was with Luc for over twenty years. You think it was all one way? We were mates in the deepest sense. I’d be more than happy to be the bottom of a Luc sandwich.”
Luc shared a smile with his wolf.
“What do you want us to do?” Jerrod asked
“Stand guard,” Luc responded. “According to Michael, I need the two strongest to bond with me, but I won’t be entirely comfortable if someone isn’t keeping watch. My brothers can’t come to this realm, but as we’ve seen it doesn’t stop them from affecting it. I’d like you both watching the door.”
“Did you want to move this to the bedroom?” Nikko asked, scanning the living room with a critical eye.
Luc shook his head. “That is the first place they’d look, and my bed isn’t large enough to accommodate all three of us.”
“We could go back to my place. My bed still smells like you,” Nikko said with a leer.
The vampire had a death wish. Luc watched impassively as Bran bashed Nikko’s head against the wall. “Bran, we still need him.” Luc’s voice was quiet, but the effect was immediate.
The wolf released Nikko and the vampire shook his head like a wet dog.
“Enough.” This was never going to work. Even with his new resolution to beat his father, he had his doubts.
Distracted, Luc pulled the cushions off the three couches and threw them around the room, making a nest in the event the three of them ever got together. He didn’t hear the pair approaching until his shirt was flying over his head and clawed hands ripped off his pants.
“He really is beautiful!” Nikko said, stroking Luc’s back.
“And all mine.” Bran unfastened Luc’s pants and pulled them down. In minutes, Luc was standing stark naked between two fully clothed men.
“This really won’t work when I’m the only one naked.”
“Maybe I spoke too early about brotherhood,” Carn said, his eyes greedily examining Luc.
“Go outside. Guard!” Nikko said, before taking Luc’s mouth in a hot, smoldering kiss.
Luc lost track of everything as Nikko kissed him. A warm, clothed body covered his back. The familiar feel of Bran’s mouth on his neck sent shivers down his spine while Nikko’s kisses hardened his body.
Ripping his mouth away from the vampire, Luc gasped, “Strip.”
He felt a moment’s chill as the alphas stepped away to remove their clothing but just as he was feeling cold, they returned. Both naked bodies towered over his, creating a cocoon around Luc from their combined heat.
The smell of hot male flesh filled the air.
“Let’s lie down,” Luc said. It took all his effort to remain on his feet and not lunge at one of the pair.
Nikko lifted Luc off of his feet and walked him over to the pillows.
“He loves being carried,” Bran said in his rough, lust-filled voice.
Luc turned his head to see Bran watching him, gold eyes flashing with desire. It was true he loved it when a strong man cradled him in his arms. He’d die before admitting it out loud though. It was too girly.
Nikko smirked. “I know.” With care, the vampire gently placed Luc on the cushions and kissed his forehead gently. “I’ll grab the lube.”
As soon as he stepped away, Bran spread his body alongside Luc’s. “How are you feeling, baby?”
“Nervous.” Although he liked the idea of having both men, all three of them together was frankly terrifying, his best and worst dream.
Bran leant forwards and brushed his cheek against Luc’s. The familiar motion soothed him in ways he couldn’t explain. “This is a one-time thing, my beautiful boy. After this you will be all mine.”
“You keep telling yourself that.” Nikko returned with a tube of lube clutched in his hand. “I’m glad you think this will only happen once, but helping Luc comes with a price. He will be half mine from now on.”
“What?” Bran jolted up from the cushions, a low growl pouring from his throat.
“You heard me. I’m not saving Luc for you. I’m saving him for me.” Nikko leant down and stroked a finger across Luc’s collar. “You will belong to me. I may have to share with wolf-boy but I’m not doing this unless you agree that I get at least half of your time. Otherwise, you might as well be in hell because I will be if I can’t have you.”
Luc locked eyes with Bran.
Bran turned on Nikko with a snarl. “I hope you can enjoy your time knowing he’s thinking of me.”
The vampire smiled; full fangs exposed. “Trust me. I’ll give him something else to concentrate on.”
“Enough. You win, Nikko. I’ll be yours too. But I’m keeping my own residence.” Luc could figure out what to do later. He had to survive his birthday before he worried about anything else. Only one crisis at a time, he’d learned that much from his father.
With Nikko lying down on Luc’s other side he was sandwiched between the alphas. They took turns kissing Luc until he couldn’t think straight. Bran slid down Luc’s body as Nikko focused on keeping his mouth occupied.
It took Luc a moment to focus on the wet suction covering his cock. He arched away from Nikko’s mouth. “Bran,” he moaned.
Nikko plunged his fangs into Luc’s neck. Cum burst out of his cock into Bran’s willing mouth. When both men released him, he relaxed into a happy pile. Energy pooled in his chest. Although small, it was a stronger spark than the one Jerrod had given him.
“I think this will work if I can retain the energy.”
“You’ll retain it,” Nikko said, licking Luc’s shoulder, “because we’re not going to let you go until they come and drag you down to hell.”
“Oh, shit.”
“Hands and knees, baby,” Bran said, crawling up to Luc’s body before rolling onto his back beside him.
Luc positioned himself over Bran with his legs on either side of Bran’s hips. Kissing the wolf, he savored the taste of himself on his lover’s lips. He almost jumped when he felt a finger rubbing across his hole.
“Relax, gorgeous.” Nikko’s voice was dark and seductive as he carefully prepared Luc for penetration.
The combination of Bran’s body beneath him and Nikko’s touch brought Luc back to full hardness.
“Mmm. Fuck me,” Bran purred.
“My pleasure. Lube, Nikko.” The tube was slapped into the hand he held out.
“Hurry up, because as soon as you take him, I will be inside you.”
Luc knew where and how to rub to get Bran’s best reaction. Soon he had the werewolf thrashing beneath him.
“Easy, love,” he soothed. “I want to make sure you’re ready.” He was the only one the alpha ever allowed inside, and it generally took a great deal of preparation.
“Fuck me,” Bran growled.
Pressing his lubed cock to Bran’s tight hole, he entered in one long stroke.
Bran howled.
“Oh, this is going to be fun,” Nikko said, licking Luc’s neck. “Ready.”
Luc nodded. “Go ahead.”
The vampire slid inside, pushing deep. Luc moaned. He may have complaints about Nikko, but the vamp fucked like a god.
“Yes, fuck me.” Luc pushed himself into Bran then slid back onto Nikko’s cock. He enjoyed fucking and being fucked. He’d seen it done but he’d never been the boy in the middle before. While he was part of the Pack, Bran kept him out of any orgies. His possessiveness didn’t allow others to touch Luc sexually. It was a miracle that he wasn’t trying to kill the vampire right now.
As the three of them moved together, Luc could feel the power building up. The sexual energy added a new dimension to his lovemaking.
“I can’t wait until I have you to myself,” Nikko whispered in his ear. “Oh, the things I want to do to you.” A fang scraped his throat sending Luc over the edge. He clamped down on Nikko’s cock, as the master vampire screamed his release. Without touching Bran, his thick and sticky fluid shoot between them.
Collapsing on the hard surface of his lover’s body, Luc kissed Bran’s sweaty chest. “I love you,” he whispered.
A large hand stroked his head. “I know,” Bran said.
“Did it work?” Nikko pulled his cock out of Luc and stroked his cheek with the back of his hand.
Luc looked up to see the vampire’s expression. Nikko didn’t have his usual cold expression gracing his face. The vamp looked sad and confused.
“I have some energy, but I think it will take a lot more to fill me completely.”
“Oh, we want to fill you completely,” Bran said beneath him.
All three men broke out laughing.
Luc knew it would be okay. He didn’t know if he would survive his birthday challenge, but the two men whose arms he was wrapped in would make his last day on this earth a happy one.

Hellbourne Blog Story Part 8

Chapter Eight

Luc was limp, tired and in bed again. It felt like he spent all his time these days resting or sleeping. His body felt weighty as if the earth’s gravity had increased five times it usual strength while he slept. His throat was dry, and his eyes crusted over. He could almost count his muscles from the sheer pain each and every one was causing him. Coming back from hell was – hell.
A scream from the other room jolted him. He recognized that sound.
That was his vamp.
Fighting his weariness, Luc pulled himself out of bed, stumbling on his way to the door. A quick check proved he was in sleep pants, but shirtless.
Good enough for company.
Forcing his body forward, Luc tore open the door and stepped into the other room.
Surprisingly, the guard Nikko had mentioned was missing.
The scene that met his eyes wasn’t what he expected. Jerrod wasn’t cowering on the floor. Instead three of Nikko’s vamps were trembling on the ground. Each was pinned by a growling hellhound with flaming eyes and jowls dripping acid. The vamps were screaming as the corrosive liquid burned through their clothing and onto their skin.
“Where did the hellhounds come from?” Nikko demanded.
Luc spoke up as he leant against the doorjamb. “One of the protections that Jerrod’s necklace provides is hellhounds to hold his enemies until he can escape.” He looked over at his vamp. “Are you okay?”
Jerrod gave him a smirk and stood taller than he ever had before. “Of course, you promised I would always be safe.”
Luc nodded, not thinking much about the statement. It was true. He took care of his own. He turned his head to look at the master vampire. “Perhaps you need to teach your boys some manners.”
“They’re new.” Nikko tilted his head. “Do you think you can call off your hellhounds?”
“Sure, which do you think they should eat?”
“What?” Nikko asked a stunned expression on his handsome face.
“Hellhounds need to be satisfied with blood before they will return to their resting place. In this case, hell. Who do you think they should eat?”
Nikko chuckled. “Well, I guess it will depend on who started this fight. Jerrod?”
Luc’s servant wrung his hands. “I was sitting there,” he pointed at the chaise, “staying out of trouble, waiting for my Master to wake, when these three started coming on to me. I didn’t want them touching me.” He shifted from foot to foot. “Only you can touch me,” he added fiercely, looking at Luc.
“And how are you touching him?” Nikko grabbed his arm.
“Can we focus here?” Luc asked, yanking out of Nikko’s hold.
“I told them to let me go but then that one…” He pointed to the largest of the three vampires pinned beneath the hellhounds. “He said he was going to make me his boy and the others grabbed me and pulled me down.”
The first one Jerrod pointed to started to scream. “Fuck, man. I didn’t know he was yours. Let me go. It burns. I’ll never touch him again, I swear!”
Luc walked over and gripped Jerrod’s amulet in one hand before chanting the basic hellhound incantation. “Return from where you came.”
The dogs looked up from the vamps they were torturing.
“And tell the hound master to give you those special rations I set aside.”
Happy yips followed this announcement. The stench of sulphur and black smoke filled the room. A cloud of blackness wrapped around the three dogs right before they vanished. As the room cleared, the vampires waited patiently for permission to get up.
Nikko looked at Luc with amusement. “Guess they didn’t need blood after all.”
Luc shrugged. He enjoyed keeping them guessing.
“You may rise,” Nikko said.
Ohhh. Nikko’s voice had a commanding tone. It made Luc tremble as he became hard. All of his energy, used up from his march into the room, escaped and he fell into the closest chair. Jerrod knelt at his feet while Luc absently stroked his hair.
“Where’s Carn?” Luc whispered.
“Getting you food,” Jerrod responded in an equally quiet voice. “Bran called to say he’d be by later.”
He missed Bran, but maybe it was better to be away from him before he was pulled below. He knew Bran would suffer the most when Luc didn’t return from hell. With a motion from Nikko, the three vampires leapt to their feet, shifting their eyes between Nikko and Luc, giving them equally nervous glances.
“In general, touching is permitted as long as it’s consensual,” Nikko said to the vamps. “However, Jerrod doesn’t belong to the tribe and he wasn’t willing. He belongs to Luc. Luc is very protective and doesn’t allow touching of his servant. Is that understood?”
The vamp in the middle with the most acid burns on his shirt raised his hand.
“Yes, Laurence.”
“Why does he have a servant, he’s not a vampire?” The vamp was polite, although shaking a little.
“He killed a master vampire and the mark was transferred. He is also my mate. Luc has special status, harming him is harming me. Are we understood?”
Luc wanted to scream and stamp his foot to let Nikko know he wasn’t his mate, but now wasn’t the time. He belonged to Bran even if it was only for a few more days.
“Yes, Master,” the trio responded as if coming from one mouth.
Laurence raised his hand again.
Nikko sighed. “What now?”
“Can I belong to Luc? I’ve never had a hellhound to protect me.”
Jerrod’s grip on Luc’s legs became numbing.
“No,” Luc said. “One is enough for me.”
Jerrod rubbed his head against Luc’s thigh, earning a glare from Nikko.
“Yes,” Nikko agreed. “One is more than enough.”
After dismissing the vampires, Nikko turned his attention to Luc. “You don’t look so well, love. Why don’t you go back to bed?”
Luc knew his time was fading but Nikko was right. He needed sleep or he’d never be able to put up a fight when his brothers came for him.

* * * *

“Good morning, Master. I have your food.”
“Hmm.” Luc opened his eyes. The warmth was gone. Jerrod had already risen. He must’ve been sleeping hard.
Luc rubbed his eyes until Carn came into view. “Evening, Carn. You brought me some food?”
The demon beamed, his eyes glowing with fervor. A tray was placed over Luc’s lap. It held a plate of Eggs Benedict with hash browns, surrounded by an assortment of fruit.
“Wow, this looks great.”
“It is my pleasure to serve.” Carn knelt beside the bed.
“You made this?”
The demon nodded. “I’ve been training as a chef under Doem.”
Luc was certain his father didn’t know Carn was training to be a chef. If Lucifer or Luc’s brothers knew this, they would have never harmed the demon. Father loved his food.
The first bite was like eating paradise. Luc let out a low groan. “That is the best damned Eggs Benedict I’ve ever had.” He was about to continue when he felt a coldness seep into the house. An unnatural stillness took over. Ice crystallized his cup and his orange juice solidified.
It was a familiar feeling.
Pithel Demons.
“Where’s Nikko?”
“He had a meeting.”
Carn shook his head. “He said it was across town.”
Convenient for someone. By the time he returned, Nikko could lose everything. He might not agree with the vampire’s methods, but Luc couldn’t let the man’s house fall apart while he was gone. Pithel demons were ruthless and took whatever they liked. Luc was almost certain that the Pithels had received a tip by someone on the inside.
Great, just what he needed. Another confrontation.
Luc slipped out of bed, quickly dressing as he went. “Stay out of sight,” he whispered to Carn.
“I’m going with you,” the demon stated proudly.
“Then stay behind me so I’m not worried about your safety.” Luc left his room, went through the outer lounge and slipped down the stairs, keeping his steps quiet. Once he got to the bottom, he saw he didn’t need to bother.
A dozen Pithel demons were standing in the foyer facing down a group of Nikko’s vamps. Neither group was moving but Luc could feel the hatred in the air. Nikko would be crushed if any of his vamps were killed by demons while he was away. Pithel demons were nasty and unremorseful. A group of vamps would be no problem for them. They could kill the entire household then take the time to pick their teeth with the bones.
Centering himself, Luc let in and out a deep breath before walking closer. His energy was still low. If they challenged him, he would be visiting his father sooner than he planned. There was no hope, but to bluster it out.
“Well, look who has come to play.” Luc was pleased he sounded more confident than he felt.
The demons stared at Luc. He could feel Nikko’s vamps trying to decide if they should get in the way or not. After all, if the demons didn’t kill them, Nikko would for letting Luc get hurt.
“Baby Luc, is that you?” The leader of the Pithel demons turned towards Luc.
Lady luck was smiling at him today. He didn’t try to hide his laughter as he faced down the biggest of the Pithel demons and a good friend. It was like visiting memory lane this week. “Turell, how in the hell are you and what are you doing here?”
“I could ask the same of you.” The large, white demon stepped forwards; his wings scraped the floor as he spread his arms for a hug.
It was lethal to be scratched or bitten by a Pithel, for both their fangs and wingtips were tipped with acid. To everyone in the room besides the two hugging, it looked like an act of courage.
Only Turell and Luc knew he was completely immune.
Luc stepped back, patting his friend’s feathery white shoulder. “I’m staying here now. Nikko is my friend.”
“No!” Turell shouted. His pale face turned red with anger. “I was supposed to get a vampire tribe. They were going to be mine!”
“Not this one.” He might not be there for long, but Nikko had treated Luc decently and the very least he could do was keep this pack off Nikko’s property. Besides the vampire’s territory was too close to Bran’s. Pithel demons didn’t stay in one spot and they tended to kill anything in their way.
Turell’s black eyes burned, turning red like overheated coals. “But I was promised.”
Shit, Pithel demons are scary.
Luc stood his ground. “Well, whoever promised you, lied. Maybe you should take it up with them.” Keeping his cool, he flicked a piece of lint off his shirt, glad he’d got dressed before coming downstairs.
“I say we take it anyway.” The Pithel demon closest to Turell sent Luc a leer. “Then we eat his soul.”
It was amazing what little effort it took to rip out a demon’s heart. It was much harder to get it off your hands. Luc flicked the organ on the ground before meeting Turell’s gaze with a cold one of his own. “I hope you have a backup plan.”
The sound of the demon’s dead body falling to the ground echoed loudly in the still room.
Luc wiped his hand on the demon leader’s chest.
For a moment, Turell watched Luc’s hand as he smeared the blood on his clean white skin, then he threw back his head and laughed. “Dylan was a stupid second, I’m glad to see him gone.” He gave a quick sweep of the room with his eyes. “What should we do? I want a vampire enclave and obviously I can’t have this one.”
Luc scanned the room and spotted Gabriel, Nikko’s lieutenant. “Gabe, who’s Nikko’s biggest enemy?”
Might as well get rid of two birds with one stone.
“Thomas,” Gabe said without hesitation.
“Where does he live?” asked Luc.
“In the memorial cemetery on Queen Anne hill.”
Luc waved his hand. “Well, there you go. Obviously, a bastard that needs to die. Help yourself.”
Turell gave a short nod of his head. “Thank you, friend. I’ll send you a token once we get settled.”
The demons turned and left.
Luc spun around to see Nikko’s vampires shifting stares between him and the demon on the ground. “Jerrod.”
“Yes, Master.” The vampire stood slightly behind the crowd but stepped forward at the sound of Luc’s voice.
“Have you any interest in trying Pithel blood? I hear it’s a delicacy.”
Jerrod’s headshake was definite. “No, Master. I have enough demon blood.”
“Gabe, please do with this what you will as long as it’s cleaned up.” His gaze swept the entire group. “I don’t think we need to mention this little incident to Nikko. He worries.” Luc flashed a smile. “I’m so fragile you know.”

Hellbourne blog story part 7

Chapter Seven

Luc was having the best dream. A hot wet mouth was sliding over his body, licking and nipping at his most sensitive spots and making him squirm from the sensation. It wasn’t until his cock was taken in one quick swallow that he realized he wasn’t dreaming.
Blinking his eyes, he tried to focus on the dark head bobbing up and down.
“Fuck Bran, that feels sooo good.” He let out a low moan. His lover liked to hear his sounds when they had sex. The beauty of the man sucking him off was enough to send him over the edge.
Unfazed the werewolf swallowed all of Luc’s fluid without spilling a drop. When there was no more liquid, that amazing mouth lifted and gold eyes blinked up at him, heavy with desire.
“You taste amazing,” Bran said as the werewolf crawled up his body
Bran leaned down and kissed him. Luc could taste himself on his lover’s tongue something that excited him even as he found it mildly disgusting. He loved the taste of a lover but didn’t particularly like his own cum. A fact the werewolf was well aware of as he gave him a wicked smile.
“You taste better than anyone I’ve ever been with.” Bran said.
A knock sounded on the door.
Bran yelled. “Enter!”
Sal appeared in the doorway with a covered tray. “I thought you two might be hungry.”
“You’re a doll,” Luc said, sitting up in bed. He was starved. His stomach growled as he looked expectantly at the tray.
Unfolding the legs, Sal set the tray over Luc’s lap and lifted the cover exposing fresh-squeezed orange juice and tons of food. Thick slabs of ham, fried eggs, a pile of home style potatoes and a stack of buttered toast.
“I think I’m supposed to share this,” Luc laughed.
“Good thing. I don’t think you could fit all that into your scrawny body,” Bran said with a wicked smile.
Luc gasped in mock outrage. “Did you just call me scrawny?”
Bran scratched his heavily muscled chest and gave him a taunting smile. “Maybe I meant puny.”
Sal snatched the tray up just as Luc attacked Bran, finding his sensitive spots. He plundered the werewolf’s silky flesh until the alpha howled with outrage.
“All right, you win,” Bran said, tears of laughter running down his face. “I should know better than to wrestle with someone who knows where I’m ticklish.”
“Yes, you should,” Luc agreed. He settled back against the pillows and Sal returned the tray with an odd look in his eyes.
Luc tilted his head as he examined his old friend. “Are you all right Salvador?”
Sal gave him a half-hearted smile. “It’s good to have you back, Luc. We all missed you.”
“It’s good to be back.” Maybe he was being paranoid, but there was a little voice in the back of his head telling him something was wrong. Sal’s smile didn’t reach his eyes and the other man looked nervous. Luc shook his head at his stupidity. This was Sal, one of his closest friends; he would talk about what was bothering him when he was ready.
Smiling at Sal, Luc took a long sip of his orange juice. He savored the rich fruity taste, letting the flavor soak into his mouth before swallowing. After eating some eggs and ham, he took another sip of juice. A strange, odd note coated his tongue.
“This juice has an odd aftertaste. Different brand?” Who knew what the wolves were buying now? Wolves in general weren’t known for their love of fruit.
The werewolf nodded, but Luc could see beads of sweat dotting Sal’s brow.
It felt hot. No wonder the werewolf was sweating.
Luc struggled for a breath Feeling like he couldn’t pull enough oxygen into his lungs, he started to panic. Something was definitely not right.
His body began to go numb. He tried to grab at Bran as his vision greyed around the edges.
As he succumbed to darkness, Bran scream, “Luc, no!”

* * * *

Death wasn’t bad. He couldn’t die—well, not permanently. When Luc died, his soul returned to his childhood bedroom while his body repaired the damage. Lucifer had taken great pains to make sure his youngest son would always survive no matter what. Why he went to so much trouble was a mystery to Luc, but it came in handy more than once.
The only problem was that while his body rebounded from mortal death, his spirit went home—to hell.
Flames flared around Luc, but without his physical form they couldn’t touch him.
“Greetings, brother.”
Luc turned to see his brother, Galthine, standing in his room. There was never a positive reason for one of his brothers hunting him down. Not to mention, Galthine seemed to know he was coming.
Galthine was monstrous. He was seven feet of rippling muscle with great horns piercing his skull and a pair of red, leathery wings tucked tight against his back. He was the oldest of Luc’s five brothers and the only one who could breathe fire. Something he did constantly during Luc’s birthday challenges.
Luc flinched at the memory of his last birthday challenge when his skin had been charred and crispy from Galthine’s flames.
“Come with me.”
Luc knew better than to refuse his brother without reason. He was glad his physical form was at the Pack house. His brother couldn’t harm him in this form, but it didn’t stop the memories. All of Luc’s previous birthdays began to surface. His brothers were not allowed to touch him outside of the challenge. If they did, it was reported to father and they were sent to the lowest hell for retribution.
Floating behind his brother, Luc followed Galthine into his private torture studio. Careful to look only at the ground, Luc didn’t want to see what caused the screams coming from the walls. Last time he was here, bodies were dangling from the ceiling by meat hooks.
“Happy Birthday.” Galthine’s smile was pointed and wicked. He waved his hand towards a hunk of red flesh lying in the middle of the room.
Luc’s vision couldn’t focus. What was that?
The blob gave a small moan.
“Who is that?”
“Don’t you recognize your old friend?”
The blob emitted a soft whisper, “Lucifer.”
Memories bubbled to the surface. “Carn?”
Galthine sidled up to Luc. “Don’t you want to heal him?” His voice was low and coaxing. He sounded sympathetic, but Luc knew pure evil lurked in his brother’s heart. “Your poor friend. I bought him from his master but I’m willing to give him to you for a birthday present.”
“What do you want?” His brother would rescue no one without a reason.
“I want you to use all of your energy to heal your friend and drain your reserves. In three days, you’ll still be weak, and I can break you like I’ve always wanted to.”
Startled, Luc turned to face his brother. “I thought you didn’t want me to stay down here. Stilne said you and the others wanted to keep me out.”
“Father changed the rules,” Galthine growled. “He grows impatient to have you as his right hand. He offered us an incentive. The one who breaks you gets to be the Third Lord of Hell. The ones who don’t will fall under his hand for punishment. I won’t go back under father’s hand.” Smoke poured out of Galthine’s mouth, but Luc could see the panic in his brother’s eyes.
It was a good plan. Luc had to admire the strategy behind it. He couldn’t leave his childhood friend bruised and battered on his brother’s dungeon floor, even if it meant his own downfall.
As soon as he made his decision, Luc could feel his body pulling him back. He must be healed already.
“Deliver him to the Pack house,” Luc said.
It looked as if his reconciliation with Bran wasn’t going to be long lasting.

* * * *

Luc’s spirit floated through the levels of hell following the call of his body. He didn’t run into any of his other siblings, but he knew Galthine was only the first to approach him. Three days before his birthday and Luc was now in the possession of a needy vampire, an injured demon and a soon to be angry werewolf.
He became aware of his surroundings slowly—air filled his lungs, sheets brushed against his bare skin and a pleasant soreness ached in his backside that oddly wasn’t taken away by the healing…but the crying had to go.
Whoever was wailing was really getting on his nerves. Even though he couldn’t die, being poisoned was really uncomfortable and it took a while for his system to fully regenerate. He hoped the crier wasn’t going to carry on the entire time.
“Shh. No crying.” Luc struggled to open his eyes, but his lids felt like they weighed a hundred pounds.
“He spoke. Master Nikkolai, he’s not dead.”
What was Jerrod doing at the Pack house? Surely, Bran wouldn’t let him stay.
Luc opened his eyes to see a tear-stained Jerrod kneeling by his bed and a hollow-eyed Nikko sitting close by.
Where was Bran? He tried to speak but the only thing that came out was, “What happened?”
Nikko’s face fell into hard lines. “Sal poisoned you, Bran killed him, and combined with tossing out Betsy, there was an uproar in the pack. He thought it best if you stayed some place protected while you were healing.” He continued in the same hard voice, “If you’d come here for dinner, instead of staying over to have breakfast with your ex-lover, you wouldn’t be in this position.”
“No one likes an I told you so,” Luc commented as he thought over what Nikko had said.
It made sense. As an alpha, Bran would only be comfortable if Luc was watched over by another alpha.
Nikko stared at him. “I didn’t believe him when he said you’d be fine. But then, I also didn’t know you were the son of the devil.” A sarcastic laugh burst from him. “I should have known you were too beautiful to not be an agent of hell.”
“I’m not an agent of hell,” Luc snarled. “My father just happens to be the devil.”
“Who’s going to try to pull you under in three days.”
Wow, Bran really did feel like sharing. Wait. “Did you say Sal poisoned me?” Luc tried to sit up but his body was too heavy. Merging the soul to the physical was difficult. “Why would Sal poison me? He knows it won’t kill me.” He’d had many conversations with Sal over the years. The werewolf knew that nothing would kill Luc.
Nikko’s voice was cold. “He was hoping to kill Bran. Now that you’ve bonded, he thought your temporary death would send him over the edge. It appears that one of your brothers told him if he killed Bran, Sal could be the leader of the pack with you at his side.”
“Me? I thought he was straight.”
“Bi. Don’t tell me you never saw him looking. I saw him staring at your ass at the club.”
Luc shrugged. “Everyone looks. It doesn’t mean they’ll kill my lover to have me.”
Jerrod broke into sobs. “You’re the best Master ever. I’m going to taste your food for you every night.”
Luc smiled. “Then you would be sick, and I’d have to cry at your bedside.”
Sniffling, Jerrod climbed up on the bed and hugged Luc, rubbing one tear-streaked cheek against Luc’s shoulder. “You would too.”
Luc patted the sobbing vamp on the head before asking Nikko. “What’s he doing here?”
“When you weren’t home in the morning, he came to check on you. Bran told him he brought you here, so he came over.” Nikko’s eyes indicated that there was more to the story, but Luc was tired and frankly didn’t give a shit. He was relieved when Nikko said, “Come, Jerrod. Why don’t you go down to the kitchen and find your master some nice broth? It will do wonders for him.”
The slim vampire jumped up eager to be of use. “I’ll be right back.” He gave a small tearful smile to Luc before running out of the room.
“Thank you. I don’t think I could handle any more waterworks.” Now that Jerrod was gone, he felt a little self-conscious without the smaller vampire as a buffer.
Nikko pulled his chair closer to the bed. “How are you feeling? All better?”
Luc nodded. “I’m fine. Did Bran tell you I can’t die?”
“He told me he still felt your link even while your body grew cold. Sal didn’t count on that.”
“What happened to him?”
Nikko gave a smile almost as evil as Galthine’s, his fangs peeking out. “Bran sent him to chat with your father. The Pack is cleaning up the mess as we speak.”
Luc fought back tears. Sal had been a friend for years. The loss of his friendship cut him like a knife. How long had the were wanted him in silence?
He felt the poison easing out of his system, he stayed lying down until he was certain he was toxin free. He started to sit only to have Nikko lean over and pin him down.
“You will stay right here and rest.” Nikko’s eyes glowed bright when he was pissed.
“I’ll stay right here and rest,” Luc agreed meekly. He tucked the blankets around himself and played possum.
He felt the scrape of Nikko’s stubble as the vampire whispered in his ear, “I’ll know if you leave this room, my love. I’ve put a guard outside your door, and he has instructions to only let me and your servant inside, and no one out.”
“Sneaky bastard,” Luc whispered, not bothering to open his eyes.
“Your sneaky bastard.”
He felt the soft brush of lips on his cheek before he heard the door close.
More tired than he wanted to acknowledge, Luc was in the middle of falling asleep when a harsh ringing sound filled the air.
A hole opened in the air beside the bed and Carn’s bloody body was tossed through the portal. The demon landed on the floor, leaving a long streak of fresh blood across the carpet.
Galthine’s head popped through the portal. “I followed your spirit signature, brother. Sneaky of you to try to escape me. Maybe you’ll make a good Hell Lord yet!”
Luc didn’t have a chance to contradict him before the portal vanished and he was left with an oozing bloody body on Nikko’s fancy carpet.
Nikko was going to kill him.
Sliding out of bed, Luc approached Carn’s battered body. At close glance, he looked worse. How was that even possible?
The demon was encrusted with blood from multiple whip marks. A pair of handcuffs had cut into his wrists and they were leaking blood over his broken hands.
Jerrod entered the room with a bowl of soup balanced in his hand. It fell to the floor when he saw Carn lying on the carpet. The fabric muffled the sound of soup splashing.
Jerrod crouched down beside Luc and asked in a whisper. “What is that?”
“A childhood friend.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Heal him.” Luc would stay in hell should his brothers break him, but he couldn’t let his friend die. Unlike Luc, the demon wouldn’t come back.
Carn’s breathing was slow. He wouldn’t last much longer. His remaining demon blood was the only thing keeping him alive.
“Thank you. Thank you,” Carn whispered as Luc came closer. The demon’s eyes were glazed with pain, but he focused on Luc as if he were a savior. “I kept hoping you’d come. I knew if you found out, you’d save me. Thank you. Thank you.” His neck was bruised, and his voice was a raspy whisper.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Jerrod asked. “Nikko isn’t going to be happy if you heal a demon in his club.”
“I can’t leave him like this. I won’t leave a friend to bleed to death on the floor because it might make Nikko unhappy.”
With determination, Luc held his hand over the center of Carn’s body. He jerked as power pulsed from his hands and into the demon. Silver glowed across the demon’s body, magic filling the cracks in his skin. It was like watching a movie in reverse. The wounds sucked the blood back into the demon, sealing the skin over them. For a few moments, Luc lost all sense of self.
This was why he wasn’t a healer. He used too much power and didn’t know his limitations. Luckily, he never healed humans. They were too fragile.
“Enough, Master!” Jerrod’s voice snapped Luc back into the present. Carn lay before him, glowing with Luc’s power, convulsing lightly.
“Fuck me.” At the current rate of Luc’s incompetence, Carn would die from power poisoning. Luc placed his hand on the demon’s stomach. The power welcomed his touch and poured back up his arm.
The demon’s eyes snapped open.
Carn no longer glowed, but Luc knew the small amount of power he absorbed back wouldn’t be enough to save him from his father’s hands.
“Feeling better?” he asked his friend.
Carn’s nod was more of a convulsion then a motion of agreement. “Please don’t send me back, Luc. Please.”
“Carn, I can’t keep you. You know the laws. I will have to return you to your master.”
“You’re my master. Galthine gave me to you for your birthday, remember? That makes me yours. If you return me there, everyone will use me as a way to get to you. I’ll never have a moment of peace.” Carn gave him a sly smile. “However, if I’m yours, no one will touch me. I will serve you.”
“What would I do with a demon servant?”
“Please. I must be able to be of some service to you.” Carn’s face was desperate.
Luc looked away from the sight. “Can you feed my vampire?”
“Luc, you don’t have to do this,” Jerrod said. His wide eyes looked back and forth from Luc to the demon.
“Yes. I can feed your vampire,” Carn said quickly, as if sensing his opportunity was slipping away. “I’d be happy to feed him, fuck him, be his pet. Whatever.”
There was no way Luc would send a friend back into hell, not without a master to protect him. “Fine. I’ll be your master.”
The pain on his hand was familiar now. A demonic symbol glowed gold next to the small set of wings. Great. Now he was a vampire and a demon master.
Bran and Nikko were going to be pissed, Luc thought, before he passed out on the floor.

Hellbourne Blog Story Part 6

Chapter Six

Jerrod had barely hung up on Nikko after finalizing details for dinner, when the sound of howling pierced the air.
The ringtone of the Pack house.
“Luc, you have to come. Bran’s been shot.”
The feeling of ice froze his spine as fear overtook his body. “What do you mean shot?”
“Bullets! Guns! Shot!” Salvador screamed across the line. “Come to the Pack house. We need a healer!”
“I’ll be right there.” Luc hung up and turned to find Jerrod standing right behind him. “Bran’s been shot. I have to go to the Pack house. I want you to let Nikko know I won’t be at dinner.”
“Yes, Master.” Jerrod’s words were obedient, but his tone was sullen.
“Don’t challenge me on this. The Pack would tear you apart for invading their territory. Even the little pull I have won’t save you from a mauling.”
“I know.” Jerrod looked down at his bare feet and kicked at the carpet. “I was hoping we’d spend more time together.”
“Don’t worry, it’ll work out fine. Bran should be easy to heal. I’m surprised he hasn’t healed himself by now. I need to get some things straightened out with him, so don’t be surprised if I don’t come back until tomorrow.”
“How much longer do you think you can keep going back and forth between vampires and weres?” Jerrod’s blue eyes were direct and penetrating, making Luc wish he were still looking at the floor.
Luc shrugged. “I can’t leave Bran to die. He was my lover for twenty years. You don’t just throw that away.” Although the alpha had tossed him aside, Luc couldn’t explain to his fragile vamp that there would always be only one owner of his heart. He might not be with his alpha wolf, but that didn’t take away from the fact that he still loved Bran and always would.
Jerrod wrapped Luc in his arms. “I’ll be waiting for you when you get back. Want me to call a cab?”
“No. I’ll travel by mirror.”
“Yeah. Want to watch?”
A wide smile spread across Jerrod’s face. “I’d love to.”
“Let’s go.” A sudden urgency hit Luc hard. He needed to see Bran and assure himself that he was still alive. Mirror walking was one of his few fae talents. He only used it in emergencies because it mildly freaked him out. Walking through glass was odd and left a strange sensation on his skin that took days to shake off.
With Jerrod hard on his heels, they rushed into the bedroom and approached the full-length mirror in the corner of the room.
“Ever wonder what I needed a full-length mirror for?”
Jerrod smirked. “To admire yourself?”
Laughing, Luc shook his head. “To travel.” Licking his index finger, he ran the wet tip along the top edge of the mirror focusing his mind on his final destination. The reflection of the room wavered, colors swirled, and a perfect image of Bran’s bedroom appeared.
Luc held back his tears as memories of sharing this room with his lover crowded his mind. He could see Salvador sitting in a chair by the bed and his ex-lover in human form lying still and silent on top of the covers. He was surprised to see Bran as a human, before realizing the wound must have forced the shift. When injured, a werewolf converted to human form—a disadvantage that allow paranormal hunters to separate them from real wolves when they hunted.
Admiring the perfect image in the mirror, Jarrod smiled and murmured, “Cool.”
“When I return, the mirror will chime to let you know I’m coming through.”
Jerrod nodded. Then he leant forward and held Luc in his arms one more time. “Good luck. I don’t know Bran, but if you want him better, so do I.”
Luc gave Jerrod a smile then walked through the mirror. A soft pop echoed as he went from one space to another.

A low moan filled the room.
Mate, whispered in his mind.
“He’s not healing,” Sal said in a low, worried tone. The werewolf stood near the alpha wolf’s head and greeted Luc. Soft kisses were placed on each of Luc’s cheeks, Sal brushing skin-to-skin, marking him as pack.
Luc moved around Sal to sit next to Bran.
Blood soaked the werewolf’s smooth mocha skin like a body dipped in red paint.
“Who did this?”
Sal swallowed and clenched his teeth. “Hunters.”
“Where was he to be so close to hunters? Where was he, Sal?” Someone was going to die. If Luc didn’t get answers soon, it was going to be his good friend Sal.
“The Pack grounds were ambushed. Three hunters got four of our wolves. The others had minor injuries but were able to heal themselves.”
“But Bran is the alpha. He should’ve healed by now.” Luc stroked his ex-lover’s head. A feeling of contentment seeped through him.
“His power is fractured,” Sal said in a sad tone. “If he can’t control his change, I’ll have to take over. I’ll alert the others that you’re here, so they won’t panic when they feel the magic coming from Bran’s room.”
Sal’s voice sounded odd, but Luc was too concerned with the blood pumping out of his ex-lover to pay much attention. Bran whimpered softly, his pain-filled eyes watching him with complete trust as Luc spread his hands across the wound.
“Shh. I’ll take care of you, sweetheart.” Closing his eyes, Luc internally focused, drawing out power to heal. He imagined the energy flowing from the center of his body, down his arms and into his hands. Blue flames burst from his palms, slamming into the man lying on the bed.
Luc’s eyes snapped open. He directed the fire into the werewolf’s skin, pushing out the bullets and healing the wounds. Bran’s body shook. Flesh sprouted fur then receded. Although healed, Bran’s body retained his human form as he dealt with the trauma of injury.
Luc collapsed on the small portion of bed not taken by the large were. He was tired. Between the stress of taking care of Jerrod and worrying about his love life, he was worn down.
Familiar fingers stroked his head.
“Even after everything, you came to save me.” Bran’s voice sounded rusty and painful.
Luc looked up to see the alpha gazing at him with a familiar loving expression. A painful knot formed in his throat. How he’d missed his lover.
“I’m sorry, my love, for everything.” Gentle fingers traced his cheek. “If you’ll come back to me, we’ll work something out. I swear.”
Luc could hear the sincerity in his ex-lover’s voice as a painful yearning filled him. He looked into Bran’s beautiful face so dear to him, even now. “I don’t think we can work out the fact you want to have sex with a woman and have her pups.”
He wouldn’t cry. He wouldn’t. Luc blinked rapidly, looking away. He started to slip out of bed, but Bran’s large hand wrapped around his wrist, stopping his exit.
“We can have a baby together. We’ll find a female willing to be a surrogate. You’ll be there the entire time.” The alpha took a deep shaky breath. “My wolf needs its heart.” He tilted Luc’s chin up until he was forced to meet the alpha’s eyes. “And my human half needs its soul. Come back to me, baby, and we can rule the Pack together.”
Luc could feel Bran’s sincerity. It shrouded him like a warm blanket. Before he could think of a response to Bran’s words, the bedroom door slammed open.
“What’s he doing here?” Betsy screamed.
“Hello, Betsy.” Luc’s heart hammered in his chest. He didn’t want to fight an angry she-wolf. It was bad enough that he’d invaded her territory and tempted her man.
“Why can’t you leave us alone? You’re tearing the Pack apart.” Her fangs dropped in anger, a low growl rolling up from her chest.
Behind Betsy in the hallway, Luc saw Sal appear, but he was slower than the blur that rose from the bed and took the alpha bitch down.
A thud echoed in the room as Betsy hit the ground hard, buried beneath the large alpha’s body.
“Don’t ever talk to my mate like that,” Bran growled, his voice low and dangerous, his hands shifting into claws.
“I’m your mate.”
“You’re nothing.”
Luc winced. Subtle, Bran wasn’t. This was not going to be good for Bran’s allegiance with Betsy’s pack.
Sal slipped into the room and patted Luc’s shoulder in a silent message of support. A low whine filled the air. Betsy had converted to wolf. She was baring her neck and stomach to the alpha. With a low growl, Bran stood up between Betsy and Luc, in a protective stance. With a sharp bark, Betsy ran down the hall.
“You’ll start a pack war if you send her back to her pack,” Sal said with a sigh.
Bran shrugged. “Bring them on. She was a pain long before I learned we weren’t compatible.”
“I’ll make sure she leaves. You’ll have to talk to the Pack soon and let everyone know what’s going on.” Sal kissed Luc’s cheek before walking out the door and shutting it behind him.
Alone with Bran, Luc was uncertain what to do next. For a long moment, he stared at the closed door not sure of what to say.
“Luc.” Bran’s voice held a familiar note of longing.
He reluctantly turned to face the alpha wolf. Bran’s gold eyes were glowing with hunger as he took in Luc. “What do you want from me, Bran?”
The alpha walked in front of him before sliding to his knees—an eerie copy of Jerrod’s actions earlier that day. “I want whatever you will give me. Any scrap of your affection. Any moment of your time. I know you might not be able to forgive me, but I thought I was doing what was best for the Pack. I thought I could give them a future leader.” Bran let out a bitter laugh. “I should’ve known I couldn’t give you up. Instead of a strong leader, I ripped out my heart and gave them a broken alpha and dissension in the pack. Do you know half of them won’t even talk to me anymore because of how I treated you? How can I lead my people if they won’t follow?”
When Bran looked up, Luc saw tears filling those beautiful eyes. It felt wrong to have his strong, passionate lover on his knees—no matter what dreams he’d had after their breakup.
“If they want me gone, I’ll leave the Pack. But I’ll never let go of you again.” Luc could hear Bran swallow back the tears. “If you’ll have me back, I’ll be yours forever.”
“Oh, babe.” Luc pulled Bran to his feet and into his arms, cradling him close as the werewolf broke down into sobs. “Shh. We’ll work something out.”
It took Luc a long while to soothe his shattered lover, but eventually, after a magical cleansing to remove the blood, they moved to the bed. Tired from the emotional outpouring, they stripped and tossed their clothes to the floor.
Bran wrapped himself around Luc as if to prevent him from escaping. Nuzzling his neck, the alpha pulled back after a moment. “You smell odd.”
“Hmmm.” Luc was starting to drift.
“You smell like that kid in your house.”
“He’s not a kid,” Luc said sleepily. “I think he’s a hundred or something.”
A long lick tickled his throat, making him giggle. Sniffing continued and Bran lifted Luc’s hand lapping at his palm. “What’s this?”
“Jerrod’s mark.”
“His what?!”
“Don’t yell.”
“How can I not yell? You let some baby vamp mark you?”
“I didn’t let him.” Luc glared at Bran in annoyance. “It was a mistake. I saved him from his master and by some funky vampire process it made me his new master.”
Bran’s warm hands stroked Luc’s shoulders. “Sorry I yelled, baby. What do we need to do to find him a new master?”
“According to Nikko, I’m his master until one of us dies.”
Bran gave him an evil grin. “I can take care of that.”
Luc punched him.
“Ow.” Bran said, cradling his shoulder.
“I forgot how bony you are.”
“Ha! Serves you right,” Bran said, placing a kiss on Luc’s cheek. “You shouldn’t beat your lover.”
“Bran, I don’t know what to do. I’d love nothing more than to come back and be your mate, but I have Jerrod I’m responsible for now. I just can’t abandon the kid.”
“Give him to Nikko,” Bran said ruthlessly.
“I can’t just give him to Nikko. His last master abused him. He needs care, protection, blood.”
Bran sighed. “He can’t live here. The other weres wouldn’t tolerate it.”
Luc nodded. “I know, but I can’t leave him to fend for himself either. I think it’s best if I stay where I am.”
“What about your birthday? It’s only three days away. You’ll need preparation if you hope to survive your father’s persuasion.”
“I know.” Luc swallowed around the ball of fear lodged in his throat.
Every birthday, his father pulled Luc down into hell to try to convince him to give up his soul and become an official Hell Lord. As the only son born with a soul, Luc was an object of personal pride to his father. Lucifer senior wanted his son’s soul, but he was absurdly pleased when Luc survived his challenges each year. The devil’s theory was that the longer Luc resisted, the stronger Hell Lord he would make. Each year his test was a little more difficult until it mostly consisted of Luc surviving as much torture as his brothers could dish out.
What the devil didn’t know was that his older sons didn’t try as hard as they could. None of them wanted the devil’s favorite to join them in hell. With Luc there, they would all lose ranking, as Lucifer had vowed to make his half-fae offspring his right-hand man. Even with his brothers holding back, Luc still returned bruised, bloody and burned after every challenge.
In the past, to keep sane from the torture, Luc focused on Bran. When he concentrated on his lover, his mind and soul felt complete. He was torn in too many ways with the current situation.
Bran flicked the necklace around Luc’s neck. “Still wearing his collar, love?”
The low menace in the alpha’s voice made Luc shiver. “I was going to return it, but he told me to keep it for now.”
“Of course, he did.” Bran sat up, running his hands through his shiny black hair. “He wants you to return to him. Each time you look in the mirror you see that damned jeweled collar and he knows he has you. Give it back to him. Tell him you aren’t interested.” The commanding tone in Bran’s voice erased the tender words shared moments ago.
“I’m not interested,” Luc protested. “But you can’t just fling a priceless necklace at a vampire who thinks he’s your mate.”
“Mate!” Bran roared. “He’s not your fucking mate!”
“I didn’t say he was. Shit, maybe I should go home.”
“No.” Bran wrapped Luc in his arms, stopping him from leaving the bed. “I’m sorry. This whole thing has me spinning. I just got you back. I don’t want to lose you so quickly.”
“You’re not losing me, but sometimes things aren’t always so black and white. I will tell Nikko that we’re back together, but I don’t want to start an interspecies war. You’re going to have enough on your plate with Betsy’s pack. We have to approach this diplomatically.”
“I’m not a diplomat,” Bran said, nipping at Luc’s neck. “I’m your mate and I’ll protect you with every last breath in my body. Stay with me, baby. We’ll discuss this tomorrow. We have some makeup sex to get to.”
Suddenly breathless, Luc laughed. It felt as if it were the beginning of their relationship when everything was new. As if he were still the center of Bran’s world.
How he’d missed that look.
There wasn’t much time for reflection before Bran yanked Luc to him, using his huge muscled body to pin Luc’s lighter frame. His world shrank to Bran’s beautiful amber eyes as the alpha dipped his head and took Luc’s mouth as if he were food, water and everything necessary in life.
The months prior to Luc’s departure had been filled with tension and pain after the alpha made his decision to seek a female mate. Now, it was as if those days had never happened. This was the old Bran. The one he’d loved for so long.
Nothing could beat the familiarity of a lover who knew where all the hot spots were on your body. One who knew his nipples were sensitive and how to rub that bit of skin on his hip to drive him completely insane.
Luc gave himself over to Bran’s touch. He was floating. Enjoying sensations only his werewolf lover knew how to cause.
Unexpectedly, Bran slid down his body, licking and nuzzling his way until he settled between Luc’s legs and swallowed his cock in one long slide. With big hands pinning him, he was at the werewolf’s mercy, unable to move his hips.
Whimpering mindlessly, Luc’s head whipped back and forth. “I’m coming!”
A low growl vibrated through his body, making him shoot down his lover’s throat. Panting, he tried to calm his racing heart as Bran lifted his legs and exposed Luc’s hole to his hungry amber gaze.
“Who do you belong to?” Bran demanded.
Luc had to unscramble the words in his sex-muddled head. “You. I’m yours, Bran.”
“Remember that.” He released Luc long enough to grab some lubricant from the nightstand drawer and coat his fingers. First, one finger slid inside, then another, then finally three fingers moved in and out of his hole. When the alpha was satisfied Luc was open enough, Bran removed his fingers and slid his cock inside.
“You will always be mine. I don’t care what the vampires think.”
Luc clamped down on Bran’s body. If his lover could still speak, he wasn’t doing a very good job of distracting him.
The werewolf’s eyes rolled back in his head. “Fuck!”
Bran’s long fingers wrapped around Luc’s cock, knowing exactly where to pump and squeeze with the ease of long familiarity. A few hard pumps later had them coming together.
His lover collapsed on top of him.
“Sorry.” Bran slid out and off of Luc, leaving him empty, but at least able to breathe.
Moments later a warm cloth wiped him clean. “Sleep, baby. We’ll talk in the morning.”