Authors: Stacey Kennedy
The Devil’s Kiss
The Magical Sword ~ Book Three
Published by Liquid Silver Books, imprint of Atlantic Bridge Publishing, 10509 Sedgegrass Dr, Indianapolis, Indiana 46235. Copyright © 2010, Stacey Kennedy. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Liquid Silver Books
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.
Nexi Jones can never catch a break. With only just returning from a much needed vacation—a deadly Werewolf attack takes place in Plymouth, Minnesota. In pursuit for answers, Nexi finds herself face-to-face with someone she desperately wanted to avoid,
Magnus, the Lord of the Underworld
. He hasn’t forgotten her and will stop at nothing to use her magical abilities for his personal gain.
Soon, Nexi will be in a battle far worse than conjuring Magic against those of the Underworld. The fiercest battle rages within her as her soul combats against her heart to decide Nexi’s fate. Will all that matters—will everyone she loves—be lost forever?
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To my sister, Kim, who loved this story so much she wanted it dedicated to her.
The warm water wrapped around me in a total sense of relaxation as I leaned back into my antique claw-foot bathtub. I sighed in complete and utter surrender as every muscle in my body gave way to the heated comfort.
It felt good to be home.
Not that two weeks in the Phi Phi Islands wasn’t something I could get used to with its limestone cliffs and crystal blue water. However, home was the Otherworld and it was nice to be back.
When the bathroom door clicked open, I didn’t even have it in me to open my eyes. Kyden’s sweet musky scent swirled around me. When he ran his fingers lightly down the middle of my chest, desire stole the tranquility.
“Looks relaxing,” Kyden purred.
“It is.” I smiled, and cracked an eye open to see my sexy beast of a Guardian. Months we’ve been together and I still drooled over him. How could I not? With his damn perfect body, those yummy sculpted muscles, square chin, mesmerizing green eyes and strength that oozed from him. Ooohh yes, he was all mine. My breath came soft through my lips before I finally asked, “Wanna join me?”
He hesitantly shook his head. But he did lean in and lay his perfectly plump lips against mine with enough passion to make the bath water boil. It took a lot of restraint on my part not to drag him into the tub with me.
“You better get out,” he said a little huskily when he backed away. “We are needed.” He didn’t sound all too confident in those words. He stood, took one last heated look and left, closing the bathroom door behind him.
I ran my hands through the water a moment trying to keep my mind off the lingering effects of his kiss. My lips tingled from his kiss. My body warmed in a way that had nothing to do with the temperature of the bath water.
Minutes later, it was pointless and I was sick of staring at the stone walls of the bathroom. He’d started the motor running and it was revving high. I jumped out of the tub and dried off quickly, desperate to finish what he started.
My hand wrapped around the door handle and I flung it open, then headed out to the living room. “Get back here. I’m not done with…” My words ended as my breath was sucked back into my body. Embarrassment rocketed into every part of me. I screamed, crossed my legs and did my best to cover my breasts.
“Now that’s funny.”
Willow beamed as Kyden petted her.
Their relationship had grown immensely after she saved my life and displayed that she wasn’t just an ordinary black fluff ball with an orange tipped tail. She was a Familiar—a magical creature that held the ability to take on the form of a black sleek panther whenever I needed some ass saving. Now, she and Kyden were practically inseparable. Couldn’t say I wasn’t a little extra nice to the testy kitty either. Of course, Kyden hadn’t heard her just now, only I was lucky enough to hear her telepathically and enjoy her snippety little comments.
Nevertheless, Kyden looked up on his own regard. The moment he caught sight of me, his eyes went wide and he lunged himself over the couch to wrap me in a blanket.
I could only laugh as I grabbed the ends of the blanket to cover myself. “Hello, Valor.”
It was nice to see the Patriarch, but would’ve been nice for him to see less of me.
Valor is the Alpha of all Alphas. The head honcho and he fit the part perfectly. He’s clean-cut, clean-shaven, and ready to be the next model for Calvin Klein. To me he was just Valor, my very close friend.
Valor chuckled, his face alight with amusement. “Good evening, Nexi.”
“You could have mentioned that he was here,” I said to Kyden, disgruntled.
Kyden shrugged. “I would have if I thought you were going to come out bare-assed.”
“What did you expect me to do after giving me a kiss like that?”
“I didn’t see…” Valor interjected, drawing my gaze back to his. “…much.”
“Sure you didn’t.” I snorted. “Just give me sec to get dressed.” I ran to the bedroom, slammed the door behind me and nearly died. Embarrassing events seemed to follow me wherever I went.
After my mortification settled, I dropped the blanket onto the king-size, white-iron bed. Moving to the walk-in closet, I grabbed my tight silver shorts, armor kilt with matching bra and made myself a little more presentable. My Guardian gear had become almost second skin to me now. Normal clothes were fun and all, but day to day, I wouldn’t want to wear anything else. Before, I opened the door to join them, I snatched up my sword and scabbard that lay at the foot of the bed.
When I opened the bedroom door, Willow stood there.
“Serves you right!”
“Always walking around naked like you do.”
“Hush you,” I snapped back, not wanting to hear the obvious.
Kyden had a big ass smile on that beautiful face as I stepped away from Willow. “That is a better way to greet our guests.” His tone was nothing short of royally amused.
“I’d say.” I strode toward Valor and gave him a hug. He tightened at first, then relaxed in my arms. Supes weren’t overly affectionate toward each other, but this guy saved my ass twice. He deserved hugs and lots of them.
“Are you well, Valor?” I asked, and took a seat beside Kyden on the beige couch, which sat near the stone wooden fireplace.
“Very well thank you, and you?”
“Great. The vacation was just what I needed. Have you ever been to the Phi Phi Islands?”
He shook his head. “No, can’t say I have. I do hear it is something of intense beauty.”
“Sure is. I saw it in a movie once and always wanted to go. It definitely lived up to my expectations.”
“I am glad to hear you took some time away. It was well deserved.”
The memory sent a little shudder through me as I remembered how close I came to death against Astoria, a Black Magic Witch, just a few short weeks ago. Her and a bunch of badass vampires were after my head after I killed their leader, Lazarus. Did I feel bad about it—hell no. They both got what they deserved.
But remembering that also brought Magnus’—the Lord of the Underworld and the one who sent Astoria after me—last words back into my mind,
“I will not force you to come with me, but let me make this clear, you will be mine.”
Magnus wanted me to join his guard for my unique magical abilities as a Spirit Witch to shield magic. He thought I was powerful, maybe I was, but I declined the offer. Thankfully, I couldn’t be forced, but I had the sneaking suspicion that he hadn’t really taken no for an answer. Deep down, I knew I hadn’t seen the last of Magnus.
As my mind drifted through memories, it was hard not to feel a little winded. Just a year and a half ago, I was a simple gal living in Carson City, Nevada, working in a doctor’s office. Now, I’d been through two—or was it three—near-death experiences. Who was really keeping count?
I shook away the thoughts, refocused on the present. “Are you visiting the council?” I asked Valor, more than curious as to why he was sitting on my couch.
“No.” He replied with a grin. “I have actually come to see you.”
My curiosity grew. “Really?” I glanced at Kyden, who gave an unknowing shrug of his shoulders. I snapped my gaze back to Valor. “What’s up?”
Valor’s grin grew and a knowing look came across his face. “I am here to take you up on your offer.” I thought a moment, but after a short pause, I piped up. “Sorry, what offer was that?”
“Your offer to help me if I needed it,” he answered, his grin now replaced with a frown. “And right now I desperately do.”
“Oh, okay, anything—name it.” I’d give this tough wolf just about anything he wanted. I owed him my life, a couple times over.
“Last night, I was contacted by the Alpha in Minnesota,” he explained. “After a brutal attack on a young woman, it has since been learned, she has accepted the bite and transformed.”
“Accepted the bite?” I repeated with blatant confusion.
Valor’s face lifted in amusement. “Werewolves are either made by being born from other wolves or they can also be bitten and turned.”
“Really?” I suspected my brows were in my hairline by now. There was still a lot to this world that was unknown to me. “I didn’t know that.”
“You have probably never heard of it because it does not happen often. It is very rare that a human actually survives the bite. Even then, going through the change is extremely difficult.”
“Is she well now?” Kyden asked.
“She is,” Valor answered with a nod. “After the Alpha discovered her, I was contacted immediately. Being that this is such a rarity he was unsure how to handle the situation.”
“I’m happy to hear she’s okay,” I said, curling my legs up to cuddle beside Kyden on the couch. He wrapped an arm around me, pulling me tight against his body. Never once would I admit aloud that I needed his strength at times, and never, would he point out such a fact. The result would end in a fight. Right now, however, I suspected this conversation was about to hit upon a place where having a little Kyden protection around me was a good thing.
Valor’s expression darkened grimly. “I said she was well, not okay.”
“Uh oh, what’s happened?” I asked, even though part of me didn’t want to know. Trouble seemed to be my constant shadow. We’d only been back a short time. I wasn’t at all ready to back into anything that resembled dangerous.
“After the transformation was completed, Dante and I brought her home. We have been unable to help her shift back since she is too distraught.”
Dante was Valor’s sexy beast of a son. Also very easy on the eyes. It came as a bit of a surprise that neither he nor Valor could help the woman transform. No woman, no matter who she is, wouldn’t feel comforted around these men. Their smooth-talking gorgeousness could not be missed. It meant she was in really bad shape. “Poor thing,” I exhaled.
Valor nodded, concern tightened his features. “It is very troublesome. I feel for the little wolf. She is very frightened and if we cannot get through to her.” He sighed deeply and met my gaze. “I am afraid I must destroy her. This is not something I want to do.”
“You have to kill her?” I snapped. “Why?”
“She is a liability,” Kyden interjected. “If she cannot control herself, she will end up facing our swords and taking a human life in the process.”
As if that answered my question. Kyden should have known better. This world, especially the wolf world was still very foreign to me. Having it spelled out what always a necessity. “It makes her a liability that she can’t shift?”
Valor’s nod was grim. “As wolves, we always need to be in control of our animal side. If we were to ever lose that control…the danger is too great. You have not witnessed a wolf such as this?” he asked.
I shook my head in silent response. The only wolves I witnessed were ones who were in complete control of themselves. Never had I seen a crazed wolf and knew with certainty that it wasn’t something I wanted to see either.
“It is not something to take lightly,” Valor continued. “When the animal inside us takes over, our need to kill, to taste blood and eat flesh consumes us.”
“And this will happen to her?” I asked.
“It will,” Valor confirmed. “If she cannot shift back to human form and learn to control the wolf within her, it will begin to take over. At such time, she would be lost forever.”
“Okay, I see the problem,” I replied, somberly. “Just seems so unfair. She didn’t ask for this, and now she could be killed for it.”
Valor inclined his head, acknowledged the depravity of this situation. “Exactly. You see my problem here. We need to get through to her, calm her enough to get her to shift, and then explain to her what has happened.”
“Can’t she hear you in her wolf form?” My interactions with wolves had taught me that much. “Why don’t you just explain it to her now?”
“We have explained it but nothing seems to be getting through to her.” Valor’s words came hastily and exasperated. “Time is running out.”
“So, what can I do to help?” I asked, a little lost as to what exactly he wanted me to do about it.
“I was hoping you would come with me, talk with her. Being that you grew up in the Earthworld, I thought you might be the best one to explain this new life to her. Help her accept what has happened.”
“Of course, I will try, Valor. But I don’t know anything about wolves.”
He waved away my apprehension. “That is not of any concern. Briggs is with her now. He has not left her side since returning to my home. If you can get her to shift, then he will explain everything to her in greater detail.”
Apparently, vacation time was over. My gaze connected with Kyden’s. “You’ll come too, right?”
He nodded as if I even needed to ask. “We will have to discuss this with the Council first.”
Valor stood. “Let’s go to them now. We cannot waste any more time.”
Within a blink of an eye, we were out the door and heading down the castle’s hall. My five-foot-five legs were nothing matched to the lengthy strides of the two men ahead of me. Every few steps I had to run a little to keep up with them.