Joelle and Luc escaped hell — barely. But now hell is coming for them on Earth. They know what Joelle can do, and the stakes are high. Luc is doing his best to stay sane and protect Joelle, which is easier said than done when dealing with the feisty blonde. But the two will have to work together — even when separated — to prove that their love is strong enough to overcome even the deadliest of battles.
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Copyright ©2021 Torri Heat
I woke up from the dream that’s been plaguing me for months. The one where the world was burning. The one where she was burning. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried, I was never fast enough to save her. I wasn’t strong enough. I wasn’t enough.
Her blonde hair blew in a breeze I couldn’t feel, the air dry against my parched skin. Her perfect mouth was caught open in a scream, her brilliant blue eyes locked onto mine, begging me to save her. How could I save her when I was the one who had put the stake in her heart? My actions chained her to that cross. My decisions cursed her very existence, compelled by my greed, my desperation to possess her essence.
I had known the minute I saw her that I wanted her. Needed her. Craved her. So I had taken her, and claimed her as my own. I corrupted the purity within her, flooding every inch of her with my shadows until her aura grew as dark as my own.
She lay next to me in bed, a near replica of the one we had shared the night before, and the night before that. The rundown motels blended together, a blur of faded carpets and outdated curtains. We had to stay on the move, never knowing when hell would strike next. The devil was coming for us, of that I was certain. He wanted Joelle, and everything she stood for. A gateway between this realm and hell — a way for the Mares to take over the human world. He would burn this whole Godforsaken place down to the ground, leaving us to smolder in the remains as He pawed the scorched earth for her.
She was pulling away from me. Retreating into herself. On the outside she was still the Joelle I had always known and loved — ready with her sharp tongue, and quick wit. But when she thought I wasn’t looking her gaze would drift toward the window, staring at something I couldn’t see. She was frozen in the past, some part of her soul still trapped in hell from the things she had seen in the Tribunal. The betrayals of her family. The newfound knowledge that she was something else. Something more. The only time she seemed to come fully alive was when we fucked, her body rolling beneath my own and meeting me thrust for thrust. My Joelle came back to me in the dark of the night, with strokes of my hand and the small cries she offered up when she came.
But we couldn’t always have sex. We were on a mission to find Zion, and to gather up as many other earth-side beings as we could before hell launched their first attack. We had time yet, or so I thought. The whole reason He wanted Joelle was to make it quicker for the demons to flood this plane, so for right now it would take them time to gather the numbers they would need before they dared to attack. They knew I would fight with my last breath to protect Joelle, and they knew just how dangerous my smart-mouthed beauty could be. And if they were smart, they would know I would be looking for Zion.
Joelle’s breath caught next to me, and I froze in my thoughts. I knew what was next. It was the same thing that had been happening every night since we escaped hell. Her eyelids flew open, her bright blue gaze unfocused as it darted around the room. And then she screamed.
“Joelle!” I threw my body over her before the thrashing started. Last night she had managed to throw her body off the bed before I could catch her. “Joelle! Love, it’s okay. I’m here. You’re here. You’re safe.”
The lies rolled off my tongue so naturally, the same falsehoods I had told her every night she had woken up screaming, an aura of death so heavy around her. Slowly, her body stopped twitching, and the screams dimmed to gasps as Joelle came back to herself. “Luc. Am I dreaming?”
I shook my head, pushing my weight off her body. “No, love. We’re here. This is real.”
She nodded, licking her full lips. The silence felt deafening, filling the full dark of the room.
“What do you need?” She would never admit her brokenness, and I would never comment on it. But still I felt at a loss for how to fix someone so shattered. My hands were designed to destroy, not to mend.
Joelle didn’t speak. She dragged her fingers up my bare chest, goosebumps following the path she took. When her hands rested on my shoulders, she squeezed, pulling me closer.
I met her mouth with a consuming kiss, darting my tongue between her lips. Joelle moaned quietly, and I leaned forward, trapping her face between my forearms.
“Okay,” I whispered. “Okay.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Torri Heat has always loved control. Her mind was blown when she discovered she could control entire worlds through story writing. Throw some steamy romance in there, and it was pretty close to perfection. Torri loves dark heroes who ride off into the sunset on their motorcycles, fierce heroines who can fend for themselves, and a sprinkle of the paranormal to keep things interesting. When she’s not creating alternate realities you can find her managing her three ring circus of kids and animals.
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