The Darkest Craving (Page 23)

The Darkest Craving (Lords of the Underworld #10)(23)
Author: Gena Showalter

Her nose went into the air, making her look sullen and defiant and utterly adorable. “Don’t get any ideas about rescuing me. I’ll do what I want, when I want.”

Want me.

The ground cracked beneath his feet. He didn’t care.

“Can you control the ability?” The words croaked from him.

“I don’t know,” she admitted softly. “I’ve never gotten to test my limits with people I didn’t want to borrow from.” Her gaze lowered to his lips, and she shifted from one foot to the other.

She’s not thinking about kissing me. She can’t be thinking about kissing me. “You need skin-to-skin contact?”


“I’ll help you with that, too.”

Her eyes brightened, the clouds rolling out to reveal endless oceans backed by glorious sunlight. The brightness didn’t last long, however. She glowered, and the clouds returned. “You can’t help me, Kane, not without putting yourself in danger. So will you listen to me and either prepare for battle or run for your life?”

“No to both. Why would the king of the Fae want to kill me for looking at you?”

She was desperate to argue; he could see it in those narrowed eyes. But she must have realized he was stubborn enough to wait all night for the answers, and just messed up enough to get physical with her the next time they were truly together.

No telling what would happen then.

“He feels he must dispose of anyone who threatens to take me away from the kingdom.”

“Does he plan to have me brought into the kingdom or have me executed on sight wherever I’m found?”

“The kingdom. He likes to watch.”

Good. “I’m glad they’re coming.”

“You’re glad?” she choked out.

“They’ll do the work for me.”

She sputtered for a moment before finally deciding on a verbal path. “What work?”

“Finding you. I will, you know.” A promise.

One that came with razor-sharp desire.

The crack in the ground widened, dropping Kane several feet.

“I just told you not to—argh! Kane, don’t be foolish! Please.”

The sound of pounding footsteps caught his attention. On alert, he palmed a dagger and looked around, but all he saw was more fog and trash. Then, three…no, five…no, eight bodies broke through, stopping a few feet away from him.

“I found him,” a hard male voice called.

If anyone could see Tinker Bell, they gave no indication.

“But…this is Lord Kane, a warrior of the Underworld,” someone else gasped.

Murmurs of awe arose. “I can’t believe this. I can’t believe I’m standing in the presence of Lord Kane.”

Questions were thrown at him.

“Will you tell us about the battle that took place in the skies? Our men weren’t able to attend, so details are sparse.”

“Did you really chop off a Hunter’s foot and stuff it in his mouth, just because he called Cameo an abomination?”

Tinker Bell paled, backed away. “Oh, Kane. They found you. I’m sorry.” She vanished.


BRUTAL? KANE THOUGHT. Bloodthirsty? Hardly.

“I’m sorry for the need for this, Lord Kane, but I must bind you, as ordered.” The soldier appeared grief-stricken by the thought. “I’ll be slain if I refuse.”

“Do it, and don’t even think about being gentle about it,” snapped the tallest of the bunch. “And you,” he said to Kane. “Where’s the other man? The one traveling with you.”

“There’s a good chance I killed him.”

The guards nodded their agreement, as if they knew him and expected nothing less. All but the one who’d asked the question. He had to be the leader. Nothing else would explain the great waves of entitlement bouncing off him. I’ll call him Evil Overlord.

“The shackles!” Evil Overlord proclaimed, and the soldier raced to obey.

Kane hated being bound, would rather die than endure it again. And yet he allowed the Fae to cuff his hands behind his back without protest.

Hands…all over him…

Mouths…biting at him…

Nails…scraping at him…

As the memories took center stage, he felt as if thousands of tiny needles were being injected into his skin. A loud ring erupted in his ears, and his heart kicked into a dangerously fast rhythm. His lungs constricted, the tissues burning.

Breathe. Nice and slow. In. Out. Good. That was good. And this was necessary. He had to get to Tinker Bell, and this was the fastest way.

Evil Overlord stepped to the side and waved a hand through the air.

That was it, a wave, and yet a doorway from one realm to another appeared. At the edges of the opening was the red brick of the club, the trash bin and cardboard boxes. Through the narrow opening, Kane saw a darkened landscape with multiple torches lining a cobbled pathway. That pathway led to a wide, towering palace comprised of gold-veined marble and bright, sparkly diamonds.

The soldiers formed a circle around Kane and urged him to march forward. One second he was in the city of cowboys, the next the land of the Fae. The night was crisp and damp, the torches giving off little heat. The scent of a thousand floral perfumes saturated the air, and he gagged. Sweat beaded over his skin. More fireflies than he’d ever seen in one place twirled and danced through the sky, creating what appeared to be a shower of glowing raindrops.

Playing his part, he snapped, “Where am I? Who are you?”

“Silence, Lord Kane.” Evil Overlord wasn’t as tall as Kane, nor was he as muscled. None of them were. “What were your plans toward Servant Josephina?”

Servant? For some reason, that irritated him. “Would you like me to be silent or give you the answer? I’m happy to give both a try, but I don’t think you’ll like the results.”

The male scowled at him.

Disaster growled inside his mind. Leave this place.

Screw you.

Hate the girl, Josephina. Want to kill her.

You touch her, and I’ll…

What? One of his daggers fell from his boot, and the demon laughed. You want to stay here? Fine. But you’ll do it without your weapons. Even as the creature spoke, another dagger fell away.

“You guys seem to know a lot about me, considering we’ve never met,” Kane said, ignoring the demon. His hands were weapons enough.

Evil Overlord smirked. “We do. You’re Kane, a Lord of the Underworld. Disaster. Supposedly undefeatable. Wicked. The worst of the worst enemy to ever have.”