The Darkest Craving (Page 5)

The Darkest Craving (Lords of the Underworld #10)(5)
Author: Gena Showalter

“Is that all you got?” the girl taunted—a taunt undercut by her heavy panting. “Come on, fellas. Let’s make this memorable, one for the history books!”

“No,” Kane tried to shout, but not even his ears picked up the sound.

Strider jumped over him. Another clang of metal echoed.

“How can this be memorable?” Sabin roared. “The only thing you’re doing is leaping out of the way when we strike.”

“Sorry. I’m not meaning to, but instinct keeps kicking in,” she said.

To anyone but Kane, who knew her secret desire, the conversation would have sounded weird.

The fight continued, the two men chasing the girl around the small room, leaping on furniture, bouncing off the walls, slashing out with hungry blades and missing as she darted out of the way.

The urge to commit violence sharpened with deadly force.

“Don’t hurt her,” he growled. “I’ll hurt you back.” He would do anything to protect her.

Even in this pitiful state?

He ignored the humiliating question.

Question. Yes. He had more questions for the girl than he’d already asked—and this time, she would answer satisfactorily or he would…he wasn’t sure what he would do. He’d lost all sense of mercy and compassion inside that cave.

The threat stopped Sabin in his tracks. The warrior lowered his weapons.

Strider refused to give up, and finally managed to grab the girl by the hair. She yelped as he jerked, tugging her into the hard line of his body.

Kane managed to get to his feet, intending to rip the two apart. Mine. He stalked forward, tripped over a shoe, thanks to the demon, and came crashing down. Pain consumed him.

Before the girl had a chance to scream for help, or curse Strider’s very existence, he knocked her ankles together and sent her propelling to the floor. He went down with her, pinning her shoulders to the floor with his knees. Though she struggled, she couldn’t work her way free.

“I said…don’t hurt,” Kane shouted with what little strength he had left.

“Hey. I barely touched her. I also won,” the warrior announced, a huge grin lifting the corners of his mouth.

Sabin marched to Kane’s side, crouched, and helped roll him to his back. Then the warrior slid gentle hands under his head and shoulders. Kane flinched from the contact, his mind blaring out a protest he refused to let his mouth deliver, but still his friend held firm, easing him into a sitting position.

“We’ve been looking for you, my man.” Tender words meant to assure and comfort him. Too bad nothing would ever assure and comfort him again. “Weren’t ever going to give up.”

“How?” he managed to ask. Let me go. Please, just let me go.

Sabin understood his question, but not his inner plea. “There was a story in a tabloid about a superwoman in New York carrying a hulk over her shoulder. Torin worked his magic and hacked into security cameras in the area, and boom. We had you.”

From her trapped position on the floor, the girl looked over at him. Panting, she said to Sabin, “Hey, can’t you tell he’s not liking the physical contact? Let him go.”

How had she known, when one of his best friends hadn’t noticed?

“He’s fine,” Strider said. “Why are you wearing gloves, female?”

Ignoring the question, she closed her eyes and asked, “Are you going to kill me now?”

“No!” Kane roared. MINE! MINE!

Strider sheathed his blades and stood. Immediately the girl climbed to her feet. Long strands of hair had fallen over her brow, onto her cheeks; she pushed the locks behind the pointed ears that had so startled him.

Most of the Fae preferred to remain in their realm. They weren’t the most beloved of races, and immortals tended to attack first and ask questions later. Still, Kane had run into a few throughout the centuries. Each Fae had possessed curling white hair and skin as pale as milk. This one had a slick fall of jet-black silk, with no hint of a wave, and skin the most luscious shade of bronze. Marks of her humanity?

Her eyes belonged to the Fae, though. Large and blue, like the rarest of jewels, the color lightened and darkened with her moods. Right now they were crystalline, almost lacking any color at all. Was she frightened?

The demon of Disaster liked the thought and purred his approval.

Shut up, Kane snarled. I’ll kill you. Kill you so dead.

The purrs became chuckles, and Kane had to force himself to breathe, in and out, in and out, slow and measured. He wanted to cut off his ears in the hopes of silencing all that sickening amusement. He wanted to tear the room apart, destroy every piece of furniture, take down every wall, rip up every inch of carpet. He wanted to…grab the girl and carry her away from this awful place.

His gaze met hers, and she offered the sweetest of smiles. A smile that said, It’s going to be okay, I promise.

The rage dialed down to a simmer.

That. Quickly.

How had she done that?

Of all the faces she had flashed, this was by far the prettiest. She had the longest lashes he’d ever seen. Her cheekbones were high and sharp, her nose perfectly sloped and her lips heart-shaped. There was a slight point in her chin.

She was like a little girl’s doll come to dazzling life, and she smelled of rosemary and spearmint—a fresh-baked bread paired with an after-dinner mint. In other words, home.


Never, the demon snipped, and the ground began to shake.

Stupid demon. Like any other living creature, Disaster experienced hunger. Unlike others, fear and upset were his favorite foods. So when he yearned for a meal—or just wanted dessert—he caused some sort of catastrophe for Kane, as well as those around him.

Sometimes, those catastrophes were small. A light bulb would short out, or the floor would crack at his feet. Too many times, those catastrophes were large. A limb would fall from a tree. Cars would crash. Buildings would crumble.

Hatred scraped at his chest. One day, I’ll be free of you. One day, I’ll destroy you.

The shaking stopped as the demon laughed with glee. I’m a part of you. There’ll be no getting rid of me. Ever.

Kane pounded a fist into the floor. Long ago, the Greeks had told him only death would separate him from the demon—his death—but that Disaster would live on forevermore. Perhaps that was true. Perhaps not. The Greeks were famous for their lies. But either way, Kane wouldn’t risk death. He was twisted enough to want to witness Disaster’s defeat, and just cold enough to want to be the one to deliver the final blow.