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Demon Bonded: Coven Saga S4

SCENE FOUR

Ky couldn’t believe his father. He shouldn’t have been surprised—fuck, at this point nothing should fucking surprise him. Still, he expected better from Marcus. He needed better. God damn it, why couldn’t anyone just be on his side in all this?

A hearing. What the fuck were they going to do if they decided he was guilty?

Ky slammed into his bedroom, only to grunt when he found Lovely sitting in the center of his bed. He resented that too. There was no place he could be alone. No place to hide from all the shit he was supposed to be doing now.

“How do I fix the wards?” Ky scowled to himself. “How do I do anything right when it comes to this magic bullshit? Demencious isn’t going to suddenly pop back up through the fucking floors, is she?”

“I can show you only what I know. Relics don’t use magic the way humans do. All I have are Anselm’s books to go off of.” Lovely patted the bed. When Ky didn’t move to sit but instead went to pull a shirt on, Lovely stood and swept his long hair behind him. “We can consult the books together.”

Lovely’s calming smile had the opposite effect on Ky. He felt angry about everything, angry and trapped with no way free. “I can do it on my own.” He turned to the bureau and went through the drawers agitatedly as he looked for Anselm’s journal.

Spells. God damn it, he needed to learn how to do magic like fucking yesterday. A coven of demon summoners and they all wanted Tobias’s wand. Strays. He called them fucking strays like they were cats or vermin.

Ky paused when he found the box Anselm kept his wand in. He couldn’t keep the wands here anymore, not with sorcerers walking in the door and his father throwing a hissy fit over magic. Fuck, he couldn’t keep them anywhere. He was going to have to walk around carrying two bulky, ridiculous looking instruments. They were too long for proper pockets. How the hell did Liem hide his so well? Stewart was probably carrying one and he hadn’t seen his either. They had to have some sort of pocket or holder for them.

Ky sighed as he thought of where he might find such information. Damn it, he was going to have to clean up that fucking mess in the attic just to make sure Marcus didn’t throw out any of Anselm’s spell books.

Lovely touched his hand and Ky jerked from his touch. He slipped away and headed for the door without looking at the catboy. He’d have to deal with this shit now, wouldn’t he? If Marcus got a chance, he’d probably hold a bonfire in the backyard and burn it all. Well, if he could get up the fucking nerve to even touch anything remotely magical.

“Ky?” Lovely called from the door way. He watched as Ky tugged the attic stairs down. Ky met his gaze a moment then started up the wooden stairs. He didn’t want to talk; he didn’t want to deal with any of this.

The attic was a disaster. The dust had settled but was still thick in the air, seen where the afternoon light streamed in the slats of the one small window. With the lights switched on it looked like a tornado struck. A tornado or one very hungry overseer.

Ky growled to himself as he took in the huge mess and tried to figure out how he was ever going to organize it all. He was going to have to get all of Anselm’s books downstairs into his room. It would take hours, easy, and his frustration grew.

With a final look around, Ky began to clear a path to the fallen pile of books. He had no idea what was valuable and what was garbage but he couldn’t let his father throw out any of it just in case. Maybe he’d be able to wall all of it in with the other half of the wardrobe and lock it all up. That was, if he could get to the other side of the fucking attic.

Ky snarled as his hip caught on a table that refused to budge from its trapped position. “Damn it!” He slammed his hand down on the wooden surface and bit back a gasp of pain. He twitched and turned when he heard a noise behind him. It was Lovely. He was perched delicately on a fallen broken couch, his dainty tail twisting for balance as he stared down at the mess around him.

“You’re bleeding,” Lovely said softly, his nostrils flared. “You should be more careful.”

Ky glared and turned away before he said something scathing. He stared down at his hand. The skin had split on his palm and blood was gushing out. “Fucking perfect.” He stuck his palm in his mouth with a growl. There would be no point if he bled all over the books he needed to save. Ky peered down at the table, his brows scrunched. He leaned closer and ran his thumb over the spiderweb of cracks that seemed to join together right where he had struck the surface.

“I can heal you.”

“No,” he snapped reflexively. “It’s just my hand.” He refocused on the mess of books he still had to get to and tried to ignore how Lovely wouldn’t stop staring at him. He wanted to yell at him to just leave him the fuck alone so he could think, or not think, really. He didn’t want to be in his head at the moment. It was a shitty place with so few answers and a mountain of questions. Being around the relics only made it worse.

God, he fucked up so much. He fucked up and he was going to keep fucking up. He didn’t even know how to put up proper wards.

Ky found an old shirt among the mess on the floor and went to wrap it around his hand. He glowered when he realized the wound already stopped bleeding. He broke that stupid table, hadn’t he? He hadn’t even tried and he broke the fucking thing. The relics’ power was bleeding into him. He just bonded with three more just last night. Seven total. Enough that they had taken him over. Was there going to be anything left of him by the time this was all done?

“Ky, can we just talk? You’re upset. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this lost.” Lovely managed to pick his way through the mess with pure grace and reached for Ky’s hand. “I want to help you, sweetling.”

Ky stiffened under the light touch, his eyes kept tight on his hand. “Help? All you’ve done is lie to me.”

Lovely tilted his head as he peered down at Ky’s face. “Lie? In what way?”

Ky’s nostrils flared and he quickly yanked his hand from Lovely’s grip. “Don’t treat me like I’m a fucking idiot. You lived with him forever! You had to have seen it happen before.”

Ky took a step back to put distance between them and caught himself on a chair before he tripped. He was so sick of this. He was so sick of everyone acting like he couldn’t handle the simple fucking truth about anything. Someone died. He helped kill someone. He wasn’t some stupid child anymore. “You should have told me.”

Lovely stared at him steadily while Ky angrily heaved for air. He made no move to approach. “We only knew so much. We had no idea what might…”

“Bullshit! He’s one of you; you had to have fucking known what could happen. They took me over. Because of him, I’m some fucking puppet to them. Worse, a puppet master. I let them kill someone.” Ky bent forward and grabbed at his hair fitfully. “Fuck, if I wanted to, I could have made them kill just as easily. It would be so fucking easy. They were looking at me like I was some fucking hero and I couldn’t even control my body!”

And if he did it again? What then? Who decided when his eyes started glowing and the demons were allowed to kill; him or the relics? Just who the fuck got to decide when he knew it wasn’t him last night?

“Ky, we didn’t know exactly what was done.” Lovely ducked his head when Ky hid his face behind his hands. “We weren’t even sure it worked. You have to understand; there was no way to know what the end result would be.”

Ky roughly shook his head, tears wet on his cheeks. “Bullshit. He must have done it before, right? He controlled people to make them control other demons. Anselm wrote fucking chapters on him.”

Lovely paused and his brows twisted down in confusion. “You’re the first time this type of experiment has worked. Anselm was never successful before.”

Ky wiped at his eyes with the heel of his palm. “Anselm? I’m talking about Magnificent Night. Do you not understand what his power did to me last night?” He stared at Lovely with red rimmed eyes that slowly widened as his words sank in. “What? Experiment? What the fuck are you saying?”

“Thornes, don’t. He can’t handle it.” Ky whirled to find Feral crouched in the opening of the broken wall. His golden eyes were fierce as he glared warningly at the catboy. “He doesn’t need to know this.”

“Fuck you!” Ky shouted as anger flooded through him. He took a few awkward, stalking steps and bared his teeth at Feral, then whirled back to Lovely. “Tell me. What the fuck do you mean by experiments?”

Lovely glanced at Feral but it was clear they weren’t in agreement. His expression only held concern for Ky. “Your ability to black link and not be harmed is because of Anselm. He experimented on all his children. When you were born, he experimented on you as well.”

Ky shook his head weakly. It didn’t make sense. He’d never seen a relic before a few weeks ago. He didn’t know anything about magic or demons. To the best of his knowledge, he never even met Anselm before he died. “Magnificent changed me because we linked together,” Ky said hollowly. “The same way I changed when I bonded with you. The same way after Feral. That’s it. Not… Not what? What did he do to me? When was this supposed to have happened?”

Lovely went to answer but clicked his mouth shut when Feral crouched and leaped across the space. He landed lightly, his dark wings spread out to lessen the impact. “It doesn’t matter, whelp. It had no effect on any of the others in your family. You were too young to even remember. There’s no point dwelling on these sorts of things.”

Ky rounded on him. “You knew this entire time, and you never said a fucking word. Is this why you bonded with me? Did Anselm tell you I’d be an easy fucking meal or something?”

Feral’s fangs flashed as he smirked in the face of Ky’s anger. “You really think someone made you easy? Pretty sure that’s all on you, whelp.”

“Damn you,” Ky hissed. He was in no mood for any of Feral’s fucked up jokes. “Someone fucking tell me! This is my life. This is my…” Tears welled and he just couldn’t take it anymore. Ky sank unsteadily to the ground, blind to the uncomfortable lumps of broken furniture and debris beneath him. “I thought I was being nice,” he whispered. “I thought I was helping you. All I wanted to do was help. But I just keep fucking everything up.”

He tilted his head up, fighting back tears. Lovely stared down at him as he crouched behind him. His hands were gentle as he carefully swiped his thumbs down Ky’s cheeks.

“He wanted something from you, sweetling. Anselm wanted to be immortal. For some reason he thought you could give him that. He used Seriphous’s blood. There was something about his type Anselm was trying to replicate. I think it had to do with the way he could bond with so many.”

Ky nodded unsteadily and his shoulders lost their tension all at once. “The eye glowing thing and the shadow links, is that’s because of Anselm?”

“No human can understand us the way you do. They can’t hear us in their minds. There’s a reason for that. Whatever Anselm did, it seems to have woken up.” Lovely’s fingers trailed through the links at Ky’s throat. “You’re changing. By linking to so many of us, your relic genetics have turned on.”

Demon Bonded 9

The Fall

Episode #9. Wake of the righteous…

With the fall of Tobias, Ky must choose his path. He can be the ruthless sorcerer needed to protect the demons he loves, or he can challenge fate for a scrap of normalcy out of the remains of his tattered life.

Seven lives now weigh on Ky’s collar. Seven demons call him master while he can’t even figure out how to use a wand. The responsibility is daunting.

Ky returns home bitter, lonely, and unsure of who to trust. The Relic in the basement deceived him. Sorcerers aren’t the only ones who can control demons, which Ky experienced first hand. His bond to Magnificent Night has tarnished everything he’s touched and there is no way to be clean.

This book contains the Bonus story, ‘The Forging Of An Apprentice,’ Liem’s personal tale of struggle, sorcery and madness.

Each episode in this sexy, suspenseful gay monster harem serial is over 10,000 words, and should be read in order to be enjoyed fully.
20,000+ wrds, First Published November 11, 2016.

$0.99

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE FALL

on March 21, 2017
on December 16, 2016
on November 16, 2016
READ AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE

“You’re out of your mind.” Liem huffed in exasperation. There was a hunch of defeat in his shoulders as he stepped toward the door.

Ky watched him impassively. Liem paused in the doorway and opened his mouth to try a final time to stop what was about to happen. He remained silent once he looked down at Master Tobias’s crumpled form. Tobias was practically on top of Fido where he fell, the sorcerer’s breath shallow and weak. The wolf demon snarled even though he was too wounded to move.

Fido’s eyes glowed the same otherworldly blue as Ky…  No, Brave’s eyes.

Ky owned the wolf demon. He claimed Brave far more completely than Liem or Tobias ever could. He named the demon, and Liem knew without a shadow of a doubt Brave would be glad to have a master like Ky.

“This isn’t right.” Liem didn’t attempt to convince. Tobias proved weak and by some twist of fate, Ky, the idiot he thought would crumble and run at just the threat of Fido’s teeth, was untouchable. Brave didn’t bother looking at him; Liem was as invisible to the demon as the Relics normally were to people.

Ky stared him down and waited until Liem finally left. Once he was out the door, Ky stepped over and listened to Liem’s footsteps fade down the long corridor. He looked out into the warmly lit hallway. Did he want to leave? Did he really want to stay and see what would surely happen next?

Ky thought of Lovely, his cat prince, his beautiful, damn near perfect Relic. His long white hair and pale limbs would have been stained in Tobias’s blood by now. Lovely would have led the charge and knocked the master sorcerer out. He would have sliced his throat with ease instead of leaving things up to a selfish sorcerer apprentice.

Lovely was home, and Ky was beginning to realize how good he was at clinging to the catboy instead of dealing with the things he was supposed to deal with. He came there for Brave, and Tobias tried to kill the Relic right in front of him. He would have if Liem hadn’t acted. Ky froze and just watched the demon trainer attack Brave. Tobias killed Relics before, taught Liem to do the same, and he just stood there and watched. No, Lovely wasn’t there, and Ky had to do what needed to be done.

Ky shut the door and made sure it clicked tight. He turned and met the four sets of eyes glowing the same color of Magnificent Night’s. He could feel their desire like a weight, a demand inside of him. It was stronger than anything Ky could have ever raised on his own. He couldn’t deny the Relics their wish for death and knew he had no right to interfere.

Ky stepped around Tobias’s bleeding form where Nightshade, Brave, and Roar glared down. He kept his gaze fixed on the fox demon who was chained and struggling to get free. Ky pressed a soothing hand to his arm. Blood stilled at his touch and let him unbuckle the leather bracer from his left wrist. The Relic was still too new to know their language, but Ky spoke in hope he would understand through their link. “You won’t be tied like this again. I won’t own you, Blood. No one will hurt you.” He fell silent when the demon’s freed hand cupped his face.

Ky unbuckled Blood’s other arm and held still when the fox demon pulled him close and lips slid hot over his. He let his lashes flutter shut and tried to block out the snap of bone behind him. Loud growls rose up and echoed off the stone walls. Blood kissed him hard and deep to intentionally block Ky’s view of what the others were doing.

“It’s okay.” Ky gently turned his head and broke the kiss. He should look. It wasn’t right to hide from what he was allowing to happen. It was his fault, and he should watch.

*Hush*. Blood pressed his forehead to his, and Ky couldn’t find the will to pull away and look. Instead, he let Blood hold him in place as he flinched with every sound of torn clothing and wet slice of flesh. Ky hissed and his eyes closed tight when he heard a sound so reminiscent of Demencious eating a dog, he could almost feel the wicked creature at his back with sharp talons clicking on the floor. Ky’s jaw felt like it was going to break. His neck and shoulders were tight, and his nerves jolted at each noise that reached his straining ear.

Ky jumped and gasped when a phone rang. Blood reared back to stare down at his pile of clothing on the floor. “It’s okay,” Ky said hoarsely. He stepped over, fished through the clothes, and pulled his cell phone free. It was his father, and after a long second of uncertainty, Ky pressed the accept button.

“What?” Ky’s voice was surprisingly steady, if not a bit rough.

“It’s after midnight.” Marcus was curt, but there was a tiredness to his tone Ky wasn’t expecting.

“The time got away from me.” The lie came out easily, a marked difference from the last time he’d spoken with his parents on the phone. Ky’s gaze slowly strayed from his pile of clothes to where Brave was lying on the floor. The wolf demon was in a new spot and blood coated his clawed hands. Tobias’s master collar sat in a heap of blood on the floor. Nightshade pushed the sorcerer’s ribs apart with an ease of strength that looked beyond the slender cat demon’s capability. It wasn’t. Relics weren’t weak little slaves created to serve even weaker humans. They were warriors who battled every day in a dangerous world to survive. They had families, culture, language, and like anything else that breathed, they didn’t want to be chained.

“If you’re in some sort of trouble… You know you can talk to me, Ky. Whatever it is.” His father’s voice floated to his ear, Marcus hesitant in the silence.

It wasn’t true, was it? His dad wouldn’t even listen to him about simple things when it came to demons. He sure as fuck wouldn’t listen about this.

Ky blinked, and his gaze focused on Roar, who hollowed out Tobias’s torso with quick, efficient tugs. Crimson coated the horned demon’s powerful, scarred forearms and dripped down onto his bare thighs. He pressed a piece of liver to Brave’s bruised lips and urged the injured demon to eat. The fox demon joined them, and Blood did the same of Tobias’s heart. He picked through the sorcerer’s cavity in a fashion nearly ritualistic.

“Ky, what…?”

“I’m fine,” Ky finally spoke, his voice steady as he cut off Marcus’s concern. “I’ll be home when I’m done.”

Marcus waited and silence stretched between them. Ky had no interest in telling his father where he was or why he wasn’t coming home, and he had no guilt left in him to be compelled. “Ky, I just want to…”

“I’m busy, dad. I’ll be home later.” Ky quieted and turned back when he felt Brave’s condition change. The wolf demon could support himself on his forearms now. With trembling, blood-slick hands, Brave reached for the heavy collar around his throat. The magic that kept it bound to him was gone with the death of his master. The leather unwound, and Brave made a noise between a sob and a growl as he threw it across the room and nearly collapsed from the effort.

“I’ll leave the porch light on.” Marcus sounded defiant and defeated all at once when he hung up.

Ky dropped his cell phone on top of his shirt and met Roar’s piercing gaze. The horned demon held up his cupped hand; small, bite-sized pieces of red flesh floated in his large palm. Ky approached and stepped carefully around Brave’s legs and the pool of blood slick on the floor. Spots of crimson stuck to the flat of his bare feet and made each movement tacky.

*Magic is held here.* Roar pointed to each piece of flesh, and finished with his thumb pressed to the morsel of heart. *Magic he stole from us, magic that made him. It should not be wasted. This one will nourish.* He pointed to another piece, a dark organ Ky didn’t recognize when torn to the small size. *This one will poison. Each death must be carried inside.* Roar flicked the poisonous meat aside and held his palm up in offering.

There wasn’t any point trying to explain this to his father. Even if Marcus did come down and see the demons spelled to be visible, what difference would it really make? His father chose to believe he was lying instead of facing the truth. Ky knew now he didn’t need his parents anymore. There was nothing left they could protect him from.

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Taken By Beasts

Taken By Beasts

This collection contains five never before released, steamy paranormal stories of monsters and the innocent, handsome young men they call prey *cough* boyfriend, written by the mistress of dubcon, Sadie Sins. Inside you’ll find five unique storylines containing friends to lovers, straight to gay, mild BDSM, and even a few group, taboo moments. It has furry full moon transformations, haunted houses, Halloween parties, evil witches, horny sorcerers, sexy demons, a cat shifter in distress, the rare minotaur, a stalking vampire, and a pack of rude, trash talking werewolves that don’t take no for an answer. Not to mention, the promise of a happy, claw biting ending. This book will make you downright beg to be a victim.

Halloween has never been quite so naughty as when you’re Taken by Beasts.

18+ For explicit man on monster action, graphic language, breeding, growls, tears, and over 66,000 words of hot, sexy fun.

66,000+ wrds, Published October 28, 2016.

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT TAKEN BY BEASTS

on October 30, 2016
Incredibly awesome, hot and steamy. Multiple books but all were well written erotic shorts, guaranteed to get you a little wet in the pants
on June 17, 2017
This was a really sexually erotic series of stories that was full of the paranormal and very entertaining. Vampires, thralls, werewolves, magicians, shifters and mythical creatures..Menage’ is part of some of the stories and the sexual encounters are really hot. An excellent book. Would recommend it for anyone to read.
on June 1, 2017

I love this story collection. It has five wonderful stories, each one taking place on Halloween night. If I have to pick a favorite, it is the final story in the collection, a werewolf story that intrigued me and pulled me in from word one. I just loved the way the story unfolded, so perfectly through dark and shadow, the main character so haunted by howls and laughter in the woods. The writing in this one was some of the best I’ve seen by this author. (cont…)

READ AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE

Sebastian stepped reluctantly down the dark street, hearing the sounds of happy children shrieking yards away as they rang doorbells and demanded candy. He would have driven to the store, but the roads were black and reflective from the cold rain that had been misting that evening and with all the kids milling around for Halloween, he was certain he’d end up running one of the idiots over. Totally by accident, no matter how annoying they were with their costumes and laughing and damn near happy ass lives.

He might be depressed. Not that he didn’t have good reason—He wasn’t one of those emo types that just hated life. Much.

Scowling, Sebastian kicked a wet maple leaf off of his sneaker, feeling the trickle of water get in through the hole in the sole. Perfect. Really perfect. His parents had sent him out to get more candy for the trick-or-treaters, but at this point, he was pretty sure they just wanted to get him out of the house so they wouldn’t have to watch him mope.

Gay. Claire Stevenson thought he was gay.

She hadn’t even been mean about it. She wasn’t the first person to call him gay but most people had done it while making fun of his sappy heart when it came to animals or the fact that he was short and thin and apparently that automatically made him girly. Whatever. He probably could have dismissed it if she had been bitchy and trying to make him feel like shit about himself. Not that the end result was much different. Because the girl he’d been dating for the last three months had just dumped him because she thought he was gay.

God, he hated his life.

You’re just, well, not that into me, Sebastian. It’s like you’re a best friend, not a boyfriend. I can’t make you want me the way I want you, and that’s really, well, terrible feeling to be with someone that doesn’t want me back.

No, she hadn’t been mean at all, but Claire had still managed to destroy him with one damn conversation. He had liked Claire forever. Sebastian couldn’t remember a time when he hadn’t had a crush on her. Sure, he wasn’t the most romantic of guys—He’d never say he got butterflies or anything, but that didn’t mean he was gay. Sebastian was just really low key. Boring, if he was feeling down about it. Yeah, he was kind of boring—But not gay. He just didn’t get overly excited about stuff even if he had been crushing on Claire for ages now.

When I kiss you, it’s like, I dunno, wow for me. Really crazy and intense feeling. But you… I don’t think you feel much of anything at all.

God damn it, how could you even measure something like that? How could she just know she felt more than he did? It wasn’t like he was trying to compare or reach some goal of epic makeout sessions. He’d been dreaming about Claire forever, and the moment he finally had a shot at her, he had wanted to take things slow. You know, build a foundation between them. Prove that they could be a long term thing. All of his previous girlfriends had been more like a week to week trial with a whole lot of empty space in between, but with Claire, Sebastian had wanted things to be different.

Well, in a way, they had been, hadn’t they? Instead of being dumped for being too weird or distant, Claire had decided he really just wanted dick. Right after they had been kissing, at that.

He didn’t think he was a bad kisser. He got self-conscious a lot, especially if anyone could be around and see him, but when he did kiss, he thought he was kissing with all his heart. How could she think he didn’t feel just as much for her as she did him? Who even got to say how much you were supposed to feel for someone for it to be officially enough? Hadn’t he like, talked to her every day on the phone and tried to see her every moment he could? Hadn’t he gone out of his way to keep his schedule open around his job and college and her classes to take her out whenever she wanted? How could he do so much and have her think he didn’t feel anything for her? What the fuck else was he supposed to feel?

Fuck, was he supposed to feel something else?

Sebastian growled, his left foot landing hard in an unseen puddle and sloshing up his jean leg, the material immediately soaked. “Fucker.” He hopped, but the damage had been done, his sneaker now squishing with every new step he took, the wet shoe slipping on soggy leaves and concrete alike.

It was an extremely irritating internal monolog, one that didn’t seem to have any answers forthcoming. Sebastian didn’t know if he was feeling enough—He didn’t even know what the fuck he was supposed to feel. He had trusted his feelings this far. Finally, with a girl Sebastian had thought to one day want to marry, she had told him he wasn’t feeling anything at all. And the truth of it was, Sebastian wasn’t fully confident he was feeling everything he was supposed to.

Movies would have him believe he needed to make grand romantic gestures and last-second dashes to airports to show how much he cared. Real life wasn’t like that. At least, his real life wasn’t like that. He wasn’t the type to go rent out an ice skating rink for a romantic date or send twelve dozen roses for the week of Valentine’s Day. He didn’t feel the need to write a book of poetry for how Claire looked in the morning light. He wasn’t the type to want to slice his wrists just because the girl he’d been crushing on had dumped him. For real, who the fuck did that? That wasn’t love; that was just a total chemical imbalance of insanity…

Right?

Running a hand through his damp, black bangs, Sebastian sighed weakly as the line of convenience stores came into view. The small strip mall was lit up in neon oranges, purples, and reds for the holiday, calling customers in from the clammy, wet night with the promise of shelter and heat. He quickened his pace, ignoring the slosh of his sneaker with each frozen step.

God, was he like an unfeeling, dead-hearted idiot and just didn’t know it? Should he be, like, thinking about jumping off a bridge or something because Claire was never going to be with him? Hadn’t he been planning a life with this girl? She was funny, smart, cute, and just all around perfect. Sebastian had friends that acted like if they were dumped, their life was ending. Was he seriously wondering if he was supposed to feel love an entirely different way?

And just who the fuck decided what you were supposed to feel anyways!

He really didn’t know, and the lack of answers was beyond frustrating. Because if he didn’t know, how the hell could he change it? Did he want to change it? Did he need to conform to some level of ‘feeling’ or be forced to accept that he was doomed to be alone for the rest of his life?

Would being alone be better when he wouldn’t be judging himself on how much he was failing to feel for someone he supposedly loved or damn near loved?

Being dumped by Claire didn’t have Sebastian wanting to kill himself, but trying to figure this particular problem out was definitely getting him thinking about a sturdy plastic bag with no air holes.

Jesus, fucking girls. Dictating how he was supposed to feel while in the same breath telling him he wasn’t doing it right. He had felt just as much for Claire as he was meant to feel, or was at least capable of feeling. It might not have been enough for her, but it had been to the best of his damn ability at the time. He sure as fuck hadn’t felt that much for a guy before. Just because he hadn’t lost it over Claire didn’t mean he was gay.

***

He left the warm lights of the convenience store behind him with two bags of candy and an impulsive—but decidedly needed—six-pack in hand. Sebastian’s mood only grew worse when he found the mist that had surrounded him on the walk to the store had turned into a light drizzle that was quickly threatening to grow into a miserable downpour. He hunched forward in his hoodie, the sweatshirt material doing little to protect him from the freezing water and chill wind of approaching winter.

He was full of dread at the idea of going home and having to face his parents’ well-meaning yet completely unhelpful comments as to why things hadn’t worked out with Claire. They kept pushing for him—none too subtly, at that—to move into a dorm or apartment with a group of students his own age. So he could be more sociable. As loathe as he was to have to surround himself with a bunch of loud peers while at the same time losing any ability to fill his savings account, he was starting to consider it if only to avoid the ever increasingly awkward conversations of why he was still single and just couldn’t find the right girl.

As he slipped on slick leaves in the dark, leaning sideways against the wind while standing on the sidewalk, Sebastion began to contemplate his parents’ parting words before he had left the house half an hour ago. Maybe they had been suggesting something else when saying he hadn’t met the ‘right girl’ yet. Maybe they were saying he shouldn’t be expecting to fall for a girl at all…

Did everyone think he was gay just because he’d been unlucky in love?

The sound of crunching tires hitting leaves behind him caught his attention. Sebastian immediately stepped as far from the street as the sidewalk would allow, his expression growing stormy when he heard a puddle splash and felt a fresh spray of water as the vehicle roared past.

“Asshole!” He growled, raising his hand holding the bag full of candy while ineffectively wiping the side of his face that had gotten caught in the deluge of dirty water. He glared after the fading red taillights, glad that the rain had at least driven most of the trick-or-treaters inside so they wouldn’t have to deal with the same fate. Shaking himself off, he forced his frozen feet forward, quietly contemplating just who had insisted on Halloween being so late in the season when the weather was always so cold.

He was going to go home, lock himself in his bedroom, and drink himself to sleep. Not because he was depressed over Claire—no, apparently he still couldn’t work up enough emotion for that—but because he was so fucking annoyed by being told he didn’t know how to feel. He knew how to feel. He did it every fucking day. And if that wasn’t good enough, well, too fucking bad for Claire.

Somehow feeling more empowered in his anger even though he was still absolutely lost on what the fuck Claire had been trying to tell him, Sebastian splashed through puddles and piles of colorful, rain-drenched leaves until he reached the familiar streets of his neighborhood. The rain had only increased and his steps sped up in response, his sweatshirt soaked through and bangs now dripping into his green eyes, obscuring his vision. Which was why, when headlights suddenly flashed and Sebastian caught sight of a small, hunched body in the middle of the road, without thinking he immediately dashed forward.

A horn blared startling loud, the tires to Mr. Walden’s sedan shrieking on the wet pavement when the man slammed on his brakes to avoid Sebastian’s poorly lit form. He barely noticed, his gaze fixed on the middle of the road where a child’s plastic pumpkin treat holder was tipped upside down, candy scattered on the ground all around it. But where he had thought he had seen the body of a person, a drenched, wide-eyed black cat looked up at him, it’s fur matted to its trembling body.

“Sebastian! Are you out of your damn mind, boy? You could have been killed!” Rolling his window down roughly, the older man squinted into the rain, trying to see past Sebastian’s knees illuminated by his headlights. “Oh, hell, don’t tell me that’s a…”

“It’s a cat,” Sebastian said, wonder and warmth filling his voice in equal proportions as he bent down and offered the back of his hand to the small creature’s delicate nose. “I think he was eating the candy.” He had never known a cat to eat candy, but with the torn wrappers under the cat’s paw, he was pretty sure that was what it was doing.

Scowling with a mix of annoyance and relief to find that there was no child crumpled under the wheels of his car, Mr. Walden revved his engine impatiently. “Come on, get out of the street. Whatever it’s doing, the road is no place for it or you. Especially in this rain.”

Eyes of impossible periwinkle depths stared up into his. Crouching down, Sebastian held his hands out, the frail looking cat following the movement with its head warily. “You cold, little guy?” Sebastian crooned, carefully scratching behind a bedraggled ear. When no bite or hiss came, he edged closer, cautiously wrapping his arms around the cat’s body but not lifting just yet. “I’m going to get you out of this rain, okay? My home is nice and warm and you won’t have to worry about being run over.”

Taking the silence and trembling of the small form as permission, Sebastian carefully tightened his arms until the black cat was in his embrace. He stood slowly, hooking the plastic handle of the pumpkin with him so no kid would wander into the road to try and rescue it as well. He ignored Mr. Walden’s eyeroll—the man was clearly not as impressed by a pathetic, shivering, soaking wet cat as he was—and slowly walked his new friend to the sidewalk where they could both be safe.

“Do you have a collar, pretty?” He asked softly, gently scratching beneath the cat’s chin until it tilted its face up to reveal that it was indeed collarless. But even though the cat was bedraggled and scavenging for food, Sebastian was certain it belonged to someone or had only just recently lost its owner. It was far from feral, curled up in his arms and purring as it tried to heat itself against the rain and cold. It hadn’t tried to claw him or anything even though the poor thing had nearly been run over and had to be terrified.

Water dripped down onto Sebastian’s nose from the brim of his sweatshirt hood, startling him momentarily and reminding him that even though his new friend was safe from cars, it was still out in the miserable weather that could be just as dangerous for a domestic animal. Decided, he turned towards his house, speaking soothingly as he held the cat close against his chest between the damp layers of his shirt, offering it as much protection as he could from the elements while he took him home.

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Demon Bonded 8

The Demon Trainer

Episode #8. A teacher more twisted than his student…

Ky and Liem rush to save Brave. Tobias Godwin is a demon trainer of dark notoriety. The few demons he allows to survive are sought after by the wealthy and powerful. A rebellious Relic like Brave won’t live long in the sorcerer’s care.

Ky can’t trust Liem to go against his master, and once they cross into Tobias’s domain, Ky is cut off from the protection of his demons. Something takes Ky over in the mansion the longer he’s surrounded by the frightened slaves. Ky’s powerless to fight it as his body once again demands to bond.

When Brave is at the brink of death, Ky must finally decide if he’s willing to kill to save, or if he’ll let the demons he promised to protect die.

Each episode in this sexy, suspenseful gay monster harem serial is over 10,000 words, and should be read in order to be enjoyed fully.
14,000+ wrds, First Published August 5, 2016.

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE DEMON TRAINER

on March 21, 2017
on August 16, 2016
on November 4, 2016
READ AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE

His mother’s green Toyota was crowded with Liem in the passenger seat. Sure, the apprentice was slender and petite and took up less space than Ky did, but it felt weird. Wrong. Ky wasn’t remotely comfortable around Liem after what he did to Brave, the terrible things he said to him, or how he tried to steal Magnificent Night. He and Liem might share a common goal at the moment, but Ky would be hard pressed to call him friend. He could barely think of Liem as human; he was that cruel and ever ready with a lie or trick.

“So, what’s your sorcerer teacher like?” Ky asked in the hopes of breaking the awkward silence between them. He insisted on driving even though Liem wanted to teleport them. Ky didn’t have a clue how to teleport. Being reliant on the apprentice for transportation while in a foreign place could be outright dangerous, no matter how many times Liem rolled his eyes at him like he was an idiot.

“My master.” Liem turned his head from the window to look at Ky. “Master Tobias is a master sorcerer and has earned his title. It’s important you address him properly.”

“I’m not calling him fucking master.” Ky’s glare dared Liem to challenge him on it. As the sorcerer who trained Liem, Tobias was probably just as bad, maybe even more.

“Then refer to him as Master Godwin—because he’s a master sorcerer, not because he’s your master, idiot,” Liem added when Ky made a noise of protest. “This is normal stuff, man. You just don’t know because you’re ignorant as fuck.”

Ky bit his tongue and gripped the steering wheel painfully tight as he took the next corner. Night was dark around them, and the quiet streets of Blackstone Falls extra empty at the current hour. If he tossed Liem out the car and kept driving, he doubted anyone would be able to prove it.

“Does he have a lot of apprentices?” Ky asked tightly, trying to derail his angry thoughts.

“Fuck, no. Do you think a guy like Master Tobias has time to teach every snot-nosed sorcerer wanna-be who figures out how to make a wand?” Liem snorted. “I’m his very first. He put it off for ages because he was so caught up in building his business. Being selected is a real honor.”

“Business?” Ky tore his eyes from the road to glance over at the slim apprentice. Liem looked deceptively young and sweet for all the terrible just beneath his surface. “Like a magic business?”

“Sure, but better. Any two-bit sorcerer can start a magic business,” Liem said with a wave of his hand. “Master Tobias trains demons, and only for the most important of people. Diplomats, CEO’s, celebrities. He’s about as famous as it gets for this particular thing.”

Ky inhaled deeply as his stomach twisted in an uncomfortable knot. “What… What do these people want demons for? They’re not sorcerers. What do they do with them if not use their magic?”

“Protection, mostly. Demons make great bodyguards if they’re trained right. Some people just like that the demons are rare and no one else has them.” Liem shifted in his seat and hunched forward until his bangs covered his eyes. “And some people like to fuck them. Some want to kill them, or just nearly. A demon can take a lot more pain than a human. You can do anything to a demon, and the law won’t get involved. Demons have no rights. Hell, most people don’t even know they exist. If Master Tobias didn’t spell them so people could see, normal people would never know a demon was standing right beside them.”

Ky’s stomach lurched, and his knuckles turned white from the tension in his hand. “Slavery. Your master is a slaver of demons.”

Liem raised a brow and glanced his way. “Well, yeah, demons are rare. Did you think they’re allowed to walk around everywhere? People would be fighting each other to get them. It would be chaos.”

Ky snarled and abruptly slammed his foot on the brake. The car fishtailed in a squeal of tires, then jerked roughly to a stop. The hum of crickets filled the air as they sat on the dark road. “You mean people would be running around shitless because all the demons would be hunting down the asshole sorcerers who sold them into slavery. Being from another world doesn’t justify what you’re doing to them!”

Liem huffed and shrugged back against his seat. “When you meet Master Tobias, you’ll understand. No demon is going to fight him; they know he’s stronger. He’s killed more demons than I’ve seen in my entire life, and that was just during my apprenticeship with him. At least the demon slaves are allowed to live.”

Ky stopped trying to get his shaking hands to cooperate, hissed, and shot Liem a deadly glare. He paused when he found Liem staring out the window, a haunted expression on his young face.

“Do you want to kill demons?” Ky dreaded the answer before the question was fully out.

Liem considered it stonily and slowly shook his head.

“Then what? Power? Do you like hurting them? What the hell do you want from them, Liem?”

“Nothing.” Liem stared intently at the darkness outside the car. “I hate them. I’d be happy if I never saw another demon ever again.”

Ky tried to read Liem’s expression when he refused to explain himself. It didn’t matter; Liem was fucked, did fucked up things, and whatever was wrong he probably brought on himself.

Ky turned his attention to the road and resumed driving. The idea of confronting this Tobias Godwin was making him more uneasy after what he learned. As his nerves grew taut, his foot pressed heavier, and the car’s speed climbed on the empty back roads. Brave was alone with some sort of demon slaver, one who murdered demons like they were nothing. This was the man who had taught Liem demons were less than human. What would such a man do when he was asked to give up one of his demons?

Ky gripped the black link connecting him to Brave and held it tight in his grasp. He was still alive. If Liem was telling the truth, as long as this link was on his collar it meant Brave was still alive.

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Demon Bonded 7

The Chains That Bind

Episode #7. An impossible choice…

Liem betrays Ky after he’s welcomed into his home, and its revealed Brave was brutalized as punishment for his failure of the night before. The difficult reality of sorcery hits Ky; defense is not enough when up against someone with magic.

Ky knows Brave is in danger while in the hands of a childish sociopath like Liem, but he can’t cross the line only days ago he never would have considered. Murder is wrong, but so is allowing Liem to kill Brave.

Ky can’t ask his demons to kill, and he doesn’t have the power to fight Liem on his own. His hesitation could be just as damning as reckless action, but it’s Brave’s life that will be lost if Ky makes the wrong choice.

Each episode in this sexy, suspenseful gay monster harem serial is over 10,000 words, and should be read in order to be enjoyed fully.
12,000+ wrds, First Published May 1, 2016.

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE CHAINS THAT BIND

on August 15, 2016
on March 21, 2017
on August 13, 2016
READ AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE

Ky’s heart raced as he surged forward. He was terrified Liem would magic Magnificent Night away in an instant. When he slammed into Liem’s petite form with all intentions of beating the crap out of him, it took him too long to see the coil of black whip up. Liem might have gotten a collar around Magnificent’s neck, but the demon wrapped his tail around Liem’s just as quickly.

“Magnificent.” Ky froze and stared with wide, silver eyes as Magnificent lifted Liem off the chair with his tail and held him tight by the neck. Lovely appeared next to Ky, and behind him he heard Feral on the stairs blocking escape. The room grew dark at the edges the longer Ky stared. He couldn’t tear his gaze away from Liem’s red face as it quickly turned purple, the teen’s expression twisted in terror and pain.

This was his fault; Ky knew it. If Magnificent killed Liem, it was his fault. Ky failed to protect the requiem; he failed to keep a monster like Liem away from the three Relics in his care. If Magnificent killed the awful apprentice, Ky wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to forgive himself. He let Liem in the house. He ignored every fucking intelligent reason to turn him away and because of it, Magnificent was forced to defend his life.

“Magnificent, please.” Ky walked past Liem, who was clawing at the tail wrapped like a coil of black rope around his neck. Magnificent Night’s eyes glowed power while he glared into Liem’s frightened face and raised him higher. Liem’s legs flailed in the air while choked gasps escaped his lips. His whimpers silenced when Magnificent gripped tighter. Ky didn’t know what he felt at the idea of Liem dying. He did know what was right and what was wrong; this was wrong.

“Magnificent, I’m going to take him away. Right now. Just let him go, and I’ll take him out of the house and never let him in again.”

Ky waited the longest minute of his life. Did he truly know Magnificent Night? Ky couldn’t speak his language; they came from two completely different worlds. All Ky really knew about Magnificent was Anselm captured him, and when he died the overseer Demencious chained him. For years, Magnificent was trapped in this basement while other Relics were murdered and eaten in front of him. It would be easy for him to be a monster after such a life, maybe even expected. Demons were powerful and killing came easy for them. Chained and weakened, Magnificent was still far stronger than Liem. The apprentice was a frail, helpless child compared to a Requiem.

“Please, Magnificent,” Ky whispered beseechingly. He reached his hand out to caress the demon’s grim expression. He should have been afraid; Ky knew he was an absolute idiot when it came to the Relics. Still, he had to try. He couldn’t bear if his fuck up led to Magnificent having to take a life. “You don’t need to kill anyone. I’m so sorry I made you feel like you needed to. Please, let me fix this.”

The furious glow in Magnificent’s eyes faded as his gaze moved to Ky’s upturned face. Ky sighed in relief when the demon uncoiled his tail from around Liem’s neck. Liem fell to the ground and collapsed, gasping for air.

“Thank you. Thank you.” Ky’s voice cracked with the flood of emotion moving through him. He tore the collar from Magnificent’s neck and flung it across the room. He wasn’t sure where to direct his rage; Liem who came into his house and tried to capture Magnificent Night like he was a bug in a jar, or himself, who was so dumb he trusted the awful teen enough to let him in the house in the first place. God, he was fucking it all up. He just met his first sorcerer apprentice and nearly let the asshole die.

Although, given how Liem tried to kill him just last night, Ky wasn’t about to spill any tears over it.

“Ky!” Lovely hissed. Ky whirled from Magnificent to discover Brave. The wolf demon appeared in the basement when summoned by the fallen Liem. Brave growled and hovered protectively over his young master as he pulled him across the room away from danger. The two demons glared at each other warily, Lovely a bristling white glow of long, silvery hair, cat ears and claws while Brave was hulking, scarred muscle and dark whirl of hair. Brave snarled and snapped razor teeth when Lovely stepped menacingly toward him.

“Stop,” Ky ordered roughly. He wasn’t sure who he was talking to anymore; he just wanted it all to fucking stop. Brave was injured; blood crusted his handsome face, and the flesh beneath his collar was raw, red, and oozing yellow fluid that dripped over the fresh bruises and cuts on his body. It was his punishment for being linked to Ky; there could be no other reason.

Ky’s stomach plummeted as he remembered his conversation with Lovely about the link. Nausea was a hot wave that threatened to overwhelm him. Liem punished Brave for something he hadn’t even done. Ky created the link with his will, not Brave. His ignorance and inability to control his magic directly led to Brave being harmed.

Liem unsteadily pushed up on his knees. His eyes shined bitter tears as he pointed accusingly at Ky. “Fido, kill! Now!”

Lovely hissed warningly, but it was Feral’s growl, loud and full of death, that froze everyone in the room. The bronze-skinned coyote demon slinked from the shadows. With deliberate steps he crossed the room and took an aggressive stance in Ky’s defense.

Liem gaped up at the new black feathered demon. Hatred twisted his features as he whirled back to Ky. “Three? You have three fucking archons? Two of the things aren’t even collared, and they just answer to you!”

“They’re not things,” Ky replied hollowly. He couldn’t tear his eyes from the blood on Brave’s face. The wolf demon’s ear was torn, not from a blade but from something dull. A piercing pulled from his flesh. This morning, Liem rang his doorbell and pretended to apologize while only minutes before he brutalized and tortured this poor Relic. How could he have ever been so blind?

Liem scrambled to his feet. He held his palm upright, and a wand immediately appeared within his grasp. “Fuck. Three winged demons belong to that weak, stupid, demon loving freak! Fido, I said kill the stupid fuck! And so help me, if you fail this time, you better fucking die because I’m going to make you wish it!”

Brave didn’t move. His lips pursed in a thin line as he met Liem’s furious glare with one of cold indifference. Lovely went to stand between Ky and the wolf demon, but Ky stopped him.

“Brave’s not going to hurt me. He doesn’t want to hurt me, so he won’t.” Brave’s intentions radiated through the black link on his collar. His connection to Ky wasn’t as deep as Lovely’s, but they were still linked. Brave didn’t want to hurt him, and Ky could feel it.

“Fucking, son of a… His name is Fido! Fido!” Liem gritted out. “He’s mine, not yours, you fucking weirdo, and he has to do what I say!” Liem’s breath was heavy with rage as he shot a burst of magic at Brave. The wolf demon yelped and fell backward from the blow. “Now fucking listen to me!”

The room pulsed red around Ky. He didn’t even know he moved. One moment he heard Brave cry out in pain and the next he was across the room. His hand throbbed in aftershock from where he slapped Liem across the face. “Grow the fuck up!”

Liem clutched his burning cheek and stared at Ky in shock. His wand was limp in his hand. “Y-You…”

“That’s not the way to do things!” Ky shouted. “You’re just some stupid, spoiled child with too much power who can’t see demons are people. They’re not fucking toys. They don’t exist to do what you want. They’re people!”

Ky’s outrage grew until he was gasping for breath between words. Liem continued to stare at him dumbfounded; it was too much. “You never should have been bonded to someone as beautiful as Brave. All you’ve done is hurt a being who would have been grateful to have someone understand him in this new world. You chose to hurt him. You treated him worse than someone would treat the lowest of the low.” Ky tripped over his words but kept going, unable to slow from his fast, clipped pace as he shoved Liem back. “You don’t deserve Brave, and if I knew how to free him from you, I would! You’re a fucking monster! He has fangs and a tail and wings, and you’re the fucking monster, you horrible brat!”

For an instant, it looked like something got through to Liem; there was a flash of understanding and regret deep in his blue eyes. Liem’s expression immediately contorted, and the moment was gone. Red flushed his face and his voice shook with anger. “You don’t understand anything!” Liem hissed. “You dare strike me? I will find a way to get that Requiem for myself. Demons are weak and weak things deserve to be used. You’re the weakest fucking sorcerer ever and you deserve to be broken just like these pathetic creatures!”

Ky pulled his fist back; he’d show the stupid punk just how weak he really was. Liem wasn’t looking for a beating. He grabbed Brave roughly by the arm, and with a muttered spell they both blinked out of the room. All Liem left behind was an echo of his angry laugh and Ky shaking in fury.

Ky looked around sharply. He met Lovely’s gaze when the room proved to be empty of the sorcerer and his wolf demon. “Are they in the shadows?”

Lovely shook his head. “They’re gone; it was a teleportation spell. The apprentice would have to be an imbecile to face the three of us, especially when his bonded demon refused to follow orders.”

Ky nodded mutely as his eyes were drawn to the spot he last saw Liem and Brave. His anger was brittle. Something inside cracked and snapped until he realized he was fighting back tears. “Is he… Is he going to kill Brave?” he forced out through his tight throat.

Lovely crossed his arms over his chest. His shrug was full of indifference when he met Feral’s knowing gaze. “Anselm killed demons, but he had many at the time. It is unlikely a child sorcerer would kill the only bonded demon he has.”

Yeah, but Liem wasn’t a sane person. Ky didn’t want to believe he’d do something so terrible, that anyone would. A day ago he couldn’t imagine a person out there cruel enough to harm someone as beautiful as a Relic. Liem Kane, a classmate younger than Ky, seemed ready to murder a demon just to spite him.

All of this was his fault. Ky never should have black linked with Brave. If only he didn’t say those things, if he hadn’t hit Liem and pissed him off. If he never let Liem into his house in the first place…

Fuck. Dear fuck, should he have let Lovely kill Liem yesterday when he asked?

Ky’s stomach lurched and he fought to keep his balance. Would it have been the right choice now he knew what Liem was plotting? Was he going to come back in the middle of the night to steal the Relics? Maybe he’d kill Ky first, just to get him out of the way. Liem was ready to kill him yesterday; why would that have changed? His parents; would Liem kill his magicless parents just because they were there?

The alarming questions piled in Ky’s mind without any answers. He had no idea what he could do to protect the Relics or his family. Everything he did only seemed to fuck things up more. Brave might already be dead because of him. What was he supposed to do?

Ky’s fingers bit into his palm as he shook with unshed tears. Useless. All he did was cry and fuck things up while others were hurt. Lovely reached for him, but Ky shrugged away with a low sob.

“This is my fault. I got him angry and linked—I don’t even know how I’m linking to them!” Ky yelled suddenly, his eyes wild and glittering. He waved his hands in a wide gesture at Magnificent, Lovely, and Feral. “I’m going to get us all killed. Brave is going to die, and it’s all my fucking fault.”

Ky gasped and stumbled sharply when he was tugged sideways. He hit a solid form and blinked up into Magnificent Night’s fathomless, hauntingly blue eyes. Magnificent’s tail loosened from Ky’s wrist and soothed at the tear sliding a thin path down his cheek. Ky sobbed and crumpled forward, his shoulders hunched inward as he leaned against the demon for support.

“I can’t even get you out of the chains… c-can’t get you home.” Ky couldn’t bear the weight on his chest. He wanted to curl tight, twist into a ball until he disappeared. He went to step away; having the Relics see him like this, so weak and pathetic with every failure, was intolerable. Magnificent wouldn’t let him go. His tail twined around Ky’s chest and he pulled him tight against his body. Ky struggled, but soon found each teardrop lost in Magnificent’s long, dark hair soothed him a little. He wrapped his arms around the demon’s waist, and with is face buried against Magnificent’s neck, Ky mumbled a stream of heartfelt, tearful apologies.

Lovely cleared his throat, and Ky glanced up while sniffling. The cat demon kept his distance, his blue and violet eyes wary as he observed the two of them wrapped together. “It would be wise to collar Seriphous now, if only to prevent the apprentice from breaking in and doing so while we sleep.”

A feeling of dread hit Ky in the pit of his stomach. Liem would come back for Magnificent. Maybe for all of them. What it took to protect the demons… Ky shook his head weakly. “It’s not right. Magnificent’s been chained here for years, fed off of by the overseer. I’m not going to take his freedom away while he’s chained to the fucking ceiling. He can’t choose, and it’s not right.”

Ky regretted bonding with Lovely in that moment. He regretted every black link he collected. Each one was a life endangered by his ignorance. The only thing he was good for was feeding the demons so they didn’t starve.

More tears spilled when Ky pulled from Magnificent and reached for Lovely’s hand. Lovely readily moved to hold him but Ky didn’t want another hug. He pulled Lovely’s claw down his wrist and blood flowed scarlet on his pale flesh.

“Ky?” Lovely tried to read his eyes but Ky wouldn’t look at him.

“He’s hungry,” Ky whispered. He raised his bleeding wrist up to Magnificent’s lips. “He wouldn’t have wanted to kill Liem if he wasn’t so hungry.”

Lovely’s eyes narrowed as he watched Ky feed Magnificent his blood. “We’re not human, sweet boy. We kill things. People. We fight to survive with all the power we have. It is our way and that way involves killing.”

“It was my fault.” Ky was unhearing. He leaned against Magnificent’s chest while the requiem lapped long strokes over his narrow wrist. Heat trickled through Ky. The sensation grew when Magnificent Night’s eyes burned into his, his lips tight on his flesh to suck more fluid free. Brave liked his blood too, Ky remembered in a haze. His eyelids were heavy as he gazed up into Magnificent’s intense features.

Lovely exchanged a glance with Feral, their expressions closed off. “Be careful. We don’t need to feed daily unless injured, and Seriphous is very strong,” Lovely cautioned. “Some are stronger than others, sweetling. Dangerous. Without a collar, he might unintentionally hurt you. You’re still human, and you need to remember to protect yourself.”

Ky’s legs trembled and his face flushed with heat. He pressed into Magnificent’s dark cascade of silky hair and breathed in unsteadily. “He would never hurt me.” Ky doubted too many times already. There were so many opportunities for Magnificent to hurt him if he wanted, but he never did. He wanted to hurt Liem; he could have snapped the apprentice’s neck with a simple flick of his tail the same way he destroyed the bolt cutters. Magnificent wasn’t going to hurt him, and guilt squeezed at his heart when Ky realized how many times he questioned otherwise.

Ky lost a breath when his head was forced up, and his neck stretched tall. He reached, expecting to find Magnificent’s tail around his throat, but there was nothing, just the sorcerer collar. It felt different, stiffer, and as his fingers slid over the smooth fabric, Ky found more slots where links could fit. He met Lovely’s concerned gaze for an instant before he looked away and buried his face back into Magnificent’s hair.

It was only more magic. Ky was able to fuck things up even when he wasn’t doing a thing.

Lovely’s fingers clenched into fists as he watched Ky curled inward and away even more. He wanted to pull his delicate master close, but he didn’t dare get within reach of Seriphous. The Relic was too powerful to underestimate, chained or not.

Feral grabbed Lovely by the bicep and pulled him toward the stairs. He willfully ignored all of Lovely’s quiet insistences to stay with Ky.

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