Audray has just assumed the title as first-ever Director of the Underworld. As she attempts to consolidate her rule, characters from the past threaten to destroy her and the love she shares with Jonas Starling, a 300-year old dark angel. When she discovers she has been the recipient of a miracle, suddenly their whole immortal lives are changed forever. Will they survive the coming war or get snagged in the power struggle over not only the underworld, but the human world as well?
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Jonas and Audray: (First Introduction H/H):
Audray loved being the first-ever woman Director of the Underworld, but she preferred the title “Queen” even better. Jonas had begun calling her that and it became part of her persona almost immediately.
Maybe it is the way Jonas whispers it to me just before he takes me.
That word was something she would never tire of hearing, just like the sounds her paramour made as he pleasured her to distraction and beyond. And the best thing of all was that he did it out of love, not obligation. His need to please her was equal to her need to be ravished over and over again.
And worshiped as only a queen should be.
Jonas was still wearing his black leather vest, but was naked everywhere else that counted, sleeping like a baby. She tucked her back into the warmth of his chest, feeling tiny against him, and reveled at how safe and protected she felt. She’d never had such a big man, big everywhere, but especially big in the way his soul screamed for her. It took a lot to distract her from all the pleasures in the Underworld, but being in bed with Jonas outshone them all.
When they’d gotten back to her home in the human world, he’d barely caught the bike when she jumped off. He saved it, of course, cursing softly, before it could tip and fall into her blood red Maserati. Even hearing him curse gave her chills.
All afternoon she had been touching him as they flew past rows of vineyards and redwood trees on their way home, her breasts pressed against the back of his thick torso. Her cheek rested in the place she smelled his maleness the strongest: at the back of his neck, just under his hairline. She watched the light brown tendrils of his shoulder length hair dusted with gray, catch fire in the late afternoon sun, coaxing her to reach down and squeeze his package, making him swerve the bike. But he was laughing, and she felt they didn’t have a care in the whole world.
She had thought she would enjoy the powerful Directorship more. Jonas had been an unexpected distraction. Ever since their explosive first meeting, Audray felt her whole world had changed.
Page 140, Jonas and Audray:
Once on-board the ferry, they stood at the brass rail and watched as the city began to shrink. Audray loved the feel of Jonas’ strong arms around her, holding her warm and secure on the windy deck. She could almost believe nothing would be able to touch her. She could almost imagine a forever without danger, where the only concern of the day was when she would next be able to lie naked with him and feel the pulse of his life force pumping into her soul.
Page 44, Jonas and Audray:
“Well, there’s something else.”
“Yes? You are beginning to worry me, Jonas. Or is this just a way for you to stall parading your luscious ass down a red carpet to say ‘I do’?”
“Or maybe you don’t want the tailor measuring you all over for a tux…”
“I’ve cut men’s arms off for less.”
“There you go. But I’m not going to give up until you are mine. Truly mine in every sense of the word.”
In the old days, this would have been his cue to disappear again. But now, there was the smell of danger all about. Tides are changing. War is brewing. People are going to die.
Jonas Starling, Hero:
The charred remains of the executed dark angel smelled like the soil at a slaughterhouse Jonas had seen as a child. It was disgusting then, and it was even more disgusting now, as his black boots trudged through the crispy black flakes, kicking up a fine dark-grey dust that got lodged in his nostrils. He forced a sneeze to clear himself out, but was rewarded with a whirlwind of fine particles—the remains of the dark angel who had come to meet him. Jonas had not told Audray everything about his past and this now festered like a splinter under the nail of his moral code. He might have to reveal things he’d hoped he could bury forever, along with the story of his youthful love and her family who had died, partially because of who he’d become.
He had to see for himself what was left of the fellow. He found a melted silver medallion, like a large dollop of shiny wax, still attached to the grape wreath silver chain some of his ancestors wore when Jonas was a boy. He couldn’t make out any indentation or markings as he cleaned the smooth surface from the black grit of death. It reflected back his distorted face.
Although already dead, Jonas had begun to cherish his afterlife as an immortal dark angel. His relationship with the new Director made him feel strangely alive for the first time since becoming immortal some three hundred years ago. After his disastrous years at Court, where he’d been conscripted into doing despicable things, he’d slipped aboard a vessel bound for the Caribbean, and set up a new life on several of the islands there, until he’d been discovered and then took the only option available to him as a last resort: join the Underworld as a dark angel.
It had been a long three hundred years, and he’d considered ending himself in a true death. Until recently, he’d wondered if he could tolerate living forever. But finding Audray had changed everything and opened up a brand new bright future for Jonas. She was every bit his equal, in intelligence and strength of character. Her desires in the bedroom also matched his perfectly. If he could have a thousand nights with different women or one night with her, he would take her anytime. He’d thought of himself as completely dark and brooding. But these past few weeks he was beginning to feel the warm afterglow of—could it be—love?
Audray goes in search of her human past:
The seedy outskirts of her birthplace announced the town as surely as any billboard. Recalling how close the trailer park was to the freeway, she had no trouble locating Riverbend Estates, though the sign was still unrepaired from the rifle shots fired at it some twenty years ago.
Bet that would be a story.
She entered the potholed drive, avoiding two white chickens as they scurried past. There certainly wasn’t a river in sight, and these trailer homes were not estates—they were dumps on wheels. A small band of bedraggled children were playing with sticks at the side of the road. Girls in dirty rags and bare feet carried naked dolls by the hair.
Nobody was smiling, but they looked at the car.
Slowly, Audray pulled up to a concrete parking pad near the trailer with a torn front door screen. The door was open.
Is she home?
Secondary Hero/Heroine Carl and Molly:
“Protein. Maybe oysters?” He chuckled. What would his teacher-friends on the academic committee think if they knew what he had been doing all last night and all morning? Molly’s boss, the head librarian, certainly knew, and so did the Dean.
She bent over to serve the sandwiches, leaning just a little too much so that the dress shirt she’d borrowed hiked up over her ass, and he was undone with the look of her two perfectly formed cheeks, and the ripe fruit between them.
I’m going insane with need.
As if she heard him, she turned and gave him that little smile again. “You should eat first.” The smile left her face as she came up to press into his chest. “Then we talk. Then you can do with me whatever you want, Professor.”
Longer excerpt, Professor Carl Carrington: (First introduction)
Professor Carl Carrington looked over the bowed heads of his World History class at Meriwether and Grant College. He adjusted his bow tie, stretching his neck up out of his shirt and fingered around the top of his heavily starched off-white collar. One of his colleagues said the students’ nickname for him was Indiana Jones. Glancing over the clutch of seated bodies, he didn’t see any painted messages on any of the girls’ eyelids. He’d always attracted the attention of the younger women, and just as easily dismissed them as typical teacher crushes. But he did think he had Indy beat in looks, with all due respect to Harrison Ford. After all, the actor was getting a little long in the tooth, and Carl was in his prime, at a mere thirty-two years of age. He didn’t mind at all he could pass for Mr. Ford’s son.
“Time’s up,” he said as he double-clicked the stopwatch. There was a groan and some shuffling of feet as his freshman class began, one by one, to sit up or untangle themselves from their favorite test-taking posture. One male student in the back row scratched the inside of his ear with a paperclip.
“Okay, now pass your papers to the front of the row, and Jeremy here will pick them up.”
A young auburn-haired girl with enormous breasts, wearing a low-cut sundress and too much eye makeup handed her paper in directly to Carl, ignoring Jeremy, who was fuming.
“There you go, Professor. I left my number on top in case you can’t read my writing.”
Carl’s face flushed and his groin bulged, in spite of the internal scolding he gave himself. It had been months since his weekend with the yoga instructor who took him to a couples Kundalini retreat and blew his mind. Who knew? It was the most intense sexual liaison of his life. He’d come prepared for some stretching and relaxation. What he got was a weekend so hot he couldn’t remember any of the exercises or techniques, and he had to drop out of his Pilates class because the sight of his instructor’s ass was so distracting he thought he might hurt himself. Today he was in desperate need of a lay, but balling one of his students was out of the question.
“Thank you, Darlene. I’m sure I’ll be just fine.”
“I’m sure you are, sir.” She winked and turned around slowly. He watched her ass swizzle out the door in spite of himself.
© Sharon Hamilton