Where Dark Collides: Part 1 (Shades of Dark)

BOOK: Where Dark Collides: Part 1 (Shades of Dark)
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COPYRIGHT

 

Where Dark Collides

Shades of Dark: Book 1 Part 1
 

Published by Claire Robyns
Copyright © 2014 by Claire Robyns
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. To obtain permission to excerpt portions of the text, please contact the author at [email protected]
All characters in this book are fiction and figments of the author’s imagination.
www.clairerobyns.com

 

Where Dark Collides

Part 1

 

In this world, there has always been dark and light. But dark isn’t all evil, and light isn’t all good. I know that now. In order to survive, in order to do what must be done, I must find some place along that seam, a place where dark collides with light. I must find the shade of dark I can live with.

 

Raine Shelle has lived and breathed vengeance for the last three years. She’s sworn off frivolity and fun, men and love. Even when the darkly beautiful, dangerously mysterious Roman La Mar falls into her life, even as the path she’s chosen starts to look a lot like sacrifice, her commitment remains resolute. But suddenly ancient curses are being lifted, tremors of the ageless war surface, and her best friend seems to have attracted the enemy like a grim reaper snapping at her heels.

Raine will do anything to save those she loves. She’ll do anything to harden her heart against a man she can never have.

She thought she was prepared for anything and everything. But how does one prepare for a journey that will take you to the brink of heartbreak and to the deepest, darkest gates of Hades.

 

 

 

MY LIMBS FROZE AT the tinkling vibration; crystal raindrops in a thunderstorm. The air in my lungs, the blood in my veins, the motor messages carried from my brain, time itself, all hung in suspended stasis. The only movement—the only sound—the glass molecules shivering violently, rattling the timber frame.

A breath later the freeze shattered and I was moving, the casserole dish sliding from my hands and crashing to the hardwood floor as I spun toward the wall. Sheltering my face, I dropped into a curled ball just as the dining room window exploded. The next second lasted an hour, my heart thudding against my chest and glass shards raining down on my personal nightmare.

“Raine! What in hades is—”

“Stay back!” I snapped around in my huddled ball, breathing hard, fear knocking against the back of my eyes.

My vision cleared to see Kial come to an abrupt halt in the arched inter-leading doorway. I put a finger to my lips and flapped my other hand at him, waving him back into the kitchen.

Kial didn’t move. His ice blue gaze swept from my splattered
Chicken au’ Cotte
to what was left of the window, then beyond to the deep shadows that stretched across the street into Clayburn Park.

“What happened?” he demanded, his voice low and urgent. “Did you see anyone?”

With a shake of my head, I crawled across the room toward him, using the bulky oak table for cover. My heart seemed to have worked its way up my throat. Each breath was a fight. I wasn’t a coward. I was not weak. And this wasn’t an explosion, not really, but close enough.

Kial fell back when I reached the archway on my hands and knees. His brows pulled tight, his narrowed eyes silently questioning me.

I wasn’t in the mood to answer. No doubt he thought I’d brought this down on myself. No doubt he was right. I didn’t care. My pulse steadied beneath the weight of murderous vengeance and my heart slipped stoically into its proper place.

I sprang to my feet and bolted straight out the kitchen door into the back garden.

“Great,” Kial muttered, hot on my heels. “Just how I’d hoped to spend my night.”

I raced around the back of the house, only slowing to unlatch the side-gate. Adrenaline rushed my blood, dissolving any residual strains of panic and paralysis.

The night was dark and chilly, roiling clouds blanketing what should be a full moon. A torrential downpour had been threatening since early afternoon, but so far all we’d had was relentless drizzle. I hadn’t stopped to grab my coat and the icy drops nettled my bare arms like a million angry pin pricks.

Kial was still at my back, and he was still muttering. “Absolutely bloody marvellous.”

“Shhhh,” I hissed.

The air was damp and thick, the kind of thick that muted sound and swallowed movement. They could be anywhere. They could be nowhere. I crept along the side of the house, stealing as few breaths as possible, afraid I’d miss a vital clue between the last one and the next, until I ran out of wall.

I stilled, opening my senses to any dangers. But it was useless. All I had was your bog standard set of senses and danger couldn’t be smelled, felt or tasted. Not unless you were a ninja, I guess, which I wasn’t.

Kial’s hand landed softly on my shoulder.

“Circle around the front?” he suggested, his voice a whisper at my ear. “Slide behind the rose bushes beneath the bay window and wait for them to show themselves.”

My fingers clawed into fists at my sides.

If I’d wanted to hide, I would have stayed indoors. If I’d wanted to wait, and risk them slinking off into the night, I would have stayed indoors, cowering behind the furniture.

This opportunity was golden, too tempting to resist.

“Stay here,” I said quietly. “I mean it Kial. I’ll shout if I need back-up.”

I shrugged his hand off and strode from the shadows into the open. A low hedge split my driveway from next door, but I didn’t hunker alongside it.

They shouldn’t have exploded my window. My back was up, my blood hissing. Anything else, and I might have taken a night and day to assess the situation, to prepare for when and if they next attacked. I wasn’t a fan of explosions; I hated that crippling fear almost as much as I hated Demors.

I veered off the gravel driveway and across the patch of lawn to the even lower hedge that separated my front garden from the narrow lane, my eyes scanning the wooded copse across from my house. Mist swirled through the stately trees of Clayburn Park, swallowing every hint of life and depth. The yellow halos from the street lamps penetrated less than an inch from their posts. I could barely see a thing, but that also meant I was less exposed than I felt.

Kial caught up to me as I patrolled the hedge. “What exactly are we doing?”

“I thought I told you to stay put.”

“Since when do I take orders?”

I sent a glare in his direction, then remembered the danger lay across the street and blinked that way. “It wasn’t an order,” I growled. “I don’t want to put you at risk—”

“—when
you’re
being reckless,” he finished. “I don’t need protecting, Raine.”

Neither did I, but that was another fight for another day. I did nudge him, hard, when he tried to insert himself between me and the hedge. When I reached the end, I turned, retracing my measured steps, my eyes pricked for the slightest sign.

Was
he
there? The Demor responsible for the gas explosion at my parents’ house? The one who’d gone into the wreckage straight after, when they were injured, disorientated, weak, and sliced them apart from limb to limb, scorched their internal organs, fire-slashed their throats to shreds?

I’d never know and it didn’t matter. I wouldn’t stop, not until there were no Demors left on the face of the planet, including their damn Shinmar. I’d get the bastard responsible eventually, by intent or by default. Maybe I already had.

I had no more tears left. Only revenge and burning hate.

A blue spark zipped my thoughts, but I’d already reacted a fraction of a second before that, before my brain relayed the alarm, shoving Kial one way while I went the other. Maybe I had an arsenal of spidery senses after all.

The streak of fire hit the sodden hedge with a wet sizzle.

“Damned Demors.” Kial rolled to his feet and slid me a look of disgust. “What have you done to piss them off now?”

I almost smiled. “Nothing that I know of.”

Before he could call me out on the lie, another flash of blue sparked. This time I was ready. Angeon power flicked from my fingers; a shot of brilliant white hit the blue fire head-on, resulting in a mini-firework waterfall of blue and white embers.

As the display petered out, I aimed my index finger at the ancient oak from where the Demor fire had originated.
“Perspi ocana cuus.”

The oak lit up under the spotlight of my spell. From the massive trunk to the clusters of naked branches, the substance of the tree reduced to a watery image, revealing the shimmering outline of a male, at least six foot three in stature and close to a hundred and ninety pounds.

Leashed white flames flew from Kial’s fingers.

The Demor was faster, fading out a split second before Kial’s fire scorched the entire tree into an instant heap of ashes.

I kept a sharp eye on the line of trees as the transparent oak slowly solidified. “There could be more.”

“He could have faded behind another tree.”

“What do you think they’re waiting for?” Both my hands were raised for battle, every instinct within me alert and primed.

If I was half as reckless as Kial presumed, I would have charged into the forest, spell-lighting every crook and cranny, bush and tree, until I flushed the cowardly Demors out. I certainly considered it, my foot tapping with the urge to burst forward, but I didn’t have a death wish.

Movement to my left whirled me about, the enchantment to stun the Demor on the tip of my tongue. I wanted at least one alive if I could get it.

The man ambling down the lane could have been a Demor. There were no visible differentiating factors between human man and Demor male. They came in all shapes, sizes, shades and features. If I could reach deep inside, I’d probably find Demor black rot instead of a red-veined, healthy muscled heart, but I couldn’t. My father had been able to read minds. Had he been able to tell the difference? Were Demor minds as foul as their hearts? I didn’t know. I’d never asked, and I’d lost the opportunity for evermore three years ago. I’d had more pressing matters to worry about back then, like planning my eighteenth birthday, like stressing over Jack and me and unsure if we’d last through a long distance relationship. Hah!

But even without deep-reaching powers, the approaching man didn’t raise any threat alarms. In the dim light, the outline suggested his hands were tucked into the pockets of an overcoat. His steady, slow stride held no urgency, no purpose, no menace. A moment later, I caught the strains of a softly whistled tune.

Tension rippled the silence in the temporary ceasefire. The Demors would hold off until the man had passed. That much, we had in common. I’d heard of mishaps, sure, and I’d heard how Demors had no qualms in cleaning up mistakes, but they wouldn’t deliberately be stupid enough to expose themselves. To expose our world. To risk the wrath of the Guardians.

“Expecting visitors?” I whispered, slightly rattled, but not afraid for the stranger’s life. What was he doing here? My house was one of only two tucked down the very end of this private byroad, which dead-ended in a cul-de-sac.

Before Kial could reply, a second Demor stepped from the shadows of the parkland. And then a third.

“Get out of here,” I yelled at the man, waving vigorously to shoo him back the way he’d come from. Okay, now I was a little afraid. Apparently Demors were
that
stupid. “Go! Now!”

The blue flash brought my hands up, palm outwards, the reaction spontaneous even as I overcame my surprise. So much for thinking I could count on a Demor, for thinking I had a clue about what they would or wouldn’t do. “
Reflec una tos.

The whip of Demor fire refracted off my palms, the rebound flinging me back, flat on my butt. Pain ripped up my spine and fractured along my jaw. The metallic taste of blood filled my mouth. I’d bit my damned tongue!

BOOK: Where Dark Collides: Part 1 (Shades of Dark)
7.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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