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       Paranormal Hunter Box Set, Books 1-3: Sonnet Vale, Phantom City, & Demon Touched, p.18

           Gena D. Lutz
 
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  She did.

  As soon as she was inside the gates, a chill went through her. Spiros was just ahead, hunched over with both hands gripping his knees as he tried to catch his breath.

  “Can they get in!?” she asked, still watching the drakes as they soared across the dark sky. And then the gate swung shut.

  Spiros shook his head. “Nothing alive or undead can enter or exit through those gates, not unless they are of royal blood, or the demon king himself allows it.”

  Sonnet looked around. Tall pillars were embedded deep within the black earth, dotting the grounds like trees commonly would around a grand estate, up top, in the mortal realm. But these towering crystal edifices weren’t brown and green, they varied in shades of black and gray, with gleaming white veins that branched throughout their interiors, lending dim light to the surroundings.

  “What is this place?”

  “This is the Obsidian Castle, named after the obsidian crystals that grow here. It’s also our birthplace.”

  “What?” Her voice sounded strangled, and her heart jumped. Was she really standing in front of the place where she’d taken her first breathes? The same place from which she’d more than likely been banished before she’d even had time to wet her first diaper?

  She glanced way up at the looming building before her. It was massive. Black, and terrifyingly beautiful. She tried to imagine what it would have been like to grow up within its mysterious stone walls. Anything would have been a step up from the rat infested orphanage where she’d been abandoned.

  A low, arrogant voice floated around her. “Welcome home, daughter.”

  Though she didn’t recognize the voice, Sonnet turned to face the man whom she knew, without a doubt, had fathered her.

  Epilogue

  Sonnet is trapped in hell.

  Bane’s face drained of color. He picked himself up off the floor and turned on Remy. “Bring her back!” His body thrummed with adrenaline, his fangs dropped. He was all instincts now that his woman had been taken from him.

  Torrent was gone. She’d disappeared sometime between opening the portal and sending Sonnet and Spiros into it.

  Remy crossed the room. When he reached the wall that had the runes written across it, he grabbed the base of an unlit sconce and turned it clockwise. “I don’t know if I can.” His tone was calm, but his body was as stiff with anxiety as Bane’s. As the wall pushed back, he peered over his shoulder at him. “Follow me,” he said, and then stepped beyond the wall and into the darkness of a hidden passageway.

  Bane rubbed the center of his chest, empty without her, and did as he was told.

  A long hall extended before them, with black tar-covered walls on either side. Runes, much like the ones in the room they’d just exited, had been carved into the walls and filled with glowing silver.

  “What is this place?” Bane asked, steering clear of the glowing symbols.

  Remy turned to him. “We’ve just entered the highest level of the demon realm.”

  Bane stopped in his tracks. Adrenaline and seething anger coursed through his veins as he hissed, “Do you mean to trap me here as well? Was this a trick all along?”

  Remy turned back and continued to walk farther ahead of him. “Don’t be ridiculous, vampire. I plan to save your beloved. I just need to figure out how to spring her from hell, while at the same time, keeping Spiros and my father imprisoned inside of it.”

  “How do you plan on doing that?”

  “With my royal blood, I will unseal the entrance to demon-hell.” He pointed at a glowing pentagram etched deep within the black earth. It was filled with the same silver substance as the walls. “But first, I need to build a ward around this entire chamber. One that will allow only myself and one other person to travel through it.”

  “Wait. If you can only bring one person back, how am I supposed to go with you? Sonnet will think I’ve abandoned her if I stay behind.”

  “None of that is my problem. If I don’t go now, she will die. Besides, this reunion is better left between the members of the royal family.”

  Bane’s fists clenched as the anger within him grew. “Your plan sucks.”

  Remy raised his chin and eyed him while unsheathing a wicked-looking dagger from a leather holder attached to his belt. Without flinching, he reopened the cut that spanned his palm. Blood instantly welled. “Ridiculous or not, it’s the only way I know how to save her.”

  Bane bit back a curse and said, “I’m not leaving this place until you bring her back to me.”

  Remy gave a slow nod. And then with a hard look, he walked the circumference of the pentagram. He extended his arm and let his hand hover as blood trickled down through the air. It dripped to the ground to gradually form a second circle as he moved. Once finished, he stepped inside the pentagram.

  Crimson eyes flashed and a blinding wall of light shot up from the freshly made circle of blood to reach the ceiling. Remy’s voice echoed throughout the chamber. “I’ll do my best.”

  With a shimmer and blast of hot air, he disappeared.

  Wrecked by anguish, Bane fell to his knees. His eyes raked over the wall of light before him, where all of his hopes and dreams rested, and with all of his being, he prayed for time to pass swiftly.

  The end…for now.

  Demon Touched

  Paranormal Hunter

  By

  Gena D. Lutz

  Demon Touched: Paranormal Hunter, book #3

  Copyright © 2016 Gena D. Lutz

  Published by Gena D. Lutz

  All Rights Reserved

  Cover Design by: Covers by Christian

  Editing by: Kelli Collins

  Formatting by: Bob Houston eBook Formatting

  Blood runs thicker than water…or so they say.

  Staking paranormal bad guys is Sonnet’s regular gig, and she’s good at it. But when she’s vanquished into demon-hell with her estranged twin brother in tow, the last thing on her mind is vampire hunting.

  Finding her way out of hell is her first priority, staying alive a close second.

  Pitted against unknown creatures, and faced with a father who abandoned her at birth, Sonnet will need all the power and weapons at her disposal to find the one thing that will guarantee her safe passage home: unhatched dragon eggs, straight from the realm of dragons.

  Every paranormal creature leaves a magical trace; some imprints are much stronger than others, depending on time and mystical strength of the owner. Paranormal hunter Sonnet Vale can sense and latch onto these trails, even trace each one back to an individual species. Her inherent gift creates a pathway to the monsters she’s hired to find, and is how she successfully tracks, and ultimately disposes of, her prey.

  Chapter One

  Sonnet Vale was trapped in demon-hell.

  There was a time in Sonnet’s life when she secretly craved meeting the man who’d fathered her. The possibility filled her with longing and hope. Now, as she stood before a massive black castle with her twin brother, Spiros, by her side—who also happened to be a demon/hunter—she knew that at any moment she would be doing just that. And all she could feel was afraid.

  “You are a long, long way from home, child.” Her father’s voice was deep, rich with arrogance, and tight with something sinister.

  A chill worked its way up her spine. Oh, my God, is this really happening?

  She turned to face him, and quickly realized she was at a loss for words. What was she to say to the man, other than…

  “Um, uh…hi?”

  He wore all black, just like her older brother, Remy, preferred to do. And like his firstborn, he exuded darkness. Raven hair, onyx eyes, an aura of obscurity thrumming off him in thick waves, filling the space around him with chaos that threatened bad things to come.

  His appearance denoted an age of perhaps thirty. Not much older than she was, but in his case, looks were definitely deceiving; he was an immortal demon.

  Her thoughts momentarily roamed over the possibility that sh
e may very well be an immortal herself, but then she abandoned it.

  She fought the urge to run. She’d never expected to find herself trapped in demon-hell, let alone standing face-to-face with him. Anxiety rode up her spine like a chewing chainsaw, ripping out pieces of her backbone with each second that passed. And even though he terrified her, she would rein in those feelings. Because no matter the circumstances that loomed ahead, she refused to go down looking like a coward.

  Her thoughts jumped to the alleyway from which she’d fled from Spiros the night before; at least never again, anyways.

  He raised his eyebrows at her. “You’ve decided to track me down? Poor little orphan girl without a mommy or daddy…pathetic.”

  She shook her head. “I’m not interested in a family reunion or in our biological connection. You mean nothing to me.”

  “Is that right? Then why have you come?” He all but spat the question at her.

  “I had no choice, I was banished here.”

  His head tipped to the side as if he’d expected her to say something else. After a few seconds, his lips curled, then parted, and she knew that whatever he had to say was more than likely not in her best interest.

  “Regardless of how it came to be, here you are. And subsequently, you will live or die by my mercy. It will serve you well to remember that.”

  Her fists balled at her sides and she tried like hell not to say anything too rage provoking, but like always, her mouth spewed venom. “Screw your so-called mercy.”

  He paused, eyes narrowing. “You’re a willful child without an ounce of respect for your father.”

  She spat on the ground at his feet. “You haven’t earned my respect, demon.”

  And that’s when she realized that the emotional baggage, all the daddy-issue shit she’d been carrying around her entire life, now seemed meaningless, downright ridiculous as she faced her most damaging demon. All along, she’d been better for not ever knowing this man. And that newly gained knowledge would replace the bitter old.

  In the space of a heartbeat, he snatched something from his belt. Sonnet’s gaze locked onto the object: a wicked-looking dagger fisted tightly in his right hand.

  “Come closer so I can get a better look at you.”

  “What do you think I am,” she laughed sardonically, “an idiot?”

  Keeping him in her sights, she went for Ruby, her trusty stake, but at the last second changed her mind and swiftly pulled the 9 from the holster at the small of her back. She took aim at his head and in the same moment, her mind moved over the fact of how pathetic and sad it was that she could very well die by her own father’s hand. And to make matters worse, she didn’t even know what his name was.

  Her gaze traveled over the demon’s face. The fierceness in his eyes amplified as they bore into hers.

  All the while, Spiros stood off to the side surprisingly still, as if part of the dismal scenery. Usually he was full of pride and bravado. Where was that cockiness now?

  Thanks for nothing, Brother, she thought, with a strong urge to pummel his face in.

  The way this was all playing out was so damn wrong.

  Her eyes narrowed. “Make your move.”

  But before her father had a chance to advance, a menacing voice warned him to stillness.

  “Don’t even try it, Raziel.”

  Remy appeared out of thin air, several feet away, by the castle gates. He wore a brutal look that tightened his features.

  Sonnet felt Remy’s words rather than heard them, a slow tide of magic that instinctively let her, and probably any other inhabitant of demon-hell, know that a very powerful demon had arrived.

  Her father, Raziel, moved his attention from her to Remy, watching as he marched straight for them. The rage in him was apparent; he looked as though he wanted to rip his eldest son’s head off.

  With fluid movement, Remy crossed the space that separated them. Magic shimmered and popped over his skin, infusing the air with power and a scorching heat.

  While their father’s attention was glued to Remy, Spiros grabbed Sonnet’s arm and pulled her back to stand at his side. “You have no clue how bad that could’ve been,” he whispered harshly.

  She yanked her arm out of his grip and huffed, “Yeah, I know exactly how screwed I was. No thanks to you.”

  His head tipped forward in a rare moment of shame. Did the arrogant and troublesome demon have a conscience after all?

  She doubted it.

  Noticing its master’s pain, Trouble, Spiros’s childhood pet, poked his head out from behind Spiros’s back, where apparently he’d been hiding. The docile drake climbed over a shoulder, snuggled against his neck, and then wrapped its thin, black, leathery arms and claws around Spiros’s neck. Her brother absently rubbed the creature’s furry raccoon-shaped head, and said in a hushed tone, “I like it better when Father ignores me. Besides, he wouldn’t have killed you, maybe just cut you up a bit.”

  She crossed her arms. “Oh, sorry. That makes it perfectly okay then…dickwad.”

  Trouble’s head lifted and his beady eyes flashed red as he hissed at her.

  The torn flesh at her back burned anew. She narrowed her eyes at the coon-bat. Damn drakes.

  Remy strolled over to Sonnet, half turning his back on Raziel. Which, in her opinion, wasn’t an altogether wise move, taking into account that the pissed-off demon still had his dagger poised for attack, a curious but deadly gaze frozen on all three of his demon children.

  Remy nodded at Spiros. “Brother.”

  “I smell asshole,” Spiros said, narrowing his eyes and flipping Remy the bird. “Fuck off.”

  “Seriously, now you find your testicles?” Sonnet muttered.

  Remy just smirked at his brother, and then his gaze moved over to her. “Glad you’re still breathing.” His dark eyes skipped over the dried blood that stained her neck in crumbling patches, and then over the dirt and blood that caked her jeans, “If not a little worse for the wear.” He turned her around by the shoulder so he could check out her back. “I see you had a run-in with some drakes. Nasty sons-a-bitches, aren’t they?”

  She shrugged her shoulder from his light grip. “I’ve seen worse.”

  He shook his head and chuckled. “No. You haven’t.”

  Ignoring the truth of that, she mumbled, “Whatever. I’m glad you came.”

  His features softened. “Nothing could have stopped me.”

  She nodded, uncertain. Truth was, she barely knew him, or Spiros, and because of that fact, she felt less vulnerable with him around, but not completely safe. Not by a long shot. But at least they had some solidarity going against their evil demon father. And speaking of…

  “You dare show your traitorous face to me!” Raziel snarled at Remy.

  “You are the traitor. To your very own blood and to the creatures you swore to protect. My conscience is crystal, Father.” Remy turned to look at Spiros. “Your youngest whelp, on the other hand, he’s a chip off the old block, from what I can tell.”

  Spiros’s eyes went wide and he mouthed something that resembled, “Shut up, dick.”

  Raziel frowned and tucked his dagger away. “What do you mean by that?” He glanced over at Spiros. “What have you done, boy?”

  His tone suggested that he actual cared. But Sonnet knew the sentiment was as hollow as an empty grave. And just as warm.

  The hot, stale winds of demon-hell whipped through Spiros’s hair. He looked over at Raziel, his gaze slightly averted, careful not to make eye contact.

  “You know exactly what I was doing, Father. You groomed me for it, after all.”

  “Vampire blood?” he asked, leaning closer. “And you were caught…by whom?”

  Spiros’s gaze shifted to Sonnet and then his eyes fell in shame.

  Raziel looked at Sonnet as if seeing her for the first time, and then he laughed. “Impressive. It looks like I may have sent away the wrong child.”

  Spiros threw his father a mortified look and then stormed off in t
he direction of the castle.

  Remy frowned at his father. “Will you ever stop harassing the poor boy?”

  Raziel’s brow rose. “No.”

  At that moment, Anya’s voice appeared inside Sonnet’s head, breathy, urgent. Where in the hell are you?

  Sonnet’s hands flew to the sides of her head, and she winced. Her little blue demon friend’s mental invasion hurt like hell. I’m standing in front of my father, Raziel. Ever heard of the guy?

  Their cerebral link went silent, which left her plenty of time to wonder how on earth Anya was able to reach out to Sonnet while she was trapped in an entirely different realm. Was there such a thing as long-distance mental calls?

  “What’s wrong with you, child?” Raziel asked, his dark eyebrows pulling together.

  Sonnet shook her head. “Nothing. I’m good.”

  You’re in demon-hell? Anya’s question crackled like a bad connection. Shit…no wonder my head is hurting like a son of a bitch.

  That explained why Sonnet’s did too. Apparently, pain that could make your stomach turn was the price of a telepathic long-distance call.

  The pain drew back, and then tore at her mind once again. You’re so screwed. I told you not to mess with Spiros.

  Sonnet clenched her back teeth. Not helping here, Anya!

  I know, I know, sorry…but you’ve done it now. Where’s Bane?

  I don’t know. Phantom City, somewhere. He’s probably still at Nightshade, where I was accidentally cast into demon-hell. Even in her head, Sonnet sounded choked up about that.

  Another beat of silence, then, Hold tight. I’ll do whatever I can on this end to save you. Oh, and just to let you know, I’m pretty sure this connection was a one-time dea—

  Abruptly, the connection deteriorated, taking the stabbing pain to her head with it.

  Remy dragged his hand through his hair, annoyed. “Come on,” he told her. “Let’s go inside and get you cleaned up.”

 
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