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Sassy Ever After: Tortured Mate (Kindle Worlds Novella) (The Mate Series Book 3) by Sheri Lyn (1)


Chapter One

 

Valac was running out of options. His energy stores were running on fumes, leaving him open to those searching for him. His brothers weren’t going to give up, they wanted him to pay for his transgressions against them. Even if it had been in the service of one of their own. He didn’t regret helping Jericho and his friends, but he hadn’t counted on this level of hatred and determination to make him pay.

“Run little rabbit, run. We’ll find you anyway. The longer it takes the worse it will be for you.” Aeron taunted.

“Get out of my head.”

“Little brother, is that any way to talk to me, your beloved oldest brother?”

“We may be of the same blood, but we are not brothers. We are nothing. Leave me alone.”

“Tsk, Tsk and here I was going to offer to go easy on you if you came back. Because I loved our father, I’ll do it anyway. Come back, face your punishment like the demon you are and I promise it won’t be as bad for you as it can be.”

Valac bit off a sarcastic laugh, “Love and our father do not belong in the same sentence. There was nothing to love about that man, and you’ve proven you’re cut from the same vile fabric of decay.”

Aeron sighed, “You wound me, brother, in spite of that I’ll give you fair warning. My beasts are close on your heels. You won’t be able to hide forever, even now I can feel you straining to keep your shields intact.”

He wasn’t lying, Valac cursed silently as he wiped the sweat pouring down his face. For a split second, his focus wavered and he felt Aeron’s beasts latch on to his presence. They were close, too close, he could feel their hot breath down the back of his neck. He wanted to gag as the smell of their rotting corpses grew steadily worse the closer they came. “Run you idiot, there’s still a chance.” He scowled himself as he glanced around the alley already knowing it was too late. It was fight or be dragged back to Hell.

“Come on, you can do this.” Valac scowled, “Great, now you’re losing your mind and talking to yourself on top of things.”

Valac turned and headed deeper into the alley, with luck he’d survive this if he could figure out a way to eliminate at least one of the beasts first. He almost laughed with joy as he saw the perfect spot. Maybe there was someone out there watching over him after all he thought as he took position behind one of the dumpsters and waited. Each second that passed felt like an eternity. He couldn’t stop his mind from picturing all the things Aeron would do to him if he was dragged back. The things he’d see his brothers do to others made his stomach roll. But that would be nothing compared to what awaited him.

The hair on the back of his neck prickled and stood up, they were here. He had to time this just right or all would be for naught. He peered around the edge but couldn’t see anything, he just had to hope for the best. Valac took a deep breath, centered his concentration and reached out to the Third Plane. He knew he was running a risk of depleting the last of his energy stores, but he had to know their exact position for this to work. He’d only have one chance to take the lead bastard out and buy himself a fighting chance.

As soon as his senses tuned in, the world became alive in awash of vibrant colors and sensations. Each step the beasts took he could feel with every fiber of his being. Their hunger, hatred, and determination permeated the air, it was a foul taste that he knew would take days to get rid of. Come on he silently chanted as the beasts came closer and closer. That’s it, you assholes, just a bit closer. Just as Valac pushed the dumpster with everything he had to crush the lead beast in between the two dumpsters another presence entered his awareness.

“Fuck,” he snarled as the beast turned to face the newcomer, missing the trap he’d so carefully set up. He closed his sight of the Third Plane, it was time to find out how screwed he was. Three against one meant he had a one-way trip back to Hell.

He was stunned to see a beautiful Gray Wolf standing at the mouth of the alley. As much as he longed for the help, he knew he couldn’t let this magnificent creature die or face the same fate that awaited him. “Wolf, this isn’t your fight, go now while I distract them.” Valac manifested a fireball and threw it at the beast standing a few feet away.

The hell beast roared in anger as the blast landed on its back-hind quarter, it spun around and stalked closer to Valac. He didn’t have time to check to see if the wolf had done as he’d ordered, he just had to hope for the best. The last thing he needed was the soul of an innocent on his hands as he was dragged back.

“You may win this one, but I won’t go down without a fight.” Valac snarled as he gathered as much energy from the area as he could and flung volley after volley of ice, fire, and lightning. The hell beast shook off each blow, as his elongated teeth snapped and bit at Valac. He knew he was in trouble, he was out of power, hurting from overuse and just plain exhausted. The beast lunged, he tried to evade but his movements were getting slower and slower. He screamed in agony as the powerful paw dug into his side and slashed him wide. The copper smell of fresh blood filled his senses bringing clarity and focus for a split second before the pain seeped into his consciousness. Demons and Hell beasts thrived on that scent, Valac was no different even if it was his own blood pouring out this time.

Just then he heard the Wolf let out a howl of agony, he could feel his eyes turn as his demon side came to the forefront. A small part of him knew this was a bad thing, but that part of him wasn’t in control any longer. He let out a primal roar of rage. “The wolf is innocent,” Valac barked in a gravelly, demonic voice. The Hell beast snarled and advanced slowly towards him. His demon side relished in the coming battle.

With a flick of his fingers, his nails extended to razor-sharp points, “bring it bitches.” Valac charged forward, using his demonic strength to hack, rip and tear into its leathery hide. Each swipe took another chunk of decayed meat and fibers, but it wasn’t enough. His weakened state added in with the continued blood loss was leaving him close to blacking out. He was determined to take one of the bastards out before they took him down. With a last ditch will of effort, he gathered every ounce of energy he could summon and manifested a ball of molten fire. Just as the lead beast leaped into the air, Valac dropped to his knees and raised his fiery hand into the chest cavity and ripped downward.

He was vaguely aware of being doused in the bile, gore, and pieces of meat before the blackness took him under.