Updated Covers for Chained to You Serial

Gosh, I swear I can never be satisfied with any book cover I make. There’s always something I want to change or tweak. I’m always so pedantic and such a perfectionist when it comes to cover art. But I guess that can’t be helped, with me having such strong Eating God (EG) and Hurting Officer (HO) stars in my bazi chart.

EG and HO are output stars, and they, amongst other things, represent high expectation, expensive taste, and a perfectionist. Yep, you know those eccentric artists with eccentric taste? Them are people with either a strong Eating God star or Hurting Officer star. And those top chef? You guess it. They’re most likely EG people, and EG people looooves food and art, like me. ^_^

So what does the new covers look like? Check them out below. Personally, I think they’re more modern and chic, yeah? LOL! Nevertheless, I know I’m more satisfied with this latest version than the previous I’ve done with this serial.

P.S. Chained to You Vol. 1: Bounded is FREE to download from Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Google, and Smashwords. So if you haven’t already, it’s time to give this dark, sexy romance a go. ^_^

Advertisements

Dark Billionaires Heroes Characteristics According to Alexia (me!)

So here I am, using my Direct Officer/7 Killing and keeping myself disciplined, updating this blog regularly. LOL! We’ll see how long I can keep this up, eh?

Sorry if you don’t know what DO (Direct Officer) or 7K (7 Killing) means. These are bazi terms used to describe the type of gods (there are ten of those). Please note that the term gods in itself in bazi have no relation whatsoever to religion. The Chinese in olden days were very romantic in that they used all sorts of flowery words to name things, and in this case Gods in describing the yin and yang polarity of the elements and their stars and representation.

DO and 7K are influence stars, and in terms of actions, they represent such things as routine, discipline, and organization as well as the confidence in taking charge. Some people have these prominent in their chart, so it’s easy for them to use this side of their character. Whereas I, on the other hand, have the DO so deep inside my hidden stems that even I don’t know I have it. So I need to consciously use it to bring it out. Then of course in terms of bazi, one prefers to have either a DO or 7K in their chart rather than both, as this means the person in question has confusing characters. To be an honorable general? Or a tyrant warrior? Using a boss as an example, a DO boss is kind and understanding, but stern. The 7K boss, on the other hand, is a tyrant and will literally f**k you up just to get the job done. Okay, I think that statement is a bit over exaggerated, but nonetheless true. I personally do not have any 7K in my chart, but will be going through it in the next 10 years luck pillar. Muahahahaha… I will become an awesome dictator! Or not. I’d rather read some cute yaoi manga than boss people around. ^_^

So why am I bringing the influence stars up in this blog post?

I’m not ashamed to say that learning bazi has been invaluably helpful to me, not only in my own life in guesstimating as to what is likely to happen in the next five to ten years, but in creating characters for my books as well.

If you’ve read some of my books, you’d probably guessed that the heroes have a lot of influence stars in their bazi chart, that’s if they have a chart to begin with. LOL! This of course, along with a heavy dose of Indirect Wealth, them being businessmen and making shit loads of money, and of course, strong resource. You can’t get to the top without help, right?

In terms of the Dark Billionaires heroes; James, William, Scott, Eric, Tory and Mark, in my opinion, I made them have more of a 7K than a DO personality. Yes, they are notoriously dark, dangerous, and uh-hum, sexy. Their business is mainly underground, dealing a lot with illegal shits. They rule the market and will f**k anyone who dare to cross them. If you have already read Chained to You Vol. 3: Trapped, you’ll know what I mean. These men kill a lot of people, and in this particular volume, it is to save Andy, Matt’s lover, who has been kidnapped by the Mexican. Andy is Mia’s younger brother, and yeah, I made him and Matt gay. Come on, people, I love yaoi (boys love) and will be writing such genre now and again. So please NOTE: do not be surprised to see some yaoi series coming out with my name slapped on the front cover of the books in the near future. LOL! (Hint: Chained by Fate starring Matt and Andy). ^_^

Chained to You Vol. 3: Trapped

Chained to You Vol 3 - Trapped

So if you enjoy reading about hot, rich men with strong 7K personalities, ready Dark Billionaires. The manga pictures below are what I personally imagine what James in the Chained to You Serial looks like. These pictures are of Ryuichi Asami in Viewfinder, which were drawn by my favorite manga artist and author Yamane Ayano. ^_^

Certainly, one of the picture reminds me of a little scene in Chained to You Vol. 4: Entwined, which will be coming out in October.

Please Note: The passage below has not yet been professionally edited. I apologize for any errors. ^_^

Chained to You Vol. 4: Entwined

Chained to You Vol 4 - Entwined

ViewFinder - James

James immediately dismissed the thought about love and Mia Donovan from his mind and came to sit on the couch. He made himself comfortable and crossed one leg over the other as he leaned back against the leather seat. Sitting there in that dominating position in his three piece suit, he was fuckingly powerful, highly dangerous, and awesomely sexy.

“Strip for me, Mia,” he demanded, his tone deep and hard with an intense erotic edge.

Gosh! Is it just me or is it hot in here? ^_^

Writing and Books Plan for 2017

Gosh, it has been ages since I’ve updated this blog. I must admit, I have been mostly on a holiday mode this year, and so updating blogs and such like doesn’t happen as often and my presence online is almost non-existence. As an author, I know it’s not good to be such a hermit because nobody knows who you are and that means nobody is going to buy your books. Yikes! So I really have to stop being so shy online and start promoting my books and myself a bit more.

Now comes the Bazi (Four Pillars of Destiny). Sorry, I really can’t help myself, being a bazi enthusiast.

So why am I so slow this year where writing, releasing books, and updating blog is concerned? And why am I in such a holiday mode?

It’s 2016, the Bing Shen (Fire Monkey) year, and the Shen forms a six combination with my Si (Snake) in my chart to form the water element, which is my resource. Resources, amongst other things, represent holiday, vacation, and rest and relaxation. Because water is the most needed element in my bazi chart, I strongly gravitate toward it. So yeah, lots of rest and relaxation for sure. And of course procrastination. There’s a lot of inspiration/thinking (resource) but not a lot of action. This is because there are destruction as well as clash into my chart at the moment. Shen and Si is in a destruction relationship while the Si and Hai is in a clash. Yep. I don’t like it, but since now it is at the end of August, which is also a Shen month, I really should get my act together. More importantly, next year 2017 is the You Rooster, which to me is a 7 Killing. So discipline! Discipline! Discipline!

Needless to say, I’ve got my book titles and dead line for the release dates sorted out. Now I just have to kick my own butt into action. That is write! Write! Write!

So what’s planned for 2017 in regard to books?

So far, I found the Dark Billionaires Series is quite popular. Chained to You Serial, James’s story, is doing pretty well at the moment, especially on iBooks. Please note that when I say pretty well, it’s pretty well TO ME. Compare to a more established authors, I’m puny, a shrimp, compares to those giant or mega stars. I’m at the bottom of the food chain, if I put it that way.

So currently I’m starting Chained by Love Serial (William’s story) and will be releasing the novellas in early 2017. If it’s popular, I will continue with Enthralled by You, which is Scott’s story as well.

 

Chained to You Serial 2017 Brand. These new covers will be updated in 2017. ^_^

 

Speaking of Dark Billionaires. Chained to You Vol. 1: Bounded is now FREE to download from all the major online ebook stores.

Chained to You Vol 1 - Bounded

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes and Noble Google Play | Smashwords

As for Falling for Sakura, I have plan to finish that series by the end of 2017. I will be rebranding and republishing the first two books along with the third book when it comes out in 2017. After Falling for Sakura, if the series is successful, meaning lots of buy, I will continue with the Princeton Brothers Series.

New Brand for Falling for Sakura Series in 2017

 

The Kiwi Bride Series is now rebranded as Billionaires’ Brides Series. So His Hired Girlfriend is now The Billionaire’s Hired Girlfriend, Highland Kiss is now The Billionaire’s Kiss, and When the Sun Courts the Moon is now The Billionaire’s Love. At the end of 2017, I will be releasing The Billionaire’s Love Part 2. This series is going to be a slow release because it’s not as popular. I guess Asian heroines in romance is not that HOT on the market. But I love writing it, and I just can’t not to write it. Hopefully, it will gain some sort of momentum in the near future. ^_^

 

Romance of the Nine Kingdoms Series will be releasing in either late 2017 or early 2018. Yes, I know I get a lot of request for this one, but since it isn’t as popular, I can’t spend too much time on it where writing as a business is concerned.

So that’s about it for now. ^_^

 

Dark Billionaires: Chained to You Serial Update

As always, when I plan to do something, it goes haywire. Yes, my dear readers, my attempt at releasing Chained to You serial this month has hit a brick wall. Yikes! Chained to You Vol. 1: Bounded was meant to be released this March 30th, but unfortunately, things got delayed, and now the release date is April 25th.

I’m really sorry guys. I know you’re really looking forward to reading it. Of course I don’t expect anything to go smoothing for me this year, as with quite a few numbers of people I know. Bing Shen (Fire Monkey), despite popular believe that it’s an awesome monkey king, isn’t nice to me. Okay, so it’s there that I go rampaging about bazi once again. You see, the Shen Monkey clashes with the Si Snake in my month as well as day pillars! Yikes! Month pillar represents my career and day pillar represent my immediate family. So as you can see, lots of drawbacks in those areas. Double whammy. So yes, things will not go smoothing according to plan where my work is concerned. Not to mention the fact that the Shen Monkey (metal element) will hinder my Si Snake (fire element) which represent my output as in works and products. See? Lots of drawback where my writing is concerned.

Anyways, on to the good news then. Chained to You: Bounded is now up for pre-order on Barnes and Noble, Google, and Kobo, which weren’t available before.

Chained to You Vol 1 - Bounded

iBooks | B&N | Google | Kobo | Smashwords

Ah, and did I mention that coming in April my most anticipated anime is airing? LOL! Oh God! I cannot wait for it to start. If you guys haven’t yet already know, I’m an anime fanatic. Yes. Indeed I am. I love anime. I binged watch anime. And read manga and books. If you guys haven’t yet already know, I am also a Yaoi fan. I love Yaoi. I adore Yaoi.

What is Yaoi? It’s basically Boys Love. Yes, I admit that I like reading boys love manga and watching boys love anime. And this one that is coming in April is indeed boys love. It’s called Super Lovers. Although I must admit it is more Shounen Ai than Yaoi. Shounen Ai is what I’d call “clean and wholesome,” boys love.

All right, enough ranting on about book release relay and boys love anime. Time to get back to writing.

Stay tune for my next blog post ^_^

A Demon’s Wrath: Chapter 6

2015 A Demon Wrath Book Cover Version 1Chapter VI

CECELIA WOKE UP TO THE sound of laughter. She turned her head toward the window as a gentle breeze caressed her face. She sat up and looked about her surroundings. The sun was starting to set. How long had she been sleeping? She was about to get up when she saw a woman standing at the opened doorway. Her blond hair floated all the way down to her waist. Her blue eyes and fair skin made Cecelia catch her breath. Never before had she seen such beauty.

Both Lady Rosanna and Lady Juliet could never compare to this one, she thought.

“I apologize if I bother you,” the woman said.

“Nay, you did not bother me at all,” Cecelia said, blushing, for she knew she was staring. She couldn’t help herself, of course. “’Tis me who should apologize. I’m ogling at you,” she admitted.

“I am used to it,” Vera said and laughed. She came to Cecelia and touched her arm. “I thank you for saving my son.”

Cecelia widened her eyes. “You’re Lucifer’s mother?”

The woman smiled. “Aye, I was told by the king that I should not be here disturbing your rest, but I cannot wait. You see, Lucifer is very dear to me.” Her eyes softened.

“I understand,” Cecelia said, thinking about her mother and Brian. Her heart suddenly constricted. It had been three full weeks now.

“Oh Lord,” Vera said, “do forgive me, but I am a bad hostess indeed.”

For a moment, Cecelia forgot she was supposed to be her brother. She quickly nodded at the woman who was now curtsying to her as to a king.

“Welcome, Brian, to the Demon Kingdom.”

Cecelia’s heart kicked in her chest. She blinked and stared wide-eyed at the woman. “Demon what?”

Vera looked up to her then and repeated, “Demon Kingdom.”

“You are?” Cecelia stared at the woman.

“Lady Vera McNamara, wife of Lord Adam McNamara who is a cousin of the king,” she provided.

“But… but,” Cecelia stammered, shaking her head in disbelief.

Vera raised her brows. “But what?”

“But you are not… demon-like, hideous,” Cecelia finished, blushing, for she knew she sounded stupid even in her own confused mind.

Vera laughed. She couldn’t help herself, for she too had once thought of demons as hideous, monstrous creatures who merely lived to kill. That, however, changed when she had met Adam.

“My dear boy, what did you expect? Demons looking like monster?”

“Well, yes, I saw demons. They have beastlike bodies and faces like wolves.”

“Do stop there, Brian. But if those are the demons you have just described, they are child’s play,” Vera said, though she didn’t at all sound very concerned or put off because Cecelia had just looked down on her husband’s kind.

“I didn’t expect demons to look like humans,” Cecelia said.

“Oh, do not be surprised, my dear boy. Demons are much the same as human.” She smiled. “Now enough talk. ’Tis getting late. Dinner is on soon. Would you like me to help you clean up?”

Cecelia clamped her lips and her cheeks turned crimson. “Nay, but thank you,” she said quickly.

“Very well, then. Those are your clothing for now. I do hope they will fit your small frame. Do you always keep your hair so long?”

Cecelia touched her messy hair that was still tied at the nape of her neck with a black ribbon. “Aye, ’tis our fashion at the moment where I come from,” she lied.

“Our men like to keep their hair short. It is a fashion led by Gerick. You could say he is the handsomest demon in our kingdom. The females fall for him no matter their age. Drake, our king, he is different. He likes his hair long. It reminds him of freedom, like when he was a prince. He likes sailing his own ship and does as he pleases. He has been to many kingdoms. But no matter, here I am muttering about things you must find very boring. I will leave you to your bathing now,” she said, thanked Cecelia once again for saving her son, and then left.

Not long afterward, two maids brought in a hot tub, which they placed near the brightly lit hearth. Cecelia was able to bathe in peace once they had left. She stayed in the tub for half an hour, enjoying the lovely scent of herbs and rose petals and the warm water. She closed her eyes and relaxed her tense, tired body. When the water had gotten cold, she climbed out and got dressed in the breeches, shirt, and coat provided by Vera. Once her dark hair was slightly dried by the fire, she tied it at the nape of her neck with her black ribbon.

She was walking out into the corridor when Lucifer rushed from the corner and wrapped his arms around her waist. “Brian!” he squealed.

“Lucifer!”

“Come, come,” the boy said, pulling her by the hand. “Dinner is starting. This way. I get the honor of showing you to the dining chamber.”

“Oh!” she said, allowing the young demon to drag her across the great hallway.

Without Lucifer’s aid, she was sure she would get lost indeed, for the castle was a maze of a place. There were so many doors that she couldn’t keep count. The castle was beautifully furnished and artfully designed. Numerous gigantic paintings of demons in generations past were hung on the walls. Many were males and a few were females. Their hair colors were all different, but their features, to Cecelia’s interest, were all very similar.

Lucifer turned to the right, and before she knew it, she was walking along a very high-ceilinged corridor with huge red drapes hanging against enormous glass windows. She looked about her in fascination, for there were more interesting paintings. One caught her eyes. She couldn’t help but stare at it as she walked.

The eyes in the painting gazed down at her as if perceiving deep into her soul. The dark-gray color seemed, to her very imaginative mind, to be burning with smoke. The shoulder-length, dark-chestnut hair, strong, prominent jaws, and high cheekbones quickened her beating heart. Surely, she had never seen a more darkly handsome man in her life. But then, she reasoned with herself, this was no man; this was a demon. But demons were supposed to be ugly, not so pleasing to look at that it set her heart to jumping hazardously. And it wasn’t even the real demon she was looking at. It was merely a painting.

“We’re almost there,” Lucifer said.

“’Tis rather a long way,” she said, tearing her gaze from the painting and concentrating on trying not to get lost the next time she was to come to the dining room. But then, she thought, there would be no next time, for she planned to get the pearl as soon as possible and leave. She knew her mother was getting weaker by the day, and it was wise not to waste more time.

They were turning another corner when she heard the humming of laughter and buzzing of conversation.

“We’re here,” Lucifer announced, leading her toward the huge open double door.

She hesitated. She wasn’t used to barging into a room full of people she didn’t know.

“Come on.” Lucifer pulled her hand.

She stood rooted to her spot. “I…” She wanted to turn back.

“There you are,” Vera called, appearing at the door. She glided toward them. “Come along, Brian. Do not be bashful.” She laughed, and Cecelia blushed.

Vera took her hand and led her into the dining room. Cecelia stared fixedly at the polished floor the whole time she was being dragged in. They stopped behind a huge mahogany dining table.

“Brian, ’tis a pleasure to have you here. We wanted to thank you for helping our son,” Vera started. “Brian, may I introduce you to our king?”

Cecelia didn’t turn her face to look at the demon king. She fixed her gaze on the beautifully designed cutlery and plates on the table. She was about to curtsy when she hesitated, remembering she was not Lady Cecelia Van Zandt right then, but young Lord Brian Van Zandt. She bowed her head instead.

“Lift your face, boy. I am not pleased to look at your head when I am addressing to you.”

Cecelia’s heart kicked in her chest. The deep timber turned her stomach hollow. She took a deep breath, and summoning all her courage, she lifted her head. Her dark-brown eyes met a pair of stormy-gray ones. Her heart drummed in her chest. The sound was so loud in her own ears she was surprised no one was complaining about it.

“That’s better,” Drake said, a hint of a smile on his lips.

Cecelia couldn’t stop staring at him. He was the demon she had seen in the painting. He was the demon king.

“How do you find yourself in such a situation, boy?” he asked.

Cecelia blinked. She didn’t know how to reply, and the room turned silent. Everyone was watching her and waiting for her answer. Her throat became dry and her cheeks reddened with embarrassment.

Vera saw this and said, “This is not the time to ask young Brian questions, Drake. Now, Brian.” She touched Cecelia’s arm and turned her toward her husband. “This is my husband, Lord Adam McNamara. That’s Lord Julius Falkland, the wise wizard.”

Cecelia turned to the long, blond-haired male with pale blue eyes nodding his head at her.

“Lord Gerick McNamara, the king’s cousin and my husband’s younger brother.” Vera introduced her to a very handsome young demon with pale gray eyes and ash-blond hair.

“And that is Commander Leon. He’s a distant relation to the king.”

Cecelia nodded toward the dark haired demon with hazel green eyes. He nodded back.

“Well, that’s everybody.” Vera sighed. “Let’s dine, shall we?”

They all took their places along the table. Drake took the head, while Adam took the other end. Everyone else took the side chairs. Cecelia found herself facing Commander Leon. On her left was Lucifer and to her right, Vera.

“’Tis great this night I get to dine with everyone,” Lucifer whispered to her.

She raised her brows. “You do not dine with them daily?”

“No.” The boy shook his head. “I am too young to dine with everyone yet, but tonight, it’s different. It’s a feast.” He giggled.

The first course arrived. Footmen with fine velvet uniforms of black and purple carried trays into the room. One placed a small round and deep plate of fairy-embossed design in front of her. She looked into the bowl. It was soup of a thick, creamy color.

“It’s seafood soup,” Lucifer whispered.

“Oh!” She nodded.

“How did you meet Lucifer?” Leon asked.

Cecelia turned to look at the demon. “In the ship,” she replied.

“How in the ship?”

“Err…”

“He saved me from those men’s beating,” Lucifer put in.

Everyone turned to look at Cecelia, including the stormy-gray eyes of the king. She blushed and lowered her eyes for receiving so much attention.

“Did those humans beat you, Lucifer?” Gerick asked, narrowing his eyes dangerously.

“Aye.” The boy nodded.

“What did he look like?” Gerick prompted. He needed to know which of those bastards they had killed that morning was responsible for Lucifer’s beating so he could throw his body into the wild and allow the beasts to eat his flesh. The rest he would be kind enough to bury in the forest near the cave, and maybe he’d consider carving their names on headstones, too, to warn off other stupid human intruders.

Lucifer cocked his little head to one side and said, “He has dark hair and he’s not that big, not like you, Uncle Gerick. You could beat him easily.”

Gerick smiled pleasantly at the compliment.

“Lucifer is a brave boy,” Cecelia said, looking at the cute boy smiling up at her.

“Of course he is. He’s my son,” Adam said, matter-of-fact.

“I don’t think I could have handled the situation as well as he did if I were five years old,” Cecelia said.

Drake looked at Cecelia. She caught his gaze for a split second and quickly lowered her eyes. She tried to concentrate on her food, but she couldn’t seem to do so because she could still feel his intense gaze on her person.

“I’m not five years old,” Lucifer announced.

Cecelia frowned and said, “Oh, I apologize. Six, then?”

Lucifer looked at her rather disappointedly.

“Lucifer, do not be rude,” Vera put in. “He didn’t mean to offend you in any way, Brian.”

“Aye, I’m six and a half,” Lucifer said proudly. “And I’m learning how to wield a sword.”

“Really?” Cecelia widened her eyes in surprise. “At six years old?” She turned to Vera. “But Lucifer is so young.”

“Brian, he’s a demon,” Gerick chimed in, as if that would explain everything.

Cecelia turned to Gerick even though she didn’t want to because she had to look at the king too, who was staring at her most intensely.

“And you, Brian?” Drake’s deep voice caused Cecelia to jump in her seat. “How many summers have you seen?”

“Nineteen summers, sire,” she replied without looking at him.

Drake narrowed his eyes and lifted a smile at her. “Nineteen? Where is your muscle, boy?”

Cecelia swallowed and blushed. She had forgotten she was supposed to be her brother. The fact that she was a woman meant her womanly body had no muscle like that of the males of her age.

“I, err…”

“Drake, ’tis no way to converse during the meal,” Vera put in, patting Cecelia’s shoulder. “I’m sure Brian has his reason for not telling the truth of his age.”

“Why do you lie about your age?” Julius put in, frowning at her. “’Tis unwise at best, for wizards can find out with a mere look into your eyes.”

Cecelia frowned and lowered eyes to avoid Julius’s gaze.

“Come, let me look into your eyes so I can guess how old you truly are,” Julius said.

Cecelia started to feel very uncomfortable.

“Julius, you are making Brian blush,” Vera snapped.

“Blush? He can’t blush. He’s a man,” Gerick said, looking at Julius, expecting him to provide them with answer with his limitless knowledge.

Julius thought for a moment and then turned to look at Brian. “Perhaps humans are different?”

“Aye, humans are different,” Cecelia said, nodding her head. “Lucifer.” She turned to the young demon. “Can you take me around for a tour?”

“Oh, yes,” Lucifer said excitedly. “I will show you our stables, our garden, and our castle.”

Vera said, “It will have to be tomorrow. You two are tired. You need your rest, Brian.”

Cecelia nodded.

Thankfully, dinner went smoothly after that for Cecelia. Once it was over, she begged tiredness and left immediately. In the guest bedchamber, she lay in the large, soft bed, thinking about her mother and brother, wondering how they were getting on without her. She’d have to somehow find a way to get the Pearl of Life and then travel back home. She calculated that it had taken her three weeks to get to the Demon Kingdom, so it would presumably take her another three to four weeks to travel back, if she were lucky. That meant there was no time for her to waste.

The stables. Lucifer had said he would take her to see the stables tomorrow. That meant there would be horses. If most of their horses were like those she had seen when the king and his comrades had come to save her and Lucifer that morning, then she’d have a good chance of borrowing one of them to fetch the Pearl of Life. Perhaps Lucifer would also show her their port as well, for Vera had said the king loved to sail.

Nodding, she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep, dreaming of the misty gray eyes boring into her person.

* * * * *

A Demon Wrath: Chapter 1

2015 A Demon Wrath Book 1Chapter I

 

 

Two moons prior…
Van Zandt Palace, Dardania Kingdom

 

LADY CECELIA VAN ZANDT STARED at her king sprawled back in his mahogany and golden chair, his plump hands resting atop his prominent belly. He was contemplating his giant ruby ring on his porky finger, ignoring her speech of plea.

She felt quite annoyed by his lack of interest. He looked as though he were about to fall asleep, but she knew he wasn’t because he was now playing with the ring.

How could he not care? He was her king and, more than that, her uncle. How can he act as though he has not a care in the world? My mother is dying, for God’s sake.

“Surely, sire,” she said, staring at his hazel eyes and chubby face. “Could you not send your most trusted and strong soldiers to fetch it?” She raised her hand in the air to stress her point. “There are many strong soldiers in our kingdom.”

“My dear child,” he said, finally looking at her. “You are young and your mind is weak with neither thought of danger nor death. Listen well, child…”

Cecelia grimaced. She wasn’t a child anymore. She had seen ten and nine summers past, and that made her a grown person. Of course, the king didn’t think thus.

She was petite and, to her annoyance, came short on all the womanly traits men seemed to adore. She was too thin, her hair too dark, and her skin not at all petal white, as fashion required. This was because she’d spent too much time in the sun. She knew people had been comparing her to Queen Eliza Van Zandt, Lady Rosanna Van Dyck, and Lady Juliet Van Dyck, who were all fair beauties.

“I will not send my soldiers to die,” the king said abruptly.

“But, sire, ’tis the only way Mother can live. The healer said she will soon die if we do not do something. The Pearl of Life will cure the poison.”

“There is nothing we can do,” he said slowly.

Cecelia was angry. There was always a solution to a problem, but the king was a narrow-minded man. She knew he would prefer to do what was safe for him.

She fisted her hands and said through gritted teeth, “You do not care for your brother’s wife, then?”

King Leroi Van Zandt turned to look at his niece, his hazel eyes narrowed in distaste as he took in her person.

“Child,” he said, sitting up straight in his large, dominating chair. “I do care for your mother.” He lied and felt no guilt because it came too easy these days. “It is simply too dangerous even for an excellently trained soldier. I do not care to let my men set foot in that forbidden land. The creatures that inhabit that sea of death and those monsters roaming in that forbidden forest, not to mention the demons themselves.”

“But Mother’s life depends on—”

“Have you ever met a demon?” he asked.

Cecelia closed her eyes. Her heart began to beat faster. Her mind flashed back to that night three years ago when she’d first sighted the demons. They were monstrous creatures with two thick, black horns on their heads, faces and large bear-like bodies resembling a beast. She shivered as she remembered the fire burning down walls and furniture, devouring everything in sight, and the figures of demons shrouding around her.

She fluttered her eyes open and looked at her uncle.

“Nay?” King Leroi smiled as he looked at her shaking her head. “I imagine they would give you nightmares for weeks to come.”

Cecelia was still shaking. It was not only weeks. It was years.

“Monstrous creatures they are. Met one many years ago. Killed ten of my soldiers on the spot, ripping them to pieces.”

Cecelia paled and her stomach hollowed.

King Leroi smiled inwardly. “You are afraid at the thought?”

Cecelia clamped her lips together in response.

“Aye, you are not unfounded to be afraid of them. I am a good king. You must appreciate that I am, and this kingdom is protecting you from them.” He leaned forward, his small eyes scrutinizing her. “Do you appreciate what I’ve done for you and your family?”

Cecelia couldn’t look at him. Instead, she stared at the polished marble floor of white and gold. She felt quite numb.

“Do you?”

“Aye, I do,” she softly replied.

He smiled, his plump cheeks nearly covering his small eyes as he did so. “Then you know it is for the best to leave things be.”

She looked up at him then, her brown eyes misting with tears. “You will not send the soldiers to the Demon Kingdom?”

“Nay,” came the harsh reply.

Cecelia had to control her anger by fisting her hands. Her knuckles began to turn white. She felt a sense of defeat. All of her planning from the previous three nights had come to naught. All her plausible explanations as to why this Pearl of Life—a mysterious seed that grew within a giant clam in the Demon Kingdom, which, according to rumors, had the power to cure her mother from the Westwick poison—was to no avail.

“We will not talk of this in the future. Perhaps it is God’s will that your mother would leave us soon,” he said, looking heavenward and crossing himself.

Nay! Cecelia cried in her heart. ’Tis not God’s will that Mother would die soon.

“You are dismissed.”

Cecelia curtsied, and turning on her heel, she left the king’s private study.

In the long corridor, she was still feeling defeated and angry when she met the two women she most wanted to avoid. Even though she’d heard the clop-clops of their backless mules, she couldn’t escape them as she did not know where an alternative exit was except for the one shown to her by a footman. That exit was at the end of the corridor, behind the two vile women.

“Lady Cecelia Van Zandt, already back from whispering your wicked thoughts to the king?” Rosanna sneered, folding her arms across her generous bosom.

Cecelia looked at the blond-haired woman. She was, as usual, exquisitely beautiful today, dressed in a silk lavender gown. Her silver-blond tresses were styled into ringlets about her head, thus showing off her slender, swan-like neck, which was adorned with a large ruby and gold necklace of an intricate design.

“What did you say to him?” Juliet, the younger sister, said, grabbing hold of Cecelia’s arm and nudging her toward them.

Cecelia glanced at Juliet. She was also very pretty today, dressed in a pastel silk gown and her honey-blond hair styled into ringlets on her head.

“Nothing that concerns you,” Cecelia said, shook her arm free, and moved aside to pass them.

Rosanna smoothly stepped in front of her, stopping her escape. “Tell me or suffer the consequence,” the woman said, her green eyes so sharp Cecelia thought if they were real blades, her smooth cheek would be cut by now.

Though she was afraid, she stood her ground and tilted her head a notch higher so her eyes met Rosanna’s.

“I said nothing that concerns you,” she repeated without showing her fear.

“Insolence!” Rosanna snapped and slapped Cecelia’s right cheek.

Cecelia took a deep breath as she fisted her hands. Slowly, she turned to glare at the woman. She itched to retaliate but knew she would only get into more trouble, for Queen Eliza would soon hear of their fights and would, as always, punish her.

“You will not talk of such to me again, do you hear?” Rosanna hissed. “I am the queen’s cousin. I have all the power, and you have none. It is as well that you know your place here. You should thank the good king for taking you and your family under his wing, for providing you and your family food and shelter after the attack. You should thank the Lord you are still living and breathing this day and not being ripped to pieces by those demons.”

Cecelia squared her shoulders and said, “I do thank God for his mercy every evening tide afore retiring to bed, Lady Rosanna.”

“So what did you talk to the king about?” Juliet asked, yanking at Cecelia’s sleeve.

Cecelia didn’t answer.

Rosanna frowned and her lips thinned into a line. “Tell me now!” she said and yanked her again.

“The Pearl of Life,” Cecelia said.

Both women stared at her in disbelief.

“The Pearl of Life?” Rosanna repeated. “You cannot think to ask the king to dispatch his soldiers to retrieve it, can you?”

Cecelia didn’t answer. She made a move to leave.

“Do you?” Rosanna snapped, grabbing Cecelia’s arm and yanking her back.

“Aye,” Cecelia said and shifted her arm free.

“But it is in the Demon Kingdom, somewhere in the cave deep in the forbidden forest where the terrible monsters live. ’Tis the demon king’s treasure. The creature won’t allow you. The men will die.”

Cecelia ignored the women’s barks of outrage and turned to go.

“You would let the brave soldiers die to save your useless mother?” Rosanna said.

Cecelia twisted around and slapped Rosanna on the cheek. She felt oddly satisfied. To hell with Queen Eliza, she thought. If the news of this small fight reached the woman’s ear and later she got the punishment, so be it.

Rosanna’s mouth hung open in disbelief.

“My mother is not useless,” Cecelia said in a low, heated voice. “She is a great woman, a great lady. She is Countess of Rosevalley, who loves her people.”

“And why is the great Rosevalley gone, turned into ash overnight? Because your dear father was useless, that’s why,” Rosanna snapped.

“It was the demons. It had nothing to do with him,” Cecelia said angrily, tears brewing in her eyes.

“It’s because your father was weak. That was why he couldn’t handle a few demons,” Rosanna said.

“It wasn’t just a few demons,” Cecelia defended. Inside, she felt hopeless, and she knew no matter how hard she tried to argue with them, she would still lose.

“How do you know it wasn’t just a few demons?” Juliet asked.

“I know,” Cecelia said and knew they were laughing at her acting like a child, defending her hero father, Prince Peter Van Zandt, Earl of Rosevalley. In her heart, she knew it wasn’t just a few demons. There was a whole army of them. She had seen them herself. They had attacked at night, killing anyone in sight. It was a miracle she, her mother, and her brother had escaped at all.

She looked at Juliet, and without another word, turned and walked as fast as she could from the corridor.

“Where are you going? Come back here. I’m not finished with you,” Rosanna yelled.

Cecelia ignored her shout of outrage and walked faster, her shoes clip-clopping against the polished floor.

She exited the king’s wing and entered the courtyard. Though the bright sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the flowers were beautiful and blooming in all different shades of the rainbow, she didn’t see them, and if she did, she wouldn’t appreciate them.

She ran across the courtyard, passing the exotic pond swimming with Koi and turtles, the great magnolia trees blooming with white and pink blossoms, and the bushes of bright-red roses that would have made her smile and entered the corridor of the north wing.

This wing was assigned to her family three years ago when they had arrived under the king’s aid after the demons’ attack.

Cecelia was very glad that this north wing was old and not very elegant as were the other three in the palace. And furthermore, because the wing faced north, this meant it was colder than the rest, which both the king and queen themselves, not to mention Rosanna and Juliet, disliked immensely. Hence, they had never come to visit. Not that they wanted to anyway. Queen Eliza had never liked her mother, a fact Cecelia found most suitable to her since her mother, and herself of course, had never liked her in return.

Cecelia came to a grand foyer decorated with a light rose-pink and royal-purple drapes over the long windows. The grand stairs were made of white marble and the large walls were hung with paintings of previous kings, queens, and lords of the kingdom—her ancestors.

She climbed the stairs and then came across the corridor. Turning to her right, she came to a huge door. She stood there for a moment to calm her nerves. Once she was composed, she walked into her mother’s bedchamber.

Closing the door behind her, she wiped her tears clean. She didn’t want her mother to see her crying. The woman already had enough trouble as it was.

“Mother?” she called into the large, elegant room.

“Celia, my darling?” She heard her mother’s hoarse voice and her heart nearly broke. She walked toward the large four-poster bed in the center of the room.

Lady Margaret Van Zandt, Countess of Rosevalley, was sitting between large pillows, and her fragile figure only confirmed Cecelia’s suspicion that her mother was getting weaker.

“Mother,” she said, taking a seat on the side of the bed. “How are you feeling?”

“Better,” Margaret said, trying to smile but failing.

Cecelia knew it was painful to even lift those once beautiful lips. Her mother tried for her sake, she knew.

“I can hear the bees buzzing and the birds singing,” her mother whispered. “So beautiful in spring, don’t you think, darling?”

Cecelia agreed without much thought.

“The festival will be so lovely with wildflowers everywhere.” Margaret reached out her frail hand to touch her daughter’s.

“I won’t be joining,” Cecelia said as she lifted her mother’s hand to her lips. She kissed it and then gently moved it to touch her cheek.

“Why?” Margaret asked, watching her daughter with interest.

“It will be no joy without you there.”

“Nonsense.” The countess frowned. “I want you to go and enjoy the festival. Take your brother with you. Perhaps this time, you will find a fine young man—”

“Mother, you are weak. Do not talk more,” Cecelia said firmly, resting her mother’s hand back on the bedding. She moved up to tuck the blanket around the woman.

Margaret looked at her daughter and knew Cecelia didn’t like talking about finding a husband. She knew it was the very least important matter for her daughter to consider, for her small shoulders were already heavily burdened with many other problems. She knew she and her sickness was one of them.

She changed the subject to ease her daughter’s mind. “Aye, I am tired. Pass me some tea, darling.”

Cecelia poured her mother a cup of tea and helped her as she drank the warm, dark liquid. After her mother had finished, she helped her settle back in bed. The countess was just closing her eyes when Cecelia broke the silence.

“I’ve been to see the king,” she began.

Margaret reached for Cecelia’s hand. “Do not bother him. He has enough on his mind already. The war—”

“Mother, please stop. Where have you heard of such?”

“The maid and the healer.” Margaret opened her eyes just a little to look at her daughter.

“They gossip too much. But you are important, too. The poison… the healer said it has reached your heart. I’m so afraid.”

“Perhaps it is time for me to go.”

“Please, Mother, do not speak of such.” Cecelia shook her head as tears started to brew in her eyes.

“We are only mortal, here to live in this world for a short time and then be taken away again. Even demons, they too will die someday—”

“Please do not speak of them. Not the demons. They have caused us enough pain,” Cecelia said, her heart raging with hatred at the mere mention of them.

“Your father was a brave man, Celia. He stood up to them. He was a great lord and a great warrior.”

“I am proud of him,” Cecelia said, touching her mother’s hand to her cheek again.

The countess sighed.

“The Pearl of Life—” Cecelia brought up the subject.

“Do not speak of it, Celia. Let fate take its course.” When Margaret looked at her daughter, there was a command in her brown eyes that Cecelia found hard to disobey. She was a good daughter, and she must do as she was told. So she dropped the subject. She didn’t want her mother to think too much, for the mere act of thinking itself, the healer had told her, would also increase the poison’s power.

“I will let you rest now,” she said.

After helping her mother comfortably settle in bed, she left.

In her own bedchamber, Cecelia was deep in thought, planning what would be the best course of action to save her mother’s life. There must be a way to get the Pearl of Life. Her previous solution was to plead with the king for his help, but now that wasn’t possible. Another idea that came to her mind was to hire a well-trained soldier to retrieve the item. But who would risk their life to go into the Demon Kingdom? There were too many unknown creatures along the dangerous journey already and many unknown obstacles they must overcome in order to reach the kingdom itself. The very word demon would send people shaking with fear. A demon could suck the blood out of a man and then rip his body to a thousand pieces.

There is no hope for her now.

Cecelia threw herself on her bed, helpless. She lay there for how long she did not know, deep in thought. She was also beginning to get a bad headache.

“Celia?”

She lifted her head and saw her brother at the door. She quickly sat up as her brother walked into the room. She saw his left boot was ripped at the heel, his breeches and coat were smudged with dirt, as was his young, handsome face, and his dark hair was tousled.

“How was the hunt?” she asked, not surprised at all at the fact that her brother looked like he’d been beaten severely. His skin was so pale that it worried her.

Brian Van Zandt came to sit beside her on the large, four-poster bed. She frowned when she saw his dark, scowled face. She knew he must have been silently raging inside. She knew he felt trapped and worthless. He craved to do much, much more. Her heart ached for him.

“They left you in the forest alone again?”

Brian frowned fiercely and then reluctantly nodded.

“They will get it back one day, Brian. You will see,” she said, wiping the dirt from his cheek.

“How is Mother?”

She didn’t know whether to tell him the truth of their mother’s condition or not. She knew if she lied to him, it wouldn’t sit well with her.

“She is getting worse, Brian.”

“Why isn’t the king sending his soldiers to fetch the Pearl of Life?” Brian snapped angrily.

“It is too dangerous. The journey is long and there are many unknown creatures. There are also the demons,” Cecelia explained.

“If only I were healthier, then I would go myself and fetch it,” Brian said, nodding his head and squaring his jaw Cecelia had seen their father do so many times before. She heard the bravery in his seventeen-year-old voice. “If only… if only I were not so sickly. This body of mine.”

He was referring to his chronic condition that had caused him much pain during the nights. Ever since the sickness had struck two and a half years ago, a sickness no one knew the name nor had ever heard of, he had been coughing and his whole body aching severely. He was always tired and so very pale. Most of the time, he couldn’t breathe easily. The healer said strenuous exertion could kill him, which she feared might just happen if he continued to burn himself out just to prove to those other youths that he was capable of standing on his own two feet, that he wasn’t just a pampered young lord.

Looking at him now, Cecelia thought how different he was years ago when they’d been back at Rosevalley Island. The younger Brian had always been so outgoing and active. He had love exploring and riding and practicing his smallsword against her, sharpening his skills. If it weren’t for the infection, he would have grown to be a fine young man, strong and powerful. A young man who could one day take back Rosevalley Island. But fate had dealt them a dreadful blow. Now he could do naught of those things he loved, those things that would make him stronger, for in doing so, it could kill him.

“And if only I were born a boy,” Cecelia said absentmindedly, nodding her head.

“Aye, then you could become a soldier and you could go to the Demon Kingdom and fetch the Pearl of Life.”

“You must not forget I must first fight the demon king, for the Pearl of Life belongs to him.”

“Aye,” the youth said, nodding. “I trust you would beat him. After all, you are very good with the smallsword. I know your fencing is unparalleled, but those teachers and lords, they don’t know you know how to fence, let alone lift a smallsword.”

“The demon king is a very powerful warrior, Brian. How could I defeat him? I am only a woman with a woman’s strength.”

Brian eyed her. The innocent look in his brown eyes nearly made Cecelia forget everything, and she wished she were once again a child. Then she would have no worries. But that is not to be.

“Father was huge, but Mother was still able to defeat him,” he said, thinking about those times long ago when their father had surrendered to their mother when they’d been fighting with words.

Cecelia widened her eyes. “They are different, Brian. The demon king is a demon. He is not a man.”

“What is the difference?” Brian asked. “Surely demons are like humans, too? Surely they look very much like us?”

Cecelia thought even though Brian was seventeen, his life had been quite sheltered, as was she, for they had been exiled here in this northern castle since Rosevalley had fallen. He didn’t have friends, nor she. They went through life without much experience of the outside world. Thus, he didn’t know demons were creatures to fear. He didn’t know they were monsters that killed without mercy. He didn’t know they were hideous beings with beastlike bodies and faces resembling wolves. But she knew because she had seen them.

“Well, for one thing, demons are demons,” she explained weakly.

“Celia, I just know you’ll defeat this demon when you meet him,” Brian said. “I will go wash up. I smell very bad.” He kissed her on the cheek, stood, and then slowly limped out the door.

Alone, Cecelia turned to look out her window into the large city below the palace. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She wondered if she were to meet this demon king, would she be able to defeat him? She doubted it. She would probably faint on the spot just looking at him. Nay, she would never meet him. That she was certain of.

* * * * *

A Demon’s Wrath: Prologue

2015 A Demon Wrath Book 1Prologue

 

Oakley House, Demon Kingdom

 

WHEN CECELIA VAN ZANDT FLUTTERED her eyes open, the first thing she saw was the bright blue sky through the enormous window on the east. Beautiful was the first word that came to her mind as she lay there marveling at the exquisite scenery of green woods and wildflowers, the smell of ripe fruits and blossoms, and the feel of the warm sunlight on her skin. In the distance, she could hear birds and crickets chirping, and instantly, her mind flashed back to those wonderful summer days years ago when she’d been back in Rosevalley Island, her home, with her family. Just as quickly, reality hit her like a splash of ice-cold water. Her heart raced. Her body became alert, and she was very much aware of what had transpired last night in this very large bed.

She was still a little sore, particularly down there where—

She shut her eyes again and gritted her teeth. She didn’t want to think of last night, but the images of the ruggedly handsome demon Drake McNamara refused to leave her mind.

She heard a chuckle and instantly knew he was there in the room with her. She had thought he’d left her alone after his successful, ardent seduction last night. But it appeared she was wrong.

A blush spread across her cheeks, and Cecelia clutched the blanket tighter against her naked body as she heard his light footsteps moving toward her. A moment later, she felt him sitting on the bed behind her.

Breathe, Celia, breathe, she told herself.

Her heart was still pounding madly when he said, “You’re finally awake, little thief?”

His voice, the deep timbre, did nothing to ease her awareness of him. She flashed her eyes open and turned her head, sucking in her breath once she saw him. He was wearing a white cotton shirt, unbuttoned and revealing his muscular chest. His dark breeches hung loosely about his long legs and waist, as if he’d just put them on in haste simply to cover himself as he went about the room. His chestnut-brown hair, a bit too long, was styled in a disheveled crop about his head and his face. He watched her, his gray eyes scrutinizing, pinning her where she was.

Cecelia thought about feigning sleep but knew it would be to no avail, as he’d already seen her looking at him.

“Yes, sire? What is it you want with me in such early hours of the morning?”

“Not early hours, little thief. Rather, ’tis nearly noon.” He grabbed ahold of the thin linen and pulled it off her person.

Cecelia gasped. “Sire!” she uttered, rushing off the bed to retrieve her cover.

Drake caught her wrist before she had the chance to touch the white material and roughly pulled her to him.

Totally and utterly naked as a newborn baby, Cecelia found herself sitting on the demon’s lap, her long dark hair in disarray about her person and her eyes large as she gazed up at him. She squirmed a little in his tight embrace as the warmth of his large body and his scent—pure male and spice and woods—did nothing to ease her fascination toward him. Even now, after she’d been in his presence numerous times, she was still overwhelmed at the sheer size of him. He was just simply too large and too hard for her peace of mind. His scowl, too, the scowl that would send many Dardanian men crying and begging for mercy, was still plastered on his face. It was odd that she was no longer afraid of that glare. Nay, she was in actual fact very used to it and thus expected it every time she saw him. And now was no different.

He pulled her closer, his warm, strong hand resting at the small of her back. She could feel him against her, the hardness and warmness of his lean body touching her soft one. Instantly, she felt her core heat up in response and became weak, as if she’d already surrendered to him.

Drake Oswald McNamara, demon king, gazed at the young human girl who had stolen his precious jewel, the Pearl of Life. For thirty years, since the seed came to life when he was born, no one had even dared to think about stealing it. For to commit such an unthinkable crime, the punishment was death. And this slip of a girl had disregarded the penalty, stolen the jewel, and used it for her own selfish reason. Now she had to pay the price. Death, however, was not on the agenda, and Drake had other plans for her yet.

He ran his fingers through her long hair, stroking the strands gently and then flipping them over her slender shoulder. Under the bright daylight, she was even more alluring, and it made his blood run hot with lust. He flicked his gaze to her flat belly, the belly that would soon be swollen with his jewel, his son, a future demon king. He noted the scar there to her right side just beneath her breast was quite prominent under the light. He brushed his finger across it, lightly caressing the mark of a healed wound from long ago.

Cecelia involuntarily gasped at his feathery touch as a delicious tremor coursed through her being.

He flicked his gaze to her and smiled. “You’re as sensitive as ever.”

Cecelia didn’t like his arrogant remark, nor did she like the smug expression on his face. “’Tis broad daylight, sire. Are you planning to—”

“Aye,” he said, touching her delicate chin.

“I refuse,” she said abruptly, brushing off his hand. Then before she lost all self-control under his masterful seduction, she shoved him back and rushed off his lap.

She wasn’t fast enough, and he caught her wrist again. With one fluid motion, he had her on her back and him on top of her. He chuckled, rather pleased at her retaliation.

“Playing hard to get again, are we? We both know where you’ll end up.”

Cecelia made an attempt to wriggle herself free. It was no use, as he was stronger, and the harder she struggled beneath him, the tighter he held on to her. It was made worse by the fact that he seemed to be rather enjoying toying with her.

Cecelia could feel him watching her, his hot, intense gaze burning her as he waited for her next move. Again, she struggled, letting out little grunting noises at the same time. He tightened his grip on her small wrists, squeezing her skin. She felt so helpless and at the same time, very frustrated.

He suggested, “Fight harder.”

This drew a glare from Cecelia, and he laughed. “Go on, little thief. Fight me.”

To encourage her retaliation, he tightened his grip on her even more, which shot pain through Cecelia, and she gritted her teeth. She responded with a growl. Then quick as lightning, surprising even Drake, she moved, opened her mouth wide, and snapped her teeth onto one of his hands that held her captive.

Drake watched, fascinated, as her small teeth sank deeper into his skin. Odd that he should enjoy the pain she was inflicting on him. He felt his heart pumping harder and faster, and his body—which was usually calm, collected, methodical, and to be sure, utterly immune to pain—buzzed with excitement. Blood began to ooze from his skin as he watched her, a smile creeping across his face, enjoying the moment tremendously.

Biting him for so long, her jaw would have to be sore by now, he thought. More blood ran from his injured flesh, and then he felt the pain. It slowly began eating at him. The slow, dull ache mixed with the burning pleasure was quite delicious and intoxicating.

Finally, he released her by pulling back his hand.

One hand freed, Cecelia made a move, her lips wet with his blood. She lifted her head and attacked Drake’s shoulder, sinking her teeth deep into his skin.

Drake was shell-shocked for a split second and then laughed softly. And here he thought she would have taken the opportunity to run off. Ah, but she really did surprise him, this mite of a human girl.

Cecelia didn’t know this demon king was enjoying her battle with him, and he was now gently embracing her, his large hand holding her at the nape of her neck as she ardently attacked him with her teeth.

Cecelia could taste his blood, salty and wet, in her mouth. She felt quite pleased with her small victory. Finally, very sure he would be begging for mercy now, she moved back. What she saw in his eyes the moment she faced him was nothing less than passion and hunger. Instantly, she felt her heart skip a beat and knew she was in trouble.

“My turn,” he said softly and crushed his lips against hers, his tongue plunging into her mouth.

Cecelia whimpered under his fervent kiss. She could taste his salty blood between them as their lips locked. Her body trembled weakly as he became wilder, thrusting and stroking his tongue vehemently inside her mouth, drawing her deeper into the darkness of his seduction. When he finally lifted his head, she was breathless and lightheaded from the experience.

He watched her as she tried to regain her sense.

“Don’t disobey your king again,” he said, fondly stroking her cheek with the backs of his fingers. Before she could respond to his arrogant remark, telling him he was not her king, he kissed her again.

He was softer this time, his lips warm and firm against hers, and suddenly, Cecelia felt herself lost. She couldn’t think. All she could feel was him—his warmth, his male scent, and his taste. She groaned, and Drake plunged his tongue deeper into her mouth.

Cecelia felt her core bursting as he played with her, wildly stroking her and exploring her. When he moved his head back, he continued his way down her throat. As he trailed lower to her breasts, Cecelia closed her eyes, losing herself once again to the seduction of the demon king.

* * * * *