Sableâ€™s world disappeared in a swirl of cold black shadows. She closed her eyes against it. The heat of the sun on her skin gave way to the icy chill and then became a blast of moist warm air. The shrouding silence of the portal shattered under the explosion of grunts and roars and the metallic clang of weapons clashing.
The scent of morning became the odour of blood.
Sable snapped her eyes open and her heart leaped and pounded, quickening her blood and preparing her body.
The first thing she saw was Thorne shirtless and swinging his enormous broadsword at an equally massive bare-chested warrior. His opponent blocked with his own blade and growled, flashing huge fangs as he swung a meaty fist. The blow connected with Thorneâ€™s right cheek and he stumbled, grunting as he struggled to regain his footing and ready his blade to defend himself.
Sableâ€™s hand instantly went to the folded crossbow at her side and she flicked it open, pushing away from Bleu at the same time. Another immense demon attacked Thorne before he managed to right himself and the dagger sliced across the Third Kingâ€™s thickly muscled right shoulder.
Thorne roared and finally launched himself at the males, taking them both on at once. They werenâ€™t alone. The wide oval courtyard of the dark stone fortress was in pandemonium. Sable counted at least two dozen demons, all focused on him with their weapons drawn and at the ready. No other fought on his side.
The sight of him standing alone against so many adversaries, bleeding from multiple wounds on his torso and arms, brought a red haze down over her vision.
Sable launched herself into the fray just as one of the males attacked. Her heart raced, pumping adrenaline that made her feel high as she reached beneath her left arm, slipped her fingers into the rings on two of her throwing knives, and hurled them with deadly accuracy at the warrior. They nailed him in the left of his broad chest and his shoulder, and she didnâ€™t give him a chance to recover his focus. She loosed a barbed dart from her crossbow at him, reloaded in the space of a heartbeat, and shot the other male now attacking Thorne.
The barbed dart embedded into the demonâ€™s left thigh and he grunted, his eyes glowing crimson as he turned his attention on her. Good. She had to give Thorne a moment to recover his wits and get back in the fight.
The warrior stomped towards her, blood pulsing down his leg with each step, turning his black leathers slick and shiny. He growled, his top lip peeling back off his fangs, and shook his head. His dusky horns curled further, forming a loop and flaring forwards into twin dangerous points near his cheekbones.
Sable made a mental note to avoid them and drew the short blade strapped to her other thigh, ready to fight him. He swung the moment he was within reach and she ducked beneath the long silver blade, rolled forwards and came to her feet behind him. She slashed up his back, her knife splitting tanned flesh and scraping over bone, and grinned as he arched forwards and roared.
The thrill chasing through her blood increased, consuming her, driving her to keep going and embrace wildness it unleashed within her. She had been born to fight monsters and she felt it now more than ever as she faced off against the enormous demon males, swiftly calculating their every move before they could make it, ready for anything.
Sable grabbed a bolt with a thick cylinder on the end from her quiver pouch. Explosive dart. God she loved these things. She loaded it onto the small crossbow and swung to her left, aiming at the group of males storming towards her.
She grinned and pulled the trigger.
A large bloodstained hand clamped down on the weapon, grasping it and holding the bolt in place.
Sable growled in frustration and released her crossbow, leaving it in the demonâ€™s hand. She thrust hard with her blade, blindly stabbing at her new enemy.
The huge male grabbed her wrist before she could drive the cold steel into his flesh. The tip pressed into his muscular chest and she froze when she realised it was Thorne frowning down at her, his rough masculine features crinkled in confusion.
â€œYou seek to harm me, Little Female? I thought we had discussed this before?â€
His deep gravelly voice washed over her and his thumb caressed the inside of her wrist. Sable trembled. The hot shivery ache rolling through her increased in intensity as he tugged on her wrist, gently drawing her closer to him, his red gaze holding hers, commanding and powerful. She couldnâ€™t break its hold on her. She tilted her head right back, lost in his eyes as he towered over her, making her feel small and weak, vulnerable to him.
Sable dropped her blade, the clang of it hitting the stone slabs beneath her feet jarring in the thick silence. She breathed hard, firmly under his spell and unable to form a response.
She had forgotten just how gorgeous he was and how his presence lit her up inside like fireworks on November fifth.
â€œWell?â€ Thorne cocked his head to one side and a hank of wild red-brown hair fell down onto his bloodstained brow.
Sable slowly shook her head and forced words up her dry throat and past her lips. â€œI was trying to help.â€
A smile worked its way onto his firm lips and he flashed short fangs. â€œThat is very kind of youâ€¦ but I do not require your assistance to spar with my men.â€
Sable inched her gaze towards the demon males to her left. They had all stopped and were staring at her. She looked to her other side, at her team and the elves, and cringed. None of them had moved. She alone had leapt into the fray.
A blush burned up her cheeks before she could stop it. Thorne canted his head again, raised his free hand and lightly brushed the backs of his short claws across her left cheek. She shuddered under the gentle caress, her pulse quickening for a different reason as the heat burning inside her exploded into wildfire. She had to get a grip. This was a mission.
â€œDid you believe me to be under attack?â€ he husked in a low, quiet voice that sent a fierce shiver through her, cranking up her temperature another thousand degrees.
She couldnâ€™t bring herself to look at him. She nodded, and admitting it left her feeling like a fool.
â€œAnd you came to my aid?â€ Had he moved closer to her? His breath washed over her cheek, moist and hot, smelling faintly of something sweet and the coppery tang of blood.
Sable nodded again.
â€œYou are but a little mortal femaleâ€¦ yet you desired to fight all these demon males in order to protect me?â€
When he put it like that, she couldnâ€™t stop herself from blushing harder. She had reacted on instinct but the tone of his voice and the way he drew her closer still, until she could feel his heat rolling off him and over her, told her that he thought she did it because she felt something for him.
She cleared her throat, finally locked down her emotions and found her voice again, and even the courage to lift her gaze to his. â€œNot out of favouritism or anything. Iâ€™m here on a mission and that mission entails protecting you and your kingdom from demons. I saw you battling a score of demons and I did my duty.â€
She twisted her hand free of his grip and hated the sharp disappointed edge his eyes gained. It made her feel like a bitch. She grabbed her blade from the dark stone pavement and jammed it into its sheath, and then snatched up her crossbow and checked it over, taking her time about it, stewing under the intense heat of his gaze.
Sable kept her head bent and holstered her crossbow and the unused explosive dart. Thorne continued to stare at her. So did everyone else. She was not going to blush. She racked her brain, trying to think of something to say to make everything go back to normal, and diligently kept her gaze away from Thorne.
She had also forgotten how impossibly tight his dark mahogany leather trousers were. They clung to his muscular thighs, stretched over them like a second skin, held closed by criss-crossed lacing over his crotch.
Not staring. Not staring.
Her eyes betrayed her, leaping to the impressive bulge in his trousers, and she forced it upwards before anyone noticed. Thorneâ€™s gaze locked with hers again, holding her immobile.
â€œIâ€™ll need my blades and bolts back now,â€ she muttered, not quite with the world or aware of what she was saying.
Thorne nodded. â€œOf course.â€
He signalled his men and Sable realised just what she had asked, and felt dismal as the men immediately tore the barbed darts and throwing knives from their flesh without giving a single grunt or revealing a flicker of the pain they must have experienced.
They came forwards and placed the weapons into Thorneâ€™s outstretched hand. He wiped the blood off them on his leather trousers and then held them out to her.
Sable swallowed her guilt and took them from him. She slipped the blades away beneath her arms and put the darts back in her quiver. The silence in the courtyard thickened again. She wasnâ€™t sure what to do. She had made one hell of a first impressionâ€”on her team, on the elves, on the demons.
She wanted to groan and bury her head in her heads.
She needed a do-over on everything after she had appeared in the Third Realm. It really hadnâ€™t gone as planned.
Did you enjoy today’s snippet?
Claimed by a Demon King
The moment the demon King Thorne of the Third Realm set eyes on the mortal huntress Sable, he knew she was his fated one. The fiery, dangerous female awakened hungers he had never experienced before, a dark craving and passion that has consumed him in their time apart. As the lunar cycle wanes, she enters his world again and nothing will stand in the way of him claiming his forever with herâ€”not the relentless assault from the Fifth Realm or the dark elf male determined to seduce her out of his grasp.
Intent on achieving the coveted position of commander at Archangel, Sable leads her small team into the dark underworld and the Third Realm, to a war where her allies are the very creatures she normally huntsâ€”vampires, werewolves, and demons. Her eagerness to lead the deadly mission has everything to do with winning her promotion, and nothing to do with the kingdomâ€™s brash, lethally seductive demon kingâ€”a king who stirred fierce desire and wildfire heat in her with just a look and an innocent touch when they first met, and has been in her wicked dreams ever since.
As the gathering storm between rivals unleashes irresistible passion that flares white-hot and the heat of the battle brings life-shattering realisations, can Sable place her duty before her heart? Or will she surrender to her deepest desires and be claimed by a demon king?
If you haven’t had a chance to read any of the books in the Eternal Mates romance series yet, they’re all available at major ebook retailers and in paperback, and you can find the links and samples of the books at my website: