Home > The Wicked (Vampire Huntress Legend #8)

The Wicked (Vampire Huntress Legend #8)
Author: L.A. Banks

PROLOGUE

In the Land of Nod... seven days later

Racked with agony, Cain sat na**d at the edge of the sensation pool in his bedchamber, his legs dangling in the ether as he clutched silk sheets to his chest. Anything that would bring her to him, even if just her scent. He began slowly rocking back and forth, his hands trem�bling as he lowered his face to the fabric again with his eyes tightly shut, and then inhaled Damali's ripening essence. Her scent was set ablaze in his mind, fevered by the oil of Hathor she'd trailed. He winced and shuddered, the denial unbearable, the incarceration a suffering he'd never known.

Bitter tears rolled down his cheeks while decimating memories turned his saliva thick in his mouth.She was his universe, the potential bearer of his empire! Every breath he took felt as though his Neteru blade was piercing his heart. He could almost taste blood from the phantom wound she'd left.

Cain licked his chaffed, dry lips, remembering Damali's mouth upon his. A shiver almost arched his back. The desire to hold her had become a need, then an obsession, until it produced an incomparable ache. Just the memory of her touch, her sun-fired skin, her ecstasy-producing bite, her deep moans of pleasure, her incredible voice set to song... all of it was like a knife that carved at his groin and filled his sac with mind-numbing, unspent seed that could not be spilled in this sensationless realm.

But tasting her blood had made him feel it down to his marrow.

The peristaltic drive to release inside her without a way to ejaculate now tortured his mind to near madness.

"Devastation..." he murmured into the soft fabric that had been filled with her sweat. "How could you allow him to manipulate you this way?"

Feminine wetness that had overflowed from her valley entered his nose and clung to his palate, a razor of memory whittling his regal pride to sawdust. His apexing would last a month. Cain struggled to breathe as the reality wore on.

Days ago he'd abandoned the frenzied attempt to make love to her telepathically, to find relief in his desperate mounting against the bed�ding, his hands, the sheets,anything she'd touched, but to no avail. Her vibrations had ceased; his thrusts against inanimate objects futile, a teasing reminder that Damali was truly gone. All he had left to cling to was her delirium-producing scent and what remained of their last encounter in his mind. Even that was slowly vaporizing, as though she was being erased from his realm and his tortured psyche one memory cell at a time... leaving only the burn for her in its wake.

He couldn't conjure her in visions or connect to her astrally. The orgasm would crest and then die away, leaving him unfulfilled in a heat of raw desire. Everything in his chamber had soaked up the sound of his suffering-every lusty groan, every hot gasp, each time he'd wailed her name-and it now reverberated to taunt him with the knowledge that there would be endless days and nights until his solo apex finally ebbed.

"Damali..." A sob choked off his words as he nuzzled the sheets, remembering her voice, her caress, the way she'd reached for him and had arched under his hold, a plea in her eyes to love her hard. "I would have given you the world, and so much more..."

Seven brutal days of suffering had lacerated his soul. Her blood had been a sweet tonic that still burned inside his veins. "Do not banish me!" he bellowed, throwing his head back as his fangs ripped his gums. Seven long, hard days and endless nights...

It was to be twelve days of mourning peace with Damali in his arms during a war hiatus that had also been reserved for his oldest friend. Everything had been so perfectly orchestrated, the strategy sound. The cease-fire had been established to quell civil unrest in his empire, and yet he was more bereft over the loss of Damali than the death of Zehiradangra.

His pool now remained eerily silent; Damali's vibrations blocked to his communion. Her voice was as unreachable as a distant star, dead to him, the flicker of its light only a resonance from the past.

"I loved you so," he whispered against the tear-dampened linens. "Come back to me... I beg you with all that is within me. Do not forsake me, angel... queen of all that I know."

The sensation tank remained still as Cain's agonized wails echoed off the white marble lair walls. The gold-and-silver mortar and every conductive metal object radiated pain so acutely that he reached his hand out and touched the glasslike blue surface of the ether with his fingertips. His pride in ruins, broken, he would settle for knowing her whereabouts even through the vibrations of another man.

Carlos had befouled his lair, his pool. Cain closed his eyes. Just to know where Damali was, he would link to his Neteru brother who also shared his vampire lineage. He had to know. Seven days was more than he could bear. Her absence had become a viral infection that fevered his mind, drove him to obsession, and had made his body ache with a craving worse than blood hunger.

But the moment he honed his focus to Carlos, Cain drew his hand back as though he'd been burned. The sheets fell away from him as he backed away from the pool shaking his head, going temporarily insane from the knowledge.

"No," he whispered, disbelief robbing his lungs of air. He went to his hands and knees, splaying both palms against the pool's surface, tilting his head, watching, listening-he had to understand. Shecouldn't have done this.

On his feet in an instant, Cain's body transformed into a ripping battle bulk. A war cry filled his chest and he released it like sudden thunder. Lightning arched from each digit on his hands. His eyes went silver, gold, and then black.

"Transgressor! Betrayer! Befouler! Be damned!" he roared, imme�diately materializing armor to cover his nakedness and with his blade of Ausar in his fist.

Capillaries burst in his temples; blood was in his eyes. "Married? You blotted her from my world by a treacherous act of matrimony? In a church? In the Light?You -on hallowed ground? I will behead you and make her a widow!"

With one long lightning bolt that cracked and singed the air as it ejected from the tip of his blade, every marble bench along the edge of the Olympic-sized pool overturned and exploded into rubble. The four-poster, solid gold, king-sized bed flipped over and melted, start�ing a blaze behind him. Eight-foot marble vases hurled against the wall, shattering into shards of marble as though made of glass with a wave of Cain's massive arm. Pillars began to crumble. His guard sphinxes came alive at the front entrance and rushed in to assist him, only to be summarily beheaded, leaving confused, stricken expres�sions that their master had harmed them in their glassy eyes.

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