by Traci Douglass
Blood Ravagers Book Three
Reverend “Rev” Walker, expected some backlash after he foiled The Council’s attempts to overthrow the Blood Ravager Biker Gang. What he hadn’t expected was to wake up in the last place he ever wanted to see again—a dank cell of The Council’s Siberian dungeon. Drained and chained, he faces certain death if he can’t escape from the hellish prison. Now, his only means of escape depends on him accepting help from a fellow prisoner, a woman whose very existence is a lie and the only one capable of awakening Rev’s long-dormant heart.
Claire Deveraux is Dygarian, a race of shadow-shifters who have been slandered and hunted to extinction by The Council. But Claire has used her years of enslavement well, reading her captors’ secret texts and hearing their whispered secrets. Now, after being locked up for a crime she didn’t commit, she plans to use her knowledge of the dungeon’s maze-like interior to gain her freedom, or die trying. Then a new prisoner arrives, a man Claire has dreamed of and knows in her heart is her destined mate, if only she can break through his walls.
On the run and threatened from all sides, will Rev and Claire learn to trust each other and their growing feelings for one another before it’s too late?
Genre: Paranormal RomancePurchase link(s): Amazon iTunes Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Shifters, Vampires, Demons, Psychics, Bikers, Motorcycle Gangs, Suspense, Fantasy
Release Date: April 13, 2017
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Excerpt & More
Rest… With a sigh, he leaned his head against the rough stone. They’d taken his hat, his clothes, everything he owned, except for the filthy loincloth slung around his hips. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d fed, bathed, seen the sun or the moon.
Time had lost all meaning.
He prayed for a few hours of sleep before they came for him again and the torture started anew.
“Hello?” a voice whispered through the shadows, so quiet it sent a shiver down Rev’s spine.
Rev glanced around, but spotted nothing. He was alone.
Probably a hallucination.
“Hello? Can you hear me?”
His head snapped up. He searched the interior of his cell again. “Who’s there?”
“You’re alive.” The voice sounded hesitant and decidedly… female.
“Unfortunately, yes.” He strained against his bonds, to no avail. “Who are you?”
She laughed, his mystery woman. “The one who will help you escape.”
The blood in Rev’s veins ignited, as if touched by a lit match. His heartbeat thumped loudly in his ears, faster, faster, the need to break his restraints, stalk to the bars of his cell and rip them to shreds, overwhelming him. He needed to see her, would die if he couldn’t.
An extreme reaction, especially for him.
The uniqueness made it no less uncomfortable or unstoppable. From the first word, his entire universe had centered on this woman. The huskiness of her tone, the promise of absolute pleasure, the come-hither seduction that made his cock grow hard…
Roaring with frustration, he yanked with all his might, but still his restrains held.
Dropping his head to his chest, Rev squeezed his eyes shut.
The Council. They must have done something to him, given him something that turned him into a feral animal, made him into nothing but a sex fiend. Never, in all his long eons of life, had he ever felt such lust, such desire.
Worse, he hadn’t even seen his phantom lady. Her appearance? A question mark, just like her voice. Yet, somehow, the tantalizing unknown only intensified his obsession. So much that for five minutes in her company, he would’ve risked annihilation.
And for that reason alone, he deserved another beating by the guards.
He had a mission here, a purpose, and it didn’t involve fucking.
“Hello?” she said again. “Talk to me, please. Tell me why you’re here.”
Such longing in that tone. The same longing that clawed through him.
Blood lust rose into a frenzy, slamming against Rev’s skull, desperate to resurface, to suckle, to taste…
Another first. His inner vamp had long ago gone silent in the face of the Council’s torture and training methods. He swallowed hard and forced words past his constricted throat. “Can’t.”
Scuttling noises moved closer to the door of the next cell. “Why? Why won’t you tell me?”
Her desperation matched his.
“I’m here because I chose to be here.” The words exploded from him, bitter, cutting.
Truth. From his initiation into the Blood Ravagers biker gang back in Salvation, Wyoming, he’d known it would only be a matter of time until the Council’s numerous spies reported his whereabouts.
Still, even expecting their attack, he’d been shocked by their audacity.
One minute he’d stood on the top of the Schwartzman Library Building in Manhattan, prepared to help complete his mission for the gang, and the next he’d been chained to a wall in the Council’s Siberian headquarters as Elon had used his powerful dark magic to slowly peel the flesh from Rev’s bones, strip by tiny strip, until he’d passed out from the agony.
Now, he only hoped his sacrifice had not been in vain. He hoped Dex and Liz had defeated their enemies and made it back to the gang’s club, Seven, in Salvation, alive. Hoped they’d gotten the information Dante needed to complete the Oracle binding ceremony and that even now the gang was stronger, more secure, better defended against the Council’s retaliation—an epic attack that was sure to come.
“Tell me,” she demanded. “Tell me why you would willingly come to this place.”
Rev didn’t know the woman’s name or if she was human or otherworld. He only knew he’d given up everything, gotten himself thrown in here, and now he needed to find a way to make it count. No matter if he’d been in these dungeons a day or a century.
“My reasons are my own,” Rev said, having learned long ago not to trust anyone or anything inside these walls. “They are not your concern.”
The female huffed. “And yet you take their beatings and do nothing to stop them.”
“Yes.” He croaked.
And in return, Dante and the gang would have a fighting chance to gather their strength and their resources. If the Council members were focused on Rev, then that meant they weren’t focused on the gang.
Besides, his suffering didn’t matter. Hell, it had stopped mattering so long ago Rev had forgotten. Just one more casualty of his time spent working as an assassin for the very people who now would kill him. Once upon a time, he’d been their top killer, responsible for more hits against the Council’s enemies than anyone else, ever. But the day he’d walked away from all the senseless brutality and destruction had been the day he’d signed his own death warrant.
Given that kind of unforgivable past, what was a little extra torture now?
“Fine. I don’t care about your reasons,” the female said. “I only care about escaping this hellhole.”
Rev shifted his position where he sat on the cold, hard ground, careful not to wrench his side and reopen the gaping wound where Elon had sliced into him and flayed his organs. It was just now starting to heal, pain searing through his gut as his intestines knit back together.
“Ignoring me?” she asked. “Do you have any idea what I am?”
He stared straight ahead into the darkness. Didn’t much matter, not in this place.
Down here, they were all the same.
“My name is Claire Deveraux and I have served the Council for two centuries. I am Dygarian, the last of my race. I will see the outside world once before I perish or die trying.”
A shadow shifter?
She was rare indeed. Her kind had the power to become invisible, allowing them complete anonymity. Also, they could become one with the elements around them.
Per Jareth’s orders, Rev had participated in the long-ago raids on the last surviving Dygarian villages, helped bring her people into bondage within these palace walls, shackled them to their fate just as he was now shackled himself.
The irony was not lost on him.
Her name didn’t ring true though. The Dygarians had their own language, full of guttural grunts and growls that would’ve made the Romulans proud.
“Claire Deveraux,” he said. “That’s a strange choice for your kind.”
“I picked it myself. Never knew my birth name. Not sure I even had one.” She paused. “What should I call you?”
“Are you a member of the clergy?”
He was about as far from holy as a creature could get. “My friends call me Rev.”
A soft, lonely sigh escaped her. “Why are you in here, Rev?”
To die, most likely, if he couldn’t break these restraints somehow. It would only be a matter of time before the guards came to collect him again, dragging him back up the stone stairs to Elon’s torture chamber.
“Before you answer,” she added, “you should know I would rather save an enemy who tells me the truth than a so-called friend who lies.”
Rev had to wonder if her sentiments would remain so admirable if she knew exactly who he was, how he’d been responsible for her enslavement within these walls. Then again, it was nice to set his troubles aside, just for these few moments, and enjoy this brief solidarity with her. After all, he too had no real home, only distant memories of his real family, no real hope of escape beyond these walls.
Trapped as they were in these Council dungeons, built to hold even the strongest of otherworlders, it seemed there was nothing either of them could do but marinate in their fury, growing more helpless and weak each day as their emotions grew darker and darker.
In the end, they would both pray for insanity.
Given that bleak forecast, not telling her the truth about his goals seemed pointless. “I am here…to eradicate the Council.”
Silence. Oppressive, cold, surrounded him, heavy as a death shroud.
Eventually Rev spoke again, just to hear something other than his own raspy breath. “I was once forced to work for them too, but I deserted my post nearly a century ago. The Council have hunted me down since, waiting for the day they would punish me for my sins.”
He shifted, lancing pain shooting upward from his injured side and jarring him back to reality. What the hell am I doing? He didn’t know Claire, sure as hell didn’t trust her. At least he’d stopped himself before mentioning Dante or Seven or the Blood Ravagers gang. For all he knew, she’d been planted by the Council to glean his secrets.
“I see,” she said, the two quiet words sending a fresh rush of lust straight through his system.
It had been millennia since he’d had any carnal stirrings, even longer since he’d craved fresh, warm blood. Yet this woman had made him desire both in a span of seconds.
The Council’s wicked trickery had to be behind this. There was no other explanation.
She could be my mate.
At the idea, his cock hardened and his skin tingled and… fuck!
He nearly screamed in frustration. Even if, somehow, this strange siren had awakened his long dormant passions and was his fated mate, there was no way she’d ever willingly be with him. Not with his legacy of barbaric cruelty, not with his past filled with murder and mayhem and masterful obliteration of any opposition to Council edicts—including Claire’s people.
For all those long years, women had been nothing but an afterthought… until he’d needed release. Even then, he’d usually been too rough, too harsh with his chosen lovers. He’d been a vicious mercenary, never allowing his emotions to get the better of him.
Now, though, he would’ve traded what little remained of his tattered soul for a moment of contact with his mystery woman.
“Rev?” Despite the strain in Claire’s voice, his body continued to pulse with the same raw hunger.
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Be on the lookout for Traci Douglass's future release(s): When Hermes Met Eos in the Crazy Little Spring Called Love anthology coming May 2017
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