Caught in the Devil's Hand
Published By: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc.
Published: Feb 21, 2007
ISBN # 9781419907838
Available in: Microsoft Reader, Mobipocket (.prc), HTML, Rocket, Epub, Adobe Acrobat
Caught in the Devil's Hand by Ruby Duvall - Romance>FantasyIn a society that decides your status by the color of your hair, black-haired Shumei clings to the bottom of the social ladder, forever doomed to slave away in the medicine field of a tiny mountain village. However, a catastrophic disease breaks out among their small population and she must provide treatment for the deadly fever. When her supply of medicine runs out, she is forced to make a trip to the medicine field, but traveling outside the village at night is almost certainly a death sentence.
Demons roam the woods and magic is believed to be one of the Damned Arts. Shumei nearly makes it back safely but is literally caught by a breathtakingly handsome man…who isn't really human. From that night onward, her dismal, isolated life radically changes.
Set in a fictional world based upon sixteenth-century Japan, Shumei's story overflows with powerful magic, mortal danger, shocking discoveries, hidden histories and soul-shaking passion.
Reader Advisory: This story contains some light f/f touching.
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An Excerpt From: CAUGHT IN THE DEVIL?S HAND
Copyright ? RUBY DUVALL, 2007
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing,
Breaking into a run, she whimpered as she shot down the
path, kicking up dirt as she went. The air sawed in and out of her lungs,
and she almost cried with relief as the clearing came up again. It meant
that, at a run, she would be back home in five minutes. The clearing was
large, as if a great house might have stood there ages ago. It was now
covered with thick, fragrant grass, a sea of green broken only by a thin
dirt path. She and Oka often played tag
here. On summer days when the grass was very tall, they would play
Breaking away from the tree line, she didn?t let up
speed as she entered the clearing. Her eyes stayed on the dark hole from
which she had run earlier. She didn?t want to look behind her or to the
sides, afraid that another set of eyes glowing red with evil malice would
be staring back at her.
But it was too late.
A movement from out of that dark hole drove fear into
the base of her spine, and a gasp of fright doubled as a gasp of air as her
lungs burned with effort. The world slowed down as her feet stopped moving.
Her body?s momentum carried her only a couple more feet, leaving her in the
middle of the clearing. The first thing her brain could process was the
enormous black horse, gleaming with sweat in the moonlight. Her heartbeat
sounded slow in her ears, but she knew that it had never pounded as fast or
as hard as it did now. The basket fell from her fingers, landing in the
grass next to her.
Her eyes involuntarily looked at the rider and before
her was the most handsome man that she had ever laid eyes upon. She
literally felt something inside of her twist the second she looked at his
face. He seemed strong, warrior-like, but he wasn?t as burly as the field
workers. His jaw was sharp and well-defined and his smooth, pale skin
seemed to glow, though Shumei knew that it must
have been a trick of the moonlight.
His hair was a shocking, bright white. As white as her
hair was black, it was cut just above his shoulders, flying free in the
slight breeze and seeming silkier and softer than her ill-used locks. It
was too dark to see his eyes at all, a very scary image, but she knew in
her gut that his eyes would be gray to match his pale, pale hair. The clean
line of his brow ridge, currently set at a determined and serious angle,
sat above the dark pockets where his eyes were hiding. His mouth, gifted
with wide, thin lips, was expressionless beneath his slightly hawkish nose.
The world slammed back into place as the horse belted
out its harsh scream. It and its rider came sprinting at her, and the only
thing that made her react was the thought of Oka
dying. Bending her knees and grasping for the handle of the basket, she
shot to the side, hoping to run into an area too thick with trees for a
horse to enter. It was all for naught though. She saw the horse come up on
her left side as something slammed into her back, sending her to the
ground. The basket tumbled forward, and only the wooden lid kept the herbs
from spilling out helter-skelter.
The air in her lungs, what there was of it, was knocked
out of her body as she landed. Even worse was the heavy weight on her back,
which made it very difficult to take in new air. The weight lifted quickly,
and she was roughly tossed onto her back before the weight returned to pin
her once again.
?Ahh, one so young as you has
not crossed my path in many years,? the demon said slowly, his voice deep
and silky. She had never before heard such a wonderful, calming voice and
it scared her most of all. She sucked in breaths of air, extremely winded
from her sprint and her fall.
?Wh-what are you going to do
to me?? she asked, too frightened to say it with any more bravado than that
of a shaky lilt. The demon?s exquisite features filled her eyes, and she
gasped as she realized that his eyes indeed were a very light color, but
their exact shade would remain a mystery under the pale moonlight. He gave
her a lopsided smile.
She was finally able to lift her arms, having caught her
breath somewhat, and vainly tried to push him off her. However, he was too
heavy and determined for her to escape his weight. His body lay mostly on
her right side, one leg between hers and one hand pressed to the ground
next to her head.
?So frightened,? he purred, sending chills down her
limbs. ?There is no need to be frightened, little girl. I will give you a
present,? he softly announced, lifting his hand and stroking her cheek. Her
heart beat wildly and she recognized that she was thrilled rather than
frightened, but she wasn?t stupid enough to think that her life wasn?t in
danger. No doubt this devastatingly handsome creature was nothing but a
demon. Even so, she had the uncanny urge to nuzzle his palm. Instead she
simply closed her eyes at his soft touch and tightened her grip on his
What was happening to her?
?I don?t want a present. I just want to continue on my
way,? she pleaded as she opened her eyes again, trying to ignore the part
of her that was begging to stay right where she was. Handsome or not, he
was not human, a fact that she had to continuously repeat inside her head.
No human could be that gorgeous.
His spicy scent teased her nostrils, wafting up subtly
from his skin, and she felt a strange need to lean into him and inhale. It
was somehow familiar, like seeing a childhood friend years after she had
moved away?not that she had had any childhood friends.
She somehow wanted to believe him when he said she had
no reason to fear him, but the practical side of her mind screamed at her
not to give in to his good looks and calming voice. She felt panic
fluttering in her chest as two sides of her mind warred against each other.
One side wanted him to continue speaking to her with that sublime voice and
the other wanted to fight him and run away.
?All women would want this present, little girl.? He
leaned closer to her, bringing his face nearer to hers.
?I?I must return home. My brother?s life is at stake,?
she whispered, seeing how close he was to her. He didn?t answer for a few
seconds, but then he finally said, ?I am not without compassion, so I shall
make a trade with you. For being in the right place at the right time, I
promise to leave you here once we are finished. Consider that to be my
?F-finished with what?? she tremulously asked, though
some inner part of her had an inkling of what he referred to.
?I shall give you pleasure, little girl, and it shall
feed me. I will take you as men have taken women for the span of human
history and you shall cry out in ecstasy this night.?