eBook Details


Forged in Fire

Series: The Vessel Trilogy , Book 1.0
By: Juliette Cross | Other books by Juliette Cross
Published By: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Published: Jan 27, 2015
ISBN # 9781619224919
Word Count: 98,702
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Eligible Price: $5.50

Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Epub, Mobipocket (.mobi)

Categories: Romance>Paranormal/Horror


Forged in Fire (The Vessel Trilogy) by Juliette Cross - Romance>Paranormal/Horror eBook

She never knew this demon world existed. Now she just wants to survive it.

The Vessel Trilogy, Book 1

Genevieve Drake never needed a man to come to her rescue. Not until the night of her twentieth birthday, when some dude nearly chokes her to death in an alley behind a New Orleans Goth club. And a hot stranger splits the guy in half, rips a monster from inside, and incinerates it into ash.

The hunky rescuer? Jude Delacroix—Dominus Daemonum, Master of Demons, now her guardian, whether she likes it or not. But she’s seriously beginning to like it.

Her would-be murderer turns out to be only the first of many minions of the demon prince, Danté, who has all kinds of lascivious and sadistic plans. Which means when the formidably beautiful Jude offers his protection, Genevieve has no problem accepting it.

For Jude and his fellow demon hunters tell her she is a Vessel, one who is born to serve the Light, but can be corrupted into a weapon of darkness. And to survive, she must trust a man whose unearthly eyes promise heaven…but whose powers unleash hell.

Warning: Contains a dark and brooding demon hunter who harbors even darker secrets, a snarky heroine who’s being hunted by every demon in the underworld, and a sadistic demon prince with a fancy for violent sexual encounters.
Reader Rating:   3.0 starstarstar (3 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating:   liplip
Copyright © 2015 Juliette Cross
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

The music pumped hard and loud, wavering between old-school classics and modern tunes. Mindy suddenly squealed with delight. I knew why without asking. The Cure’s song “Fascination Street” started thrumming all around us. As much of a Barbie Doll as she was, Mindy had eclectic taste in music, and anything by The Cure required complete adoration. Taking my beer with me, I followed her back onto the floor, squeezing through the sweaty bodies.

Unfortunately, Steven did too. Persistence—I suppose that is a virtue in some people. Right now, it was just annoying. I sipped on the Abita to avoid talking to him and moved to the slow beat. Mindy and David shuffled off together, locked in an embrace. I feigned interest, pretending to listen to Steven yammer about who-knows-what, but all I wanted was to peer behind him at Mr. Rugged and Beautiful.

He hadn’t moved, still watching from his solitary post with hooded eyes. Actually, from here, I couldn’t really tell if his eyes were directed at me or simply in my general vicinity.

Oh crap! Here came sandy-haired gyrating boy again, more earnest than ever. His hands found my hips, quickly moving south.

“Back off!” I shouted over the music, elbowing him in the ribs.

Not too hard, but hard enough to make the average guy get the hint. He didn’t.

“Dude, did you hear her? Back off!” Steven stepped in.

For once, I was thankful he was present. Steven grabbed the guy’s shoulder, but Sandy-hair pushed Steven so hard he fell through the crowd into the DJ’s stage. Other dancers sidestepped and turned back to their partners, probably thinking him drunk. Sandy-hair swiveled to me. A cold expression shuddered across his face. I stepped back, but he caught my wrist in an unbreakable grip. He pulled me hard against his chest, knocking my bottle to the floor, pinning my arms under his. He grinned. Primal fear flared inside me. Something was very wrong here. Again, a flash of red skimmed across his eyes. Was I already tipsy from half a bottle of beer?

“Let her go,” a deep voice rumbled directly behind me.

Sandy-hair tore his gaze from mine. One glance at the deep-voiced person over my shoulder, and shock skittered over his expression. Or was it fear? He bared his teeth like a cornered animal, then let me go, backing away toward the exit of the club.

I twisted around, looking up, way up, into the face of Mr. R-and-B standing a head taller than me. I was five eight and wearing boots. Dark eyes, so dark they were almost black. An unreadable expression set in harsh lines. I couldn’t form a coherent thought, much less a sentence. From far away, he was stunning. Up close, I couldn’t even breathe. He gazed down at me for what seemed like an eternity while lights and music pumped around us. Captivating. Hypnotizing. Was he putting me under some spell? Why couldn’t I think straight? My mouth hung agape as I tried to regain composure.

Finally, he spoke. “Are you all right?”

Me? No! I’m about to need resuscitation from lack of oxygen. Preferably mouth-to-mouth. And from you, please.

“Yes. I’m fine,” I whispered, clearing my throat.

All of a sudden, it was very hot in here. Where was that beer?

He stared at me a moment longer. He appeared to be somewhere in his late twenties or early thirties, but something in those dark depths made him seem so much older. His olive skin reminded me of warmer climates; not here in Cajun country but somewhere distant, exotic. Wavy dark brown hair hung loosely across his forehead and to the nape of his neck. He hadn’t shaved recently, and man, oh man did I want to run my fingers across that scruffy jawline. I realized I was staring, no, gawking at him. A ghost of a smile flickered across his face. Without saying anything else, he pivoted and headed for the exit, which was quite a pleasant view.

By this time, Steven was back at my side, scowling.

“Where’s that dude? I’m gonna smash his face in!”

Yeah. Whatever.

I couldn’t figure out exactly what just happened. Of course I was thankful Mr. R-and-B showed up, for more than one reason. There was something very wrong with Sandy-hair. Maybe he was on drugs. Ecstasy could make people very touchy-feely, so I was told. The way he glared at me, the sheer menace in those strange-colored eyes—disturbing to say the least. Must be the laser lights in here.

I waved the bartender over and downed the beer the moment it was in my hands, I tried to chill out. Glancing back at the dance floor, I saw David half carrying Mindy toward the bar with a rip in her jeans at the knee.

“Mindy! What happened?”

“Fell and twisted it.” She winced with each step. I pulled up a stool.

“Let me go get the car,” said David. “I’ll pull it around.”

“No, David,” Mindy whined in her lilting drunk voice. “Stay with meeee.” She hooked her arm tighter around his neck. One too many appletinis.

“I’ll go.” I set my beer on the bar. “Wait here.”

Mindy grabbed my arm. “Sorry.” She pouted with glazed eyes. “Didn’t mean to ruin your birthday.”

“You didn’t.” I smiled. “Be right back.”

“I’ll come with you.” Steven took David’s keys and followed me. We pushed through the crowd back to the entrance, passing by big-and-beefy at the door.

“Later, Sunshine,” I called with a wave.

He nodded with a thin smile. Not a soul walked the street. I found it sort of strange to have a bar located in the more industrial end of town. But it was an eccentric place. Maybe that’s what they were going for. Exclusivity, to make it more appealing. A gust of wind whooshed by, lifting my hair. I wrapped my arms around myself as we angled down the side street toward the car.

“You cold?” asked Steven behind me.

“No.” But something made me shiver. “You have the keys?”

“Yeah, right—”

I heard the keys jingle and fall to the pavement, then a thump. I spun to find Steven slumped against the wall. Unconscious. Before I could register what happened, my body slammed up against the brick wall behind me. Pinned in place by none other than Sandy-hair, his hand grasping and squeezing my throat.

“Keep still.” Voice low and gravelly. “Don’t scream.”

As if I could. How could I, of all people, get myself into a defenseless position? I knew how to fend off an attack in a hundred different ways, but he already had me in such a tight grip. He crushed me against the wall, choking the life out of me. I stared up at him, hoping to memorize his face for a police report later. If there was a later. Spots hazed my vision, though I definitely recognized those hate-filled eyes, blazing blood-red down at me. What the hell?

“Such a pretty one.” A guttural murmur. “Such a shame to have to kill you.”

Kill me? What! I squirmed, trying to pull free. Useless. A sinister hissing laugh in my ear. Lightheaded. Dark spots at the corner of my vision. I couldn’t see anything anymore. I drifted. I thought how sad my father would be that I died in such a violent way as I slipped further into oblivion. I thought of my mother.

Suddenly, I gulped air back into my lungs. I was free of him, sliding down the wall, feeling my way along the cold brick behind me. A dark shape loomed, grappling with my attacker. Finally catching my breath, chest still heaving, I focused to see a shadowed figure lifting my would-be killer by the throat off the ground, holding him midair. His words confused me even more.

“Stop human-hopping, and come out to play.”

I knew that deep voice from the dance floor: R-and-B. Sandy-hair held on to my hero’s arms. He laughed that wicked laugh again.

“Make me,” he hissed.

“I was hoping you’d say that.”

R-and-B placed his free hand on the guy’s forehead, still holding him aloft. He whispered something I couldn’t hear. Sandy-hair screamed in agony. His body blurred. A second head twisted, separated from the first. How was that even possible? The second one was malformed and hideous with deep-set eyes, no nose at all and gnashing fangs. R-and-B pulled the monstrous head, slowly ripping a writhing, ghastly creature from inside Sandy-hair, letting the human host slump to the pavement. The monster screeched and hissed as my dark rescuer chanted inaudible words. Tiny hairs on my arms rose with a rippling chill. An aura of flickering golden light swept wide above his head and shoulders, beaming off his back.

I rubbed my eyes, sure I’d been slipped some mind-altering drugs in the club. R-and-B whispered more vehemently, words I couldn’t quite hear in another language, though they sounded familiar. The creature screamed, twisted, unable to free itself. The size of a small child with bony, spindly limbs and gnashing teeth, the thing beat and scratched and clawed the air. I heard the final words of the creature’s captor, his aura flickering like flame.

“Go back to hell.”
Reader Reviews (1)
Submitted By: blueisland23 on Feb 8, 2015
This is the first story in The Vessel Trilogy. I enjoyed the story, the heat between the two main characters and the different take on the angels and demons mythology.

Forged in Fire

By: Juliette Cross