by Cindy Jacks and Denysé Bridger
Part One is HERE
Vasya strolled toward them, stopping just long enough to take careful note of the symbols left behind to taunt them. Azazel was always a showman, and this was his signature, in case they’d been too thick to work it out on their own who was behind the disappearance of one of the guests.
He reached Cindy and the male at her side, a prickle of amusement tugging at one side of his mouth. Animosity was as pungent a presence as the brimstone. He lifted Cindy’s hand and dropped a kiss on her cold fingers. He held her gaze with his and smiled as he spoke, voice pitched low and comforting. “Saluti, bella signorina. È un piacere conoscerti finalmente, anche in queste circostanze.”
Rémy’s low growl drew his attention away, and his smile grew as he took full measure of the younger male. He was strong and passionate by nature, one who would be a formidable adversary, and a worthy brother in arms to those he respected. Vasya couldn’t resist a small prod, though, in response to the barely contained snarl Rémy was fighting. “So, you’re the whelp she adores so much?”
Rémy’s hand shot out faster than any mortal’s reflexes would ever allow, but Vasya was neither mortal nor young, and he had the other male’s wrist in a punishing grip before it landed the intended blow. Blue eyes widened in momentary surprise.
Vasya relented at Cindy’s small gasp of fright and he released Rémy’s wrist, bowing his head in brief respect and apology.
“The demon braved much to show himself in this way,” he observed a moment later. He crossed to the symbols on the floor, squatted, and ran a hand over the markings. “He hasn’t had her long, the resonance of this spell lingers.” He straightened up and his mood darkened. “Is anyone else missing?” he asked Cindy.
She was startled by the question. “I haven’t checked. Why would a demon take anyone from a writer’s convention?”
Rémy was already ahead of her and he turned. “If others are missing, then it means the demon is hungry for the power he gains from corruption. If it is only,” his voice faltered for only a heartbeat’s pause, “if it is only Denysé who was taken, then Azazel’s presence here is for revenge.”
Cindy paled to ashen, and she swallowed hard. “I’ll check to see if anyone else is missing.”
“Discreetly, bella.” She'd spun on her heel, but Vasya’s quiet directive made her glance back and nod.
So, this is hell?
Denysé looked around at the room she was locked in, and grimaced. The stench of sulfur-laden earth, and things she didn’t care to think too much about was nauseating. She paced, and tried to drown out the moaning voices that droned all around her. The cell she was in had no door, it was more a hole carved out of stone, and it radiated heat, an effective deterrent to any attempt to pound the walls. Then there was the sickening suspicion the cell itself might actually swallow her if she tried to escape.
She tried to recall what had happened, but it was confusing and incoherent in her memory. She’d gone back to the room to get their cameras, then she and Cindy were headed in to the “meet and greet” that was the official opening of the weekend’s fun. She barely gotten through the hotel room door when all the heat was leeched from the air, and a single blast of brimstone heralded the arrival of a monster.
She’d thought it was a joke. For about a minute. After she’d choked and gagged her way into unconsciousness, she’d awakened here. Wherever here was? She hugged herself and stared, slowly turning to look at every side of the space she was in. The effect was dizzying and disconcerting. She closed her eyes and held back a scream.
Rémy was right... I should have stayed home with him...
* * * * *
Cindy returned to the room a short while after leaving it. Rémy and Vasya had searched, both knowing there would be nothing to find. It was better than having to talk to each other.
“Écrivaine,” Rémy said the moment she came into the room. “What have you found out?”
“No one else is missing,” she informed them. “And no one noticed anything, or heard anything.” She stared from blue eyes that snapped with rage, to Vasya’s still, onyx gaze. Something passed between them, a dark understanding, and Cindy wondered how she’d keep Rémy from killing the Prince once he learned what she now suspected.
Part Three will take you back to: