Demon Gates (Helena Hawthorn Series #2)

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Stages Of Madness

Pain. Searing, mind-numbing, soul-shattering pain coursed through Lucious. An annoying voice buzzed in the distance, telling him the pain won’t last much longer. Then, a solid object plunged into his shoulder, and he hissed when the cold metal brushed his muscle tissue and bone in search of something.

Damned hunters. He imagined tearing Ben’s head off. There will come a time when I will have my chance.

The metal object retreated, and Lucious ground his teeth.

Red. Everything in his mind turned crimson and his throat, as well as his fangs, ached beyond comparison. Why did those fiends have to interrupt his meal? She tasted so good. That human wanted to be devoured by him.

“Lucious, can you…me?” the same annoying voice filtered past the pain and boiling rage.

He tried moving his head or lifting his eyelids, yet his limbs did not cooperate. Nothing seemed to work as he instructed. It suffocated him.

Someone lifted his left eyelid and a bright light shone in from above. He squirmed inwardly because he could not move a single muscle to prevent the onslaught of this new torture. When the light was moved away, and his vision cleared, a man’s face appeared—platinum hair, dark brows, and grey eyes full of concern. Lucious inhaled his scent. The man was also a vampire.

Is this vampire here to steal my prey? He would not let it happen. A defensive growl escaped Lucious’ dry lips, and the man’s hand moved out of sight.

“At last, you’re awake,” the man said. “The hunters injected you with a diluted colloidal silver solution. Your body would usually filter it out after you feed, but I can’t let you do that… God, this is a terrible predicament you are in, my friend.”

Lucious perked up at the word ‘feed’. That was what he wanted to do, what he needed to do. Just as he needed to find that witch and drain her dry. He wanted to bathe in the sweet nectar of her blood, for she promised herself to him. She was his.

The strange numbness dispelled and, once he was strong enough to move his muscles, he lunged for the man in a suit. The steel shackles held fast, biting into his wrists and binding him to the stone wall behind him.

“Release me!” Lucious shouted in a hoarse voice that bounced off the stone walls of the cell.

“Lucious, how do you feel?” the stranger asked.

Another growl came from deep within his chest and his eyes lit with a crimson glow. “Release me, vampire!” he yelled, yanking at the restraints.

“Don’t you recognise me?” When no response came from Lucious, he cussed and punched the nearest wall to him. “Damned hunters and that cursed Helena.”

Lucious’ thrashing halted. “Helena,” he whispered the name, rolling it off his tongue. That was the name his mind sought. She was the woman he wanted to devour. “Bring her to me…”

“Oh, you recognise the wench who made you this way.” The man sighed. “I won’t bring her here. I suggest you get comfortable because it is going to be a long week for you, old friend.”

Lucious glared at him. “You are no friend of mine if you are keeping me here.”

“Believe me, if I had another option I would take it. With your descent, you have no choice but to try burning the blood you took from her and others out of your system.”

Lucious’ head began to hurt as images of a young woman with wavy brown hair, which framed her pale heart-shaped face and the largest pair of hazel eyes he’d ever seen, resurfaced. Her beautiful eyes were polluted with the fear of him. He swallowed the bile ascending his throat and buried his head between his knees.

More images flooded through him: the hunters, Helena, the kiss they shared, and the peace that followed. It soothed some of the aches at the back of his skull, relinquishing the hold on his coherent thoughts.

“Alexander…” Lucious said in an agonised voice. “Is she well?”

A deep chuckled erupted from his friend as he lowered himself to sit on the tiled floor across the room from Lucious. “You have no regard for your well-being.”

Lucious raised his head, struggling against the urge to spring to his feet and attack his suppressor. “Answer me!”

“Alright. She is fine. I did my best not to throttle the overconfident female hunter, though. She and your human share the same quality that makes me want to snap a neck or two.”

Lucious pressed his back against the wall, enjoying the chill as it seeped into his flesh and cooled the burning in his wounded right shoulder. He glanced at it while saying, “Most likely because they are related.”

“One Helena is enough, but two? I fear that will bring an apocalypse on our heads,” Alexander said, chuckling.

A sharp pain shot through Lucious’ chest. He clutched the material of his T-shirt, tearing it at the shoulders. He arched his back and his head hit the wall. Panting and grunting, he slid to one side.

Alexander observed him with pity. “I didn’t want to tell you this, but they found out who has the demon-slaying blade. The hunters will most likely take Helena with them and try to use her as a bargaining chip since Reaver likes rare things. If you want to protect her, you must overcome this fast.”

Lucious gasped when another round of shocks hit his system. Wreathing on the floor, he willed his energy to keep his shields intact. He would not hinder her. He had to protect Helena from his mistakes.

“Save. Her,” Lucious begged between gasps.

“I’m sorry, Lucious, that I cannot do. To overcome this, you need a goal. I checked their flight booking. You have five days before they fly out to Vienna.” Alexander shot Lucious one last glance over his shoulder before he left him in the cell and locked the heavy, metal door behind him.

Lucious screamed out his fury until his throat hurt more from that than the thirst. He raked his nails along the tiles, breaking a few of them as he tried to suppress his urges.

I have to protect her. I have to fight…

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