Tied to Darkness [Last Days #1]

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Summary

The end of days is approaching and the key to accelerating humanity's demise is hidden among the humans themselves... Mina has one goal: the worldwide acceptance that angels and demons truly exist. But fate has something bigger... which revolves around the forced marriage to a hot and dangerous man. Vergil isn't what he appears, neither a billionare businessman nor human, he lives to serve Lilith, the queen of Hell. However, an arranged marriage will change his life completely and leave him in charge of the most sought after creature in the entire universe: the Chosen One.

Genre:
Romance / Fantasy
Author:
Iris Velez
Status:
Excerpt
Chapters:
20
Rating:
4.8 9 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

Prologue

New York, 2009


The instant he set foot on his mansion’s grounds, Vergil was greeted by a sour-looking staff member. His mother must be in one of her famous moods. However, being the creature she was, it wasn’t a surprise! Lilith Larsa was the head of the Italian Mafia located in the United States, and that was only one of the many masks his mother wore to deceive the stupid humans. Her real self was the first demon ever created on this planet: Lilith, High Queen of Hell.

And as such, the High King Lucifer had entrusted her with a very important task: prepare the way for his arrival on Earth. This mission explained much of his mother’s obsession with excelling in creating chaos around her. After all, more chaos meant more souls that she could bring into their folds and offer to the Prince of Darkness.

“Boss?”

Marcus’ voice sounded nervous and he knew why. If there was one thing on the entire planet that Marcus Di’nardo was terrified of, it was Lilith Larsa. At five feet eight, the dark-haired man had the athletic body and agility of a street fighter, but when it came to facing his terrible mistress he was always fidgety. Something expected of his human condition.

“Boss, can I go home?” the male asked in a pleading voice, putting his hands together as if in prayer. That same childish attitude mixed in with his smooth, boyish looks were some of the reasons Vergil called him ‘boy’. “No offense, but the security staff is more sour than usual, which means Missus Larsa must be in an extremely awful mood, and I prefer not to take—”

“Get the hell out of here,” Vergil cut Marcus off before the stupid boy could say something about his mother that would piss him off. “I can deal with her alone.”

“Thanks, boss! That’s why I love you.” The dark-haired mortal embraced him, making kissing sounds by his ear.

“Oh, Gods,” Vergil exclaimed pushing the young man away. “You’re so gross!”

Watching Marcus waving good-bye and leaving the mansion, Vergil’s mind flashed back to their fateful encounter eight years ago. At that time Lilith wanted to monopolize all prostitution in New York, to use the whore houses as feeding grounds for her Lilus and Lilitus. Their special diet, after all, was based on human life forces.

During that time, she sent Vergil to convince a stubborn pimp to work for them. He didn’t remember the name of the establishment the pimp owned, but within that place, he met Di’nardo, who had been working as a bouncer at the time. It was obvious to Vergil that the boy hated his boss’ guts with a vengeance. The killer instinct in Marcus’ eyes … the desire to get rid of the pimp could be seen as bright as day, and Vergil figured that same instinct could be a particularly useful tool in so many ways. So, he offered Marcus the opportunity to work with him as a part of the family. As time flew and the young man scaled through the ranks, reaching the third-in-command position, they bonded as friends.

That boy looks harmless and cheerful, but when he gets angry it’s as if he transforms into a demon; one that leaves fear and destruction in his wake. I wonder …

As Vergil entered the mansion a slight tremor ran up his spine. This isn’t good. It’s as silent as a grave in here.

He started walking around the place, searching for someone who could reassure him that his mother hadn’t gone on a killing spree. When Vergil neared the kitchen area, the delicious aroma of grilled human flesh drifted from the dining room.

Maybe Lilith was just calmly eating her dinner.

Please, Gods of Old, I hope she’s eating and not killing off all the servants again! However, when Vergil entered the dining room, the only ones he found there were Lilith’s favorite bodyguards and her most trusted spy … and none of the creatures were in their human forms.

The bodyguards, two burly demons identical in looks, even in their human appearances, were Irdu Lili, the strongest type of incubus. But it was the fact that Nergal and Nockrish were twins, something extremely rare in hellspawn, that got them their jobs and the reason behind Lilith’s attachment to them, one that sometimes surpassed the professional boundaries.

On the other hand, the spy was a Lilitu, the weakest race among succubus, but that didn’t stop her from earning the respect of her queen through blood and hard work.

The bodyguards were eating a fillet mignon, at least Nergal was. His athletic brother was more occupied with the sexy, white-haired she-devil leaning over the table than in his food.

Oblivious to Vergil’s presence, the Lilitu reached out and stroked Nockrish lips as she bit hers.

Vergil had seen enough. Let’s find out what the hell is happening here. And scare the shit out of his servants in the process.

He cleared his throat loudly, making his presence known to the demons.

“Why aren’t you in your human forms?” he growled. “If someone were to see you …” He left the threat hanging in the air to let the demons imagine what would happen.

As a silent response to their prince’s commanding voice, the three demons instantly changed to their human forms. The brothers were in black suits while Ariashka flaunted a short, red dress that showed off her body. She quickly hopped down off the table and turned to leave the room, with a whispered, “Excuse me, Prince.”

After she left, Nockrish excused himself, too, and trailed after her. Alone, Nergal was left with no other choice but to answer the questions of his master.

“All the human staff was sent home early, shortly after you left the mansion, my liege,” Nergal informed in a submissive tone. “If it is possible, my lord, may I return to my true skin?”

“Yes, you may.” After the demon transformed, Vergil continued his interrogation. “Why was the staff sent home? And more importantly, who did it?”

“The queen did. I’m guessing she felt the premonition coming to her and wanted to avoid unnecessary bloodshed.”

“What do you mean, Nergal?”

“About two hours ago, the queen’s eyes glazed over. It looked as though she was going to have a vision. My guess is that she felt the symptoms this morning and sent everyone home because she didn’t know when the vision would hit her.”

“Or how she would react,” Vergil finished for him.

Suddenly, the room was filled with the bird-like cries of passion of a Lilitu. They could be heard, even through the thick walls.

“Damn you, Nockrish!” Anger flashed in Nergal’s blood-red eyes. “I told him not to fuck a Lilitu. The queen is not in any mood for this kind of mistake, especially when we are on duty, and he cannot afford to be knocked out cold for a few hours!”

The prince smiled wickedly. The younger twin was always getting in trouble for his carefree ways. Returning to his serious countenance, he asked, “Where’s my mother now?”

“She’s in her room,” Nergal replied. “She has been in there since the premonition hit her. My brother and I tried to enter, but the queen almost ripped Nockrish’s head off, so we left her alone.”

“I’ll go see her.”

“Then I’ll accompany you, my prince,” Nergal said with a steady voice, and yet his aura revealed the fear he refused to show.

When they arrived at the queen’s bedroom, Vergil tried to open the doors but found them sealed shut by his mother’s powers. Apparently, the vision had shaken her up. Vergil tried calling to her. However, the only response both he and Nergal got were her screams inside of their heads.

“Leave immediately! I shall not tell you a second time. Leave now or I swear I’ll rip off your pretty heads! I don’t care if you’re my son, Vergil. And, Nergal, I specifically told you I didn’t want anyone near my bedroom! Now leave.”

“Mother, please—” Vergil started, but she cut him off with a mind-shattering scream.

“I said go away!”

With a heavy sigh, he spun around and left the place, followed closely behind by the Irdu Lili.

Evening found Vergil sitting in the living room, looking through the glass window. The night was approaching, but the place seemed burdened by a sort of anxiety that you could almost taste. The reason was his mother’s vision, which must have been bad if she didn’t want to tell him about it, and her awful temper only confirmed his thoughts. In time, however, Lilith would speak of her premonition when she felt the need to do so. Until then, Vergil would just have to wait. Only then would he know what the future had in store for them.


Mina Argeneaux stood in front of her wall mirror finishing her makeup. Her dark hair had been pulled up into an elegant bun, leaving a few stray strands to curl around her face. Sparkling, star-like earrings graced her ears with a matching necklace adorning her neck. She wore a black silk blazer with a white blouse underneath, black silk pants, and matching black and white heels.

Now it’s time to get back to work.

She sat in front of her laptop and started revising her doctoral thesis. Time flew by while the computer screen buzzed with activity.

“That’s it! Now it’s perfect,” Mina exclaimed, typing the final corrections. Her gray eyes filled with mirth, and a smile curved her mouth as she hit the desktop. Unfortunately, in her enthusiasm, she stood too quickly, stumbling over the chair and falling into the bookshelves on her bedroom wall. She landed on her butt at the feet of the bookshelves. A few paperback novels fell with the impact, and when Mina moved to stand up, one last book fell, landing square on her head, then sliding down open on her lap.

“Ouch! That hurt!” she groaned, rubbing her throbbing head with one hand and picking up the book with the other. “What do we have here?”

“Only the Hell’s Key can open the gates of the fire realm and give its dwellers safe passage to the human plane.”

The mess around her forgotten, Mina settled herself cross-legged on the floor and took a peek at the book’s cover.

Myths and Tales of Heaven and Hell by Arthur Smith.

Mother’s last gift … She hadn’t used that book on her thesis because her mom’s death was still too fresh in her memory. It had already been two years since Marina’s passing, but every time Mina tried to read the book, tears flooded her eyes. This time it was different. It was as if the spirit of her mother was guiding her.

Mami, is this your wish? Is this what you want me to research?

“An angelic artifact in nature, it harms demons but it’s useless in the hands of angels. The Key is guarded by the Archangel Uriel and hidden away from all immortal hands. Only a human may find and use it on behalf of light or darkness. That is the curse of the Chosen One, to carry the burden of a decision on her or his shoulders because their decision will determine the fate of all.”

Mina jumped out of her skin when her alarm clock sounded. “Oh, shit! Only thirty minutes left for my presentation,” she cried, quickly getting her stuff ready to head out. “I’m so stupid! Getting distracted on the most important day of my life … how could I? Damn it, I’m not going to make it.”

Heading down the stairs at a dead run, she arrived at her car in record time, but the traffic slowed her down. As the minutes ticked by and the cars moved like slugs, she looked at her watch; twenty minutes left. At that rate, she would never make it in time and her dreams would dissolve into nothing, like chalk in acid. Mina could already picture the disapproving face of her mentor for her tardiness, as well as the disappointed look from her father. If she lost this presentation, she could kiss her mythology degree good-bye, as well as the chance to prove every single person who had laughed at her mother wrong.

The GPS suddenly spoke, advising her to take an alternate route, taking Mina out of her mental nightmare.

“It’s about time you helped me, maldita mierda,” she screamed at her car, and took the designated turn to a secondary street.

There were only minutes left, but thank God the traffic was lighter on this route. Now maybe she could arrive on time. Mina gripped the steering wheel tightly until her knuckles turned white from the pressure. Her nerves always made her feel like a train wreck, but since she was close to the university, she knew everything would be all right in just a few minutes.

Phew … I did it! I made it on time, the brunette thought, trying to calm her nerves as she straightened her dress and rearranged her hair.

Finally.

There she was, standing in front of the last obstacle to becoming a professional mythologist. If she passed this final test, Mina Argeneaux would have her degree. “Not if,” she corrected herself. “I will pass this test.” Then she would get the money to prove her thesis was right. I’ll be the very first person to prove that angels and demons really exist. Only then can I clean Mother’s memory. Only then …

However, the thought quickly left her mind as, out of the blue, ghostly hands touched her shoulders while intangible lips kissed her cheek. The sweet perfume of her mother enveloped her, and a cold but loving wind rustled her hair.

Mom.

Even her dead mother was rooting for her success. Tears threatened to fall, but Mina kept them in check. I will set things right for you, Mami. I promise.

With all the courage she could muster, Mina put her hand on the handle and opened the door.

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