Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Brotherhood Teaser!

For those of you who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of A Warrior's Betrayal, I have a treat for you: A portion of the first chapter! Enjoy, and don't forget to leave your thoughts! I'd love to hear them :)


Chapter One

A roar born of true rage filled the narrow alleyway as a flash of searing heat pierced muscle and scraped past bone. The demon’s ochre eyes widened as Behr closed his fist around his own and slowly drew him closer until they were standing nose to nose. Baring his teeth in a vicious snarl, Behr wrenched the demon’s curved blade from his thigh and, curling the demon’s wrist back in on him, he returned the gesture with a sharp thrust, driving the blade into his chest. With a sizzle and pop and a brief flash of light, the demon disintegrated. 

Brushing his leathers clean of demon soot, Behr retrieved his weapons and slipped them back into the scabbard on his chest and at his waist. A deep inhale and a moment later, he materialized just outside the door to his new, 21st-century two-story Craftsman, smoothing his hair and straightening his collar, trying his best to look presentable. There wasn’t shit he could do about the blood running down his leg, but that wasn’t anything new. 

There had always been a bit of a demon problem no matter what corner of the world you were in, but since The Gate cracked open a couple months back, an untold number had managed to escape. If he had to guess, he would say thousands, maybe more. All he knew was that the streets were teaming with the little shits, and he was on a mission to wipe them all out. So far, he had spent every night combing residential neighborhoods, alleys, bars; especially the bars. Hey, you never know. Demons liked hot chicks in strappy leather just as much as the next guy. 

The kicker was that Erias was still missing, more than likely never coming back. He had made some sort of deal with the Prince of Darkness, and considering how he went out—all sorts of dramatic flare—well, he didn’t want to waste any more time dwelling on that. He had much more pressing matters to be concerned about these days, such as the fact that his brother’s woman was shacked up at his place, too afraid to leave the house, and was sleeping in his bed every night.  As though he could ward off the nightmares that plagued her, she pressed her tight little body all up on him, making sleep hopeless while leaving him with feelings that he would rather not examine too closely. To top it all off, he was perpetually tired, horny, and irritable. 

Christ on a cracker, he was turning into a woman! 

One more sweep of his leathers told him that he was as clean and put together as he was going to get—slaying demon spawn and getting stabbed in the process had a bad habit of turning out that way. With an unsteady hand, Behr pulled out his keys, slipped the right one into the lock and twisted the tumblers into position. It would have been easier to just flash inside, but he always needed that added moment to pull himself together and come down after a night of back alley fighting. The door opened with a swish and he stepped inside. 

Behr stood in the doorway leaking vital bodily fluid all over the clean white tile, and he couldn’t care less. As he stepped into the living room, he saw Cheyenne with her riot of auburn waves tumbling down her back as she sat on the couch ingesting something on the television with one of those rare, but beautiful smiles gracing her lovely face.  It was enough to make any man stare death in the face and laugh. And whoa, where had that thought come from? 

Stomping the errant thought to dust, Behr glanced at the shaggy blonde head of his old pal Dehstroy, who reclined beside her. When he and Erias had ventured into the pits of Tartarus to save Cheyenne, the last thing he’d expected to find was a withered shell of a man he once looked up to for guidance and support. 

With no home to go back to and no one left alive to care for him, Behr had opened his door freely, but nothing could have prepared him for the man he had become. Normally, a person would expect that a man who had spent centuries in a demon prison and experienced all kinds of unimaginable torture would have become hardened and cold. Not Dehstroy. In fact, he was much as Behr remembered him; cool, calm and collected—the very picture of control. If he didn’t already know that the guy hadn’t been around for the sixties love and peace movement, he would peg him for a hippie. Except, when you got to know him, you realized he was much more Encino Man than flower power.
Dehstroy had missed so much that he was completely out of touch. Everything that he took for granted, Dehstroy was only now discovering. He had to treat him with kid gloves, ease him into the world one nudie bar at a time, or risk an incident like last time, something he didn’t even want to think about. Still gave him nightmares.
He shuddered a little. 

Despite all that, there were still worse things to come out of Dehstroy’s time in hell. For instance, the fact that, now that his tongue had grown back, he simply didn’t know when to shut the hell up. In a way, he really was like a kid. He questioned everything from music to street signs. Of course, Behr understood that it must be pretty hard to be thrust into a world that had evolved by leaps and bounds, rather than being eased into its changes the way he had. The guy was just trying to get his bearings, and one day he would, but that didn’t mean that Behr didn’t entertain fantasies here and there of cutting his tongue out again just to get a little peace and quiet. He was also the reason why he sometimes chose to go solo like he had tonight. It wasn’t that he was ditching the man, but, yeah, he basically was. Every now and again a man just needed to break away and be alone with his thoughts, and Dehstroy respected that, proving that even though most days the guy grated his every nerve ending raw, he was still cool peeps. 

Despite his constant irritation, though, Cheyenne seemed to enjoy his company, and that was really all that mattered. 

“I’m gonna go change,” Behr informed them both, and got a little wave and a grunt in return. “I’m glad you’re finally home,” he grumbled in a parody of a woman’s voice as he trudged past them and climbed the stairs with care, each step sending a flare of pain shooting down his leg. “I missed you every moment you were away.” 

“Wah, wah, wah,” Dehstroy mockingly tossed over his shoulder, and didn’t that just make Behr want to turn back around and give the old fart a kick in the gut. But Cheyenne would kill him for getting blood on the carpet again, so he decided to play nice and just flip the old man off instead.
“Boys!” came Cheyenne’s warning. 

It was as if Chy had eyes in the back of her head. No way could she have seen his response. Behr smiled as he reached the top step and headed for the bathroom. Nothing like a woman to keep the men in line.  

It didn’t take him long to wash away the blood, tend his wounds and redress himself in a pair of comfortable, loose-fitting pajama pants. Behr silently praised himself for his clean efficiency. It seemed he had become quite a pro after all these millennia. 

Finding his comrades still in the living room, Behr eased back into the couch—being careful not to tear the fresh stitching in his thigh—sandwiching Cheyenne between his big body and Dehstroy’s.

“What are we watching?” he asked, but didn’t have to wait for an answer.

“Everything seems so unreal.”
“You, sir, are the most phantom-like of all.”

Behr groaned. “Another poorly made Bronte movie, ladies?” 

Cheyenne spared him a plaintive look, and Dehstroy ignored the cutting remark. “I don’t understand your aversion, Brother. As one who lived it, I find it to be a rather soothing, albeit somewhat distressing, reminder of a time long passed, where things were simpler, time moved at a steady pace, and the women were genteel while the men were well-groomed and mannered.”

Shaking his head, Behr’s eyes didn’t leave the screen as he spoke. 

“In case it has escaped you—and considering your advanced age, it certainly may have—I also recall those days, and often fondly.” 

Hell, when had he reverted back to proper English? If he had a cup of tea on hand, he wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to find his pinkie angling upward. 

“Look, the point is, there are like, what, twenty versions of Jane Eyre?” He looked to Cheyenne for confirmation, but she just shrugged, clearly unwilling to join their argument. “I have yet to find one suitable to the book. It seems to me that the Bronte sisters, reclusive and unworldly as they were, fashioned better drivel than the people who merely scooped up the material and put it to film.”

Dehstroy’s eyes darkened. “Did you just call this…masterpiece….’drivel’?” 

Behr’s body tensed, readying for a possible fight. 

“Boys!” Cheyenne finally cut in. She gave them each a hard stare, the longest of which lingered on Behr, as if he was the instigator! 

Behr’s eyes widened with feigned innocence. “What?”

“Don’t what me, mister,” she chided. “You’re always picking. Now, I want everyone to shush it so I can finish this movie. Got it?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Behr and Dehstroy said like a couple of scorned children, and turned back to the movie. Twenty minutes later, and he still couldn’t get into it. He glanced over Cheyenne’s head at Dehstroy, and felt his face twist wryly. There he sat watching his old mentor, who was capable of single-handedly taking down an entire army with only a sword, drying his misty eyes on his shirtsleeves. Oh, how the mighty had fallen! It was both appalling and painful to witness. 

Cheyenne sniffed, and Behr’s gaze fell to her face. A lone tear broke free and streaked down her cheek. His chest constricted at the sight, and he threw his arm around her shoulders, drawing her closer and assuming that big brother roll once again. 

And there it is! A Warrior's Betrayal is finishing up editing as we speak. Are you all as excited as I am??

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