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The Darkest Captive (Lords of the Underworld #14.5)
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For centuries, Galen the Treacherous has been the most hated immortal in the Underworld. With good reason! This bad boy of bad boys has lied, stolen, cheated and killed with abandon. Possessed by the demons of Jealousy and False Hope, he has always lived for a single purpose: destroy everything.
Then he met her.
Former demon turned human femme fatale — Legion Honey — sought to kill Galen, but ended up parting with her virginity instead. Afraid of their sizzling connection, she ran away…and ended up trapped in hell, tortured and abused in the worst of ways. Now she’s free, and a shell of herself, afraid of her own shadow.
Galen’s hunger for Legion has only grown. Now the warrior with nothing to lose must help her rekindle the fire that once burned inside her. But as desires blaze white-hot, will Legion run again? Or will the unlikely pair succumb to love at long last?
**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**
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One Thousand and One Dark Nights
Once upon a time, in the future…
I was a student fascinated with stories and learning.
I studied philosophy, poetry, history, the occult, and
the art and science of love and magic. I had a vast
library at my father’s home and collected thousands
of volumes of fantastic tales.
I learned all about ancient races and bygone
times. About myths and legends and dreams of all
people through the millennium. And the more I read
the stronger my imagination grew until I discovered
that I was able to travel into the stories… to actually
become part of them.
I wish I could say that I listened to my teacher
and respected my gift, as I ought to have. If I had, I
would not be telling you this tale now.
But I was foolhardy and confused, showing off
One afternoon, curious about the myth of the
Arabian Nights, I traveled back to ancient Persia to
see for myself if it was true that every day Shahryar
(Persian: شهريار, “king”) married a new virgin, and then
sent yesterday’s wife to be beheaded. It was written
and I had read, that by the time he met Scheherazade,
the vizier’s daughter, he’d killed one thousand
Something went wrong with my efforts. I arrived
in the midst of the story and somehow exchanged
places with Scheherazade – a phenomena that had
never occurred before and that still to this day, I
Now I am trapped in that ancient past. I have
taken on Scheherazade’s life and the only way I can
protect myself and stay alive is to do what she did to
protect herself and stay alive.
Every night the King calls for me and listens as I spin tales.
And when the evening ends and dawn breaks, I stop at a
point that leaves him breathless and yearning for more.
And so the King spares my life for one more day, so that
he might hear the rest of my dark tale.
As soon as I finish a story… I begin a new
one… like the one that you, dear reader, have before
First, thanks tons for going into hiding outside the mortal world. I got to hunt you down big, bad wolf style—my favorite kind of hunting. Even better, you shacked up in an ancient realm without Wi-Fi. Now I get to communicate with you via robo-pigeons. Yay for me. BTW, the birds are “priceless,” and weren’t built to help me “score” with my “adult-boyhood crush” blah, blah, blah, so please don’t destroy the mechanical flock in a fit of pique.
Decorating hack: repurpose the robo-pigeons as knickknacks to create a steampunk vibe. Not so I can watch you through the eye-cams. (Wink.)
Second, it’s sometimes impossible to judge someone’s tone in a letter. Since I’m anti-misunderstandings, I’d like to clear things up right from the start. TONE: dry as a desert mixed with a dash of frothing-at-the-mouth rage.
Clear as crystal? Or mud?
Third, I refuse to call you “Honey,” the name your friends are using. Babycakes, I’m not your friend, I’m your potential obsession. And, to be brutally honest about the matter, I’d rather call you Sugar Tits McGyna while having my wings ripped from my back (again) than refer to you as “Honey.” A name you like only because you hate the girl you used to be. News flash: I like the old Legion. (Leggie. Legs. I’m trying out new nicknames for you. Did we just find a winner?) The old you gifted me with your virginity in a bar bathroom five minutes after meeting me. Or was it four? I always forget. What’s not to like about that?
Sure, you only slept with me so you could savagely murder me after I got you off, thereby protecting Aeron, the man you truly desired. And yeah, okay, I probably deserve a couple dozen more murder attempts because I later abducted your pregnant friend in an unethical-ish power play. But every couple has their issues, right?
I’m willing to attend a counseling sesh with you. Can you say the same? Please?
FYI, my crew is on stand-by, ready to kidnap abduct borrow a world-renowned shrink at a moment’s notice. All I need from you is a yes.
Lastly, I know you’ve been to hell and back—literally. I know you were hurt and abused in the worst ways. TONE: soft as a damn feather. I’m sorry for everything you’ve endured. If you really want to hurt the ones who hurt you, embrace happiness. Don’t let the past ruin your future.
Please, give me a chance to get to know the new you. A chance to help you heal, if I can. I think about you constantly, dream about you every night, and crave you every second of every day.
Galen the Magnificent
PS: In pages 2-35 of this letter you’ll find pictures of severed demon heads. Because of the mystical shield around your cabin, I can’t lay your dead enemies/tormenters at your feet. Instead, I have to settle for laying photos of their decapitated heads upon your desk. (Sorry, but gift exchanges are against Galen-policy.)