Carnival of Darkness (FaeTAL Series Book 1) (6 page)

Head down, focused solely on the task I have set him, I have little doubt that if this new ‘helper’ of ours can be found, Kace will be the man to do it. Knowing that my presence is only going to agitate and distract him from his work, I nod and leave the room.

Entering my office, I release the sigh of frustration that has been building for the last hour or so. I still cannot believe that someone has managed to learn of not only my warriors but the Fallen as well. On top of that, the damn man has the audacity to contact me. To taunt me with his knowledge. How dare he! If he knew with whom he was dealing with I am certain that he would choose to handle things differently.

My fists clench and unclench as I attempt to regain my composure. It would not do for me to show my frustration to my men. Sitting at my desk, I look over the mounds of paperwork that I am forced to handle now. Useless, pointless, ridiculous paperwork. Why in Danu would I care who marries whom. How much time am I expected to spend behind this damn desk repeatedly filling in my signature where required? If I am to maintain my position as King as well as that of Leader of the warriors, something is going to have to change and quickly.

I was forced into the role of King when the true ruling family was killed in one massive strike to their home. I am far from a diplomat. Far from what our world needs leading them through these uncertain times. But I am all that they have.

With the number of Fallen dramatically rising with each passing day the warrior that lives beneath my
skin  is
begging to be released. I refuse to give up my role as a warrior, even if it is difficult to balance the two. It is what I was born to do, and it is what I will continue to do until the day that I pass on. My warriors are my brothers, not my inferiors, but my equals in all ways.

We will defeat all those that stand against us and protect those who are unable to protect themselves. We are the FaeTAL Warriors and our day will come!





Pacing the length of my trailer in an attempt to release the massive fucking amounts of anger and frustration pouring through my veins ain’t working in the least little bit. Leaving the beautiful redhead in Fred’s hands was possibly the hardest damn thing I have ever done in my life. The look of abject horror in her eyes when she made the connection between her kidnapping and the women workers at the C.O.D broke my damn hardened heart into pieces as effectively as a beer can under the force of a cowboy boot. Forcing her back into that god forsaken sack, fuck me, I’d be happier than a pig in shit if I could have wrapped her in my arms and ran. The need to do just that nearly brings me to my goddamn knees it’s so strong.

Hell, I’m still tempted to go to her. Sneak her out of the starter cell and to the gates of the carnival. To safety. Away from the life filled with endless fucking torture and humiliation that awaits her here. Looking at the clock I see that it has only been four hours since I left her behind at the mercy of a man that doesn’t have a fucking clue what that word even means.

Four hours that I’ve struggled with the need to rescue her.

Four hours that I’ve paced back and forth in my little trailer with an endless stream of images in my head of what could be happening to her.

Four hours that I’ve tried to convince myself that it ain’t worth the risk to save just the one woman. That she can’t be special. I can’t allow her safety and happiness to mean more than that of the countless others being held here.


I can’t save her. Not yet. I just can’t. No matter how much it fucking hurts me to leave her in Fred’s evil nasty ass hands, I just can’t give up on the plan yet. As much as I hate to say this shit, Mac is right, there’s too much at stake here.

Forcing myself to climb into bed, I close my eyes and dream of a day when my life will be simple again.

“Cowboy? Wh-what are you doing here?” She looks around herself, her eyes squinting, her cute little nose scrunched in thought.

“What do you mean? This is my dream, I can be wherever I wanna be, darlin’. Apparently that’s with you, Red.”

“But…” Her face is filled with a look of utter confusion. Leave it to me to dream up a woman that doesn’t even wanna be here. Aren’t dream women supposed to do whatever you want? What I want is for her to bring her sexy ass over here and end my long ass dry streak. Just thinking about putting my mouth on that delectable body has my dick jerking in my pants.

“No buts darlin’. Can’t we just enjoy this... well, whatever the fuck this is?”

Instead of the darkness and demented shit my dreams are usually filled with, I’m surrounded by sprawling hills and gorgeous flowers and trees. A few wild horses run in the distance and a grin spreads across my face. This is by far the best damn dream I have had in more than six months. A part of me is on edge, ready for this lovely world to twist and morph into a nightmare of epic proportions.

“Sweetling, just... can I hold ya? I hate I had to leave you in that damn trailer. If there was another way... I swear on my momma’s life that I would have done it. I just don’t want you to hate me for it. I
for you to understand why I had to leave you there. I guess that’s why I dreamed you up.”

Her eyes go wide and she shakes her head. Well damn, even in my dreams she won’t give me the fucking chance to explain myself. To make her see that I’m not a bad man, well not as bad as the bastards that run the C.O.D.

She looks up at me, her eyes locking with mine as she walks slowly towards me. She sits down gingerly beside me and sighs.

“I don’t know why, cowboy, but my gut tells me to listen to you. To give you the chance to explain. So... yeah.”

“Thanks, Red. I appreciate the chance. I promise you I ain’t like the others here. Kinda hard to believe, I’m sure, but I actually work for a bounty hunting company that does search and rescue on the side. My dickhead of a boss sent me here after we were hired to find a woman that disappeared. Her last known location? You guessed it, the Carnival of Darkness. I found her... and so fucking much more. This place...” I gulp down the bile rising in my throat at the memories ramming against my mental barriers. “The things that happen at this damn place are pure evil. But I couldn’t just grab the girl and go. Just like I can’t just grab you and go. I have to finish what I started. I have to report to my boss and give him the information needed to take this fucking place and everyone in it down. These bastards deserve to burn in Hell for the shit they do here. I’m so damn sorry you’ve been drug into this mess.”

Turning her face to mine, her eyes wide with wonder, she just stares as if dumbfounded. Does she believe me? Fuck, she just has to believe me!

“I promise I’m not the bad guy here, Red.”

When she stays silent for longer than I can stand, I grunt. “Whatcha thinkin’, Red?”

“I think…” she gulps. “I think I believe you, cowboy.”

One side of her face has an ugly yellow-blue tinge and is slightly misshapen. My gut churns at the ridges of fingers visible in the newly formed bruise along her graceful jawline. Without my consent or any thought at all, my hand reaches up to caress her swollen cheek. My big calloused thumb glides gently over her busted lip. Why did my subconscious have to create such a damn realistic vision of her? I know how Fred operates. I know that the visible wounds I’ve manifested in my dream are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what my sweet Red will be forced to endure. Her sweet skin will soon be covered in more scars and bruises than I want to think about if it ain’t already. Shit, I gotta stop thinking about it.

She surprises me when, instead of pulling away from my hand, she leans into me and raises her much smaller hand to rest on top of mine.

“I’m okay, you know. It probably looks a lot worse than it is.”

So damn strong. So brave. She is far from the damsels I’m used to dealing with. While I can clearly see the fear of the unknown in her eyes, I can also see a determined glint in them that scares me more than Fred ever could. The determination to save herself, and, if I’m not mistaken, me and the other women as well. This tiny woman in my arms seems to have decided to fight for me, to fight for freedom for everyone held at the C.O.D. If only this were real. I would give anything in the world to have her look at me with those big beautiful eyes with such acceptance and care.

Before I know what’s happening, my head is bent and my lips are a mere breath away from hers. Her unique scent of oranges and baby powder fills my lungs. I’m pretty sure I would recognize her even while blindfolded at this point. My eyes dart from hers to her luscious lips, waiting on her to pull away.

To push me.

Tell me to stop.

Even in my dreams she is too perfect to be mine. Too perfect to allow this to happen. She’s too damn good for me, no matter the setting.

Suddenly her lips are on mine. I didn’t fucking move! Holy. Fucking. Shit! That was all on her. She made the last jump. My mind races and my pulse jumps. Not to mention the fact that my cock is so hard the zipper of my Wranglers is threatening to burst or cut into me causing permanent damage.

What the fuck? Since when do I react like a damn untrained teenage boy to a simple kiss? I feel like I’m on the verge of exploding in my pants and the only thing touching is our damn lips. The hand I still have held tightly on her face works its way into her soft gorgeous hair, pulling gently to angle her to deepen the kiss. She gasps, and my tongue, deciding it has a mind of its own, takes it upon itself to accept that as an invitation to explore every millimeter of her mouth. Running slowly over each tooth, every dip and soft edge. When her tongue meets mine with a tentative caress,

I lose my shit and what little hold on the control I have over my body’s movements.

Next thing I know, she is flat on her back, her hair sprawled out beneath her like rays of a gorgeous fucking sunset. Her wide eyes are locked onto mine. Her small hands glide over my back and shoulders. My big damn body dwarfs her tiny frame. She’s so small, so fragile. I have to maintain at least a little control or I might just hurt this beautiful creature in my arms. When she arches up to deepen the kiss, her thigh inadvertently grazes my stiff cock and I lose it. I just fucking lose it!

My hips rock downward with a hard, demanding thrust, into the welcoming heat between her legs. My cock zeroing in on the only thing in the world it wants at this moment. My hands leave her hair only to glide down her delectable little body, exploring every inch I can fucking reach. When I get to her breasts, which are just big enough to fill my hands, I squeeze gently and revel in her moan of pleasure. Her hips arch up into mine and grind fully with my ever hardening cock. I swear I see fucking stars. This woman is better than any dream I’ve ever even imagined. Yes, I know this is a dream, but, damn, it feels real.

My hands leave her chest to continue on their path downward to the true prize waiting for me between those luscious legs. When I run my fingers over her ribs, she gasps and cries out in pain. I freeze.

Goddamn it!

I fucking hurt her. I should be shot for groping this fragile woman, even if this is my own damn dream. Forcing myself to regain control, I bite my lip until I taste blood,
and  I
pull away from her after placing one last gentle kiss on her forehead.

“I’m so damn sorry, sweetling. I didn’t mean to…”

“It’s okay. I’m okay. Just sore is all.” Her little teeth nibble on her plump bottom lip, teasing me relentlessly. Silently begging me to taste them again. To remove her teeth and replace them with my own, to kiss away the pain.

Reaching down, I pull her shirt up enough to see a series of dark purple-black ugly bruises that are suspiciously shaped like a goddamn boot.

“That son of a bitch kicked you, didn’t he? I’ll fucking kill him with my bare hands. I’m gonna rip his goddamn head off for this. I swear on my daddy’s grave, he will pay, sweetling, of this I promise. I will find a way to protect you and still complete my job. I’m gonna save all of you some damn how.”

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