To survive as a scullery maid requires hard work, discipline, and a stiff upper lip. To survive as a Demon Hunter is something else entirely. Elizabeth Smythe learned this after she was captured by Demons and rescued by Hunters. Now a Hunter herself, Elizabeth's first task in this new and strange world is to aid the recently wounded Lord Reece Foxjohn, and get him back into Demon-slaying shape. . .
Reece Foxjohn is used to defying convention. He enraged his family by becoming a Demon Hunter, and prefers eviscerating the spawn of Satan to mixing with the ton. He is a man who doesn't hesitate when he knows what he wants, and what he wants is Miss Elizabeth Smythe. From the moment he set eyes on the fiery Hunter, he's wanted to claim her for his own. To watch her behead the progeny of Evil is to behold a thing of beauty.
Below Edinburgh Castle, Elizabeth Smyth and Reece Foxjohn turned into the corridor to the head demon hunter’s office. She had to keep her wits through one short meeting.
Relaxed as always, Reece stopped mid-stride and gripped her shoulder. “Stop fidgeting, Lizzy. He’s not going to bite you.”
In spite of the cool autumn night, Drake Cullum’s order to report to his office had set her palms to sweating. Indeed, it happened every time she stepped into a room with him. “You don’t understand. How could you? Drake is all that stands between me and the street. If he decides I failed my training, I will have no place to go.”
“But that is not going to happen. We came to Edinburgh for a wedding, not a job evaluation. This meeting is just a formality because we are in town.” Shoulders straight, but not rigid, he held her gaze, his steady blue eyes perfectly framed by dark blond hair loose from its queue.
“Maybe.” She fought the urge to grip her sword hilt through the pocket cut in her skirt.
“Absolutely. Now take a breath and stop acting like a scullery maid. You are a demon hunter.” A grin spread across his angular face and he leaned against the wall.
It sounded so wonderful coming from him. Reece held legendary status among The Company. Even during his long recuperation from a demon’s poison, students would sneak by his sickroom to catch a glimpse of him. She’d volunteered to carry his meals and pick up the trays just to get to know him. Still, she wasn’t sure she’d seen the real Reece in all that time.
After pushing away from the wall, he walked around her and knocked.
Drake Cullum occupied the lone chair in the book-lined room. He remained sitting when they entered, his eyes narrowed on an ornate knife resting atop the fine wood desk.
Determined to be brave, Elizabeth straightened her spine and stepped closer. The memory of the dagger threw her back to a musty church. She saw the strange tri-bladed dagger gripped by a bull-faced demon. Her vision narrowed to the point of the blade as it descended toward her throat. Her heart stopped. “What is that doing here?” Part of her wanted to run, but rage kept her glued to the spot.
Drake raised an eyebrow. “Do you recognize it, Elizabeth?”
“That’s the dagger they were going to kill me with. I’ll never forget it or the beast who wielded it.” The room closed in around her as the memories assailed her. Demons dragged her into the old church and strapped her to an altar. The stench of death filled the space. The durgot priest’s hot breath turned her stomach. His bull face only inches from hers with no way for her to run. Bindings cut into her wrists. The monster snorted long guttural words, and a chorus of demons repeated. She’d not known what his words meant, but they rang in her dreams every night. The dark metal dagger hovered above her throat. She was going to die by the hands of a devil. There would be no paradise for her soul. Damnation.
Demons screamed in agony as their flesh boiled. Steel clashed with steel and a feminine battle cry. The building crashed around her and in her hazy mind, hell swallowed her.
Drake spread a piece of fabric on top of the knife. “I apologize, Elizabeth. It did not occur to me that you remembered the events of your capture so clearly. I believed you were catatonic throughout the ceremony.”
With his hand on her elbow, Reece steadied her.
“I remember.” She took a breath and met her boss’s gaze. “I’m sorry for my outburst, Mr. Cullum. It surprised me to find the artifact here in plain sight. To be honest, I did not realize The Company had recovered the item.”
“Skane,” Drake said.
“I beg your pardon?”
“It is the Blade of Skane. At least that is what it says along the hilt.”
Fear blasted her confidence and became her greatest enemy. She removed the black cloth and examined the knife. “Where did it come from?”
“We assume the demons brought it with them.”
Reece circled the desk. “What is it made from?”
“We do not know that either. It is heavier than any known metal.”
The weapon had almost taken her life. “What do you think it is for? I cannot believe they only meant to use it for the sacrifice of four common women.”
Drake covered the blade again. “I agree, but we are still researching the full potential of the weapon.”
Her stomach knotted to the point of nausea, but it was only a knife, and there were no demons here. Besides, she could take care of herself now. No one would ever stuff her into a sack or drag her away again, at least not without a fight. Perspective helped to settle everything back into place.
A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.
A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.
Multi-published in erotic paranormal, contemporary and historical romance, A.S. is the author of the Mayan Destiny series, Christmas Bliss and many more. With several books currently contracted to multiple publishers, A.S. will be bringing you her brand of romance for many years to come.
Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the East Texas with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, and puttering in her garden.