Saturday, 25 February 2017

Excerpt of Deadmen Walking by Sherrilyn Kenyon

A Dark-Hunter spin off and that too in the 1700s.
Sign me up..!!

I love the Dark-Hunter universe created by Sherrilyn Kenyon and she wants to tell about them in the 18th century? Hells Yeah people! I want that.

Now, without speaking much let's look at the cover and excerpt!

The Cover:




Now the excerpt from Deadmen Walking! 

The Excerpt: 



“Am I the only human on board this ship?”

Devyl didn’t so much as blink at Cameron’s question as she came to rest right in front of him. If anything, the good captain appeared bored by her. “Suppose it depends on the definition one uses for human.”

She gave him an irritated, droll stare as he repeated his quartermaster’s words in a bland mumble. “I am unamused by your hedging, Captain.”

He arched a sardonic black brow that caused a chill to run down her spine. “Who says I’m hedging?”

It was a titanic effort not to roll her eyes at a man, or perhaps infernal beast would be more accurate, she was quite certain might very well suck out her immortal soul and feast upon it. “Can you at least tell me why I was brought on board this ship, then?”

“For your protection.”

Why did she have such a hard time believing that? Probably because she couldn’t imagine a more dangerous group in existence than the one around her.

“From?” Forget the crew, she was beginning to doubt if there could be anything more lethal or terrifying than the creatures who called this ship home.    

He let out a long, slow breath as if seeking some sort of patience. “We are not your enemies, Miss Jack. Of that much, you can rest assured. While we might be an unsavory, untoward and uncivilized group, we are not without our honor.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning we reserve our venom for those who’ve earned it.”

And those words failed to comfort her. “You’ll have to forgive me if your benediction causes me alarm.”

“No need to apologize. You’ve every right to fear us. As I said, we are an unsavory lot.” He turned those dark, soulless eyes toward her and this time, she saw for a fact that they did indeed turn red as blood.

They glowed in the darkness with an unholy light.

“And an acquired taste.”

Yelping at his sinister tone, she jumped back and crossed herself as true unmitigated horror engulfed her. This was not what she’d meant to sign on with when she’d promised herself and Lettice that she’d find her brother and bring him home. She was already gone longer than she’d ever anticipated. Longer than Nathaniel Harrison would forgive her for.

Nor had she meant to find the devil’s ship and his crew to sail with. No doubt to hell itself they were bound!

Dear heaven, I’ve consigned myself to Perdition . . .

Everything had seemed so simple when she’d opened her brother’s letter and first set out on this quest. She was to come to Port Royal and ask a few questions. Find out why Paden hadn’t come home after the shipwreck that he’d obviously survived. Take him to task for being so cryptic, then return home to her life, with her wayward brother in tow and let Lettice beat him sideways for his thoughtlessness and the worry he’d given them.

This was never supposed to be part of it. And the captain was definitely not part of the bargain.

Bane froze as he witnessed the absolute stark terror inside Cameron. She literally quivered by his side to such an extent he was amazed she didn’t wet the planks beneath her feet.

There had been a time once when he’d lived to instill that amount of fear and intimidation in others. When the sight of petrified men had been mother’s milk to his cold, dead heart. Compassion and tenderness had been virtually unknown to his warring people.

And yet . . .

In the flash of one single heartbeat, his mind took him back to the days when he hadn’t been the leader of his race. To the time before he’d first taken a life in battle and had been nothing more than the beloved older brother of his younger sister.

No longer on this ship, he was again in the green meadows where he’d run as a boy. And as was his wont, he was off to join his friends to hunt for game and play for a rare afternoon of freedom— something he’d worked and suffered hard for.

And as was typical of his sister, Elyzabel was hot on his heels, annoying the very piss from him. Five years his junior, she was a tiny wisp of a thing, yet she thought herself his equal in size and abilities.

“What are you about, Du? Why are you carrying Ta’s spear? Does he know you have it?”

“Aye, he knows. Why are you bothering me now with your inane prattle? Off with you! Isn’t there someone else you can annoy for once besides me?”

“Are you off to hunt? Can I come? Please, please!”

“Nay!” Turning on his heels, he’d growled at her. Then froze as he saw the tangles in her brown hair and the dirt on her freckled cheeks. More than that, he noted that beneath the dirt, a bruise had started to form that deepened the shade of her amber eyes, and there was a tear in her dress.

Though scarce more than tick-size, she was ever ready to stand toe-to-toe with him, never flinching in her temerity whenever he’d said or done anything that displeased her. She would even dare to shove at him when no man save their father would so much as meet his gaze in anger.

Shout in his face whenever she was mad at him.

She even stood up to their father during his most drunken rages.

Her guts and fire had always amused and amazed him, even when he’d wanted to put her through a wall for not listening to him, or hiding when it was the more prudent thing to do. In all his life, he’d never loved anyone as much as he’d loved his little sister.

Not even Vine.

But while he might have verbally fought with his sister whenever she pushed the boundaries of his patience and all common sense, by the very gods, no one else was allowed to do such and no one was ever to lay hands to her.

No one.

Not even their father. And he had the scars to prove it.

“What’s all this about?” he asked, gentling his tone as he indicated her cheek.

Elyzabel glanced away. “‘Tis naught. Can I come with you?”

“Elf . . .” he’d chided, cupping her chin and gentling his tone with her. “Tell me what happened to you, lass.”

She let out a long sigh before she finally screwed her face up and confessed it. “‘Twas the beast!”

“Derphin?”

“Nay. The other hairy one I hate most.”

“Ilex?”

“Aye! He said a girl wasn’t fit to climb a tree and that I should get back to me mum’s breast before I got hurt. So I climbed the tree to show him and then he shoved me down and we fought about it.”

Those words had ignited his fuse. “He hit you?”

She nodded.

That had been the first time Devyl had met the part of himself that had made him famous on the battlefield. That cold, unreasoning beast that wouldn’t stop until he had his enemy lying in pieces at his feet, either dead or begging for a mercy he’d never shown anyone save his precious Elyzabel.

Only Elf had ever stayed his furious hand. Only her tears had ever moved him to mercy or compassion.

Until today.

Something about Cameron reminded him of his precious sister and this tiny chit touched the last shred of a humanity he’d thought had gone to the grave with his Elf.

Sink me . . .

Cameron swallowed hard as she met Bane’s fierce, bloody gaze. For the first time, she saw the slightest softening of his demonic countenance. The merest glimpse of a soul beneath the evil.

His grimace lightened as he held one large hand out toward her. “There’s no need in that, lass.”

Refusing to give in to her terror, she forced herself to her feet and fell back on the strength Paden had taught her to stand on after the death of their parents.

Let no one see your weakness, Cam. Ever. We are Jacks, by God. And Jacks don’t buckle or fold.

In it for a half-pence. In it for a pound.


For that matter, she was in this whole matter way over her head. No way out now. Hell, or high-water.

Or Damnation, itself.

Whatever it took. She had no choice, except to see it through.

“I still don’t understand why it is you brought me here, Captain.”

“Truth? Neither do I. Other than I fear something quite unholy has taken control of your brother. My experience with such things is that when they happen and the poor bastard who’s held enthrall reaches out to an innocent such as yourself . . . the consequences are always dire to said innocent, especially when it involves something as important as the trinket in your pocket.”

“It’s not a worthless bauble, then?”

The wind whipped at his black wavy hair while his eyes faded back to their ebony color. He glanced across the stormy sea surrounding them. “Quite the contrary, Miss Jack. Wars have been waged for that bit of gold you keep, and countless throats cut. Tell no one else you carry it. Ever.” He glowered at her. “How your brother managed to get that to you is what puzzles me most.”

“It came in the post.”

He gaped at her as he found that the most incredulous bit of all.

She held her hand up in solemn testimony. “I swear it. I thought it nothing more than a letter that must have been sent before he left on his voyage. I kept it nigh on a fortnight before I could bring myself to open it to read it, and then when I did . . .”

“Did anything strange happen to you around the time you received it?”

“Other than meeting all of you?”

His dark grimace said that he didn’t appreciate her humor.

She softened her own expression to let him know she was teasing. “Nay, Captain. Nothing untoward.” In fact, she’d not had so much as a nightmare since receiving it, which was strange given that she’d a number of them before it came.        

“Very peculiar, indeed.”

Cameron narrowed her gaze on him as he continued to watch the dark waters around them, as if seeking something only he could detect. “What is it that you’re not telling me?”

The red returned to his eyes an instant before he dropped his coat from his shoulders in one fast, graceful shrug and unsheathed his cutlass. “Kalder! Off to port! Sancha, bring a spring upon her cable! They’re coming up our stern!” He took Cameron’s arm and gently nudged her toward William while Kalder jumped over the side, into the sea below. “Seal her to my quarters for the fight.”

“Aye, aye, Captain.” William grabbed her fast and hauled her away.

But not before she saw what was rising up from the bowels of the stygian waves to engage them.

Holy mother and all her saints . . . !     

Cameron couldn’t breathe at the sight of what had to be Lucifer’s own prized pet shark he’d crossbred with an octopus. Scaly, huge and tentacled like nothing she’d ever seen or heard of, it came after them while the crew took aim and fired cannons at it. The deck beneath her feet vibrated from the recoil of it all. Her ears rang from the sharp percussion.

William shoved her into Bane’s quarters and slammed the door tight.

Gaping and terrified, Cameron stumbled toward the windows to watch the creature that was after them. One who appeared to have brought even more sinister friends with it. Her heart pounding in her chest, the sound of rushing blood and more cannon fire, along with shouts and wind filled her ears. The smell of gunpowder and sea nauseated her. Never, never had she seen or heard such. This was the stuff of nightmares and horror.

From where she stood, she could see Kalder against the beast that dwarfed him as they tangled in the water. The merman stabbed it with a long spear while Captain Bane sent balls of fire from his fists into its scaly hide. The creature screamed and arched its back, reaching for them both with its thorny tentacles.

Until the beast met her gaze through the lead glass as if it sensed her watching it.

Time hung still for a long minute until it let out a piercing cry unlike anything she’d ever heard. It was so shrill, it shattered the glass between them, raining pieces of it over her.

Closing her eyes, she raised her arms to protect her face, until the shrapnel settled. The ship rocked from the fierce waves the creature caused. Nauseated by the rolling sensation, she staggered against Captain Bane’s desk. Winds from the sea whipped against her, tearing pieces of her hair free from her queue.

With a deep growl, the creature dove for her, heading straight toward the cabin where she gripped the desk so tightly, the wood bruised the palms of her hands.

In that moment of sheer, utter terror and unbelievable horror that reminded her she was without weapon or protection, Cameron reached for her medallion in her pocket and remembered the prayer her mother had taught her as a girl. The one that Paden had always recited with her whenever she was scared . . .

“Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day. Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. No evil shall befall thee, and neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder, the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because He hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him. I will set Him on high, because He hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer Him. I will be with Him in trouble. I will deliver Him, and honor Him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.”

No sooner had she finished those words than her pocket and hand began to heat up— the pocket where she held the stashed talisman Paden had sent her for her protection should she need it.

#

Devyl staggered back as he saw the shimmering veil fall over the ship and every member of his crew. It even covered Kalder in the water. A gossamer shimmer rained down like a Spring shower. Only instead of leaving them wet, it cast their skin in a light, ethereal glow, like that of coal that held fire inside its darkness.

William and Bart stared at each other with slack-jaws. Then they turned toward him for an explanation he couldn’t even begin to give them.

“Captain?” Belle asked as she shimmed from the rigging and moved to stand beside him.

He had no answer for her, either. Not for this.    

And definitely not for whatever caused the beast and its compatriots in the water to splinter into a fine shimmering mist that settled over the waves only to vanish in the blink of an eye.

What the hell?

If that wasn’t shocking enough, a huge wave lifted Kalder from the sea and set him down on the deck near the prow, as if to make sure he was safe, along with the rest of them.

His own jaw agape, Devyl handed his sword off to Belle before he made his way toward the only source for this he could imagine.

Cameron Jack.

He found her in his cabin, on her knees, clutching at the disc her brother had sent her. Her eyes had lost all color to them. Her lips as pale as her body as she whispered a barely audible prayer. Even her hair had turned stark white.

The only color on her body were the cuts left by the shattered windows. Yet the strangest part?

Glass hovered in the air around her, forming the illusion of glittering wings that jutted out from her back.

William drew up short behind him and cursed. “What manner of creature is she?”

When Bart stepped around them with a raised sword to attack her, Devyl stopped and disarmed him. “She’s not our enemy, Mr. Meers.” He returned the sword.

“What is she?” he repeated William’s question.

“Something that would piss down the leg of those what don’t think much of us if they knew she was among our crew. And it explains much about what happened to her brother and why the Plate Fleet be sunk as it was.”

William scowled. “You’ve lost me, Captain.”

Devyl carefully closed the distance between them before he took the medallion from Cameron’s hand. The moment he had it pried loose from her grip, her hair returned to its natural chestnut shade and the blue-green color to her eyes.

The glass fell to the floor where it struck and let out a small, tinkling sound reminiscent of jester bells.

Cameron blinked twice as if waking from a deep slumber. With a fierce grimace, she glanced between them. “Is the fighting over?”

Bitterly amused, Devyl released a tired breath as he rubbed his thumb against the searing medallion. The ancient power and the soul of the warrior it contained thrummed from the metal, similar to a heartbeat. No wonder Menyara had sent her to them.

Damn that interfering bitch for it.

“Aye.” He glanced to his men over his shoulder. “It appears we needs amend our earlier answer to the lass, Mr. Death.”

“Deeth . . . and what answer be that, Captain?”

“There are no humans aboard this ship, at all.”


Can't wait to meet Devyl and Cameron!!

Chao,
Keep Reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment