Earth of 4035 is a wasteland populated with sectors of penal colonies, seeded through the generations by its life-long inhabitants of criminals, lunatics, political prisoners, and DNA-spliced mutants, all ruled by a powerful conglomerate of scientific researchers called the Nucleate.
One such sector, Pandemonia, is situated on the former European continent in the vicinity of Paris, now a hunting ground of a world gone horribly awry.
Drayce Eth, of dragogen-spliced DNA creation, rules one quandrant of Old Paris with a strong hand. He has never mated, never taken a long-term lover, and has always denied the instincts of his dragogen-spliced DNA. But then he encounters an attractive disciple and slave of his arch-enemy, Dr. Francois Beljon, and a simple game of poke-the-bear to relieve his ennui may just result in more than Drayce ever expected. It may also be exactly what he needs when his mating instincts are aroused by this least likely of potential mates.
Crispen Wills is a product of the mean streets. He’s a survivor—a dancer, a liar, a scavenger, and whatever else will serve to keep him alive. But when he becomes a desirable pawn in a treacherous game, it could easily cost him his life. What Crispen never expects is to fall in love with the powerful dragogen that his master has sent him to destroy.
Passions mix with danger in a highly flammable game devoid of rules and safe words, where all’s fair in love, lust…and death. Only a fool would dare to risk everything for a fleeting chance at love, especially when that lover could easily barbecue you should you make one false step…
Drayce rose from his chair and circled Crispen. The room was so quiet he could hear the dripping faucet from down the hall. Until he inhaled a breath and exhaled a shot of flaming fire that singed the opposite wall, making everyone jump back, and the boy scrambled as far from the flame and sparks as he could get—considering the collar and chain that bound him to the spike in the floor.
“So, you’re Beljon’s flavor of the month,” Drayce finally said, after clearing his throat. He leaned forward, gripped a handful of Crispen’s curly hair and yanked his head back. He leaned closer and inhaled. Then slowly exhaled. “You smell of the Nucleate. I wonder how much you’re worth to Beljon? If you’re worth anything. The bartering shall begin.” All a game, just a game to piss off Beljon and to entertain himself.
He waited for Crispen to beg. But as he stared into the boy’s eyes, expecting tears, whining, he saw something else. Something that surprised him. Yes, there was fear, but combined with a certain street-wise cunning as well. A wariness, speculation. Some fear, but not nearly as much fear as Drayce might have expected from a disciple that licked at the heels of the Nucleate Assistant Director of Scientific Interrogation. Drayce released him and turned to the men who waited for his orders.
Zadrian stood silently, at attention, his demeanor wolfish—caninogen enhanced DNA, stiff as his militia training had prepared him. Just as Drayce once had been. Like gravitated to like in this penal colony.
“Any trouble getting in and out, captain?” Drayce asked.
“No, sir,” Zadrian said. “It actually went better than we expected. My contact was right on the money.”
On the money. That in itself made Drayce suspicious. It shouldn’t have been that easy. He turned and stared at Crispen. Meek, mild, cowering. At least outwardly. But there was something else—something in his eyes that said there was more to this whole situation, and Drayce meant to find out what it was. Crispen was hiding something, but what?
“We’ll see,” Drayce said, more to himself than to the others. He turned to Ion, who served as supply master and manager of the Rouge nightclub. “We’ll see how much he’s worth. Prepare the demand. Let’s get these negotiations underway. See if we can’t squeeze Beljon to sweeten our storehouse.”
“You got it, Drayce. You think he’s worth all that?”
Drayce shrugged. “Might as well start high and see where that takes us.”
“And if Beljon won’t negotiate what are we going to do with him?” the overseer asked.
“Then he’s dead weight and we serve him up to the ratogens. They need a new nibble. Fatten him up a bit, and that’ll keep them happy for a night or two, and off my back with their whining for fresh meat.”
Drayce was pleased to notice that the possibility of becoming ratogen appetizer got some attention from Crispen. He watched the whelp tense, whip his head upward to stare at Drayce with panicked eyes. Drayce felt his dragon’s blood heat. Something about this boy made his blood simmer in a way it hadn’t in a long time. It wasn’t the fear expressed in his whole attitude, it wasn’t that he seemed to be a new shiny jewel in the Assistant Director of Scientific Interrogation’s overflowing jewel case of domesticated pets. Maybe it was just the flicker of defiance he’d caught in Crispen’s eyes. The speculation that seemed to challenge Drayce. That was the look that intrigued him.
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Darcy Abriel delights in writing the stories that rouse the dark side of emotion and passion. Going back to the days of Saturday Night Chiller Theaters, series such as Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, toss in a little Alfred Hitchcock, and these are the stories that have always fascinated Darcy. That edgy sense of danger that leaves one tingling. Be it a roller coaster ride, a Dracula movie, or a good erotic horror read at the darkest slice of night. Visit the dark side with mystery and passion, eroticism and tingling fantasy. Explore what makes your heart pump faster, your blood run hotter, and the adrenalin surge. Edgy, mysterious emotions are what drive a Darcy Abriel story.
Find out more about Darcy at www.darcyabriel.com.