Demon King’s Desire by J.L. Sheppard

Demon King's Desire by J.L. Sheppard

Demon King’s Desire

Elemental Sisters, Book 1

by J.L. Sheppard

Cobblestone Press

Ebook ISBN: 978-1-60088-814-4

[ Paranormal Romance, MF ]

The evil he has battled for centuries and his purpose is deferred when he hears Jenna’s voice, the woman he has been waiting for centuries, the woman he’s been dreaming of for centuries, his fated mate.

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Chapter One


Lucas Thaler awoke in a panic, afraid he’d lost her once again. And he had lost her, because it had only been a dream. Sweat prickled his skin; his body was soaked in his own fear. It had felt so real to him, but it had been an illusion, so similar to so many others, but still just his mind playing cruel tricks on him. He’d had another hallucination of the one woman who was so close yet so far away, a dream of the untouchable, elusive woman that he’d sought for more than seven centuries.

He reached for a glass of water, the one he prepared every night before he went to bed in case he woke up dehydrated, as he’d done for centuries, saturated in his reluctance to accept she was just a dream; just another reminder that he was stuck alone in an immortal life.

He took a drink of water so hastily he coughed some up. With sweat also dripping down his face, he walked to his bathroom and grabbed a towel to dry off his face and chest.

Lucas closed his eyes and saw her face. He had memorized every part of her: her creamy skin, her heart-shaped face, her youthful smile, the feel of her hair, the sweetness of her voice, even the hidden sorrow in her chocolate-brown eyes. It was all engrained in his very soul. If he could only find her, he could show her life was so worth so much more.

But what did he know? He’d been praying to meet her for centuries. God had never granted him his one desire—a soul mate he could share his life with. Instead he had given him only glimpses of a life that could be his. What had he done to deserve such misery?

He glanced at his clock radio and noticed he’d only slept four hours, but it would have to be enough. There was no way he’d be able to sleep any longer. He turned on his shower and undressed. He tried to let the steaming water shock him out of the memory of his every desire, for her.

But it was no use. There was no way he’d ever be able to erase her from his memory because she was as much a part of him as his heart and soul.

In a few hours, he’d be consumed with his work. If he ran into action, it could be a diversion if only temporarily. He definitely needed to get his mind off this woman, whom he’d never met and who probably didn’t even exist.

He was the leader of the Demon Guardians. He had created the league to protect mortals and immortals from Malum Inmortalis, the group of immortals of various breeds that fought to rule immortals and mortals alike. They were rogues who thought humanity were cattle and Earth was their playground.

Lucas knew that if mortals ceased to exist, life on Earth would be as treacherous as life once was in his Demonic plane, Treconomia. The mortals would never stand a chance. Millions would die, and war between the immortal races would erupt: good versus evil.

Decades after he’d started the Demon Guardians, other immortal races had joined in the cause he had started. Now, his burden was shared with others.

After a long shower, Lucas dressed in his usual dark blue jeans and black shirt, and armed himself with his sword, and three knives made from copper, iron and silver.

The buzzer rang in his lavish Manhattan home arousing him from his thoughts. It had to be Cain, his second in command who always arrived early to discuss the night’s strategy and review killings from the night before.

Centuries before, during the war he had begun to avenge the death of his family, he had found Cain near death. Cain’s family had been slain like his. He thought Cain would die, but Cain was stronger than he had appeared, although at the time he had been just a boy. Lucas had taken him in and treated him as his own. Over the years, they’d become like brothers.

As Lucas walked into his living room, the air in the middle of the room shimmered, and Cain appeared, dressed in a white long-sleeved cotton shirt and dark-wash jeans. With his golden hair, blue eyes, unblemished skin and humorous air, he appeared to be a man in his late twenties rather than an immortal nearing four hundred and fifteen years. Lucas always felt guilty that he hadn’t saved him in time and the trauma had caused him to stop aging before his time. Although the boy had grown to six feet, five inches, just an inch under his own stature, Lucas would never shake the feeling that he had to protect Cain.

“How’s it hangin’, bro?” Cain asked with a mischievous look in his eyes.

“What?” Lucas responded, confused, as he pulled milk out of the mini-fridge in the living room and poured himself a glass.

“I’ve told you before, you need to keep up with the times. Kids say that all the time nowadays.”

“Well, then, lucky for me I’m more worried about preventing a war.” Lucas gulped his glass of milk and asked Cain to have a seat.

“Thanks for the hospitality, but we should get going if we want to make it to the meeting on time.”

Lucas gave him a befuddled look. “What meeting?”

“For someone who is so concerned with preventing a war, you sure are quick to forget the weekly meetings we have with the leaders of every other immortal race. Remember the Guardians? You created them to save humanity, for God’s sake,” Cain said, trying to conceal his smile.

Damn it, Lucas thought. Cain was right. He always forgot those damned meetings. Although he knew better, he often felt nothing was ever accomplished in them. He would prefer to let Cain handle the meetings. Cain was more than capable and Lucas trusted him with his life and his race’s existence, but he was afraid of what it would imply if the Demon king wasn’t present. It would be so much easier if they’d just send reports of their progress.

“You ok?” Cain asked, noticing Lucas’ lack of response. “You had another dream, didn’t you?”

Lucas ran a hand through his light brown hair, something he did frequently when he was stressed or disturbed. Cain knew him so well, better than anyone else.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” he responded, exasperated, locking his gaze with Cain’s.

“Fine, we should get going anyway.”

* * * * *

Ten minutes later, they materialized in front of an old Victorian home just outside the city, where the vampires’ headquarters were. Immediately, Lucas knew they were being watched. He pulled Cain behind him and reached for his knives, then realized it was only Benjamin and Jacob, two of his best warriors.

“There you are,” Benjamin said from the front porch.

Benjamin was average height for a demon, six feet five inches, with a pronounced nose, greenish eyes and strawberry-blond locks. Jacob was his complete opposite, with dark brown eyes and short, jet-black hair. Each had a sword slung on his back.

Lucas nodded and thanked them for coming. They strode inside the house and were approached by one of the vampires’ servants, a young blonde with charcoal eyes and a sweet smile.

“Welcome,” she said. “Would you like anything to drink before I show you to the conference room?”

They all politely declined.

“Very well,” she responded. “Please follow me.”

Lucas, Cain, Benjamin and Jacob were led into a conference room at the end of a long narrow hallway. Inside were the leaders of the Guardians.

Giovanni de Greco, the king of vampires, sat at the middle of a long conference table. His fierce eyes always concealed his true character and equated more with his status. He was as calm as usual, wearing a navy blue long-sleeved shirt and black pants. His second in command, Marco Rizzo, stood behind him sipping bottled blood, presumably from a blood bank. Their kind hardly ever drank from the source.

To the king’s left sat the queen of fairies, Queen Aleta Leventis, and her brother Prince Julian Leventis stood behind her. Queen Aleta was wearing her finest: a gold gown and an elaborate gold headdress nearly a foot tall.

The queen smiled and tossed back her long red hair, giving Lucas a view of her low-cut dress. Never taking her eyes off Lucas, she nodded slightly, ensuring her gold headdress didn’t tumble to the floor. Her brother Julian bowed. Queen Aleta and the fairies had only recently joined the Guardians. Everyone assumed she hadn’t joined for the cause, and Lucas’ brothers-in-arms knew she attended these meetings to be near Lucas.

Lucas nodded, only glancing briefly at the queen, then drew his attention to Landon Waden, the alpha of the wolf shifters, who was getting more antsy by the minute. Landon was tall for a shifter; he stood six feet, three inches. His dark brown hair was styled in a close-cropped cut. The tribal tattoos along his arm were clearly visible, since he wore a white tank top, and his eyes were those of a wolf, bluer than the sky on a clear day.

“Thanks for coming,” Lucas greeted Landon. Shifters hardly ever attended Guardian meetings. It was a first for Landon, the alpha werewolf, who had only agreed to attend after three of his wolves were found beaten to death in New York City, the killing ground of the Malums.

The king of elves, Kellen Troth, stood between Giovanni and Landon. Kellen, tall and lean with golden-brown eyes, had been the first to ally with the demons more than a century ago.

“I suppose we should get started,” Giovanni stated. “I assume we would all agree that the Malums have officially begun the war with us and humanity.”

“There must be some other way. My people do not wish to fight. We are not fighters; we are lovers,” Queen Aleta interrupted.

“None of us want war, but it has begun whether we like it or not,” Landon replied as he fidgeted and paced around the room. “Three of my pack are dead and someone will pay. We have to fight back or our people will keep dying.”

“He’s right,” Kellen continued. “I have lost men too. Six just this year; that’s one per month so far. My people are afraid. We should patrol around the clock or come up with another plan.”

“The mortals are suffering as well. In the last week, seven have been killed,” Cain said as he pulled out his report. “Over the last week, we’ve caught two Malums in the act.”

“And what do you do with the Malums?” Aleta asked.

Jacob looked at Aleta with fierce dismay in his eyes. “We kill them. There’s no point in letting them live. They’ll just kill more of us.”

Aleta’s eyes narrowed in on Jacob. She hadn’t even glanced his way thus far. Giovanni’s laughter rang out through the room, partially defusing the tension. “Demons were always so compassionate. What happened?” he asked sarcastically.

Lucas glanced around the room, pondering how to advise the queen without further insulting her.

“We have tried other tactics over the years. They refuse to talk to us. The ones who manage to get away always come back. For now, we will keep our guard and attempt to prevent any more deaths. I advise you to arm your men. They will not stop until they overthrow us. They are just getting started,” Lucas continued.

“Always so drastic, Lucas,” Aleta replied as she batted her eyelashes. “If we believe in the prophecy then there is no reason to build an army.”

Each immortal race held its own series of prophecies, the Inmortalis Prophetia, each containing foretellings for that particular race. The only prophecy common to all the races was called Novum Genus, the new race, predicting that a new immortal breed would evolve after the turn of the century.

Lucas believed in the prophecies as much as each of his brethren, who were taught of the prophecies their entire lives. The Demon prophecies were compiled in a series of books. As a child, he had read them numerous times, fascinated with the idea that the books contained a glimpse into the future. When his family was killed, he spent days researching the books hoping to find a prophecy that predicted his family’s death. He never found it. Still, since then, he had memorized each prophecy hoping he could prevent any more deaths.

Novum Genus prophesied that the new breed evolved would be each race’s salvation or destruction.

Whatever the prophecy stated didn’t matter to Lucas. He knew as well as the other Guardians that it was well past the turn of the century. He wasn’t willing to let mortals and immortals die at the hands of the Malums while waiting for their salvation to appear before them.

“The prophecy gives us more reason to build an army! If there is a new race and we have yet to discover them, then they would be our destruction. We must protect our kind,” Kellen shouted, his cheeks turning a rosy pink and his elf ears elongating, showing his aggravation with the queen’s refusal to acknowledge the danger at hand.

“If a new race had evolved, wouldn’t we already be aware of it?” Landon suggested.

Aleta narrowed her gaze at Kellen and walked over to stand by Lucas. “Why so negative, Kellen? The new race could just as easily mean our salvation. We just need to ensure that they’ll be on our side.”

“There is no way to be sure. The Malums could already be aware of the new race while we have no idea,” Kellen retorted.

Aleta’s cheeks flared. No one spoke to the queen in such a manner, especially not in public or in front of the leaders of other immortal factions.

“Do not underestimate me, Kellen. I may appear to be feeble, but with fairies nothing is as it seems,” she threatened as she ran her hand across Lucas’ chest. “And I have the demons on my side.”

Lucas grabbed Aleta by the wrist, as his eyes grew red with rage. “We are all allies,” he replied, “and we all seem to agree that we cannot wait for a prophecy to be fulfilled. Our races are in danger.”

Aleta snatched her hand away from Lucas’ grip, stunned Lucas would contradict her in front of the other Guardians. “You can all do as you wish, but I will not stir panic within my race,” she said as she walked away from Lucas.

Landon broke the silence as the others continued to look toward Aleta and Lucas with slightly amused looks on their faces. “I have already advised my pack. I have a small group assembled; we start hunting them tonight.”

“I’m glad your pack is on board. If we want to prevent further deaths, we must work together,” Giovanni said. “As you are aware, my vamps have been fighting the Malums for decades, and they know that there will be no fighting against our allies.”

Landon shifted his weight, seemingly once again contemplating his decision to ally with the vampires who had fought against wolf shifters in two separate wars.

“Agreed.”

“Should we expect any other shifters to join us?” Kellen asked.

“I’m not sure what their plans are, but I know the were-lions are just as shaken up as my pack. They may decide to join us at a later point.”

“Then it’s settled,” Giovanni stated, concluding the meeting. “We should report back in one week.”

Lucas nodded and dashed out the door, hoping to avoid the queen. Benjamin, Jacob and Cain followed. He reached for the outside door and flung it open, only to find Aleta waiting patiently for him with her arms crossed around her slim waist.

“There you are. Do you really think you can get away from me that easily?” she asked.

Lucas turned his head slightly to see if Benjamin, Jacob and Cain were still behind him. Only Cain remained; he never disappointed Lucas, even in personal matters. At least he knew he could trust Jacob and Benjamin during fights against the Malums.

“Cain,” he said. “Let me have a moment alone with the queen.” Cain exchanged a glance with Lucas and nodded. He ran toward the outskirts of Giovanni’s lavish home, still in hearing distance for a demon in case the conversation took a turn for the worse.

“Finally all alone,” Aleta whispered as she took a step toward Lucas. “I’ll forget how you rudely embarrassed me during that godawful meeting if you show me a good time tonight.”

Lucas looked her over. He should be surprised at her choice of words, knowing every immortal within a half mile could hear her, but he’d heard worse coming from her.

“I have told you before, Aleta. I am not interested.”

“Still waiting for your one true love, Lucas? What if I’m her? Won’t you be sorry you never really did give us a try?” she asked as she adjusted her corset to show even more cleavage. “You know I can rock your world.”

Lucas passed her as a deep blush filled his cheeks. He couldn’t believe he had once been so hammered as to sleep with this relentless woman. He had realized it was a mistake only after it was too late. He was vulnerable and needed the woman from his dreams, only it had been Aleta instead. The entire time he pretended Aleta was she. For that reason alone, he’d felt guilty. Aleta at least deserved someone who wanted her instead of a partner who was picturing someone else.

“That was a mistake on my behalf. I should have never taken advantage of you. I was in the wrong mindset.”

“Silly king, you didn’t take advantage. I wanted you, and I still want you. It’s time you respect your queen. In the end, I will get you one way or another.” She stepped forward once more and grazed her index finger along his jawline. “You know I always speak the truth.”

He stepped back and looked her in the eyes. He couldn’t remember ever being as turned off by a woman as he was now. “You are not my queen, Aleta.”

“Then, who is? Right now, I have no king, and you have no queen. We would be a match made in heaven.”

“I’m not looking for one,” he stated through clenched teeth. “And you should avoid bringing these matters up, especially here. You know they can hear us.”

“Now, now Lucas, don’t get all flustered. We have all eternity, and there’s no reason to hide the fact that we’ll be together very soon. I’ll see you next week unless you decide to pay me a visit before then.”

She sprinkled neraida skonez, fairy dust, and vanished, giving Lucas one last taunting smirk.

Cain was standing next to him within a second. “Can’t say that woman doesn’t know what she wants,” he said as he glanced at Lucas. Benjamin and Jacob appeared too.

“We’re headed back to my place to pick up the rest of our swords,” Benjamin said. “We’ll meet you in fifteen minutes.” They vanished as fast as they’d appeared.

“We should go, too. We also need to get the rest of our swords and refuel before we patrol,” Cain said.

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