Darkness Eternal

Chapter 1

London, England

Uriel had very specific plans for the upcoming evening.

First up, dinner in bed with a luscious, golden-haired fairy who tasted like champagne and boasted skills that could make a vampire howl like a damned werewolf. Even without a full moon.

Next on the agenda, a round of sparring with the latest batch of foundlings that had arrived in London. In the past few years Victor, the clan chief of Great Britain, had instituted a law that demanded all recently created vampires must spend at least the first decade of life being trained at his lair. And since Uriel was second in command, as well as Victor’s best warrior, it meant it was his duty to oversee their fighting lessons.

And if there was time left before dawn, he intended to meet with the soldiers who had recently returned from their hunt in northern England.

Since rumors of the return of the Sylvermyst had spread through the demon world, Victor had sent out nightly patrols to search for the evil cousins of the fey. It aggravated the hell out of Uriel that he wasn’t allowed to take his place in the chase.

Unfortunately when he’d accepted his position as Victor’s right hand man, he had given up his place in the field. Now he was stuck plotting strategy, drawing up scout rotations, and researching the history of the Sylvermyst in the massive library beneath Victor’s lair on the outskirts of London.

He was also on call 24/7 to his chief.

Which was why he was headed through the vast labyrinth of hallways, dressed in a pair of faded jeans and a sweatshirt, instead of lying naked on his bed with a beautiful fairy doing bad, bad things to his eager, eager body.

Climbing the marble staircase and strolling down the crimson carpeted hallway, Uriel ignored the priceless Greek statues and pictures that lined the walls and the explosion of gilt that framed the arched windows.

He understood Victor’s need for a gaudy display of wealth and power, but damn. A man could get a brain cramp from such an overexposure of frou-frou.

Especially those idiotic frescos that were painted on the lofted ceiling.

Uriel grimaced. The images of angels with fiery swords defending a gaggle of humans against a horde of demons might be some sort of priceless work of art, but to Uriel it was a never ending source of annoyance.

He was a brutal killer and a ruthless enemy to those who would threaten his clan. But for all his grim reputation, he was cursed with finely carved features and a halo of curls that perfectly matched his light brown eyes.

As beautiful as a fallen angel. .

He’d heard those words a thousand times over the past four centuries.

Sometimes they were a sigh on a woman’s lips. And sometimes a mocking taunt from his brothers.

They always managed to make him want to hit something.

Really, really hard.

Stepping into the vast library, Uriel halted in the middle of the fancy-ass carpet and watched as Victor lifted himself from behind the heavy walnut desk and crossed toward a matching sideboard.

He wasn’t the hulking brute that most people expected of a clan chief. Actually, dressed in a silk shirt and black slacks he looked every inch the English aristocrat with his elegantly carved features and glossy black hair pulled into a neat braid. But a closer inspection revealed the hard muscles beneath the designer clothing and the promise of death that lurked in the pale silver eyes rimmed with black.

Victor was a predator.

Pure and simple.

“Uriel, join me,” the ancient vampire commanded, turning from the sideboard to press a small glass of amber spirits in his hand. “Salud.”

The aged cognac slid down Uriel’s throat as smooth as honey. Liquid fire.

“Martell,” Uriel breathed with a lift of his brow, easily recognizing the expensive liquor. “I’m afraid to ask.” Victor leaned against the sideboard, his arms folded over his chest.

“Excuse me?”

“You only break out the good stuff when you want something. Usually something that includes blood, death, and/or mayhem.” “Is that any way to speak to your beloved clan chief?” Uriel snorted. “I will agree that you’re my clan chief.” Victor sipped his cognac, a somber expression settling on his lean face.

“We have been through interesting times, haven’t we, old friend?” Uriel’s vague unease became downright apprehension. Despite his vast age, Victor wasn’t prone to maudlin musings.

So, what the hell was going on?

“Some more interesting than others,” he slowly admitted, setting aside the Waterford crystal glass.

He suspected that he didn’t want something so easily breakable in his hands when Victor finally got to the point of this little tete a tete.

Victor nodded. “True.”

“What’s on your mind, Victor?”

“I sense we’re approaching momentous days.” Uriel might have laughed if he didn’t sense the same damned thing.

It had started small.

The growing unrest among the demon world. The recent flurry of sacrifices by the Dark Lord’s disciples to return him from his exile to this world. The rumors of the Weres regaining their ancient powers and the discovery of a new Oracle who would sit on the Commission (the powerful council who ruled the demon world).

But more disturbing than all of those combined were the nasties that were crawling out of the shadows at an alarming rate.

Demons that everyone had assumed were extinct or banished along with the Dark Lord.

Including the Sylvermyst.

“Is that a polite way of saying that things are about to go to hell?” he demanded of his chief.

Victor grimaced. “In a hand basket.” “What can I do to avert the looming apocalypse?” “For now I need you to track down the missing gypsy.” Uriel muttered a sharp curse.

He should have been expecting this. Despite his fierce protests, Victor had invited their fellow vampire, Tane, to remain in the lair four nights ago, along with his companion, a female Jinn half-breed called Laylah. During their brief stay they’d discovered that the Jinn mongrel had a human mother being held captive by a female vampire and her pet mage.

Not that Uriel gave a shit, but Tane had managed to convince Victor that his beautiful Jinn was somehow important to the future of the world, and that her captive mother must be protected.

“The female from the vision that the mage conjured?” he gritted, even knowing it was a stupid question.

What other gypsy could it be?

Victor’s lips twitched, as if he agreed with the stupid part.

“If it’s true that she is Laylah’s mother then we have to rescue her from Marika and her nasty wizard,” he said, his tone nonnegotiable. “Tane’s afraid they’ll use the female to force Laylah to hand over the child.” Uriel snorted. The only thing he knew about the mysterious baby that Laylah was hiding was that it was somehow connected to the return of the Dark Lord and that the female vampire, Marika, was desperate to get her greedy hands on it.

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