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“Fallen Son, Darkest Night” is a short story prequel to the New Adult fantasy romance novel FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS. Although all aspects of the story are capable of standing alone from the novel, they are also interesting pieces to the characters’ back stories and origins for fans of the first novel in the Stars & Souls Trilogy.

“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.”

~ Dalai Lama

Slivered moonlight filtered through the trees, shedding no more light than the dying fire whose embers raised wispy fingers crying for help to the heavens of this darkest night. As she lay cradling her head, the plush bearskin kept the chill at bay, yet nothing cleansed the images from her mind.

The beautiful man came upon their village. In a handful of heartbeats, the blue-eyed demon left, rage satiated, her people massacred, mutilated.

A rush of wind snuffed out the fire, but she needed no light to know the demon-man lurked in the shadows, preying on her growing fear, racing heart, shallow breaths. And in a brilliant flash of lightning, he lurked no longer, razor-sharp teeth tearing into her throat as a wolf slaughtering a lamb. Her pleas rose up in wordless gurgles of life’s essence, flowing from her mouth, pooling onto the ground.

And her last sight– her own blood, dripping from tendrils of midnight-dark hair dancing over vivid blue eyes aglow, set in flawless features, the face of the beautiful man, the demon-god of village lore, reigning the darkest nights across the lands with lightning, blood, and fury.

***

Huddled in a grove of trees, wind and wolves howling around him, the bitter cold affects him none, the vampire, the demigod fallen from grace, heated by blood and rage. Eyes aglow in the surge of life in the feeding’s aftermath, laving remnants of his last kill with his tongue, the sense someone watches stills him to a perfect statue.

Stepping into the room, bare feet gracefully touching the golden marbled floor without a sound, the man nears her as she stands at the mirrored globe on a pedestal. “You cannot watch him and pretend as though he does not feel it, Dana. You are his mother, regardless of what he has done.”

Her soft voice does little to fill the cavernous chamber. “Am I? Have I not absolved myself of him in some sense, choosing a guiltless recourse?”

“If you feel guiltless, your features wear lies upon them, telling of pain mothers know, disappointing their children in ways they find unacceptable yet no action can prevent.”

His crisp white pants and tunic bear stark contrast to hair blacker than raven wings, intensifying eyes of cool tropical seas. Before touching the Goddess, he brings his palms together, beaded bracelets in shades of blue and green speckled sprite stone and Fae rune-carved woods rattling on his wrist at the action as he nods toward her.

“Ero, please … Twenty-three hundred years together, I believe we are beyond formalities. Will you ever forgo the bowing?” She wraps an arm around his waist, thankful he pulls her closer, and she rests her head on his shoulder as they watch Dante together.

“It is not bowing, my love, merely a greeting of respect.” Brushing Dana’s dark hair off her cheek, he gently kisses her forehead. “But as I said, you cannot continue this. You torture him … and yourself. The ban from this realm could be revoked; however, should you insist on pursuing this course of action, their consequences widen the growing divide between you. Forgiveness will not come with ease from your son. Every moment he feels your eyes on him gives false hope wherein you have chosen none lies.”

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