Home > Demon Kissed (Demon Kissed #1)(4)

Demon Kissed (Demon Kissed #1)(4)
Author: H.M. Ward

He closed his book, and stacked his papers neatly. My books had papers sticking out the sides like bunny ears. Organization wasn’t really my thing. Eric seemed a little too neat to me, but he was the reason I wasn’t failing the class, so I didn’t needle him about it.

Eric turned and reached under the lab table in front of us. He held out my pencil, smiling. I took it. “Thanks. I thought Bret was gonna kill me.”

“It’s only because that was the fifth time you’ve pegged him with a pencil in the past month.” He picked up his books, and I chased him out of the room.

“It has not been five times!” I squeaked, unable to contain my grin. As we rounded the corner, I saw Collin leaning against my locker. I turned to Eric and asked, “When can we talk?” Slowing, I touched his arm, and he stopped.

Eric looked at Collin and then back at me. “I’ll walk you home. Let me grab my stuff.” It felt a little awkward, but I agreed. Collin and Eric glared at each other. Ignoring them both, I went to my locker.

Collin’s arm slid over my shoulder, “Hey Ivy. You ready?” He spoke loud enough for Eric to hear. I watched Eric round the corner, and disappear from sight.

“Uh, sure. I gotta sec. What were you so excited about?” I asked while I fumbled my combination.

His grin was gone, replaced with seriousness that didn’t look right on him. Clearing his throat he asked, “So. New boyfriend?”

The lock clicked open in my hand. “No. He’s just a friend. Don’t go big brother on me and chase him off either.”

Collin folded his arms over his chest. “When have I done that?” The corners of his mouth pulled up into a smirk, and I knew he wasn’t seriously asking.

I arched a single brow at him, until he shrugged, laughing. “So, what’d you want?” I asked, shifting through my stuff, and grabbing what I needed.

“Just wanted to talk to you. And I’ve got something for you.” He leaned his body into the row of lockers, waiting for me.

I fished out my book, and slammed the locker door shut. I hesitated, looking at him.

“Sure. What is it?” I glanced over Collin’s shoulder, seeing Eric walking toward me.

Collin turned to see who I was looking at, and stiffened. I watched the two of them together for a moment. Eric stood a few inches shorter than Collin. Eric was neatly pressed, short hair combed perfectly in place, with his shirt tucked into his jeans, and a pile of books under his arm. Collin had the just-rolled-out-of-bed smoldering look going on. His longer hair went where it wanted, untamed like the rest of him. His dark shirt clung to his body, covered by a black leather jacket, and biker boots. They both looked good, in a different kind of way.

Turning back to Collin, I asked, “Sooo… ?” His blue eyes darted back to my face. Uncertainty flashed across his features, but disappeared so fast that I wasn’t sure that I’d really seen it.

He leaned in close, resting his hand on my shoulder, his lips hidden by my hair, as he whispered in my ear, “I’ll catch up with you later.” He gave Eric a pointed look and walked away. I sighed, watching him leave. He wasn’t sulking, but he wasn’t happy either. Crap.

Eric looked at me, asking, “Are you guys… dating?”

“No,” I shook my head. “We most certainly are not. Let’s just get out of here.” I shoved my book under one arm, pressing through the narrow metal doors that lead out the back of the building, with Eric next to me. Lots of kids walked through an alley behind the school to get to the avenue. It wasn’t dark or creepy, and with the company of other kids, it wasn’t the kind of alley that gave you the willies. People fanned out as we passed through the metal doors, and I sucked in fresh air. Despite my seemingly dark façade, I enjoyed the sensation of sunlight on my skin. Eric watched me out of the corner of his eye, saying nothing until we were out of the earshot of the others.

“So, tell me.” I blurted out when I couldn’t wait any longer. “What is this?” I pointed at my head.

As we walked past storefronts, I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye. The conversation was shrouded in the noise of engines and car horns. There was always a lot of traffic at this time of day. Crossing the street, without becoming road kill, was a trick.

Eric shifted his books to his other arm, and his pace slowed. His amber eyes glinted gold in the sunlight. “It’s gonna sound weird. You aren’t going to believe me.”

“Just tell me.” How weird could it be?

Eric smiled slightly and said, “Last night you asked me if Jake did this to you—if he made that mark. The answer is no. He didn’t. The mark on your head makes you his enemy. It shows that you’re a Martis. We usually hide it, but when it first appears, life can be kinda rough. In short—you were claimed to fight for the good guys. You were chosen because of your fierce loyalty and courage. That’s the reason any Martis is chosen.”

“Chosen by who?” I asked.

Eric shrugged. “Angels. They did this to you. When they claim a mortal to fight on their side, that blue mark appears above the right eyebrow—exactly where yours is.”

I stared at him with my mouth hanging open, not really believing what he was saying. We’d stopped walking. My eyebrows were receding in disbelief into my hairline. I managed to blurt out, “Then what is Jake? There’s no way he’s normal.”

Eric’s expression was somber. “He’s a Valefar. They are the only beings that can destroy Martis. You’re immortal, unless one of those takes you out.

“There’s a war that’s been raging forever. The demons were no longer content staying in their realm—the Underworld. They tried to take the angel’s realm as well. They fought long horrific battles intent on destroying anyone who opposed them. At some point both sides were at a stalemate. They were equally matched. But the demons wouldn’t back down. That’s when the demons did something that changed everything—one of them kissed a mortal.

“The demon kiss stripped away the human’s soul, and then they infused the victim’s body with demon blood. That was the birth of the Valefar. Basically, a Valefar is a human puppet that is kept alive with demon blood. They are like animated corpses, but look exactly like real people. You can’t tell the difference unless you catch a glimpse of their mark or their eyes when they are caught in blood lust—they turn blood red. It’s the demon blood that made them what they are.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. My fingers were pinched tightly into fists. When I tried to relax and unfold them, I noticed how slick they were. His words were scaring me. They sounded totally insane, but my gut was telling me it was real. All of it.

Eric’s gaze met mine, “Demons are the only creatures that don’t need a soul to survive. And they made the Valefar just like them—soulless. Demon blood is different. Vile. It gives them life in an unnatural way. The rest of us have souls—humans, Martis, even angles.

“When the demons remained in their own realm, the angels left them alone, but when they attacked and started trying to expand their realm; the angels had to do something to stop them. So, they made the Martis. We nearly lost the war because of the Valefar, Ivy. The angels didn’t want to engage humans, but they were forced to. And it was for the better—the Martis were able to trap the most powerful demon in a pit in the Underworld—Kreturus. He’s still alive down there, waiting for his Valefar to free him. The Martis make sure that doesn’t happen.”

My throat slid into my stomach. “So, an angel picked me to fight in a battle that I can’t see, and my boyfriend was a demon puppet? Is that what you’re saying?”

Eric flicked his eyes up at my face, “What do you want to believe? After last night, I can’t imagine how you could think what happened was normal.”

Shaking my head, I said, “It wasn’t normal.” I shivered, absently rubbing my hands against my arms. “He was kissing the soul out of my body—ripping it away from my bones like it was meat.”

Eric’s hand reached out, and gave my arm a reassuring squeeze. “Ivy, it’s their way. That’s how they make more Valefar. He was stalking you—hoping to catch you before you knew what you were. He was going to bind you—or kill you.”

Eyes wide, I nodded. “He said that. Last night. He said it was the perfect time—because I didn’t know what I was yet.” Closing my eyes, I blinked hard trying to erase the memory. Looking up at Eric, I asked, “He said I was new?”

“Well, you are, right?” Eric answered. “Your mark looked more mature, which threw me off a little bit. But you seem new. When did you first see the mark?”

“Last night. I didn’t see it before then. It wasn’t there,” my fingers absentmindedly touched the make-up covering the mark.

Eric’s eyes flicked to the spot, and then returned to my face. “That’s what they do—their older Valefar hunt us, trying to find us before we’re made. There were hardly any Martis left. When the angels thought we won, when we locked Kreturus in the pit, they allowed the Martis to dwindle. But, when it became clear that the Valefar needed to be addressed, they started adding to our numbers again. It’s not unusual to be seventeen or eighteen when you get marked. And the Valefar know that new Martis are clueless.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I mean that the Angels don’t shoulder-tap their chosen and give them a welcome packet. It’s not their way. Martis learn what they are on their own. Anyway, the Valefar befriend humans who they think may get marked, waiting to destroy them as soon as the mark appears. We’re easy targets at that point. Maybe that one got lucky?” He glanced at me.

“That was some luck.” I heard the disbelief in my voice. That wasn’t luck. I was played. Jake knew what I was going to be before I did. How? “Eric, how did he know? I had no clue it was happening. I never even heard of any of this before.”

“I don’t know entirely, but we suspect they hunt their prey in ways that are unique to Valefar, using abilities we don’t have. No one is really sure how it works, but when you’re changed to a Martis, it’s a process. You don’t usually wake up with a mature Martis mark on your head. It’s typically a gradual change. First the mark appears like a blue bruise, before it intensifies into a pattern. We assumed the new Martis were being killed because their mark was exposed. But you didn’t have that bruise-like mark. I would have seen it. It just appeared, fully formed.” He shook his head, “Ivy, I don’t know how they hunted you. I didn’t even realize you’d get marked.” His voice was sincere and somber.

Shaking my head in disbelief, I stood looking straight at him, with my eyes wide. I felt the air fill my lungs as my stomach twisted in knots, not knowing what to believe.

“Ivy,” he said, “if you remember anything about the Valefar, remember this. They feel nothing, care for no one, and are only interested in one thing—power. Right now, they are trying to shift the balance of power back in their favor, so they can defeat us.”

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)