The Sins Series
Sins of the Heart
“…dark, seductive, and sexy as sin.”—Library Journal
Dagan Krayl, the Underworld's most powerful soul reaper, is the demigod son of the evil god Sutekh. He's on a mission to find his murdered brother's remains and resurrect him, but resurrection means that the secrets carried into death would be released and, with them, a war that could end gods and mankind alike.
Roxy Tam is searching for the same thing, but for completely different reasons. She means to make certain that the remains don’t fall into Sutekh’s hands, and that the soul reapers do not reanimate their fallen comrade. As a Daughter of Aset, Roxy is tasked with the protection of the human race, and if that means thwarting an all powerful soul reaper and making certain his dead brother stays dead, so be it. But when Roxy sees Dagan face-to-face, she realizes that she has met him once before—a meeting that changed her life forever.
Neither Dagan nor Roxy expects to join forces for the sake of mankind. Or to have their loyalties tested as they struggle against treachery, betrayal and the potent desire that threatens to consume them both.
Praise for Sins of the Heart:
"Darkly delicious, savagely beautiful, fiercely seductive—SINS OF THE HEART sets the new gold standard in paranormal romance. This story will ravish you. Simply put, Eve Silver owns me.”—New York Times bestselling author, Ann Aguirre
“I love this book. It is wicked and wild, with a romance so hot you’ll feel it in your bones. Read it, love it, and get swept away.”
—New York Times bestselling author, Marjorie M. Liu
For fans of J R Ward, Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong!
The books in the Sins Series are mature, gritty, dark, violent, sexy and straddle the line between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.
Vol. 1 | Dark Fantasy
The Sins Series
I love this book. It is wicked and wild, with a romance so hot you’ll feel it in your bones. Read it, love it, and get swept away.
—Marjorie M. Liu, New York Times bestselling author of the Dirk & Steele and Hunter Kiss series
Darkly delicious, savagely beautiful, fiercely seductive—SINS OF THE HEART sets the new gold standard in paranormal romance. This story will ravish you. Simply put, Eve Silver owns me.
—Ann Aguirre, national bestselling author of Doubleblind
Romantic Times BOOKreviews Top Pick
Save me from that god who steals souls,
Who laps up corruption, who lives on what is putrid,
Who is in charge of darkness, who lives in gloom,
Of whom those who are among the languid ones are afraid.
Who is he? He is Seth.
He is Sutekh.
—The Egyptian Book of the Dead, Chapter 17
Chicago, Illinois, eleven years ago
In the far corner of a room in the basement of an abandoned factory, a woman huddled on a filthy mattress. Her wrists and ankles were bound by yellow nylon rope. Her head was bowed, dark, glossy ringlets falling forward to obscure her face. The harsh glare of the naked overhead bulb accented the curved line of her back.
Terror had a way of making mortals scream.
Dagan Krayl wondered why this one wasn’t.
He shifted to get a better view through the half-inch crack in the door. Small, bare room. Concrete floor. Particleboard walls. No windows.
There were stains on the mattress. Old stains, reddish brown, dark and stiff. Someone’s blood.
But whoever had left her here would be back. So she had reason enough to be terrified. Reason enough to scream. Human females cried. And, at times, human males. But not this female.
Both her silence and her odd movements piqued Dagan’s curiosity.
Her head bobbed like a buoy in choppy water. Up. Down. He could hear the distinct rasp of each breath, more scrape than sob, accompanied by a muted grinding.
What the hell was she doing? From this position, he couldn’t tell.
She paused, shifted a bit to one side and rolled her shoulder up against her cheek to push back the long, corkscrew strands of her hair. Then she dipped her head and went back to her task. The grinding resumed, and he realized that she was gnawing at the rope with her teeth, making a play for freedom.
A flicker of interest ignited. It appeared that despite the desperation of her circumstances her spirit was tattered but not crushed.
A fighting spirit.
Something to be admired.
He blinked, startled by the thought. She was none of his concern. He was here to harvest and kill.
But not her.
The prey he sought had a tarnished soul, one smeared with the worst sort of slime, the accumulated malfeasance and malady of a lifetime. Nothing less would satisfy dear old dad.
Sutekh, the Lord of Chaos. He dined only on malevolence and vice. Evil was the delicacy he craved.
As a soul reaper, Dagan was tasked with providing it. He was not just any soul reaper, but Sutekh’s eldest son. The old man had a small army of soul reapers to harvest for him, but he had only four sons and he had exacting expectations of his progeny.
He glanced over his shoulder down the narrow, dark corridor. He’d already checked the massive empty space upstairs. Only the underground bowels of the abandoned factory remained unexplored. His prey was here somewhere, and he ought to continue the hunt, not stand here watching the woman.
But something kept him from leaving her and prowling off in search of a darksoul. He knew what it felt like to struggle and strive, to ache for freedom. Be careful what you wish for—wasn’t that a common mortal adage? Freedom wasn’t always delicious.
Reaching into the back pocket of his faded, torn jeans, he took out a lollipop. The clear plastic wrapper crinkled as he pulled it off. He popped the sucker in his mouth and waited—flavor exploded. Coconut…pineapple. Piña colada. Not his favorite. He’d remember that next time.
He folded the cellophane in half, then quarters, and shoved it in his pocket, because littering went against his grain, even in this condemned shithole of an abandoned factory in Chicago’s far South Side. The clear paper crinkled and crunched in the quiet.
The woman’s head jerked up. She must have heard the sound.
She turned her face toward him, blinked a couple of times, then froze. He didn’t know if she could see him, but she definitely heard him. That was a surprise.
A long scratch marked her neck and a fresh bruise darkened her right cheek, swollen and red against the smooth toffee cream of her skin. She’d been roughed up a bit, but she still had her clothes on. Didn’t look like she’d been raped. Yet.
Dagan figured she had to count that as a good thing.
She wasn’t gagged. Her captor hadn’t bothered, either because there was no one around to hear her, or because the guy liked to listen to her scream. Only she wasn’t. Screaming.
He found that interesting.
Stepping deeper into the room, Dagan lifted his finger to his lips—stay quiet—and reached back to pull the door closed behind him. He wasn’t sure why he wanted her quiet. Letting her scream would only bring her captor running, which would save Dagan the trouble of hunting him down. But he wanted a moment with her. One moment.
Why? One moment to do what? He came up with fuck all for an answer.
Her eyes widened, then narrowed. Beautiful eyes, green and bronze, the shape almond tipped. The color was startling against her dark skin and even darker lashes.
For an instant, he saw only her eyes, tiger fierce. The room disappeared, and he saw only those eyes. They reached inside him, found something he hadn’t known he’d lost, hadn’t known he had in the first place.
The instant passed, leaving his pulse beating a little harder, his breath coming a little faster. He recognized that the source wasn’t mere sexual attraction. It was…something else.
His gaze dipped to her mouth—full lips, lush and plump—and dipped lower to follow the thick silver chain that snaked beneath the neckline of her dirt-smeared tank top to disappear between the generous swell of her breasts. The room was like a meat locker, and the distinct outline of her nipples left no doubt that she was cold. He was in no hurry to look away; he couldn’t help but appreciate the view.
I could warm her, ease her fear.
The uncharacteristic thought held distinct appeal.
Her breasts rose and fell with each rapid breath. He dragged his gaze away, let it rake her at a more leisurely pace, and he felt a distinct unease as he noticed things he’d missed the first time around. Things like incredibly smooth, taut skin. Not a wrinkle. Not a line. Not a single flaw.
Hell. He had no business staring at her breasts, her nipples. He saw now that she wasn’t a woman at all. Barely more than a kid. Nineteen, maybe twenty.
“How old are you?”
“Nineteen.” She frowned. “And a half.”
And a half. That sealed the deal. Too young. She was far too young for him. And mortal, to boot. He generally didn’t bother with mortals. They were too…human. There were more than enough female genies and demigods in the Underworld to choose from if he needed to scratch an itch.
But he’d pulled his gaze away too late. She’d seen exactly where his attention had strayed.
“Old enough to put up a fight.” Her voice was low and fierce. “You won’t get any without a fight, white boy.”
His gaze flicked to the yellow ropes that bound her. “I’m not in the habit of tying my lovers up.” A slow smile curved his lips. “Unless they ask.”
“I’m not asking.”
She stared at him, her posture and expression putting him in mind of a cornered cat. Ready to fight. Claws. Teeth. Whatever it took.
Guts and grit. And beauty. He found the combination appealing. Nineteen. And a half.
“Fuck.” He was here to harvest a darksoul, not think about getting laid, and he was rapidly coming to the conclusion that the faster he got done and got going, the better. He set his teeth against the lollipop, sheared off a shard of candy and ground it between his molars.
“Fuck,” she echoed. “Yeah, that about sums it up, vanilla bean.”
He didn’t surprise easily, but that did the trick. She’d been beaten, bound and left to stew in her own terror, but she had the brass balls left to call him vanilla bean. And white boy.
He’d been called worse. With reason.
“You in this with him?” Despite the show of bravado, the question held a telltale tremble.
He took the lollipop from his mouth, studied her for a second, then popped the candy back in and used his tongue to push it off to one side. She held perfectly still, only her eyes moving as she tracked his actions.
“By him I assume you mean your captor.” At her sharp nod, he finished, “No, I’m not in it with him.”
Hope flickered to life in her eyes. “You here to free me?”
“Free you?” He almost laughed. “No.” If she were looking for a savior, she was in for disappointment. No one was coming. No one but him. Which was unfortunate for her.
At his answer, her cheeks paled, but her chin kicked up a little higher. “You gonna kill me, then?” Her eyes narrowed. “‘Cause if y’are, get in line. I think the asshole who tied me up will call dibs.”
Not tonight, he wouldn’t. Dagan had no intention of letting the bastard touch her.
The second the thought formed, he ground it to dust beneath his boot. He wasn’t here to protect this oddly alluring girl. He was here to kill and take what he needed—a darksoul to feed Sutekh’s power.
But not from her. Her soul was bright as a xenon arc lamp. Sutekh would cough it up like a hairball.
“This isn’t your night to die.”
“Real talk?” She tipped her head and thrust one shoulder back in a cocky pose. Almost made him believe it. More bravado. And still no tears.
“Real talk?” he echoed, floundering. Then he realized she was asking if he was telling the truth. “I’m not here for you. I came for a darksoul.”
She frowned at the term, but didn’t ask for an explanation. She had other things on her mind. “Good for you. Maybe you could help me with this little inconvenience first?” Her voice dripped sarcasm. Jerking her bound hands up, she separated them by the quarter inch the rope allowed and winced as it rubbed her already chaffed skin. “You got a knife?”
As he stared at the red, inflamed marks that braceletted her wrists, something odd and unfamiliar raised its head and uncoiled deep inside him. He’d seen thousands of wounds, caused most of them himself. But the sight of her beautiful brown skin, abraded and bloody, was…unsettling. He felt a second’s disorientation. He had no reason to care about her pain.
“A knife?” she prompted. And he heard asshole implied in her tone. Or maybe, dickhead.
“No knife.” He didn’t need one. In three strides he closed the space between them. He took the rolled paper lollipop stick from between his lips, tucked it away in his pocket, then hunkered down and caught the rope in his fist.
Her pupils dilated and she gasped. Every muscle in her sleek frame tensed. But she didn’t jerk away. Only watched him with those incredible eyes.
A sound carried from the hallway. Footsteps.
“Cut me loose!” she hissed.
“After.” He was already rising and backing away.
“After what?” Her breath came in short, sharp pants, her gaze flicking to the closed door, her fear clearly escalating. Bemused, he wondered why she was all swagger and sass talking to him, but she was terrified of the human in the hallway. She had her priorities ass-backwards.
Lifting a finger to his lips once more, Dagan cautioned her to silence as he eased back into the narrow space between the doorframe and the wall. If she were smart, she’d be quiet. If she gave him away it would only make his job…messier.
Jaw clenched, fingers curled into her palms, she followed his movements and offered a short nod as, with a creak, the door opened half way. A blonde in tight jeans and stilettos sashayed into the room, shouldering the door fully open. Close behind her was a tall man, dressed all in black, greasy brown hair hanging lank to his shoulders. He had one hand clasped tight around the blonde’s wrist, the other holding a long hunting knife down by his thigh.
The girl on the mattress lurched up and rasped, “Marcie! You’re alive. Oh, thank God.”
Marcie froze, and the guy holding her tightened his grip.
Looked like the bastard meant to rape and murder not one girl, but two.
Disgust curdled in Dagan’s gut. He was as far from good as anyone could be, but he did have a code. He always settled his debts. His word was his law. He refused to lie. And he sure as sugar never fucked girls barely out of high school then slit their throats.
Marcie tossed her hair back from her face and cocked one hip to the side. She had a hard look about her, like she knew the score and liked it that way. Turning her head, she slanted a glance toward the mattress and the girl.
That was all.
Just a glance.
No expression at all.
Not horror. Not fear. Not empathy.
Understanding arrowed deep, a sharp, bright barb, and Dagan narrowed his eyes, seeing things with new clarity.
Marcie wasn’t bound. She didn’t lean away from the grasp of her tormentor; instead, she relaxed into his grip. The way she held herself, shoulders back, head high, was anything but fearful. And her lips were curved in the faintest smile.
Well, fuck me raw.
The bastard didn’t have two girls captive. He had one girl he was all set to rape and murder.
And one girl who was all set to help him.