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A Darker Hollow

Painted Hearts Publishing

Heat Rating: SCORCHING
Word Count: 65,114
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Jax’s little brother Mason is all grown up and finds himself longing for a life of adventure. He finds it in a way he never planned late one night while walking home to the lodge beneath a full moon, when he is attacked, bitten and left for dead by a huge black werewolf. As he’s dying and all hope is fading, he is discovered on the trail and believes he’s being saved. Instead, he’s bitten a second time, and this time by a vampire.

Mason finds himself in the middle of an ancient war between the vampires and the Dire werewolves, and during a raid, he’s captured by the wolf who first bit him, a strong alpha named Finn. Finn is powerfully attracted to him, but Mason is changing, becoming something not quite wolf and not quite vampire—a new creature with powers of his own.

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Excerpt

“Hello?” I called out in a quiet voice. An icy tendril of fear wrapped itself around my spine. “Is someone there?” I whispered. “It’s just me—Mason. I was walking home. Sorry if I bothered you. I…uh…I’ll just be going now.”
Nothing. It was eerily still, not a hint of sound in return. The eyes kept glowing but never moved or shifted. Fighting down the almost overpowering urge to turn and run, I made myself step slowly backward up the trail. Running was the worst thing I could possibly do. I’d heard that somewhere. Never turn your back and never, ever run. The animal stalking you will think you’re prey.
Keeping my eyes on those yellow orbs, I backed away, fighting the almost overpowering urge to yell for help. What was the use anyway? There was no one to hear me scream. I had taken one more convulsive step backward when a dark blur of muscle and fur crashed out of the bushes with incredible speed, slamming into me, knocking me violently to the ground. Horrified, I gasped at the glimpse I got of a massive black wolf with ferocious golden eyes as it sank its fangs into my shoulder, then shook me like a rag doll, the wolf’s huge head pivoting back and forth wildly, ripping my flesh and almost tearing off my arm.
The pain was shockingly bad, worse than I ever could have imagined. I was in agony and screaming, frantically, hopelessly, knowing I was about to die here on this lonely trail and knowing there was nothing I could do to stop it. I had tried instinctively to thrust up my arm in an effort to block the savage teeth as the creature lunged for me, but it was too fast and much too strong. It overpowered me easily, sinking its teeth in all the way to the bone, and ripping right through me. A gush of hot blood had burst from the wound, and I felt venom from the bite rushing into me at the same time, coursing through me like acid and making me writhe in agony.
There was no escaping the beast. I screamed as it shook its head ferociously again and I knew my arm was being ripped away from my shoulder. I was going to die here in the bright moonlight, just a short walk from my home.
Then as suddenly as it began, the attack ended and the wolf relinquished its hold, taking a few quick steps backward, its breathing loud and harsh, saliva still dripping from its mouth. Afraid the attack would begin again, I curled over instinctively into a fetal position. Some part of my brain was still functioning and assessing the situation, telling me I had to avoid exposing the vital parts of my body, like my soft belly and my throat—if I had any chance at all to survive this attack, and it was becoming increasingly evident that I probably didn’t. The damage had already been done, and it was devastating.
All the strength had left my body when the venom began to race through my veins, literally blazing a trail. I lay on my side under the indifferent moon, almost past caring, feeling my lifeblood gushing out of me. I had protected my throat, but the creature that had attacked me had given me a terrible wound I knew I wouldn’t survive. Between the shock and loss of blood, not to mention the excruciating pain, it was getting more and more difficult to draw in a breath. Vaguely, I realized I was only a few seconds away from never having to worry about doing that again.
The huge wolf turned suddenly, snarling, to listen to some sound too faint for human ears. Could someone be coming to rescue me? The thing stood over me, its huge body trembling, peering into the darkness beyond the trail and whining low in its throat. It seemed to hesitate, as if reluctant to leave and give up its prize.
I heard a series of low growls coming from the same thicket of laurels and the beast began to back slowly away. Sweet Jesus, if there was a predator more dangerous in these woods than this wolf, I didn’t want to be around to see what it was. In another few minutes, I thought that actually wouldn’t be an issue. The beast tore off into the forest, pausing for a moment on the verge looking back at me, then turned again and disappeared into the gloom. I was too far gone to feel relief. My eyes fluttered closed, and that cold, assessing part of my brain told me I probably wouldn’t open them again.
Another minute passed, or it could have been an eternity. Time was measured for me now in each fading, stuttering heartbeat and in each painful, rasping breath. Something glided up beside me in the moonlight and leaned over me. I could feel its hot breath, and a sweet, oddly acrid odor filled my nostrils, but I couldn’t muster the strength anymore to open my eyes to see what had stepped up beside me in the dark. I heard a low-pitched sultry voice, right by my ear.
“What’s this? It looks like the beast attacked a human.”
Another voice floated over to me. “Leave it. We have to go after him.”
“No, I don’t think we do. Not yet anyway. Not until I say so,” came the first voice again. Strong hands took hold of my clothing, ripping off my jeans and exposing my naked flesh. Strength like that was obviously supernatural, and there was no way to protect myself from it. I was too far gone anyway. I wanted to protest, or even just open my eyes, but I was becoming more and more certain that I would never open my eyes again.
I felt the cool night air on my bare skin, and then I couldn’t think at all as someone took my flaccid cock in their hand and sucked it into their warm mouth. Without my conscious volition, with literally no control over my body, I thrust my hips upward, hissing as a tongue began to work my shaft expertly, like nothing I’d ever felt before.
Amazingly, although I was hovering on the edge of death, my body somehow began to respond in a distant, addled way. I arched up reflexively as the tongue slipped into my slit. Hard hands slid under me and clenched my ass, lifting me up higher.
I heard myself making weak, groaning noises, and felt blood rush to engorge my cock. I wouldn’t have thought I had enough blood left in my body at the rapid way it was pouring from my ruined shoulder. It all became a part of this fantasy of dying, this strange, surreal dream of sex. An orgasm, shockingly powerful, was already tingling in my spine, making me writhe and buck. It was being drawn from my body, sucked from deep within me, along with what felt like the last of my strength.
The mouth pulled off, and I felt a stinging pain in my shaft. I was almost surprised I could still register pain after all I’d experienced, but then the mouth descended again, and sharp teeth again sliced through the haze to pierce the vein in my cock. I gasped as venom hit my veins, but almost immediately there was a feeling of euphoria. Even as the venom raced through my wrecked body, I arched up with pleasure. I tried to force my eyes open, but I couldn’t see through the blur of tears. The venom hit my heart, and I felt as if that organ was being tugged away from my body, but there was still no real sensation of pain. I opened my mouth to ask what was happening to me, but I couldn’t seem to make a sound. I was sinking into an irrevocable darkness and it was like slipping under a heavy blanket—I was warm, but sound was muffled and everything was going dark. “Stop fighting it,” a voice whispered in my ear. So, I gave up at last with a tired sigh and let the blackness swallow me whole.

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