Kat Donovan is at the lowest point of her life: she didn't get her promotion, she's never dated a decent man ever, and she's pretty sure she just spent a few thousand bucks drowning her sorrows in a Vegas strip club.The cherry on top? It's also the last day of her life.Death's at her door, figuratively and literally. One of Hell's Punishers is coming to take her away, to an afterlife full of torture and torment. But of course, with the help of some miracles and her ever-steady fighting spirit, she manages to escape its sneaky clutches.And that's how Kat discovers that the Punisher is not anywhere close to what she thought it is.First off, the Punisher is actually the most drop-dead gorgeous guy Kat's ever seen. Two, the 'miracles' that saved her life are not miracles, but clues to the mystery of her origin, to which the Punisher holds the answers. Three, due to some unfortunate events, their paths are now intertwined—for better and (mostly) for worse. And four, their adventures might just open the mystery of life, the wonders of existence, and the endless possibilities of new love....View More
† TWENTY YEARS LATER †To open or not to open. That was the big question.Calix stared at the cardboard box on his bed. He'd shut himself in his room in the Circle of the Councilmen, right after going to the mortal world to retrieve the box Kat had left at her father's glass case with his ashes. For twenty years he'd been going back there to continue what was supposed to be tradition, and for exactly that long he'd ignored the box.And even though for some reason he'd taken it home, he still didn't know what to do.He sprawled onto the cotton sheets, closing his eyes momentarily. He couldn't quite believe that he'd done that. Since Kat's death, he'd been avoiding everything that remotely related to her, and still that hadn't been enough to bury the pain.And how could that be possible? She was the first thing he'd see when he opened his eyes in the morning, the last thing he'd think of when he'd crawl to bed at night. Th
"Kat!" Calix's face sharpened in Kat's blurring vision. "Kat, stay with me.""I'm not going anywhere," she assured him, surprised that her vocal cords even worked. Her throat was parched; she couldn't even swallow. "Not going. Not leaving."The battle had long been settled. It seemed that the moment Aldonra vanished, her hold on the corpses had gotten lifted too. All of them were laying on the battlefield again, more damaged than before. They took many of the allies with them, though, and that made Kat wish she had done this sooner."Amicus!" Calix was yelling. "Amicus, help!"Footsteps rumbled around Kat. Around her, people started to gather. She could see Thisbe's horrified and concerned face, an expression that mirrored Byron's. Lady Gethen and Lord Odion stood next to their son, both of them looking devastated. Amicus loomed into view, taking out his assortment of medicine with trembling hands. The confidence he had on his face when he'd attende
Aldonra's constant struggle as they over the mouth of Sygnus brought fresh bolts of pain in Kat's back, but she didn't let go. She kept her arms locked around the queen's waist, letting momentum and gravity take over and swallow them whole.Amidst the deep, rumbling hum coming from the void, she heard was Calix's muffled protest, the scratch of the sandy ground as he struggled to get to his feet."Kat!" he called out, and she only had time to see his fearful, bloody face before she and Aldonra disappeared over the brink.Darkness. There was only darkness. It was thick and opaque and encompassing, coating Kat's skin like a breeze, or like thin satin. It was almost unnerving how it had an actual texture, coupled with the gravitational pull of the endless vertical tunnel that grabbed onto her ankle like a vice.She looked up as her hair whipped around her face. The mouth of the void was ascending far away from her in an unbelievable speed, yet she kept falli
"NO!" Kat's voice echoed in the vast field, raw and brimming with rage. "NO!"She lost Gregor all over again, only this time, it happened right before her eyes. It was another death, a different level that spared nothing. No remains. No memory. Nothing. And he didn't deserve that. He didn't deserve anything that he'd suffered through. He'd only been caught in between the choices of the woman he'd chosen to be his wife and the tainted child they had who shouldn't have existed in the first place.Kat staggered forward, tears flooding her eyes and flowing down her dust-speckled cheeks. The emotional blow itself was enough to make her want to sink into her knees, but she ended up lunging towards Aldonra.She knew she was going to get destroyed in the process, but she didn't care. Her anger was the only thing that mattered. Broken. Everything inside her was broken and burned and now she had to release the embers. She tried to shoot a line of flames at Aldonra, but her shaking hand and her m
Fear made Calix's journey out of the throne room feel like an out of body experience.He had only a vague memory of leaving, of sparing the enemies who were alive and stirring in their spots on the floor. He extended his wings and set off, far away from the scene, towards Kat.His worry, confusion, and the shock of the revelation were solidifying in his chest, growing heavier and heavier as he swerved around the grand hallways. The medallion dangled from his neck, but he couldn't see it, couldn't really feel it. But its presence, the knowledge that it was there, dissolved him into nothing but a mess of disbelief and denial.The only time he regained some semblance of a connection to reality was when he arrived at the damaged courtyard.The allies were rallying around the fountain, binding the surviving enemies with handcuffs and taking the fallen in the more stable areas in the garden. His parents were at the stairs, sporting wounds but not in immed
"Demons," Amicus muttered, reining in Nyx as she continued to howl and fidget in her leash.Apart from the wolf and Amicus, everyone else was frozen, even the Demons. They looked at the four with their unblinking human-like eyes, standing in their path like they were meant to stay there all along.And perhaps they were. It was most probable that they had been assigned to guard the paths leading to Sygnus. They were just obstacles to be dealt with, but that didn't make their presence any less bothersome, especially for Kat, who had never seen these creatures before.But that wasn't entirely true, wasn't it? She had seen Demons before. Or at least a part of them. She'd seen their hands taking the souls at the gates for evil mortals. She'd heard them make noises, felt their presence at the other side every time she and Calix went to such missions.However, nothing could have prepared her for the sheer physical and emotional torture that they brought upon her.Kat knew perfectly that the f
Calix froze at the sight of Idris and his small army. Not because he was particularly scared of them, but because Idris pointed at him and put him under some sort of a paralyzing spell.Shock, disbelief, and anger fueled him up, but all the energy that those emotions ignited all fell flat when he realized he couldn't move. He fought to stay upright, his weapon still in his hand as his arms got pinned to his sides. His breathing was restricted because of the stiffness in his chest.However, even with all this, he looked Idris straight in the face fearlessly.
Being in the Underworld had been nothing but bad, but at least Kat got to see the cute dogs.Okay, there were not really dogs. They were called shadow wolves. Their furs were purely black, as dark as . . . well, as shadows. Also, they were only cute because they behaved well and rather intelligently, not because they looked like normal dogs. For starters, they were the size of a small bus, with fanged mouths that could swallow an adult. They also had three eyes, one positioned at the forehead and all of them glowing red like a stop sign."Do not pet it," Amicus warned sternly as his shadow wolf named Nyx, sniffed her hand. "You do not want her to lick you
As it turned out, the only way to enter the palace was the sewer lines. These were located at the back end of the landscape, right behind the forest line around the gardens.Calix and his parents found their way just fine, and with zero problems. The northern neighborhoods seemed abandoned, with all the windows shut and doors locked. Odion's ability to manipulate force had allowed him to put a shield on all of them, and Gethen extended her glamour on them too.The journey was more than surprisingly fine, but the destination was quite horrid.The entrance of the sewers alone was not pleasant. Grime covered the walls, and the metal lid of the gigantic pipes were rusted and covered in what looked like black slime. Calix couldn't quite imagine himself charging into battle through these paths."Is this really our point of entry?" He winced at the middle pipe that Odion had just opened. "Maybe there is another way in.""No, son." Gethen crinkled her nose and beckoned him forward. "This was o
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