Authors: Inez Kelley
Tags: #Adult, #Angels, #Bad Boy, #Demons, #Paranormal Romance
In the battle between good and evil, humans have never been more than collateral damage. Now they are prey. Mankind doesn’t need a hero. It needs a sinner.
Corrupt. Wicked. Nefarious. Contemptible....
The Baddest Boys in History are back!
You read about them in school. Now learn the truth. Real men. No vampires, no werewolves, no magic. Just down and dirty raw power —sin to sin, evil to evil, bad to bad. They fight for humanity. It was that or eternal damnation.
They agreed to risk their souls. No one told them they would lose their hearts.
Vike died in blood, in battle, in betrayal. His ruthlessness was second only to his brutality. Now one woman makes his blood sing and he’ll stop at nothing to save her. He only has to face half of Hell to do it.
Lacy is unknowingly descended from an ancient Holy line. Someone is slowly destroying her life and wants her dead. A fierce Viking comes to her rescue, and in his arms, she finds more than safety.
If Vike can’t protect Lacy, he’ll have to kill her. And for a bastard, what’s one woman worth when the entire world is in jeopardy?
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Praise for THE BASTARD
In THE BASTARD, Inez Kelley turns the battle of good versus evil on its head with a fresh new twist. This gritty urban fantasy introduces an intriguing ensemble of anti-heroes that you can't help but fall for: hook, line and sinker. With multiple mythologies woven together seamlessly in a world reminiscent of Gaiman's AMERICAN GODS, THE BASTARD kicks off what promises to be an adventurous and innovative new series.
Jeannie Lin, USA TODAY Bestselling Author of THE LOTUS PALACE
Inez Kelley knows how to write sexy, hot, bad boys and THE BASTARD does
Denise Grover Swank, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author
This is that ultimate good vs evil story, except the good guys were oh so bad before their First Death. Definitely a must read series!! The characters are so captivating, and the story is a fresh look at story that has been building since the beginning of time.
KcLu, Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
"Bloody and funny and fast-paced with a badass hero to die for - more, please!"
Charlotte Stein, Best-selling author of SHELTERED
A fascinating hook, hot heroes and a compelling heroine make Inez Kelley's The Baddest Boys in History series a must read for lovers of the paranormal genre. I loved the hero, Erik, who is tortured by his past and feels unworthy of the heroine, Lacy. For her part, Lacy is smart, loving and definitely not a doormat. Their chemistry is incendiary and the love scenes are trademark Kelley-hot! Don't miss this series, I promise you'll love it!
Kati Brown, Dear Author Book Reviews
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
THE BASTARD Copyright © 2014 Inez Kelley
Edited by: Lesa Koscielski
Cover art by: WordSugar Designs
Tattoo design by: Norseman Arts
All characters, and all incidents and dialogue, are drawn from the author’s imagination and used fictitiously. With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher, Inez Kelley.
For Ayla, keep your chin up
For Ryan, always my hero
There is not a righteous man on Earth who does what is right and never sins.
- The Holy Bible, Ecclesiastes 7:20, NIV
In the beginning, He created the Heaven and the Earth
…and then everything went to Hell.
Hollowness gnawed at Josiel’s middle. Paradise surrounded her but all she could see was the daunting assignment she’d been given. The very air was flavored with reverence and peace, but her stomach clenched in disgust. Hundreds of thousands of glossy crystal boxes stored in the Sacred Wall reflected the light around them but gave off no warmth. They couldn’t. All they held was dust, the remains of countless people.
Michael’s voice, deep with pride and bold with arrogance, curled her lip. They had been given the same task, had the same freedoms and limitations, the only difference being location. He would remain here and fulfill his duty, while she would venture below to the earthly realm. Their obligation was bare minutes old and already the weight nearly crushed her. Her knees could still feel the press of the cool marble before The Creator of All’s throne. But here, now, facing the expanse of the dead, those knees began to tremble.
The Master Gleaner laid a crystal box beside three others on the marble altar. Michael’s eyes flicked along the scroll in his hand, measuring each name against his personal list of qualifications. He had to be selective. She and Michael could each only Awaken seventy-seven human souls, men and women who would be more than human. They would become the Awoken, new soldiers in the Creator of All’s forces in the battle for peace.
Michael’s long legs had outpaced her in his bid to choose first and she’d let him. Conceit thrust his jaw forward as he pointed to yet another name. Josiel noted the name beneath his fingertip and arched her brow. How typical. Michael skimmed the cream of the crop from the list of the dead, selecting the best for his lot.
All the choices were flawed in some way. The Creator of All was infallible but His creations were not. Mortal man had been innocent until they were lured from the Holy path. The treasonous act of the High Prince, the
known as Samael, had astounded those in Heaven and they’d all wept for the most fragile of creation who flocked to follow him.
Even the powerful Vangelus had succumbed to earthly temptation and mated with mortals. Josiel pinched her lips tight as bitterness washed into her mouth. Oh, how they had fallen into the lure of lust and sex, drunk on physical release and the throb of orgasm. Not even she had been immune. But she had been faithful to one and one alone. Her eyes locked onto Michael’s spine. Not all Vangeli could claim that.
The thick muscles along his back shifted as he collected his bounty and turned. He held only four soul-boxes, four mortals that he would Awaken to fight the forces of evil. It left him seventy-three soldiers to claim as earthly time passed, and she knew in her core that he would select the best humanity had to offer.
One long sensual sweep of his eyes traced her from nose to toe. “I left you a few respectable choices.”
“I need no favors from you.”
A smug smile curved his full lip. “I remember the word
upon your lips very well.”
“Once, perhaps, but never again.” Anger fisted her hands and her nails dug deep into her palms.
“Never is a long time.” Warm breath brushed along her ear as he leaned close. “I’ll miss you while you’re away. Miss me?”
“There are many things I will miss. You aren’t one of them.”
“Don’t lie, Josiel. You’ll miss me. Your body will clench with sexual hunger once on Earth and this battle will last eons. You think some mortal man can appease that ache?” His finger traced her collarbone. “I’m but a whisper away. Remember that.”
Biting back jagged words, she shouldered by him and gripped the scroll. His low chuckle danced along her nape but she refused to look up. His golden sandals made no noise as he left the Sacred Wall but invisible strain bled from her shoulders. Sweet wind feathered the hair from her brow as she drew in a slow breath.
Names filled the parchment, each flowing character one more soul now stored in a silent box. People who had never been meant to die. She’d been charged with the bitter duty to evict the inhabitants of the Blessed Garden for their sin, condemning them to a mortal life, one that ended in death. She’d done that and stood guard for over a thousand years until she’d been called back to assist the Seraphim Guards. Lust had turned ugly, deadly. The human women who mixed with Vangelus males had unintentionally spawned monsters.
For months, all of Heaven’s warriors battled the creatures, the Irin, wrestling not to kill but imprison them. Josiel had barely slammed the last prison gate closed before war erupted. The
followers rose up against the Creator. Streets of gold were littered with remains, immortality eradicated as brother took up arms against brother. Sides were chosen. A millennium passed as the loyal clashed with the traitorous until one final gory battle had ended the struggle.
For now. It would come again.
Her family had been torn in two.
had fled, his followers de-winged and banished. The Seraphim Guard was without a leader. The Patricius reduced to only seven.
was the cause, the bitter root that spoiled everything she knew. His arrogance, his pride, his ego threatened everyone and everything she’d once known was gone.
He hadn’t been idle on the Earthly plane. He’d wreaked havoc, toying with humans as if they were dolls, tossing them aside when his attention waned. And they suffered for his interference. Now humanity was corrupt, thick with jealousy and lacking in compassion. Pettiness ran wild and selfishness replaced goodwill. A new breed of man had emerged, the victors.
Victors. The winners. The conquerors. The words rolled around her mind. Victors who were not without sin for no man was pure. Excitement sent a crackle along Josiel’s skin. She and Michael had been instructed to Awaken an army to combat evil incarnate. She didn’t need good, wholesome winners on her side. She needed the best of the worst, the opponents who had nearly toppled the champions from their thrones. Human men and women so familiar with wickedness, with treachery and deceit, they could anticipate and counter anything Samael could plan. She needed the sinners.
Taming them would be the key. But she had the blessing of the Creator of All, His power behind her. And she had her own strengths. Her chin lifted. Her name meant
but she would be more. She would be his rock.
. The Rock. Unforgiving, unyielding, unshakeable. Yes, she had a new earthly name. Now she had to claim and Awaken her earthly soldiers.
Her nail skimmed the parchment, noting the life deeds recorded. She ignored every moral accomplishment and focused on the depraved exploitations, selecting three names. The Master Gleaner turned to gather her soul-boxes, and she let a triumphant smile round her cheeks. Time would pass and her army would grow, evil one by evil one, but she’d focus them on the true path. Let Michael assemble his shining righteous steeped in glory. She’d amass the forsaken forged in infamy.
October mountain air cut across his skin with the frosty kiss of a knife blade. Vike turned his face up, letting the sharp wind stream through his hair. A car engine overshadowed the whisper of leaves along the pavement. He watched the little gray Civic as it turned into the lot, parked, and then idled beneath the solitary lamppost.
“A brooding immortal stalking a human woman? This is a chick flick, Viking.”
Vike snorted, the sudden voice not entirely unexpected. Gen always knew where he was. “Since when do you watch chick flicks?”
“I saw the commercial.”
The hillside gave Vike the perfect vantage point. Maybe it was borderline stalking, but he’d just wanted to see her. Below, the woman sat in her car talking on her cell phone with a grin flashing in the amber light. His mouth quirked up. It wasn’t even dawn but someone she knew was awake and had made her laugh. Family? A lover? A husband? His smile faded as his thoughts went down that path.