Monday, September 19, 2016

Loves Haunt by Sascha Illyvich

 Available now for .99 cents
 Starting her day off without coffee had been a bad idea. But without a clue how to operate in the human world, due to all the odd behavior occurring around her, Aurelia no longer knew her purpose. After a quick breakfast of bacon and steak to feed the routine of her former beast, she walked through the living room of her adobe rental and stepped outside onto the porch. The xeriscaped land that passed for her front yard wore a white blanket and the desert fauna had gone into hibernation during the winter months, so everything around her reinforced how much death surrounded her. The one tall tree in the front yard had fewer branches after a particularly bad storm, and it only reemphasized her loneliness. Snow had fallen this year, making it colder than usual. Thirty degrees sucked but even more so when the clouds hid the sun and her wolf’s fur no longer coated her essence. Wolves were as a whole, only a form of the spirit created by the Boldog Asszony that manifested themselves in lupine form while having the ability to pass as human should they need. She shook her head, shivered and wondered what the hell she’d done to deserve this as her final resting place. Oh yeah. A glance at the tree showed branches moving in the wind. She groaned, swore the outcome would happen again if she didn’t leave this place. The damn tree would grow and sprout in the middle of dead winter. Why was she here again? Right. Fucking watch over her two mates. Opeth Pack had left Hungary after the last large Noble attack and relocated. Because she’d been aboard Mistress Aliyah’s ship, she’d heard her brother mumbling about relocation. After begging Sziga to take her brother off the ship and pull him away from Mistress Aliyah, Aurelia worried herself sick when the Mistress decided to enact her wrath all around. Lucky for the pack, Aliyah had missed her target and attacked a village frequented by the local drunk Hunters. Humans and wolves didn’t coexist the way fairy tales would have, because the wolves were so fierce, mankind remained terrified. The special group of humans with second sight, as she called it, had tracked the wolves down with Kiba’s help when he’d gone insane and taken Józsi’s mates. Her brother had been a power in his own right. He once threatened Bianca and Viktor, which made Aurelia realize the next step was to stop him. She sighed. At least she was close to the Opeth Pack encampment. Some of them had found work and moved into town to help out with pack finances but her mates. The thought of having mates and dealing with the newfound emptiness caused Aurelia no amount of joy. Her stomach turned at the thought of having to watch and protect another being, let alone two outside of Les. She ground her teeth and made her way back inside her house, shutting the door with a soft click behind her. She supposed she needed to make her way to the Opeth Pack encampment and watch Bianca and Viktor from a closer distance. Yeah, that’d surely ease her pain. She swore beneath her breath and decided that cup of coffee wouldn’t hurt. Moving into the kitchen for that pot of salvation, she stopped at the doorway and listened. No longer with her lupine abilities, but Aurelia still heard things¬, got a sense of shit happening around her. Five seconds later, the back door handle turned and the door opened. Les strolled in, looking a little worse for the wear, but healthy compared to the last time she’d seen him. She gasped. “You.” “Yes, Aurelia. I’ve found you.” She blinked. He’d lost a little weight and his hair had grown out. Straight, black, it hung just past his chin while the ends curled under slightly. His dark skin showed the wrinkles under his eyes. Yeah, his one eye no longer glowed. In fact, both eyes looked more human than lupine, but Les didn’t seem to care. Dressed in his usual casual business outfit of khakis and polo shirt, his dress shoes clicked on the wood floor. “Not even a hello or hi?” He arched a brow. “I’m a human now, Les. I have started picking up their behavior.” “Not so cocky when you have been stripped of everything, are you?” “No,” she crossed her arms over her chest. “How did you find me?” “It matters not. We need to talk about your mates.” His monotone voice irritated her. She shook her head, angry that he’d even bring them up. “I have no mates to speak of.” Les cocked a brow, rubbed his forehead and let out a sigh. This was the first real bit of emotion he’d shown to anyone ever and it made Aurelia wonder what had happened to him since she’d forced him off Aliyah’s ship. “You’re going to play that game with me?” “It’s not like I can go see them. They’re Opeth Pack like you. Unlike you, I have a quarrel with one of them.” “Sziga.” Aurelia nodded. Les crossed his arms over his chest. She hated seeing him look so defenseless when he attempted to appear strong but this was what had to happen apparently. Fucking prophecy. “He will be fine. You needn’t worry over him.” Her eyes widened, “How can you be so sure? He hates me for my part in all of this. I pretty much sold him out until…” No, she couldn’t tell her brother about using Sziga to get Les off that ship. He hadn’t mentioned it, so she wouldn’t either. As far as he knew, his sister had died after the horrible murders she’d committed in the name of protecting him. Her secrets would be carried to the grave if she were lucky enough. Mistress Aliyah had ordered the hit, but Aurelia carried things too far and caused more damage than she’d intended. Aliyah had laughed. Cold bitch. Aurelia shuddered. “What was that?” She blinked. “What?” “You’re no longer what you once were, and neither am I. But I still see the world for what it is, Aurelia.” “And,” she cocked her heard to the side, “what is that?” His lips pursed together in a thin line and his brows creased together. “This world is something none of us wish to live in. It’s becoming more barren and desolate. Eventually it will grow cold and dark.” She scoffed. “Like it hasn’t already.” “No.” He shook his head, lowered his gaze and slid his hands in his pockets. “It’s getting worse. This is just the time of year when the earth recharges and things go into hibernation. Haven’t you noticed the cycles we go through every year?” “Yes,” she huffed, “Maiden, Mother, Crone. Remember, I took on that role for a brief time.” Les nodded. “You did until it was time for rebirth. Now look at you.” “Yes.” She spat the one word answer out bitterly. “Look at me. Reduced to a fucking human. No ability, no power, and no lupine heritage.” Les stepped forward so quick had she blinked, she’d have missed it. He set his hands on her shoulders. “Don’t ever talk like that. Humans have a purpose perceived, and a purpose realized. Whether they know it as a whole or not is of no importance, but when the individuals realize it, that’s power.” Aurelia gasped. His fingers left her, and he stepped back. The two of them stood in silence until the coffee pot sounded. “Care for some coffee?” He nodded. “Sure. I haven’t slept, could use the wake me up.” She wanted to ask but couldn’t bring herself to do so. He looked like hell still, and after that power move, his face showed signs of age. Both in their late thirties, neither showed youth the way they should have. Les’s eyes bore black circles of sleeplessness, hers held on to wrinkles. His skin, still smooth, as was hers, dark complexion showed some Asian influence. Odd because Kiba never had dark skin tones. In fact, Aurelia thought back and realized his skin was fair compared to Les and her. She retrieved two cups from the cupboard, set them down on the counter and filled them full of hot coffee. “Sugars? Sweeteners? Milk?” “Nothing, thank you. Just decent coffee at this point is a treat compared to how I’ve lived the last several months.” She wouldn’t ask about Mistress Aliyah’s treatment. Most of it could be seen when they had been engaged in her version of intimacy. It still frightened her to think of what Les suffered at Aliyah’s hands. Just seeing him with bruises and cuts, despite his immense strength, pissed her off. She grit her teeth and poured his coffee carefully, trying desperately not to show her anger. Turning toward him with his mug in her hand, she offered him the steaming cup. Les took it and smiled weakly. “What are you thinking?” The question caught her off guard. “I don’t understand. I’m…not really thinking.” “Lies do you no good, Aurelia. Haven’t you noticed even without all the power the oddities around you?” She blinked, deciding to deny what he was talking about. “You’re very good with the nature element.” She shivered. “What is it to fear your own power?” “If I don’t know what or why, I have this power or even what it is, what good does it do?” She glowered. “Fine. Choose not to tell me. But you still must deal with the issue at hand.” She turned back to the empty cup, pulled the pot from the coffee maker and poured her cup. Her hands began to shake. Energy flowed over her, lupine in nature, calming yet troubling at the same time. She steadied herself, forced herself to concentrate on pouring a simple cup of coffee before dropping the pot. It smashed on the tile floor, spilling hot liquid everywhere. “Fuck!” Les blinked, the coffee pot reassembled itself but the liquid mess remained. “Sorry, I’m not what I once was.” She snorted. Neither of them were as strong or powerful as they once were. Yet the spill wouldn’t clean itself. Bending down with the dishtowel, Aurelia mopped up the mess and decided to fuck off the cup of coffee. She needed something stronger. “What did we do to deserve this?” “This is just how it is meant to be, dear Aurelia.” “It doesn’t have to be.” “Fighting Prophecy is nonsense. You have seen the Opeth Pack. Determined to stay in Hungary, Józsi did everything he could. Holy smokes, he even fought off the Hunters recently before deciding the best move was to adhere to Prophecy and give up what was once familiar for what is now new. And will become familiar again.” “Always in riddles, Les.” He nodded. Sipping his coffee, he eased himself back against the island in the kitchen and looked into the cup. “Are we scrying again?” “Hm?” He looked up, met her gaze. “No. Just thinking.” It still seemed odd to look into his gaze and not see the lime green eye. Had she been around the Opeth Pack, she might have grown accustomed to it by now. “How have you managed?” “Since?” She didn’t have to say it. The look on his face told her he’d understood the question. “I do fine. My magic isn’t as great, but I was never that great with it. My…” He looked away, down at the floor, then back at her. “My mate said I had potential but then it was taken away. Then I was taken from her.” Not that she wanted to see him return to Aliyah, but she had to ask. “Why haven’t you returned?” “I can’t find them. Sziga is supposed to take her out, though he won’t say why. I have no recollection of leaving the ship, either. I know I was sick, everything else is a big hole in my mind.” She nodded. No, he didn’t need to know. Suddenly, he narrowed his gaze on her, pinning her to the counter. “But enough about my mate. You have to find yours. They need you if the pack is to survive.” How dare he? “Are you going to tell me their very existence is tied to Prophecy too?” He nodded. “God damn it, Les. Bro—” She stopped herself. Inhaled. Exhaled. “I’m not in the best position to deal with them.” “It’s their funeral.” Her jaw dropped. When Les spoke of Prophecy, he was usually right. Józsi had been the oddball destiny hadn’t expected in that his mates could calm his brute force. Unlike Kiba, who…well she wouldn’t go there. Not again. “They’re near here. You need to see them and settle things.” She threw her hands up in the air, “There’s nothing to fucking settle! They don’t even know I exist yet!” “They know.” She slapped her forehead, spun off the counter and walked to the back door. Placing a hand on the doorknob, she yanked it open and let the cold air blast her in the face. Her skin tightened instinctively but no wolf’s fur shielded her essence like it once had. Grinding her teeth, Aurelia spun around to face Les. He still wore the same morose expression, yet his posture loosened. “Dear, if you don’t figure this out, you all could die.”

About the Author Sascha Illyvich: 

 Sascha, who was proclaimed by the publishing industry as The Gentleman Playboy of Romance, started writing seventeen years ago. His erotic romances have been listed under Night Owl Romance’s and Road to Romance’s Recommended read lists, and he’s been nominated for a CAPA by The Romance Studio. Recently, Torn to Pieces was a USA TODAY Recommended Read.

Sascha is a trained and experienced public speaker, and enjoys giving talks and teaching, particularly on aspects of romance, erotic romance, and writing. He was the former host of The Unnamed Romance Show on Radio Dentata, and is fond of doing guest spots and interviews, on both traditional radio and podcasts.

Sascha writes for WolfPack Publishing, Assent Publishing, Red Sage, Secret Cravings Publishing, Sizzler Editions, Totally Bound, and Decadent Publishing.

Find him at

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