EHDAB Book 2: Beauty in the Darkness [A Paranormal Romance]

EHDAB Book 2: Beauty in the Darkness [A Paranormal Romance]

Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance

Summary

What happens when gods and goddesses fall in love? What happens when the hero isn't you?

Everything seemed to have hit rock-bottom for Karma. A college educated former Marine and now a convicted felon, it would be easy to say divorce was hard. With a daughter on the way from a spur of the moment relationship, he was ready to accept whatever dead-end path life was heading. Lucky-or unlucky-for him, the gods found a suitable purpose for someone of his...caliber.

Seduced by a succubus and dragged through the thin veil that separates dimensions, he found himself face-to-face with a woman chasing an invisible butterfly. Unaware of his circumstances and on the verge of being granted magic, he decided to help Ehma. There's no way he could know of the spell affecting the hotel's resident ghost or the plot that brought them stumbling into each other in another world.

Ehma wasn't looking to be saved. In life, and in death, she took matters into her own hands. With a lifetime of manipulation and betrayal behind her, she just wanted to move on.

This is no harem and definitely not a place for heroics. The women are powerful, the magic deadly, and the relationships...complicated. Jaded and disillusioned, Karma begins a journey to prove whether he's the man he thinks he is and whether he deserves the chance at redemption only true love can bring.

Summary

What happens when gods and goddesses fall in love? What happens when the hero isn't you?

Everything seemed to have hit rock-bottom for Karma. A college educated former Marine and now a convicted felon, it would be easy to say divorce was hard. With a daughter on the way from a spur of the moment relationship, he was ready to accept whatever dead-end path life was heading. Lucky-or unlucky-for him, the gods found a suitable purpose for someone of his...caliber.

Seduced by a succubus and dragged through the thin veil that separates dimensions, he found himself face-to-face with a woman chasing an invisible butterfly. Unaware of his circumstances and on the verge of being granted magic, he decided to help Ehma. There's no way he could know of the spell affecting the hotel's resident ghost or the plot that brought them stumbling into each other in another world.

Ehma wasn't looking to be saved. In life, and in death, she took matters into her own hands. With a lifetime of manipulation and betrayal behind her, she just wanted to move on.

This is no harem and definitely not a place for heroics. The women are powerful, the magic deadly, and the relationships...complicated. Jaded and disillusioned, Karma begins a journey to prove whether he's the man he thinks he is and whether he deserves the chance at redemption only true love can bring.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: May 23, 2019

Reads: 13

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: May 23, 2019

A A A

A A A

Chapter 1

 

The world beyond his window sparkled with illustrious beauty. It amused him. The dull glare of each fragmented light seemed to think it was unique. An individual entity unto its own. The simple naivety was enough to churn his stomach.

 

“Mr. Beckford.”

 

Had it always been so drab? So...uninspiring? So revolting? Nothing is so sweet as the blood of kings to insects.

 

“We’ve arrived, Mr. Beckford.”

 

And yet the swarms persisted. Always with their flashing lights. Their ill informed questions. Locusts upon the earth. But a necessary evil. Who better to weather such adversity? Such strife?

 

Like spineless urchin crawling the ocean’s floor, their dreams of grandeur were akin to that of a bottom-dweller’s dreams of the sun. They would never know its radiance, its warmth. And his presence was the only thing to fulfill their empty fantasies. That was the only reason he humored their arrogance. It was his charity.

 

“Mr. Beckford?”

 

Chris cast a bored glance in the driver’s direction. “Do your employers often solicit the incompetent to earn their keep?”

 

An odd shade of hazel stared back through the rearview mirror, their hue cast in uncertainty. “Sir?”

 

The fool must have sensed his mistake. How could he not? Chris smirked and enjoyed every careful syllable that left his mouth. “It seems your employer’s confidence in your abilities was misplaced. Please let them know your services have been terminated.”

 

With the final blow delt, Chris stepped out into the sea of adoration that awaited him. He would have to call his agent in the morning. To suffer fools was also charity, but… He was Chris Beckford.

 

Chris Fucking Beckford.

 

Not only had the self-important chauffeur gotten lost, he had really been so disrespectful as to expect Chris to open his own door. What kind of business was this company even running? A taxi service? And what exactly did that make him, some kind of drunk plebeian?

 

Hope you enjoy being unemployed, he thought as he left the door hanging open behind him.

 

Now wasn’t the time waste his energy on such trivial matters anyway. His smile was what the cameras craved. His magnetic personality was what the reporters desired. He would give the mongrels their scraps and retire to a place closer to heaven than any of them would ever know.

 

He wasn’t adverse to the crowd’s frantic rumblings. At least normally he wasn’t. One could only extend their patience so far. For so long. Eventually the charity would have to end.

 

A pretty reporter caught his attention out of the corner of his eye, and like a true vulture her caws came moments later. “Mr. Beckford. Mr. Beckford.”

 

It really isn’t fair that I should command this much presence. He let the thought seep into his smile as he turned. Regret followed soon after.

 

All frame, no volume. Least of all makeup. She seemed to have been cursed with the bust of a child, and despite the numerous advantages of cosmetic surgery had instead devoted her time towards—Simply put, her shape was more geared for that of a bodyguard than a tabloid reporter.

 

Still, he had to keep his thoughts close. There were always a few telepaths stalking for scandal. He mused at that quip of brilliance and decided to humor her with a nod of acknowledgment.

 

They shared a moment where it was clear she wanted him. Clear that she would fall to her knees if he saw fit. He could have her and that alone filled his throat with bile.

 

But, alas she jumped into her question before he had a chance to dismiss her with a wave. “Recently, you’ve climbed to heights most entertainers could only imagine. Going from the small screen to a New York Times bestsellingmemoir, Broadway, and now two Oscars—To what do you owe your success, and what lays ahead?”

 

Hopefully an elevator that takes me as far away as possible from your god awful pixie cut. And it’s called makeup. He forced a smile. All eyes were trained on him.

 

“I think the most important part of success is staying humble. That’s something I wish I could have told Ehma before she-before she—”

 

He let the silence linger. They loved it when he did that. Some scribbled. Some recorded. All waited for him to to continue.

 

And so he did, gladly. “I wish I could have told her that. I wish I could have been there when she needed me, but her demons—I don’t think she even understood all the people she was letting down by taking the easy way out. She let the business get the best of her, and I think seeing that—seeing the way her arrogance affected those around her—that was my biggest motivation.”

 

Chris bit his lip and allowed the weight of his words to fall on the crowd. They felt it. They felt what he wanted them to feel. And with that, there was no more to say.

 

He sighed and left them with a charismatic smile that belied his disgust. Such a disappointing question. “I’m sorry. That’ll be all for tonight.”

 

Cries for further questions rang out. They all wanted more. More. More. Well, they would have to call his agent and pay like everyone else. His charity for fools was done for the night.

 

He did give one last knowing look to the bitch with the silver hair. To let her know that she was beneath him. Beneath him in a way that she could never enjoy. Not even for all the money in the world.

 

By the time the doors to his private elevator closed, he had forgotten the idiot chauffeur. He had all but exiled the image of the mannish reporter and her gaudy tattoos. He traced his fingers along cold steel and wondered who he should call that night.

 

His agent had curated a list of numbers. Special numbers. A treasury of filth that would grovel for a moment of his time. It had only taken a few hours to break the last one. Only a few hours before she devolved into the slovenly pig that she was. That they all were.

 

“I am who I am,” he said as he studied his reflection in the polished surface. “Gifted. Handsome. Wealthy. I shouldn’t have to pretend. I can’t pretend to be somebody who makes twenty-five thousand a year.”

 

No. It wasn’t fair to himself to even attempt it. The next girl that walked through his doors had but one purpose. He would give that to her, and when he was satisfied—when she was broken—that purpose would evaporate like morning dew in the wake of a righteous sun.

 

How good it would be for her to experience a moment of paradise. Even if it was temporary. Even if that meant crawling back into the sludge with the rest of them after his lesson. At least she would have her moment, and that moment would be branded on her soul for all of her days. She would be grateful.

 

His body lurched as the elevator came to a stop. The knot on his tie came next, the custom fabric worth more than most made in a year. He waited.

 

Odd.

 

No ding to signal his arrival. No whisk as doors slid. Only cheap elevator music as his company. Only the sanitized fragrance of the “oxy”cleaner he had used the night before.

 

The meat of his fist thudded against metal as he came to a conclusion. “That’s it. As God is my witness, I’ll have this whole damn shitshow condemned. I swear I will.”

 

A crackle from the elevators audio system caught his attention just as his hand hovered over the emergency button. He pressed it anyway. He didn’t have time for this.

 

Nothing happened.

 

His patience wore thin and he jammed the button again. Nothing. And were the lights getting dimmer?

 

“I’ve been working too hard,” he chuckled. “Why, even the gifted deserve—”

 

The audio went on the fritz for a second time and the muscles in his ears flexed against it. His teeth rattled. Screamed. Was it some kind of terrorist attack? A bombing maybe?

 

Chris pressed his hands tight over his ears, nearly on the verge of throwing his head against the metal doors to ease the pressure in his skull. This was worse than death. He couldn’t even tell if it was his own body that shook or the world around him as vibrations caused a mini-earthquake within the metal coffin.

 

And then it was gone. He realized he was crammed into the corner, eyes shut towards the floor. Cold sweat beaded on his forehead. Disoriented, he brushed the slick perspiration aside with his palm as he glanced at the open doors.

 

The number of drinks he had been given that night cycled through his mind. Each drink and by whom. The faces muddled. Had he been drugged?

 

The open chasm to his condo beckoned. He inched towards it on uncertain legs. They worked just fine. With returned confidence, he straightened himself and swiped at the remainder of sweat on his brow.

 

A glint of smeared red caught his eye. Had he banged his head? He touched again to his forehead, but only found a film of gummed up residue. Something dripped.

 

He felt it more than he heard it. Still, he looked down to find red drops painted on the elevator’s carpet. Another drop pattered, and now he searched in earnest. Only beads of sweat on his face. Next his ears…

 

He stared in disbelief at the red on his fingertips. The faint whisper of ringing still echoed. Had it—was it—

 

The elevator lurched. Somewhere high above, suspension cables groaned. He gave up trying to understand. Chris ran. Or at least attempted to.

 

Two steps forward and another lurch brought him to his knees. His chin clipped the metal track meant for the sliding doors, but he wouldn’t let that stop him. Manicured fingernails fought for leverage against smooth tile. Behind him came the sound of another desperate groan and for a moment he saw a clear picture of himself in a pool of blood, removed of his legs.

 

Chris cursed and fought harder, his knees banging against metal. The doors were closing. The doors—

 

One leg free, the bite of metal teeth clamped on his shoe. And then it was gone. The shoe. The elevator. The whiplash of broken cables came next and then moments later the dull crash of the coffin arriving at its final destination.

 

Blessed. He had always been blessed. He would always be blessed.

 

Chris backed away from the vertical slit for a soul on both elbows and didn’t stop until the glass edge of a coffee table dug into his neck. He was safe, but he would have this place fucking demolished. And the world would praise him for it.

 

Something thudded to the ground at his side  and rolled in a lopsided arc. Gold. Statuesque. The epitome of talent and prestige.

 

He traced its path to a set of feet and then up slender legs. The early onset of an aneurysm pulsed in his temple. It’s not real. She’s supposed to be dead. She is. I made sure of that.

 

Her eyes widened, but she didn’t smile. “Oh, well… You know what they say, hell hath no fury.”

 

Chris’ chest seized. Like a rock had been planted in the place where his heart should be, or-or…

 

There was immense pressure on his spine and then floor was beneath him. Under him. The ghost of the dead bitch smiled up at him and then he saw the situation for what it was, even if he didn’t understand it.

 

One idiot chauffeur. One muscularly disproportionate tabloid reporter. And something evil. Truly so by all definitions. Not just possessed by it like before. A monster wrapped in shadows.

 


© Copyright 2019 Aaron H. All rights reserved.

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