Darkness Unleashed


Jagr knew he was creating panic in Viper’s exclusive nightclub. The elegant establishment with its crystal chandeliers and red velvet upholstery catered to the more civilized members of the demon-world. Jagr was anything but civilized.

He was a six-foot-three vampire who had once been a Visigoth chief. But it wasn’t his braided, pale gold hair that fell nearly to his waist, or the ice-blue eyes that missed nothing and sent creatures with any claim to intelligence scurrying from his path. It wasn’t even the leather duster that flared about his hard body.

No, it was the cold perfection of his stark features, and the hint of feral fury that smoldered about him.

Three hundred years of relentless torture had stripped away any hint of civility.

Ignoring the assorted demons who tumbled over chairs and tables in an effort to avoid his long strides, Jagr concentrated on the two Ravens guarding the door to the back office. The hushed air of sophistication was giving him a rash.

He was a vampire who preferred the solitude of his lair hidden beneath the streets of Chicago, surrounded by his vast library, secure in the knowledge that not a human, beast, or demon possessed the ability to enter.

Not that he was the total recluse that his vampire brothers assumed.

No matter how powerful or skilled or intelligent he might be, he understood that his survival depended on understanding the ever changing technology of the modern world. And beyond that was the necessity of being able to blend in with current society.

Even a recluse had to feed.

Tucked in the very back of his lair was a plasma TV with every channel known to humankind, and the sort of nondescript clothing that allowed him to cruise through the seedier neighborhoods without causing a riot.

The most lethal hunters knew how to camouflage themselves while on the prowl.

But this place…

He’d rather be staked than mince and prance around like a jackass.

Damn Styx. The ancient vampire had known that only a royal command could force him to enter a crowded nightclub. Jagr made no secret of his disdain for the companionship of others.

Which begged the question of why the Anasso would choose such a setting to meet.

In a mood foul enough to fill the vast club with an icy chill, Jagr ignored the two Ravens who stood on sentry duty near the back office, and lifting his hand, allowed his power to blow the heavy oak door off its hinges.

The looming Ravens growled in warning, dropping their heavy capes, which hid the numerous swords, daggers, and guns attached to various parts of their bodies.

Jagr’s step never faltered. Styx wouldn’t let his pet vampires hurt an invited guest. At least not until he had what he needed from Jagr.

And even if Styx didn’t call off the guards…well, hell, he’d been waiting centuries to be taken out in battle. It was a warrior’s destiny.

There was a low murmur from inside the room, and the two Ravens grudgingly allowed him to pass with nothing more painful than a heated glare.

Stepping over the shattered door, Jagr paused to cast a wary glance about the pale blue and ivory room. As expected, Styx, a towering Aztec who was the current king of vampires, was consuming more than his fair share of space behind a heavy walnut desk, his bronzed features unreadable. Viper, clan chief of Chicago, who, with his silver hair and dark eyes looked more like an angel than lethal warrior, stood by his shoulder.

“Jagr.” Styx leaned back in the leather chair, his fingers steepled beneath his chin. “Thank you for coming so promptly.”

Jagr narrowed his frigid gaze. “Did I have a choice?”

“Careful, Jagr,” Viper warned. “This is your Anasso.”

Jagr curled his lips, but he was wise enough to keep his angry words to himself. Even presuming he could match Styx’s renowned power, he would be dead before ever leaving the club if he challenged the Anasso.

“What do you want?” he growled.

“I have a task for you.”

Jagr clenched his teeth. For the past century he’d managed to keep away from the clan who called him brother, never bothering others and expecting the same in return. Since he’d been foolish enough to allow Cezar to enter his lair, it seemed he couldn’t get rid of the damn vampires.

“What sort of task?” he demanded, his tone making it clear he didn’t appreciate playing the role of toady.

Styx smiled as he waved a slender hand toward a nearby sofa. It was a smile that sent a chill of alarm down Jagr’s spine.

“Have a