Home > Ashes of Chaos (Legacy of the Nine Realms #2)

Ashes of Chaos (Legacy of the Nine Realms #2)
Author: Amelia Hutchins

Chapter One


My pulse thundered loudly as sweat beaded on my brow and neck, dripping from me while I pumped my legs faster, harder. The need to escape from the monster hunting me took precedence over everything else happening around me. My body had transformed into toned, sleek muscles because of the endless running from beasts, men, and creatures alike, trying to catch me off guard to rip me apart.

Moonlight was absent in the night skies, hidden behind inky clouds that blanketed the forest into velvety darkness that made every step precarious. I ran from the hunters, knowing I was nothing more than their prey. I slid through the trees blindly, making the headlong run dangerous as my feet crunched over debris and large, jagged rocks tripped me repeatedly, rushing through the terrain.

I could smell the men, their enticing, spicy, masculine scent calling to the creature within me. She begged for me to stop, to run toward the monster hunting me, and give him what he wanted. Knox was a mountain of a man. His sleek muscles called to me, begging me to get to my knees and worship him and his glorious cock.

He’d been stalking me for weeks, forcing me deeper into the deadly countryside that had hidden enemies behind each rock and ominous shadow. Knox hadn’t been lying when he said he’d be within every single realm, no matter how fast I ran, or how deeply I dug into the Nine Realms to hide from him. Here, in this place, Knox Karnavious was an absolute power that no one dared to challenge.

I wasn’t ready for him to capture me. I still had so many pieces to move into their respective places that I couldn’t allow Knox to get to me. I’d been slowly rearranging things and forcing parts to shift. I made my way in this twisted world that was a giant mess. Not that I wouldn’t mind one night in Knox’s arms, feeling him moving within me.

Knox wasn’t just good at sex. He was a master of manipulation, twisting my body to bend to his touch. He turned me inside out and left me struggling to remember my name when he’d finished. He was a mixture of rippling muscles and sexy tattoos scrawled in a language I wanted to learn explicitly, I danced over the lyrics his body sung.

Growling sounded closer than it had been, forcing me to spin toward the noise. My foot slid through something slick, and my body lurched forward, slamming into a large boulder that sent me rolling down a steep ravine. I cried out, hitting more sharp rocks. I continued to fall down the unforgiving hill. When I finally came to a stop, I laid there, staring up at the darkening sky. Breathing heavily, I took a moment to notice the few stars peeking out from the cloud cover. This world, for all its faults, was beautiful and unreal.

Shouting started from the top of the cliffside I’d just come down, compelling me to move again or chance being at Knox’s mercy, and from experience, I knew he had none. Whimpering softly, I lifted from the ground, wincing and hissing, forcing myself to get back into a standing position while taking inventory of the injuries I’d endured.

Blood covered my hands, and my fingers trembled. I reached toward my palm to remove a large twig protruding through the skin. Gritting my teeth, I pulled it out and tossed it to the ground.

Peering down, I noticed my shredded dress sticking to a cut that dripped blood down my thigh, undoubtedly caused by the sharp rocks that broke my fall.

Lifting my nose to the air, I inhaled the male hunting me relentlessly. I had to give it to Knox; he devoted all of his attention to capturing me at all costs. I’d been on the run for months, and every turn I took, he was there. I’d even caught his scent in my sleep, as if he haunted my dreams.

I started forward again, knowing he wasn’t far behind me. If I stopped too long, he’d capture and enslave me before I was ready for that to happen. I craved that asshole like a drug and needed him more than the air that fed the cells to my blood.

I should hate him, and maybe I did, but I craved him even more. I wanted to feel him against me, to hear the beat of his heart against my cheek after the sweat had cooled from our bodies. I yearned to feel his indomitable strength against my softness and feel him pumping into my need with the intensity that was Knox.

I hadn’t had contact with my family in weeks, not since he’d increased his efforts to find and claim me. I’d forced my sisters and my aunt to sever their attempts to reach me, forcing them into the tomb that held too many secrets. What I’d found inside that tomb had changed my direction and altered my course, which was how I had ended up hunted tonight.

Light caught my eye, and I slowed, studying the swaying torches that seemed to come from a village in the distance. The choices for my directions were simple; the darkness behind me, or the light before me? The darkness held Knox and his men, which meant I was going toward the light one way or another to escape him.

I paused momentarily, resting my hands on my knees, flinching from the pain the wounds and scrapes caused. My lungs were burning from hours of running. The inability to draw magic within the forest had nullified my powers, draining my strength as well as my energy. I was certain Knox had drawn me into the woods specifically to null my magic. He had thought to bait and trap me, luring me to a place where magic wasn’t accessible. He forgot I had feet, and my need to escape him was greater than the need I had to ride his glorious dick.

I loved that dick.

I craved that dick.

Unfortunately, I just hated the prick attached to that dick.

If I’d been smarter, I wouldn’t have fallen into his trap. I’d have sensed it before entering the woods, but I’d never expected an entire forest to be a void for magic. Knox knew this place, giving him one hell of an advantage. He pushed me into the corners, watching me stumble through the trees and down the mountains as he prowled within them, enjoying toying with me.

He’d almost caught me a handful of times already. Once, when I was sleeping, his scent alerted me to his nearness. I fought my body’s need as his aroma rushed through me, causing dangerous, dark desires to swell within me. It was as if Knox could sense my body’s predicament, having gone into heat the moment I’d escaped him.

I trembled, swallowing down the memories of him studying me from the shadows as I’d tried to force relief to my swollen sex. Another time, he’d found me moving through a crowded city. I struggled to discover if I was even in the realm I’d aimed to visit.

His eyes met mine through the crowd of people milling about, and I’d stood rooted to the spot, craving the taste of his kiss against my lips. The heat in his stare liquefied until my sex clenched with a carnal need that threatened to allow my creature to grasp control of my mind. That would have been a catastrophe.

The creature that slumbered within me was working against me. She wanted Knox, and it wasn’t just desire; it was a primal need that had me waking up in the middle of the night, screaming for him until I was hoarse.

I would wake on my feet, standing in the midst of nowhere with no memory of how I’d even gotten there. I knew it was my creature, and I knew who she was hunting. Luckily, Knox hadn’t been close any of those times, or I’d be in chains at his feet, looking like something out of Star Wars, but less sexy.

Stepping into the shadows of the village, I shivered. The sensation of black magic slithered over my body, alerting me to the dangers awaiting me here. I’d felt it several times since being on my own in the Nine Realms.

Not once had it been a good omen, since black magic indicated death and foreboding. Silently, I stepped over the salt line, trembling with the power of the warding spell that slipped against my skin, sparking magic to my fingertips.

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