WHEN LOVE AND HONOR IS LOST
Bomani escapes his Underworld home under a cloud of loss and shame into the realm of the living, a place he doesn’t belong. Desperate to stay hidden from his family, Bomani agrees to track an exiler with strict orders to look but not touch. The moment he encounters his mark, the Goddess of War, he knows he is damned to break the one order that is keeping him from facing his shame.
Exiled to the human realm over four thousand years ago with a stay of execution, Siya struggles to ensure that the good of humanity prospers despite the evil invading its core. Memories of a forbidden love affair resurface when she is haunted by a dark warrior lurking in the shadows. Fate has told her there are no second chances at love, especially when the next day may be her last.
Excerpt Soul Unbound
Chapter One Excerpt
Bomani turned away from the reality of his mistakes and the sorrow settling deep in his soul. He would not allow Bast to see his pain, let alone feel the extent of his losses.
His home. His legion.
Life as he had always known it to be.
No, he would do whatever he damn well pleased.
His gaze strayed to the Protector goddess who cuffed the god with venom laced restraints. Bomani had no sympathy for the criminal. Not unlike himself, the exiler had as much chance of escape as a half-swallowed rodent from a serpent’s jaws.
Bomani had whored himself out to the Creation Pantheon. Servitude, the price for staying in the human realm, a place an underworlder did not belong.
“Where is the Destroyer?” Bast grabbed the prisoner’s jaw.
Bomani was grateful Bast’s attention was focused on the exiler and not him. His head swirled and pitched so he feared he would pass out. The smell of blood filled the air, tightening the cramp of hunger in his chest. His gums burned and his fangs threatened to descend. Only days out of the underworld, and he was already succumbing to the effects. He needed to get out of here and find something to silence his hunger. A five course meal or a soul would do just fine. To cover his distress, he leaned up against the cold brick of the building and crossed his arms over his chest.
“I asked you a question,” Bast hissed and dug her nails in deeper.
Bomani had heard Bast ask the same question of the last five exilers. Either her interrogation techniques sucked or they did not know the mark.
The prisoner chuckled through a strangled throat. “Even if I had seen the Destroyer, I am more afraid of her than I am of you.”
Her? Bomani slid his gaze to the goddess.
Bast glared at Bomani from the side. “Useless, all of you.” With a snap of her fingers a portal opened behind the exiler. She shoved the god through the vortex.
Bomani shielded his eyes before the portal snapped shut in a bright flash. Bast’s face burned a bright red and her brilliant green eyes glowered at him. She wiped her hands down the front of her dress. The golden glow of her fury rippled out in waves of heat.
He shoved off the wall and trudged down the street, not waiting for her dismissal or her excuse why it was all his fault.
“Where are you going?” Bast’s protest chased after him.
“I am not finished with you, warrior.”
He pulled the hood up over his head and pushed onward.
“Bomani!” Bast screeched, shattering the windows above him. The glass shards showered down around him, penetrating his coat and skin. Dusting off his shoulder he rounded the corner of the alley. A bright white flash greeted him along with the slam of her palms into his chest.
“Have you forgotten the order of things, Commander? You are in my house. Follow my rules.”
“You have your exiler,” Bomani snapped, hating to see her anger abated and replaced by a look that soured his stomach.
She smiled and raked her unholy gaze down the front of him. “You have yet to fulfill our agreement. Until then, I own you.”
“You know as well as I that cannot happen.” He snatched and squeezed her wrist.
She flinched. The frigid temperature of his skin warred with the heat of hers. She jerked lose. A red imprint, the size of his palm, outlined her skin.
“Not going to happen,” Bomani said, fisting his burnt white palm.
“There are no absolutes. Conditions do change and you have little choice in the matter, unless you want to go back and face your Lord, Asar.”
Shame weighed down on Bomani. He had failed his father and betrayed the very principles he had pledged his life to serve. Worse, his jealousy drove him to hurt the woman he claimed to love. The very reason among many that drove him to this world.
“Do you think me powerless? That I cannot absolve your curse?” She slid her hand against his chest.
Curse was an apt description of the so called law. He was relegated to hide in the darkest shadows. Daylight promised an unbearable pain he avoided at all costs. A clear message from the Creations—the dead were not permitted among the living.
“For millenniums the Underworld has been subjugated to your rules and you, a Protector god, can wipe that all away?” He shoved her hand off his chest, not wanting to believe she could do it. His honor would not save him. Only this fine thread of incompatibility separated him from falling deeper into shame.
“Bomani, you have no other choice. I will not let you remain here unsupervised,” Bast said and proceeded to stroke his chest. “I did warn you from the beginning. Kendra was made for Bakari, not you. I have offered you a new life and something enjoyable in exchange. You have nothing to lose.”
His disgrace had driven him out of the Underworld and into a new master’s hands. His soul ached in his chest, resolved in the fact Bast was correct about one thing.
He had nothing worth losing.
“Fine.” He grabbed her arm and pushed her back against the wall, wanting to get this torturous deed done.
Bast shoved him back. “No! It will be a time and place of my choosing. In the meantime, I have another mark for you to find.”
Fury burned hotter in his gut. The fickle odjit was playing with him, like a cat with a mouse. Would her demands never cease?
He thought not.
“Who is it you want now?”
“An exiler has been living among the humans, evading final judgment.” Her bright green eyes sparkled with a challenge. “I want to know who she is consorting with and why.”
“Who is the mark?”
“Who she is, is none of your concern. Do what I ask, and we will meet again to discuss your safe passage here.”
“What does the goddess look like, and where in duat do I find this criminal?”
“Her last known location was here in this city.”
He ruefully chuckled. New York had more hiding places than a corn maze. “This is a gods’ damn big city. Care to be a little more specific. Hair and eye color? Her glyphs?”
“She is the only god living among humans. She carries the brand of an exiler. You are a master tracker. Use that so-called skill of yours and find her. Do not make contact. Do not underestimate her. I want intel. Is that clear, Commander?”
“Yeah, sure.” He stalked past the goddess and down the trash littered street before his voice betrayed his last thread of decency. Honestly, he cared not, but it would buy him time. He had few options at this point, and it was wholly better than bedding Bast.
“Do not make contact,” Bast called out.
He raised his two fingers in a mocking salute. His life had not hit rock bottom—yet.
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“Only the strongest love can unlock the souls of the Underworld.”