Shattered by M.L. Rhodes
Amber Allure Bestseller!
*Book 2 in the Vertigo Chronicles
With a mysterious past he can’t remember, and special powers he can’t explain, Simon Saint-Saëns hunts the creatures of darkness others fear—beings that come through dimensional rifts into this world from a world called Vertigo. It’s a dangerous, desolate existence, and with only one exception from long ago that left him broken-hearted and riddled with guilt, Simon’s chosen to isolate himself and fight alone. But when the man he’d once loved and thought dead makes a sudden and shocking appearance, Simon finds himself torn between his self-imposed duty and the deeply entrenched feelings he still has for Jaden Cole.
Enslaved in Vertigo since childhood, Jade was one of the innocent lives Simon saved when he first began hunting. Simon took him in and nursed him back to health, but when their friendship grew into something deeper, he sent Jade away and cut him out of his life. Nine years later, when a new evil stirs to life in Vertigo and targets Simon as its enemy, Jade returns. He’s not the same innocent he was when he and Simon first met, though. The years as a slave in Vertigo left him with a permanent and savage affliction, one he must battle constantly in order to keep a tentative grip on his humanity. His reunion with Simon is emotional and complicated. But even though he’s now a creature of darkness, he’s never stopped loving Simon and will risk everything to protect him.
After a battle in which Simon is almost killed, Jade knows there’s only one being powerful enough to help them. He and Simon journey into the dark caverns beneath the city to an ancient realm of magic and illusion. There, Jade makes a deal that will help ensure Simon’s protection from the wraith that wants him dead. However, in a world where human inhibitions are stolen at the door, and primal passions reign, Jade quickly finds himself losing control not only of the beast that lives within him, but a dark dangerous secret he’s yet to share with Simon…one that could shatter everything.
Genre: Werewolf/Dark Fantasy gay (M/M) erotic romance
Release date: October 12, 2008
Length: Extended Novella (32K words)
Available in ebook formats at: Amber Allure, All Romance Ebooks, Kindle US, Kindle UK, Fictionwise, and other online ebook sellers
Available in paperback at: Amazon.com under the title The Vertigo Chronicles, Vol. I
“I do trust you,” Simon said.
Jade arched one dark upswept brow. “Yeah, that’s why it just took you so long to answer.”
“I do,” Simon said firmly. “I swear…I do.”
Still, he wondered what Jade could possibly hope to find down here that could offer them any protection from the dark magics of Vertigo? He wished Jade would be less evasive and just talk to him. But this new, edgier Jaden came with a defensive armor Simon found difficult, at times, to penetrate.
“Then prove it,” Jade said, his voice gravelly. “Just…shut up. And follow me. I know where I’m going.” His features softened, showing a hint of the innocent vulnerability of old. A hand reached out, cupped the back of Simon’s head, and pulled him close. “I’d never intentionally harm you, Simon. You know that, don’t you? That’s why we’re doing this. Because I damn well don’t want anything to happen to you.”
His lips were mere inches away now, and Simon’s skin tingled in response. He breathed in Jade’s spicy, masculine scent and savored the familiarity of it. Jade had been back only a short time, but every cell in Simon’s body vibrated in recognition. Even beneath the primal aura of the wolf that now lived within Jade, the essence that flowed from his core was still that of the young man he’d fallen in love with long ago.
“I know. It’s just…it’s been a long time since…” Simon dragged in a deep breath.
“Since you’ve had anyone to trust in?”
“Since I’ve even had anyone to talk to,” Simon admitted, his voice hoarse, as memories of the gut-wrenching loneliness of the past years washed through him, reminding him all over again of the hollow ache that had consumed him after he’d thought Jade had died. It had been that god-awful ache, along with raw despair and guilt, that had pushed him out on the streets to start demon hunting. He’d been driven to make amends.
As if he knew what was going through Simon’s mind, Jade buried his fingers in Simon’s hair and tugged him closer. “You’re not alone anymore.”
At the merest brush of lips against lips, fierce need churned between them. The brush became a caress, which quickly evolved into an intense, heated kiss. By the time they wrenched their mouths apart, they were both breathless, and Simon fought a painful hard-on and the urge to push Jade against one of the crumbling walls, tear off his clothes, and bury himself so hard and deep in Jade’s hot, willing body it turned them both inside out.
If it weren’t for the oppressive crush he felt from being down here in the tunnels, he doubted he’d have the willpower to stop. He could almost feel the burning heat and pressure as Jade’s ass swallowed his cock again and again, could feel Jade’s long, powerful legs locked around his waist, smell the scents of their sweat and cum as their bodies surged and retreated.
Last night he and Jade had finally consummated their relationship in the fullest sense, able for the first time to lose themselves not only to the physical desires they’d long harbored, but also to the bottled-up emotions that had been building inside them for so many years. The night spent together had only taken the edge off their hunger, though. Simon felt it still gnawing at them, barely leashed, and ready to burst free and consume them again and again. He suspected that even if they locked themselves in his apartment for days on end, focused on nothing but one another, they still wouldn’t be able to get enough.
But the sense of unease that had had weighed on him since they’d entered this dark abyss hadn’t let up, and though his libido urged him to lose himself in Jade’s body and welcoming embrace, his instincts demanded they move on and not linger here.
Jade seemed to be struggling with the same torn sense of priorities. His breath came warm and harsh against Simon’s neck, and one hand slid down to cup Simon’s cock and balls through his jeans and give them a squeeze. Then he swore softly and stepped back.
“Let’s go,” he said, his voice deeper and more ragged than before. “Let’s get this done so I don’t have to worry every second that wraith’s going to find you and finish the job he started the other night. And so we can go home, get the hell out of these clothes, and go back to bed.”
“Shattered is Book II in the Vertigo Chronicles series. Simon still does not remember his past or how his powers came to be, but gains some insight of his destiny from the mystical beings living in the realm of magic. Jade’s secrets are revealed to Simon, but he still has a fear of rejection. In this episode M.L. Rhodes continues the emotional and complicated relationship of Simon and Jade along with the chaos of battles with demons. This is a compelling and impressive story of other world creatures, danger, magic and unconditional love.” —Chocolate Minx, Literary Nymphs Reviews