Untouchable Darkness

  Untouchable Darkness

  The Dark Ones Saga Book 2

  by Rachel Van Dyken

  Copyright © 2015 RACHEL VAN DYKEN

  This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service *crane marks, product names, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part, electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright violation.


  Copyright © 2015 RACHEL VAN DYKEN



  Cover Art by P.S. Cover Design

  I STOOD NEAR THE edge of the building where darkness met light. It was the perfect spot for me to be standing, all things considered.

  That was my life.

  The perfect rapture of darkness—light flirted on the outskirts, trying to seep through, but I knew better than anyone its chances of succeeding were slim. I held out my hand, and my fingertips kissed the sunlight peeking through the clouds. I twirled my hand around and let out a defeated sigh.

  “Cassius.” Sariel, my father and one of the head Archangels—the same Angels that hadn’t appeared to the immortals for over three hundred years—spoke my name with such authority and finality that it was impossible not to feel the effects of the words as he released them into the universe. They slammed against my chest, stealing every ounce of oxygen I’d just greedily sucked in. “You have failed.”

  “Yes.” I swallowed the lie, felt it burn all the way down my throat into my lungs. My cold, rotten heart picked up speed, maybe I really was dead inside like she said, maybe it was hopeless, all of it.

  “I taste the lie on your lips, half breed.”

  “So taste,” I fired back, as my eyes strained to focus on the light. The yearning to be light, to fully allow it to consume me, was like a fire burning in my soul. “I have nothing more to say to you.”

  “You realize what this means?” The once purple feathers surrounding his bulky body illuminated red. My heartbeat slowed to a gentle rhythm as droplets of blood cascaded from his feathers in perfect cadence with my breathing.

  “I do.”

  “Yet you do not fight?”

  Finally, I lifted my gaze to his. His strong jaw ticked as his black hair blew in the wind. I knew I was the only one who could see him, compliments of my ancestors… my angelic blood.

  “When one has lost everything worth fighting for…” I swallowed. “Tell me, what is the point?”

  “You’ve never given up before,” he said quietly, his voice filled with disbelief.

  “I’ve never been in love like this before!” I yelled, slamming my hand against the brick wall. If anyone passed by they’d simply think I’d gone insane, and maybe I had.

  Because of her.

  Everything was because of her.

  “It’s best that I die. Best that I leave her.”

  Sariel’s face broke out into a bright smile. The blood from his feathers pooled at his feet forming the shape of a heart. “Very well.”

  I prepared myself for the pain, for the sheer agony of ceasing to exist. I knew from stories that when a Dark One died, it was horrific, terrifying, for we never knew if we would rejoin light or the darkness.

  I assumed I would go dark.

  I assumed I would be consumed with evil.

  I assumed wrong.

  Because the minute Sariel touched my skin.

  I felt nothing but empty.

  “A gift.” Sariel whispered into the air. “For my only remaining son.”

  Thirty Days Previous


  THE AIR CRACKLED WITH excitement. I watched as the couple sitting a few tables away from me grabbed each other’s hands and leaned in for a kiss. I tried to turn away, but it was impossible. I was always drawn to affection, drawn to emotion like it was a homing beacon. Sometimes it really sucked being immortal.

  I couldn’t help but feel what others felt.

  And I couldn’t help but want that feeling for myself.

  It would be too ridiculously easy to steal the emotional charge in the air or change it with a snap of my fingers. Heck, I could have that guy salivating over me in seconds. But it would be wrong.

  And for the past week I’d been trying to do things right.

  Ever since I’d unknowingly betrayed my only human friend, I had turned over a new leaf. I was a council member for crying out loud! An immortal Siren or a Dark One; whatever, I was too many things.

  A few days ago I’d given the only Dark One I knew, our King, my essence thinking I’d die, willing to make that sacrifice. Instead, I’d woken up the next day completely the same as before, as if my immortality had been restored.

  Only, I was different.

  Before I even opened my eyes, I felt the power of death surge through me, the deepest sort of cold took root from my fingertips all the way down to my toes. And an eerie sort of darkness became a part of me, like a shadow I couldn’t get rid of. Dread trickled down my spine.

  To make matters worse.

  I woke up to my entire room frozen like the arctic.

  Which, for an immortal who’d spent the last few hundred years assuming she was nothing more than a Siren? Terrifying.

  Besides, Sirens hated the cold; it was the exact opposite of what we represented, warmth, human emotions, heat, lust, fire.


  I shivered.

  Would I ever be warm again? It wasn’t the type of cold you could escape, it was a part of me, just like my heart, the very heart I’d given to Cassius, the only man I’d ever loved.

  If you could truly call him that.

  Half human, half Angel, he was the king of the immortals and not just completely off limits, but dangerous. A Dark One’s touch was powerful enough to force humans into a cheerful slavery for a millennia.

  To me, he’d simply always felt… good.

  Until I discovered that he’d put a very powerful glamour on me when I was a child, hiding me away from the Archangels who swore to kill more Dark Ones if they were ever created.

  I sighed.

  What was the point anymore?

  Cassius was gone.

  He’d disappeared the minute I’d opened my eyes that fateful morning two days ago to find my brand new Nike running shoes covered in snow.

  The couple in front of me laughed again. It grated my nerves because I was jealous of them.

  Of them! It was laughable. Or it should have been. A week ago I would have laughed. Now it was just bordering on pathetic.

  As an elder among the immortals, it was my job to keep the peace and run interference between our kind and the humans.

  Not sit at a Starbucks and watch a newly engaged couple with silent longing.

  Cassius, our leader, the only King the immortals have ever known, had been missing for a few days, and it killed me to think it was because he was ashamed of me, ashamed of what I’d done to Genesis.

  Not that it was my fault an Archangel had bitten me, seduced me and basically entranced me into doing something. Granted, the whole jealousy part was my fault, making the spell he put me under that much stronger.

  I took a long sip of my latte and pouted.

  I hadn’t done that in ages.

  It didn’t help.

  “You look like hell.” Mason plopped down at the table. His shaggy brown hair was pulled back underneath a Seahawks hat. Black aviators hung loosely across his strong nose, framing his very deadly, yet u
ndeniably sexy five o’clock shadow.

  Stupid Werewolf. An underlying earthy scent like that of burned wood and pinecones floated between us with each casual movement he made. And believe me, he needed to look as casual as possible considering he just naturally attracted any cat within a ten mile radius.

  “Yeah, well.” I pointed at his hat. “You look like a tourist.”

  “Please.” He snorted then grabbed my coffee and took a sip.

  “Since when do you drink coffee?”

  “I don’t know.” He pushed the coffee back and made a face. “Since when do you leave the house, pout for a whole damn day, and then stare longingly at a human couple like you’re about to eat them?”

  “I wasn’t staring longingly,” I grumbled, suddenly finding my hands fascinating as I wrung them together.

  “You were. Saw the whole thing. Disgusting really.”

  “Do you have a reason for stalking me?”

  “If I was stalking you, you’d already be dead.” He smirked, “And yeah… I was out grocery shopping.”

  “So many things wrong with a Wolf grocery shopping.”

  “Orders from Genesis… she wants me to start eating again.”

  I squirmed in my seat.

  “Everything’s fine,” he said in a gruff voice. “Water under the bridge, you’ve been redeemed, blah, blah, blah, come home.”

  “Really?” I chuckled and toyed with my straw. “That’s the speech?”

  “Ethan wouldn’t write one out for me so take what you can get.”

  “A regular lady killer.”

  Mason groaned into his hands. “No idea why they sent me.”

  “You have the manners of a beast,” I agreed.

  “But you know I’m right. You belong with us at home, not out here at Starbucks of all places.”

  “He left,” I whispered. Admitting it out loud was harder than I thought it would be. The only man I’d ever loved and tried to die saving.

  Had left.

  Like we’d had some sort of one-night stand he was ashamed of.

  Ugh, my head hurt.

  “He’ll be back. He just needed…” Mason swore under his breath. “God save me from these types of conversations. Cassius needed time, and regardless of his feelings and your odd connection, he’s still king so I don’t give a flying rat’s ass if he killed himself so you could live then professed undying love on Dr. Phil.” He offered a dismissive shrug. “He’s our king. What he says goes. He left, so let him leave. It’s not your place to question him.”

  “Someone has to!” I pushed back my chair and stood.

  Mason followed suit and pulled me into his embrace. I tried to fight him but it was impossible. The man was so strong he could break me in half, and that was saying a lot since I could seriously hold my own.

  “Steph,” Mason sighed into my hair. “Just… leave it. Ever thought of simply telling him thank you and moving on with your life?”

  I sighed against him, inhaling his woodsy scent. “No.”

  “Try it.”



  “I’ll come back.” My shoulders slumped as I gave in. “But what do I do if he comes to the house? What if he does come back?” That thought was almost as depressing and confusing as him staying away forever, or me being the reason behind his absence.

  “Well I may have this ass backward all things considered—I mean, I eat pinecones—but you could always say hi.”

  The ride back to Ethan’s house was almost unbearable. For one thing, Mason drove like a maniac. I’m pretty sure he’s actually never passed a driver’s test. When I asked to see his license he laughed and pushed down on the accelerator, shooting Ethan’s brand new Lexus forward like a pinball out of the slot along busy city streets. You’d think he had a death wish, then again it would take more than a car accident to kill us.

  By the time we pulled up to Ethan’s mansion on Lake Washington I was ready to kiss the ground and cuss Mason out.

  The chance to get in the Wolf’s face was taken from me the minute the car shut off.

  “Stephanie.” Ethan had already opened my door and was holding his hand out like a damn peace offering. My heart stopped beating so heavily in my chest. I glared up at him. Stupid Vampires and their ability to control things like hearts.

  Why did I need mine anyway? Especially if it was going to constantly get broken by Cassius.

  I swallowed the emotion tightening in my throat and placed my hand in Ethan’s.

  “Ethan.” I challenged him with a glare and stood to my full height.

  “You should always take someone with you when you go out.” Ethan’s eyebrows knit together as if he was actually concerned for my safety. “It isn’t proper for you to be—”

  “—drinking coffee by myself?” I finished.

  He rolled his emerald green eyes. “Yes, well, try to be more careful. We can’t simply snap our fingers and replace council members.”

  “Ah, so it’s about the council.”

  “It’s about you,” Ethan half growled in my ear and shoved me toward the door where both Genesis and my brother were waiting.

  I was half tempted to throw my hands in the air and blurt out, “I’m fine! I’m really fine! I promise!”

  Genesis had a look of pity on her face.

  And my brother looked like he was relieved I was still alive and well.

  “Hey, guys.” I managed a weak wave.

  “You found her.” Genesis winked at Mason.

  “Wolves have amazing tracking abilities.” He puffed out his chest then received a punch from Ethan.

  “Please.” I rolled my eyes. “You probably used the find a friend app on your phone.”

  “Still counts.” Mason nodded and then tapped his head. “Tracker.”

  Genesis laughed softly then looped her arm in mine. “Don’t run away. Next time just talk to us.”

  “Talk,” I mimicked. “About Cassius? About the fact that my entire existence up until now has been a lie?”

  The only thing that had changed in the past few days was that my hunger for Cassius had grown to epic proportions.

  He’d rejected me all over again.

  After kissing me, mind you.

  And the place where my heart was supposed to be felt like it was slowly being ripped from my body.

  I didn’t just desire Cassius.

  I needed him. Because I still didn’t understand what I was or what I was capable of, and he was the only Dark One remaining who could actually tell me.

  We were the last.

  And it kind of sucked.

  Dark Ones were typically male. I knew how they worked. But a woman? Who had Siren tendencies?

  Ugh. I got a headache just thinking about it.

  “You need him,” Genesis whispered next to me. “He’ll come, he just needed some time.”

  “Needed some time?” I snorted. “People who need time calmly tell their family where the hell they’re going. They don’t sneak off in the middle of the night without a trace! It’s like he fled the freaking country!”

  “To be fair he left his passport here,” Mason joked.

  Genesis glared. “Not the time.”

  He held up his hands and let out a little bark at my expense.

  “He fled the country,” I repeated. “To get away from me, from the awkward situation…” I pointed at myself and looked down. “From this.”

  “There’s nothing wrong with you.” Genesis squeezed my shoulder. I’d always pitied humans like Genesis, breeders, ones who were brought into the immortal fold in order to produce children with the immortals.

  Then again she’d been the game changer. She’d brought balance to our world. Now she was like a goddess to our people and to her Vampire husband.

  While I felt more human by the day.

  I couldn’t help but think that one day I’d wake up and simply… not exist anymore… or not care to. And that thought terrified me.

  I could f
eel the darkness inside, swirling, trying to grab ahold. The bond between me and the darkness was building, strengthening, and I was so afraid I wasn’t going to make it.

  When I’d saved his life.

  Because he’d saved mine.

  I had no idea what I was doing other than I couldn’t stand the thought of existing in a world without him.

  Now I knew.

  Every second I knew.

  Because every second I existed, my heart yearned for his presence.

  Alex, my brother, though we weren’t actually related—something I still was having a hard time swallowing—slapped me hard on the back. “Think of it this way sis—you have to have had a huge effect on him for him to flee to China or wherever the hell he went in the dead of night.”

  “Wow… brothers.” I nodded. “So helpful. Tell me where’s the razor blades for my wrists again?”

  “Please.” Alex snorted, “You’d simply attract Vampires… not to mention send Ethan into a frenzy.”

  “Ethan doesn’t want my blood… too strong.”

  “That’s true.” Ethan pushed past us. “Okay, family meeting.”

  “Cute.” Mason stomped into the kitchen and put his feet on the table. “We’re having family meetings now?”

  “Cassius isn’t here… but he isn’t gone either.” Ethan avoided looking at me which only meant one thing.

  He still sensed him.

  Embarrassment washed over me anew.

  “So until we know where he is and how to proceed… we’ll simply go about business as usual. Agreed? We have three weeks until the next council meeting, and now that the Archangels are talking to us again, we need to make sure we have complete order within all the species. Agreed?”

  I hated to admit he was right.

  The Archangels were terrifying.

  And now we were on their radar again—thanks to the Genesis, Ethan, and Cassius love triangle.

  My heart clenched again.

  “He’s right.” Mason leaned back in his chair. “I’ll check in with the wolves while Alex checks in with the Sirens and Demon.”

  “Hey!” Alex sat down and frowned. “Why do I have to check in with the Demon? Last time they tried to eat my hand.”

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