Her Shadow Demon Media Kit
Her Shadow Demon
Jude could think of only one thing worse than the predicament they were in. And it had horns.
Gargoyles were never meant for Hell. As guardians to the portal between the realms, they live hundreds of years and are powerful beyond measure. But Jude and his sister, Willow, suddenly find themselves prisoners in the hellish Shadow realm, facing demons, fallen fae, and an incubus that won't take no for an answer.
Dimensions apart, Ian wars with what his heart demands versus what his title dictates. He would cross through Hell and back for Kami, but will he sacrifice everything, including his soul, to be with her?
Fates collide in Her Shadow Demon, and only one side can find redemption.
Jude’s mind rose from a deep haze as the frigid wind whipped through the countryside. Twigs snapped and pelted his face in an erratic rhythm. His lids refused to open, sediment holding strong.
How long had he been out? Each week drove a deeper, restless, dreamless sleep, one that demanded more strength to break free. Another night. Another awakening to the dim light of the five moons.
Sluggish thoughts placed vague images before his mind’s eye: orchards in full bloom, pure white blossomed hills surrounding the sparkling dome of the estate. The scent of sweet apricots dominated his senses.
Adrenalin shot through his veins. Only the orchards of a Shilo Manor could overpower the musky smell of sediment Shadow bred. Whether it stood ready to serve the Sentinels of the Realms or slept, waiting for use in Shadow, nothing could mask the magical aura. Could their centuries of searching finally yield the salvation they craved?
Jude forced heated energy from deep within his heart to charge his limbs with strength. Claws pierced the stone encasing his paws, his wings stretched high, breaking free of the self-imposed shell of protection, and a roar ripped from his chest as his body reclaimed life. Shards and dust rained around him, and his call shook the atmosphere, eliciting the satisfaction of greeting a new day, another chance to reach their goal.
Mud and twigs clung to the white and black bird poop in his thick mane, but he ignored the filthy pig as it flew skyward. He turned to Willow at his side and then scrambled to hover over her. Even in her lioness gargoyle form, she looked weak. Too weak. He nuzzled her neck, letting his warm breath bathe her body of rock. His husky voice rumbled and sounded more like a growl. “Willow, wake up.”
A small puff billowed from her nostrils and he cringed, worry tingling down his arms. “Fight the hold. Find your inner fire.”
Small flakes broke free from her lids as her brows pressed together. A heavier puff clouded her muzzle and rode her choppy words. “Jude. The sleep…is so strong.”
He scrubbed the pad of his large lion paw along her back, itching to bare his claws and tear her from the rock. But he didn’t know how deep it slept within her. “I cannot help you. You must break free yourself. Find the strength. Remember our purpose. Shilo Manor is near! Smell the orchards.”
Her faint, slow words tore at his heart. “I smell…nothing…but dirt.” Her heartbeat wilted her words with each pulse, and he forced a swallow to rid his throat of the thickness growing there. “Jude,” she whispered, “I knew I…should not have slept…in gargoyle form. I…”
“You needed decent sleep.” His long tail swished as the cold air lifted his mane of hair to whip around his head. “No!” Jude pushed himself to all fours and then stretched high as he forced his legs and arms to pop into his humanoid frame. “You have never failed, and I will not allow you to fail now.”
Grabbing the scruff of her neck, he lifted her to stand on her hind feet. His biceps bulged and instantly ached at the weight of her granite body. It craned as pressure caused cracks to form. He scowled at the state of his strength, but he pushed the shame of it aside. We have no time for self-pity.
He shook her, willing her heart to spark the fire needed to blaze through her veins and awaken her fatigued body. “You are a warrior. You are meant for greater things than sleeping in the mud from the Cusp of the Shadow realm!”
A strained growl rumbled in Willow’s chest and then passed her lips as a muffled roar. Her head slowly pivoted, and her lids cracked open. Anger flared in her emerald irises as she looked at him.
“Yes,” he said, hope rising. “Fight. You can do this! Shadow Cusp has failed us, but it offers many chances to become stronger, more resolute.” He’d never seen, never imagined a day when Willow, protector of Earth, would give up.
Air hissed through her teeth as she gulped a large intake. Seconds passed but seemed like hours, as Jude stared at the fire in her eyes.
With a sudden burst, Willow shattered her granite gargoyle form. A wild roar rattled through her lungs, and she whipped around, slicing at his arm with her giant, obsidian claws.
Thank the Gods she hadn’t extended them to full length. It would have taken off my arm. But then, that was Willow; ever vigilant to protect, even in anger. Or she hadn’t the strength to push them out all the way. Jude preferred the first.
Fur and feathers from her newly released lioness body rained around her and settled among the dead brush and dried mud. She shifted into her humanoid form midair as he released her.
He clutched his forearm as his skin knitted back together. He might self-heal, but the wound still stung…and not only physically.
Bahtish rushed to her side from his thick comforter several feet away.
Jude huffed. A poofy blanket of all things. Pansy. Where the incubus kept all the things he’d come up with on the trek was beyond Jude. And he couldn’t figure out why the pest insisted on following them. He had more women—and men for that matter—to charm back in Center Shadow. Here, only his dreams could satisfy him.
“Such beauty,” the Incubus said with appreciation in his voice. “Feathers from an angel herself.” He held his hands out, gathering the white and golden feathers with a flourish as they floated downward. Shaking his head, he peered at Willow’s reborn wings. “And such exquisite iridescence. I’ll never tire of the wonderment.”
Clutching her chest, she struggled for breath and braced herself against a large stump. “Never…never…shame me.” She looked at Jude. “I know who I am. I know what I am created for. And I know… I know when…a certain Daemon attacked us with his fierce cold after making a vow not to.”
Ah, that’s why she slept in her gargoyle. Jude swiveled to peer where Fre’shan slept several yards away. “This is what I feared.” He allowed a low growl to rumble in his chest. “It was best for you to sleep in your gargoyle, Willow.”
Willow shoved herself from the stump as Bahtish inched closer. “I will help you, Willow. Lean on me.”
She scowled and flicked him away with the tip of her wing. “I don’t lean on anyone. Hasn’t that sunk into that sex induced mind of yours.”
He skidded a few feet away, which proved how weakened she’d become while in the Shadow Cusp.
Jude lowered his gaze but didn’t miss how Bahtish wobbled over the stones as if nothing had happened. He extended his hand. “Allow me to help you, love.”
Willow held up her index finger. “Bahtish, I swear, if you touch me, I’ll knock you into next week.”
“Time is only a mortal way to count down to death. There are no mortals here.”
A deep roar rode her grumble.
He held up his hands as in surrender. “No touching. I got it.”
Her gaze lowered as her lids closed and a heavy sigh wilted her shoulders.
Bahtish gently leaned in and cupped her cheek with his palm. A soft glow pillowed her face.
With a swift swoop, Jude backhanded the demon with the side of his wing. “I’ve warned you, Incubus. Stay away! Next time I’ll have your limbs for dinner.”
Bahtish landed on his rump but stood as if he’d simply tripped on stubble. Not a strand had ruffled from his light, shoulder-length hair. He brushed the dust from the panels of his long jacket and fitted, black trousers.
Jude doubted his wears attained the presumed dirt he brushed. Everything’s a show to him.
Bahtish lifted his chin and looked down his narrow nose at Jude. It took away from his attempt to appear as a believable nurse maid. “The banished protector, fallen from grace. The one who even failed to protect his woman and then dragged her with him down to Shadow. He still seeks redemption.” He straightened his cuffs as he sauntered closer. “You haven’t found it in nearly four centuries. What makes you think you’ll hop across it now?”
Jude filled his tight lungs with the frigid air. Where was the sweet scent of the Shilo Manor orchards he’d experienced upon awakening?
“All that time,” continued Bahtish in a lofty tone, “you’ve dragged her along…poor Willow…these many miles.”
Jude huffed. “If you knew her at all, you would know Willow isn’t dragged anywhere.”
“Ah, yes. A Warrior’s heart resides within all that beauty.” A sneer warped Bahtish’s lips. “How you stayed in her heart, I’ll never know. You treat her like—”
“Like a comrade?” Jude nodded toward her, emphasizing his point. “Willow and I were created from the same Granite stone. The same volcano rock; the finest Obsidian. She’s my sister, incubus, not my mate.” As soon as he said it, he knew he’d made a mistake. “Wait.”
Bahtish’s jaw dropped, and he gazed at the female member of their party. His voice came forth as a soft murmur. “Look at her. Listen to her. She can hardly stand, hardly breathe.” He held his hand outstretched, his tall brows raised, as if pining for her love. “The mighty must also find repose. The warrior must also sleep.”
Jude roared with his word, making sure the atmosphere around them shook to catch the idiot’s attention. “Enough!” He marched to tower over the skinny shithead and thumped his puny head with his thick finger. “Willow is not open to your attentions, Bah-tish. You stay well away from her!”
Bahtish shimmered as if fear weakened his human guise. He clipped at the panels of his long coat as if forcing it to hold. “She’s well able to make her own choices, brother of Willow.” A flash of something Jude had a hard time processing, considering what race ruled the man, flew across the Incubus’ eyes.
Insecurity? Are you kidding me?
With a quick glance, Bahtish’s cheeks softened. If Jude didn’t know better, he would say the incubus had shown his vulnerability.
“Do a bloke a favor, ol’ boy. Put a word in for me?”
Jude planted his fists at his waist and widened his stance. Shaking his head, he made his answer clear. “There is no way in Hell I will do anything for you, ol’ boy.”
“Jude, my friend, don’t be like that. Now that I know you two aren’t betrothed, I must know if I would…if I would…” Bahtish stuffed his hand in one of his pants pockets and held the other out at his side. “Do I have a chance?”
“Are you deaf? I can’t figure out why you are even still here!” Wait. Why am I even having this conversation with a sex demon? He tossed his fist through the air, signifying the far distance. “Just go and do what incubi do. You won’t find anything here for your wants.”
“I only want one woman. One beautiful angel with feathers the color of sunshine and eyes that pierce me to my soul.”
Jude dragged his palm down his face. “You don’t even know what sunshine looks like.”
“Bahtish, you won’t get anywhere with Willow.”
It took Bahtish five steps to stand before him, and Jude stepped back, his hybrid, lion-like skin crawling at the proximity. “Whoa, you’re not my type either.”
A question formed on the demon’s lips, adding a puckered O to the lowbrow.
“Don’t play innocent. I know you take women and men.”
“Oh!” Bahtish waved his arms between them as if to erase whatever was going through Jude’s mind. “Nothing personal, big boy, but I only have eyes for one creature. And she. Is. Right. There.” He swiveled and then leaned his head, watching her. “Why would I suffer you all this time if not for her?”
An incubus claiming fidelity? Now I have heard it all. “Bahtish, go home. You will never get Willow. No man will ever get Willow.”
“What do you mean?”
Irritation ate at Jude’s gut and squirmed beneath his skin at having to explain anything to the likes of Bahtish.
Warmth plopped on Jude’s shoulder, and he swiped the bird poop off in one swift movement. Damn pigeon! When did he decide to make himself the fourth member of this excursion anyway? His brows bit together, so hard a headache threatened to come forth, as he barked his response to the Incubus. “She prefers women, Bahtish.” Throwing his gaze skyward, he barely caught the bird flying from sight. “Get lost, Pig! Get very lost.”
As if Bahtish hadn’t heard him, he stared at Jude.
Jude upped his brows. “That bird poops on me every day! He’s almost as irritating as you are.”
“No, no. What you said about Willow…”
Jude heaved a sigh. “She will never want you. She likes women.”
Dawning came on the incubus’ face as clear as the moons above them. “Oooh! Is that all?”
Taken aback, Jude flinched. And what does he mean by that?
With a one-syllable laugh, Bahtish threw his hands high. The panels of his jacket seemed to jump with them in a high arch, reminding Jude of two long silvery wings.
Does he have wings?
With a sparkle in his eye, Bahtish blinked from sight.
USA Today and Washington Post Bestseller, Charlene A. Wilson, takes you to other dimensions with her stories. She weaves magic, lasting love, and intrigue to immerse you into the lives of her characters.
She began writing in her early teens when her vivid dreams stayed with her long after she had them. The characters and worlds were so amazing she brought them to life through her books.
Charlene resides in a small community in Arkansas, USA, with her husband, a cuddly Pekingese, and a very chatty cockatiel named Todder.
Author site: http://CharleneAWilson.com