by D. Thomas Jerlo
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
It’s a helluva job, but someone has to do it, and for Rhune, it’s a small price to pay for his past sins. He’s taken a new name and a somewhat normal life. Except at night, when he transforms into a hellhound to take souls to Gehenna, the City of the Dead, for purgatories legions to deliver them to Hell where they belong. For fifteen centuries he’s lived in happy solitude, until a paralegal, with the most amazing eyes, rear ends him in the small town of Rio Morden. He’s seen those eyes before, but it’s been years since the last time. Now she’s all grown up and involved in a murder trial that has its sights set on her becoming its next victim. What’s a hellhound to do? Surely not fall in love—and certainly not with a Dreamwalker.
Mix in a diabolical lawyer and his lover, some Voodoo magic, and it’s a recipe for mayhem and murder. Can Rhune keep Hanna safe, or is she destined to be Hellhound Bound?
One minute she was watching Conan, the next...
Shit! Not again!
She found herself on her hands and knees in the middle of a cobblestoned road. If she didn’t know better, she’d swear she’d been transported to merry ol’ England, circa early 1800’s. Everything was tinged dull sepia, except for the fog. It glowed like copper and clung to her with invisible fingers. Mist puffed out from between her lips, though the air felt thick and sauna-like. The silence sat on her shoulders like a heavy, breathing thing.
At first, it sounded like tree branches rubbing against one another in the wind, but not a hair moved on her head. Then it got louder, drawing closer. The ground beneath her began to thump.
With her heart pounding, and her body shaking, Hanna searched for a place to hide, but when she tried to get up and run, her body wouldn’t move. It was as if she’d been glued to the center of the road.
The vibrations in the ground drew nearer.
Pebbles bounced around her hands.
Hanna closed her eyes. “Wake up! Wake up, you idiot! WAKE UP.”
When heavy breathing sounded directly behind her, there was no way in hell she was opening her eyes and looking. No freaking way at all. If she was going to get eaten, she’d rather not see it.
Gravel crunched underfoot. Then it stopped. She heard sniffing. It took a few steps closer.
She tried to swallow, but every drop of spit had dried up. The boulder lodged in her throat wouldn’t move. Her lungs cried for oxygen.
“You’re not supposed to be here.”
Hanna almost had an aneurysm. It spoke! That same sulfuric smell was back, harsher and stronger than in the alley. The dead air around her became several degrees hotter. Sweat dripped down her forehead and into her eyes, making them sting and water. Her nose burned. The color of the fog changed to a reddish-brown. Suddenly, the awful smell disappeared. Her eyes stopped watering. Whatever power had been holding her to the flagstones then let go. She bolted to her feet. Even though she wanted to run as fast as her legs could take her, something compelled her to turn and look up.
There stood the demon-dog in all its gory glory, but this time, he looked—curious? Not the usual insane, hell-bent monster about to devour somebody. Eyes of flickering flames held intelligence instead of the gruesome madness she’d seen in the alley. There was something proverbial about them. They were the same eyes from her nightmares, yes, but...?
“You shouldn’t be here. Leave Gehenna. Rouse yourself.”
The voice reverberated inside her head like a trumpet blasting close to her ear. Without realizing, she lifted her hand to touch him, but the beast moved back. Shock shone in his eyes—eyes she’d seen before. But from where?
Without a word, it continued on its way down the center of the road to disappear into the eerie mist.
She stood there, her mouth hanging open, and an annoying sound ricocheting in her ears. It grew louder, more irritating, like a thousand bumblebees had made a nest inside her skull.
Pins and needles burned up and down the arm she’d fallen asleep on. Every blanket and pillow looked as if she’d done battle with them—and lost. Her glass of water on the nightstand had tipped over, leaving a small puddle on the carpet.
She then realized that the buzzing in her head was her alarm clock. She slammed her hand down on the ‘off’ button and stumbled out of bed. Her heart beat so fast, she almost swooned. Movement caught her eye. Standing in the hallway by the bathroom door was Rhune. She gasped.
“Thank goodness, you’re safe.”
Stunned, she whirled in the direction of her front door, which she could see from her bedroom. The desk and deadbolt were exactly as she’d left them. Her heart began pounding way too fast. “How did you...?” The rest of the words failed to pass her lips as she fainted away.
D. Thomas Jerlo’s novels inexplicably draws readers deep into mystical worlds where magic rules and battles between good and evil are forever constant. Blending reality and illusion that leave indelible impacts, readers are riveted to the spellbinding plots and unforgettable characters.
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” -Albert Einstein