Shackled (Scorned Gods 3)
Mychael Black
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Copyright ©2017 Mychael Black

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"We were discussing gigs," Dana said. "Specifically, what to do about the ones lined up. We can't back out of the next few, but later ones may be a different story."

"When's our next one?" Saul asked in between bites.

"In three weeks," Jason said. He glanced at Dana. "Right?"

She nodded. "Yep. Not enough notice to cancel. Next one after that is six weeks out, so that's more doable."

Saul thought about offering Jason a bite of bacon, but then he remembered neither of his lovers could stomach human food anymore. "So what do we do about this one coming up?"

Dana sort of sank into her chair and grimaced. "I have no fucking clue." She glanced up, a small smile forming when Haez and Gabriel entered the kitchen.

Saul just shook his head. His drummer had developed a rather intense fascination with Gabriel's fellow demon. Granted, Haez was handsome, but he didn't hold a candle to Saul's two lovers. The mere thought of Jason and Julian made Saul squirm. Jason gave him a knowing smirk.

Speaking of...

"Where is Julian?" Saul asked.

"Shower." Jason chuckled when Saul shivered. He leaned over and whispered, "Later, babe."

"I know you're all concerned with what's going on," Gabriel said as he and Haez sat down at the large table. "Haez and I have narrowed down Rukiel's origin, at least."

"You don't look very happy about it," Nick remarked.

"Rukiel isn't from my province," Haez said. "Nor is he from Gabriel's. Abaddon is a very big place with four main provinces: Torcene, Abaddon Proper, Eurul, and Nemiaton. Torcene is mine, and Abaddon Proper belongs to Ba'al."

"Then this Rukiel guy is from one of the other two?" Dana asked.

Haez nodded. "We believe he's from Nemiaton. We know the ruler of Eurul. Zaruch would never bother with the human world. He cares nothing for it."

"But Nemiaton," Gabriel added, "experienced a power vacuum after the last battle. Prime opportunity for any number of demons to vie for the throne there."

"I'm so confused," Saul muttered. "Okay. Please explain the hierarchy?"

Gabriel chuckled. "Ba'al is the archdemon ruling over Abaddon Proper. I am only a lord under him. Haez rules Torcene. Zaruch rules Eurul. Nemiaton once belonged to Hiil, but he was destroyed in the last battle."

"So..." Dana glanced at Haez. "Are you an archdemon?"

"No. It's not a requirement for ruling in Abaddon," Haez said. "Zaruch is not one, either. Only Hiil and Ba'al are archdemons. Well, Hiil was one."

"I guess it's a stupid question to ask if we'll be able to play the gig coming up in three weeks," Saul said.

Gabriel gave him a sympathetic smile. "I want to say you can, but... I can't allow anyone to leave until I know for sure it's safe."

"So you're the one keeping this place hidden?" Nick asked him.

"Yes. My mother is a witch."

Saul had the feeling there was more to that than Gabriel let on, but no one asked. And Gabriel didn't offer an explanation.

"All I ask is that you give us time to ensure your safety," Gabriel continued.

It was the best any of them could do right now, Saul figured.

* * *

Jason stared out the window into total darkness. He had no clue where exactly they were, and he hardly remembered the trip here. He hated running like this. Swift on the heels of that thought came one about protecting his lovers and bandmates. A few years ago, he wouldn't have even considered a relationship. Now he had not one, but two amazing men he would do anything to protect -- whether they needed protecting or not.

Arms slipped around his waist, pulling him tight against a slender, slightly shorter body. Jason smiled and leaned his head back on Saul's shoulder.

"I could feel you from the other side of the house."

Jason chuckled. "Sorry, babe. Julian's embroiled in whatever strategy-making session is going on in the kitchen. I had to step away, though. I can only handle so much..." He shrugged, not knowing what the hell to call it.

"You're not one for things like planning and managing, are you?"

"Not really. In Firestarter, I handled the set lists, but Mike always took care of the bookings and other stuff. I just don't have a head for business."

"Neither do I. Dana takes care of it for us. I'm too flighty, according to her."

Jason snickered. "That's putting it a bit mildly."

One of Saul's hands slipped down to cup Jason through his jeans. "I'm better at other things," Saul murmured.

A shiver raced up Jason's spine. "Fuck yes."

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