When Krista Harris’s sixth sense sends her to a hidden cave, she discovers a portal to Underworld that will open only for her.
Alexus, Underworld’s Lord of Fire, awaits her there, eager to show her a land full of sensual delights. He sends Krista’s heart up in flames. The sex is great, but Krista isn’t sure she’s ready to commit to being his mate, no matter how beautiful he and his world might be.
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Lord of Fire (Night Lords 1)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2023 Alice Gaines
Krista Harris hadn’t bothered to report where she was going to anyone. It was her vacation, after all, but that was still a big no-no. Once they found out she’d gone into a cave without letting anyone know, they’d think she’d suddenly lost her mind. Maybe she had, but something had been compelling her to do exactly that for days now, and she didn’t want anyone following her.
Her coworkers had heard enough about her extra sense. Most flatly didn’t believe her, and the others who had tried understanding were tired of her false alarms. In truth, her feelings failed her sometimes, but this time they’d come to her so forcefully. At first in dreams, and then she occasionally got images while awake. Something or someone was trying to call to her, and the messages had led her to this opening in the rock.
This had to be the right place. She could almost detect a voice in her heart. Distant but male. It whispered almost inaudible words. Come, and what followed might have been to… me.
She was no spelunker, but this forest held several caves. There could be one just on the other side of the entrance. She hadn’t heard of anything of interest here. Tourists flocked to Oldtown Caverns on the other side of town, but nothing indicated past visitors here. Maybe that voice hadn’t called to anyone but her. Even more reason to search for the source.
She eased into the cleft in the rock. She could easily ease back out again if necessary. She had had the good sense to wear a helmet with headlamp and bring a lantern so she could see her way around.
After a yard or two, the passage widened until she’d left it behind. Now standing in more space, she trained the lantern around and toward the ceiling. The light extended quite a distance in all directions. The place had to be very large, indeed.
Now, the sound buzzed in her head, the words she’d thought she’d heard coming through more clearly. Definitely, Come to me.
She’d had psychic experiences before, but none so strong. Her heart pounded. Sensing stuff and hearing voices in her head were two different things. In fact, the latter usually meant you were crazy.
She could return to town and get some professionals to search here. They wouldn’t listen to any sort of fantastic declaration, but people still found caves here from time to time. They would get excited to learn about a new discovery. Especially if it turned out to be spectacular enough to attract tourists.
But that voice was calling to her. It had sent her here, not someone else who could try to take credit for finding this cave. And maybe if she brought other people with her, the voice would go silent. No, she had to follow it.
Come. This time it had direction, so she headed after it.
Another opening appeared, in the rock straight ahead of her. Larger than the first. In fact, it looked like someone had carved a door. A trick of geology? In any case, she was expected to go through it, so she did.
Light greeted her on the other side… a glow emanating from the walls of the new chamber. Some fluorescent insect or moss? Such things did exist. She’d seen it on a nature program, hadn’t she? And the air was warmer than you’d expect. Where had heat come from? Caves, they had here. Volcanoes, no.
But tourists would love this place where you could easily get around and the air was warmed somehow. There also had to be a scientific explanation for the light. But for now, she wouldn’t share it with anyone. This was hers.
No, it wasn’t. It belonged to someone else, and she’d been invited. But yes, it was, too. That made no sense.
Shit. Now it knew her name. How in hell could that be true? “Who are you?”
No answer came. Fear coiled in the pit of her stomach, but she wouldn’t go back. If she did, she’d only return until she could learn why she’d been drawn here and whose voice she heard. She had to keep going.
She went deeper into the cave, the light and the warmth never leaving her. Each step drew her closer to whatever waited for her and to the owner of that voice. Eventually, she found herself at the top of a stairway. Torches along the side descended into another chamber below. Her hand on the rock wall beside her for support, she went down slowly.
So, someone had built this and had been around recently to light the torches. It wasn’t her discovery, after all, although few people must know about it. She’d never heard stories about a cavern that had been turned into a fantasy play space. She’d obviously found something cool… whatever it was.
When she got to the bottom, she faced two huge wooden doors. They parted silently, showing what looked for all the world like a royal chamber. A chamber full of fire.
She ran back outside the doors and was preparing to dash back up the steps when the voice called out loudly. “Stop!”
She glanced back inside. The place wasn’t full of fire. The flames rose up on the side walls almost to the ceiling. Self-contained, it didn’t seem to want to spread but rather to frame what went on inside. Still, it was spectacular. And frightening.
“Come in, come in,” the voice ordered.
She went back in and discovered that at the end of a long carpet stood a small dais, complete with a throne. A man rose from it.
“It took you long enough to get here,” he said.
The same voice she’d heard, at first in her head and then leading her through the cave. “That was your voice telling me to come?”