When English student Alice Preda meets campus heartthrob Damian Novac, she develops the heaviest crush ever. She joins him and friends on a winter trip in the Carpathian Mountains, hoping to get close to him, but this choice will change her life abruptly.
When the train derails in high snow, the group of students seeks refuge at a cottage deep in the woods, but soon they start losing their minds and dying. Alice and Damian are among the survivors and return home, but the nightmare is far from over. She discovers that a shady corporation which conducts experiments on humans and which had engineered Damian into something monstrous many years before is on their trail.
A man of secrets and obscure powers, Damian might be a villain or a hero. Though aware of the danger he poses, Alice can’t fight the obsession that draws her ever deeper. Will Damian become her lover or her executioner?
See Prologue here.
Two guys rushed after him, head first like angry bulls, but the man spun round unexpectedly and slammed his fists into their faces – right first, left second. I flinched, expecting booms, bangs or cracks, yet there was no sound except for the victims’ growls. One of the boys desisted, but the thinner one attacked again, hands outstretched, giving out a cry of anger. I imagined him with exploded blood vessels in his eyes and bared teeth, but his zeal died when another punch sent him flat on his back. Before the others could react, Biker tried to make for a sprint through the door, bumping hard into a tall frame like a ball against a mound.
In the light of an oil lamp the bearded singer held behind him, he glared crystal daggers at Biker, blocking the way out. With his face framed by dark, wavy hair, he looked like a beast about to bite. After only a few seconds of hesitation, Biker bent from his waist and thrust himself at Damian, but the latter moved out of the way and caught him by the jacket, pulling him up straight and slamming his face into the doorframe. I heard wood or bones crack this time. The man groaned and his body turned to jelly.
Damian yanked him to his feet, turned him around and faced him, keeping a grip on his throat. “In a hurry?”
A streak of blood trickled from Biker’s temple down his cheek, and he struggled to stand on his feet. Damian’s muscles snaked under the pullover as he slammed the man’s back into the doorframe.
“I see you’re big on brawling,” he hissed, glancing at the two boys who were now supported by their friends on each arm. “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?”
Biker’s mouth drew in the grin of a nutcase enjoying pain. “I might ask you the same thing,” he managed.
Another slam against the doorframe. “Why do you pick up fights, Rocky?”
The man didn’t reply, yet voices rose in chaotic explanations that said everything and yet nothing. “Attempted rape” and “Svetlana” made it to my ears though, and certainly also Damian’s. But, to my surprise, it didn’t seem to anger him. On the contrary, his arms fell off Biker and his glare softened a little.
“You’ve had too much to drink. We’ll deal with this when you’re sober.”
That I didn’t like Svetlana must be obvious until now, but Damian’s reaction angered me. I stepped in without another thought.
“That’s no justification. This guy’s a potential rapist. I’m sure this wasn’t his first time and it won’t be the last, especially if we let him off the hook about it on the wishy-washy grounds that he was impaired.”
Damian’s eyes fell on me with a flash. They had the effect of a blow. I retreated a step.
“You’re quick to judge, Alice.”
I shook my head in disbelief. He couldn’t be so thick. “Quick to judge? Look at that woman, Damian.” I pointed at the group behind me, assuming by the calming whispers that Svetlana was still among them. “She’s been abused, whether this asshole went the whole way or not. That leaves scars, ugly scars.”
He didn’t follow the direction I pointed in, but kept staring at me as if I were some weirdo that compelled him.
“I wasn’t talking about Rocky here,” he said. “I was talking about me. You’re quick to judge me.”
I held my breath until he went on, low but determined.
“I wouldn’t let this asshole off the hook in a million years. But I won’t smash his face while he’s under the heavy influence of alcohol either. That would be unfair too, don’t you think?”
He took a few steps closer and blood flooded my cheeks.
“If you’d given me the chance,” he continued, “I would’ve said Hector and I would take our friend to the attic and tie him up until his mind clears. And when we get out of here, we’ll turn him in.”
Biker laughed, but there was no amusement in it. Rather madness.
“Turn me in . . . And to whom, Lupan? To the cops, or your friends at BioDhrome, along with the rest of these rats?”
Damian blinked twice, as if recovering from a blow he hadn’t seen coming. He turned to the man and stared at him, while the others behind me shuffled and whispered. My eyes darted from him to Biker, seeking sense.
“What is this bullshit?” Damian hissed, that word coming out of his usually elegant mouth shocking to my ears.
“How long, Che-zuh-reh? How long until we start drawing blood this time?”
“That’s not my name.”
The man gave another disturbing laugh. “Of course not.”
Enjoyed this? You don’t have to wait for the following episodes, get the entire e-book here. Please share your thoughts in a comment, I’m looking forward to reading from you.
Stay tuned for the next episode of The Marquis tomorrow evening, and many more goodies to come.