Home > The Healer (Seven Sins MC #2)

The Healer (Seven Sins MC #2)
Author: Jessica Gadziala

 

DEDICATION

 

 

To everyone who read, loved, and demanded more from this world.

You guys just continue to make dreams come true.

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Ace

 

 

The scream tore through the canyon, echoing back the same ear-splitting sound, but hollowing it out, intensifying it.

It was a familiar sound.

A hellish sound.

I tried not to let any sort of hope swell. We'd been through this half a dozen times for the past year with no results.

None of the spots ended up having enough energy left in them for Lenore to open up the Hellmouths like she'd been able to once before.

The night we lost Red and somehow got stuck with the demon version of a puppy and his curmudgeonly older brother.

Since then, though, nothing.

We'd traveled across the country, up into Canada, down into Mexico. And while Lenore claimed each of the spots had the right energy she could sense, none of the spells she'd tried could break through the earth, open up way down into the depths of hell.

So there we all were, standing in a deep canyon in Utah in the middle of the fucking winter. No amount of moving around, or layers of clothing seemed like they could chase the chill away. It had burrowed through my skin, muscles, organs, and was deep in my marrow, a constant and distracting sensation.

"Keep going," I demanded, getting a hard look from Lycus, not liking it when he thought I was getting pushy with his woman.

The ground trembled beneath our feet, a small hole emerging a few feet in front of Lenore, the earth crumbling down inside as the heat rose up. I only barely resisted the urge to place my hands over it, warming them like one might with a campfire.

Minos stood back from our gathered circle, knowing there was no way for him to go back, that he was stuck on the human plane for eternity, never dying, never getting a break from his misery.

That was part of the reason we needed to get back so badly. I'd already lost two of my men to the Claiming. I couldn't afford to lose Aram, Seven, Drex, and now Daemon and Bael.

It seemed like the longer we were on Earth, the more susceptible we became to pesky human needs and desires.

None of us ever could have known that, prepared for it, since there had never been any records of demons leaving hell and getting stuck in the human world for as long as we had. Or if anyone had, they'd never made it back to hell to tell their stories.

Who knew what the fuck could happen to us if we stayed another hundred years. Two hundred.

We had to get back.

I'd made peace with the idea of leaving Minos, of leaving Ly. Even if doing so made me feel like a failure as a leader. It was my place to guide them, to teach them, to protect them if necessary.

I'd failed.

I hadn't had the knowledge.

And they would suffer for it, staying here in this dumpster fire of a world while the rest of us went home, got to get back to work, continued to fulfill the lifestyles we were made for.

Fire and brimstone and all that.

Anticipation skittered over my nerve endings, giving me temporary relief from the cold that clung to me like death, its cold fingers raking its long nails over every inch of skin no matter how many layers I piled on, how warm we kept the heat.

"I like it here," I heard Daemon complain under his breath. Young and stupid, he thought his destiny was between the thighs of a human woman, so he buried himself between as many as possible.

"Shut the fuck up," Bael, his older brother growled, positioning himself slightly behind his younger brother's shoulder in case he got any ideas about running off, trying to stay here.

"Get back," Lenore said, voice a little tight as she herself moved back several feet as the ground kept falling inward, as the heat got more intense.

It was the most comfortable I'd felt in a year and a half. Since the last time Lenore had been able to open a Hellmouth. And not just because of the comforting warmth. But the promise of getting back to where we were always meant to be, doing what we were meant to do.

Sure, we kept ourselves busy here.

We had house parties and went to rallies. We passed around drugs and our bodies and our voices, whispering encouragement to the humans, bringing out their innate, often barely-buried evils.

The fire always needed fuel and we'd been feeding the flames for generations.

I figured that when we got back, we would be praised for making the best of a bad situation, would be welcomed with open arms, given good positions again.

We had to be directly responsible for hundreds of thousands of souls in the underworld at this point.

That was nothing to sneeze at.

"Why is the screaming so loud?" Aram asked, looking over toward me for confirmation.

They always looked to me. Which was fitting. I was the eldest. I'd been in charge since we all accidentally found ourselves on the human plane. I tended to know and remember more about our ways, our history.

I had no answers for him, though.

Hell was full of screaming, of course, but when Daemon and Bael had been pulled through one of the Hellmouths, we hadn't heard it.

"That's it," Lenore said, jumping backward, clinging to Ly as his wing moved out, wrapping around her protectively as the rest of us took another couple of steps back as bursts of flames danced out of the hole, hotter and redder than flames on Earth.

"Fuck," Drex growled, half hunching forward, pressing his hands to his ears as the screaming intensified. It was such a sound that it felt like it slipped under your skin, vibrated your bones.

There was a loud popping noise, then a body on the ground before the open hole it had burst out of snapped closed.

But the screaming?

The screaming didn't stop.

Because the screaming was coming from the form in front of all of us, curled deep into a ball, covering her naked body.

Naked, yes, but so covered in blood that you could hardly make out that fact right away.

"Oh," Lenore yelped, trying to rush forward, but getting dragged backward by Lycus. "Someone has to help her," she insisted.

"We don't even know what she is," Drex objected.

"She looks human," Lenore said, but then shook her head at herself.

Of course she did.

We all did.

"I don't care who she is, can someone shut her up?" Drex growled, taking another couple steps back.

The woman's body convulsed hard, making the bloody hair slip off her shoulder.

And that was when I saw it.

A tattoo.

A familiar tattoo.

"Fuck," I snapped, rushing forward, dropping down on my knees, trying to reach out to her, but not seeing a single inch of her that didn't seem to be covered in a laceration of some sort.

"What's going on?" Lenore asked to my side as I felt Drex, Minos, and Aram move in around me. "Do they know her?" she added.

"That's Red," Lycus told her.

I'd been around for a long time.

I thought I was incapable of most human emotions, that my emotional range was set the same as it had been in hell. Rage and frustration were my dominant feelings most of the time.

But as my hand landed on what I thought was a safe space on Red's shoulder, and she let out a shriek as she wrenched away, I felt something unfamiliar, something I'd read about in books, but had never experienced myself.

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