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Meet Reign Nicolis
I stepped through the whirling vortex to another realm with my cellphone in my jacket pocket, already recording. This was the interview that could change my career and no inter-dimensional time portal would stop me from delivering the goods.
I kept that in mind as my atoms separated and hurtled me to an unknown destination. It took a lot of faith stepping into a swirling light show knowing I was leaving earth.
When I emerged slightly dizzy, fighting nausea and stumbling around, strong hands grabbed my arms, steadied me. I looked into the face of Reign Nicolis. I’d interview his twin over a year ago. Though his hair brushed his massive shoulders, the same brutally handsome face stared at back at me. He had a square jaw, softened by a five o’clock shadow, deep blue eyes a woman could drown in, set under thick eyebrows and a straight forehead partially hidden by his hair.
“Mrs. Stephens, it is a pleasure. Please, sit.” He pointed to a set of chairs and a table laden with covered trays and wine.
That’s when I noticed we were on a wide stone terrace overlooking a steep cliff. I walked the edge, careful of the lack of railing and peered at the lavender sky.
“Where are we?” I asked Reign as he stood next to me.
“I think we are in Chemmis, the Egyptian realm, though I am not positive.”
He’s not positive? How can you live somewhere and not know where you are?
Reign held out the chair for me to sit. “May I offer some wine? Food?”
I looked at the cart and was overwhelmed by the choices. “Wine.” I couldn’t resist. He poured while I gathered my wits.
“May I ask you a question, Mrs. Stephens?” Reign said.
Huh? He waited until I had a mouth full of wine to put me on the spot. “Of course.”
“Why have you chosen to write about me?”
“Well,” I took another sip. “You fascinate me. From the story I’ve gathered through reports and sightings I wanted to discover the man behind the growing myth.”
“What is the myth?”
He leaned forward and I was blinded by his allure. How could any woman resist him? “That you're a demi-god, you escaped from an enslavement forced on you by a jealous god for sleeping with his wife.” His eyes darkened and I wondered if I struck a nerve. “Is it true?” I pushed, needing an answer.
“Do you believe it’s true?”
That was my reason for being here, but now I sit across from the legend himself, mesmerized by him, I wasn’t sure. “I’m here to find that out.”
His face clouded and tensed. “Ask your questions, Mrs. Stephens.”
I decided to start with a soft question. “Who are you're parents?” A muscle flexed in his jaw. Maybe the question wasn’t soft enough.
“My father was human, a soldier, my mother, a goddess of the Egyptian Pantheon.”
“Which goddess?” I asked. He shrugged, but I didn’t buy it. “How old are you, Mr. Nicolis.” I knew how old his twin, Roman was and wanted to see if Reign would tell me the truth.
“I stopped keeping track eons ago.”
“You were a mercenary—a soldier—for profit. Are you still one?”
I didn’t believe him. “How many men have you killed, Mr. Nicolis?”
“I have not kept count.”
“Are you a vigilante? Do you have a hero complex?”
“Is that what you call a man who protects the innocent?”
“You don’t answer a question with a question, Mr. Nicolis.” I had to get this interview back on track. Or maybe a different track. “Detective Alexis Lever is missing, do you have any information about her whereabouts?”
His expression changed again, became hardened. “Alexis Lever is not a part of this discussion.”
Alexis Lever, not Detective Lever. Hmm. So, he did know something. “Her family is worried about her.”
“I believe you mean the authorities.” He countered.
“Her father offered a reward.” I added, pushing for a reaction.
“For her arrest? What father offers a reward for his child’s arrest?” he said, slouching back in his chair, his expression smug.
“The kind who wants her back, who wants respects the law and wants justice regardless of his feelings.” Guessing at her father’s motivation wouldn’t help with this interview.
“Are you and the Detective involved, Mr. Nicolis?” His eyebrows quirked up. “In a sexual relationship.” I added.
Another vortex opened, stars twinkled in the aperture, and then a woman stepped through. The aforementioned, missing Detective Alexis Lever arrived with a smile on her lips and a sway to her hips. She saw me and the smile faded, her steps faltered. Her gaze cut to Reign, a question in their depths.
I watched them, judged their reaction to each other and me. Reign held out his hand. With no hesitation, she took it and allowed Reign to draw her to him. He stood, embraced her in his arms, and molded her curves to his.
I waited for the kiss, needing to see their passion as evidence of the emotion’s existence. Instead, Reign and Alexis turned to me; their blank faces gave nothing away.
“Mrs. Stephens this interview is over,” Reign said.
I opened my mouth to argue, but between one blink and the next, I was through the vortex and standing in a deserted lot next to an apartment building. Wasn’t the first time I was dismissed by an interview subject. At least I had the recording.
I stuck my hand inside my jacket pocket only to find it empty. My cellphone was gone. “Damn it!”
Blurb: Kill the beast.
Save your brother.
Win your freedom.
Falling in love with the cop trying arrest you?
To save his twin from death, Reign Nicolis will have to bargain with Goddess of the Dead, and once more become what he despises, El Mortem, The Scourge, a killer trained to show mercy to none. But he is haunted by those who have fallen beneath his blade. Their ghostly shapes dog his footsteps, relentless in their torture to make him suffer for what he was put on this earth to do two thousand years ago. Saving his twin ensures Reign’s enslavement to the Goddess. She may own his body, but never his heart.
Detective Alexis Lever’s career is in shambles. Her only chance at redemption is to discover what happened to the body of Daniel Nicolis. To do that she’ll have to thwart two men: Reign Nicolis and Roman Nicolis. Both belong in jail. But one has stolen her heart.
Excerpt: A force yanked Reign to a stop, reeled him back, and slammed him to the ground. Pain ripped through his head. The Vanquished, his personal army of demons, shrieked inside his skull. He’d thought Nephythys would have alleviated the curse so he could return quickly to her servitude. He wasn’t surprised fortune didn’t favor him. It never had.
For countries, for kings, and for emperors, he killed. To honor the Nicolis name, he killed. And to protect the one person he loved—his brother—he killed. Too many to count fell beneath his blade, but each victory came with a price.
Roman must return. Without his brother’s easy temperament to balance the darkness in Reign’s soul, the Vanquished ruled, and he would become a madman, no better than the beast he chased. Soon he would lose rational thought and descend into madness. He hadn’t traveled all this way to become the thing he would destroy. No. His fingers cracked the hard surface of the black ground, searching for earth to hold onto and center him. Sometimes touching the ground from which all things sought sustenance helped suppress the riot in his brain. But there was no dirt beneath the surface of this strange ground. An ashy, gray substance covered his fingers instead of fertile earth.
A distant whimper reached Reign and gave him the strength to turn his head a fraction. A woman stumbled from the house. She wobbled on unsteady legs. A wild, curly mass of hair obscured her view. She rested on one of the wooden columns. One wrong step and she’d trip on the scattered debris and tumble down the stairs. He had to get to her before she fell.
Fighting the invisible demons weighing him down, Reign forced himself to his knees. Then he crawled. With each step, the cries of the Vanquished lessened, replaced by calming silence. If he were pious, he would offer a prayer that she stay put until her reached her.
She pushed away from the column. Her knees buckled. Seconds before her skull would’ve smashed onto the ground, Reign materialized. He dove beneath her and absorbed the brunt of the fall.
Damn the gods.
The feel of her solid form blasted through his petrified center. He hadn’t realized how much he missed this. Human contact. The simple act of touching and being touched. Warmth and the softness of a woman. So long denied, now he feasted.
He buried his face in her mass of curly hair and inhaled jasmine and honey. A moan ripe with longing ripped from his throat and he fitted her lush curves more intimately to him. She shivered and her breath curled in the air. Gently, he rolled and let her slide from his arms to her back. The pale glow of artificial light bathed her face and he forgot to breathe. Something so lovely couldn’t be real. Wasn’t real. Touching her shouldn’t be allowed.
Desire to taste her luscious lips—this one time—dug its claws into him, and drew him near. He brushed her wild tresses from her face and stroked a finger down her cheek, leaving a bloody streak. A quick search and he discovered a gash on the side of her head. He hadn’t saved her. And while he pawed her like an untried youth, she lay dying.
Available for purchase at: Amazon
Author Bio: Tmonique Stephens wrote her first novel about a reporter and a hockey player after the U.S. hockey team won gold in the 1980 Olympics. She loves writing flawed characters who reflect the emotional baggage we all carry. She writes complicated stories for complicated people. Paranormal romances and fantasy novels are her favorite genre. She will read anything about fairies, demons, or angels. She also enjoys Stephen King and Dean Koontz.
She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing from City College of New York where she won an English Department Award for her play Tea with Salt in 1987.
She was born in St. Thomas USVI, but she grew up in The Bronx, New York one mile from Yankee Stadium. She loves SyFy and the History channels, and Asian cuisine. But her heart and stomach longs for anything from the Caribbean.
Be sure to visit Tmonique at: Website
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