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Excerpt for Calling All Villains by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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Published by EVERNIGHT PUBLISHING ® at Smashwords


www.evernightpublishing.com




Copyright© 2018 James Cox



ISBN: 978-1-77339-583-8


Cover Artist: Jay Aheer


Editor: CA Clauson



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.


This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.



DEDICATION


Here it is! The book you’ve been asking for. My venture into m/m/f territory. I hope you enjoy! And as always a big, huge, inappropriate hug to all my readers.


I'd also like to thank everyone at Evernight Publishing for taking this series on. Here's to many more stories in this strange, magical world!


CALLING ALL VILLAINS


Otherworld, 1


James Cox


Copyright © 2018


Prologue


When the darkness whispers your name, it’s already too late.

Otherworld was a human world plagued by a magical creature called the Dullahan. It roamed the land on a horse as black as its soul with death on its breath and eyes the color of blood. It’s said, the Dullahan was a fallen fertility god who demanded beautiful virgins be sacrificed to him each year. In fear, everyone complied, year after year after year. The humans tried all different myths and legend to rid Otherworld of Dullahan.

It wasn’t until a young virgin named Riverly Finnegan, did the Dullahan discover humans are not so easily defeated. She was up next to be given to the creature. Only rape and a knife through the heart awaited her. When the Dullahan had her up on the alter, she recited the curse her grandmother had whispered to her every night since she was a babe. The words felt thick on her tongue. “This curse has been said by a virgin recently bled. I give life to those words with my kin’s blood.” It wasn’t until she had finished that her father loomed up from the shadows and stabbed the magical being with a blade dripping in his own blood. At first the Dullahan laughed. No blade could pierce his skin. No human had a tongue for curses. This world was his. But slowly a warmth began to seep down the Dullahan’s back.

Blood.

The curse was so powerful that it knocked the fallen god off his feet. He was thrown toward the sky, arching over Otherworld. His power leached out and his magical blood spread over the land, creating creatures so odd that they had no name. He landed on a remote island and was so weak that he was unable to escape. The damage had been done, for the words bound him to the island. The Finnegan’s became royalty, rulers of Otherworld. They lived happily, they ruled justly, and they died peacefully. For the fallen God, centuries passed. The Dullahan could not die, nor could regain what he had lost. Reefs grew around the island where even the biggest predators feared to swim.

And so, the Dullahan waited…

Generations later, magic from Dullahan’s blood had turned Otherworld into a wondrous place with men that could change shape and fairies no bigger than a human’s hand. His fate seemed to be sealed. The fallen god once feared by all was now destined to go mad alone.

Then a quiet woman from a remote town married the human king of Otherworld, but underneath her shy exterior was a heart of courage. Queen Aralynn and the King were in a terrible storm during their voyage home and the ship broke apart. Drifting further from the safety of her king and without the energy to swim, she let the current take her.

A curious thing did happen.

She was swept to Dullahan’s island. No one knows what transpired in such a terrible place, but not a month later the queen washed ashore and was found by some fishermen. They dragged her to the land and were shocked to see who laid before them. The missing, pregnant queen carried with her the child of Dullahan.

The king, in a fury at her state, locked her in the tower until he could decide on how best to dispose of the unwanted babe. The queen not only escaped, she also killed the king and tore his heart right out of his chest. Queen Aralynn then took the throne herself, for no one dared harm the child growing within her.

When the child was born with eyes as red as her father’s, some humans and magical beings formed a plan. They feared the power this offspring of a pureblood human and the Dullahan would grow into.

The plan was cruel if simple.

The child had to die.

Year after year, there is a call for all villains to visit the seaside village of Fairaine. Assassins, the greedy, and the foolish attempt to complete this task. So far, no one has been successful. The beautiful blonde Princess Aneen with eyes the color of blood still lives, still grows…


Chapter One


Some beings, can sense when they’ve become prey. I supposed the bartender was one of those beings, for I was most certainly a predator.

Fear. The smell was potent. It made the blood in veins move faster. Hearts beat harder. I could hear all the thumping in the tavern speed up as I entered. I scanned the half-filled tables and the bartender frozen at the sight of me. Being half vampire made his wide eyes and rising pulse a temptation. I took the seat near the window with glass so old it was cloudy. The night outside made the shadows that much more potent. I sat back on the creaking chair and let the darkness conceal most of me. It wasn’t easy blending in, being a six-foot-four blond, but intimidation was.

“May … may I get you something?” The young server asked.

Her breath hitched, pressing her breasts seductively against her snug corset. Oh, the sound of her pulse speeding up made me grin. It was completely shameless. “Ale.”

She nodded, swallowed audibly and then quickly walked to the bar.

The man serving the drinks had his left hand on the hilt of a dagger. He wouldn’t be able to throw it before I stood and rushed him. Whether he knew my reputation or he was just smart, didn’t matter. I took a deep breath and scanned the room again. Why Pan wanted to meet in such a public place escaped me.

The server smiled nervously as she placed the glass of amber liquid on my table and then scurried away. Her dark hair trailing behind her.

She was attractive. Too shy for my bed, but I bet her blood tasted sweet. I took a sip of my drink and was pleased to find it hadn’t been watered down. The bartender must know who I was then. That would make peace and quiet that much easier to find.

“Hey, there, sexy girl.” The bearded human at the nearest table yelled.

The server came over, giving me a glance before placing their drinks on the table. “Anything else?”

“Yeah, your sweet ass.” Beard grabbed her skirt and tugged. It didn’t rip, but she fell forward, practically on top of him.

“Hey, now, easy on the help!” The bartender yelled out.

“Let me go.” She struggled to get free of him.

“Come on, sexy girl. I just want to have some fun. Your pretty ass will keep me busy for a few hours.”

“Get. Off. Me.” She elbowed his chest and managed to break his hold, but stumbled back.

I didn’t have time to grab my drink before she plowed into my table. The glass slid off and slammed against the floor. Not only did it shatter, but it sent splashes of ale all over my black boots.

“Oh, Dullahan’s dick!” She blurted.

“Now, now. Such a curse shouldn’t be coming from such a beautiful woman.” I stood up, brushing off my black trousers because those, too, were splashed.

“I’m so, so sorry!” Her bottom lip quivered.

“It wasn’t your fault, sweetheart.” I turned to Beard. “But it is yours.” I snatched the drink off their table and downed it in two quick gulps then slammed the empty glass back on his table. “Now, we’re even, fucker.”

“The hell we are!” Beard stood up, but his companions didn’t. “You’re buying me another drink.”

“Myco.” His buddy tugged on his shirt. “Myco. Leave him alone.”

“The fuck I will. This asshole took my drink.”

I smiled because, damn it, I liked them stupid. It made the expression on their face that much more satisfying when they found out what I was. I smiled, showing off my fangs.

“Myco. Shit, man. That’s a-a vampire.”

Beard/Myco turned to look at me. Ah, there’s the expression I was talking about. The wide eyes. The parted lips. The shock on their face and the unsteady thumping of their hearts. “Care to give me something else to drink?”

“I… I… I’m… I didn’t…” Myco stuttered.

“You want to leave my fucking sight. Now.”

Myco nodded, stumbling off with his friends in tow. The second they left the server stood. She was so nervous she practically shook.

“Bring me another drink, will you?”

“Yes. ‘course.” She blundered away.

With all the creatures out there—animal shifters, fairies, mermen and banshees—vampires were rare. A half vampire even rarer. If that didn’t incite fear, then my reputation would. I returned to my dark corner.

Pan showed up an hour late with an easy smile and blood on his horns. I might have forgotten to mention, Pan was part troll. He was only a few inches taller than me with blond hair which made the horns stand out even more. He sauntered up to me with those oversized feet and plopped down hard enough to make the chair groan. “This place is usually much busier.”

“I tried to make some friends.”

Pan frowned and took my half-filled glass. “I can’t take you nowhere.” He drank and then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

If he wasn’t my friend, hell, my only friend, I’d have snapped his neck. “Are we all set for tomorrow?”

“Yes, we are.” He smiled, showing off an uneven row of teeth. “This is going to be a big hit, Alexander. Maybe the biggest we’ve ever had.” His voice hitched in excitement. “We’ll probably have enough to settle in this rich, snobby village.”

I snorted. “Fairaine ain’t for the likes of us, Pan.”

He rolled his eyes and sat back, rubbing his hands together like the greedy bastard he was. “We’ve got this.”

“The problem isn’t the plan, it’s going to be the wall they called the princess’s bodyguard.”

“No one has ever tried to get the princess this way.” His voice dropped. “It’s brilliant.”

I didn’t answer him. I sat back, embracing the darkness and let my gaze stray to that cloudy window. Being cocky didn’t keep my ass from getting killed, being a heartless predator did.

****

Ghillie Dhu Cove was loud with voices. They covered the sound of waves gently washing onto the sand. I stood back from the crowd as they gathered on the edge of the beach. Yes, it was sunny and no, I didn’t burst into flames. I didn’t have that particular crutch of a full vampire. Something about the sun on our delicate skin. Underneath a full blooming tree with the breeze lifting my hair off my shoulder, I searched the humans. Mostly humans. There were a few magical creatures serving food and drinks. I saw the bodyguard first, sexy thing. He had dark hair with intense brown eyes that scanned the crowd like I’d done. The human was at least six inches shorter than me, but the way he stood showed how well he’d fight. This was the wall I was worried about.

Princess Aneen stepped out from behind her bodyguard and I couldn’t look away. She wasn’t the most beautiful woman I saw, but there was something about her. Her blonde hair was braided down her back and the soft pink dress she wore hugged her body. Hell yeah, she was getting my dick hard, but I think that was true for everyone there. There was also something about the way she walked—softly, and she smiled at everyone she came across, whether it be royalty or a simple servant. She was so short it was hard to keep an eye on her as she moved about the crowd with The Wall following closely.

It was as I started forward that our eyes met. Red eyes. They made me shiver and move closer. “Greetings, Princess Aneen.” I tried to be as formal as possible.

The bodyguard stepped beside her, his hand never leaving the hilt of his sword.

“Greetings.” She spoke softly, still staring at me.

“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.” I held out my hand. When she placed hers in mine I brought it up to my lips for a kiss then added a wink.

Her pale skin blushed. “I’m ashamed to say I don’t know your name.”

I smiled, “Prince Alexander of Cockburn.” At least that what my identification papers and forged prints said. The real prince of Cockburn was too far away to make the royal party in time, especially since Pan attacked his wagon and destroyed his ride. It made the lie that much easier to convey when the real prince didn’t show up.

“Ah, such a lovely town. It was my mother’s original home, did you know?”
“I did, yes.” No clue. I stared into her eyes again, taken by how much she pulled me in. “But I would like to know more.” I forced a sheepish smile. “About your beautiful kingdom.”

“Then perhaps you should visit the town historical.” She smiled as she said it and her tongue darted out just a bit. I think it was to keep from laughing at the jab.

“I shall do that then.” The heat between us was so intense that my cock was starting to swell and tent my trousers.

“Princess Aneen…” The bodyguard broke the moment. “We must continue.”

“Yes, of course.” She touched his arm. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Prince Alexander.”

“Oh no, Princess Aneen, the pleasure was definitely all mine.” I gave her a wicked smile and she responded by blushing. She moved past me and her bodyguard gave me a lingering scowl. There was no doubt he’d be sending someone to confirm my identity, but Pan got the best forgeries in all of Otherworld. I grabbed a drink from a server walking by and sipped the ridiculously sweet ale. Her walk was something to watch, too. Ah, Princess Aneen. The poems didn’t do you justice. It was literally going to be my pleasure to seduce such a creature.

“Welcome, Princes and Princesses.” The queen was on a platform with her white dress spread out behind her like a damn blanket. From ankles to chin she was covered, like we weren’t worthy to look at her. Her hair was braided to match her daughters, but it was a bit darker. “Today we celebrate my beautiful daughter’s birthday.” The queen held out her hand and Princess Aneen took it, standing beside her. “Her eighteenth year has come and she is a gift to me. A kindhearted soul that continues to amaze me with each day that passes.”

Princess Aneen smiled shyly and glanced at the ground.

“Please, drink the wine, eat until you’re fit to burst. This celebration will be one to remember. Thanks be to you for joining us.” The queen smiled as the crowd applauded. She took the elegant throne which had various creatures carved into the wood. The princess stood beside her as drums began to play.

I stepped closer, but was surprised to see her bodyguard watching me. He was smarter than he looked. I gave him a smile and a tilt of my head before taking a drink from the nearest tray. See there, I’m not a threat, just thirsty. A breeze chose that moment to bring me the familiar scent of troll. Pan. I carefully slid my gaze toward the left. Pan was wearing a soft loose tunic that fluttered in the wind. He almost looked like he belonged until the wind kicked up the edges. He flashed his dick. The monstrously large, hairy thing usually made lovers shriek, which is why he spent all his money on whores. He gave me a waggle of his eyebrows.

Here we go.

The musicians hit a crescendo and the flute player picked up his tool. The thing exploded in his hands. Nothing damaging, but it made a hell of a sound.

Cue the panic.

Several in the crowd started a commotion. Screaming, yelling—one dumbass fainted as the smoke spread. Guards began to converge on the innocent guy, as expected.

And now the crossbows.

They flew through the air from the rocky cliffs beside the castle. They were rigged to go off in sequence as close to the queen as possible. I wanted the focus on her rather than the princess.

“It’s an attack!”

“Protect the queen!”

The bodyguard shoved the princess behind him.

I ducked like everyone else. No use looking guilty. I rolled forward and stayed low. I had to give props to the queen and the princess. Some humans were freaking the fuck out and running right into the oncoming arrows. They stayed behind the bodyguards and looked alert but calm. Half the guards ran towards the crossbows which once fired would tumble free of the rocks and fall into the ocean. It’d look like the assailants fled. Another smoke bomb went off near the tree Pan had been standing under. A thick blanket of blackness filled the air, moving with the wind. “Look out!” I shouted and pointed at another stream of arrows aimed for the right side of the stage. It really looked like they were aiming for the queen.

Perfect.

I rolled again putting my back against the stage. Getting ready…

Pan rushed forward brandishing his ax and tearing off his ridiculous hat revealing his horns. The guards could take him, but it wouldn’t be easy and Pan could wipe out at least half of them before he went down. Of course, that wasn’t the plan.

“Kill the evil queen!” Pan roared.

The princess’s bodyguard shifted to defend her against that attack, leaving her right side wide open.

“Princess.” It wasn’t exactly a shout, but more like a concerned hitched tone. I hopped on stage and leapt across the princess rather than at her. I stumbled, on purpose, rolled off the platform and sent sand everywhere when I landed. I had just enough time to take the arrow out of my jacket and stabbed myself in the side. I shoved to my back and took shaky breaths. That part wasn’t pretend. It hurt so motherfucking bad, but I’d felt worse.


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