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by R.C. Murphy
The gods are flawed . . . and they make awful parents.
Deryck knows first-hand the cruelty of the gods. Three thousand years after his birth, he is still trapped, forced to service humans as an Incubus—unable to choose whom he sleeps with, and living a life completely devoid of love. There is no out for him. No hope. Or so he thought.
Shayla McIntire spent five years getting her life back on track after the accident claiming her husband’s life. She is content to a nice, boring, subdued life free of the abuse she suffered before. Her friends are worried. They want her to find the man of her dreams and move on.
Little do they know, the Powers That Be have decided the man of Shayla’s dreams for her. There’s just one hitch, he’s enslaved to the gods and it will take power she doesn’t know she has to free him. Deryck isn’t the only one hoping Shayla will free him, though.
* * * * *
Even a gym located in a small slice of lands occupied by the gods and other beings of legend smelled like stale sweat and soggy socks. No amount of cleaning by invisible butlers could erase the scent. Under the lemon-fresh cleaners, it lingered, trapped in the nooks and crannies after centuries of males working themselves to exhaustion.
Not that the sons of gods needed to pump iron to stay fit, but they needed a hobby aside from plowing females.
Deryck stood at the head of a weight bench, his mind only half focusing on his task. Other things occupied his mind. Things he knew better than to consider around anyone else, lest he accidentally say or do something to betray his thoughts. He shifted his feet closer to the bench to remind himself where he was. It didn’t work to banish her from his mind.
Below him on the bench, Wolfrik slowly raised and lowered about four hundred pounds of iron weights. The veins on his forearms bulged each time he pushed the steel bar above his chest. His arms wobbled. The bar clanked loudly against the brace.
“If you’re going to be as useless as men’s tits, you might as well step aside, Deryck,” Wolfrik grunted and tried to set the weight down on the braces again, with little luck.
“Shit.” Deryck grabbed the bar and jerked it onto the brace before it fell and crushed Wolfrik’s chest. The injury wouldn’t kill him, he healed too fast, but it would irritate his mentor.
Wolfrik sat up and stretched his left arm across his chest. “About time you came back.”
Deryck handed him a glass of water. “I didn’t go anywhere.”
Wolfrik shook his head. “Don’t try to fool me. You haven’t been with us in weeks. Sure, your body makes its way back to the compound, but each time you are called to the Inbetween, more of your mind stays behind.”
Fear tightened Deryck’s gut. Did Wolfrik know the truth? “I apologize. I will try to be more attentive when we’re working out.”
Wolfrik sized him up. His gaze drifted to Deryck’s tattoos. “Is it true what the others are saying, have you taken a regular caller?”
Deryck shook his head. “I swore when I began this life, I would not and I will not break that vow. They may use my body, but no one woman will own me.” Inwardly, he cringed. One female in existence could make him break his vow. It was an impossible dream, though.
“You’ve been taking more frequent calls, then.”
The lie Deryck had ready stuck in his throat. Wolfrik had been his companion and guide in the compound for nearly three thousand years. True, he’d outgrown the need for a mentor early in his service, but occasionally he needed someone to go to and lay down all of his frustrations. He needed someone to give him a shake and remind him why it was useless to rage and argue against their nature.
“No. I haven’t been taking more calls from females on the Inbetween. Many times when I leave the compound, I’ve been . . .” Deryck took a deep breath. “I’ve been transported to the human realm. The reason is unclear, but I—” He was unsure if he should reveal Shayla’s part in things.
Eyes wide, Wolfrik grabbed Deryck by the scruff of his neck and dragged him to a vacant room filled with all manner of sporting equipment.
“Have you been drawn to anyone, a female you constantly appear around who pulls you to her no matter how far away you are?” Wolfrik whispered.
Deryck’s stomach dropped. He needed to know more. “Yes. I swear I did not try to go to the human realm. Will I be punished?”
Wolfrik shook him. “Yes, you will, but only if you are caught before you complete the ritual.”
“I don’t understand.”
“There is only one reason an incubus is called to the human realm. You’ve found her. She can free you.”
* * * * *
Buy ENSLAVED on Amazon:
R.C. Murphy spends her nights writing urban fantasy novels and a slew of short stories for her blog, The Path of a Struggling Writer. By day she is a not so mild-mannered housewife, wrangling vampires, demons, and various other nasty creatures. R.C. has joined forces with fellow writers, artists, and actors to form the Zombie Survival Crew where she reviews movies, TV shows, as well as penning articles on important survival skills.