Pure Ecstasy (Pure_ Dark Ones Book 8)By: Aja James
Darkness is in all of us.
Just as there is light, hope and joy, there are those shuttered spaces in our souls, those whispers in the seething night, yawning chasms of blackness and doubt.
Hate. Envy. Vengefulness.
Violence. Pain. Bleakness.
And then there’s love.
You’d think that love should be all that is good and pure, warm and comforting.
It’s that breathless first kiss with your childhood crush. It’s the dizzying heights of passion and pleasure when the one you want mirrors your giddy, uncontainable desire in their eyes.
It’s the rapid, thunderous beat of your heart when they finally embrace you, and the ecstasy and heat of their body imprint on yours for all time.
Inside, outside, everywhere around you. Your intimate knowledge of their touch, the softness of their lips, the fiery possession of their body redefining everything you thought you knew…
You’d be wrong.
Love is also dark and resentful, scathing and violent.
Love can move mountains, cross the seven seas, they say. Love can inspire you to accomplish great feats of courage, strength and selfless sacrifice.
Love can also destroy empires, raze entire civilizations, incinerate the world around you into ashes as black as your heart and as bleak as your soul when the one you love betrays you.
Or in my previous incarnation’s case—when the one you were too cowardly to admit you loved is violently killed trying to save you.
And you were the one to send him to his doom.
It’s strange, having all of my memories back for all the incarnations that I have lived. Talk about multiple personality disorder. How about multiple lives disorder?
I am Sophia Victoria St. James, Queen of the Pure Ones in modern day New York City, where we have relocated the Shield several months ago. The second relocation in three years.
I was also Ninti Melammu, the first Pure Queen from the ancient Akkadian empire over four thousand years ago.
And…I was a human princess during the Persian Empire, stupidly in love with the wrong prince.
Can you imagine the mangled memories running through my twenty-year-old mind? Memories that span many lifetimes and lives, across many cultures and times.
I’ve never had headaches before. But now I have splitting ones, like Zeus is throwing thunderbolts at my skull for target practice.
And then there’s the overwhelming tides of emotion that crash through me in their most undiluted, intense extremes.
I’m rather in awe of Ninti and wonder how I could possibly have her soul. But now it all makes sense why the Pure Ones have been searching for me—for her—for so long.
She was a true leader. Selfless, loving, strong. With a wondrous power to inspire and move legions.
The complete opposite of my current incarnation, in other words.
I hate the Persian princess. Almost as much as I fear her. Because she is me, too, after all.
Where Ninti is bright, shining light, the princess has the capacity for ravaging darkness. She destroyed everything around her, razed the world and everyone in it literally to the ground.
And she is me.
They are all me.
Now I know what the creature and its Mistress, Medusa, wanted with me: to trigger my Awakening.
Now, I’m a ticking time bomb.
And forget the hydrogen bomb. Forget chemical and viral warfare. Even the Apocalypse pales in comparison to what I’m capable of.
Now I know, also, why my enemies brought on my Awakening in the manner that they did it.
The loss of Dalair will kill me. Just as it did before.
But not before I take countless lives with me into the void.
Dwelling on the imminent danger of mass destruction won’t help anything. I need to find a way to defuse the bomb, and try my best to avoid any triggers that might set it off. Well…set me off.
Like Dalair dying, for example.
I don’t know where he is, how he is, but I do know in my heart, in my blood, that he’s alive. Let’s hope he stays that way until we find him and bring him back.
Meanwhile, I’m doing everything I can to somehow contain my potential for mass murder.
I’m three months away from graduating college. Over this past semester, I’ve taken as many classes related to ancient civilizations as I can, especially those pertaining to ancient Persia. All of them are remote courses requiring only research papers given that Harvard is in Cambridge, MA, and I now live in NYC.
At the same time, I’m poring over the Zodiac Scrolls and Prophesies every chance I get, with help from Eveline, the Pure Ones’ Seer and temporary Scribe. (Though temporary is a relative term, because she’s been owning that responsibility since the last Scribe perished three years ago).
There must be a way to push back the darkness, defuse it, encapsulate it. But you can never totally remove it.