The Darkest Whisper

By: Gena Showalter

Dear Reader,



I’m thrilled to present The Darkest Whisper, the fourth installment of my paranormal series Lords of the Underworld. In a remote fortress in Budapest, twelve immortal warriors—each more dangerously seductive than the last—are bound by an ancient curse none has been able to break. When a powerful enemy returns, they will travel the world in search of a sacred relic of the gods—one that threatens to destroy them all.



I had such a wonderful time torturing…uh, writing Sabin’s story. He has always placed victory above everything else. Even love. Watching him interact with Gwen, a woman who drives both him and his demon, Doubt, to distraction, was thrilling. After all, there’s nothing sexier than a strong, fierce man brought to his knees….



Join me on a journey through this darkly sensual world, where the line between good and evil blurs and true love is put to the ultimate test. And stay tuned for further adventures from the Lords of the Underworld in 2010, as the stakes get higher, the quest more dangerous and the romance hotter!



Wishing you all the best,



Gena Showalter






CHAPTER ONE


SABIN, KEEPER OF THE DEMON of Doubt, stood in the catacombs of an ancient pyramid, panting, sweating, his hands soaked in his enemy’s blood, his body cut and bruised as he surveyed the carnage around him. Carnage he’d helped create.

Torches flickered orange and gold, twining with shadows along the stone walls. Walls that were now spattered with vivid red, dripping…pooling. The sandy floor was thick like paste, wet and colored black. Half an hour ago it had been honey brown, grains sparkling and scattering as they’d marched. Now bodies littered every square inch of the small corridor, the scent of fatality already rising from them.

Nine of his enemy had survived the attack. They’d already been stripped of their weapons, hustled into a corner and bound with rope. Most trembled in fear. A few had their shoulders squared, their noses in the air, hatred in their eyes, refusing to back down even in defeat. Damned admirable.

Too bad that bravery had to be quashed.

Brave men didn’t spill their secrets, and Sabin wanted their secrets.

He was a warrior who did what needed to be done, when it needed to be done, no matter what was required of him. Killing, torturing, seducing. He didn’t hesitate to ask his men to do the same, either. With Hunters—mortals who’d decided he and his fellow Lords of the Underworld made good whipping boys for the world’s evil—victory was the only thing that mattered. For only by winning the war could his friends finally know peace. Peace they deserved. Peace he craved for them.

Shallow, erratic rasps of breath filled Sabin’s ears. His, his friends’, his enemies’. They’d fought with every ounce of strength they possessed, each of them. It had been a battle of good versus evil, and evil had won. Or rather, what these Hunters considered evil. He and his brothers-by-circumstance thought otherwise.

Yeah, long ago they’d opened Pandora’s box, unleashing the demons from inside. But they had been punished eternally, each warrior cursed by the gods to host one of those vile fiends inside himself. Yeah, they’d once been slaves to their new, demonic halves, destructive and violent, killers without a conscience. But they had control now, human in all the ways that mattered. For the most part.

Sometimes the demons did fight…did win…did destroy.

Still. We deserve to live, he thought. Like everyone else, they suffered if their friends were hurt, read books, watched movies, gave to charity. Fell in love. Hunters, though, would never see it that way. They were convinced the world would be a better place without the Lords. A utopia, serene and perfect. They believed every sin ever committed could be laid at a demon’s feet. Maybe because they were dumb as shit. Maybe because they hated their lives and were simply looking for someone to blame. Either way, killing them had become the most important mission of Sabin’s life. His utopia was a life without them.

Which was why he and the others had relinquished the comforts of their Budapest home to spend the past three weeks searching every godsforsaken pyramid in Egypt for ancient artifacts that would lead to the recovery of Pandora’s box—the very thing Hunters planned to use to destroy them. Finally, he and his friends had hit the jackpot.