USA Today Bestselling Author
Syndey St. James
I’ll play your villain but beware,
I bite back.
Betrayed by one of our own, I’m now a living trophy of the Luminous Court’s victory. But all is not right on the continent. A murderer stalks the halls of elves while a monster rattles the foundations of the castle. I’m alone, powerless, and speeding toward a terrible end. I can’t wait on my demon lovers to rescue me.
I used to think I lived in a cage, now I know what it’s truly like. Every night I search for a way back to the demons who have my heart and every day I play cat and mouse with the man who wants to destroy everything I love.
The dungeons of the Luminous Court house a terrible secret. A prisoner more fearsome than me. My unexpected ally could spell my death or salvation. In this terrible place, we only have each other. I fear my heart is already lost to the creature that stalks the depths of the dungeon.
If you haven’t read the first book in this series, STOP! Go back and read it, this one begins where that one ends.
Lioria and Shax are pulled into the dome where their enemy awaits. Shax realizes his plan to free the real Alastor not only failed he’s now captured with her.
We meet Dain Grevyre, he sits on Lucient Throne, powerful and most definitely evil. He kills all that are with him except for his captured prizes. This all happens while Lioria’s dagger harasses her in her mind.
With Shax collared with Enochian runes, he can’t access his demon self and with the lei lines unavailable he pulls on wild magic to escape, vowing to come back for Lioria and Alastor.
There are many things that make me cry in the beginning of this book, but Lioria is so strong. Frankly, I wanted to smack the dang dagger, but really got a kick out of her naming it Daggie. Forced to live within the court wearing a spelled iron mask, Lioria doesn’t give up hope.
While Lioria makes a place for herself in the stables, Eligos and Belial come to the realization that the Alastor they know is not who they think. The worst happens when Oriax is compelled by Valac to cuff the two of them and they are imprisoned. Of course, the cuffs have Enochian runes to block their demons and their magic.
I think one of my favorite parts of this book is when Lioria finds the old castle and the dungeons. She will be making some unusual friends down there. But most importantly she finds the real Alastor.
This is one of my favorite scenes on her second visit.
I peer around us searching for any guards, but it’s just all manner of beings existing in this maddening situation.
The torch in front of Alastor’s cell has gone out, and the shadows beyond the stone tunnel are thick and deep. Silence greets me and I have to wonder, is Alastor there now?
“It’s just me,” I say as I step into the tunnel. “Remember me from last night? I think I said if you’d let me go I’d bring you something. I’m here to make good on my promise, okay?” Compared to last night’s snarling I find the silence vastly more unsettling.
I stand there shrouded in shadow trying to see more in the darkness beyond.
“Are you there? Alastor? Did they take you away?” I whisper.
A low rumble eases the tension banding my chest. I sigh and grasp the torch, walking it back to the entrance. The rumbling follows me, rising in timber until I return and it settles into something like a cat’s purr.
“You sound like Belial right now.” I cross to the bars and follow them to where I passed through last night. “I miss him. And Eligos. I can’t imagine what this must be like for you.”
The darkness on the other side of the flat bars blinks brilliant red eyes at me. I gasp and take a step back, only I can’t. Something is around my waist. It’s just tight enough to press into my wounds. I hiss and the red gaze narrows.
“P-please, that hurts.”
“He’s a fucking demon. He probably gets off on hurting you,” Daggie says.
I take Daggie from where he’s resting between the strips of cloth I’ve used to bind my breasts and slide him into my pocket. Right now, I’m not interested in his commentary. I know that this demon might not be Alastor. I also know he could kill me. But if I have to choose my end, it will not be at Dain’s hands.
The demon’s grip around me eases and what feels like a much thinner version of Eligos’ tail trails down my hips then up one arm. It’s an inquisitive touch.
“Thank you.” I take a step toward the bars and flatten my hands against the metal. “Our least favorite person, um, he whipped me. Yesterday. I, um… It…”
The sound of the whip whistling through the air is burned into my memory. Thus far, I’ve held onto my sanity by not thinking terribly hard about anything except what I do next. I stay focused on the future, not the past. But it’s always there. Waiting for me to slip up.
Whatever he’s touching me with slides down my arm to wrap around my hand and tug. I squeeze him back and smile, though he can’t see it.
“Thanks,” I mutter. “I know it’s probably nothing compared to what you’ve been through…”
The rumble starts up again and I think this demon is trying to comfort me.
I push the memories down and square my shoulders. “Enough of that, right? I brought you something to eat.”
He tugs me closer to the cage.
“Want me to join you?” I ask, only slightly nervous to be in the cage again.
The rumble is louder for a moment. “Alright… How did we do this last night? I can’t see…”
The thin tail guides me to the cavern wall and I feel about until I find the opening barely big enough to allow me to slide in.
If Alastor was able to turn human again he could quite possibly walk out of here.
A hand so large it spans my forearm grasps me gently. My eyes have adjusted so I can make out his human flesh in the darkness. But only barely. I don’t know if my mind shrank him, but he seems so much bigger today. He would easily dwarf Belial in his demonic form, and this is only a half-shifted state.
The demon guides me slowly across the cage to the far corner where the bed of straw is. The shadows are deeper and it’s harder to see him. But maybe that’s for the best? In the darkness I can imagine this is Alastor in whatever form I want.
I hear the rustle of straw and his gaze lowers. I think he wants me to sit with him.
After all the cruelty Dain has shown this creature, he’s so very polite to me.
I hold out my hands to find something to hold on to. “Can I sit next to you?”
Another thin tail-like appendage wraps around my other hand. Tentacles then? I wish I could recall more of what I’d seen of him last night. He’s just so big and I never got a look at all of him because he was so close the entire time.
“Are these your tails? Something else?” I ask despite not expecting an answer.
Whatever they are tug me down so I sit, choosing blind faith, and perch on a very muscular, firm thigh.
“Oh, well, um… Okay. I feel like this is where I should remind you that I’m very committed to Belial and Eligos.” My heart twinges, because that’s not the whole truth. The rest is complicated.
The rumbling swells and dips. I turn so that I can look up at him. “Are you laughing at me?”
The red, glowing eyes tilt away from me.
“I think you are laughing at me.” I sigh. “Are you Alastor? Can you tell me?”
Silence greets that question.
“Fine.” I fish out more of the delicate food and hold it out. “But don’t be surprised if I call you demon, okay?”
There’s a slight snarling sound that makes the hair on my arms stand on end.
“Okay, you don’t like that. Then, Alastor?”
The purring resumes and the food vanishes off my hand.
“You’re very quick, aren’t you?” I peer at the lighter part of the shadows where he’s human and offer him another bite-sized thing. “Did you know a sun elf named Naexi?”
The demon pauses with his fingers carefully pinching the food, our hands connected, and I get the sense he’s studying me.
“Is that a yes?” I sigh and decide this much is at least safe to tell him. “She and I got to be friends. It was quick and then some stuff happened. She had to go home because she got sick. And today Dain brought her here to be his wife. I don’t know what it means and I’m worried for myself and her.”
Alastor takes the food and I offer more. The rumbling, purr-like sound is comforting and I feel the tension easing within me. My concerns aren’t gone, but they seem lighter down here in the darkness with this demon. They shouldn’t, but I’m beyond trying to force things to make sense at this point. The day I left Suncrest was truly the beginning of something new, but I’m done being swept along by demons and events. I’m going to free us and I’m going to decide my path from here.
Sydney St James. Demon in My Cell ARC (Kindle Locations 1916-1963). Inked Press.
Naexi finds her room in the stables and makes it far more comfortable as they piece together what has occurred since they were together.
I think I was holding my breath through much of this book, there is so much going on, and much that has consequences for many. Old and new friends, additional enemies, plenty of action and a new romance of sorts and there’s some sizzle as well.
I warn you it’s a bit of a cliffhanger but not too terrible. Just enough to make you want the next book now!
5 Contented Purrs for Sydney!
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Sydney St. James is the pen name of NYT and USA Today Bestselling author Sidney Bristol. The best part is that Sydney doesn’t have to choose. Welcome to a world of fantastical tales where the choices open doors.