Wicked Edge (Castle of Dark Dreams)

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9780425255209: Wicked Edge (Castle of Dark Dreams)

New York Times bestselling author Nina Bangs once again tempts readers to enter the Castle of Dark Dreams, a place where private pleasures and devilish fantasies come true...

After another attempt to enliven the heavenly halls, the angel Passion is sent to Earth to tame her naughty nature—by bringing goodness and light to the sinful Castle of Dark Dreams, the adult fantasy playground. There she finds herself cast in the role of virgin bait to trap a marauding demon. Passion thinks the game is harmless until she sees the man playing the demon. His name is Edge, and Passion senses darkness in him beyond any she’s ever dreamed.

Edge may play a demon, but he is something much worse. His past is littered with pain and destruction, and that’s the way he likes it. Now he must prove to himself and others that he is what he’s always been: cold and emotionless. But as danger threatens and his need for Passion heats up, he finds himself balanced on love’s wicked edge...

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

Nina Bangs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Castle of Dark Dreams series.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

PROLOGUE

He’d needed this down time away from the Castle of Dark Dreams. Two weeks to just kick back, waste a few losers, and relax with a drink.

He leaned against the oak’s trunk and savored his scotch and water as he watched the dumbass crouched beside the reservoir. Edge had followed the guy’s progress from the moment he’d come up with the idea to poison the city’s water supply until now. Homegrown terrorists, had to love them.

Not that Edge didn’t sort of admire the guy. He’d whipped up a poison no amount of testing would detect until it was too late. The death toll could reach into the millions. Now the formula would die with him. Too bad. Another great scientific mind pissed away by an idiot.

There was a time when Edge would’ve applauded that kind of grand gesture. But then the Big Boss had reined him in, forced him to change his methods. Edge downed the rest of his drink.

Let’s hear it for the good old days

. Nowadays he was reduced to one kill at a time. Hey, you took your fun where you could.

Edge narrowed his gaze as the man . . . No, as Mark—didn’t want to ever depersonalize his victims—pulled vials of the poison from his backpack and set them on the ground.

Now was the time to act. Edge chose an image from his mind, focused on the reservoir, and changed thought to reality.

A giant squid rose from the water’s depths, big enough to swallow Chicago if Chicago had been on the menu. It wasn’t, so the squid settled for Mark. One massive tentacle reached out to wrap around his body. It lifted the man into the air and then dragged him beneath the water. The squid disappeared, leaving only a few ripples on the surface. Mark’s body would be found, a victim of drowning. But they’d never find the squid. It was once more only an image in Edge’s mind.

Edge shook his head. He’d made it happen too fast. Mark didn’t even have a chance to scream. He’d just stood there bug-eyed. What fun was that? But at least the guy died in a unique and interesting way. See, death didn’t have to be boring.

Edge wandered down to collect the vials. He stashed them in Mark’s backpack. He’d dispose of them later. Then he headed back to his car.

That was his last kill for now. Vacation over. Time to return to his crappy role-playing-slash-managerial job.

He took a last look at the reservoir before driving away. How did he really feel about Mark’s death and all the ones that had come before his? The truth? Edge closed his eyes. He felt freaking tired.



 

CHAPTER ONE

“How ugly and horrible are they? Do they coat your skin with slime? Does their stench make you nauseous? Do you feel like you’re walking into the bowels of hell?”

Passion sighed. Of all the heavenly contacts they could’ve assigned to her, why Hope? Once a day she’d have to listen to this idiocy in her head.

She could picture Hope sitting in her little cubicle surrounded by the neutral colors Archangel Ted loved. Ted, along with everything else in heaven, was bland and boring. Okay, so Passion could include herself in the bland and boring category. She accepted the reality of her existence. But she’d looked into enough human minds to know their vision of heaven was a fantasy.

Humans. Sure, they could get sick and die. Fine, so they suffered heartbreak and other emotional traumas. But from Passion’s viewpoint, things were a lot more exciting on the mortal plane. Could anyone blame her for trying to spice up her own world? Guess that was a resounding yes.

She supposed the final straw for Ted was when she talked the other angels in her department into painting their cubicles lime green. In her opinion, Ted had some serious control issues.

So here she was, on the outside looking in.

And you have only yourself to blame. If Passion had been a better angel, she wouldn’t have drawn this punishment—a still-to-be-determined amount of time spent living on earth as a human. No powers, no friends, forced to check in once a day with Hope-the-heavenly-drama-queen. The only good thing? The Council of Justice had at least given her some privacy. Hope couldn’t read her thoughts; she could only hear what Passion spoke out loud.

“They’re . . .” Way too beautiful. Evil should appear in shades of muddy brown or black. But no, just look at them. The Seven Deadly Sins shimmered and flowed around the Castle of Dark Dreams in vibrant jewel tones. Totally gorgeous. Totally tempting.

Oops. Wrong reaction. “They’re . . . awful, disgusting, but sort of exciting.” Hmm, maybe she should explain that last word just in case Hope got the wrong impression. “I mean, it’s exciting to think about all the peace, harmony, and massive heavenly vibes I’m going to bring to this place.” There, that was better. Didn’t want anyone taking away the only thing she had left, her ability to see the colors of sin.

“Oh.” Hope sounded disappointed. “Well, keep in touch.” She broke the connection.

“Absolutely.” Passion knew her smile wasn’t kind. Note to self: work on sweet and sincere smile. Hope and the other angels had gotten used to her supplying their daily entertainment. Too bad. Passion wouldn’t be there to amuse them for a while because she’d be busy earning her way back into heaven.

She had to be the perfect angel. Sure, she’d always longed for more . . . variety in her existence, but she sure hadn’t planned on getting that variety as a powerless and frighteningly vulnerable mortal. She could actually die, like in never-coming-back die. She shuddered.

Passion crossed the drawbridge, avoiding glancing down at the moat’s black water in favor of staring up at the castle—a keep with four square towers complete with a curtain wall. The whole thing gleamed white, a color symbolizing goodness and light. Fake. Goodness and light didn’t live here.

She’d take care of that by the time she left. She narrowed her eyes as she strode through the open gate and across the courtyard, headed for the doors leading into the great hall. Spotlights lit up the night around the castle. No threatening shadows warned the innocent about what waited inside. Righteous anger drove her as she reached for the door. She’d smite the wicked and save all those poor souls inside who . . .

She paused. No powers, so no smiting. Damn. Passion closed her eyes. No cursing. Ted hated cursing. So many things to remember. But she could do this. Opening her eyes, she pulled the door open and stepped inside.

Someone spoke. “Ah, another person who didn’t bother to check the schedule and has chosen instead to annoy the hell out of me by showing up at the last moment.” Dramatic sigh. “But I live to serve, so I’ll probably be able to stick you in somewhere. All the choice parts are gone. How do you feel about playing the lowly maiden who serves the queen? Not a virgin. The virgin part was taken by a woman who obviously has only a faint memory of that particular condition.”

“Virgin?” Startled, she looked at the speaker. A wizard? A short one. Gold-trimmed blue robe, tall conical hat that added at least a foot, and all of it decorated with gold suns, moons, and stars. He’d topped everything off with a long, pointy gray beard that matched his narrowed gray eyes.

“Yes. The part is gone.” The wizard looked down his nose at her, which was tough to do when she was taller than he was. “If it’s any comfort, you’d fit the part better. Pale hair, pale skin, pale eyes, and uninspired pale clothing. You, my dear, are the definition of unawakened. Avoid Sparkle Stardust at all cost. Now, do you want the lowly maiden part?”

“No.” What was he talking about? She glanced around. People in medieval-type costumes wandered the large hall. Too bad the Council of Justice had kicked her down here without full disclosure. All they’d said was that the castle needed help. This place was her ticket back home.

“You look confused.” The wizard glanced at his watch. “As much as I’d love to waste more time explaining the obvious, I have a fantasy to direct. Feel free to gawk. If you care to wait until this fantasy concludes, you may buy a ticket to the next one over there.” He pointed to a small table by the door with a TICKETS sign taped to the front of it. “And you might want to read that.” He gestured toward a sign on the wall above the ticket table.

Bemused, she watched him turn to walk away. Violet, the color of pride, swirled around him. No kidding. Too bad there wasn’t a color for bad-tempered old farts. She took a deep breath. Get rid of unkind thoughts.

Passion didn’t know how other angels did it. They wore their perfection like a pair of comfortable old shoes. Her shoes pinched her toes and left blisters on her heels. She constantly wanted to kick them off. Well, she’d kicked them off a few times too many.

She looked at the sign. Fine, so she was in an adult theme park called Live the Fantasy. The Castle of Dark Dreams was one of the park’s attractions. It was a hotel as well as a place where nightly fantasies were played out. The first fantasy began at seven P.M. That would be right about now. She should get out of here and find the registration desk for the hotel part of the castle, but she couldn’t resist taking a peek at the fantasy.

A long table with people in costumes seated around it rested on a raised platform at one end of the great hall. Passion assumed the major parts like the queen were played by the castle staff. They’d guide the fantasy. The public could buy tickets to play lesser parts. Made sense.

It only took moments for the fantasy to capture her. What could she say, heaven didn’t get cable, and she was easily amused.

Mesmerized, she followed the tale. A demon was killing the castle’s people. The queen’s greatest hunters couldn’t catch him. So the virgin offered to sacrifice herself for the good of all. She’d lure him into their clutches with her virginal beauty and purity. Hah. Passion was seeing lots of blue swirling around Ms. Untouched. Lust. Passion couldn’t read her mind, but she’d bet there weren’t a lot of chaste thoughts bouncing around in that head.

The wizard had been right about the virgin. If the demon was smart, he’d run like crazy. She’d eat him alive.

Of course, the dumb demon fell for the trick. She heard the virgin’s not-overly-convincing screams coming from one of the darkened hallways along with the demon’s snarls and the shouts of the hunters. A few minutes later the virgin led the parade back into the great hall followed by the triumphant hunters surrounding the cage of the captured demon. The queen called the virgin and her hunters forward to praise them, and Passion got her first look at the demon.

A voluminous cape and hood covered him from head to toe. All she could see of him were his hands clenched around the cage’s bars. Well, that was disappointing. She was all ready to be awed by the pure evil carved into his face, the demonic gleam in his eyes. Passion felt cheated.

Then he turned his head toward her. She sucked in her breath. Wow, just wow. The hood shadowed his face, but that didn’t lessen the impact. Nothing said savage predator like strong slashing brows, a full mobile mouth drawn into a snarl, and amber eyes that shone with every wickedness she’d ever imagined and some she hadn’t dared.

And he’d fixed his gaze on her. Passion looked away first. She realized her hands were shaking as she pushed a strand of hair from her face. Time to get out of here.

But even as she started to move toward the door, Passion realized something. She’d been so focused on his eyes that she’d barely noticed the color swirling around him.

Oh, no. It spread horror in a slick coat of ice over her soul. Black. Not one of the Deadly Sins. This went beyond those. It was rage, greed, and all the others taken to the final act. Death. This man was beyond redemption. She shuddered. What could she do to yank the castle from the brink with him dragging it down? Passion didn’t know.

She pushed the door open but couldn’t resist one look back. A thin band of blue had joined the black. Lust. Males thought about sex a lot. She wondered if he had a specific target for all that hunger, or if it was simply his normal state of being. Passion had no experience with lust. Didn’t want any experience. She sighed. Yeah, lying was a sin too.

Once outside, she drew in a deep breath of clean night air. She’d escaped. And that’s exactly how she felt even though he was the one in the cage. She’d have to toughen up if she wanted to do any good here.

But she would need some time to get used to everything. The only experience she had of the mortal plane was what she’d seen and heard in the minds of the souls she’d visited. Even though she’d been focused on easing their worries and nudging them down the path of goodness and light, she’d absorbed enough knowledge to blend in.

Blending wasn’t the problem, though. Heaven didn’t generate much emotion, nothing even close to what she’d felt as she stared at the demon. She’d better get a handle on her feelings fast. Ted always said that logic was what made angels superior beings, and that humans were beneath them because they were slaves to their emotions. So, no more out-of-control emotions.

Passion scanned the courtyard. People who must be arriving for the next fantasy stepped around her to reach the door. She moved out of their way. She was sure if she went back into the great hall she could find a door leading to the hotel lobby. Did she want to do that? And take the chance of locking eyes with the demon again?

She walked around the outside of the castle. And as she walked, she worked on her story. No luggage because the airline had lost it all. Passion was glad that at least the Council had given her a credit card and some cash. She’d have to go shopping tomorrow. Maybe buy some clothes in brighter colors. Not that she was letting the fake wizard get to her. What she looked like didn’t matter as long as she did her job.

She thought again about the demon with his amber eyes and his lust and . . . Maybe she’d buy herself a few sexy things. She had to fit in here, not draw attention to herself. And she couldn’t change evil if she couldn’t get near it. Those who embraced all that was wicked would be more willing to accept her message if she dressed like them. Not that she’d enjoy dressing like a slut.Hello, your conscience here. Run that thought past me again. Okay, so maybe she’d enjoy it a little. There were times when Passion despaired of ever living up to heavenly standards.



 

Edge went up in flames for about the five hundredth time this year, or at least it felt that way. As the fake flames rose around him, he thought about the woman.

He’d felt her stare, different from the others in the hall—tentative, intrigued, with no sexual response at all. Amazing. Edge had no illusions about his effect on women. They might not know what he was, but they all reacted to the power they sensed. They always claimed his face or body or—God forbid—his mind attracted them, but it went beyond that. No matter what humans wanted to believe about themselves, the promise of violence drew them. Just look at the top-rated TV shows. Lots of blood and death. Not that he was complaining.

The women never stayed long, though. Eventually their primal instincts kicked in, the ones that recognized him as a predator. And they ran. Smart ladies.

The flames roared around him, hiding him from the celebrating queen, virgin, and ...

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ISBN 10: 0425255204 ISBN 13: 9780425255209
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Descripción Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2013. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. New York Times bestselling author Nina Bangs once again tempts readers to enter the Castle of Dark Dreams, a place where private pleasures and devilish fantasies come true. After another attempt to enliven the heavenly halls, the angel Passion is sent to Earth to tame her naughty nature--by bringing goodness and light to the sinful Castle of Dark Dreams, the adult fantasy playground. There she finds herself cast in the role of virgin bait to trap a marauding demon. Passion thinks the game is harmless until she sees the man playing the demon. His name is Edge, and Passion senses darkness in him beyond any she s ever dreamed. Edge may play a demon, but he is something much worse. His past is littered with pain and destruction, and that s the way he likes it. Now he must prove to himself and others that he is what he s always been: cold and emotionless. But as danger threatens and his need for Passion heats up, he finds himself balanced on love s wicked edge. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780425255209

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Descripción Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2013. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. New York Times bestselling author Nina Bangs once again tempts readers to enter the Castle of Dark Dreams, a place where private pleasures and devilish fantasies come true. After another attempt to enliven the heavenly halls, the angel Passion is sent to Earth to tame her naughty nature--by bringing goodness and light to the sinful Castle of Dark Dreams, the adult fantasy playground. There she finds herself cast in the role of virgin bait to trap a marauding demon. Passion thinks the game is harmless until she sees the man playing the demon. His name is Edge, and Passion senses darkness in him beyond any she s ever dreamed. Edge may play a demon, but he is something much worse. His past is littered with pain and destruction, and that s the way he likes it. Now he must prove to himself and others that he is what he s always been: cold and emotionless. But as danger threatens and his need for Passion heats up, he finds himself balanced on love s wicked edge. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780425255209

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Descripción Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2013. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. New York Times bestselling author Nina Bangs once again tempts readers to enter the Castle of Dark Dreams, a place where private pleasures and devilish fantasies come true. After another attempt to enliven the heavenly halls, the angel Passion is sent to Earth to tame her naughty nature--by bringing goodness and light to the sinful Castle of Dark Dreams, the adult fantasy playground. There she finds herself cast in the role of virgin bait to trap a marauding demon. Passion thinks the game is harmless until she sees the man playing the demon. His name is Edge, and Passion senses darkness in him beyond any she s ever dreamed. Edge may play a demon, but he is something much worse. His past is littered with pain and destruction, and that s the way he likes it. Now he must prove to himself and others that he is what he s always been: cold and emotionless. But as danger threatens and his need for Passion heats up, he finds himself balanced on love s wicked edge. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780425255209

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Descripción Berkley. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Mass Market Paperback. 320 pages. Dimensions: 6.7in. x 4.2in. x 1.1in.USA Today bestselling author Nina Bangs once again tempts readers to enter the Castle of Dark Dreamswhere private pleasures and devilish fantasies come true, and where the men who breathe life into womens ultimate desires burn with their own supernatural fire After another attempt to enliven the heavenly halls, the angel Passion is sent to Earth to tame her naughty natureby bringing goodness and light to the sinful Castle of Dark Dreams, the adult fantasy playground. There she finds herself cast in the role of virgin bait to trap a marauding demon. Passion thinks the game is harmless until she sees the man playing the demon. His name is Edge, and Passion senses darkness in him beyond any shes ever dreamed. Edge may play a demon, but he is something much worse. His past is littered with pain and destruction, and thats the way he likes it. Now he must prove to himself and others that he is what hes always been: cold and emotionless. But as danger threatens and his need for Passion heats up, he finds himself balanced on loves wicked edge This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Mass Market Paperback. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780425255209

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