Publication date: October 25th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance
Athena Harrow is about to turn twenty-one, but there will be no celebration. What is there to celebrate when the world is ruled by demons?
She hates the darkness the demons brought with them and longs for the light to return to the world—a world she only vaguely remembers. The people in her forest village blindly accept the life the demons forced upon them, even tolerating the yearly ascension ceremony where all the girls who have turned twenty-one are either sent away to serve the Master Demon or left in the village and forced to procreate.
But Paymon, the assigned village demon, selects a different role for Athena, a role that pits her against the village. While she adapts to her new life, Erebus, a younger, more powerful demon, arrives, and Athena must play a dangerous game with his emotions in return for information about the demon’s reign of darkness.
As Athena’s dreams of restoring the light begin to fade, her life with Erebus takes an unexpected turn, and this time it’s her life being put to the test.
Set in the forest around Buttercrambe in North Yorkshire, England, INIQUITY explores the frightening, darker side of romance and the uncontrolled emotions it can unleash.
“Erebus?” Livia’s voice was sweet and soft, nothing like the tone she’d directed at me.
“I believe that’s my name,” he said, sharp and concise.
“To what do I owe this pleasure of your visit?” Livia sounded as if she were singing. “You have no need to be in this disgusting village with all these peasants.”
The man sniggered. “I have every right to be here. But you? You have no right to be anywhere near this village. Not unless I send for you.”
“You’ve been given this village? Since when?”
“I was summoned several hours ago when Paymon died. I’ve been travelling constantly. Seems I got here just in time.”
A breeze brushed against my skin and a raven cawed overhead.
“Call that filthy beast off that woman,” the man said. “If you have no need to be here, it certainly doesn’t.”
“Lanim,” Livia snapped. “Back to the carriage without the girl. It seems Erebus wants to save her.”
There was a creak of movement, and the sickly aroma surrounding me lost intensity.
When moans and wails filled the air, I knew the miscreant was returning to the carriage, but the frightening blindness didn’t leave me. My hands and feet tingled as some feeling began to return to them, but the little strength I had in my legs wasn’t enough to prevent me from falling to the ground. I landed on my side and was unable to find the strength to sit. Footsteps approached. After a rustle of clothing, I was pulled against warmth.
“Athena, can you hear me?” It was Thomas, his voice strained, breaking.
I nodded. As the oppressive cold snaked away from my limbs, every muscle hurt, throbbing with a dull numbness. But it felt good to be in Thomas’s arms. He was warm and familiar.
The darkness that had surrounded me clouded and then dispersed, and I focused on the man who had arrived. He was seated on a large black stallion, but his facial features were hidden by the hood of his cloak. When he dismounted his horse, his cloak swirled behind him in an elegant flourish.
He prowled toward Livia. “So, you didn’t explain. Why are you here with the carriage? Has this woman done something to upset you?”
I drew in a sharp intake of breath and placed my hand over my chest as he pulled the hood of his cloak way from his face. He was young, much younger than Paymon. He had stubble, and where the beginnings of a beard ended, streaks of dirt were smudged across his face. The dark shadows beneath his eyes hinted at his tiredness and possible frustration. A deep scowl pulled across his forehead, and Livia backed away from him.
“Such a pity I can’t feed from your emotions, Livia. I’d be having my own private party if that were the case. But I can sense your fear—it’s quite disturbing, but also deeply satisfying. Something worrying you?” His brow lifted, and he shot a sideways glance at me. “And you. Paymon’s wife, I suspect? About to be claimed by the miscreant.”
“She killed Paymon.” Livia pointed at me, her hand movement wide and exaggerated.
“I didn’t!” I stood on shaking legs as Thomas held my arm, supporting my dizzy body. “He died in my arms. I never wanted him dead.”
“You killed him!” she roared.
Erebus spun to face Livia, and she immediately froze in place, like the statues that the girls had been when the carriage last came. He walked to where I stood, his steps slow and predatory.
Thomas backed away, leaving me alone. I glanced quickly at him, shooting him a disgusted frown.
Erebus scanned my bloodied and ripped dress. “So you didn’t kill him?”
I shook my head.
“Are you sure?”
Now he was next to me I could see his eyes. They were black, no doubt feeding from my racing emotions. His dark hair was tied away from his face, and he stood a head taller than me. He was also dressed similarly to Paymon, old-world clothes, but his were worn with the simple adornment of belts.
“You can speak, you know. Livia will stay where she is. I’ve compelled her.” He leaned toward me and whispered, “I hate vampires.”
Growing up, Melody showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but ended up working in finance. Melody is convinced the methodical times she spends working with numbers fuel her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.
Melody Winter lives in York, North Yorkshire, England with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the nearby beaches at Scarborough and Whitby. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures.