Netherworld, Book 1
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: March 2008 (ebook) / January 2009 (print)
ISBN: 9781599988931 (ebook) / 9781605040554 (print)
Their love could give him a second chance at life—or condemn her to an eternity of damnation.
Yanked from his tortured existence in Netherworld and dumped naked in the Louisiana Bayou, Lash could swear he's died and gone to heaven. Except for the fact that a millennium ago he died a condemned soul, forever barred from Paradise. His new life feels like the next best thing, full of small miracles. Like silence. And ice water. And the company of a beautiful, compassionate woman.
Teva is a woman with a taste for heavy-metal music, an inherited talent for magic, and a trusting heart. She knows nothing about the mysterious stranger she's taken in, only that he needs her help. And the fact that he's gorgeous hasn't escaped her attention. She can't see Lash as anything other than a sexy, gentle man who soothes her nightmares away.
Then Lash learns the real reason for his reprieve from Netherworld—he's been sent to corrupt Teva's soul with sinful pleasures. Starved for tenderness and aching with desire, Lash yearns to accept the loving embrace Teva offers. But he can't give in to passion without tainting her, condemning her to the horrors of Netherworld.
The ultimate battle between good and evil is brewing, and Lash stands caught in the middle between Teva, who owns his heart—and Satan, who owns his soul.
Available in ebook
Available in print
"A sexy, gripping read from the first page to the last—Mel Lopez does not disappoint with this inter-dimensional tale of good versus evil and passionate love."
—Anne Cain, author and cover artist
Jenna placed a bag she carried on an empty chair. "Honestly, I'd keep him all to myself, too." She elbowed Teva, whose face flushed. "I hear you've taken a knock to your noggin."
Lash stared, unsure of what a noggin might be.
Teva settled into the chair beside him. "We're not sure what happened to him, but my guess is he hit his head."
He frowned. Noggin meant head. He'd have to remember that.
"Why don't you take your shirt off, and I'll get a look at you?" The black woman winked at Teva.
Teva shook her head. "Jenna..."
Lash removed his shirt.
"He sure looks fit to me." Jenna passed Teva another wink.
Instantly, Teva's flushed face matched her red curls. He was tempted to smile. He enjoyed seeing her flustered.
He sat still and did as he was instructed as the woman examined him. He didn't care for the light shone directly into his eyes, but he didn't say so.
As the woman moved around to his back, she gasped.
He stiffened as dread slowly crawled up his spine. Did his scars show on his back? Did she see how truly grotesque he'd become?
"What?" Teva whispered.
Cautiously, Jenna moved around him, tossing her things into her bag. "He has the mark of the devil." Her hands trembled.
He closed his eyes. Of course, he'd been marked. All the condemned bore a symbol of the Prince's everlasting ownership.
"Oh, Jenna, don't be silly."
At Teva's first step, he stood, slipping his shirt over his head, yanking it down with shaking hands.
Teva would hate him soon.
She'd fear him.
"Girl..." Jenna lumbered away. "If there's one thing I don't joke about, it's the devil." She sprinkled some sort of dust on the floor.
A frown creased his brow. He was unsure of the reasoning behind dirtying Teva's floor.
"So he's got a birthmark." Teva waved a hand. "No big deal."
"This is nothing to fool around with." Jenna closed her bag and picked it up. "You go to my cousin's Voodoo shop, Ally Cease in the French Quarter. If anyone can help you, she can." Jenna backed away, reaching for the front door behind her.
The woman now looked at him as if he were Cerberus, the ravenous three-headed dog of Netherworld.
Not trusting the legion lords, he reached up and touched his head. Only one. "I mean neither of you any harm."
Jenna shook her head, jerking the door open. "Girl, don't let his sinful good looks or charming tongue fool you." She kissed some type of leather pouch around her neck. "He's pure evil and wears a mark to prove it."
"I don't lie." None of the lost souls dared. They already paid for their sins. Lying wouldn't help them avoid any punishment, and none risked adding to the infractions they were already being punished for. At least, not many pushed for more punishment. And never him.
Teva followed Jenna out the door. He moved forward to listen to the women.
"Jenna, don't be this way. Nic's been through enough."
Wide-eyed, the black woman dashed off the porch as fast as possible. "You have no clue."
He followed in hopes of staying in hearing range.
"Look, it's probably some birthmark that looks like... oh, what is that sign? Six-six-six." Teva followed, her voice frantic.
"I'm telling you, that's not the sign that man is wearing." Jenna approached an object like Teva had transported him in yesterday. She pulled the door open. "He's fine, other than being cursed." She climbed into the vehicle and closed the door.
Teva groaned and threw up her hands.
"Remember my cousin." Then Jenna was moving away.
Teva shook her head. Forcing a fake smile, she approached him. "Don't pay her any mind. Her family is deeply superstitious."
He gazed at her lovely face, memorizing every detail. "Maybe you should see what her cousin has to say."