Forsaken. Deathless. A monster in every way. Mostly, Brochan is determined. He craves what fate promised him—the woman who will help him conquer a heavenly kingdom. He will stop at nothing to win her.

Viola, Keeper of the demon of Narcissism, lives for a single purpose—treating herself and her pet to the best life possible. But a crazed warrior is now appearing everywhere she ventures, ruining her fun…. tempting her beyond reason and keeping her at a razor-edge of desire.

Though legions of males have attempted to win her, all have failed. Somehow, this rampaging beast is tearing down her walls, one by one, claiming he owns her heart and her very destiny. To be with him, however, she must defeat the only force strong enough to destroy her—love.

Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.

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Excerpt: The Darkest Destiny
By Gena Showalter

Excerpt: The Darkest Destiny

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gena Showalter comes a new story in her Lords of the Underworld series. THE DARKEST DESTINY is out this week and you can read an excerpt below!

Brochan the Undeterred scanned the immortal nightclub and scowled. Too many people. Music is too loud. Strobe lights are too bright. Scents too cloying. He hated this place. Granted, he hated most places.

At the moment, he perched alone at a shadowed table. Alone, always his preference. No one proved foolish enough to approach him. He’d left Nevaeh, the uppermost sky realm accessible only to Sent Ones, and entered the lower sky realms accessible to all, thinking to observe his younger brother. A boy he’d raised as a son for hundreds of years after their parents deemed the troubled, three-year-old McCadden “demon tainted” in order to relinquish all responsibility for him. Considering Brochan and McCadden were born and bred demon assassins, the label came with problems.

Though only fifteen back then, Brochan had moved out and overseen the child’s care himself. The second he’d beheld the tiny, squalling infant, he’d known love for the first time. True love based on a decision more than a feeling. A willing determination to protect the boy with his life, no matter what he thought or what he felt. No matter the cost.

For the bulk of his existence, Brochan had lived for his child’s happiness. At the age of eighteen, he’d even petitioned the High Council for a wife, eager to give the lad a mother.

The Council had agreed and selected a Messenger named Samantha. With high hopes, Brochan wed the quiet maid. But after only three years, she ended the joyless union and left him, never looking back.

Her departure had broken McCadden’s heart just as fiercely as their parents’ desertion. In desperation, Brochan had wed a second female, Rebecca.

She left him two years later.

What should have been a mild inconvenience for Brochan nearly destroyed the boy. Another tragic heartbreak to endure. After that, he’d made a vow. He and McCadden to the end, and only he and McCadden. The two of them and no other.

So why had the formerly ready-to-laugh-at-anything soldier acted so strange lately? Constantly lost in thought. Somber. His smiles, his merriment erased without a trace remaining. His teasing nature? Suddenly nonexistent. Something bothered the lad greatly, but what? Why wouldn’t he admit it? Throughout their centuries together, Brochan had never offered judgment, only solutions.

Even now, the dim lighting around the bar couldn’t hide McCadden’s misery. The black walls and surrounding mob of merry drinkers merely highlighted it.

A commotion drew Brochan’s gaze to the left, where immortals of every species were backing away, creating a path. A female strode down it, coming into view, and his jaw dropped.

Propelled by a force greater than himself, he leaped to his feet. His massive white and gold wings snapped into his sides, the hem of his ivory robe falling over his sandaled feet. She approached…him?

He lost his breath, his heart thudding. Had he ever seen such an exquisite sight?

A thick mane of pale waves framed the most arresting face in existence—a delicate tapestry of perfection. Flawless golden skin, vivid umber eyes and scarlet lips offered a collage of colors. She wore a short, barely-there dress of the finest ice-blue silk that molded to lush curves.

Questions filled his head. Who is she? And how soon can I grab her?

The blood heated in his veins, burning hotter and hotter. Boiling! Sweat beaded on his brow. His heart thudded with more force. Enough to crack a rib. Or perhaps the pangs erupted because of another reason? How was he to know anything about anything right now? He’d never felt a sensation quite like this.

The female sauntered closer, soon to be within his reach. Every fiber of his being stood at attention and shouted, MINE! My mate.

Mate? His? A partner? The one led by fate to enrich his life.

He readjusted his vow. It would be Brochan, his brother and this female to the end. The three of them. He’d never thought to possess a mine. But her… I will possess. Woe to anyone who thinks to take her from me!

He braced, ready to pounce. To seize his prize. The need to touch her proved nigh irresistible. Here, now, he could admit the truth. Deep down, he’d wanted a mine more than he’d ever wanted anything.

Did she feel a similar pull? She must. The way she was looking at him…as if she’d never glimpsed a more glorious sight.

His chest puffed with pride. He wasn’t a handsome male. A fact he’d never lamented until now. But no matter. In battle, he fought with ruthless precision. What’s more, he kept himself strong, packing his body with strength. No one would defend her better than Brochan.

As she entered his orbit, the sweetest scent hit his nostrils. His head fogged. For a moment, he couldn’t move—he could only inhale for more.

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