(A Dark Ones Novella)
by Rachel Van Dyken
From #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken comes a new story in The Dark Ones Saga…
I see everything. I feel everything.
I watch people fall in love. I watch them burn with hate, anger, rage, and I see the cycle repeat over and over again. I take it on every night I work at Timber, aka Anubis’s bar in downtown Seattle, and then I help the rest of the immortals keep the very intense balance between Heaven and Earth.
I see everyone’s future but mine, and when I try to look, all I see is darkness, despair, need…
Until she walks into my bar with bruises on her face, getting pulled by one of the lesser demons. I do what any good bartender would do… I beat him within an inch of his life and turn my eyes to her.
By then, it’s too late.
She already has me in her grasp.
A succubus that has no other plan than to suck me clean of every inch of power that’s been bestowed on me by the Heavens.
I never thought my future involved getting kidnapped and tied up or that I’d die by way of sex—then again, maybe that’s for the best. Dying at the hands of my enemy rather than being one more burden to my already mated friends.
After all, giving into one last need before death, while selfish, may be exactly what my darkness means.
My need is great.
And she’s about to find out just how much.
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An Exclusive Interview with Rachel Van Dyken
Can you tell us why or how you chose to write about this couple for your novella?
In all my years of writing, I’ve actually never written a succubus. The idea happened when I finished the pilot for this series; it seemed right for this character, Tarek, who’s always seen everyone’s future but his. So, what better way to toss him into the realm of relationships than to have him being the one seduced? It also trails back to some really fun mysticism within Judaism, which I again thought would be different and interesting to readers. Think all the lore meets Lucifer.
Do you do anything to treat yourself when you finish writing a book?
I nap. That is my treat. I have a toddler and a nearly 9-year-old who thinks he knows everything and only wants to drink Prime and watch Beast. So, a nap? That’s like…gold.
If someone were to narrate your life, who would you want the narrator to be and why?
I would want it to be Felix from Stray Kids. He has the lowest voice I’ve ever heard, and I think even if he was talking about toddler poop, he’d somehow make it sound better than reality.
What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writer?
You can always write another book. Keep writing. Keep going. And know it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You may have wins, you may have losses, but we are all in this because we love what we do.
Can you give us a few lines from your work in progress?
From Fallen Gods by Red Tower, Out July 2024:
My stomach growls.
“Someone’s hungry,” a deep voice says behind me. I jump a foot and snatch up the closest weapon, which is sadly a towel, holding it out in front of me. The blue-and-white-striped thing dangles off my right hand like a broken sword.
“Cute,” the voice says again. Damn, the body belonging to said voice smells even better than the cinnamon rolls. “Cute that you think you could attack me with that and actually win. I did need a laugh today. Would you like to try a roll of paper towels?”
Hands shaking, I drop them by my side and slowly turn.
I immediately realize I’m not ready.
No sane person would be ready for the sort of beauty staring down at me. His eyes are a weird reddish chocolate-brown framed by long, dark lashes and arched brows. His full lips look better than mine, and he has a dimple on his right cheek.
His hair is golden-brown with shots of red and hits his shoulders in a way that looks like a soft caress. He’s at least six inches taller than me but not super large like Tristan, and he’s lean like a runner.
“Like what you see?” He winks then lifts my chin with his finger so we’re close enough to kiss. “It’s really just…tragic.”
“What is?” I whisper.
He grins. “Your death.”
Happy moment officially gone, I stumble back. “I’m sorry, what?”
He bursts out laughing. “Relax, won’t you?”
How could I? He seemed serious!
He licks his lips in an agonizingly slow way as if tasting something, and the longer I stare into his eyes, I wonder if it’s somehow me. “I knew I was right this time. I can’t fucking wait to rub it in his face. How is that giant ass doing? Still grumpy?”
Is this man sane? Because, right now, I’d even take the towel between us as a shield.
“Tristan. Your boss. Super tall.” He holds out his hand. “Weirdly good-looking despite said tallness and inability to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when prompted. That guy.”
I’m still confused why this guy is in the kitchen. “Are you the cook?”
Please, God, let him be the cook. Otherwise, the creepy, attractive man is trespassing.
He bursts out laughing again like I’m the funniest person on the planet. “Trust me.” He turns. “Oh, but never eat anything I offer you. That’s like taking the apple from the…oh, shit, what is it? The evil queen from Snow White? Yeah, it’s like that. Or biting into the apple from Eve.” He tilts his head as though in deep concentration. “Honest question. Why is it always an apple? Why not an orange? Life is weird. And yet, always like a box of chocolates.”
“Why are you talking about apples and Forrest Gump?” Tristan’s voice is so loud that I stumble back farther from whomever this sexy stranger is, almost feeling a sense of guilt at being caught near him. “And stop hitting on her. We’re going to town in a few minutes. And what the hell sort of poison are you cooking? Didn’t we discuss this? Never feed the guests.”
“Like I said…” The guy goes to the oven and opens it, taking a huge inhale before laughing to himself. “Nobody would ever know, right?”
If you could dream cast (actors, models, singers… anyone really!) the hero and heroine, who would you choose?
Right now, I’m really into Austin Butler, and I think Selena Gomez in blue hair would be epic.
What’s your cure for hiccups?
Drinking water upside down.
What mythical creature do you wish actually existed?
Unicorns and dragons—sorry, I picked two.
What scene in this book was the toughest to write and why?
The end, because I didn’t want it to end, and it was a beautiful ending.
If you could watch one scene from this book be played out like a movie, which one would it be and why?
The end, mainly because it’s one of those huge scenes that if you had great special effects, you’d be stunned stupid watching it.
What’s the most awkward thing that happens to you on a regular basis?
If the air is filled with tension or quietness, I can’t stop talking with new people, so I tend to overshare. It happens often, and even though I internally tell myself to stop talking, I’m literally Ross from Friends where he’s like, “Anything, say anything, this has been the longest pause.” And then you blurt out something like: “It’s been a really long time since I’ve had sex.” I mean, I don’t say those things, but I am that person who just makes it worse.
How did you come up with the title for this book?
I needed Dark or Darkest in the beginning, and Need worked out because Tarek has always needed and wanted companionship. Plus, it ties in to the succubus subject.
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!
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