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READ THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS: Sons of Fire, by Tracy Auerbach

Happy Sunday, Parliament Patrons and Ghouls! Today on our blog, you can read the first TWO chapters of Tracy Auerbach's upcoming Urban Fantasy, SONS OF FIRE!

Sons of Fire, by Tracy Auerbach

When Keegan’s father, the Demon King of Fire, attempted to produce an heir, a surge of light energy interrupted the process. One tiny piece of the newly forming demon broke off. That piece is Keegan. For years, he has attempted to lay low, watching from the shadows while his monstrous brother Aidan, the true Prince of Fire, is groomed for the throne.

Keegan’s shaky status quo is shattered when one of his father’s power-plays goes horribly wrong. He is cast to Earth and forced to work with a suddenly powerless Aidan. The two brothers must cooperate to complete an impossible task and avoid being cast forever into the abyss. As if having to spend time with his beastly other half wasn’t bad enough, Keegan must adapt to living on Earth, wielding his new human vessel, and dealing with his demonic appetite without harming the human creatures for whom he has always cared.

As Keegan and Aidan work to save themselves, questions arise. What exactly was the King of Fire up to, that sparked their Master’s interest enough to cast them from the Demon Realm? Can Aidan be trusted in his new human form, complete with emotions, or is he the same unfeeling creature he’s always been? And why are so many demons suddenly invested in the outcome of the brothers’ trial? The only thing Keegan knows for certain is that whether he succeeds or fails at the task, the consequences for the Demon Realm and for Earth itself will be catastrophic.


The Demon Realm, Present Day


CHAPTER ONE


Adramelech, King of Fire, stood before all the souls he had gathered, admiring the fruits

of his labor. Collecting them and shepherding them to his Realm had taken work, but it was

nothing compared to all of the time and effort he had expended to reach this moment; his

moment of triumph. The pale energy orbs of the damned floated over the parched brown floor,

drifting aimlessly, bumping into each other or into the black-hot walls of stone around

themselves. There were thousands of souls. The stage was set for him to finally seize control

from his impotent ‘Master.’


“Come to me, Fire,” he called out to the space around him.


A moment passed, and his offspring shimmered into being several paces away. The

Prince cast a vacant stare upon Adramelech, awaiting orders. The young demon’s strong torso

was bare, and dark hair hung over the translucent skin of his face. Dragonfire swirled beneath the

surface, lending the impression of movement to his form. His eyes were black with hunger, while

his handsome, human-like figure swelled with power. The offspring was a paradox of mental

weakness and physical fortitude that had taken two hundred years to create and shape. But now

that it had at last come to fruition, Adramelech knew that his efforts had been well spent. The

being before him contained so much power that it only held its pretty visage through sheer force

of will. And still it wanted more. Always hungry, always obedient, always his.


“It is time, my Fire,” said Adramelech. “Do you understand what you must do?”


The boy-shaped demon nodded once.


“First I will give unto you what remains of my power. When I leave, you must follow

instructions exactly as I have lain them out. Remember, above all else, that it is still my power. I

will not become another Lucifer, who cast his strength into a sword and imprisoned himself in

ice for all eternity. My sword will behave. If you fail, I shall be forced to resort to my back-up

plan. And believe me that the alternate arrangement is something you would not want to

experience.”


The Prince nodded, eyes dull and hungry. Adramelech knew his Fire would not speak

unless he himself requested it.


“Do you have any questions, my Fire?”


The boy-form shook its head.


“Then let us begin.” Adramelech closed his eyes, and willed the power within every

molecule of his own form to flow to the surface. He watched his creation’s eyes glow black in

anticipation. Indeed, the only time his heir came to life was when a large feeding was expected.

The boy-shaped demon opened its mouth as Adramelech began to speak. “I, Adramelech, Son of

Lucifer, offer a portion of my power unto you.”


“I, Fire, Son of Adramelech…” the Prince began.


“You must include the ridiculous human title Paimon bestowed unto you,” Adramelech

corrected. “It is all part of your written name, and therefore necessary for the ritual.”


“I, Aidan Fire, Son of Adramelech, accept the power and take it unto my form, to hold, so

that Adramelech, King of Fire, may wield both it and I as he sees fit.”


Adramelech focused his power into a beam of energy and shot it toward his creation; and

the young demon took it all in. Even as the Prince’s power swelled and his eyes turned the

golden hue of Dragonfire, he accepted the entire gift hungrily. Adramelech considered all that he

had wrought, and he was pleased.



CHAPTER TWO


“Just hold to it for a moment longer,” advised Paimon.


Keegan turned his dark eyes toward her, and she could see the guilt written upon his

gentle face. He shook his head and released the soul he had been holding. Paimon nodded,

respecting his wishes, and opened a pit in the floor where the mildly drained soul could float

down to the abyss.


“I could not bear to drain it for a moment longer,” he said. “Sorry, Paimon.”


“Never apologize for your empathy, Keegan. It is among your finest qualities. Now, tell

me what you saw.”


Paimon adored the way Keegan ran a hand through his fine blonde hair, and crinkled his

eyes in thought as he spoke. At times, he seemed so very human, and her loneliness eased off


just a bit in his company. She thought that if she had had a son, this was what it might have felt

like.


“I saw rain,” he said. “And a dark, overcast sky. I could smell wetness in the air. A lady

waved to me from the porch of a small house. A child clung to her skirt. They wanted me to stay,

but I knew that I would not. This human abandoned them, Paimon. I felt it in his memories. Do

you suppose that is why he ended up here?”


“I am not sure.”


“They were his family, Paimon, and he loved them. I wonder why he left. Are humans

not driven to remain together, like pack animals?”


“Let us puzzle over it later, Keegan.” She smiled.


He leaned forward and embraced her quickly, and she could not help but notice how

meek and thin his energy felt. Indeed, even the boy-form he projected was small and frail. Once

again, she found herself bitter at the thought of the father who denied this sweet boy a place in

his Realm, and the gluttonous automaton that passed for a brother, both conspiring against her

darling Keegan.


Paimon’s gaze was drawn to the roof of the Fiery Realm, through the gorge entrance

before them, off in the distance. A yellowish cloud had begun to fill the space, and as it drifted

lazily toward them, she could not help but think that it looked like the exhaust put forth from a

demon’s feeding. But it could not be that; there was too much of it. Not even that cursed Prince

Aidan Fire could possibly take enough to cause that kind of output. Keegan’s eyes followed hers,

and horror dawned on his face. He made to leave, but she held fast to his arm.


“Let me go, Paimon!” he pleaded. “I was supposed to watch him while father was away,

to see that he did not consume the souls.”


“It is not worth it, Keegan. Your father is up to no good, and you know it. All he has ever

wanted is for Aidan Fire to consume everything in his path. Your father would never ask that his

heir show restraint. Adramelech is using you to some wicked end. For all you know, it is a trap

set to allow the Prince to finally take your power.”


“I have to go!” Keegan pulled away.


“Keegan, please do not go to him. He is not worth it. Let him feed until he explodes, and

stay with me, far away, safe from the blast of his demise. There is nothing you can do, and your

life would be better if you were free from him.”


“I am sorry, Paimon,” he shouted over his shoulder. “He is my brother. I must at least

try.”


As she watched him run toward his ever-approaching doom, Paimon sighed. Keegan’s

loyalty toward those who cared nothing for him broke her heart. She knew that it would

eventually be his undoing; if not now, then someday soon. The Fire King and his Prince would

consume her sweet Keegan for what little power he possessed. She only hoped that Adramelech

and his miserable heir would choke on him in the process.


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