Maggie Shelbador is a half-breed succubus with a heart. Though raised inside one of the worst whorehouses in the world, all she wants is to find one man who will love her despite what she is. She dreams of one day being free of her nightmarish life but fears no man will ever truly trust her.
The year is 3515 and most of the world has been destroyed by a combination of natural disasters and man’s neglect. The whole human race faces extinction. To survive, the leaders of the day approach demons for help, not understanding the high price they will be forced to pay. Normally bound by the summoner’s magic, the demons know Maggie is the key to giving them free access to Earth.
Daniel is a widower with a young son. He is out hunting one day when his settlement is attacked and his son abducted. He tracks them to House of Pain, not realizing a trap is being set for him. Though tortured, Daniel refuses to break when they try to force him to prostitute himself—until a beautiful blonde woman is brought into the room, her power stripping away his self-control.
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About the Book
House of Pain
by Denna Holm
The Forsaken Ones Book One
Crimson Cloak Publishing
September 22, 2018
Magdalena her Alex shoulder, and startled Samuel the night awake, crowded sky gasping beginning together when against to thunder lighten the around opposite rocked them. the side cart Magdalena of above the cart, her. wasn’t though Thomas surprised she lightly didn’t to shook hold find
any hard feelings. Without their added body heat, she’d been cold through the long night, the thin blankets not much help. Samuel tried to apologize more than once, but she’d only waved him away, understanding why they couldn’t snuggle against her.
“You awake there, sweetness?” Thomas said. “We need to get moving before we get hit with this rain. It’s dangerous here at the base of the mountains during monsoon season. Flash floods, you know. Samuel picked a bad spot to camp. I thought he knew better.”
Magdalena crawled out from beneath the wagon, half surprised not to find it already raining. Thunder boomed again, and she flinched. From the sounds of it, the storm had only just arrived, but she knew from reading about flash floods that they could still get washed away. The water would gush down trails from the mountains around them, picking up speed as it went. Samuel wasn’t the only one who hadn’t been thinking about flood waters. Magdalena snorted, knowing they’d all been too worried about sleeping next to her. Noah handed her another coat, a heavier duster type that hit her mid-calf. “Thanks,” she said, still shivering.
“No problem. We saw the storm comin’ from town. Thought we better pick up a few extra supplies.”
Magdalena started folding blankets while the others harnessed the nags. She noticed Noah’s worried look when he glanced at Thomas, both men moving fast. Samuel grabbed Alex by the arm and dragged him over to Magdalena, pushing him toward her.
“Goddammit, you two start climbing, right now. We got water headin’ this way. You hear it? I’m a damned ol’ fool who shoulda known better,” he grumbled, still berating himself as he jogged off.
Terrified, Magdalena covered her ears on the next boom, shaking her head as she glanced up. She’d never been out in a storm like this one. She and Alex both flinched when fingers of lightning danced across the whole sky.
“Hey, idiots, start climbin’, the both of ya,” Samuel yelled, motioning toward the rocky hill behind them. “The others’ll be right behind ya. I need to get these nags moved out of danger. Can’t afford to lose em.” He turned back to Noah, who was busy adjusting the harness. Thomas had already thrown their meager supplies into the bed of the cart.
“Samuel?” Magdalena said, worried for the old man. Those nags couldn’t run if their lives depended on it. He’d be lucky to get a fast trot. Alex scooted past her and started to climb. Thomas stepped in behind Magdalena and pushed her after him.
“Go, Maggie!” Thomas yelled after the next crash of thunder. “Take the boy and go. We’ll catch up, I promise. We just need to get Sam on his way first.”
The first drops of rain trickled down as Magdalena started to climb. She tipped her head sideways when she caught a strange sound. It started out a dull roar, but quickly grew in strength. Must be what Samuel heard earlier. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw the old man whipping the nags over and over, finally getting a decent trot. Then Noah, Thomas and Daniel were behind her. Noah crawled around her, then held his hand down to help her over the steeper areas. Thomas and Daniel took turns pushing from behind, the dull roar growing louder by the second.
“Are we going to be okay?” she asked Thomas, worried more by the growing panic of her men than the thunder and lightning crashing around her.
“Just climb, Mags,” Thomas said. “We’ll talk once we’re safe.” He pushed on her butt as she reached for Noah’s hand. She looked back, seeing a fast-running creek now gushing through their old camp.
“Over here! Hurry up!” Noah yelled, motioning for them to step sideways as he jumped.
Magdalena started to look up, but Thomas wrapped his arm around her waist and threw them both sideways just as a waterfall dropped over the spot where they’d been standing. She heard Alex scream, half surprised not to see his body go flying by. Thomas was standing on what looked like a rock face, one arm wrapped tight around Magdalena, his hand shoved into a crevice in the rock. Daniel was somewhere below them, out of sight. She could only pray he was safe. If she’d thought the water was loud before, it was nothing compared to now. She couldn’t hear anything over the roar.
“Thomas?” Magdalena yelled, not sure how long he could hold her like this. “What can I do?” She managed to get her feet down, trying to take her weight off Thomas, but screamed when the boulder shifted beneath her. Magdalena tried to get a look on the other side of him, but their path was blocked by another gushing river. Their only hope was to move up. “Thomas?” she said again.
“I can see,” he replied, expression grim, though he tried to smile. He pressed his mouth right against her ear. “We can do this, sweetness. Path looks steeper than it is. Try to reach up and get your fingers in the rock. Watch your footing, test it before you put your whole weight into it, okay? I’ll be right behind you.”
Path? she thought, searching for one. There wasn’t any damned path. It still looked more like solid rock to her. She almost slumped when Noah’s face appeared over the top, not grinning as he normally would be.
“Take my hand, Mags,” he said, reaching down. “I’m gonna pull you up. It’s not so bad up here.” He reached down and she grabbed his arm with both hands, hanging on tight as he lifted her up over the lip. She grabbed her guard and hung on tight, her entire body trembling. “You’ll be okay, sweetheart. Go over there and stand by Alex while I help get Thomas outta there.”
She took a deep, stuttering breath and nodded, her clothes soaked by this time, the rain coming down in hard sheets. Magdalena finally understood why Samuel used to claim Noah was half monkey. He scrambled across those rocks like it was nothing. A few seconds later, Thomas was also up, but then both men disappeared around a small bend. Were they looking for Daniel? What if he’d been washed away by that second sheet of water? Because that’s what it looked like, two dirty sheets of gushing water carrying rocks, dirt and tree limbs down the mountainside. Magdalena grabbed Alex’s hand, holding on tight as she waited to see if her men would reappear. Frightened himself, Alex didn’t complain, his small body trembling against hers.
She gasped when all three men appeared, pale and soaked, but alive. Magdalena threw herself into Thomas’ arms, crying hard, jumping every time the thunder crashed. “I thought I’d lost you all,” she said. “I hate this, Thomas.”
“I know, darlin’. Come on now, you gotta cowboy up here. We still need to find a safe place to ride out this storm. It ain’t over yet. It’s a slow-movin’ bitch.”
It took about twenty minutes, though it felt like hours, before Thomas found a place he thought might be safe enough to hold up, a small cave—though in reality more a notch cut out of the mountain—one that barely held the five of them, everyone left shivering in the wind.
“Should be fine here if we don’t have a cave-in,” Thomas said, sliding down the rock wall. “Come here, Maggie,” he said, motioning her to take a seat beside him. “Let me try to warm you up. You look like a damn drowned puppy dog.”
She didn’t argue, snuggling in tight against his side, her face pressed against his chest, his arm wrapped protectively around her.
“You find out anything in town?” Daniel asked between booms of thunder. He knelt across from Thomas and Magdalena, an odd look in his eyes, almost angry.
“Might be a bit of good news for a change,” Thomas replied, sniffling as he wiped the water from his face. “I don’t want to get your hopes up too much, but we learned about a group of people who pretend to buy kids for the flesh trade, though they’re really tryin’ to get em outta harm’s way.”
“You think these people mighta bought my boy?” Daniel asked, definite hope in his tone.
“All I’m sayin’ is there’s a chance. They go through back channels to buy some of the kids that come through the House of Pain.” He stopped, grimacing before he added, “But they can’t afford to buy em all. The good news is, they try to pick up the youngest ones first. At four, your boy fits in that category. Raises the odds a bit for us. Soon as this storm passes over, we’ll find Samuel and try to locate this settlement. We couldn’t get an exact location, but we got enough information that we should be able to get in close. They said guards will see us long before we see them, sooo, hopefully they’ll make themselves known.”
Daniel nodded and then stood, turning quickly toward the back of their shelter. Not before Magdalena caught a glimpse of tears in his dark brown eyes. She prayed they’d find Erik in this settlement, and that he’d still be in one piece, body and mind. She prayed they’d be able to find this settlement, period, willing to give up her own chance at happiness if it brought father and son together again. Magdalena knew Daniel would never allow his boy to be raised around a half succubus. In his position, she wouldn’t have either.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the tour for HOUSE OF PAIN by Denna Holm, we’re giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Denna Holm. Giveaway ends 3/24/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!
About Denna Holm
A retired FEI competitor in dressage, DENNA HOLM has earned her United States Dressage Federation Bronze and Silver Medals.
When an injury forced her to retire from training and showing horses, she turned her attention to her second passion in life, writing. Soul of a Warrior, a science fiction romance, was published by Crimson Cloak Publishing in 2016 and is available through Amazon. It’s true what they say about a new door opening when another closes.
Married with three adult children and five grandchildren, Denna and her husband Lee make their home in the beautiful state of Oregon. They enjoy spending their summers in the mountains, fishing, hiking, and hunting for mushrooms.