Her Twisted Sinners by Ginna Moran

Chapter 1

RAVEN

Power Struggle

“THE LITTLE ANGEL spawn is a lot feistier than my boy,” Dante says, resting his big palm on the side of my stomach. He trails his fingers across my skin with the twins’ movements, chuckling as they each kick him.

Forcing myself to smile, I play with Dante’s hair, combing my fingers through the soft tresses. We’ve been sitting on the couch for hours with the TV blaring for background noise, but I haven’t been in the mood to watch.

I stare at the bulge shifting under my skin, the cooler spot a clear indication to me of which baby it is. I haven’t thought about names yet. I haven’t really thought about anything. I know my devils grow anxious, and my lack of feelings doesn’t help any, but I don’t know what else I can do. Faking the excitement is pointless. They know it’s not real, so they do their best to show it for me. If I allowed Dante to adhere his hands to my belly, he would. I never knew someone could be so obsessed. His waves of affection never grow old. I remember enjoying it even if I’m numb now.

My heart should swell with the thought of his adoration and love for the twins. I should be ecstatic by how thoughtful my devils are. Things like smiling only come out of habit now. I’m just a vessel to these two beings of power. An empty shell.

My time on the Mortal Plane is almost over. I can sense it deep in my bones. It’s as if each passing day will bring me closer to my soul, but with my soul comes an eternity without my devils. We’ve failed humanity. I’ve failed the men who love me. Who I know I love despite the absence left behind by Heaven’s bastard warriors.

“Come on, baby boy. Give Daddy a power kick. Show me your strength.” Dante pokes his fingers to my belly, trying to summon a reaction.

I tap his forehead. “You don’t even know if it’s a boy. Maybe she won’t respond because she’s female,” I say, patting the hotspot on the left side. I decided the less I know, the easier it would be when the time comes. If I think about those things, it’ll make it more real. I don’t want this to be real. I want this to be a dream that I can wake up from.

I should find comfort in knowing what my future entails, but knowing that the birth of my twins will end my life…it’s the worst thing in the world. How can I prepare to bring life into this world knowing that it will kill me? How can I prepare never to know my children? I can’t. I don’t like having this sort of knowledge. I thought I wanted to know everything about the universe, but some things are just best left to the unknown. It would make it easier.

“Tell that to Kase. He swears to the end of time that he can only produce a little dude. Our swimmers are definitely all male, and together, we’ve created a power in our image.” Dante leans in and presses his lips to my belly. “Isn’t that right, baby boy? You probably have two cocks and everything.”

I tip my head back and laugh out of pure exasperation. “You’re ridiculous.”

“I’m happy. Excited.” Dante’s face lights up with a smile, and he shifts closer and grasps my chin, guiding me to kiss him. “Your laughter helps. It sounded natural. I think the babies might be influencing you more. We’ve all noticed.”

The smile vanishes from my face, and I flick my eyes to stare at Dante. The diamond-shape of his pupils expands and retracts, and he rubs his thumb over my bottom lip.

He traces my jawline until he tucks my black hair behind my ear. “Have you realized it? We think that you’ve been so numb to protect yourself. Without your soul, it’s a bit harder, but these babies bring so much more. You just have to—”

“Stop, Dante. I don’t...I don’t want to feel anything. I prefer this. I know it bothers you that I’ve changed but look at me. Look at all of this. You’ve given up Hell, and things haven’t changed. We are no closer to finding answers. The only thing we are getting closer to is my end. If I feel it, it will destroy me. Heaven has done enough already. Just let me live.” With my words, a swell of unbidden emotions blasts through me, cracking the wall protecting me from myself. But they’re not my emotions. They belong to the power I carry inside me. The twins react to me, and it’s as if a part of their beings possesses mine. I can’t control it, and it forces me to feel things that I forgot.

Tears burn my eyes, and my mouth trembles, my whole body turning rigid. Fuck.

“Raven, hey. Pretty soul, look at me.” Dante cups my face, leaning in so close that he fills my vision. His fangs peek from beneath his lips, and he releases a soft hiss. “Don’t fight it. This is a good thing. If you can summon the strength to handle this, then maybe we can use it. The babies know a part of you is missing. I know they can feel it the same way we can. Let them in. Let them help you feel. If you do, we might be able to pinpoint where they’re keeping your soul.”

I blink a few times. The heat of my tears splashing my cheeks burns trails over my skin. “We’ve been looking for months. This isn’t going to be any different. I can’t have this kind of hope.”

Dante growls, his eyes flashing green. Scooping his arms under me, he flips me off the couch and bends me over his knee, managing to hold me just right, so I don’t lie on my stomach as he keeps me up with his arm under my boobs. I don’t even have a chance to react before he flips up my dress and spanks me hard on the ass. My whole body tenses with the sting, and I gasp. It’s been a while since he’s surprised me. He’s been far more gentle the last month or so since I look as if I’m about to pop now. My pregnancy feels a lot more real now that he can see it with my changing body.

“Don’t think I’ll go easy on you because you are carrying our babies. I need you to know that this isn’t hopeless. We will get through this, even if I have to break through Heaven’s protective shield, burn my fucking cock off in the process, and fly into that shithole paradise to get your soul. I’ll do whatever it takes. I mean it.” Dante swings his hand again, smacking my ass harder this time. “I’ll even kidnap Cassius, chain him beneath me, and ride him like a damn horse into the light to make it happen. He would deserve it. I bet he would even like it.”

I open and close my mouth, sucking in deep breaths as my body slackens with a wave of lust. This cute fucking bastard. I can’t believe this. It’s like he awakens something inside me, and I can’t ignore or deny it.

Pulling me across his lap, he forces me to hold myself up with my palms, and I squeeze my legs together as he sinks his fangs right into my ass cheek, biting me. My body buzzes with his actions, and I moan. Warmth pools between my legs, and Dante hums deep in his throat. I expect him to pull me back to his lap to fuck me, but instead, he gets to his feet and forces me on mine.

He towers over me, a drip of my blood splashing on his lips. “I think it’s time we prepare. I’ve just ensured that you can’t comfortably sit on your ass and watch TV now, so it’s time to let me take charge. I don’t want to ever hear you say this is pointless again. Do you understand? I love you, Raven. I need you to trust me and the rest of the devils to take care of you. I know everything has been a shitshow, but life is always a fucking shitshow. Eternity is always a fucking shitshow. We just need to adjust and evolve and make it our bitch.”

I can’t stop a smile from crossing my lips, my body still humming from his unexpected punishment. It gets me in a good way, and it takes everything in me not to tease him.

Fuck it. I’m not going to just ignore things I want to do any longer.

Shoving my hand into his chest, I push him back a foot to give myself room, twisting away from him. I peek over my shoulder as I lift up my dress and bow forward as far as I can before it turns uncomfortable with my pregnant belly. “I need you to take control of me. I’ve missed you like this. Come on, Dante. Show me who you are as a devil. I think your disconnection from Hell has made you soft. Where’s my sexy dominating man?”

His eyes flash green again, my words getting to him how I wanted. “Careful, pretty soul. I can still open the damn portal to Hell.”

“Then do it.” I shake my ass, nearly certain I look as if I’m waddling in place, but I don’t give a fuck. Dante’s never made me feel anything less than beautiful. “Open the portal and bring out one of those damn traitors. I’ll feel better if I can fuck something up.”

Dante hisses under his breath, curling and uncurling his fist. His chest rises and falls as he thinks about my words. The devils had agreed never to open a portal to Hell until they were ready to take it back, but I think the sudden mundane lifestyle has taken a toll on all of us.

“Kase is going to fuck me up for this,” Dante mutters, stepping closer. “You do realize that, right? He won’t only fuck me up. He will fuck me hard in the ass. You know that I prefer it be you now.”

I turn back around and glide my tongue over my lips. “I bet I can convince him to let me do it,” I tease, striding closer until I can rub my hand over his hard cock. “Come on, Dante. I’m dying to see what kind of trash the angelic army turned the place into. I’m dying to see you beat someone up for it.”

Dante flares his nostrils, his muscles flexing with my words as I continue stroking him through his pants with my hand.

“If you don’t give her what she wants, then I will. I’m not afraid to be the big bad devil she craves. Isn’t that right, Ray? This fucking place is boring, and I’m getting impatient waiting around. My dickhead brother is taking far too long with his investigation.” Lucian stands in the hallway. It’s Dante’s time, so he’s been staying out of the way. Because there’s always two devils with me at all times now. They tend to flip a coin to see who will babysit who, and Lucian lost. They have a weird agreement that Kase can’t always be the one with Dante and the same goes for Andre and Zade. They are less likely to be distracted when they’re not together.

It’s only when everyone is out, though. They tend to all return to watch me eat either breakfast or dinner. I don’t know if it’s just because tension is high, but the devils do like to get out more. It also helps with Cassius and Elias. It’s harder for them to ignore what they describe as a summons. Because it’s as if Heaven knows that its army has betrayed them, but there’s also nothing we want to do.

The angels have upset the balance, and we want to show them exactly what happens because of it. We need to make a point. They have been so off with their thinking that they will have to come begging for help. And by they, I mean those who aren’t guardians. Those who keep Heaven in order. But they’re not quite there yet. The angelic call is intended for angels. It’s intended to try to bring them back from Hell. But it’s too late for that. Once Hell gets to them, it won’t release them. We’ve insured it. They’re the ones anchored now.

I push my thoughts away and swivel to look at Lucian. I curl my finger, motioning for him to come closer. “See, Dante. Now we can blame it on this asshole. He wouldn’t mind a little punishment.”

“Fuck no. I would like to see any of those bastards try. Let’s go fuck some shit up.” Lucian grins, tugging me toward him, but Dante remains flush against me, and I find myself sandwiched between their two hot bodies.

“Damn it. Fine. I will text Kase and let him know. You know that we have an agreement, and as much as I want to bow down to that sexy ass of yours, pretty soul, we need to all agree as a team.” Dante tugs his phone from his pocket and taps the screen a couple of times.

I shift in anticipation, bouncing on the balls of my feet. His phone chimes and I expect to be denied, but Kase only says to give me what I want. He says to bring someone home for him to destroy when he gets back as well.

I laugh and bounce some more, bumping my belly into Lucian’s hard abs. He automatically steadies me by pressing his palms flat to the sides of my stomach, and I smile at him.

“We were right,” Dante says, tilting his head to kiss my neck. “The babies’ powers grow stronger, and they give our girl some semblance of normalcy.”

Lucian wags his eyebrows at me, leaning in and brushing his lips to mine for a second before sliding his tongue into my mouth and kissing me harder, deeper, letting me feel exactly how much he enjoys being with me.

“I love being right. Cassius is going to have to bow before me again. I can’t wait to clock him in the face with my dick.” Fire lights Lucian’s eyes, and he eases away from me and strides toward the summoning circle that hasn’t been opened in months. He moves the table and drags the rug covering it out of the way. It was better for them to hide it to help keep it off their minds. But it’s mostly for my benefit. I really doubt the lingering presence of it helped them. It was just a constant reminder of what they gave up.

“I’m going first to make sure there’s no fuckers there to try and stop us.” Lucian closes his eyes and summons hellfire in his hands, the gesture enough to shake the world around me.

My heart races, and my stomach flips and flops as the babies react to the sudden cracking of the plane. Dante lifts me into his arms and cradles me, my belly making it hard for me to hug him with my body. But I don’t mind having him hold me as if I’m the most precious thing in the world to him. Because I know I am. I’m the most precious thing to him and the rest of the devils in the universe. I feel it in this moment. I forgot how amazing it felt.

As quickly as it comes, I shove it away. My fear keeps me from allowing my body to play on the babies’ emotions. Because I know it’s not me. I have to keep reminding myself that what I’m feeling comes from them.

Lucian reveals his devil façade, and I stare in amazement as his horns graze the ceiling. I know that the devils don’t like to show off who they are to Hell now that they are no longer connected to its power, and it feels so good to see. I never knew that I would miss seeing them in the form they feel the most powerful. But I do.

Whoa. I don’t think rising emotions belong to the babies. Seeing Lucian stomp his massive hoof to crack the foundation of the realm zings through me. It’s as if my body knows where I belong despite not having my soul. Hell calls to me. It has never been more apparent that it’s the place I belong.

Lucian vanishes in a cloud of smoke and fire, and Dante adjusts me in his arms and shifts on his feet, preparing for whatever shit might unfold.

“It’s all clear,” Dante says, brushing his lips to my ear. “Are you sure about this?”

I bob my head. “I’m more certain than ever. It’s the strangest thing. I don’t know if it’s because of the babies or what, but I feel I need to go. I feel as if I’ll somehow be okay as long as I’m there.”

His eyes sparkle green. “You’re going to be better than okay. We all are. You’ll see.”

Stepping forward, Dante doesn’t wait for me to respond and jumps into the ring of fire. The world spins and darkens around me before flames light up my vision. The rancid smell of rotten eggs assaults my nose. I breathe in deeply regardless, as if just the fragrance of Hell can unleash something dark inside me strong enough to conquer Heaven to get my soul back.

My stomach clenches and one of the babies kicks, most likely my little devil spawn, and I inhale another deep breath, now craving the scent of sulfur. It doesn’t smell the same as it had. A tinge of sweet florals blends with it. It’s different.

And then I realize why.

The souls aren’t where they belong. They roam around, trying to find a way out. The angels here aren’t strong enough to control them. They’re breaking Hell down.

Oh fuck.

Lucian stands a couple of feet away, staring at what remains of his kingdom. The lava pits no longer glow. The fires have burned out, and only black rock remains in its place. His towering palace lies in a mountain of rubble. All of his work over the millennium wastes away in such a short time because of the angel invaders. The energy that used to zing through here is gone.

“What the fuck?” Lucian asks, crossing his arms over his chest. “These fucking bastards. I’m going to destroy them all.”

Screams rip through the world, and I stare in shock as a cloud of smoky darkness swirls through the air, twisting and spinning around the blips of light. Not light. Angels.

“Help!” a masculine voice calls out. “Heaven help us!”

Silence greets him.

There is no help coming for him.

I watch from Dante’s arms as the darkness crashes over the specs of light in the distance, devouring them all.

Satisfaction should course through me, but then the shadow spins in our direction. A tidal wave of inky black souls comes crashing toward us, and there’s nothing we can do.

Without the devils, Hell is as unbalanced as Heaven. It seems as if the universe might collapse.

This is no longer about Heaven or Hell. It’s about humanity.

It’s about the power of the souls.

Power that yearns to break free.

“Fuck! What the fuck!” A blinding light erupts in my vision, and I squeeze my eyes shut as a wave of pure white steals the darkness of the souls. “Give her to me!”

It’s Cassius. What is he doing here?

Dante tries to toss me to him, the light stinging and burning his skin, but I clutch onto him. It’s as if Cassius’s light repulses me, and I can’t get my body to comply and agree to go with him. Dante grunts at my strength.

“I’m not leaving,” I snap, grinding my teeth. “I need to be here.”

“Raven, please—”

The ground shakes, causing Dante to stumble a few feet before he regains his balance. Heat ignites inside me, and I tense and arch my back, feeling fire course under my skin to shoot out of my palms. The flames devour the light and the shadows of Hell-bound souls, leaving us standing in a strange haze.

“I need to be here,” I repeat, resting my cheek on Dante’s shoulders. “Please. Just for a bit. The souls won’t hurt us.”

Lucian and Cassius stare at me with slackened jaws, their reactions making them look more similar than I’ve ever seen them.

“I’m sorry, pretty soul,” Dante whispers, his voice shaking. “You can’t.”

I fist my hands to fight, to force him to let me down, but Cassius snatches me away. Dante doesn’t intervene.

“Cassius!” I scream, bucking my body. “You fucking bastard!”

Fire swallows Lucian and Dante, separating us. Whirlwind emotions crash through me, stealing my breath.

“Hold on, Raven. This is going to hurt.” Cassius summons angelic light in one of his hands.

Agony burns through me at its closeness.

I scream.