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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.


Rachel Van Dyken


Book Series: 

An all-new story in Rachel Van Dyken’s The Dark Ones saga is out this week, and I have a little sneak peek for you.

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“So, a werewolf walks into a bar…” I grin. “Does he actually walk into it, or does the bar walk into him? So many questions, so many answers. Hey, bro.” I snap my fingers twice. “You drunk?”

The guy shakes his head once, twice. Oh, wow, we have a goner. I wait until his head hits the table with a giant thud that has me wincing in pain on his behalf, then call for help. “Need a ride here!”

I don’t know why I do what I do.

I don’t know why I keep working, day after day after freaking day, trying to help the world when I can’t even help myself. But here I am. A werewolf created by the gods to just…sit and serve alcohol.

I feel like this would be the part in school where they ask you: “Hey, what’s your passion? What’s going to change the world?”

Me: Beer.

That’s my life’s purpose, even though I’m second in line for the Earth throne. And before you get all like, oh, Earth throne, oh, werewolf, let me get you caught up.

Werewolves aren’t weird, and we aren’t creepy things that go bump in the night and feed off the world, then howl at the moon. We literally just take care of the Earth and make sure bad juju doesn’t happen. Ergo, my brother, who is literally half Fallen Angel and half human and the King of the Soil, aka the Earth. So, what he says goes. All werewolves bow to him and his authority to make sure no bad things come to the world and try to bring on mass destruction via Fallen Angels and immortals fighting against humans. Like the Garden of Eden. Don’t even get me started on that fallout.

And then there’s me.

Someone who can hear everyone’s thoughts, someone who knows I need to protect everything, but also someone without a fucking purpose.

I serve drinks. I help others. I mean, I even helped an old lady with her groceries, and I didn’t even growl.

The point is, life is fleeting for humans. Mine, however? Lasts like hundreds of years, and all my friends are married, which sucks. Because, again…time. And now I’m about five seconds away from getting puked on by the guy in front of me.

“It just sucks, bro!” he yells.

“Yes, it does suck a dick.” I nod. “Tell me more.” My ability to keep a straight face is stellar. I don’t even think about it anymore, just nod and smile while words and sometimes puke gets thrown in my direction. It’s a gift, what can I say?

“And then she was all like, ‘I’ll kill you!’” The guy slams his hand against the bar top and looks up as if he can see the Heavens themselves. “All I wanted was a sandwich.”

“Violent.” I nod in agreement. “Very violent. And I am a fan of sandwiches so I apologize I can’t meet your needs right now.”

“But, bro…” He wipes another tear from his cheek, then grabs a napkin and blows his nose, tossing the tissue onto the bar. I quickly shove it off and into the trash. “She was right, and I like her violence.”

“Maybe”—I lean in—“the journey you need to take is more violent than others. Or maybe she just doesn’t like you, bro.” She literally does not like him. And I’m beginning to see why.

“No!” He jumps to his feet and thrusts his fist into the air. “I’ll fight for her.”

“Yay. Go get her,” I encourage as he falls to his knees and passes out. “Go, get your woman…man…person—” I pause. “Cricket, spider, demon. Whatever the hell you are—”

“Stop manifesting.” Timber, my boss, the actual Egyptian God of the Underworld, shows up next to me with his perfectly pressed navy suit and white-blond hair. Bet he even gets manicures. But I don’t want him to smite me, so I say nothing. “It’s weird. And also, you can’t mate a cricket with a spider. The biology is all off. Just allow him to pass out like a normal human, then phase him out, grab him a car make sure he has only happy memories from your phasing so he comes back to the bar, and then get back to work.”

Ah, immortals. Gotta love them. Even when you want to murder them half the time.

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Dark Ones - Recommended Reading Order

(standalone stories with interconnected characters)


NBJ WEEKLY RECAP – 10 Oct 2023
“The friendships you make will last a lifetime.”

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