Devil's Cove (Tortured Souls)

By: R.C. Matthews

This book is dedicated to my father, who loves a story full of suspense and horror.



Devil’s Cove Manor, England

As Josephine slithered between the humans littering the ballroom floor, a wicked grin curled up her lips. Their anguished cries vibrated like sweet music through her scales. Sliding her long tail back and forth, rhythmically, she bumped against their mangled forms, enhancing their pain. She rather enjoyed the cacophony of cries, a symphony of vanquished souls. But there was little time left to wallow in the beauty of it. The waning taste of her dark magic slipped over her forked tongue as she lapped at the air, and she knew its effects would soon wear off, finally allowing her victims to succumb to the darkness of death.

All but one.

Lord Marcus Deveraux would not fall peacefully into oblivion. He would feel the weight of her body as it wrapped about him, crushing him. He would hear his bones snap and stare into her red eyes as she squeezed his throat with her hands, taking his life. He deserved nothing less for his heinous deeds.

She raised herself high on her tail, above the carnage, swaying in each direction, allowing her tongue to guide her to her prey. Ebony hair fell in a waterfall of waves over her shoulders to the middle of her back, and she knew she must make a frightening sight, half-woman, half-serpent.

Marcus lay in a puddle of his own excrement and blood, a sonorous wheeze emitting from his chest. She coiled her tail around his body and lifted him toward her. His eyes flew open, and the terror encapsulated in his stare filled Josephine with a euphoric high.

“Before I escort you through the gates of Hell,” she said, leaning closer to ensure he heard every word, “know thissssss: Your dirty little secrets aren’t safe from me. Beatrice Mitchell warned you of the evil lurking on this land. You chose to ignore her, and now you’ll pay a dear price. Your friends and family are dead, save one helpless child. But fear not, Marcussssss, the day will come when Eveline is old enough to understand your crimes, and then I will collect the last of your debt.”

Saliva dribbled from his lips, and an intense gurgle erupted from his throat as a mouthful of blood gushed forth. She’d never beheld anything so glorious.

“No, please,” he rasped. “She’s innocent.”

Josephine grinned and squeezed the last breath from his lungs amid the splintering of his bones. He roared in agony, and more blood spewed from his lips, spraying over her bare breasts.

“Yesssss, I know,” she acknowledged, discarding his disfigured corpse.

Revenge the second time around would be oh so sweet.

Chapter One


Devil’s Cove, England

Moonlight reflected off the inky water, rippling over the surface as The Savior dropped anchor in the harbor. The ship’s captain stood solemnly on the forecastle deck, flanked by his first and second mates. He surveyed the village with keen interest until his eyes settled on the dark silhouette of a mansion looming in the distance, its spires and turrets clawing eerily at the night sky. Blood strummed through his veins. He would even the score at last.

“Destiny lures me to the mansion,” the captain said, crossing his well-muscled arms over his chest. A smirk tugged at his lips as he turned to his first mate, Victor. “Will I crash into the rocky cliffs and perish or reap the rewards of my long-awaited revenge? What say you?”

Victor grunted and wiped away the moisture clinging to his forehead from the clammy summer night air. “Revenge will be yours, no doubt.”

The captain nodded, and they strode across the deck, boarding the longboat and giving the signal for his crew to lower it. Water lapped harshly against the hull of the ship, the sea as dark and restless as the three privateers huddled together. Their intense discussion came to an abrupt halt when the vessel crashed against the wooden dock of the wharf.

The captain’s head snapped up, and he skewered the oarsman with a glare. “Bloody hell, Bilge!”

“Sorry, Captain,” Bilge said with a toothy grin. “Eyesight ain’t what it used to be, especially in the dead o’ night.”

The captain leapt onto the dock, and his gaze met the curious stares of the riffraff loitering nearby. Men lingered, chatting in groups of three or four, eyeing his expensive clothing. The captain snorted. The scurvy dogs would turn tail the minute he flashed them a glimpse of the Colt Frontier Six-Shooter resting on his hip. Ignoring them, he turned to address his second mate, Hatchet. “Send Bilge back to the ship with instructions to return here in three hours.”

“Aye,” Hatchet said. “Watch the bloke with the dagger at ten o’clock.”

He didn’t bat an eye at the warning but smirked as Victor jumped onto the dock and donned a broad grin, brushing past him to swagger straight toward the nearest group of men. Upon his approach, they began to fan out in an unspoken dance, forming a circle around him while reaching for their weapons.

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