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Eve of Chaos (Marked Series #3)
     

Eve of Chaos (Marked Series #3)

4.4 46
by Sylvia Day
 

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Bared to You comes Eve of Chaos

When Evangeline Hollis spent a night of passion with the darkly seductive Alec Cain, she had no idea that she'd be punished for it years later. Branded with the Mark of Cain, Eve was thrust into a life of hunting demons as penance.

Living

Overview

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Bared to You comes Eve of Chaos

When Evangeline Hollis spent a night of passion with the darkly seductive Alec Cain, she had no idea that she'd be punished for it years later. Branded with the Mark of Cain, Eve was thrust into a life of hunting demons as penance.

Living with the Mark-and the two sexy brothers who come with it-was trouble enough. But then Eve ran over Satan's hellhound during training. Now Satan, incensed at the loss of his pet, has put a bounty on Eve's head, and every demon in the country wants to be the one to deliver her.

Meanwhile, Eve's formerly insatiable one-night stand is acting distant. Cain says he still wants Eve, and she believes him, but scorching hot sex isn't enough. Not after knowing what it was like to have more.

As Cain's role in Eve's life becomes more and more uncertain, Abel doesn't hesitate to step in.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Editorial Reviews

Evangeline Hollis had a small accident, but in this incident, no carefully worded note on a windshield could placate the injured party. The road-kill, you see, was Satan's hellhound. Skipping all the other stages of grieving, the Foul Fiend goes directly to revenge, unleashing legions of Infernals to eviscerate poor Eve. Can a sexy vixen drafted by God find a way to strike a deal with the Devil? In the third volume of her cult classic Marked series, S.J. Day keeps the pages churning with steamy excitement. Now in trade paperback and NOOK Book.

From the Publisher

“The most famous case of sibling rivalry continues unabated in the wrap-up of Day's explosive back-to-back Marked trilogy.” —RT Book Reviews

“A sizzling, heart-pounding urban fantasy that thrilled and fascinated me from beginning to end. It's got smokin' hot angels, blood-chilling demons, and questions that go deeper than who's kicking whose butt.” —Jeri Smith-Ready, New York Times bestselling author

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781466834880
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
02/26/2013
Series:
Marked Series , #3
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
52,134
File size:
856 KB

Read an Excerpt

Eve of Chaos


By Sylvia Day, S.J. Day

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2009 Sylvia Day
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-3488-0


CHAPTER 1

Evangeline Hollis watched with clenched jaw as a kappa demon served yakisoba — Japanese pan-fried noodles — to her mother with a broad smile. Eve guessed that the ratio of mortals to demons at the Orange County Buddhist Church's annual Obon Festival was about fifty-fifty.

After three months of living with the Mark of Cain and her new "job" as celestial bounty hunter, Eve was resigned to the reality of Infernals mingling undetected among mortals. However, she was still surprised by the number of transplanted Japanese demons who had come out to play at the festival. There seemed to be an inordinate amount of them present.

"You want some?" her mother asked, holding out the plate. Miyoko had lived a mostly quintessential American life in the United States for thirty years. She was a naturalized citizen, a converted Baptist, and her husband, Darrel Hollis, was a good ol' boy from Alabama. But she appreciated her roots and made an effort to share the Japanese culture with her two daughters.

Eve shook her head. "I want yakidango."

"Me, too. It's over there." Miyoko set off, leading the way.

The festival was contained within the gated parking lot of the temple. To the right was a large gymnasium. To the left, the temple and school complex. The area was small, but still managed to hold a variety of food and game booths. A taiko drum was elevated in a yagura tower overlooking a space that would later showcase Bon Odori dancers. Children competed to win prizes ranging from live goldfish to stuffed animals. Adults hovered over displays of trinkets and homemade desserts.

The Southern California weather was perfect, as usual. A balmy seventy-eight degrees with plenty of sunshine and very few clouds. Adjusting her sunglasses, Eve relished the kiss of the sun on her skin and breathed in the scents of her favorite foods.

Then a foul stench wafted by on the afternoon breeze, assaulting her nose and ruining her rare moment of peace.

The putrid smell of rotting soul; it was unmistakable. It was a cross between decaying flesh and fresh shit, and it amazed Eve that the Unmarked — mortals lacking the Mark of Cain — couldn't smell it. She turned her head, seeking out the source.

Her searching gaze halted on a lovely Asian woman standing across the aisle from her. A yuki-onna — a Japanese snow demon. Eve noted the Infernal's white kimono with its delicate sukura embroidery and the detail on her cheekbone that resembled a tribal tattoo. In truth, the design was the demon's rank and it was invisible to mortals. Like the Mark of Cain on Eve's arm, it was similar to mortal military insignia. All Infernals had them. The details betrayed both which species of damned being they were and what their rank in Hell's hierarchy was.

Contrary to what most theologians believed, the Mark of the Beast wasn't something to be feared as the start of the Apocalypse; it was a caste system that had been in place for centuries.

Eve's mark began to tingle, then burn. A call to arms.

Now? she asked with a mental query, exasperation clear in her dry tone. She was a Mark, one of thousands of "sinners" around the world who'd been drafted into service exterminating demons for God. She was expected to kill at the drop of a hat, but her mother was with her and they were at a house of worship.

Sorry, babe. Reed Abel sounded anything but. You're in the wrong place at the right time. Her number's up, and you're closest.

You've been singing that tune all week, she retorted. I'm not buying it anymore.

She'd been vanquishing a demon a day — sometimes two — for the last several days. A girl needed more than just Sundays off when her job was killing demons. Why am I always closest?

Because you're a disaster magnet?

And you're a riot.

Reed — aka Abel of biblical fame — was a mal'akh, an angel. He was a handler, a position that meant he was responsible for assigning hunts to a small group of Marks. It was a lot like skip tracing. The seven earthbound archangels acted as bail bondsmen. Reed was a dispatcher. Eve was a bounty hunter. It was a well-oiled system for most Marks, but to say she was a squeaky wheel would be an understatement.

Dinner tonight? he asked.

After that wisecrack, cocky bastard?

I'll cook.

She followed her mom, keeping an eye on her quarry. If I'm still alive, sure.

In the back of her mind, she heard and felt Alec Cain — Reed's brother — growl his disapproval. Alec was her mentor. Once known as Cain of Infamy, he was now Cain the Archangel. She and Alec had a history together, starting ten years ago when she'd given him her virginity. Nowadays, his position as archangel had stripped him of the ability to have an emotional attachment to anything other than God, but Alec held on to her anyway.

What means more? he had asked her. When someone wants you because he can't help it? Because of hormones or some chemical reaction in the brain? Or when he wants you because he chooses to want you? Because he makes the conscious decision to want you?

Eve didn't know, so she was drifting along with him, trying to figure it out.

She was certifiably insane for stepping in the middle of the oldest case of sibling rivalry in history, especially since the three of them shared a unique bond that allowed a free flow of thought between them. Eve often asked herself why she played with fire. The only answer she came up with was that she just couldn't help herself.

I'm calling dibs on breakfast tomorrow, Alec insisted gruffly.

One-Eyed Jacks? No one cooked them like Alec. Grilled pieces of bread with a hole in the middle to hold a fried egg. Buttery and crispy, and served with syrup. He also toasted the centers and sprinkled them with cinnamon-sugar to serve on the side. Delicious.

Whatever you want, angel.

It was a given that Reed wouldn't be around for breakfast, since dating two men at once meant that all three of them were sleeping alone at night.

The yuki-onna excused herself from her handsome companion and moved toward the gymnasium, taking the tiny steps dictated by the tight fit of her kimono and the geta wooden clogs on her feet. Eve was at an advantage with her attire. Her stretchy capris and ribbed cotton tank top didn't impede her range of movement at all. Her Army-issue "jungle boots" were breathable and functional. She was ready to rock. But that didn't mean she wanted to.

"I have to wash my hands," Eve said to her mother, knowing that as a retired registered nurse, Miyoko would appreciate the need for cleanliness.

"I have antibacterial gel in my purse."

Eve wrinkled her nose. "Yuck. That stuff makes my hands sticky."

"You're too fussy. How many dangos you want?"

"Three sticks." The rice cake dumplings were grilled on wooden skewers and coated with sweet syrup. They were a childhood favorite that Eve enjoyed too rarely, which aggravated her disgruntlement. If the demon ruined her appetite, there would be Hell to pay. Seriously.

Eve handed over a twenty-dollar bill, then set off in pursuit of her prey.

She overtook the demon and entered the gym where picnic tables had been arranged to provide seating for diners. Dozens of festival-goers filled the vast space with echoing revelry — laughing, conversing in both English and Japanese, and eating. Mortals mingled with Infernal beings in blissful ignorance, but Eve noted every one of Hell's denizens. In return, they knew what she was and they eyed her with wary hatred. The mark on her deltoid betrayed her, as did her scent. As rotten as they stunk to her, she smelled sickly sweet to them. Ridiculous really, since there was no such thing as a sweet Mark. They were all bitter.

Tucking herself against the wall, she watched through the tinted glass doors as the yuki-onna approached. From the forward vantage, Eve could see the demon's feet hovering just above the ground. Backing up slowly, Eve rounded the corner to stay out of sight. A glass case was mounted to the wall at her shoulder, displaying trophies and a lone katana within its lighted interior.

Eve glanced around quickly, noting the distraction of the rest of the gym's occupants. With superhuman speed, she pinched off the round metal lock with thumb and forefinger, and withdrew the sheathed blade. She held it tucked between her thigh and the wall, hoping it was more than a decoration. If not, she could always summon the classic flame-covered sword. But she'd rather not. Buildings had a nasty habit of catching fire around her, and she had greater proficiency with the sleeker, moderately curved "samurai sword" than she did with the heavier glaive.

Her prey entered the gym and turned in the opposite direction, heading toward the restrooms just as Eve had guessed she would. Closing the women's bathroom while food and drink were present in copious quantities was always a bad idea, but Eve didn't have a choice. Her mother was waiting, and she couldn't risk losing her target.

Her present dilemma was one of the many reasons why Marks weren't supposed to have family ties. The sinners who were chosen were usually loners easily transplanted to foreign soil. Relatives were a liability. Eve was the sole exception to the rule. Alec had fought to keep her close to home because he knew how much her parents meant to her. He was also motivated by guilt, since their indiscretion ten years ago was the reason she was marked today.

The wheels of justice didn't turn any faster in Heaven than they did on Earth.

When the bathroom door swung shut behind the demon, Eve followed. The mark throbbed hot and heavy within the skin covering her deltoid, pumping aggression and fury through her veins. Her muscles thickened and her stride altered. Her body's reaction was base and animalistic, the surge of bloodlust brutal and addicting. She had come to crave it like a drug. Too much time between kills, and she became short-tempered and twitchy.

Despite the rush, her heartbeat and hands remained steady. Her body was a temple now, and it ran like a machine. As she entered the bathroom, Eve was calm and focused. When had she become so at ease with her murderous secondary life? She would have to ponder that later, when she had some privacy and time to cry.

All of the stall doors were slightly ajar, except for the handicapped one at the far end of the room. The stench of decaying soul permeated the space. Affixed to the wall near the door was a tube that held a collapsible Wet Floor sign. She tugged it free and set it outside in the hallway, then closed the door and turned the lock. It wasn't quite as useful as an Out of Order cone, but it would have to do.

There was no way to stave off the sudden deluge of memories of another bathroom, one in which she had fought a dragon and paid with her life. She'd been resurrected to kill another day because of a deal Alec had made with someone, somewhere. She didn't know the details, but she knew the cost had to be steep. If she hadn't been in love with him already, his willingness to make that kind of sacrifice would have sealed the deal. She wasn't ready to die just yet, despite demon killing and a crazy love life.

One day she hoped to marry and have children, enjoy a successful career and family vacations. But she would have to shed the mark first — either by manipulating someone in power or by collecting enough indulgences to work off her penance.

Of course, there were loopholes in the indulgence system. She'd killed the teenage son of the Black Diamond Pack Alpha werewolf twice, but had only been given credit for the second kill. Bullshit like that really got under her skin. What was a girl supposed to do when even God didn't play fair?

A soft whimper arrested Eve midstride. The sound had a high, trembling note that sounded childlike. She rolled her shoulders back and waited. Hunting was less about the pounce than it was about positioning. She stood dead center in the most open space in the room. The exit was at her back. The Infernal had no way out but through her. Damned if she would move just to hurry things up a bit.

The mark continued to flood her with adrenaline and hostility. Her senses honed in on her prey, flooding her mind with information. Her stance widened.

"Come out, come out wherever you are ..." she crooned.

The lock on the handicapped stall turned. The door pulled inward. A child's face appeared, wan and tear streaked. A pretty girl of Asian heritage in a light summer dress with a watermelon design around the hem. Maybe six or seven years old. Shaking with fear. A moment later, the lovely visage of the yuki-onna appeared above the girl's head.

Eve growled. "A hostage was a bad idea."

When she had kids of her own, she wasn't letting them out of her sight.

"I will walk out of here with the child," the Infernal said in her lilting, accented voice. She stepped out of the stall with her hand on the girl's shoulder. "Then I will release her."

The child's teeth began to chatter and her lips took on a blue tinge. Gooseflesh spread from the point where the demon clutched her.

"You're going to die," Eve said matter-of-factly. The yukionna had been targeted. Marks would hunt her until she was dead.

"So are you," the demon retorted. "Do you really want to waste your last moments killing me?"

There's a hostage, she told Reed, ignoring the standard demon intimidation and bargaining tactics. A little girl. I need you to get her out of here.

A warm breeze moved over her skin, tangible proof that her handler was always with her. He was forbidden to assist his charges in their hunts, but clearing mortals out of the way fell under his purview. On your cue, he murmured.

Eve had no idea where in the world he was, but as a mal'akh, he could shift — or teleport — in and out of a location faster than the blink of an eye.

"I was going to take you down fair and square," she told the demon, holding the sheathed katana aloft. "I should have known you would want to fight dirty."

"I have no weapon." A lie. Demons all had certain gifts, like the yuki-onna's ability to create extreme weather. Marks had only their own wits and strength. They were celestially enhanced physically — able to heal and react quickly — but lacked any supernatural "powers."

"I'll give you mine," Eve offered grimly, "if you let the kid go." She ripped the katana free of its sheath and hurled the lacquered wood at the demon's head.

She reached out to Reed. Now!

The demon's arms rose to ward off the projectile. The child was snatched by Reed before the yuki-onna caught it.

The Infernal's cry of rage was accompanied by an icy gust that burst through the room like an explosion. Eve was thrust backward into a heated-air hand dryer with enough force to hammer it flush to the wall. She held onto the hilt of the katana by stubbornness alone. Her booted feet dropped to the floor with a dull thud, and she hit the ground running.

Arm raised and blade at the ready, Eve rushed forward with a battle cry that curdled her own blood. The child's fear lingered in the air, the acrid scent mingling with the stench of decaying Infernal soul. The combination sent her mark into overdrive. She leaped, slashing down on the diagonal, but the demon spun away in a flurry of snow. The temperature dropped drastically. The mirrors fogged around the edges, and her breath puffed visibly in the chilled air.

Eve pursued her, feinting and parrying against the sharp icicles the demon threw at her. They shattered like glass against her flashing katana, sprinkling the tile with slippery shards.

Crunching across the hazardous floor, she advanced with precision. The beautiful kimono fluttered with the Infernal's retreat, the thick silk shredded by Eve's calculated attacks. Once the sorriest swordswoman in her class, Eve had practiced exhaustively until she stopped embarrassing herself. She still wasn't much beyond passably proficient with the weapon, but she no longer felt hopelessly inept.

She began to hum a merry tune.

As she'd hoped, the demon floundered, caught off guard by the implied boredom. The yuki-onna's next salvo lacked the speed of the previous ones. Eve caught it with her fist, hissing as the ice splintered its way across her palm. Blood flowed, its scent goading the demon into roaring in triumph, a sound audible only to those with enhanced hearing.

Eve lobbed the icicle back, followed immediately with the katana. The Infernal deflected the first projectile with an icy blast, but was left vulnerable to the second. The blade sliced along the demon's right triceps, drawing blood before impaling the wall behind her. A crimson stain began to spread through the pristine white of the kimono.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Eve of Chaos by Sylvia Day, S.J. Day. Copyright © 2009 Sylvia Day. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

SYLVIA DAY's resume includes a variety of odd jobs ranging from amusement park employee to POW interrogator. She's presently a full-time writer. A native Southern Californian, S.J. thinks there's no place like home, but she loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her to Japan, Holland, Germany, France, Mexico, Jamaica, and all over the United States.


Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of over twenty award-winning novels sold in more than 40 countries. She is a #1 bestselling author in 28 countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print. Her Crossfire series has been optioned for television by Lionsgate.
SYLVIA DAY is the #1 New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of more than a dozen award-winning novels translated into over three dozen languages. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Author and her work has been honored as Amazon's Best of the Year in Romance. She has won the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award and been nominated for Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award twice. Her books include Eve of Darkness, Eve of Destruction, and Eve of Chaos.

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Eve of Chaos (Marked Series #3) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good end to the series. Only problem is... you don't want it to end!
MWanderer More than 1 year ago
In this book we get to meet characters that had been hinted at in the previous novels. We aren't disappointed. However, some readers may be displeased with the implications and aspersions made about those characters and their history. If however the reader has gotten this far in the series I doubt anything they read in this novel would be a big surprise. Eve again finds herself in the center of a maelstrom. In the end the reader is left wondering who is playing with whom. There is plenty of action more development of the heirarchy of heaven and hell and resolution of some threads from the previous two novels. The book leaves one feeling that the adventure has ended but, there is more of this story to tell. Overall somewhere along the long you just get the feeling that Eve is going to have to sit down with Jehovah face to face and try to get her situation resolved. Judging from what I've seen in this series - she won't like the results.
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omyBD More than 1 year ago
loved all 3 book and really loved the 4th dook a novella :)
Andreat78 More than 1 year ago
Wow. At this point, it is so hard to review this series without spoilers for those who either haven't started or aren't caught up in the Marked series. But let me just say, I freaking love these books! In the Marked series, Sylvia Day has basically taken the story of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel... and has created this insanely imaginative and intense series. I love that I have a basic knowledge to reference these characters and their backgrounds on. I love that Day has forced me to stop, take a step back, and look at the oldest story ever through new eyes. And maybe I'm over thinking things, but I love that I am seeing these characters and their stories, their pains and frustrations, and their choices, through a whole new perspective. Now for the characters. Eve is a badass. I love how pragmatic she is. I know that it would be completely realistic and understandable if she was a character who hated her life and whined about it all the time; I know I would. But I love how she has mostly accepted that the insanity is her life, for now, and she has gotten busy with getting the job done. Of course, the insanity is an easier pill to swallow when you have both Cain and Abel willing to lend a hand... And seriously, these two are just about the sexiest heroes I've ever read. For all of Eve of Darkness and most of Eve of Destruction, I was firmly on Team Cain. He and Eve have a long sexy history and I love them together. The way they "interact" both in and out of the bedroom is steamy and fun. But something BIG came between them in Eve of Destruction, and it pushed her and Abel closer together. Now, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't kick Abel out of my bed (or stairwell) but he's not Cain! He's aloof, well-polished, and doesn't seem to care about Eve... until this book. And now that Eve has gotten to know him better, I'm torn. Both brothers are gorgeous, seductive, protective, smart and dangerous. Both hold a piece of Eve's heart, but only one can win. Who. Will. It. Be?!? Eve of Chaos was a great addition to the series. There were so many crazy intense scenes, twist and turns in the plot, and insane revelations in the story. This is the ultimate story of Good vs. Evil, with some brilliant shades of grey thrown in. I can't wait to continue this brilliant series.
nicki1102 More than 1 year ago
this is an amazing story.. Sylvia Day is very talent and i really admire how you can build these stories. The marked series had kept me interested form the moment i started reading the first one, i simply could'nt get enough. Please continus the good work
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, can't wait for the next one in the series!!!!!!!!
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I was surprised to love the first book in the series
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