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Their Vicious Darling (Vicious Lost Boys Book 3)

Their Vicious Darling (Vicious Lost Boys Book 3) PDF

Author: Nikki St. Crowe

Publisher: Blackwell House LLC


Publish Date: August 30, 2022


Pages: 248

File Type: Epub

Language: English

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Book Preface


How long until the sun rises?

The thought comes to me as we follow the Neverland road back to the treehouse, drenched in blood, steeped in victory and covered in darkness.

It is an old thought that still causes a thread of panic to travel its way up my spine and seize me by the ribcage.

Because if I am caught in the sunlight, I will turn to ash.

It takes me a few seconds to realize that I no longer have to worry about the light.

I have my shadow.

Neverland is mine again and I am hers.

The twins surge ahead on the path, but Vane is by my side. I can feel his questions hanging between us.

“What is it?” I ask, keeping my gaze on the twins. They’re cajoling one another despite the fact that we’re returning from a battle with their sister, the fae queen. One where she clearly drew the lines for them and they clearly chose a side—mine.

We will have to face the queen again and if I get my way, she’ll be usurped and the twins will be crowned kings of the fae court and everything will be as it should be.

That is my preferred outcome—that I will return to what I was and Neverland will be at peace.

Captain Hook is still a wild card though and I don’t like card games.

He’ll have to be dealt with eventually. Cherry too.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

“How do you feel?” Vane asks. He’s no longer looking at me but I can still feel the weight of his attention.


How do you sum up being whole again? How do you sum up the feeling of being alive where once you were dead? Maybe not literally, but spiritually, magically? I was a walking, talking man missing a soul.

How do I feel?

I thought once I had my shadow, I would return to whatever version of myself existed when I lost it. But that’s impossible. I realize that now.

I am changed.

Peter Pan, the infamous Never King, has been transformed by a Darling girl, a Dark One, and two fae princes.

How do I feel?

It’s an impossible question to answer.

“I’m fine,” I tell Vane and he scoffs so I amend. “I’m looking forward to returning to our Darling girl,” I add. “She will be screaming my name by sunrise.”

I glance over at him. I have the side of him with his good eye, but I still can’t tell what he’s thinking. “Will you fuck her too? Fill her up so I can watch the pleasure on her face.”

I’m already hard just thinking about it.

I can’t remember the last time I fucked with my shadow intact. How many centuries has it been? Too many. So many I’ve lost count.

But a pinch of discomfort appears in the fine lines around Vane’s eye. “I still have to give her pain to give her pleasure.”

The twins laugh and then Bash roughly wraps his arm around Kas’s neck and yanks him into his side.

“Darling knows what the cost is,” I tell Vane.

“Yes, but what is my cost? Have you considered that?”

“No, I haven’t,” I admit, because there’s no sense lying about it. “Tell me then.”

“When she bleeds…it’s not the shadow…” He curses and then pulls a cigarette from the steel case in his pocket. There’s pirate blood crusted around his fingernails and dried in the grooves of his first knuckles. More of it is splattered across his face.

I like Vane the most when he is covered in carnage. It reminds me that I am not alone in my thirst for destruction.

I wait for him to light the cigarette and fill his lungs with smoke.

“Go on,” I tell him.

“The shadow doesn’t care if Darling girls bleed,” he says. “But what I am beyond the shadow…that does.”

I have a flash of The Crocodile lapping up Hook’s blood after we cut off his hand.

Roc reveled in it.

I thought it was just a weird quirk. That fucker is insane as far as I’m concerned. I never questioned it and Hook lost his fucking mind, so I guess the act did its part.

The Seven Isles are home to so many creatures, so much magic, so many myths and legends, that it’s impossible to guess at what Vane might be. But now I have to wonder if it runs in the family.

There may be numerous monsters in the Isles, but those that thirst for blood…those are not so numerous.

Vane takes a long drag from the cigarette.

Beyond the trail, the wolves prowl in the late darkness.

As the road curves south toward the treehouse, I snap my fingers at Vane and he hands off the cigarette so I can take a hit, hold it in.

The smoke doesn’t burn like it used to and I’m surprised to find I’m disappointed.

“So what are you saying?” I ask him after I’ve exhaled.

“I don’t know.”

“I think you do know but you don’t want to tell me.”

He sighs. “To Winnie, I am a blade and a predator with sharp teeth. If I don’t cut her as one, I will tear through her as the other and I don’t know what the fuck to do about that.”

Hearing him call her by her name is an odd thing. An intimate thing. I have to push aside the flare of jealousy that they might be closer than I realized. Because of course they will be. It’s inevitable. I am a king. I will always be held at arm’s length. And the twins will never be closer to anyone than they are to each other.

It was always meant to be Vane.

We will all have her, but Vane might get a part of her that the rest of us can never see.

I have to be okay with that. I am okay with it. But it means I need to hold them both together, because without one, I will lose the other and without both…

The wolves come closer and I spot one darting through the underbrush on my left.

“So what you’re telling me is, giving up the Darkland shadow will not solve your problems, so really what we should do is find you the Neverland Dark—”

“Motherfucker,” he says, but there’s a ring of laughter on the edge of his voice. He steals the cigarette back.

“Listen,” I say, “I know what it feels like to try to grapple with being two sides of a bad coin. If there is anyone who understands it, it’s me. So just fucking talk to me.”

The hair lifts along my arms as the twins slow up ahead and a wolf peers out from the woods.

I am connected to Neverland once again, but it’s been so long, I don’t recognize the syllables of the land’s language, the sharp edges of the constants, the softness of the vowels. I have to learn it all over again.

What is that gnawing in the back of my head? The feeling that something is wrong?

I look over at Vane.

Perhaps I’ve pushed him too far. Maybe his dark shadow is chafing against mine.

We have never been side by side in this way, two shadows of different lands.

It annoys me that I didn’t consider this.

It terrifies me that it might turn out to be a problem.

“Do you feel that?” I ask.

He nods at me, his violet eye going black.

The wolf trots out to the middle of the path in front of the twins.

Vane and I slowly make our way forward, flanking the princes so that we face the wolf in a formidable line.

“This is unusual,” Kas says, keeping his voice low and even. The wind shifts and his hair billows in front of his face but he doesn’t make a move to fix it.

A very, very long time ago, I would run with the wolves, but the memory is so old it’s more smoke than fire, barely there at all.

I haven’t seen the wolves this close since I lost my shadow.

Bash whistles at him and then says, “Whatchya doing, boy?”

The wolf dips his head. Even hunched, he’s still about half as tall as the twins. His coat is like a dark twilight sky—mostly black with flecks of white and gray.

He looks at us with vivid blue eyes.

“What do we do?” Kas asks.

The wolf is standing between us and the treehouse.

I am impatient to return to my Darling.

I step forward.

That feeling that something is wrong grows.

“Go on,” I tell the wolf. “Back to the woods.”

He straightens his shoulders and lifts his head, pulls back his lips to show gleaming sharp teeth.

“Go on. I won’t tell you again.”

I take another step and he turns around and runs.

But he doesn’t go to the woods.

Instead, he follows the road straight to the treehouse.

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