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The Bandalore - Pitch & Sickle Book One (Ebook)

The Bandalore - Pitch & Sickle Book One (Ebook)

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Silas Mercer was dying, and sinking ever deeper into a watery grave. Endless torrents of bitter, cold fluid breached his nostrils, tearing at his throat and making their way deep inside him. The liquid filled him to the very brim, weighing so much as to make it impossible to pull himself upwards, towards that minuscule pinprick of light that taunted him.
Was it the sun above him? Or was he not so alone as he imagined? Perhaps, by some miracle, a rescuer peered into the oily depths in search of him. Wherever those depths may be. How had he come to be here?
Help me.
His cries bubbled around him. His lungs ached with a ferocity that felt certain to crack his ribs. He kicked and flailed, struggling to raise arms of lead and reach in vain for the fading light. Ever downward he travelled, where the darkness was ripe with unseen horrors. The pressure grew upon him, threatening to shatter his skull. A dull throb cursed him all the while, an ache at his temple he did not dare explore for fear of finding his bone cracked.
The air, what little of it remained, fled his lungs entirely. And the darkness consumed him, pressing his lids tight against the softness of his eyeballs.
A moment, an hour, a day or a year passed by, and at last his eyelids lifted.
He lay upon his back. The darkness had not fled, but the fiendish waters had done so. Silas sucked in a breath of such magnitude he felt as though he might take in all the air in the world. Releasing an anguished, haggard cry, he threw out his arms – and found a fresh enemy. Barely had his arms left his sides and they were halted by a solid barrier.
Dear god, not this.
He kicked his feet, only to find he could barely raise them more than an inch. Fear burrowed beneath his skin and made its prickling way about his body. Blind, Silas pressed at his surrounds and found them all too wanting. He lay in this confounded box yet again, a space that offered only the merest of movement. No matter that he recognised the illusion of the mind that trapped him here, his terror could not be stemmed.
The scream tore its way from his core and dug its claws into his innards, bursting from his mouth with all the force of the terror that had birthed it.
Words tumbled from him. ‘Help me! Help me!’
Silas rocked and punched with all the might he could summon, his cries thrust back at him in the confined space, punishing his ears. He was dizzy with panic and desperation. The strangest jangling of a bell came from a distance. What new hell awaited him? The sound was alien to the sharp edges of this old memory. He dared still himself a moment, and was plunged into a silence so deep that he could not bear it. He rocked and punched and kicked anew. But he fought a stalwart enemy. One that did not yield no matter the assault he levelled at it. His energies deserted him, his strength growing as weak as his cries.
Blast this infernal torment, this mindful horror that took him so. When would these memories leave him in peace?
When he at last lay still, sobbing into the darkness, he heard it. A thud above him. Followed by another, and another, so rapid in their succession and clear in their source. Someone dug for him.
A blazing desperation overtook him, and he shouted and punched and cried out: ‘I’m here, I’m here, I’m here!’ His voice, so terribly overwrought and cracked, could barely form the words at all. ‘Here, here. Here!’ He sputtered and gasped.
The next thud was right above him, aimed at the barrier that held him from the world. Hot tears pricked at his eyes, burning their way free.
‘Fear not, my lad. We’ll soon have you upright again.’
How heavenly that voice sounded. Silas’s cries hacked at his chest. Blessed salvation had arrived at last to drag him from this nightmare.
The world lightened. The air was cool and caressed his skin like the very feathers of a lover’s fan. A silvery light was gentle against him, but his fragile eyes squinted through his tears. Silas sucked in a new breath. The rich, dank scent of turned earth embraced his tortured nostrils.
‘Welcome back, dear chap.’ Sweeter than honey, the voice was a balm like no other. A face as round as the angelic moon appeared over him. A full-cheeked elderly man of Oriental persuasion, his familiar smile set in place. He had arrived at last to drag Silas free. ‘Do take it easy. Death does take a toll on one.’
But Silas would spend not one more moment in these confines. With a raw sob he launched himself out of his grave, clawing at the rise of earth about him, pulling himself ever higher. His fingers found the coarseness of the rope and clung to it. The jangling of the bell returned once more, not a figment of his burdened imagination at all but clear and crisp upon the air.
‘Do let go of that rope, dear boy. You’ll wake the rest of the dead.’
The amiable man’s request was made politely enough, but Silas would no sooner let loose the rope than he would lay back down in his coffin. Along with the frantic ringing of the bell came the animalistic sounds he made as he clambered back into the world, guttural grunts and hisses mixed with rib-snapping sobs. How he loathed this moment most of all, when fear had rendered him more beast than man. His entire body shook so hard that his teeth rattled in his head. He released the rope and threw himself at the only other fixture of substance he could locate. A simple wooden cross, standing tilted at the head of his grave. Not a marking upon it. No name. No note of the date his fate had befallen him.
‘Mr Mercer, calm down now.’
This voice was new and foreign and most certainly female. But he cared little for it at the moment. Silas had only one purpose. To be free of his grave. The tingling of the bell grew more chaotic as he scrambled from the earth. His fingers found the hard edge of something above him, curling like raven’s claws upon the coolness of metal.
‘Silas, Silas, whatever is the problem?’
He threw his elbows up against the woman who sought to stay him. ‘Unhand me, I’ll not be buried again.’
‘Of course not, you foolish dolt.’
He could not see her amusement, his eyes blurred with tears, but he heard it well enough, bubbling her words.
A shape appeared before him, and Silas bared his teeth. He’d be stopped by no one. ‘I said unhand me,’ he cried. ‘Stop her, Mr Ahari. I beg of you.’
Where the blazes had the old man gone? His saviour had left the job undone this time.
‘Right, that is quite enough, Mr Mercer.’ A sudden blow struck at his cheek. A stinging slap that snapped his head aside.
He blinked, his breath coming in shudders. The world trembled and revealed itself anew. No more did the malodour of the earth fill his scenes, rather it was the richness of jasmine upon the air. Silas found himself on his knees, the softness of the earth replaced by the hardness of a wooden surface. The air was pleasantly warm, not tinged with the chill of the midnight hour as it had been that awful night.
‘Mr Mercer?’ The woman spoke once more, her voice as soft as a summer breeze. ‘Are you quite all right? Can you hear me?’
He nodded, somewhat numbly. His hair was damp, drips glancing off his shoulders. He wiped a hand across his eyes. His face was slick with moisture.
The graveyard was certainly gone. That night’s memory chased away once more. But it was not his bed he found himself in as was normally the case, waking in a flood of sweat and twisted sheets.
Instead he knelt in the parlour room of his cottage, the small accommodation he’d come to think of as home these past strange weeks. The fire crackled away cheerfully in the hearth, lit candles adorning the windowsills, his favourite armchair sitting empty and waiting.
‘Mr Mercer?’
The woman who had very likely struck him knelt beside him. Her midnight-blue gown, trimmed with black lace, pooled about her with the fabric almost touching his knees. The skirt was marked with dark patches where dampness clung to the material.
‘Jane,’ he croaked.
The woman nodded, the golden tone of her skin warmed by the glow of the fire, the dancing light catching at the jewels about her slim neck and weighing down the lobes of her ears. Heavy also was the waft of jasmine, for wherever Jane went her perfume dominated.
‘Well then,’ she said quietly. ‘It seems bathing does not sit well with you.’

A deadman larger than life. A demon with the face of an angel.
Two men thrown together in a world endangered by an ancient curse.
Is their unlikely union strong enough to save humankind...and each other?


Silas Mercer is a deadman. Or at least, he was.

Waking in his grave, with no memory of the life he once lived, Silas finds himself in the employ of the mysterious Order of the Golden Dawn. A secretive organisation specialising in all things supernatural.

At first, Silas is given little more to do than make a spectacle of himself. Amusing the cream of London's society with his terrible dancing skills and inept attempts at hosting séances.

But his odd new life takes a startling turn when the Order partners him with the scandalous libertine, Tobias Astaroth. A quick-tempered, dangerously beautiful man who harbours some hellish secrets.

This ill-matched partnership soon faces its first terrifying challenge.

A monster straight from a nightmare is haunting the woods of Leicester, and the Order send Silas and Tobias to end its rampage.

But nothing in this world is as it seems. Not the Order. Not Silas himself, and certainly not the incorrigible and utterly beguiling Mr Astaroth.

For Silas, the dangers that lie ahead are many.
But none are so perilous as the devilish man by his side.

A slow-burn gay Historical Fantasy series.

Contains: Sexual content, violence and rather a lot of cursing.

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Customer Reviews

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A
Amanda Dykes
Indulge yourself, step into this world!

My first experience with this genre, and I'm hooked. DK Girl takes you on a trip into a different world. Fantastically written with gloriously painted scenes. Well fleshed out characters with smart mouths and loads of attitude. I'm hooked.

A
Aderyn
Gaslight Suspense! Ten Stars!

Wow! What a fantastic start to this series with two completely different and interesting characters. Silas and Pitch are thrown together against both their better judgements. If they don’t kill each other in the process, they will make a formidable team as they deal with supernatural evils that plague humanity, often without their knowledge. Silas is adorable and his efforts to find out who he is, and what he is, makes for an engrossing and often humorous read. Pitch is… Pitch – entirely unpredictable, often mysterious, and more than willing to shatter social norms and customs in the stiff-upper-lip of this Victorian setting. I loved the mystery and the gaslamp atmosphere of this story. There is a sense of much more to come with the novel’s end, both with the mythic expanse of the world and with Silas and Pitch, and I can’t wait to learn more!

A
Amanda Dykes
Dark and gritty, great read!

Such a great read. "Upon his unexpected return to the world of the living Silas finds himself in the hands of the mysterious Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. A peculiar organisation claiming skills of the supernatural persuasion." I loved that we, along with Silas, have no idea why he has been brought back to life and what his purpose will be, and that this is slowly revealed to us alongside Silas. It's gritty and it's dark. I'm a huge fan of the supernatural genre and this does not disappoint. The characters, and the settings, are beautifully brought to life by Danielle K. Girl. I love Silas, and at first (just like Silas), I loathe Pitch, but this changes as the story comes to life and I find myself getting attached to the two, very different, lead characters. Highly recommended. I can't wait for book 2.