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For The Greater Good (Ebook)

For The Greater Good (Ebook)

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Book 2 of The Divine Key Trilogy

Audiobook Version

Paperback Version


Princess Shara of the High Kingdom survived a mad sorcerer and his demonic master.


In the process, she gained a rare and powerful gift, The Divine Key. A power so dangerous that even the archangels fear what might happen.


And fear can lead even the mightiest of beings to rash decisions. All in the name of the greater good.


Meanwhile, Robert and Blade are enjoying their new life, at least until Blade gets bored with the gladiators. Seeking ever greater excitement, they head for the deadly Serpent Island where they’ll have more than snakes to worry about.


Looming over them all is the lingering threat of the elder demon Balthis, who, despite his recent setback, still has his sights firmly locked on Shara.


Under threat from heaven and hell, can Shara survive long enough to learn the secrets of her new power?

Look Inside

The high priest of the Binder in Chains, Saladin Amed, thrashed in his bed. Halfway between sleeping and waking, he struggled to calm his mind. The soft bed and smooth cotton sheets were as comfortable as ever. And given the amount of time he spent each day in Sultan’s Oasis healing those injured in the fighting weeks ago, he certainly was tired enough.

No, what kept him awake tonight, and most nights lately, was a memory. When Sultan Vilos ordered all the high priests to exorcise the embryonic demon growing in the princess’s womb, he’d tried to demur. The temple remained on poor terms with the sultan after a false vision prompted them to challenge his fitness to rule.

Vilos had made it clear that, differences or not, any failure to help would see the temple burned to the ground. And from the look in the angry monarch’s eyes, he meant every word. Nothing like an unwell child to focus a parent’s mind.

Saladin flopped over on his back and stared up into the darkness. Though annoying, the threat didn’t really trouble him. He and the other high priests completed the purification ritual with no difficulty. In fact, the barely formed demonic larva had succumbed within moments, leaving no trace of corruption behind.

No, what troubled him was the mark on her stomach. The golden key radiated power through the ether unlike anything he’d ever felt. Even the Binder’s holy relics hidden deep in the temple vaults didn’t match it. Stranger still, it didn’t feel like the power of any particular archangel—or demon lord, for that matter. To confirm this, he’d searched the archives and found no reference to such a symbol.

Yet it had to have some meaning.

He groaned and rolled out of bed. An effort of will conjured a soft, golden light. His bedroom, while far nicer than any of the other priests’, remained modest by the standards of a nobleman. The greatest luxury, a large feather bed, filled a third of the space. A chest of drawers and dressing table with a mirror completed his furniture collection.

What interested him now was the pitcher of water and wash basin on the table. He crossed the cold stone floor, filled the basin halfway, and splashed his face. The tepid water washed some of the sleep from his eyes. He grabbed the towel beside the basin and dried his face.

When he lowered the towel, a face other than his own stared back from the mirror. Handsome but stern and humorless, with dark hair and a bronze complexion, the face could belong to only one being.

“Master.” Saladin hastened to prostrate himself before the archangel. “How may I serve?”

“Stand and listen.” The Binder’s voice held no hint of warmth. Of all the archangels, he was perhaps the least kind in his efforts to bring order to a chaotic universe. That also often made him the most effective.

Saladin clambered to his feet but kept his gaze on the floor.

“The Divine Key has appeared for the first time in two thousand years. It must be destroyed.”

Saladin’s forehead crinkled as he struggled to understand. “What is the Divine Key, Master? And how do I destroy it?”

“The Divine Key is a very dangerous magic. It has the power to open any lock in the universe. Heaven’s army has locked away many dangerous things over the millennia. Should the wrong people gain control of the key, they would have the power to unleash horrors beyond your mortal comprehension on the universe. It must be destroyed.”

“As you command, Master. Where can I find this key?”

“You already found it, on the abdomen of Princess Shara. For the sake of all life, she must die.”

The Binder’s face vanished and Saladin found himself staring open mouthed at his own pale, tired reflection. While he would no more think of disobeying his master than he would of leaping from the temple’s tallest spire, killing the princess would be no simple task. After losing her to the sorcerer, Sultan Vilos would be more vigilant.

Perhaps if all the high priests went together to speak with him. Even the sultan couldn’t refuse the commands of all the archangels. If the sentence came via divine judgement, he would be forced to yield.

Yes, that was the way. He would speak to his fellow high priests. If they all had similar visions, they would have no choice but to join him in his task.

Saladin stared at the mirror for several more minutes just to be certain his master wouldn’t return. He deemed such a return unlikely. Once the Binder gave an order, he never changed his mind. At least not that Saladin had ever heard of.

And more importantly, he expected his servants to carry them out quickly and efficiently. Delays would not be looked kindly upon. Of course, failure would be looked even less kindly upon.

His formal robe hung from a hook on the outside of his dresser. Saladin swirled it around his shoulders. He would get no more sleep this night. He belted the robe shut and pulled on a pair of slippers.

The archive waited only a few yards from his bedchamber. By the time the sun rose, he wanted to be fully familiar with the process of calling a conclave. The temple wasn’t on the best terms with some of the other religions. Any error on his part would give them an excuse to ignore his call.

That couldn’t be allowed. Saladin had no hope of convincing the sultan without the full backing of the other temples. And even then, he feared Vilos would return to war rather than let his daughter be killed.

He shook his head and strode out of the bedroom. His master had certainly set Saladin a difficult task. But he wouldn’t fail.

Either the princess would die, or Saladin would.

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