“Greed!” The voice dripped with rage, smothering all who heard in a
blanket of terror. It ripped through the darkness, making lower demons
cower in fear for their continued existence. When the Lord of the
Underworld roared your name, you hid or welcomed oblivion.
Seven flames wavered in the darkness, sparking and flickering in the
umbra. Not a single one created light around it, yet each blazed with a
blinding, horrifying glory. A low rumble began in the chamber; a flame
of azure blue transformed into the shape of a man. His breathing was
deep and fast, sweat covering his muscled chest, his eyes mirrored the
blue of the fire now sinking into his flesh. He turned that gaze on a
flame of emerald green. The roar that left him contained pure rage and
unending fury. He tackled the sparkling green flame, ripping from it
another male form.
“Greed, you bastard! You pissed him off. Again!” Satanus, Sin of
Wrath began to beat the male to the floor, fists delivering one crushing
blow after another. His rage made the very air around him shimmer with
Behind him, three other flames of blood red, flickering silver, and
glowing orange coalesced into human form. Eyes glowing, matching the
fire that slowly seethed and retreated under their flesh. One flame of
undulating gold expanded into a glowing mist and hovered in the corner.
They all watched the Sins of Wrath and Greed fighting on the chamber
Greed let out a feral growl. Tired of being pummeled he rolled, pinning
Satanus below him, delivering harsh blows of his own. Two pairs of arms
grabbed him, pulling him off, another moving to stand between the two
“Lucifer! Unless you want to be my next target, get the fuck out of my
way!” Waves of fury beat against flesh as Satanus stood, locking his
murderous gaze upon his brother, Mammon, the Sin of Greed.
Lucifer, Sin of Pride, pinned his blood-red eyes on Satanus, turning to
fully face him. His long, white-blond hair laid pin straight over his
shoulders, perfectly pristine, as the two squared off.
“Father has summoned us. More to the point, he has summoned Mammon.
So, shall we continue to fight like beasts, or shall we answer his
call?” As the leader of the Seven Deadly Sins, he spoke with utter
confidence in every word that flowed from his mouth.
Satanus glared at his leader. Behind him, Mammon gave a half smile and a
wave, emerald eyes mocking him. Roaring, Satanus charged toward him.
Lucifer lifted his fist and struck with pinpoint accuracy, crushing his
brother’s windpipe in a strike so fast, no mortal would have seen.
Blue eyes went wide with pain and Satanus fell to his knees coughing,
covering his throat as he tried, unsuccessfully, to take in air.
“Mammon, do you want to be next?” Lucifer slowly turned his red gaze
to Mammon. The look he gave his youngest sibling said he was going to
get a fist to the throat as well in a second.
Mammon knew better than to cross Lucifer and dropped his eyes to the
floor. At his side, Beelzebub, Sin of Envy, and Belphegor, Sin of
Gluttony, released his arms and took a step back. One flame remained
flickering in the room. Sloth snorted in dismissal of his leader’s
words. Red eyes turned on the remaining flicker of writhing black.
“Abbadon, get your ass out here, or I will inform Father why you are
The dark flame audibly sighed and began to form, arms and legs wreathed
in liquid darkness. His eyes, gray like pounded steel, glowed with inner
annoyance. His skin was as black as shadow and appeared to be cut from
“Of course you would, Lucifer, such a good little pet. Let’s all do
what Daddy says. Maybe he will give you a pat on the head for being such
a dutiful son.” Abbadon leaned against the wall watching the blood-red
flames flickering in Lucifer’s eyes. He crossed his arms, observing
his leader’s attempt to control his temper.
Mammon let out a bark of laughter at the whole scene. As the youngest,
he was more inclined to push the boundaries. His laugh earned him a
smack to the back of the head. Rubbing the spot, he scowled at
Beelzebub, whose silver eyes were almost haunting to behold. They
swirled and moved like molten metal. It was exceedingly eerie at times.
“Don’t push it, Mammon. You have already pissed off Father. So, let
us go and see if we can save your ass from one hundred years in the
“Geez, Ze,” Mammon glared at him.
Ze glared right back before he turned and walked from the chamber. He
was built hard and lean, like a swimmer, nothing but pure muscle. With a
wave of his hand, clothing wrapped around his form—clearly he wasn’t
going to attract the ire of their father for being late or naked.
Satanus snarled at Mammon as he scrambled to his feet. Rubbing his sore
but rapidly-healing throat, he left the chamber, followed by Belphegor.
Lucifer turned his ruby gaze back to Abbadon and Mammon. His eyes
settled on the shimmering, iridescent golden mist undulating in the
Asmodeus, the Sin of Lust, was a formless entity. He sighed and began to
coalesce, becoming a solid figure that stepped from the swirling mist.
The sparkling golden haze sank under the new skin of a male who did not
look much different from Lucifer. Well, Asmodeus did need someone to
imprint from if he was going to take on a human form. Lucifer growled
and shook his head at his brother’s mimicry. Asmodeus just grinned and
ran his newly formed hand through his own slightly darker blond hair,
daring his leader to say something.
“You three will be the death of me. Move.” Lucifer’s voice was
tight with exasperation. If Mammon didn’t know any better, he would
have mistaken Lucifer’s tone for concern. He hung back and watched
Lucifer exit the chamber, a sudden fear biting at him. He pushed it away
quickly; showing fear to Hades was a death sentence. Abbadon pushed off
the wall, smacking Mammon upside the head.
“Your antics will get us all thrown in the Pit, Bro.” Mammon
flinched and rubbed his head again. He watched Abbadon move toward the
door, an unfamiliar feeling of worry for the others hit him square in
the chest. Abbadon was the only one close in age to himself. He would
like to have said the rest could go to hell, but they were already in
“Come on, Mammon. Our Lord and Master will be waiting.” The tone of
rebellion was clear in Abbadon’s voice. Asmodeus shrugged, clearly not
bothered by the summoning at all, ruffling Mammon’s messy dark hair as
he headed out of the chamber.
The three remaining demons followed the intricately carved hallways of
Hades. Pain and sexual excess were etched for eternity in the writhing
bodies depicted upon the walls. They were almost alive in the way the
light moved across them. Mammon was pretty sure his father had trapped a
few souls in those intricate carvings. They paused before the grand
chamber door, where Thanatos, the God of Death, stared out at them,
emblazoned upon the white marble. Abbadon and Asmodeus entered the great
hall first, leaving Mammon lagging behind.
Mammon knew what this was about. He had made a choice, a stupid one
obviously, but he had chosen a mortal over his orders. He had chosen her
life over his. Now he would have to live—or die—with the
consequences of his actions. But Kathrine was safe, and would remain
hidden for the rest of her days, of that he was sure. Blinking, he took
in a breath of the stifling air and entered the chamber, his shoulders
straight. If he was going to his death, he was damn well going to do it
with his head high.
The grand chamber of Hades was made of shimmering onyx. The silver river
Styx and golden river Acheron ran through the chamber along each side of
a carved obsidian dais. Upon it sat two thrones—one for Hades, and the
other for his wife, Persephone, who at this moment was unfortunately on
sabbatical with her mother. That meant Hades would be in a foul mood,
which did not bode well for the demons who served him.
Hades’ body was wreathed in pulsing, shimmering black shadow; the god
himself stood watching the silver waters of Styx as they passed through
his chamber. Cold, silver eyes downcast, he observed the souls of the
dead who had mistakenly strayed into the river as they silently floated
by. They were now lost to the ebb of time forever.
Power emanated from every pore of Hades’ being. Mammon could feel it
beating against his skin. His father stood as if contemplating, hands
held behind his back. The silence was almost deafening, only the soft
sound of trickling water filled the chamber. There was the barest turn
of his head, a flash of his eyes as he observed the demons kneeling. His
face could have been cut from marble, his skin so white it made his
pitch-black hair stand out in stark comparison.
Mammon felt a twinge of trepidation at the sight of everyone now
kneeling before the throne. He was the Sin of Greed, after all. It was
his desire to have everything, to be the one who sat upon that throne,
to have the demons kneel before him. It ripped hard at his mind. He
wasn’t stupid enough to act on the impulse; instead he knelt against
the cool stone. All seven of them waited in silence.
He turned his gaze to the others. Directly to his right was Satanus, Sin
of Wrath, eyes of blue flame, hair as black as night, still seething
with rage. Mammon could see the ripples of heat coming from him,
obscuring the air like a rippling halo. Beside him Lucifer, Sin of
Pride, completely angelic in his appearance, white-blond hair and
flame-red eyes. Lucifer always found kneeling to be the hardest task,
his inner pride resenting the act as an aberration to his very being.
Ironically, the calmest of them all was Ze, Sin of Envy, known for
coveting anything and everything. If a person had something he wanted,
his jealousy could become so great he would kill for a simple trinket.
Mammon liked Envy—or Ze, as he wanted to be known these days. Ze kept
his own silver eyes on the floor, his hair like spun silver, catching
the flickering firelight in the great hall.
Abbadon, Sin of Sloth, a contradiction to his name, was the epitome of
perfection, black hair, dark steel eyes, glowing ebony skin, and the
perfect Adonis-like body. His attitude to everything, however, was a
battle. He had to be forced to do even the most menial task. Maybe that
was why they got along so well? They were always getting into trouble,
thick as thieves.
Mammon’s emerald eyes moved to Belphegor, Sin of Gluttony. It was
ironic most mortals imagined him as fat, a demon of never-ending hunger.
He was far from obese though--pure, lean muscle, deep, tan skin, thick,
blond hair. Filled with a perpetual hunger, his eyes were raging fires
of burning orange that echoed the appetite within. He devoured the souls
of those he hunted, in an attempt to satiate his eternal emptiness. They
had all learned early on not to feel pity for Belor; he did not
Finally, his gaze stopped on Asmodeus, Sin of Lust. In his usual form he
was nothing but the formless undulating gold mist. He no longer had a
true body of his own. He had one once, but it had been so long ago none
of them really remembered what he looked like, and neither did he.
Therefore, when he found a mortal who had become consumed by lust, his
body assumed the form of their most secret desire.
Right now, he was receiving waves of anger from Lucifer, and Asmodeus
was lapping it up. He knew what people wanted before they did, and it
wasn’t merely sex. Mortals desired money and power, and Asmodeus
needed to give it to them. He knew how to rile someone with perfection
and was enjoying every moment of the death stare Lucifer cast his way.
Mammon wished he had half of Lust’s talent for reading people.
Mammon dropped his gaze quickly. Why was he looking at his kin like he
would never see them again? Maybe because the cold glare his father had
shot him let him know there would be no mercy in this sentencing? His
heart felt tight in his chest, but he breathed through it. He would see
them again, he had to believe that.
“My sons.” Their father’s voice rolled over their flesh, cooling
like ice water, yet stinging like a million hornets. The demons tensed
at the pain, Satanus turning his blue gaze to Mammon. Of course, blaming
him was easy. Mammon could take it. Besides, it provided an outlet for
the pulsing rage of Wrath. Without a word, Mammon ignored the scowl and
kept his head down.
Only Lucifer dared speak, “We are here at your summons, Father.” The
only indication Hades had moved at all was the soft shuck of his robes
across the stone floor.
“Pride, or is it Lucifer now? I can’t keep up. Why biblical
names?” Hades curled his lip and shook all over before continuing,
focusing his cold glare on Lucifer. “You’re always so formal, yet
you throw your tie to my blood at me as if it would prevent my ire. I
find it immensely irritating.” The Lord of the Underworld slowly knelt
and touched Lucifer under the chin. “It pains you, doesn’t it?
Kneeling before me. Of course it does. I made you that way. The perfect
The others watched as Hades simply flicked Lucifer between the eyes with
his finger. His body flew across the room as if he had been thrown,
slamming into the far wall with a sickening crack. Not one of them made
a move to aid him—they knew better. The soft coughing from across the
chamber told them Lucifer was still alive but in immense pain.
“You seven are becoming tiresome, but boys will be boys, I suppose.
You’re growing, pushing the boundaries of your world, your ties to
me.” Silence seemed to stretch, the sound of his robes sliding over
rock the only sound. Mammon felt that deathly gaze stop on him, then in
a cool, calm voice that brought terror to his soul, Hades continued.
“Mammon. That is the name you go by now, yes?” Mammon looked up
quickly, fists upon the cold floor. One day he would have all this; one
day he would make Hades kneel before him, his inner Sin whispered in his
mind. Shut up! Now is not the time!
“Yes… Father.” The words were like ashes in his mouth. He hated
any tie to the Lord of the Underworld, and Hades knew it.
“Why does that one word from your mouth sound like, ‘Fuck you, old
man?’ Only you could put such a tone on it. Well, maybe Abbadon could
pull it off.” Rather than sounding annoyed, Hades appeared entertained
by the idea. He returned to his throne, slowly taking each stair one at
a time. Flicking out his robes behind him, he sat and looked down on his
The demons waited. Mammon was sure each of them wondered what their fate
would be this day. Lucifer had finally crawled his way back to the
semicircle and returned to a kneeling position. Mammon risked a glance
up at his father. Hades watched them all in silence. Had that been a
flicker of pride in his eyes? It was forgotten as those cold eyes
focused on him, and the very air in the room froze.
“So tell me, Mammon, why did you allow the little Seer to escape her
fate? You had one job. Bring her to me. Did you think I would harm her?
That she would be mistreated by my hand? She belongs to me, Mammon, and
no one else.” Each word was spoken with a soft tone, yet each syllable
was like a whip ripping into flesh.
Excerpted from "Greed's Charity (Seven Deadly Sins Book 1)" by R.A. Pollard. Copyright © 2016 by R.A. Pollard. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.