Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to a new and exciting tale! So, if you're wondering what I've been up to, and why a lot of my stuff is kinda... on hold, it's because I've been working with this ridiculously talented artist and writer. We've got a lot of co-op projects going on, which we should be putting up soon. I'll make sure to keep you updated on that. Anyway, one of our series is called the Crimson Isles series. It's a fictional island country set in the real world. Two of my minor characters from this series are featured in this new story, as I was interested in fleshing out their backstory. I'm still working on my wonderfully entertaining Shadows & Seraphim series, but I just wanted to go ahead and put this up to see what you all think. I hope you enjoy it! ^ ^

Title: The Phoenix and the Irish Angel
Authoress: ANT-chan
Rating/Genre: Romance/Drama/NC-17 (for foul language, violence, anal, oral, HJ, bondange, NonCon, and YAOI. LOTS OF IT. XD)
Summary: At age thirty-three, Baaltazar Patroclos was handsome, charming, reasonably wealthy, adventurous, talented... and perhaps too self-confident for his own good. How is he ever going to get out of this one

The Phoenix and the Irish Angel

"I believe that that angels, or something like them, sometimes live among us, hidden within our fellow human beings."

Prologue: A Bird in a Den of Lions

'Baal, you sly old fox, what have you gotten yourself into this time?'

Baaltazar Patroclos sighed quietly, and it went unnoticed by the men arguing over his head as they debated his ultimate fate. He shifted in his - rather uncomfortable - chair, hiding his pained wince by casually crossing his legs. My, but those handcuffs were tight! The unforgiving metal was digging into his wrists. Every time Baal so much as twitched, he feared the abused flesh of his wrists would break. He couldn't even maneuver to pick the laughably simplistic lock, they were so-

Oh. That was the point, wasn't it?


With that option lost to him, Baal leaned back in his torturously uncomfortable (Really, they did this on purpose, didn't they?) chair as much as he could with his hands cuffed behind his back. His attention returned to the people surrounding him. To the three men arguing in thick Irish brogues about how to deal with him. They were all tall, broad, and muscled, and definitely had more brawn than brains. Baal knew there was another man behind him, guarding the door. He was much taller than the first three, and just as built. But he was completely silent, with hawkish eyes that missed nothing. Scary. If the situation hadn't been so dire, Baal would've forgotten he was there. Straight ahead of him was the leader of this little group. He was the only other person seated in the room, in a plush leather chair.

Baal envied him horribly.

The seated man was far slighter in build than his companions. Though he wasn't fat by any stretch of the imagination the man definitely didn't do much in the way of hard labor. Dressed sharply in a fine suit and hands covered in expensive rings, he looked every bit the crime lord. If that wasn't enough, he even had a cliché trophy wife. She was stereotypically blonde and busty, with pale, flawless skin and a flirty smile. She gazed in undisguised, though slightly pitying, interest at him. Baal gave her a roguish grin, and was satisfied to see her blush ever-so-slightly and avert her eyes.

Baal stifled a chuckle at her reaction, and turned his observant stare to the source of all this trouble - as well as his interest: a breathtakingly beautiful gold necklace. Its delicate double-chain was interwoven with pearls and onyx, completed by a heavy ruby and diamond pendant. It was for this necklace - this gorgeous antique - that he'd risked his life. It was because of this piece of jewelry that Baal was currently handcuffed to a chair.

Actually, that was more the fault of the man holding the necklace than anything.

The final man in the room hadn't said a word since Baal had been restrained. When he had spoken before that, it had been in a quiet, deep voice. Where the other men - the men still arguing back and forth while their leader looked on in amusement - spoke in gruff, thick accents, this man had a gentle lilt. A subtle touch of his nationality that slid over Baal's senses like high-quality silk. Odd. He had never been one to be attracted to foreign accents. The man was tall and broad, built to fight - built to kill. His well-worn black suit and standard black gloves were well-kept. Combined with his neutral expression and observant dark green eyes, he looked perfect for the role of a bodyguard or hitman or whatever dirty little errand his boss had for him. The man's dark auburn hair was just long enough to be tied back at the nape, though many strands refused to stay prisoner.

He was handsome, certainly. Handsome, predatory, and cold. But there was something... off about him. There was something that didn't fit with the cold-blooded killer persona.

Something that didn't fit with the mafia puppet image.

It confused and interested him in an almost frightening way. Baal sighed inwardly in vexation. 'How did I get myself into this?'

End Prologue. Walk on, Traveler of Worlds.

As this is only the prologue, it's rather short. XD We'll find out how Baal got himself into this mess in the next chapter!