The room around her spun until she was in the body of the demon. She could hear what he heard, feel what he felt, and see everything through his bloodred eyes. The roar of the Daimons made her ears hurt as she tried to wade through them.
Her master was summoning her and she was desperate to reach him. He was in pain. She could feel it and it made her own body ache. It was her duty to release him. To fight and protect him…
A male Daimon grabbed her brutally by the scruff of the neck and pulled her forward to a dais where two black thrones were set. Each one was heavily carved to resemble human bones–something no doubt meant to intimidate all who saw it and boy did it ever work on the demon as he faced the throne’s occupants. A gorgeous man with short black hair sat in one and in the other was a beautiful blond woman whose eyes were so cold they seemed brittle.
"Can we eat this one, my lord?" the Daimon holding him asked.
The man on the throne shook his head. "Slugs are soulless. Servants. They’re not worth our time. Besides, he’d give you indigestion."
The Daimon made a sound of disgust before he flung the slug demon away. It was then the demon saw his master….
He was on the floor a few feet from him, being drained by two Daimons.
"Help me!" his master called as he reached out toward him, but he knew it was useless. There was nothing he could do against so many. The Daimons were killing his master….
He would be next.
The woman on the throne laughed. "Look at the poor creature, Stryker. I think you’ve scared him to death."
He had, but it was more than that. His master no longer wore a human skin. He was in true winged demon form and still he couldn’t fight the Daimons….
The Daimons were far more powerful than all of the demon’s kind.
Terrified, he teleported away from the Daimons, back to the human world and to some semblance of safety.
No sooner had he arrived than he felt the unleashing–the sensation of his master’s death.
I’m free. After all the centuries of serving under his master’s cruel fist, he was now his own demon. Forever free. Joy filled him.
Until a Daimon appeared to his right. "What do you think you’re doing?"
The Daimon lunged at him, cutting off his words.
The slug demon ran.
"Come back here, you worm! Die like your master."
Terrified, the slug teleported again, but just as he flashed out, he felt something hit his chest like a vicious battering ram. Unable to breathe for the pain of it, he’d headed to the only place he could think of where the Daimons couldn’t kill him.
Sanctuary. It was the one establishment that protected all preternatural classes equally. The bears would make sure no one hurt him.
He flashed into the third story of the building where humans were forbidden to go and stumbled down two levels to the bar. At this hour, only a few patrons were in the club, along with a bear at the bar and a bear waitress. It appeared safe. There were no Daimons at all. With that thought foremost in his mind, he went to the bar to order a drink all the while he watched for the Daimon to come for him and finish him off.
Seconds ticked by slowly.
No Daimons. No one approached him.
His heartbeat slowing, he took his drink and sipped it, grateful that he’d escaped his near death in Kalosis at the hands of Stryker and crew. At least until the pain built inside his chest. It was unbearable. Agonizing.
What’s causing this? Was it something to do with the body he’d stolen before he’d gone to Kalosis? Did the biker have some kind of internal defect?
He staggered away from the bar, trying to find some way to make it stop hurting. He accidentally brushed up against a grubby human.
"Hey! Watch where you’re going, dick."
He growled at the pathetic human waste.
The human stood up and shoved him. "You wanna fight?"
Was that a trick question? The demon rushed him as they locked horns….
Sam pulled back emotionally from the sight as it intersected with what she already knew. Dev breaking them apart and the demon dying after the pain in his chest burst apart.
She opened her eyes to find Fang, Max, Aimee, and Colt watching her with curious expressions. "He came to Sanctuary because he was running from the Daimons. He thought he’d be safe here."
Max snorted. "Epic fail."
Ignoring him, Fang crossed his arms over his chest. "Why run from the Daimons? Any idea what they wanted with him?"
Not really, other than the Daimons were twisted freaks. "They ate his master and then they shot something into him. That was what made him explode after he got here. There was one Daimon who wanted to kill him in particular, but I don’t know why."
Aimee grimaced. "Why would they eat his master? They can’t feed off the blood of a demon…can they?" She looked up at her mate.
A tic started in Fang’s jaw as he considered it. "If a Daimon takes the soul of a Were-Hunter they get the Were-Hunter’s powers to use as their own."
"But it’s only temporary," Colt said. "When the Were-Hunter’s soul dies, they lose those powers."
Max narrowed his gaze on where the demon had died. "I thought they kept those powers."
Fang wiped his hand across his chin. "What ever. It doesn’t matter. We’re not talking Were-Hunters. We’re talking demons. And those rules could be entirely different."
"The power to walk in daylight," Aimee whispered, bringing them back to what was the most important part in all of this.
Fang gave a grim nod before he locked gazes with Sam. "Now that they’re not tied to the night, they’ll be coming for you guys when you’re most vulnerable."
In the daytime when they couldn’t run. The Dark-Hunters would be trapped in their homes and if the Daimons broke out the windows of their bedrooms to let daylight spill in…
They were dead.
Or worse, just burn down their homes while they slept. The Dark-Hunters wouldn’t be able to evacuate. A bad enough fire would kill them too.
With the Hunters all gone, no one would be here to stop the Daimons from killing any human they wanted to.
It would be open season on humanity.
Dev was toweling off his hair, heading back to his room when Aimee met him in the hallway.
She handed him a piece of paper. "Sam wanted me to give you this."
He scowled at the folded-up scrap of Sanctuary letterhead that still held the Amazon’s scent on it. "A paper note? How quaint. I haven’t seen one of these in a long time."
Aimee laughed. "Yeah. It reminds me of the days when women would leave their numbers on napkins for you and I’d have to bring you a stack of them every night. Now it’s all about sending the text and digits over. Just wait until they release swipe technology."
It was true. And that technology was just around the corner.
He met her gaze and held up the note with an arched brow. "You read this?"
She screwed her face up. "Oh God, no. Last thing I want is to read something I need eye bleach for. Learned my lesson a hundred years ago when that baroness left a note for you. I’m still traumatized…and nauseated by it." She headed to her room.
Dev draped the towel over his bare shoulder before he unfolded the note and read the clean, feminine script.
I know I shouldn’t do this, but if you like to live as dangerously as I do, head over to my place before you go to bed.
6537 St. Charles.
It’s the white three-story with the black gate.
Don’t worry. No strings. No demon slime. Just lots of hot, nak*d sex.
P.S. Destroy this immediately. Better yet, eat it.
He laughed at Sam’s orders. It was a real good thing Aimee hadn’t read it….
And again, his body went rock hard. What was it with the mere mention of Sam’s name or the scent of her skin that drove him into mindless sexcapade mode? Yeah, okay, so the last line probably had more to do with his heated blood than anything else. But that was beside the point.
You don’t need this. Your life’s screwed up enough. Not to mention, you want to move on without any entanglements.
Yeah, but Sam knew the score as well as he did. Like she said, it was without strings. Mindless. Two adults pleasing each other.
As long as no one found out, it’d all be good.
He balled the note up, then froze. What if you mate with her? That thought made his blood run cold.
Anytime a Were-Hunter had sex, it came with one really bad gamble and it wasn’t the fear of pregnancy or disease. They couldn’t make a woman pregnant unless they were mated to her and Were-Hunters were immune from most human diseases and all STDs.
The horror was, they didn’t choose who they mated with for life. The Greek Fates did that and those bitches had a nasty sense of humor. Case in point, his bear sister was mated to a wolf husband. His sister was a human with the ability to shift into a bear. His brother-in-law was a wolf who could become human. Two entirely different animals. When they went to sleep at night, Aimee remained human and Fang was a dog.
If Fang and Aimee ever had kids, which would be a major miracle given the fact they were practically different species, the screwed-up things would look like some messed-up Chow. He shuddered at the thought.
So if he had sex with Sam–even mindless, sweaty animal sex–there was always a chance he could end up mated to her. And mating was something you couldn’t fight. If they didn’t fulfill the ceremony, he’d be left impotent for all eternity. Literally, since she was a Dark-Hunter.
He would never have sex with a woman again….
I’d rather have an acid enema followed by living mummification.
C’mon, Dev. Don’t be paranoid. What are the odds? Sam was a Dark-Hunter. Surely the Fates wouldn’t piss off cousin Artemis by mating them together. Dark-Hunters were forbidden from having significant others–the risk to their partners was too great. They had too many enemies for that.
Oh, what kind of wuss are you? She was offering him free, uncomplicated sex and he was second-guessing it? Yeah, that was totally messed up.
Shaking his head at his own stupidity, especially when he’d never once in his entire life been a coward, Dev teleported the towel on his shoulder to the bathroom, manifested a T-shirt to wear, then jumped to Sam’s front door. ‘Cause it would just be in poor taste to show up shirtless on her doorstep even if it was only for a booty call. Contrary to popular opinion, he wasn’t a totally unsophisticated animal.
He could have driven over on his motorcycle, but he wasn’t willing to chance sense or anything else overriding his hormones. He wanted this and he wanted no delay.
Dev knocked on the black, wooden door of the pristine, rebuilt antebellum mansion. One of the weird things about Dark-Hunters, they couldn’t live in a home that had any kind of ghost. Since they were soulless beings, ghosts tended to want to take up residence in their bodies. So each place they lived in had to be carefully reviewed by the Squire’s Council to ensure the Hunter wouldn’t be possessed. Made him wonder what would happen if one of the Squires had a grudge against a Dark-Hunter and lied about their report.
That could get ugly….
For several minutes he heard nothing. But then the house was huge and if Sam was upstairs, it might take her a little bit to get to the door.
Or she could have changed her mind.
That would really suck. He’d be left out here looking like a giant bear goober on the front doorstep. Just don’t let the neighbors see me. That would suck even more. Especially given the obvious hard-on in his pants.
He looked over his shoulder to where the sun was just dawning. The warm rays were quickly spreading up the lawn and street. Could Sam be asleep already?
I should have moved faster.
Suddenly the front door opened into the house.
Assuming that was another invitation since he was pretty sure the door didn’t do this on its own for no reason, Dev walked through it. At least until he was inside the small foyer and saw Sam waiting for him on the bottom step of the winding, ornate mahogany staircase. Dressed in nothing but a sheer black robe that hung open to show off her nak*d body, she was exquisite. Every inch of her was ripped from exercise and it made his mouth water for a taste.
The door behind him slammed closed, then locked…without anyone touching it. That might scare most people, but since he had a degree of telekinesis himself, he was used to weirdness.
What he found unusual was her state of undress. "You always answer the door like that? You must have the happiest UPS driver on the planet."
She laughed as she walked toward him. "I wasn’t sure you’d come."
He arched a brow. "You dress like that to wait on just me? I don’t think so. My God, woman, how many men did you invite over?"
"Just you, baby. Just you. No one else could ever…well, I won’t feed your ego. I have a feeling I really don’t need to." She didn’t hesitate with her contradiction and by that he knew she was telling the truth–another bonus of his powers. He could smell a lie a mile away. People, mundanes and others, had an odor they let off whenever they lied. "But you took so long to get over here that I was beginning to think you intended to stand me up."
Dev put on his best "aw baby" stance. "You leave a man an invitation like that…he’d have to be dead to decline. I am definitely not dead. Although rigor has definitely settled into at least one part of my body with a vengeance." He glanced down at the sizable lump in his jeans.