She’s stolen a soul… and his heart.
Ky Puru is the best chance anyone has to get the soul of the Golden Dragon Wyvern back. Nothing will stand in his way - not demons, not witches, not even the king of hell himself. There’s only one problem. Jada, the thief, is a succubus...and his true mate.
~ EXCERPT ~
Jada paced back and forth in the little room, biting her nails and glancing at the decorative clock hanging over the small desk in the corner.
Tomorrow morning would mark the longest she’d ever made it, one week without blood or sex.
It was also the day she was scheduled for her first busy morning shift serving coffee and donuts at the café below her apartment.
She had never been more terrified in her entire life. Not when the demon dragons had attacked her. Not when she was very little and her mother had died. Not even when Leon – King Leonard, Ruler of the Incubus – had shown up mourning her mother and taken her away to initiate her into the coven.
The woman, or rather, witch, who owned Nine Holes Donuts had mistaken Jada for her newly hired help. Jada wondered if the mysterious man and the woman in white had done that. Until someone else showed up, she would take the job and the apartment that went with it, and keep her mouth shut.
And her teeth to herself.
But the cravings were getting worse by the day.
Chocolate covered, Bavarian cream-filled bismarks helped. So far.
She also hadn’t been face to face with temptation. Whatever kind of witch Ninsy was, she was only part human. The other unknown part of her smelled strange. Like a beautiful, but poisonous hemlock flower.
All Jada knew was Ninsy wasn’t edible. She was super nice, so it was a relief that Jada didn’t want to suck her blood. It made her training and the slow early afternoon shifts she’d started with a hell of a lot easier to handle.
Ninsy had asked Jada to join her for tea every afternoon around one, after the not so busy lunch rush. They had tea and scones together, and then Jada practiced on the cash register, and served the very small trickle of customers under Ninsy’s watchful eye.
One customer, or a cute little family in for an afternoon treat, she could resist.
The hot delivery guy was another story. A juicy, sexy, do me in the back of the walk-in cooler while I suck you dry story.
Ack. There she went daydreaming again. Bad succubus. Bad, bad, succubus.
This whole going cold turkey blood and abstinence thing sucked. Not in the fun way.
She had to keep her mind off humans and all their scrumptious arteries and veins and arteries…and veins.
Jada flipped through the recipe cards Ninsy had given her to study and grabbed a blueberry sour cream donut hole, popping it into her mouth. The burst of fruit and sugar exploded in her mouth. These baked goods, combined with anything to distract her brain from the incessant neediness, were the only way she’d made it through the last few days.
If she could work in the back, making the donuts instead of serving them, she’d have a better chance at not eating anyone, or not getting arrested for having sex in public. But Ninsy was protective about the food preparation.
She ate another donut hole. A few leaves of fresh basil in the mix would give these tasty guys a hint of herbal goodness. Not that she wanted to tell Ninsy how to run her business. At least she had a business. A legitimate one.
No other paranormal being Jada had come across wanted to work for a living. Well, she was going to. Didn’t matter that she was forced to at this point. There was a sense of relief in knowing that if she put in the time and effort, she could make a life for herself like Ninsy had.
At least she hoped she could.
Jada studied the recipe cards and menu offerings, even though she was on a first name basis with every sugary carby breakfast item Nine Holes offered, until she was too exhausted to think about anything other than going to bed.
Leon hated the day, as all demons did, and used the night to his advantage. He thought the whole emo wanna-be vampire counter-culture was hilarious, and a it was great place to find willing-ish victims. She and the rest of the coven kept whatever hours he did even though she and Portia and the other demi-demons could go into the sunlight just fine thanks to the human part of themselves.
She never had though. Before this week, she’d never seen the sun so many times in her life. She might be half creature of the night, but no one had ever told her how beautiful a sunrise was.
However, having to adjust her schedule and get up at noon, had felt like gross o’clock. Tomorrow she had to be at work at six in the morning. That used to be her normal bedtime.
Her head bobbed and the crash of trash cans in the alley behind the building jerked her from drifting into sleep. Time for bed.
She had just enough time to get in a good nap before she had to be downstairs to start the coffee pots. All she’d need then was some caffeine and adrenaline to get her through the morning.
Boy, was she wrong.
The next morning was hell on earth.
“Hey, lady. You gonna get us those crullers, or what?”
Yeah, just as soon as she finished shoving frosting up her nose, because gah, the guy at the counter smelled delicious. In a I-vant-to-suck-your-blood way.
“Be right there.”
This was the third time she’d refilled their order because every time she got a whiff of eau de sexy golfer boy she force-fed herself half their order to keep from doing something worse.
She’d already gained five pounds this week. What was five more?
The second she turned around with the bag of donuts, minus one, the scent of cinnamon, nutmeg, and O positive hit her in the teeth. “Miss, do you have pumpkin spice creamer?”
Jada bet the woman would taste exactly like pumpkin pie. “Not for a few more months. It’s only Spring. Sorry.”
She bit the inside of her lip to keep her mouth shut and her fangs hidden.
She handed the order over and the next man in line practically assaulted her and her senses. “You’re not out of chocolate raised glazed, are you? That’s my lucky donut. I have to have at least two or my handicap will go through the roof.”
Early morning golfers were more superstitious and demanding than a thousand-year-old incubus. Sheesh.
“Are you Eric?” The oh, so edible Eric? “Ninsy had me save you a couple. I’ll run and grab them.”
Run right out the back door and into oncoming traffic. Because a traumatic brain injury might be the only way to get her mind off sucking every single person in the café drier than a day-old donut.
Except it would take her body only a few hours to heal any broken bones, so a crushed skull and some squished brains would only save her from one day of mouthwatering, soul-sucking torture.
Plus, she’d probably lose her job.
She’d been a fool to think she could be around humans without wanting to turn the café into a blood bath or an orgy. Stupid.
Her stomach growled. “Shut-up, you.”
Ninsy laughed and shoved a mug of herbal tea into Jada’s hands. “Oh hey, Miss cranky-pants. Not a rise and shine gal, huh?”
Ninsy had more burns on her arms this morning. She really should wear gloves or something around the oven and fryers.
“Sorry, I wasn’t yelling at you. I’m working on the whole morning person thing.”
“Sip on that. It’ll get you through.” Ninsy tipped her chin toward the cup, but before Jada could say thanks, the timer on the oven went off and the bell at the cash register dinged.
She took a quick scalding sip of the hot beverage and grabbed Eric the Edible’s good luck donuts.
A line four deep waited at the counter and she raced to fulfill all the orders. Being ultra busy kept her blood-lust at bay. Or maybe it was that tea.
Either way, she made it through the shift without snacking on anything with a heartbeat. She did owe the till her day’s wages, plus tomorrow’s and most of next week’s for all the donuts she’d eaten.
The only thing left was the plate of strawberry rhubarb Danishes that no one seemed to want.
The café was empty for the moment. Ninsy had said she needed more rhubarb and decided to try the fresh basil in the blueberry donut recipe. She popped over to the market down the street to get her fresh produce.
Jada got busy bussing the tables, refilling the coffee bar condiments, and congratulating herself on controlling her emotions and hunger.
She’d learned one important thing. Leonard had lied. He’d always made her think she’d die if she didn’t get regular, almost daily, servings of blood and sex.
The half human part of her was perfectly happy to be on a see-food diet. It was the crybaby emotional demon part of her, that needed a good spanking and to be put to bed.
Ooh. Spanking. Mmm-hmm.
Ack. No. Naughty libido.
She thought the sugar and chocolate overdose was working to suppress that base urge too. Apparently not.
What she needed was a better plan than eating her way into oblivion, and size a hundred and seventeen jeans, to get over her need for blood and sex.
Too bad there was no such thing as Vampires Anonymous. She could sure use a sponsor and a twelve-step program.
Maybe she’d invent the steps for herself. Step one, admit you have a problem.
She stood facing the display case filled with the remaining day’s offerings. They were as good of witnesses as she could ask for. She raised her right hand. Was that what she was supposed to do? It felt appropriate, so she went with it.
“Hello, my name is Jada and I’m a succubus.”
Jada’s mouth and throat went dryer than the day-olds.
Donuts didn’t talk, so that meant someone else, someone with a deep sexy I’m-going-to-fuck-you-till-you-scream-my-name voice had heard what she’d said.
The glass of the display case only reflected the bottom half of whoever stood behind her. What a bottom half it was.
Walk away, she told herself. Go straight into the back and turn on every noisy piece of equipment and pretend this guy didn’t exist.
He’d go away.
Or not, and then he’d leave a bad review on Yelp, telling people a crazy lady had ignored him.
Jada slowly turned while also shrinking down into herself. What in the world was she going to say? She was rehearsing for a play. Oh, hell, could she get any more cliché?
She’d simply offer him a donut and ignore the whole I’m a succubus thing. He was here for a donut anyway. This was a donut shop.
The sooner she got him his food, the sooner he’d be on his way and she could, silently, work on coming up with her other eleven steps.
“Hi. Welcome to Nine Holes, would you like a coffee with your donut today?”
Holy Swiss meringue buttercream. He was even more good looking from the waist up.
Dark skin, tribal tattoos on his arms, and blue eyes that reminded her of the waterfalls coming down into a lagoon at the edge of the ocean. Those eyes went wide, and he stepped back, like she’d shoved him. The bone carving on a cord he wore around his neck glowed with a brilliant blue light.
She’d seen that light before.
The skin over her breastbone tingled and she rubbed at it through her shirt. Oh. The necklace the woman in white had given her moved under her fingers.
Try as she might, she hadn’t been able to remove the necklace all week. She took a quick peek down her shirt and the charm that hung at the end of the chain was glowing too.
The customer narrowed his eyes at her and stepped directly into her personal space bubble.
“No, I want the soul shard you took from Cage Gylden.”
The closer he got, the more she wanted to rub herself all over him like a cat looking for some snuggles. She glanced outside. Yep. Still light out, so he wasn’t an incubus turning his allure on her. Which was the only thing she could compare this feeling running through her whole body to. She’d better get away from him, whatever he was. “Uh, I don’t think we have that flavor, but I can check in back.”
“Good try. You’re not going anywhere.”
He grabbed her arm and they both looked at where his skin met hers. A zap of dynamite more fulfilling than any sex energy she’d ever had overwhelmed her. All the bloodlust and need from the morning dissolved and the empty place inside of her didn’t feel so hollow anymore.
Scales rippled across his arms and neck, and the head of a dragon tattoo stretched up from under the collar of his shirt, literally moving across his neck.
What was this guy? Not incubus, not demon, not human.
The looked at each other and at the same time said, “What are you?”
A smile that made Jada go weak in the knees spread across the mystery man’s face. His eyes twinkled, and he placed one hand on her back and wrapped the other around her waist, pulling her to him. Each place he touched her tingled, intensifying the buzz of the necklace between her breasts.
This must be what the hypnotic allure she used on her victims felt like. Who cared if he was going to eat her? It was going to be awesome.
Adrenaline pumped through her like a syringe pushed it in. Her heart raced, and her lungs worked overtime. But, not from fear. Oh no. This was pure unadulterated, unfiltered, unimaginable lust. Different than the bloodlust she fought against. That had an angry, dark, empty force. The stranger’s touch filled her straight up to the top with excitement and butterflies and all the feels.
It all felt so damn good. She wanted him to kiss her. Stupid. Crazy. Why would he do that? One point seven seconds ago he’d been accusing her of theft.
He brushed his lips across her mouth, pushing his bottom one against hers, asking her to open for him. The only men she’d ever kissed were under the spell of the allure. She was still so surprised by his move to kiss her she didn’t respond, until he nipped at that lip.
Oh, yeah. She parted her lips and inhaled his flavor. His tongue played with hers, testing and tasting her as she did him. He was sour candy and the sea. She couldn’t get enough of him.
She pushed her hands into his hair and returned his fervor as good as he gave. Geez, he was a good kisser.
His lips were everywhere she wanted them to be and his tongue was doing things she didn’t even know she liked.
She was probably a slobbering mess, and he could be running the most popular kissing booth in the universe.
He broke the kiss way before she was ready. She could go on kissing him for days, and not need food, water, or air.
“Ahhhhhemmmmm. Sorry to interrupt.” Someone stood just inside the doorway to the café.
Eek. She hadn’t even noticed the bell over the door ring, much less another being in the room. Jada was staring up at her kisser and only caught the person out of the corner of her eye. How long had the voyeur been there?
Her guy flicked his gaze back and forth between her eyes and lips, but then stepped back, turning to be by her side.
Jada blinked a few times trying to get her brain out of the gutter and back into her head.
“I see you’re not hurting for sustenance then.” Her sister walked up to the counter. She was looking very cool in her dark glasses, black leather jacket and messy bun.
“Portia? What are you doing here?” Leon had sent her sister away, a mini-banishment. Plus, he didn’t allow anyone from the coven out into town during the day. Jada had been gone a week without so much as even a sighting of any of her brothers or sisters.
She planned to try to get in touch with Portia someday, but not yet. She wasn’t ready.
Portia looked around the café and ran a finger over the top of a table, sauntering closer, as if she didn’t care about this conversation in the least. It was a skill Jada coveted.
“Aren’t you going to introduce me to your snack?”
The guy placed his hand on the small of her back, all possessive like. “No, she isn’t.”
The kissy face with Mr. Sexy-pants was great, and there was more going on with him that she’d figure out later. But she didn’t belong to anyone anymore, so he could take his possessiveness and put it up his butt.
He was right though. Even if she didn’t know his name, and she’d find it out as soon as she found out why Portia was here, she still wouldn’t introduce him to another succubus.
He was hers.
Jada shuffled to the side and out of his grasp. He growled, quietly enough that only she heard.
Portia glanced between the two of them and quirked her head to the side. “I’ve come to take you back.”
For the first time, probably ever, she felt a little bit proud of herself. A tiny modicum of the hatred for who and what she was had faded, if only for a few minutes.
Going back to live with Leonard, letting him dictate her life, would only push her further into the darkness.
“Back? To Leon, the coven. I… I don’t need them anymore.”
That might be a lie right now, but she was doing everything she could to make it into truth. This week had been hard. Today especially had tested every resolve she had to give up sex and blood.
“Don’t do this, Jada. No one survives without a coven. My month away taught me that. At least I had Geshtianna’s coven to take refuge in when I got to the continent. You’ve got nothing.”
“I have everything I need. I’m not going back. I can’t live like that anymore.” Jada reaffirmed what she’d said with a shake of her head.
Neither of them had to pretend Portia didn’t know what Jada meant.
“You still can’t change what you are. Why do you continue to make it so hard on yourself?”
Portia’s words echoed Leon’s. She was the closest thing Jada had to a real sister, but even Portia fell in line with Leon’s way of thinking.
“You’re the only one I regret leaving, but I’m not going back. I must do this. I want to know what it’s like to be human too, not just a succubus.”
The stranger grumbled something under his breath that definitely included some swearing.
That was not how she’d intended on telling him she was a demon. Crap.
“I was hoping you’d listen to reason, but since you won’t, maybe you’ll hear this.” Portia looked the guy up and down before she continued. She must have decided he was okay. “The demon dragons are coming for you tonight. Leon won’t let any of us do anything about it as long as you’re in your rebellious phase.”
The guy stepped up. “Tell me now why demon dragons would be after this woman.”
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