Book 1 of the
Released 13 October 2009
The dark shape in
the bed didn't stir. I trailed tingling fingers over silken sheets,
carpet soft and luxurious beneath my feet. I inhaled crisp male cologne
and sweat, and it made me drunk with excitement. The French window lay
open, city lights glittering beyond, citrus summer breeze teasing the
pale lace curtains. They drifted over me like a lover's sweet touch,
and I burned. If I didn't have this man soon, I'd spend the night sick
and sorry. And I didn't even know who he was.
Sometimes I feel so cheap.
My demon lord, Kane, calls it rapture.
course, is the point. It's easier to suck
out someone's soul if their attention is elsewhere. Only problem is,
it's the succubus equivalent of a raging hard-on, and frankly, it's
humiliating to slaver like a sex-starved ghoul over some fat chauvinist
gangster or unwashed backroom drug dealer just because they were
foolish enough to cross Kane and his charming minions, the Valenti
But it's my job. I'm in thrall to Kane for a thousand years. I was just
glad no one could see me this time.
I crawled toward him, arousing my scent so it drifted over him like a
sweet cloud. The sheet slid off his massive shoulder, baring his chest,
and I bent to sniff his stubbled throat, my hair brushing his face.
He didn't stir.
The dark smell of his skin made me moan, and I slid my tongue along his
warm collarbone, desperate to taste him. My breasts ached as I pressed
into him, only my thin tank top separating us.
He didn't even twitch.
I dragged my fingers through his lank fair hair, and his head fell
sideways, limp, no breath forcing from his slack mouth.
My racing heart missed a beat. I fumbled on the bedside table,
switching on the dim lamp. His hard features lay softened in death, his
tanned skin already pale.
I stared. I knew that blond ponytail, that unforgiving mouth, those
rigid gym-built muscles. I'd danced with him, dined with him on
amatriciana and red wine at Valentino's, peeled his big hands off my
ass more than once. Nino Valenti. Gangster, extortionist, multiple
murderer. Ange Valenti's right-hand man.
Kane had sent me to kill one of his own minions. And Nino was already
dead. His glazed eyes shone vacant, colorless, their once-steady blue
drained. No blood, no vomit or marks on his body. It wasn't a typical
mob murder. He wasn't drugged, shot, strangled, fae-poisoned. Someone
had sucked out his soul. They'd beaten me to it.
What the hell?
I sat up on my knees, my chest heaving, frustrated desire radiating off
me like sultry summer heat. Dead. But still fragrant, still warm. Which
My back thudded into the soft mattress, the weight of a hard male body
between my legs pressing me down. Strong hands grasped my wrists,
trapping them above my head, strands of my hair pulling in their grip.
"Wrong place, wrong time, sweetheart." The voice was low, breathless, a
hint of exotic Hindi accent. I glimpsed dark tangled hair, a flash of
golden-brown eyes, fragrant brown skin. Fresh desire burned over me, my
urgent breath searing my throat, my entire body straining, yearning for
Sweat trickled on my skin, running into my hair and dampening my hands.
I couldn't believe this. Of all that could possibly happen to me this
evening, I'd never imagined I'd end up panting with lust under Rajahni
Not that Rajah wasn't worthy of some serious panting, along with a
scream and an oh, god or two. He was the kind of incubus who didn't
need the rapture to get his victims begging for him. I'd never even
spoken to him before. The words out
of my league didn't even approximate.
The words you killed Nino Valenti,
"Get off me!" I kicked, wriggling, but succeeded only in pressing him
tighter between my legs, my thin skirt rucking up to the tops of my
thighs. He wore no shirt, and in the lamplight, his taut brown skin
glistened, sweat running on curving muscles.
He twisted his dark head back a little so he could see me, wet dark
strands falling in his face. Sexual energy glimmered off him in waves
like a heat haze, his eyes glowing with desire, his ripe lips parted
and slick. His magic didn't affect me, of course. An incubus's rapture
doesn't work on succubi—or vice versa, for that matter. But I was
worked up enough already, and likewise I couldn't imagine the
smoldering need in his eyes and the deliciously hard bulge pressing
into my crotch had anything to do with me.
"Jade?" His sinful lips formed my name, caressing it like a kiss.
He recognized me. My mouth watered. God, I hoped I had underwear on, or
I'd make a mess of his jeans. Then again, if I wasn't wearing any, I
could unzip him, squeeze myself onto him, and do something about this
wasted rapture that made me ache.
Of its own accord, my leg wrapped itself around his thighs, straining,
pleasure flowering at the pressure. "Well spotted, genius. You gonna
get off me?"
His fingers tightened on my wrists, and he ground against me with a
helpless little groan, but his eyes glinted with amusement as well as
lust. "Are you sure you want me to? I could get off in you, if you
Anger boiled my desire, though the thought of him thrusting into me,
exploding deep within me with his lips on mine, made me faint with
longing. No way would he use me for his twisted little games, even if
he was a secret fantasy fuck of mine from way back. "Give it a rest,
Seth. That's a dead body, in case you hadn't noticed."
His lips hovered over mine for a heart-stopping instant, but before I
could slide my tongue out to taste him, he rolled off me and rose,
pacing, scraping tense hands through his hair.
I sat up, fury searing away my regret. "What are you playing at, using
a Valenti for sustenance? Kane'll have your ass."
But I couldn't help watching as he found his shirt and slipped it on.
They sure built them beautiful in seventeenth-century Lahore, or
wherever the hell he was from. Dark locks tangling on his collar,
sensual mouth quivering, perfect nose, strong chin, upswept cheekbones.
Legs long and muscular in soft black jeans, tight ass begging to be
squeezed with both hands while he fucked me. Broad golden thrall
bangles, thicker than mine, glinting tight on his forearms. He moved
with raw grace, his movements swift and tense as he struggled to
contain his rapture-soaked lust.
He retrieved his etched brass soultrap bottle from the carpet and
dangled it in front of my eyes, wiggling it so I could see from the
weight that it was full. "Kane's orders. I don't ask; I just fuck."
Which explained the state he was in. He hadn't consumed Nino's energy,
but trapped it, and he'd obviously ignored soultrapping rule number
one: Don't let your victim come first. I'd never pictured Rajah as
going both ways. Maybe he hadn't either, but Kane's word was law. I
sympathized. All the same, my sex ached just thinking about a threesome.
I scrambled up from the bed, jerking my damp skirt down over my exposed
thighs. "Yeah, I've heard that about you."
He gave a wicked smile and hissed like a cat, miming striking claws.
"No need to be nasty. I offered." His smile turned sultry. "Sure you're
My heart pounded. Oh, I was tempted, all right.
I struggled to keep my mind on the issues. What would Kane want with
his own minion's soul? He'd get it soon enough anyway. And why had he
sent both of us to do the same thing?
But Rajah's dark, spicy scent wrapped me like a sweet mist, my rapture
blinding me to everything but him, his eyes, his wicked black lashes,
the pulse throbbing at his throat, that slutty mouth made for pleasure.
I stepped closer. He stepped closer. He dropped the soultrap bottle
with a soft thud and ran his fingers into my hair, twisting, sliding in
deeper. My breasts brushed his chest, my nipples so hard, the pleasure
hurt. I slid my hands over his hips to his gorgeous firm ass and pulled
him against me. He was hard, pulsing, so ready, and wetness slid from
me, staining my skirt, painting the insides of my thighs with hot need.
We both groaned, the air around us shimmering. Already his burning
fingers sought my skirt hem, dragging it upward. He nuzzled my throat,
his lips firm and insistent, his clever tongue making me shiver.
"Jade," he breathed, his voice thick with lust, "I never knew you were
so damn beautiful."
Cold humiliation washed over me, spoiling his glorious caress. He'd
never noticed me before. What was I thinking? He was Rajahni Seth, the
hottest incubus in Melbourne, who had any woman he wanted with a single
sultry glance from those bedroom eyes. And I was me.
Stick-thin, mousy-haired, tongue-tied me. Certainly not beautiful or
engaging. It wasn't like we could have a relationship, not in our line
of work, even if I wasn't the world's most boring woman and so far
below his standards that even a glance from him was charity. So we'd
have sex in a cloud of drunken rapture, it'd be magnificent, and I'd be
miserable for the next six hundred years, pining for him. And he'd
forget about me, we'd meet in the street or a bar and smile uneasily
and look away, and he'd laugh with his friends about how he was once so
desperate, he had to fuck me.
"This is a bad idea," I whispered, trying to push him away though my
body still ached for him to give me release, my treacherous hands still
wanting to explore him, pleasure him. "I don't even know you."
He stilled, his lips wet on my throat. "Are you serious? Most girls
don't want to."
Now I did shove him away, my hands trembling more with fury than with
desire. "Am I supposed to feel sorry for you? Just get out of here
Fists thudded on the apartment door. "Police, open up!"
Before anyone finds us here.
For a few pulse-rippling seconds, Rajah's lips bruised mine, shocking,
arousing, our teeth clashing in a feral kiss. "Some other time,
princess," he breathed, and vanished.
I stumbled into the space where he'd been, the spicy taste of cardamom
still stinging my mouth.
Jesus. He'd disappeared. I couldn't do that. How did he do that?
I cursed, and scrabbled on the carpet, but his soultrap bottle was
gone. He'd taken it with him. Leaving me with the cops and a dead
Valenti body in a room that reeked of sex, and a most unflattering wet
patch on my skirt.
* * *
On the rooftop, Rajahni Seth leans over, hooking his elbow into the
wrought-iron trimming, and watches the uniforms bundle Jade into the
back of the blue-and-white Holden double-parked in the street below.
Other drivers slow down as they pass, rubbernecking, and a gleaming
silver tram rattles up the middle of the street, wires sparking, bright
lights pouring from square windows advertising broadband Internet.
Warm summer breeze whispers through Rajah's dark hair, drenched with
the smell of thunder, tracing teasing fingers over his hot skin. A
million city lights from skyscrapers and neon signs block out the
stars, their reflection glowing orange in scudding storm clouds. The
brass bottle burns his hand, the fresh soul energy within bubbling
angrily in its new confinement, and Rajah's cock tightens even more as
he thinks about what it means. One down, three to go, and Rajah will be
free of Kane's thrall forever. The legend is true. He knows it. He can
taste it. He senses it in the soul's mad struggles in his bottle. He
feels it searing through his blood.
It was sickeningly easy to get. He'd seen the burning green aura that
identified Nino as his target days ago, and he'd bided his time,
contained his excitement, weighed up his chances. Nino wanted so
desperately to be straight, it was painful, and to have another man get
his cock hard made him glow with shame and sick hatred. Once they'd
made it to the apartment tonight after a few solid hours of watching
Nino drink and eye him off, Rajah made the moves, and Nino's face
darkened, he pulled his .45, yelled that he wasn't fucking gay, that
Seth could get the fuck away from him or he'd blow his girly faggot ass
But a fragrant shimmer of rapture changed all that, dragging the poor
kid kicking and cursing exactly where he wanted to go. Nino had
beautiful, grabbable hair and a professionally sculpted body, even if
he was a self-hating homophobe and Neanderthal dumb, and Rajah relished
the thought of claiming that rock-hard far-from-virgin ass, working
inside into the heat, and stroking Nino into orgasm that way. But Nino
couldn't wait; he'd started to come before Rajah had more than a finger
inside him and then it was too late.
But it didn't matter. Rajah had figured aching balls were a small price
to pay for this first special soul. Perhaps he'd head down to Unseelie
Court on King Street and tease a blow job from one of those willowy
blue-haired banshees who were forever giving him the eye, just to
silence his rampant rapture.
And then Jade showed up. Slender, slate-eyed Jade, with her sexy mouth,
gorgeous little breasts, and narrow, perfect ass. No makeup, short
plain nails, simple clothes, gently brushed dark hair falling in her
face like she couldn’t be bothered with it.
He's seen her before, she's Ange Valenti's trophy girl, but she'd
always dropped her gaze or scowled or pretended not to see him.
Suspicious of his good looks, wary of his reputation. A woman of class
like her probably thought him a slut and a pickup artist. He'd never
imagined he'd be lucky enough to have her lithe body straining beneath
him, her wet little cleft hot and tempting against his bursting cock
even through his jeans. Yeah, baby. It made him want to fill her,
stretch her, hear her scream his name.
He watches the cop car drive away down the tree-lined street toward the
river and St. Kilda Road, still staring after it's long gone. She
didn't want him. Not really. It was just the rapture, right? No way
she'd ever want a party boy.
Sure, he gets his share of women who aren’t business, men too. Most are
easy airheads looking for a good time or a dark taste of danger. Not
I don't even know you,
she said. Like she might one day want to.
He wonders what that would be like, and something diamond-cold in his
But he can't let anything distract him, not now. He's waited centuries
for this chance, and he won't throw it away because a sexy little waif
gets his cock hard. Really hard. Can't-walk-properly hard. Maybe he’ll
find that banshee after all. But first, to hide this soul away where
not even he can get at it, just in case.
Rajah turns away with a stretch and a sigh, his fingers tightening
around the quivering soultrap. Just the rapture. Just a sweet little
succubus, embarrassed by her lust.
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