A novel of the Seven Signs
Out on 5 March 2013
Japheth gazed into the hot moonlit sky, and
prayed. Lord, let me kill every last vampire
Starting with this lot.
Six of them, soaked in blood, creeping from steamy
shadows. Streetlamps flickered, burning their
crazed eyes crimson. One had dreadlocks. Another
wore a cheap suit. One had pink-dyed hair and
pierced eyebrows. They snarled with long sickle
teeth, and clawed the air with bitten hands.
“Charming.” Dashiel flashed his blue-flaming
sword, two-handed, and flared his dark wings for
balance. His silver armor glowed, angry. “It’s Night
of the Living Junkies. Did you bring
“If they kill us, we’ll be just as dead.”
Japheth’s golden feathers prickled, a warrior’s
instinct. His spell-sharpened gaze snapped left
and right, his senses itching for scents, alive
for the tiniest rustle. Distances, heights,
relative strength. Trajectory plotted,
Killing demonspawn was what he was made for. And
every dead vampire took him one step closer to
He conjured his sword and dived full length. The
sky-lit blade burned cold in his hand. The
creatures spat hell-stung curses, slashing at him
with ragged nails. Japheth somersaulted over them,
a flurry of gold. Snick! A head flew,
spraying crimson. Splat! Another. He
sprang a backflip, slicing a third creature apart
at the waist.
He landed with a crunch on the bloody sidewalk and
surveyed the carnage. Dashiel had already head
sliced two more. Their corpses leaked red puddles
on the concrete. The last vampire screeched,
insane with hunger, and hurtled for Japheth’s
Its teeth sliced his shoulder. Its breath stank of
dead flesh. Japheth ignored the sting, the burning
hellcurse. He flashed his sword away, grabbed the
creature’s neck in both hands, and twisted.
Snap! Its head flopped. He tossed the
corpse aside, and sizzled the blood from his
breastplate with a hissing heavencurse. “Four for
me, two for you. Getting slow, old man?”
“Bite me, baby face.” Dashiel vanished his sword,
a blue flash, and wiped blood from his eyes.
“Jesus. Last month shambling corpses, this month
hungry metrosexuals with bad teeth. What gives?”
“You know what.” Japheth flexed scorched palms.
Already the wounds were healing. Angelflesh on
demon always burned. He didn’t mind the pain. It
meant he was doing heaven’s work.
And since he’d been Tainted—since Michael tore his
soul from his body and banished him to this dirty,
decadent earth, neither damned nor saved—he
couldn’t afford to sin. Not if he ever wanted back
“You really think these blood-munching idiots are
another vial?” Dashiel laughed. “Isn’t it meant to
be rivers of blood this time? These days
everything’s a fucking sign. The wind blows the
wrong way across Times Square and suddenly it’s
the end of the world—”
“‘They have shed the blood of saints and
prophets, so you have given them blood to drink,
for they deserve it,’” quoted Japheth
ironically. “It’s in the Book, right next to the
rivers of blood. You really should read more,
Dash. It’s kind of important.”
“I must be the prophet, then.” Dash grinned.
“Because sure as hell’s a shithole, I ain’t no
“Isn’t that the truth.” Japheth hoisted a severed
head to the light. Even dead, the thing’s hair
sizzled in his fist. The corrupted stink assaulted
him, that unmistakable mix of charcoal, rotting
meat and shit. Moonlight glinted a gleeful
hellcurse in its empty eyes. Give me your
soul, angel, it seemed to cackle silently. Die
screaming. The world’s ours now.
Not on my watch, scumbreath. He poked a
stinging finger into its mouth. Its jaw gaped,
blood and broken teeth. Sure was crowded in there.
Curved canines and incisors, unnaturally long,
with sharp serrated points. This thing wasn’t
human, not anymore. “Look, it’s a new variant.
Three rows of teeth. Brutal.” Dash peered closer,
wrinkling his nose. “Okay, that’s ugly. The curse
must be mutating. Spreading, too. There’s more of
’em every week. Slimy shitballs are crawling from
here to SoHo.”
Japheth tossed the reeking head away. “Well,
whatever it is, we can still kill ’em. I call that
“You’ve got a one-track sense of fun, you know
Japheth grinned, feral. “Whatever gets you through
“Bloodthirsty bastard.” Dashiel cracked his neck
bones, tense, and flexed his glittery brown wings.
“Fucking hellspawn. There goes my quiet evening.”
Japheth could hear Dash’s heartbeat, strong and
swift, sparkling with heaven’s glory. Dash had
issues with glory. Until he did something about
it—likely, he’d find some willing woman and take
it out on her—he’d have sweet-fire poison pumping
in his veins, a raging headache, the hard-on from
Japheth preferred to fight himself into
exhaustion. It was safer that way . . . but he
suppressed a dark twinge of envy. “Yeah, right.
When’s the last time you spent the night alone?”
“When’s the last time you didn’t?”
Japheth smiled brightly. “Screw you.”
“Tricky, with the size of the stick up your ass.”
“Yet somehow you manage.” Japheth wiggled his
little finger, smirking.
Dash snorted, shaking his dark head. “You know, I
get your whole sinless, warrior-for-god,
let-me-back-into-heaven kick? But it wouldn’t kill
you to relax once in a while.”
“You sure about that?” Lust was a sin, even for a
Tainted angel. He’d never win redemption that way.
And besides, all that meaningless carnal pleasure
was . . . sordid. Self-indulgent. His heart wasn’t
in it. He had better outlets for heaven’s holy
wrath than getting hot and breathless with a
Like slaughtering hellspawn. Killing was a sin,
too. That was in the Book. But not when the
monsters had already sold their souls to hell.
That was mercy, or heaven-sweet vengeance. Either
way, it was good.
He flexed fervent wings. He didn’t want to talk,
or play heartless sex games. He just wanted to
coat himself with demon-cursed blood, score a few
more dead hellspawn for heaven. “Relax, yes.
Sludge my wits with some dirty crap cooked up in a
toilet bowl in Queens, and make a slut of myself
with some woman I don’t care about? I’ll skip it,
if it’s all the same to you.”
“Who said anything about sluts?” said Dash
innocently. “Chicks dig that silent-warrior vibe
of yours. Lots of them are perfectly nice girls—”
“Which is why they’re better off never knowing
Dash tilted his gaze skywards. “He’s a killer, not
a lover. I’m sorry, did I miss the chapter where
it says ‘thou shalt be a frosty-assed son of a
“Yeah. It’s right under the part where it says ‘go
forth and screw yourself into damnation.’ I think
you stopped there.”
“Okay, fine, I give up,” Dash grumbled. “Your
loss.” He rolled tight shoulders, and the golden
snakecharm around his neck glinted in evil red
moonlight. “This vampire thing is getting worse.
I’ll run it by Mike, see what he wants to do.”
Japheth sweated, like he always did when he
thought of Michael, who alone had the power to
return him to heaven. Once, he and the icy
archangel were close. Now? Not so much. “Because
that worked so well last time,” he replied
tightly. “We barely got out of the first two signs
Dash shrugged. “Above my pay scale, brother.
Stopping this Apocalypse is Mike’s circus. Let him
“You’re gonna trust him? After he ordered me to
kill you?” Sometimes, Michael tested him, to see
how far he’d fallen. He still remembered how close
he’d come, the fire licking his blade, the horrid
compulsion to kill racing in his blood . . .
“Still alive, ain’t I?” Dash waved a careless
hand. “Spit it or swallow it, Mike still owns our
soulless asses. Does it piss me off? Every damn
day. But what am I gonna do, get another job? Oh,
wait, opportunities in the private sector for
‘kick-ass angel of death with no soul’ seem to
have dried right up.” He dragged his long dark
hair from its curled iron clip and refastened it.
“So screw it,” he announced happily. “Let’s get
drunk. You coming, or is that a daft question?”
“To a bar, with you and your hard-on? Let me
“Suit yourself.” Dash clapped him on the shoulder,
a gesture that never failed to irritate. “Happy
killing. Watch out for the Angel Slayer.”
Some jerk-off in the West Village was killing
angels. Almost a dozen in the past few weeks.
Stabbing them through the heart with a demonblade
and pissing off into the night like a mincing
Hungry lightning crackled around Japheth’s sword
grip. Bring it on. Just let the bastard try it.
“Yeah. Right. The Angel Slayer better watch out
“Atta boy.” Dash winked, and flashed out.
Alone in the moonlight, Japheth ruffled clotted
golden feathers. Thick summer heat slicked his
skin. Flames flickered in an upstairs window.
Shadows leapt. Smoke curled, gritty in his mouth.
Gunfire cracked, and in the distance, a woman
He whispered an ancient prayer, and glory sparkled
into his blood like frosty flame. His breath
quickened as the rush hit him hard. His eyes
watered. His muscles tightened, shuddered. Yeah.
Pleasure, hunger, sweet desire—it was no contest.
His heavenly gifts hadn’t been taken from him, not
in all these long years of being Tainted. But he
knew the glory could desert him at any moment.
Better use it while it lasts.
He crouched, one hand braced on the pavement. His
nerves glittered on a fighting edge, his senses
razor sharp. No time to lose. Somewhere, demons
plotted destruction. The Angel Slayer lurked in
shadow. The street still reeked of hell-cursed
And Japheth of the Tainted was just in the mood
“Don’t squeal, godscum. Just die.”
Rose Harley twisted her demon-spelled knife deeper
into the angel’s heart. Blood gushed, and her skin
blistered with holy wrath.
How she loathed the self-righteous stench of
She drove the knife in harder. Angry red
hellsparks crackled from her blade. The angel
choked, his eyes blank, and stopped thrashing.
Blood soaked his jeans, his shirt, his prissy
Dead. Skewered on demonsteel. Meat for the rats.
Rose ripped her knife free, sick but satisfied.
Just as her demon master ordered. This was the
fourth angel she’d lured to his end this week.
They were easy targets. Stupid things weren’t even
smart enough to come to the Village in full armor.
Killing them wasn’t a nice job. But when you were
a demon’s slave, you did as you were told.
The angel’s corpse slumped to the pavement,
face-first, a pile of limbs and stained feathers.
At the smell of his cooling flesh, Rose’s guts
rumbled. Her fangs pressed at her lips, demanding
that she feed. But angels’ blood was poison to a
vampire. She’d have to wait.
She yanked a bloodstained white feather from his
wing and stuck it into her braid with the others.
Her hair singed in protest, but only weakly. The
dead angel’s glory was already fading. Idiot
flyboys. Always so superior, with their false
tales of salvation.
Oh, their God was real, all right. That wasn't the
issue. It was the love and forgiveness
part she had a problem with. She'd seen precious
little of those, and now, apparently, God was
flushing the world down the john like an unwanted
stash, and everyone who wasn't in his club was
going to hell. The Apocalypse was happening. The
End was now. It was too damn late to be saved.
So much for love and forgiveness. Rose slipped her
knife away in its thigh holster and stalked away
into the dark.
In her vampire night sight, the street glittered
like it was encrusted with evil rubies. Dark
doorways jewel-edged, barred windows glinting,
neon signs flashing broken. A damp fragrant vine
brushed her face as she turned the corner.
Deserted, shadows dancing like ghosts. Firelight
flickered, crackling an eerie melody, and heat
hung thick and gritty. Like half of the West
Village, the place was burning.
Her sturdy boot heels clunked on the broken
sidewalk. She didn’t bother to mask the sound.
Sure, she was being hunted. She’d refused
allegiance to the West Village vampire coven
master—what a whackjob he was, with his
barbed-wire piercings and sadistic pleasure games.
His bloodthirsty ways made her retch, and saying
no to him had made her fair game for his most
So yeah, Rose was a wanted woman among the
creatures of darkness. But the night was hers,
too, humming in her blood, licking her muscles to
Bad luck for any dumb-ass vampire who tried to
She wiped bloody hands on her jeans, wincing as
the burns on her palms scraped raw. Angel on
demonspawn always burned. No matter. It’d heal
overnight, slowly but still faster than a human.
There were a few upsides, if you could call them
that, to being tricked into servitude by a demon.
Hell possessed vast power, and now it was at her
fingertips. All she had to do was surrender to the
She flexed her strong thighs. All those hard years
of dance rehearsal—in her previous life, and how
long ago that seemed—had made her flexible, agile,
stronger than she looked. Now, she was lethal. She
was Chosen, the first rank of vampires, made not
by fleeting infection from another vampire, but by
the demon Prince of Thirst himself.
She was condemned forever. One step from hell. But
sometimes, it felt damn good to be powerful.
The hour was growing late. Time to find a place to
hole up. Again her belly growled, an unwelcome
reminder of what she needed. Demon-haunted
moonlight cast reddish shadows across silent brick
apartments. Smoke drifted, the crackle of flames
from an upstairs window. A cat scampered across
her path, twitching its black tail.
She searched the sky warily for dawn’s pale tinge.
Nothing yet. Sunlight didn’t burn her, or any
Count Dracula shit like that. But it itched, deep
inside where the demon’s curse coiled and muttered
like a hungry slug. Morning would sting her eyes,
make her achy and weak, like a flu. And it’d only
get worse, each day she lived with the curse.
She used to love the sunrise. Now, it just made
her cringe and hide. One more thing lost, among so
many . . .
On Greenwich Avenue, lamps cast bright halos over
empty shops and cafés. Village Square lay
deserted, eerie, lit orange by a burning pile of
garbage. She crossed over to Ninth Street. No
sensible human walked abroad at night in the West
Village, not since the vampires moved in. But the
neighborhood rustled and murmured, unseen, every
sound distinct in Rose’s preternatural ears.
Late-night traffic from Sixth Avenue, thumping car
stereos, a siren’s distant wail. Whispers from
locked apartments, sobbing, sighs of despair or
pleasure. Stinging sweat, pain’s bright static,
the hot poison tang of a kiss.
Terrifying, when she’d first been made, the
cacophony of human existence. Now, her rich senses
exhilarated her. Was it wrong, to enjoy that part
of it, when so much else about her vampire life
Sweat trickled in her hair, and she swiped it
away. Sultry summer closed in around her, the
sickly stench of blood and angel sweat still
strong . . . and her stomach still grumbled,
demanding. Speaking of loathsome… she needed to
Her throat tightened, reluctant. Killing angels
was one thing, those princes of bullshit and false
promises. They deserved it. Once, she’d thought it
possible that their God cared about her. Now, she
knew it was just another lie.
But feeding on people was another thing entirely.
She’d have to crunch her jagged teeth on flesh,
feel that awful liquid fire splashing into her
mouth, down her throat, the horrid salty tang of
human terror . . .
She shivered. The first time she’d fed, weeks ago,
she’d choked it right back up, disgusted. She was
clumsy, newly made, and the guy had died, of
course, just a skinny kid wearing eyeliner and
bruises, desperate for cash. He hadn’t deserved
the dumb, lonely death of prey . . .
But it wasn’t the boy’s tears that sickened her
the most. Not even her guilty flush of excitement.
It was the banality. So easy, to drain his life
away. Such a stupid, fleeting gift. Fire had
thundered in her veins, triumph, exultation. Her
Actually, no. Her second . . .
Horrid images raped her, stark and flash lit like
crime-scene tableaux. The night she was made, a
ravenous fever-drenched nightmare. Twisted wet
sheets on the bed, a gore-streaked teddy bear, a
wet blond hank torn out by the roots . . .
Rose swallowed, sweating. That night, the demon
prince’s curse had made her a monster. He’d
tricked her. She’d discovered his true purpose too
late. Surely, that counted for something? She’d
screamed aloud to heaven, begging for absolution.
Just one mistake. One little mistake, and now
Bridie was gone forever. Brown-eyed Bridie, six
years old, who liked apple cakes and
hide-and-seek. Who called her Auntie Rosie, and
had mostly (but not altogether) stopped asking
when Mommy was coming home.
But silence had greeted Rose’s prayer.
Silence, and dark eternity as a demon’s slave.
Never be free. Never enjoy the sun. Never sate
this terrible thirst . . .
Defiance burned like poison in Rose’s hell-cursed
heart. She’d pleaded for forgiveness, and been
denied. Praying was useless. There were no second
chances. Heaven had abandoned her.
So she’d become the Angel Slayer, her demon
master’s lethal weapon. The online news feeds
followed her exploits with ghoulish fascination.
Her tally had reached twelve. She wore the
bloodstained feathers in her hair to prove it. And
it wasn’t like she'd had a choice. Her demon
master demanded tribute, and the trail of heavenly
bodies amused him. If she killed enough, then
maybe he’d let her stay out of hell.
Her own personal, nightmarish hell. Where a little
murdered girl lived, full of hatred and black
vengeance . . .
Her ears pricked.
Footsteps. Just around the corner. Sure, and
She paused, beyond the streetlamp’s dim halo.
Listened harder. Light breathing, the spritz of
male sweat . . . and blood.
Fresh, coppery, delicious, disgusting blood.
Her mouth watered in spite of her reluctance.
Prey. A human, abroad late at night in the
Village, alone . . .
Then, the dry stink of altar smoke made her gag.
Ew. How had she missed it? Feathers zapping
electric, bright steel like salt, the ozone tang
But this one smelled different.
She inhaled deeper. Mmm. Sweeter, somehow.
Fresher, the reek of heaven worn thin. Almost . .
Her fangs crunched out, famished, and she forced
them back in. Drinking angel blood was like
swallowing acid. She’d tried it in ignorance, when
she first slew an angel, and it blistered her
mouth raw. A demon’s curse and an angel’s glory
But this angel’s glory sure smelled good.
The footsteps whispered closer. Rose murmured a
poisoned wish, and around her, the darkness
thickened. Warm magical shadows wrapped her body,
caressing her. She crouched, thighs tingling. Two
in one night. All the better to please her master.
She’d stab this prince of bullshit through his
lying heart and watch him die.
And tomorrow, she’d hunt down another. And
another. And more, until her demon prince was
contented and her thirst for retribution was
satisfied—yet she knew with hell-black certainty
that no matter how many she killed, it’d never be
Before the curse, like any ignorant beast, she’d
pondered the meaning of life. Whether she had a
higher purpose. If there really was a God.
Now, she knew.
Her sins would never be forgiven. Her life meant
less than nothing. This bleak existence of
desolation and disgusting things was no more than
she deserved for what she’d done to Bridie. And
her purpose was to kill every lying,
self-righteous asshole of an angel she could find.
Because God was real, all right. And It loathed
Japheth paused, feathers twitching.
There it was again. The faint reek of demon
corruption . . . but with the added coppery stench
of stale human blood.
Vampires. Maybe the Angel Slayer.
Cold satisfaction tingled his tongue. The shadowy
vigilante had killed eleven, that they knew of,
and Michael was pissed. Everyone was pissed, even
the Tainted Host. Word was, the Slayer must be a
higher-level demon, maybe even a new prince.
Japheth blotted sweat from his eyes with one
forearm. Demon, hell. Sure, the Slayer was
inhumanly strong and swift. But it wasn’t a
demon’s style. Demons were like terrorists. They
gloated. Wanted everyone to know who was
responsible for their dirty deeds. They valued
infamy over safety, a twisted breed of courage.
This craven Slayer, now, just stabbed you in the
heart and flitted off into the dark. Japheth’s
mouth soured. A killer with no principles, just
random malice. Worse: a coward.
Yeah, the Angel Slayer was definitely on Japheth’s
But a few more vampires? They’d do sweetly, too.
He inhaled, relishing the power flooding his body.
Since he’d been cast to earth, black rage frosted
inside him, a monster who hungered to devour every
hot, sweet, aching thing it couldn’t have . . .
and only the blood of the damned could satisfy it.
Only killing hellspawn sprang the glory alive. A
hot sweet rush, better than sex or uneasy chemical
oblivion. It reminded him there was a heaven, and
that one day he’d go back there . . .
Keep it frosty, angel. Michael’s advice,
from some ancient battlefield before Japheth fell.
Save your hard-on for the enemy. They’re sure
as shit saving theirs for us.
But it was more than that. Japheth was Tainted,
banished to earth with his soul held to ransom.
Just one stumble away from hell. If he screwed up
again, he’d never be redeemed.
And unlike Dashiel, Japheth hadn’t given up on
redemption. To bask in heaven’s liquid golden
sunlight again, away from the ugly temptation of
earthly things . . .
Japheth sniffed, tasting rich summer air. The
dirty scent was thickening. Silently, he lighted
upwards, and drifted around the corner.
Fragrant leaves brushed his face. Red neon letters
crackled, casting a hellish glow. Sweat slicked
his golden hair. He floated into the shadows,
searching with his magical angelsight for the
telltale auras of living souls . . . and then, his
nerves wrenched, at the sound of a woman sobbing.
There. His sharp gaze pinpointed her. Crouched
against the wall, hugging her knees in tight.
Bloodstained jeans, tangled dark hair in a braid.
He couldn’t see her face, but she was long legged,
lithe, with a glimpse of smooth skin showing where
her t-shirt rode up over her hip.
Japheth stared, his heartbeat quickening. So . . .
delicate. Vulnerable. And smeared in blood, both
vampire and human. Had she been attacked? Live or
die, it was lose-lose. A bloodsucker’s bite drove
them mad, boiled their minds in screaming
nightmares until they starved, or bled to death
from self-inflicted wounds . . . or else they
mastered the curse, and lived on as vampires.
He should kill her now, while she was still
“Get away!” The woman scrambled back, hugging
those long legs tighter in an effort to make
herself small. She was sniffling. Trying not to
Japheth bit back a bad word. He’d seen countless
humans suffer at demon hands over the centuries.
His indignation was blunted, the sorrow dulled.
But the idea of some sniggering hellshit wiping
its foul sticky fingers on this woman . . . Cold
rage made his head ache. He had a job to do. Flash
his knife, and slit her pretty throat . . .
The vampire behind him chuckled.
He whirled, and grabbed the slavering monster by
Crunch! He held the thing at arm’s length, fingers
digging into its neck. Just a young man, tiny
fangs dripping, mad demon-spelled hunger lighting
Close call. He’d lost concentration. Curse her.
The boy squirmed. “Don’t kill me, I didn’t do
nothin’ . . .”
Japheth’s palm sizzled. He squeezed harder. He
didn't mind pain. Pain was manageable. It reminded
him what was important. “Tell me something I don’t
know about the Angel Slayer. You’ve got five
“Don’t know nothin’!” Blood trickled down the
boy’s chin. Only a few days made, still mad with
hunger. Three . . . Four . . . “I ain’t
Five. Japheth flashed his sword
left-handed, and stabbed the vampire through the
heart. Blue flames exploded, and the body withered
to a pile of stinking ash. He vanished the sword,
and his burned hand healed with a swift blue
He was a man of his word, after all. Lying was a
sin. And he didn’t remember it written anywhere
that a promise to hellspawn didn’t count. Since
Michael cast him down—the memory still stung raw,
deep in his empty heart—that was the story of his
life: Better safe than screwed.
Speaking of which . . .
That female still huddled against the wall. He
could smell her terror, bitter and sharp like
lemon. It bristled his feathers. What was she
thinking, hanging around the West Village at
night? Everyone knew the vampire coven ruled these
streets. And now she was doomed . . .
But his fingers clenched, unwilling to strike. So
delicate and innocent. Damnation was a b— well, it
was unfair, when it wasn’t your fault. When you
caught it like a disease. Unlike the Chosen—who’d
all submitted gleefully to the demon prince’s
tricks, how else did you swallow a demon’s blood
from the source?—she likely didn’t deserve the
place she was going.
But he didn’t know for sure she was infected. And
he couldn’t just leave her here, covered in blood
like shark bait. “I’ll take you home,” he offered
coldly. “It isn’t safe here.”
She just sobbed, hiding her face.
He crouched, impatient, wings flaring aglow.
“Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you . . .”
The woman looked up, and Japheth’s voice died,
strangled by the sudden hitch in his throat.
Heaven’s sweet grace, she was lovely.
He swallowed, painful. Hot dark eyes, bottomless,
framed in long curling lashes. Exquisite
heart-shaped face, bruised with bloody tears. A
pretty dark freckle graced her left cheek. And
that mouth . . . he’d be haunted tonight by
visions of those full, cherry-ripe lips. He wanted
to taste them, drink the soft honeyed heat of her
kiss . . .
He coughed. Yeah, well, he wanted a lot of things.
Wanting and doing weren’t the same. Like he’d
remember how to kiss a woman in the first place.
But his skin tingled, hot and glittery, and blood
rushed to all the awkward places. He shifted,
aching. Lord, he was flushing. She’d see what he
was thinking, laugh at him for it. “Umm . . . are
you okay? You’ve got blood . . .”
“Yeah.” Low voice, a husky promise of pleasure.
She wiped her face, and laughed shakily. “They
attacked me, but I ran away . . . God, I’m so
embarrassed. I don’t usually lose my cool like
this. You must think I’m such a flake.” She licked
her bloody bottom lip, and turned her haunting
gaze up to him.
Japheth stared, transfixed. The tip of her soft
pink tongue was the most hypnotic thing he’d ever
laid eyes on. Hell, no. Don’t go there . . .
but too late. He’d already imagined her warm dark
flavor, the softness inside her mouth, that
naughty tongue teasing his. Those swelling cherry
lips, sliding over his cock, drowning him in her
sweet heat . . .
He clenched shaking fists, willing this ugly
desire to fade. He didn’t know her. She was
wounded, bleeding, frightened. Thinking about . .
. those things with her was very uncool. Heaven,
forgive me . . .
She inhaled, and the tiny catch in her breath
quivered his feathers stiff.
And for the first time in centuries, his
ice-walled resolve melted.
In a flash—how did it happen?—he was on his knees.
The wall at her back grazed his palms. Her breasts
swelled against his metal-clad chest. She gasped,
rich with excitement, and hot blood pounded in his
head and he wrapped his fingers in that sinful
dark hair and gave himself up to her kiss.
Oh, Lord. She tasted of flames and blood,
so good he groaned. For one precious, shocking
moment, her lips molded to his, delicious, alive .
And then his mouth caught fire.
Pain flashed, accusing. Burnt skin soured his
tongue. Her hair sizzled his fingers with telltale
wrath. And a hot demon-spelled blade pressed sweet
agony against the thudding pulse in his throat.
Ash rained like snow, the broken remnants of demon
magic. Too late, hellcurse’s foul stink sickened
him. He’d been holding his breath, he realized
distantly. Hadn’t smelled it. Too fixated on
sinful pleasures to see the evil glimmer in her
eyes. But now, her scent was unmistakable.
No accidental vampire, this scheming seductress.
She was Chosen. Hell’s whore. The demon’s willing
She laughed, and her sharp fangs crunched out.
“Bleeding Christ. You’re all so stupid.”
Japheth’s mind stumbled, dizzy. His heart still
pounded, his blood still screaming with toxic
need. Should’ve known his irrational lust for her
wasn’t real. She’d spelled him with her evil
magic, and he’d fallen for it spectacularly.
But that didn’t change the ugly truth. The
beautiful bitch was hellspawn. And he’d kissed
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