Welcome to TANTALIZING THURSDAYS!!!
This week on #Sexy Snippets and MidWeek Tease, I shared from THE LAST SOUL and HUNTED. Today, I present the entire first chapter of PLAYING FOR KEEPS - Seduced By A Demon 3. This series was written under my Carolyn Rosewood pen name, and is my debut series at Evernight. Enjoy!!
Teresa knew if she visualized a specific place to materialize the demons would be able to follow her, but she’d been running for three days and she was tired. At the very least, she wanted to be indoors this time.
She concentrated all her effort on a building, any building, and landed inside a room with florescent lighting. Jade green tiles alternating with black ones lined the walls and floor. She blinked a few times, wrinkling her nose as the smell of soap and bleach wafted past.
“What the fucking hell?”
Whirling to face the startled male voice, the metallic taste of fear replacing the soap and bleach smell in her nose and mouth, she gaped at the hunk stuffing his impressive cock back into his jeans. He backed away from the urinal and zipped them up, with a mixture of disbelief and curiosity on his rugged face.
“Well hello there. Nice of you to drop in.”
If she hadn’t been running for her life this might actually be sexy.
“I’m sorry.” There was nothing else to say. She wasn’t about to explain she’d just given two of her fellow demons the slip. Her ordeal was far from over. Cresil, her former boss and lover, would never stop looking for her. He’d betrayed her to their king, Apollyon, and now his minions would hunt her for all eternity.
“I didn’t hear or see you come in. Ladies’ room is across the hall.”
He narrowed his eyes and took a step closer, his nostrils flaring as though sniffing the air. A brief flash of pain tore through her chest. What the hell? He was only a man. A drop-dead gorgeous man with eyes the color of dark chocolate, but still just a man, right? Did he recognize her true nature?
Her limbs froze and she found it difficult to take a full breath. She’d walked right into one of Cresil’s tricks. How could she have made such a fatal error in judgment? Teresa’s thoughts raced. She swallowed a few times then flexed her fingers. When she wiggled her toes it became apparent she could indeed move her arms and legs, so she hoped he would chalk up her reaction to simply being startled. He clearly was not a demon. Those chocolate-colored eyes regarded her with a mixture of suspicion and concern.
“Are you okay? You look more startled I am.” His voice, deep rich and sultry, spread through her like fine wine.
Teresa let out the breath she was holding. “I’m fine. My mistake.”
He grinned, and a tiny dimple appeared in each cheek. Her thong grew moist at the thought of kissing first those dimples then his full lips. When he brushed past her to wash his hands she caught a faint whiff of sandalwood.
“Um, like I said, ladies’ room is across the hall, and offers a much more comfortable place to hide.”
“How do you know I’m hiding?”
He reached for the paper towel holder, over which a sign hung exhorting anyone who used the facilities to clean up after themselves, as their mother didn’t work there. “Oh, I don’t know. Just a lucky guess.”
It wasn’t like Teresa to be tongue tied around men, and after an awkward second or two, during which she couldn’t think of a sassy or even clever comeback, she tossed her hair and opened the door.
Walking into the ladies’ room, she leaned against the tiled wall and closed her eyes, mentally weighing her options. He’d certainly nailed her. She needed a place to hide. Returning to Hell, her home for the last one hundred and fifty years, was out of the question. Unlike some of the other demons who seduced mortal males into signing away their souls, she’d never found the need to maintain a temporary home in the human realm. Not that it would do her any good to have one now. That would be the first place they’d look. She was utterly alone, with no friends and no place of refuge.
The door opened and two women came in, talking about the characters from a reality TV show. Their easy conversation reminded her of Kenton Hall, the last human she’d seduced. She’d always liked the sound of his voice, especially when he discussed his work at MIT. He’d fall into an easy cadence that was sexy in its simplicity.
Had Cresil killed him? She’d kept in touch with Kenton even after he’d signed away his soul, knowing to do so was strictly forbidden, but she’d enjoyed him so much in bed she hadn’t wanted to stop seeing him. A decision she now regretted. No male, human or demon, was worth this much trouble.
She looked around for some clue to her location. A beaten copper bowl on the counter contained matchbooks, printed with the name The Blue Famingo, Northlake Ohio. She’d never even heard of the town. It was the perfect kind of place to blend into the woodwork and become just another local.
She left the bathroom and walked into the main part of the bar, expecting umbrella drinks and cane chairs because of the name on the matchbooks, but instead was hit with the smell of stale beer and old boots. Her heels made a clacking sound on the rough wooden floor stained with tobacco and dirt. Worn-out country played on the jukebox and rickety stools lined the bar. The patrons were mostly men who glowed with the aura of boredom and complacency. A few turned to stare at her, and she suddenly wished she’d worn a less ostentatious outfit. Her denim mini-skirt and lemon yellow tank top didn’t exactly let her blend into the woodwork, but then she hadn’t had time to ponder what to wear before fleeing Hell.
The faint aroma of sandalwood reminded her of furniture polish, not that this place looked as if someone lovingly polished the tabletops every night after closing. She walked up to the bar and took the only empty seat, between two men who gawked at her with their mouths hanging open. Ignoring them both, she tried to catch the bartender’s eye.
It was the man from the bathroom.
“Did you find the right one?” he asked, grinning.
Teresa flushed, struggling to find her composure. “I did, thanks.”
“What can I get you?”
“Actually, I’m here to talk to the owner.”
He brushed a lock of dark, wavy hair out of his eyes and picked up a glass. As he wiped it with a towel that had seen better days, he eyed Teresa from under impossibly long lashes. “What do you want to talk to him about?”
“About something that’s my business, okay?” She wasn’t about to start spilling secrets to everyone in town. Not even yummy a bartender with just enough stubble on his chin to make her nipples tingle as she pictured him rubbing that chin across her breasts.
The man on her left chuckled. “Little lady, you could learn a thing or two about manners.”
Teresa glared at him until the smirk left his ruddy face and he blinked, frowning. When he finally turned his attention back to the bottle of beer in his meaty hands, she eyed the bartender again. “Will you tell the owner I’d like to see him please?”
She flashed her best smile, knowing it wasn’t fair to use it, but the air in here was beginning to grow uncomfortable. She wasn’t in the mood to keep hopping across the country looking for a hiding place. Running for three days had taken its toll on her. This had to be settled tonight.
“Afraid I can’t do that,” he said, the corners of his mouth turning up slightly.
“Why not?” More importantly, why hadn’t he gone slack-jawed and run to find the owner as soon as she smiled at him? Teresa had never met a mortal man who was immune to her demon powers. Who the hell was this dude?
He popped the top off a bottle of beer and placed it in front of a man three stools down. “Because we’re busy tonight and I’m short-handed.”
“Then you’re in luck because I’m looking for a job.”
* * * *
Damien eyed the girl while he wiped up a spill on the counter. She wasn’t human, that much he knew for sure. In the bathroom he thought for a moment she’d recognized his former nature, but now the fear in her eyes had dissipated and she’d turned on the charm.
“A job, eh? What kind of a job?”
Either she was the answer to his prayers or would prove to be his undoing. From the second she’d materialized next to him he felt the air shift. The scent of freesias hung about her like a shroud, but it couldn’t mask the sulfur. The men in the bar wouldn’t be able to smell it, but he could.
Certain things had left their mark after Tyre, his former boss, made him human, including the ability to discern supernatural creatures like demons. What was she doing here, and who was she hiding from?
“I used to be a barmaid. Pretty darn good one too.”
A barmaid with her pretty face and long cinnamon-colored hair and matching eyes would make him richer than Croesus, but did he want a demon working for him? They brought nothing but trouble, and he still resented the way they strutted about in human form, as if they had a right to be in this realm.
Next to her, Jack Williams snickered again, and Damien resisted the urge to smack him. Damn fool man would probably find his Ford F-150 wrapped around a tree later if he pissed off the girl one more time.
“Is that so? Where at?”
A quick shadow of fear crossed her eyes, but it was gone so quickly he wondered if he’d imagined it.
“Chicago. My parents owned a club.”
He nodded, wondering if she was making it up, or if that had been part of her human life.
Maddie Reynolds hurried to the counter and slammed down her tray. “They want another round. What do you want me to do? Is it time to toss them out?”
Damien eyed the group of local brats in the corner. Home from college for the summer, they’d been in here every night this week. They were louder and more obnoxious than last summer, but he wouldn’t let them bust up the place the way they had back then. Not this year. He reached into the fridge under the bar and pulled out six bottles of Bud Light. “When they start picking up chairs it’s time to toss them out.”
Maddie clucked her tongue as she walked toward their table with the beers. He watched her curvy hips sway, wondering why she’d chosen to stay in this shitty town after her husband left her. She had family in Cleveland, and with her no-nonsense attitude surely she could do more than serve drinks to customers who barely left her enough tips to live on.
He turned his attention back to the girl sitting between Jack Williams and Skeeter, watching him, a question in her beautiful eyes. He strode over and stood in front of her, not missing her slow intake of breath or the way her eyes roamed over his face. Up close she was even more startling and the underlying smell of sulfur was unmistakable. She was a demon, all right. But her eyes held an undercurrent of fear, which he found both intriguing and disturbing.
Trouble with Apollyon, her king, or with another creature?
“Do you have a name?” he asked.
Her gaze never faltered. She’d given him her real name. He could still tell when someone was using a fake one. “Teresa what?”
“Just Teresa.” Ah, there it was. No surnames. That was fine. He could play that game for a while.
“Why do you want to work in a place like this, just Teresa?” He waved a hand toward the table of college brats.
“I like small towns.” Her gaze was intense and confident, like she knew he’d say yes eventually. If he’d been a mere mortal it would be a done deal. Her being here made no sense, and Damien was more comfortable when things made sense. Demons hung around the human realm for two reasons only. To seduce someone into sin, or because they were hunting someone. Which reason had brought her to this forgotten town? And why had she materialized in the men’s room?
Maddie pushed her way between Skeeter and Teresa and gave another drink order to Damien. He glanced at Teresa. “Did you just serve drinks in Chicago or can you mix as well?”
She smiled, showing dazzling white teeth, and slid off her stool. “I can mix anything.”
“We don’t get much call for fancy drinks in here,” said Maddie, eyeing Teresa’s legs.
Damien chuckled. “Down, girl. We could use the help. Let’s see what she can do.”
Teresa took her time walking around the bar. Every man lined up on the stools watched her, and she knew it. This one was a firecracker, but she mixed Maddie’s drink order like a pro. She’d obviously been telling the truth.
He studied her face as she worked. Twenty-five, tops. When he started to wonder more about her human life, where in Chicago she’d lived, what her parents’ club had been like, and why she’d gone to Hell when she died, he forced himself to look at the floor. He couldn’t let his guard down around her. Her pull on him was strong. His former nature would only protect him from her charms for so long.
Maddie took the tray full of drinks, frowned, then turned on her heel to deliver them.
“Well? Do I have a job?” Teresa asked, her voice soft and seductive.
He moved close to her so the others couldn’t hear. Usually when he invaded someone’s personal space they stepped back. Most humans could smell the scent of his former nature on him. It clung to his skin and made them uncomfortable. Teresa didn’t flinch.
“I can’t pay you much over any tips you’ll get.” He grinned. “Not that you need to worry about that. You should do fine considering most of my customers are men.”
She licked her lips, letting her tongue linger a bit longer than necessary. An image of that tongue sliding up and down his swollen cock filled his head. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea, after all? Giving into his sexual urges with the wrong creatures had led him here.
“Don’t worry about the money,” she said. “I’ll do it for fun.”
For a second he thought she was talking about something other than bartending, until she grabbed an apron hanging behind the bar and tied it behind her back.
“We’ll take care of the paperwork after closing,” he said.
Her eyes clouded over. “Oh, okay. But I left all my ID and stuff in…where I’m staying.”
He let the lie go for now, wondering what the hell he’d just involved himself in.
Maddie came up to the bar and rattled off a drink order to Teresa, who began to work on it. She stopped as the door opened and two men strode in wearing leather jackets with studs. With twin scowls on their weathered faces, they stood still and surveyed the room. Damien’s gaze traveled to their jeans, half-expecting to see revolvers hanging off their hips. He heard Teresa’s sharp intake of breath, and when he turned around, she was gone.
You can purchase the entire Seduced By A Demon series in a boxed set for only $2.99 by clicking HERE!!