"Demon Sparks Fly When a Former Missionary Hooks Up With a Damn Good Pole Dancer"
Reviewed by Diana Troldahl
Posted February 28, 2011
Romance Paranormal | Fantasy Urban
Jonah Walker, pious demon-ridden warrior, has recently
suffered a wound even his demon cannot heal. His last hope
of becoming the warrior he once was is to connect with the
female counterpart his soul knows exists. When he finds her,
the former missionary man knows the universe has a sick
sense of humor. Still, he will do his best to train her in
her new life as one who fights for justice instead of only
caring for herself.
Nim Hamlin, pole dancer extraordinaire, knows there is
something peculiar about the one-handed man who has been
watching from the shadows all week. She and her python dance
partner put on a good show, but usually a man comes close
enough to grab a forbidden touch rather than hanging back
for so long, watching with violet-sparked eyes. She decides
to take control of the situation and jumps off the stage,
bringing the man back to the room used for 'special
customers'. What he has to tell her sounds insane, but she
finds herself led away from the life she knows into danger
beyond anything she has escaped in her past.
Jessa Slade has created a uniquely compelling Urban Fantasy
landscape, peopled with demons who are almost heroes, and
angels who are ripe pains in the ass. In between are the
everyday dwellers of modern Chicago, who are oblivious to
the dangers lurking in the shadows. I tremendously enjoyed
the connection she created between two such strong and
diametrically opposed characters who absolutely were meant
for each other. VOWED IN SHADOWS is book three of the Marked
Souls novels, and a solid entry in what is sure to become
a classic series in the genre.
The war between good and evil has raged for millennia,
with the marked souls caught in the middle. Now two lost
souls will tip the balance...
Possession by a demon cost Jonah Walker his faith, his
humanity, and his wife. Now he endures immortality with
nothing but a body build for battle and a bent for
retribution. But his last devastating fight left him
wounded beyond healing, and his only chance to redeem
himself lies with a fallen woman.
Thrust into a wicked underworld, Nim Hamlin can't believe
her wanton ways as the "Naughty Nymphette" enthralled a
demon...and a damned saint. The world she knows doesn't
deserve deliverance, but Jonah's touch holds an unholy
allure - and she's never been any good at resisting
As darkness gathers in the sweltering Chicago summer,
Jonah and Nim must conquer the demons of their past to
face even fiercer monsters as their passino ignites a
furious power. Only their sins can save them now...
"Hot as hell in here tonight." Nim unzipped the
oversized rifle case. "Just the way we like it." She set
aside the ammo box, and from the padded case, she lifted
the sleek weight. "Ready to knock â€™em dead?"
The boa spiraled up her arm and across her shoulders as
she settled in front of the mirror. The fine mosaic of
scales ran smooth and cool as water against her sweaty
nape, and Nim sighed with pleasure. "Yeah, Mobi. We need
them live and squirming."
The thump of music coming from the stage made talking in
the dressing room a chore, and the dancers rarely bothered.
Which suited Nim fine. So she recoiled when Amber tottered
over on her platform heels, bare breasts arriving easily a
full second before the rest of her, and thrust her scarlet
lips toward Nimâ€™s ear.
"Heâ€™s here again."
Nim unlocked the ammo box and rummaged through her
makeup. "Whoâ€™s here?"
"That same guy." Amber snapped her gum
impatiently. "Captain Hook."
"Oh. Him." Nimâ€™s hand shook. She reached past the Viva
Las Showgirls semifinals invitation ticket and grabbed a
fat eye pencil to give her traitorous fingers something to
do. When she stared into the mirror, her pupils were wide
She wasnâ€™t fooling Amber either. "Yeah, him," the girl
sneered. "Everybody knows Captain Hook had a thing for cold-
blooded reptiles. Didnâ€™t end so well for him, though.
Wonder if he knows what heâ€™s getting this time."
Nim spun in her chair to face the other dancer. The boa
lifted his head, and his forked tongue stroked the stagnant
Amber retreated a step. "Did you get colored contacts?
Thatâ€™s a wicked purple."
When Nim simply stared at her, Amber scowled again and
Nim turned to the mirror. After a momentâ€™s hesitation,
she looked up. Her irises were the same muddy blue-green as
always. Swamp-water eyes, her last ex-admirer had called
them, to go with her dishwater-brown dreadlocks.
How weird that Amberâ€™s description echoed the dream
sheâ€™d had a couple nights ago. The violet eyes had belonged
to a man, though. Mesmerized by his beauty, like something
that should be in a museum behind glass, not exposed to a
careless touch, sheâ€™d half fallen in love.
Then his irises had turned all eerie white, except for
hundreds of swirling black specks, and he fucked her, his
hand fisted in her dreads, until she screamed and woke
Very weird. Quitting her tranqs cold turkey had probably
been against medical advice for exactly such a reason, but
she didnâ€™t want the antidepressants making her fuzzy for
the final round next week. She needed to be sharp if she
was going to ditch this hellhole for the lights of the
She outlined her swamp-water eyes in pitch-dark kohl.
Almost right . . . She layered on purple shadow, thick and
disturbing as a day-old bruise. Perfect.
When she finished her prep, she waited behind the
blackout curtain, where the glaring stage lights failed to
reach. Her gaze shot unerringly to the first table just
beyond the stools drawn up to the counter at stage left.
Yeah, there he was again, just as heâ€™d been all week,
angled to keep the whole of the club in view, one knee
drawn up with his boot heel hooked on the base of the bar
stool. Like a cop. Or a thug.
He faced the stage. Staring at her? Her pulse quickened
pointlessly. No way could he see her past the glare. Out in
the audience, the club was too crappily lit for her to make
out his features. Usually she didnâ€™t give a ratâ€™s assâ€”and,
thanks to Mobi, she knew a lot about ratsâ€”who was out
So his face was in shadow, and the garish gels washed
out the color of his hair, but his body . . . that was on
display for every girl in the place to assess.
Not too tall, judging by the length of thigh in his
close-fitting jeans. Good jeans too; no rips in the knees.
Nice to see some guys still bothered to dress up before
going out. No one had gotten a long look at the bulge in
his pants, so maybe he rolled with a fat wallet; maybe not.
Certainly he hadnâ€™t spent any of it for one-on-one
attention. The other girls had bitched about that all week
while they triedâ€”and failedâ€”to poach him.
Of course, nobody bitched where he might hear. Nim
studied the imposing breadth of his shoulders filling up a
dark gray T-shirt. His biceps bunched across his chest
where heâ€™d folded his arms, blatantly displaying the reason
no one bitched aloud.
Nim clicked her tongue. A cripple with any manners would
wear a long-sleeve shirt, never mind the sticky heat of a
Chicago August. But no, Captain Hook sat there with the
honest-to-fuck metal hook instead of his right hand shining
front and center for the whole world to flinch from. Nice.
She didnâ€™t know much about prosthetics, but considering
that the Russians had ways to make fake diamonds even bling
experts couldnâ€™t ID in a lineup, he might have found
something less gruesome. Maybe he was hoping for a mercy
Or maybe he liked gruesome.
She narrowed her eyes until her fake lashes crisscrossed
like daggers in front of her. Sure, he didnâ€™t watch the
other girls, but he hadnâ€™t tipped her out either. Even
though he always came in just after she started her shiftâ€”
obviously he was stalking her; maybe heâ€™d watched her ace
the qualifying rounds of the Viva competition and fallen
secretly, madly in loveâ€”he always left before she could get
out onto the floor after her set.
Well, that was going to end tonight. She could do
gruesome like nobodyâ€™s business, no one had ever accused
her of being merciful, and she knew exactly where guys like
him kept their love.
His congregation would have diedâ€”againâ€”seeing him in a
place like this.
Jonah Sterling Walker kept his arms crossed tight so he
wouldnâ€™t inadvertently touch anything. Heâ€™d learned that
lesson the first night at the Shimmy Shack when his elbow
stuck to the tabletop. Presumably the tacky substance had
been the congealed spill of some previous customerâ€™s, but
whether the spill was a beverage . . . If he couldâ€™ve kept
both feet off the floor, he wouldâ€™ve done that too.
Unfortunately, the repentant demon seeking redemption
that had hijacked his body in return for inhuman fighting
skills hadnâ€™t gifted him with the power of levitation. It
had stolen his life and replaced it with immortality, and
shattered his soul in its battle against evil, but it
failed to help him here.
From the gloom beyond the stage curtain, the womanâ€™s
gaze weighed on him like lead anchors. Violet-tinted lead
anchorsâ€”a sure sign that her demon, which had been circling
her without her awareness for more than a week and finally
settled in three nights ago, was on the verge of its virgin
The only thing virginal about her.
The volume of the unrelenting din they called music
dropped. The deejay exhorted them, "Put your hands
together . . . Scratch that, put â€™em in your pocketâ€”not
your front pockets, you filthy jag-offs, your back pocketâ€”
and start pulling out those Lincolns for . . . our Naughty
A few men hooted as told; a half-dozen others sucked at
their drinks as if suddenly very thirsty.
She stepped onto the stage, bare as the day she was
born. Barer, since even newborns slid into the world with
more body hair than that.
Jonah snapped his eyes closed. Too late. Under the harsh
lights, her dusky skin glowed, sleek as the snake threaded
across her outstretched arms. The shine off her shoulders,
the snakeâ€™s coils, andâ€”ah, dear God in heavenâ€”the fullness
of her breasts burned on the inside of his eyelids. Unfair
that she could invade his defenses with nothing more
than . . . nothing.
The costumes earlier in the week had been bad enough.
Layers of vinyl and gauze, links of chain, strings of white
lace from another century adding insult to injury. And heâ€™d
suffered injury aplenty, with every knock of his cock
against the backside of his zipper.
At least the ridiculousness of the schoolgirl kneesocks,
the maidâ€™s apron, and a kimono, of all things, had allowed
him to steel himselfâ€”in more ways than oneâ€”against the
inevitable flesh display.
He might as well see his oncoming destruction. He opened
She glided across the floor toward him, her bare feet
silent on the parquet. But she timed each footfall for
every other beat of the music, so even though her approach
was slow, his heartbeat quickened against his will to echo
the incessant bass.
Exactly how repentant was his demon?
She moved with a liquid grace that ignored gravity and
time and entropy, as if she had no care for the rules of
the universe. Sweat glistened across the skin of her chest,
but her arms spread, unfaltering, under the forty pounds of
reptile. Only her rounded hips marked the cadence.
After the gyrations and jiggling of the others and the
gleeful flinging of G-strings, her prolonged tension
tightened every nerve in the room. Where was the teasing
smile? The bustier and the stockings? Here were the tits
and ass they had come for, and yet this was not their
fantasy. This was too raw, too wild.
Jonah stiffened against the sharp twist inside him of
the demon reacting to the first whiff of menace.
Her dreads slid across her breasts, hiding, then
revealing her dark areolas, and the blunt ropes lashed the
high upper curve of her buttocks. Achingly slowly, she
raised her arms, and the snake eased from her shoulders to
spiral across her torso. The scales in shades from
chocolate to sand rippled down her body. Its blunt diamond
head poised for a moment like an earthy jewel centered
above her navel, then continued lower.
Her hands tracked its descent, easing over her breasts,
lingering at the flare of her hips. She tipped her head
back, throat exposed, and her dreads swung loose as the
snake coiled down her thighs.
It pooled at her feet like a shed skin. Unfettered, she
stood exposed, her taut curves the same tawny brown as the
middling tones of the scales, an illusion of snake to
woman. Hell on the herpetological half shell.
Jonahâ€™s pulse ricocheted through his body, tearing
ragged holes in his calm, and he realized he hadnâ€™t taken a
breath in too long. When he finally did, it sounded like a
In the middle of the stage, the lights were aimed at her
with such salacious focus that not a single shadow
remained, not the faintest female mystery was left to the
imagination. And yet he knew he wasnâ€™t seeing all of her.
The purple smudges around her eyes seemed to suck down the
light, but her gaze fixed on him, still and predatory
behind the unnatural thicket of her lashes.
The demon was rising in her, and it called to him,
teased him to reach out.
His fingers twitched in anticipation, and he clenched
Fist. His missing hand burned as if he held it out
toward open flame. Rather like he was doing with the
remains of his soul by coming to her now.
The djinni that had taken his hand six months ago had
taken with it his belief that their fight for good would
prevail. To tip the balance in favor of his shaken faith,
he was willing to do anything.
He stared at the Nymphette.
The beat of the music stumbled from one song to the
next, and she knelt to retrieve the snake, but instead of
beginning her next dance, she crossed toward him and
stepped out onto the bar that surrounded the stage. Another
step and she was standing on a bar stool. The gawkers
rumbled, a sound somewhere between approval and
consternation at the break in their routine.
The three-legged stool wobbled. At his table, Jonah
planted both feet on the floor, half rising to catch her,
and rocked his own chair with his haste. But she crouched,
one hand steady on the bar, the other on the snake, and
slipped to the floor to continue toward him, as if she
hadnâ€™t noticed the near fall.
Dimly, he heard the deejay squawk for the next dancer,
the Nymphette having naughtily abandoned the stage. Though
her hands busily rearranged the snake across her shoulders,
her violet-tinged gaze never left his.
Heâ€™d been stalked before, but this made every hair on
his body prickle in alarm.
She glided up to him, right between his legs. He leaned
back, arms still crossed, thankful the height of the stool
gave him a vantage point to look down at her.
She didnâ€™t touch him, but the heat of her naked body
radiated through his jeans and sank into his thighs. "You
want a dance, Capâ€™n?"
Her low voice hummed through his bones. The scent of the
snakeâ€”a sharp, loamy tangâ€”made him shudder.
"Assuming you can swing it." Her gaze angled down to his
crotch. "The price, I mean."
She had no idea what this was costing him. "In private,
if youâ€™d oblige." His voice sounded hoarse to his own ears.
The leagueâ€™s leader had explained what would happen, in
a conversation as excruciatingly embarrassing as that heard
by any bride on her wedding night. Not that Jonah wanted to
compare this moment in any way to his wedding night.
The sacrilege tightened his fist another notch, and the
rage-curdled tension brought his demon screaming from his
depths. The demonâ€™s power rebounded through his body, but
it recoiled from the brimstone-scorched scar tissue that
had been his weapon hand. Surely even her nascent demon
would sense the danger, the thwarted violence, and she
Instead, she canted her head forward, a dare. "VIP lap
dance? Well, look at you, coming on strong now."
He stood abruptly. "Yes, thatâ€™s me. Coming strong." He
took her arm.
The long-forgotten sensation of soft flesh beneath his
fingers swept him in a hot tide, and his pulse raced ahead
of the demonâ€™s seething temper like spindrift on the crest
of a killer wave. His breath tumbled through his chest.
She jerked away. "Donâ€™t touch," she hissed.
"Itâ€™s a strip club." But when the snake hissed too, he
let her goâ€”the better to restrain the rampant wickedness
"And Iâ€™m stripped, in case you hadnâ€™t noticed. No
"Ludicrous," he muttered. He waved her toward the hall
that led to the private rooms heâ€™d scouted earlier.
She eased around him. "You paid eight bucks for a Power
Slug. Youâ€™d know ludicrous." She nodded to the bartender,
who popped the tab on a small aluminum can and slid it
across the countertop toward them. "Have another. I get a
percentage of the bar."
Jonah took the energy drink as they passed. In the
hallway, the pounding music dulled to a merely irritating
headache. The AC pushed the stale odors of cigarettes and
damp cardboard boxes, but did little in the way of
cooling. "Are you always so . . . honest with your patrons?"
"Not on the first date. But you and me, weâ€™ve been
dancing around this thing for a week now. Time for
flattering lies is long past."
"A week is a long time?"
"You owe me for all those hungry stares. All that
looking and no paying is giving Mobi a complex."
"Moby? Ah, the snake. Curious choice of names. The
obsession angle works, but I canâ€™t picture you dancing with
a white whale around your shoulders."
In the gloomy hall, her eyes glimmered with only human
reflections. "Mobi as in MĂ¶bius strip, going round and
around, always ending up back in the same place."
The brooding tenor of her words struck him deep.
Before he could speak, she ducked behind a curtain. He
followed her into the closet. The VIP lounge lacked any
features that might have identified it as important or a
lounge. A wooden chair faced into the corner, as if it had
been pushed hastily awry. He yanked the shabby red curtain
She spun the chair toward him. "The only Mopey Dick I
expect to see here is yours. And I can make that all
Jonah took a pull off the Slug. The sweeteners and
caffeine buzzed through him as his demon-boosted metabolism
dealt with the chemical brew. At least the task distracted
the creature of evil inside him from its impotent seething.
He wished he hadnâ€™t thought "impotent" just now.
Nim plucked the can from his hand and tossed it aside.
The spilled liquid fizzed. Under the lone lightbulb, her
small smile was hard enough to dash hearts upon, were any
careless enough to somehow find their way to this
place. "So, tell me what you want, Capâ€™n."
Jonah sat and crossed his arms. He needed her demon
ascendant before he made his move. She wouldnâ€™t believe his
story otherwise. "Dance for me, Nymphette."
Physical stress triggered the demonâ€™s rise. Dangerous,
but necessary, since the newly possessed needed to find a
way to balance the demon within them. Males traditionally
drank and fought their way through the other-realm
emanations coursing through their bodies. Heâ€™d been told it
worked differently with the females. Just as well, since
his balance was shot.
"Call me Nim." Her voice turned husky, not with the
demon, just a generic come-on. She swayed
closer. "Nymphette is such a mouthful. And maybe you want
me to save my mouth for . . . other things. Right, Capâ€™n?"
"Donâ€™t call me Captain."
Her fake tarantula lashes narrowed at his brusque tone,
but she didnâ€™t speak. She sidled toward his chair and
slowly sank to her knees between his legs. Her gaze rested
straight ahead, and his flesh, already strung tight, lifted
like a marionette. Her mouthâ€”that wide, generous mouthâ€”was
such a short distance from his zipper. He ached all over at
her closeness, his erection straining toward her, his jaw
locked hard against giving in.
She unwrapped the snake from her shoulders and laid it
over his feet. The weight of the beast as it wound around
his ankles was surprisingly heavy and hot through the
leather of his boots. He couldnâ€™t stifle a grunt of dismay.
Nim grinned, a crooked chink in her seductress armor
that revealed the first hint of honest emotion heâ€™d seen:
amusement, at his expense. "Donâ€™t want you sneaking away
early, like youâ€™ve been doing all week."
"Hadnâ€™t planned on it." Anyway, not until her demon was
firmly anchored in her soul and sheâ€™d been drawn into the
league as its newest possessed fighter.
She rose, so close between his thighs he felt the
passage of air, faintly scented with patchouli. But she
never touched him. The way she used her body was sinful,
but he had to admit, she kept it as brutally honed as any
warrior maintained his weapons. A demon could choose worse
than to take such a dwelling.
Within the confines of his spread knees, she turned and
set her back to him. She ran her hands up her torso, over
her shoulders, and through her dreadlocks. With a single
twist, she bound her hair into a thick knot at her crown.
She leaned to one side, and he couldnâ€™t stop his gaze
from following the sinuous curve of her spine, down between
the points of her shoulder blades to the twin dimples
framing her tailbone. His hand twitched to test whether his
spread fingers would span the distance.
Just as well it was the missing hand.
She glanced over her shoulder. "No touching."
"So you said." He hadnâ€™t given himself away. Couldnâ€™t,
considering his maiming. But she obviously didnâ€™t think
that would stop him.
Her fog-on-the-water gaze traced him. "You arenâ€™t here
with flesh on the mind. No lusting man could have lasted
that whole week. Definitely couldnâ€™t last now." She
straddled his knee, again without touching him, and dipped
low in a slow-motion grind that never quite brushed his
jeans. "Youâ€™re so strong. Crazy strong." Her voice was a
purr. "Is that because of the ring?"
His left hand, tucked against his ribs, clenched against
his will, but the gold band on his third finger was too
worn to bite into his flesh. "No. Not because of the ring."
She tilted her hips and smoothed one hand over her
haunch to ride above the shadowed cleft between her
buttocks. Where heâ€™d wanted to put his hand. "Because of
The metal tip drove into his bicep as he drew even
tighter into himself. How could she ask so
casually? "Arenâ€™t you supposed to be dancing?"
She bent backward, an impossible contortion without
making contact. And yet she managed to keep even her hair
suspended above his lap, teasing but not touching. She
stared at him from her inverted pose. "Youâ€™re supposed to
be pulling something out."
"You said no touching. Presumably that also means
"Your wallet is exempt from the no-touching rule."
He sighed, aggrieved, and uncrossed his arm to shift to
one hip and reach for his back pocket. "At least this is on
an expense account."
"All business. I like that in a man. Weâ€™re practically
Anger, cold and jagged, wrenched like the hook through
his chest, dragging the demon to the surface. "Donâ€™t say
"Bosom buddies, then." She turned again to straddle his
other leg, facing him. Her arms, crossed in a low X across
her belly, pushed her breasts into tempting handfuls.
Another supple writhe brought her down low, so low and
close her nipples wouldâ€™ve grazed his lips. If not for her
oft-stated no-touching rule, of course.
"You have no idea how close weâ€™ll be," he said.
Heâ€™d meant to sound as flirtatious as any of her
customers, but a faint hint of alarm crinkled her brow.
When he opened his billfold, though, the wary look in her
eyes evaporated with a spark of simple avarice. He wouldnâ€™t
bother making mental bets about the weakness in her soul
that had made her vulnerable to possession.
"Letâ€™s see, then. Shall we?" She edged closer and
propped her foot on the chair seat between his legs. "I bet
that big, shiny hook scares the good girls away, doesnâ€™t
it? Well, not me. I donâ€™t easily scare."
"Because youâ€™re a bad girl."
"Just like you wanted." Her bare toes grazed his crotch,
such a glancing touch it might have been an accident,
except he suspected she didnâ€™t make such mistakes. She
fancied herself fully in control of the situation. Of him.
His body didnâ€™t exactly disabuse her of the notion. The
surge in his jeans kindled a flare of victory in her eyes.
As if this was a battle she planned to win.
No way for her to know sheâ€™d already lost.
Pity chewed at his defensive anger. "Ah, Nim. Was there
no one who cared to turn you from this path?"
Her eyes widened, and a streak of violet shot across the
whites. "Shit. Youâ€™re one of those? Come to save me from
"No." His voice was scarcely more than a whisper. "I
couldnâ€™t dream of saving you." Maybe once heâ€™d believed
himself the man for such a task. Not anymore.
"Good, because I like what I do." Her lashes fluttered
like a Venus flytrap closing on unsuspecting prey. "And I
can tell you like it too."
The league had no idea what it was getting. But demonsâ€”
even the repentant teshuva that fought against the darknessâ€”
never cared much for harmony. Their quest for redemption
would be found through obliteration. "I still donâ€™t condone
selling your soul for money."
"Very good money." She bent her knee, lowering herself
toward him, the V of her breasts one deep breath away from
swallowing his wallet. "And itâ€™s just a body. Donâ€™t you
think itâ€™s worth that wad?"
He twitched the wallet away. "You donâ€™t even care that
much about the money."
"Not true," she protested.
"You do it because you like when men ache."
"Oh yeah, I ache all over. For you." She flexed so that
her shin hovered above his chest, her naked body stretched
nearly parallel to his. "Just returning the favor, lover."
"Did you ache when you marked yourself with these?" He
touched his fingertip to the first in a row of circular
scars marching up the inside of her thigh.
She recoiled with a snarl. "Donâ€™t. Touch."
Behind her back, he reached up, and with his hook
flattened between her shoulder blades, he dragged her down
to his chest.
She squawked as she sprawled over him in a tangle of
long limbs and a thrust of bare breast. Her first
ungraceful move of the week.
He cupped his palm to her cheek, fingers against the
curve of her skull, thumb pressed under her jaw, firm but
not unnecessarily cruel. "You put too much faith in your
body." He was relieved at his casually conversational
tone. "Control the head and you control the body." Control
was good, yes.
Unable to regain her balance without testing his grip on
her pressure point, she glared into his eyes from inches
away. The purple flare spiraled from her irises into the
blacks of her pupils, bright enough to dazzle him. He knew
her vision was shifting into hunter mode.
An irate breath flared her nostrils. "Which head?"
She slammed her fist toward the fly of his jeans.
If she hadnâ€™t all but announced her intentionsâ€”and if he
hadnâ€™t already been thinking about that part of his anatomyâ€”
she might have landed the punch. But he was already
twisting away, so her knuckles caught the point of his hip
She yelped, not loud enough to carry over the bump-and-
grind music. Heâ€™d already confirmed that the security
cameras covered only the doors and the cash register, and
the bouncer had willingly taken two hundred-dollar bills
with nothing more than a wink and a man-to-man nod.
More importantly, the isolation that had made her
susceptible to the demon and now her unconscious reliance
on its powers would keep her from calling out for help.
However, the rising demon also made her harder to
handle. He twisted again when she braced one foot between
them on the chair seat and reared back, nearly overturning
them. He stood, still clasping her close. With the weight
of his body, he pinned her to the wall while he awkwardly
adjusted his one-handed grip.
Since the hook, he hadnâ€™t held anyone he didnâ€™t want to
And this wasnâ€™t exactly a grappling hold he could
practice on his fellow fighters. "I donâ€™t want to hurt
you," he said aloud, but the demonic growl in his voice
made that hard even for him to believe.
Nimâ€™s irises flared more violently purple in response,
and she jackknifed against the wall, angling and weakening
his hold. Obviously she wasnâ€™t interested in what he had to
Come to think of it, neither was he.
"Dance for me, Nim." This time, he let the demonic
double-lows ripple through his voice. He let her go and
dropped into the chair. "Make me want it."
She landed in a crouch, one hand braced on the ground
between her feet. But she didnâ€™t run.
She could no more escape than he could. No matter how
much he hated the wicked thrill flowing through him, the
pulsing, stiff flesh behind his fly pointing the way.
His long, slow descent into hell had brought him here.
But the dark twist inside him promised that now he might
actually enjoy it.
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