by Erin Fulmer
Publication date: June 7th 2022
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Half-succubus attorney Lily Knight has blood on her hands.
Haunted by guilt, behind on her rent, and facing professional disgrace, Lily must figure out how to survive in the wreckage of her former life. To make ends meet, she accepts a contract job she never wanted but can’t seem to avoid—hunting another demon murderer. This time, the victims are human, and a shadowy government agency will reward Lily with a way out of her dire financial straits.
If Lily doesn’t solve the case before the news gets out, fear and hatred will put all demonkind at risk from the proverbial torch-carrying mob. But when a young succubus on the run from the authorities begs for her help, Lily faces a new conflict of interest—especially after the suspect, Eve, reveals her father is Lily’s old frenemy.
Now Lily must juggle the pressures of a high-stakes murder case, her complicated relationship with her “not-boyfriend” Sebastian, and responsibility for a wayward teenager as she races to find the real killer. Worse, the culprit isn’t just a demon, but a self-proclaimed goddess who will stop at nothing to carry out her bloody quest for justice. To stop the killings, Lily must confront that which she most fears: the truth about what went down with Eve’s father in the desert—and its consequences.
That is, if the goddess doesn’t get to her first…
“That right there. That’s what I don’t understand.” His voice went rough around the edges again. It sent goosebumps shivering down my spine. “Talk to me. Did I do something wrong?”
“No!” I forced myself to meet his eyes. They burned into mine, but his desiderata pleaded with me. Damn it, I couldn’t afford to screw this up. “Of course not. The opposite, in fact.” Maybe that was the problem, the way he said all the right things, what I wanted to hear and what I couldn’t believe.
“Then explain it to me.” The rough edges in his tone deepened, verging on a growl. “You’re holding out on me again. But I’m a big boy, I can take it. Tell me the truth. Why do you keep pushing me away?”
He couldn’t handle the truth, and I couldn’t hold his gaze. I turned my head away. Outside our aerie, purple twilight had faded to full night, and the city glowed like a reef of jewels in a dark sea. “It’s complicated.”
“I like complicated.” He sighed. “Come on. I didn’t ask you to define our official social media status.”
“You’re not even on social media.” I tried on a casual shrug and half a truth. “I’m just scared, I guess.”
“Yeah, I got that much. You’re not as hard to read as you think. Scared of what? That I’ll hurt you, or that you’ll lose control?”
“Yes, all of it.” I swallowed hard. “You can’t understand what it’s like for me. It’s not just sex for me. If I let it, it could own me. And I…I could own you.”
A certain incubus had told me once that a succubus couldn’t have a sex addiction. But he also tried to convince me that demons were superior beings who deserved to rule over weak, inferior humans. And before that, he’d let me believe he meant well, that he respected consent, personal agency, the right to live and love as one pleased.
He’d told so many lies, and even though the liar had died, his lies still wove their tangled web around me like a shroud.
“I know you could,” Sebastian said calmly. “I’ve known from the beginning. It’s not so different for me as you think.”
I had to look back at him, then. “You think you could…own me?” Heat flooded my cheeks at the words. They sounded much filthier out loud, especially when his desiderata pulsed in response.
“If you let me. If you wanted me to.” His expression seared through me, and he drew me toward him. “My own desires run pretty dark and deep. If I give them free rein, they’d control me, too.”
“It’s not the same.” I could break free with ease. My strength outmatched his by a factor of ten. But his need sang to me. It hammered at my resistance like thunder, like the beat of huge dark wings. “Sebastian, I—” But the words died on my lips.
I couldn’t tell him the truth about what happened that night, our first night together. I couldn’t tell him what I did with my power, his power, the alchemy of our pleasure.
I couldn’t tell him that I killed someone with it.
“It’s all right,” he said, in that rippling velvet voice. “Come here.”
I took a long breath and pushed the box of things I couldn’t say back into the shadows. Then I stepped toward him of my own free will. Or at least, right now, I chose to believe I did.
“I have a confession, too,” he murmured, his lips inches from mine, not touching me anywhere skin to skin.
My breath came short. “I’m not a nun, Mr. Ritter.”
“Thank fuck for that.” His desiderata enveloped me, deep, rich, and overwhelming. “Because I didn’t just ask you here so we could take in the view.”
“You lied to me,” I whispered, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t need truths right now. I needed what he offered me.
“By omission only.” He put his hands on my hips, turning me with gentle pressure and steering me backward until my ass hit the hard edge of the desk. “The truth is, I’ve been very distracted lately during my workday by thoughts about you, me, and this desk.” His fingers worked under the band of my jeans, skimming my skin, and I moaned.
“Say ten Hail Marys and ten…oh, fuck.”
“Now that’s the kind of absolution I can live with,” he said, and bent his head to claim my mouth with his. His kether flooded through me. It suffused my body with a rush of light. It made my head spin, driving all my doubts away.
I drank him in, drank him deep, and when he pressed me down against the hard, cold surface of the desk, I did beg in the end—but not for absolution.
Erin Fulmer (she/her) is a public benefits attorney by day, author of urban fantasy and science fiction by night. She lives in sunny Northern California with her husband and two spoiled cats. When she’s not writing or working, she enjoys yoga, taking pictures of the sky, playing board games with friends, and napping like it’s an Olympic sport.
CAMBION’S BLOOD, the second book in her Cambion series and sequel to her debut urban fantasy CAMBION’S LAW, is out June 7 from City Owl Books.
a Rafflecopter giveaway