Book Blitz & Excerpt: In a Devil Bind + Giveaway

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In a Devil Bind, by Makayla Roberts

Word Count: 66,127
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 242

GENRES:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
ANGELS AND DEMONS
CONTEMPORARY
CRIME AND MYSTERY
EROTIC ROMANCE
MYSTERY
THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

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Book Description

 

It has been one hell of a week.

With a serial killer on the loose and her carnal needs spiraling out of control, the last thing Detective Cheyenne Wilcox needs is to be deterred. As her cursed fate would have it, she gets the biggest hindrance of all when she winds up drugged with a spell that prevents her from moving more than six feet away from none other than Thorne Lucifer—an egotistical playboy whom she hates more than anything. Perhaps it was a good thing he didn’t remember her from the past, because the moment they manage to find a way to break the spell, she’s going to go above and beyond to erase all traces of him from her life…again.

Chey is one hot succubus, but her detached attitude is nothing but a nuisance to Thorne. Plus, having her following him everywhere presents a threat to his hard-earned reputation as Elysium’s most eligible bachelor. However, he can’t deny the sizzling attraction between them, or the fact that her feistiness only makes him eager to have her submit to him.

There’s a fine line between lust and love, and though Chey seems determined to keep things casual until the spell is broken, for the first time in his life, Thorne is leaning more toward the latter.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, stalking and murder. It is best read as book two in The Lucifer Brothers series.

Excerpt

Waking up in a stranger’s bed was nothing new to Thorne Lucifer. At age eighty and some change, sex was one of the few things he had to keep from dying of boredom most days. If someone asked him to count how many lovers he’d taken in the past year alone—hell, the past month—he couldn’t even give two names. They all came and went—pun intended.

On this occasion, however, he couldn’t recall a day in his life when he’d awakened chained to a stranger’s bed with a splitting headache and a bad case of nausea, having been stripped down to nothing more than his socks. With a grunt, he squinted his eyes open, sighing with relief when the only lights he could make out were from a handful of dim candles that had been placed on top of a wooden dresser. He didn’t think his hangover would be very kind to him if he’d been encased in full illumination. A faint orange glow shone from the open door across from him—a bathroom, most likely.

He soon became aware of his other senses. Something smelled like mildew, piss and the very ass of hell. There was the sound of shuffling and scraping, though it was very light. It was distant, perhaps coming from another room.

Something cold and wet soaked one side of his head, so he turned a bit to spot a clear zipped bag filled with water, though the outside was coated in condensation.

Aw, his lover had been considerate enough to give him an ice pack for his hangover. How sweet.

With a snort, he waited until his vision cleared further before taking in his surroundings—moldy walls with chipped paint that had lost color long ago, a busted bubble-back TV, a crooked painting of a bland flower and furniture covered in stains that came from only-the-gods-knew what. Even the bed he was on was lumpy and uncomfortable, resulting in a deep ache in his lower back. A pile of sharp rocks would have been preferable.

He crinkled his nose in disgust. While he wasn’t as particular about his sex partners as his uptight brothers were, he was damn sure not down with doing business in raggedy motel rooms. He was a classier dude than that. He’d screw his partner in a dark alley and send her on her way before bedding down in one of these shitholes.

What gives?

He frowned, images of the previous night coming back in bits and pieces. He’d gone to one of his favorite bars on the east side of town after leaving work. It had been a slow Saturday, so he’d wanted to go out for some drinks to pass the time. He was a big drinker, so throwing back shot after shot hadn’t even given him a buzz. Instead, it’d put him in a horny mood, and he’d been scanning the crowd for the hottest woman to take home for a night of fun. If he were lucky, he would have found two of them.

It hadn’t taken long before he’d spotted a petite blonde sashaying toward him. She hadn’t been the only one interested, of course. Despite being a Lucifer, his devilishly handsome looks and easy smile always aided him in attracting the opposite sex. But that woman had been a nymph—his favorite. He’d sensed that right off the bat and wasted no time ordering a drink for her while they made small talk.

Everything went blurry from there. He vaguely recalled her leading him to the dance floor, grinding against his dick in tune with the music. Then they were outside and…everything went blank.

Frown deepening, he realized the wench must have slipped something into one of his drinks. He glanced down at his naked body, checking for any damage. Nothing. Not even a little nick from a needle drawing blood. He grunted, pushing himself up the musty pillows.

Well, damn. If she hadn’t cut him open in his sleep, what the hell had she drugged him for? He’d already planned on screwing her brains out, so if she’d thought to use him for sex, it was pointless.

“Yo, nympho. You there?” he called, his voice rough from waking up. “You can unchain me now.”

Of course, he didn’t receive an answer. However, there was another collection of shuffling and thumping from the other room. He tugged on the chains binding his wrists in a way that made him look like he was being fucking crucified. A quick glance around showed a key on the nightstand next to him, and he sighed.

An ice pack and the key to free himself. How freaking considerate of her.

As he unlocked his chains, he grumbled a series of expletives under his breath, all directed at the vixen who’d caused this. While he didn’t mind being used for sex, he’d be damned if he’d let it slide that someone had drugged him and left him in such a dank room. He didn’t even know where he was. The blondie better pray he didn’t find out her identity. He might be known as a pretty laid-back man, but he damn sure wasn’t one to be crossed.

Freed, he stood and bent his body this way and that to inspect his backside for any blemishes. It wouldn’t surprise him to find his back and ass ate up by bed bugs. He didn’t see any, but he wouldn’t hold his breath on that one. The longer he stood in the room, the grosser his skin felt.

He spotted his pants and shirt thrown over the back of an armchair and swiftly donned them, sneezing as a chill washed over him. Great. Not only were his surroundings filthy beyond repair, but there was also a draft. The top of his head felt cold as ice, despite the rest of the room feeling like a damn furnace. He pulled on his shoes and spotted his leather jacket tossed on top of the half-broken dining table. Next to it sat his cell phone and wallet, and a quick check showed that his battery had a little juice—and nothing was missing from his wallet, not even a single torq.

Before he could reach for his jacket, he paused at the sound of someone knocking—not at the front door but the one that connected his room to another.

Tensing in preparation to kick someone’s ass, he strolled over and unlocked the latch, then threw the off-white panel open. “You have two seconds to explain what—”

Thorne stumbled backward as someone crashed into him. “Fuck,” a female growled against his chest before shoving him away. Dressed only in a black bra and panties, she clutched the side of her head, her hand coming away with blood. “Fuck! I’m going to kill them. Ohhh, someone is going to fucking die tonight.”

He stiffened when she looked at him, her dark eyes mere slits of coal. She bared her teeth like a wild animal. “Did you have something to do with this?” She flashed him her palm.

He cocked one eyebrow and jerked his thumb over his shoulder. “I just woke up tied to the bed, lady. Not sure what the hell’s going on.” He narrowed his eyes, taking her in. She wasn’t the nymph, that was for sure. That woman had been blonde with sparkling green eyes and alabaster skin. The one before him was the total opposite. “Did you have something to do with this?”

She grumbled a curse and rushed over to his bathroom, dismissing his presence. Despite the strangeness of the circumstances and the amount of blood and dirt covering her, Thorne couldn’t help the way his gaze dropped to her rear. Hey, he was a man, after all, and he’d always loved his women with bigger assets—special emphasis on the ‘ass’ portion.

The thong she wore was shaped against her like a custom fit, the lush globes jiggling with each step she took. Her lower back had two dimples, another thing he’d always liked on women. What bits of almond-colored skin he could see looked smooth to the touch, everything tight with lean muscles that spoke of a regular exercise routine. Her raven hair was parted down the middle and pulled into two thick braids that fell nearly to her waist.

His dick grew a bit hard while he followed from a safe distance as she entered the bathroom.

Snatching up a half-empty water bottle from the sink, she grabbed a washcloth and wet it, then began to dab at her wound with light touches. “Those motherfuckers,” she jeered, wincing in pain when she applied pressure.

Thorne leaned against the doorjamb of the bathroom. “Do you have even the slightest clue what’s going on here? I can’t remember shit from last night.”

She scoffed. “That’s because somebody drugged you.”

“No shit. I’m asking who did it—and why.”

She tossed the bloodied towel aside before turning to face him. He tried to keep from gaping at her full breasts, which were barely contained by her lacy bra. She pouted, then planted one fist on her hip with no shame whatsoever at her lack of clothing. “Do you see this?” She pointed to her bleeding temple.

Forcing his gaze away from the breasts, Thorne grimaced at the deep gash struggling to knit itself closed. It was a wonder she was even conscious, given how much blood soaked her. A wave of nausea rolled through him. “Yeah, that’s gross.”

She twisted her lips into a grim line. “Those bastards are dead when I get my hands on them. Do you hear me? D-E-A-D.” Before he could ask what she meant, she eyed him with caution. “You’d better get yourself checked. From what I know about devils, you guys can regenerate, but you can still catch an infection.”

He frowned, doing everything he could to keep himself from throwing up. The bleeding had slowed to a stop, but the raw pink tissue lying beneath was what sickened him. “What are you talking about? I’m fine.”

She lifted a brow, peering at the top of his head. “Sure, you are, Thorne.”

With that, she slid past him and made her way back to her room. Thorne frowned after her. “How do you know my name?” He didn’t bother trying to hide the suspicion in his voice. He’d be lying if he said she looked familiar. He’d come across so many women in his life that there was no telling who she was. Then again, there were few people who didn’t know him. He was a Lucifer, after all. Their name was known far and wide as they sat atop the pillar of the Big Four families in Sheol. “Have we met before?”

She snorted in derision. “If you have to ask that, then no.” She didn’t even hesitate as she stepped over the threshold.

Thorne meant to follow her to get more information, but he paused at the sight of himself in the broken mirror. All the color drained from his face as he blinked at his reflection.

There, on the top of his head, was the worst monstrosity he’d seen since…since…hell if he knew. He couldn’t even think of the proper words to compare it to, but it was disastrous.

His horns. His beautiful, six-inch, curved horns that held engraved patterns that were a proud sign of maturity and virility…

One was missing. Gone. Cut from his head, leaving him looking like a lopsided freak of nature. Like a fucking unicorn or something.

At the top of his lungs, he bellowed, “What the fuck!

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About the Author

Makayla Roberts

Makayla’s love for reading began at the age of twelve when her mother introduced her to the world of mystical creatures. From then on, she discovered a talent for turning her own imagination into words. From fanfictions to short stories to full-length novels and novellas, if she wasn’t focused on school activities, she was either reading or writing.

Raised on the coast of Mississippi, Makayla juggles her everyday life between work and being a mom. In her free time, she enjoys binge watching criminal suspense shows, shopping, painting, wood burning, and of course, working on her books.

Makayla enjoys writing stories with strong elements of romance, adventure, and paranormal. Vampires, shifters, fairies, dragons—she loves them all!

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Fang + Giveaway

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Fang, by Ellen Mint

Book 2 in the Coven of Desire series

Genres:

ANGELS AND DEMONS
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS
PARANORMAL
WERESHIFTERS

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Book Description

 

How can Cal live when the monster remains in the mirror?

Cal is struggling. After his past unraveled into a torment that claimed nearly his whole family, how could he not be? The only good left in his life is Layla, even if she comes with a pain-in-the-haunches incubus. Dealing with Ink is one more problem he’s ignoring, until the werewolf issues he’s refused to face come for him.

A second pack is hunting him and they’re threatening his mother. Cal has no choice but to travel back to Santa Fe and confront them, or lose the last family he has left. While a road trip with Layla sounds nice, Ink has to come along, and the demon keeps driving a growing wedge between Cal and his tenuous grasp on humanity.

Cal, Ink and Layla come face to face with an enemy Cal once believed to be nothing but a myth, his claws and fangs useless against their firepower. What do they want with the witch, werewolf and demon? And, most of all, how can they be stopped?

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, peril, near death, blood and gore. There are references to a cult, abusive and violent parents, and references to patricide.

Publisher’s Note: Everyone who buys a copy of Fang will receive the short story Snow Print free. Set between the events of Claw and Fang in the Coven of Desire series, Cal’s struggling to overcome the loss in his life is interrupted by a snowman army.

Excerpt

A crack shattered the silence, trying to pry my locked jaws apart. Shadows clipped across the single floodlight above the floorboards.

Diesel, gun oil, salted pork and…old leather. Every scent filled my sinuses and I whimpered.

“Cal…”

No! I spun in the tight space, clamping my filthy fingers onto my brother’s mouth. Even in the muddy crawlspace, I could see his eyes blazing above my palm. Eli’s entire body shivered, his shoulders rising to shield himself from every clip of the boot above our heads.

“We have to keep moving,” Mark spat in my ear. I cringed at the loogie sliding down my face while the eldest brother easily spun on his haunches. Even with his messed-up leg duct-taped to a fence post, he crawled quickly under the floor.

The boards above our heads stopped creaking and the light vanished. Had he gone to bed? This was it. Mom had put me in charge of getting Eli. All we had to do was…

Blinding white punctured the world. The ceiling above us shattered, splintering my heart. A massive hand slammed down right in front of my face. I reached my foot back, prepared to kick and break a finger, when the entire house collapsed over Eli.

Another crack. We all flinched as he took it. Three more lines added to the ones crisscrossing his back. Growls rumbled from Mark, pinned by his mother to stand and watch. I tried to twist away, but my head wouldn’t leave. If I didn’t watch, I could be next.

“Ah!”

A single cry escaped from Eli, and both Mark and I screamed, “No.” If he made a sound, it started all over.

The belt hung against the five-year-old’s back, Eli straining to reach over the apple crate he bent over. Crimson wicked up his burlap cassock. The blood would be left to dry for days as a reminder because the scars weren’t enough.

“This is what happens to disobedient boys,” boomed the voice through my ears, up my feet and into my blood. I tried to spit it out, the scent of him merging into a putrid taste boiling down my throat. Leaning over, I tried to retch it away—diesel, gun oil, salted pork, old leather, and blood. A spray of it erupted from my lips, staining the floorboards of the great room. No one turned to me, no one noticed I was vomiting in front of them.

Every eye gazed upon him. The father. Our great leader into the next stage of existence.

“Cal!”

“Eli…?”

His dirty, matted hair began to lift. As it did, crimson paint dribbled down the sides. “I don’t wanna be here, Cal!”

“I…” Damn it. My gaze plummeted to the floor, tears threatening to burst. Slamming my lids closed so no one could tattle on me for crying, I said, “I’ll get you out of here, Eli. When it’s done, I’ll get you.”

“Forget it.” It wasn’t the soft cry of a kid, but the dead acceptance of an adult. Even with my eyes shut tight, I saw Eli rise from the box. He trampled it down with his foot, shattering the crate we’d all been whipped on. Eli stood tall, stretching far above my head.

“Weak,” the voice of my unending nightmares thundered. “All of you.” His face burned hot like the sun and I could only stare at the black gun extending from his hand. He pointed it at the followers standing in a ring around us.

“The time of the Moon is nigh,” the rotten bastard said. “Destiny, child. Blood.” He aimed his gun at Eli. A flash turned my brother’s head into a wolf’s skull.

“Eli!” I screamed, running for him. But my feet couldn’t get any traction. Every step kept me pinned in place, unable to reach my brother slowly tumbling to the cement ground.

“You cannot escape it, Calvin.” The asshole’s hand clamped to my shoulder and he pressed me down to my knees. I tried to fight it, but my bones were matchsticks against his might. They buckled, my nose pressing into the dirt.

A wind howled through the trees, parting the stricken branches to reveal the yellow-blue light forever beaming down upon us. Itching rippled under my skin, one no amount of scratching would solve.

“Give in,” he chanted almost serenely.

I shook my head, feeling fur and not hair brush against my shoulder. “No,” I declared, the words warping as my gums receded. Pain clawed up the roots of my teeth sharpening to fangs.

“You cannot escape, Calvin.”

Squeezing my eyes tight, I willed the wolf back. My teeth flattened. I patted my head, finding only the shaved hair. Lashing my arm back, I burst from his grip and took two steps forward. “I’m never changing again!” I shouted.

A low chuckle caused me to freeze. My body betrayed me, terror beckoning me to turn. Lucien bent down, half of his skull exposed, the skin ripped like paper, the muscles rotted away. The eyeball in his fleshless socket was milky white. “Child.” A squishy, flapping sound followed his words. Red and purple tubes flapped out of a massive wound in his throat. I wanted to scream, but my mouth drowned with hot liquid.

“You cannot escape your blood.”

Fuck!

I shook awake, my whole body slamming forward to try to escape. Instead of hurling myself off the bed, I almost knocked my teeth into a soft shoulder. Layla’s hair provided cushioning to stop me, and I buried my face in it. I opened my mouth in a rictus and gave all the force of shrieking without letting a single sound escape.

My tongue tasted of copper and salt, of Lucien’s blood that I had ripped from his throat. My brain thundered with the scents of his body, his boots, his instruments of terror. Get out of it. He’s not here. He can never be here.

Burrowing my nose farther into her hair, I pulled in the deepest whiff imaginable. Cereal marshmallows. We’d gotten into a pointless food fight last night and I’d flicked them at her as she laughed. Amber. She’d used my soap to wash her hands and face. Me. The long night I held her safe in my arms. The air right before a thunderstorm struck. Layla.

My body tightened around her as it recognized the fullness of her. And she was stirring. Damn it.

“Cal…?” she croaked. Most of the time her voice was lush and lyrical, but in the morning it sounded more like a smoking frog.

I placed my lips to the nape of her neck, kissing over her curly hair to try to find the skin below. The taste of her replaced the lingering memory of blood. “Sorry to wake you,” I said.

The wolf inside me was restless. No, angry. It wanted vengeance even though we’d already gotten it. I winced and started to slide away. If I stayed in bed, no matter how tempting, it could rip through me. Take over my thoughts and push me to its side. I slid my hand up Layla’s stomach and over her hip, having to abandon her to calm down.

I was fairly certain she’d passed out and I slipped to my feet, when her fingers crested over mine. Through the shadows of the old house, I couldn’t see much, but the silhouette of her breasts tumbling together out from under my blanket almost drove me back in with her.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

No. But I’ve never been okay my whole life. “You stay sleeping.” I bent over and kissed her lips. I wished her taste and touch could chase away all the nightmare, but it clung to me like a filthy sack caked in blood. Rising to my feet, I stumbled out of my room. The wolf inside me howled.

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About the Author

Ellen Mint

Ellen Mint adores the adorkable heroes who charm with their shy smiles and heroines that pack a punch. She recently won the Top Ten Handmaid’s Challenge on Wattpad where hers was chosen by Margaret Atwood. Her books, Undercover Siren and Fever are available at Amazon as well as a short story in the Lucky Between The Sheets anthology. Married, she lives in Nebraska with her dog named after Granny Weatherwax. Her hobbies include gaming, painting, and halloween prop making. The basement is full of skeletons because they ran out of room in the closets.

You can find Ellen at her website here and also on Bookbub.

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Ellen Mint’s Claw Giveaway

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Illusion + Giveaway

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Illusion by Aurelia T. Evans

Book 11 in the Arcanium series

Word Count: 85,949
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 304

Genres:

ANGELS AND DEMONS
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
FANTASY AND FAIRYTALES
HORROR
PARANORMAL

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Book Description

Arcanium’s greatest illusion is that there’s any illusion at all…

When an old flame returns to Arcanium in the company of her own magical circus, Illumina, offering an alliance, Bell initially considers the merger an opportunity for much-needed change.

However, with Illumina comes Maya, who has lost her memories not just of Locke’s Arcanium but all her time with Bell—love, guilt, wishes, everything. Having her memories removed leaves Maya with too large a gap in her mind that she’s desperate to fill, and she knows that Bell, of all the people in Arcanium, can give her the information she’s missing.

Bell still loves Maya and spends every day trying to atone for the pain he caused her and the rest of his cast. In spite of her frustration, she’s happiest without him, without the memories that once nearly destroyed her. If Illumina is to become part of Arcanium, he has no choice. He has to keep his distance, because she doesn’t know why she should run as far away as she can from Arcanium—and from Bell.

Even so, resisting Maya is almost too much for him to bear.

Reader advisory: This book contains references to past torture, PTSD, consensual torture, self-harm through cutting and bloodplay.

Excerpt

Bell closed his eyes in the golden lantern light backstage.

When Bell let go, spread himself wide over the web of Arcanium, he was its omnipresent god and omnipotent voyeur, from the thoughts of his cast backstage with him to the audience anticipating the performances, the guests putting in their last efforts in the midway and the Skeletons settling in for their evening meal. He could see what they’d done yesterday and what they would do tomorrow. Even when he didn’t try, he had a finger on every pulse within the borders of Arcanium.

There had been nothing since Locke that had come close to taking Arcanium again. The fae hadn’t even constituted a threat. They would have left with far more chagrin if they had known how distant they had been from taking Arcanium by force. And Locke was now a red diamond on Neve’s finger, waiting for the day she was ready to kill him slowly.

Bell’s opiate of choice had always been pleasure, but his taste for violence went in and out with the seasons. He hadn’t the heart anymore for the punishment of man. He had enough of that to contend with in his cast’s memories and nightmares—but he’d rediscovered the old joy in punishing the immortals who had exploited his Arcanium, even if he had to experience the act of punishment secondhand.

Man swallowed against the apple every second they breathed, and Bell burned with the same sadistic sickness as his fireborn brethren. He kept the Ringmaster in Arcanium as much to remind himself of the line he couldn’t cross as to do the things he shouldn’t.

No one had ever told him what he could and couldn’t do. He was neither angel nor demon nor creation from dust. He had determined his own lines, chiseled his own moral code into his skin before Hammurabi had commissioned his scribes. He was free will incarnate, an agent of chaos to cast awry best-laid plans. He was his own, and so he made his world in his own image, populated it with free wills of all shapes and sizes to shape to his liking—which was often to theirs, because it pleased him to manipulate but not necessarily to control. Manipulation meant nothing without will. If he’d wanted slaves, he would have filled the circus with more convincing golems—like a flea circus of mechanical illusion but with zombies.

But where would be the fun in that?

Bell opened his eyes again, returning himself to the moment, although a blink could send him back out into the circus, forward or backward. All Arcanium and beyond was as accessible to him as the palace of his memories, but although grasping the world in his hands became easy when he made himself more of the god he was, he didn’t see much fun in that either. He made things easier for his cast and for himself, imparting skills that they hadn’t or couldn’t have learned before, gifting talent, but even the demons preferred to work for their performances. Without effort, there could be no achievement, and without achievement, no satisfaction. Pleasure, as with pain, had to be earned.

Selena wrapped her arms around his shoulders from behind, her sharp smile against his cheek. She kissed him lightly. “Ready, darling?”

As a demon, Selena could twist her body into shapes that Valorie couldn’t have hoped to create. In Valorie’s case, Bell had wanted a contortionist human enough to be both awe-inspiring and credible. When Selena had offered her services as a demon, he no longer had to keep the contortions credible. He didn’t need her to inspire awe. She preferred to inspire fear.

With her black eyes, dead blue skin and blood-stained hair, she was beautiful, but she was still a demon and plied most of her contortionist trade in the Haunted Funhouse rather than in the big top. For the big top performances, she’d taken over Maya’s role as his magician’s assistant and damsel in distress—at least, Arcanium’s version of a damsel in distress, which rarely followed a traditional plot.

Selena retrieved one of the steel knives, gleaming silver as new for every performance, from the bandolier around his torso and brought it to his throat. He lifted his chin, threaded his fingers through her locked hair, breathed in her craving for impure blood. When she shifted her kiss to his mouth, he met that craving with his tongue, hissing as her sharp teeth caught him and she slid the blade over his chin. Then she kissed down to the trickle of blood and drank from the wound until he healed it under her mouth.

She fed from his corruption instead of feeding from his people or too many of his guests, and in return, she made him numb. She could render men into oblivion, but the best she could do for Bell was take both the pleasure and the pain away for a time.

Most of the human cast believed he was sleeping with Selena. Kitty knew better. Neve and Elizabeth had guessed otherwise. And, to his annoyance, Vivian suspected, although because she didn’t know, she hadn’t shared that information with Dom or Delilah. The demons and the faerie could tell just by looking at him, but they wouldn’t share that information one way or the other. A jinni’s business, like that of a demon’s, was his own.

Selena kept his secret, liked keeping secrets in general, because secrets so easily corrupted, improving the flavor of that which she fed upon. It was only apt that she’d chosen an actual lover among his humans who was as ingenuous as they came. The fact that she regularly drained Victor of corruption that he had done nothing to earn satisfied Bell.

Selena licked the smear of blood from the edge of the blade before returning it to the bandolier. Then she jumped onto his back, wrapping her legs and arms around him. She was taller than him by half a head without heels, over a head with the ones she wore for the performance, but although taking a human form limited him in many ways, it didn’t impede his strength. He caught her legs and tucked her against him as he carried her to the curtains. Chelsine would finish her fire dance any minute, which would cue the lights for Sera’s aerial act. After Sera, Bell and Selena would enter. Though Selena should have been getting into place, Sasha and Mikhail had worked their magic, as they always did, and both Bell and Selena were reluctant to part.

Bell had never been so frustrated for so long.

Selena would find her own satisfaction after the performance, as most of his cast did. Some didn’t even wait until they were out from backstage.

To be surrounded by the lust and love of his people, to feel it against his skin, against his teeth, to drink it like milk and honey, hum with the vibrations of their moans and screams, watch them dance around each other, caress, kiss, their pupils dilated and their cheeks flushed, the touch of their tongue to their lips… It was the torture of his own dungeon, to be surrounded by everything he wanted but not to partake himself, even when he was tempted.

Instead, he rested his head back against Selena’s chest as her hair draped on either side of his face.

Selena slid from his back and kissed his shoulder. “Hard out there for a demon with a soul. You, of all people, should know better than to resist. God, Bell, there are so many willing victims. Why do you do this to yourself?”

He didn’t have a word she would understand. Demons punished with ease, but they had little concept of self-punishment. The closest any of them came was limited self-denial.

“I’ll see you in the ring.” Bell would seem casual to anyone without an extra sense or two to detect the deception.

“Sure, handsome.” Selena broke away, scurrying up the ladder to the heavens, where the trapeze swings, spotlights and aerial silks lived.

Neve was his crown jewel—the Spider, a black diamond he would keep in a vault if he could, but Kitty, who reclined on the chaise longue, was the life’s blood, the very beating heart of his circus. Locke had understood that she was valuable but hadn’t understood how much, or else he would never have allowed the Ringmaster to take her for himself.

Without an ounce of magic in her blood, Kitty sensed his attention, opened her eyes and met Bell’s gaze across backstage. Though she couldn’t see it, the Ringmaster’s darkness seeped from under the curtains as he introduced Sera, but when it reached Kitty, it dissipated. She was a pink, floral oasis in a sea of smoke.

Bell sent her what love he could spare from a distance. She received it like a blanket warmed in sunlight, because she was his Kitty Cat and he could rest his head on her shoulder and hold her until the sun rose and set again. Even if she blamed him like the rest, she’d lost none of her love for him. If a human being could become family to jinn, they had bound themselves with something thicker than blood.

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About the Author

Aurelia T. Evans

Aurelia T. Evans is an up-and-coming erotica author with a penchant for horror and the supernatural.

She’s the twisted mind behind the werewolf/shifter Sanctuary trilogy, demonic circus series Arcanium, and vampire serial Bloodbound. She’s also had short stories featured in various erotic anthologies.

Aurelia presently lives in Dallas, Texas (although she doesn’t ride horses or wear hats). She loves cats and enjoys baking as much as she dislikes cooking. She’s a walker, not a runner, and she writes outside as often as possible.

Giveaway

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Aurelia T. Evans Illusion Giveaway

AURELIA T. EVANS IS GIVING AWAY A $50.00 AMAZON GIFT CARD TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN AND GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 11TH May 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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