A Calling for Pleasure
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If you summon this demon, he’s guaranteed to come!
With a killer succubus leaving a trail of desiccated corpses, Detective Lars Thornsson of the Paranormal Enforcement Agency knows he shouldn’t be falling for a suspect. But a hot little piece of demon tail like Rael is impossible to resist. Slender, snake-hipped, and dark skinned, he swears he’s innocent—of murder, at least.
Rael is delighted when a summoning brings him up to Earth, filled as it is with hot guys walking around like an all-you-can-eat buffet. He’s not so happy about the mean old detectives interrupting him halfway through his dinner—but he changes his mind after getting an eyeful of Lars’s muscular, Nordic charms.
Now Rael has a vested interest in keeping Lars safe from the real killer, even if that means putting himself into the killer’s path.
This title comes with no special warnings.
Caution: The following details may be considered spoilerish.
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The rush of the summoning fizzed through Rael’s brain, leaving his mood switched to high and all his senses buzzing. He’d materialized in a small room with the drapes drawn—a teenager’s bedroom, he guessed from the unmade bed, Little League pennants on the walls, and the aroma of eau de socks perfuming the air. There was a raggedy salt circle messing up the carpet around him, and thirteen stubby, smoky little candles he was just itching to snuff before they made the whole room reek like rancid fat. Damn, someone’s mom was going to be mad about this little stunt.
A pimply faced kid in sweats and a baseball cap was sitting on the bed with his jaw hanging open. He stared straight at Rael, who raised an eyebrow. A grimoire slipped from the kid’s slack fingers and fell with a thud to the carpet.
Rael gave Teen Warlock his best slow smile. “You called?” he breathed, every inch of his skin tingling as his powers rippled right on out through the air.
“You . . . you can’t be a succubus!” the kid croaked, pointing a trembling finger in Rael’s direction. “You’re supposed to be a woman!”
Rael pouted. “You know, there are laws against gender discrimination in the workplace.”
“We’re not in Hell now, are we, honey?” Rael leaned forward, watching with satisfaction as the kid’s face flushed, his sweats tented, and his eyes turned darker than a sinner’s soul. “Now, why don’t we get me out of this circle, and I’ll show you what a real demon can do for you?”
# # #
Detective Lars Thornsson of the Paranormal Enforcement Agency (Tartarus Street Precinct) massaged his temples, trying to stop the iron bands of an incipient migraine from tightening around his forehead. He’d been hoping to go home on time for once, but the chances of that happening looked so slim they were damn near invisible. His partner Rochelle had just thwacked a skinny case file down on the desk in front of him. Lars groaned. “Another one already?”
They’d been on the succubus serial killer case for three weeks now, and were getting nowhere fast. The demon they were after had put, at last count, thirteen men in the morgue, their souls literally sucked out through their dicks. The thought of it made Lars simultaneously wince and think, Damn, what a way to go.
Rochelle frowned, although that was kind of her default expression. “Maybe; maybe not. This one’s still alive. Morton Meers, age eighteen; youngest victim so far. Found by his parents. He’d called a demon into his bedroom, would you believe it? Salt circle a fucking fairy could have gotten out of, and the candles damn near set fire to the drapes.” She snorted her disapproval. “Amateur.”
“Successful amateur,” Lars reminded her. “Even if he did get more than he bargained for.” He had a grudging respect for anyone who actually managed to get magic to work for them, seeing as his own Talent level rated slightly lower than your average tabby cat. As the half-human son of an Immortal—and he was well aware that was the only reason he’d ever gotten into the PEA—possessing less intrinsic magic than a dime store conjuring trick had been a source of acute embarrassment all his life. “So what was the damage? To the kid, I mean.”
Rochelle shrugged. “Usual. Dehydration, exhaustion. Only not fatal this time.”
“So either our serial killer’s developed a conscience, or we got us a whole different demon,” Lars mused.
“Guess so. Or it was real grossed out by the kid’s acne.”
Lars smiled despite himself. “Doesn’t sound like our girl’s M.O. The bedroom setting, yes, but there were no signs the other victims had recently performed a summoning. And they were all older—single men living alone. But I guess we’ll have to check it out. Has the kid made a statement?”
“Oh, yeah. Doesn’t remember a damn thing, he says. Can’t explain how the salt got there, just lit the candles because he thought they were pretty, and no, ma’am, he’d never seen that grimoire before in his life.” She laughed. At least, if it’d been anyone else, Lars would have called that sound a laugh. Rochelle wasn’t exactly known for her sense of humor. Unlike her parents, of course. Actually, come to think of it, being christened Chelle Rochelle probably went a fair way toward explaining why she didn’t have a sense of humor.
“So, do we know if he had the brains to command the demon to get its ass back to Hell after it had done its thing?” he asked without a lot of hope.
“Actually, we pretty much know he didn’t. According to the officers first on the scene, the kid’s window was broken from the inside—left glass all over the front yard. Our demon must have leapt out after it munched on the kid.”
Fantastic. So now they might have two rogue succubi running loose in the city. Lars sighed heavily, rubbing his forehead again. “Hell. We have to get a description out of this kid so we can put out an APB. Just because Meers got lucky doesn’t mean the next victim isn’t going to wind up dehumidifying the morgue. I guess we’d better go see him.”
Rochelle pushed back her chair. “Gotcha. He’s down at Eymeric General.” She cackled. “Probably doing one hell of a lot of explaining to his mom and dad.”
# # #
Morton Meers, when they pitched up in his hospital room a half hour later, looked a hell of a lot younger than eighteen. Maybe the hospital gown covered in teddy bears was part of the reason, but Lars reckoned the fact that he was a scrawny little runt with a face you could play connect-the-dots on probably had more to do with it. When Lars and Rochelle walked in, Meers was perched on the edge of his hospital bed with an IV in his arm, his gaze darting around the room. Probably hoping one of the walls would sprout an extra door so he could run far, far away and pretend all this had never happened.
Lars dragged up an encouraging smile. “Mr. Meers? I’m Detective Thornsson, this is Detective Rochelle. We need to ask you a couple of questions about your, uh, ordeal.”
Meers blanched. “I told you guys already, I don’t remember anything.”
“That was the regular cops, son. We’re from the Paranormal Enforcement Agency. We understand you might not want everyone to know exactly what happened that night.” Lars grabbed a chair and sat down, hoping it’d make him appear a little more approachable. At six foot four with a build bequeathed him by his Valkyrie mother, he knew he tended to intimidate people without even trying. “Maybe you’d prefer to talk to my partner?” He looked hopefully at Rochelle, who might at least theoretically be expected to seem less threatening. She had the sort of frame that was generally described as “petite,” although not in her hearing. Not by any guy who valued his gonads, at any rate. And then there was the whole female-equals-motherly thing . . .
Lars probably should have realized by now that Rochelle wasn’t too big on maternal instincts. She was leaning against the wall with her arms folded, and scowled at Lars briefly before stepping forward and directing an insincere smile at the victim. “You know, you’d hardly be the first young man who’s wanted a little supernatural assistance in finding a girlfriend.” Her tone, Lars guessed, was meant to be reassuring, but it came out sounding more gritted than sugared.
“It wasn’t a girl!” the kid blurted out, clapping his hands to his mouth afterward, presumably scared of what else might slip out.
Well, that put a different slant on it. “I’m sorry, Mr. Meers,” Lars said, getting up. “I guess there’s been a misunderstanding. We’re on the hunt for a succubus that’s a serial killer. But if you called up an incubus and this was all consensual—”
“No! I’m not like that!” Meers jumped down off the bed and took a step forward as if he was trying to carry his point across bodily.
Lars felt sorry for him. “Son, there’s no shame in being gay. I’m that way myself—”
“I’m not!” The kid backed away a little, his hands disappearing behind him like he was trying to hold his hospital gown closed at the back. He yelped as his legs hit the bed, then felt behind him and sat down again firmly. “I wanted a girl, okay, but this, this man turned up, he said he was a succubus even though he was a guy and he . . . oh, fuck, he . . .”
“Blew your brains out?” Rochelle’s tone was sardonic.
“Oh, God!” The kid collapsed into a crumpled pile of teddy bear chic and put his face in his hands. “Am I going to turn into a fag?”
That migraine was coming along nicely now. “That’s generally not how it happens,” Lars said, as kindly as he could.