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Lake City Stories
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: August 11, 2014
Word Count: 50,000 word
Cover Artist: Kanax
Pia Blyton, a succubus, isn’t ready for an official engagement since her skillset consists of setting kitchens on fire, singing at vampire hellholes, and most embarrassingly, she recently passed out in bed while feeding Valerio Hunan, the most eligible incubus in Lake City. Yet somehow he turns a blind eye to all her faults and still wants to set his marriage tattoos on her wrists.
The compulsion to have sex forces their people to have unconventional relationships. Every three days, she has to orgasm creating energy to survive. She can’t even live off bad sex. Unlike her, Val can’t feed off just anyone. He consumes the energy only a succubus creates and his hunger isn’t on a clock. Most incubi feed legally by luring multiple succubi into marriage with money and power. Val had caught Pia by the heart strings. Sneaky bastard.
When his food supply suddenly stops, he’s faced with starvation. Despite Pia’s adoration, she’s not an all you can eat buffet. He would suck her dry of all her life force within days. In order to save her, Val forces her to leave. With nowhere to go, Pia ends up at the last place she wants to be—her parent’s home, with nothing but her pink suitcase and a list of all her failures.
Pia needs to pull on her big girl panties and figure out why Val’s energy supplies have stopped arriving before he kills some unsuspecting succubus. But the demon inside Val is closer to the surface than either of them realize. When Pia leaves, the only thing on its mind is tracking her down and dragging her back into its bed where she belongs...even if it kills her.
John snatched my offending finger and kissed the tip. “You were worried?” A shy smile tugged at his lips. No fair.
I yanked my hand out of his grasp. “Of course I was. It’s not like I have suitors waiting in line.” My excuse for worrying sounded thin but I didn’t want to give John the wrong impression. Caring about my suitors was dangerous and falling in love against the rules. Emotional detachment had to be maintained to protect my fragile heart and to ensure my relationship with Val would work. For an incubus, he was oddly very possessive.
“You could have anyone you wanted. You just don’t—”
“Want to.” I finished the old argument between us.
“So.” He stared at his shoes. “You met my brother.”
“Yeah, I did. He wants to suck my soul out of my body like a juice box.” I set my hands on my hips and gazed out at my parent’s wooded property. Val was wandering out there under the bare branches. Somewhere.
“Sounds like Amel.” He twisted and followed my gaze. “Did he come looking for me here?”
“No, I used the locket you gave me last Winter Solstice.” I scowled and leaned closer so he couldn’t escape my glare. “You didn’t tell me that wasn’t your name.” When pressed the locket would say something and it turned out to be his brother’s name.
His shy smile became a grin. “I didn’t say it was either.” The dumbass’ smile faded. “Wait. You tried to summon me using that name?”
“Yeah.” Instead of my sweet John appearing in the pentagram, his pissed off big bro showed up and let’s just say he wasn’t happy about it.
“The city is still intact. Did your father defeat him?”
My eyebrows shot up. Dad? Beat a Mazzikim demon? “No.” John feared my father like no one else. That he stood on our doorstep showed how much he wanted my forgiveness. But Dad wasn’t a warrior. Zur-Sin, my vampire suitor and co-ruler of Lake City, however was not only a warrior he also practiced black magic.
“How exactly are you still alive?” His whispered question took me by surprise.
“Sin blood bound him.”
The blood drained from John’s face.
Reflexively, I reached out and steadied him. “John, where have you been?”
“Yes, John, where have you been?” Val strolled around the corner of the house, hands in pockets, and looking quite warm in just a suit. Incubus powers?
I jumped at his voice, an undeserved wave of guilt crashing over me as I released my hold of John’s elbow. Our people didn’t practice love. They saw the emotion as a weakness and I could see their point. Falling in love with a human had almost killed me a few years ago. Sex equaled food for my people and fidelity couldn’t be part of the equation.
My parents managed to have a beautiful four-way loving relationship. Well, until now, with a fourth wife on the horizon. After being raised in such an environment why wouldn’t I crave to have the same? I smiled at Val and held out my hand.
He was willing to give me everything, even his heart, but unlike me he’d been raised in a cold, sterile traditional succubus household. He wanted to love me, he just didn’t know how.
When our hands touched, I half expected to see sparks of desire dance between our fingers. I met his pale blue stare and my stomach fluttered. Would he ever stop affecting me this way? “John, this is Val, my fiancé.” Valerio Hunan had recently moved to Lake City. After a whirlwind courtship over a few days, I agreed to an engagement. My stomach rolled as I recalled why he’d dragged me here today. He wanted my mothers to force me to pick a date so we could publically announce our families uniting.
We had only been living together for a few weeks. In a hotel room no less. His wives hated me. What was the rush?
“Fiancé? I thought you didn’t want to ever get married, Pia.” John’s gaze traveled from Val to me and back again.
“I’m beginning to believe the same thing.” Val murmured under his breath.
I could kick John where the sun didn’t shine. “Shut up. A lot’s changed since you left me high and dry on my day three. So why don’t you answer my question before I ask Val to drag your scrawny ass to your big brother.”
“Are you always going to flirt with my suitors?” I tossed my purse on the counter in our hotel suite and faced Val.
“I’m not sure but I think Cooper is more excited to see you than me lately.” The last time we visited him at his cabin in the garden district, I could swear he wagged a non-existent tail when Val stepped out of my VW Bug. A girl could get a complex if her fiancé stole all her lovers.
“I never flirt with Zur-Sin.”
“I’m pretty sure Sin considers the amount of fighting you both do as foreplay.”
Val pulled a handkerchief out of his suit pocket and mopped his forehead. He had grown up in a different age and still had some old fashion habits. He appeared pale and his hands shook.
I went to him but he withdrew from me. “What’s wrong?” I called out to Val’s live-in assistant, Hoel, who should be home. He’d worked for Val for over fifty years.
The fallen angel didn’t answer.
I tried to support Val’s elbow but he sidestepped out of my reach.
“Pia, stop trying to touch me.” Val leaned against the counter. “I’m very hungry.”
My hands fluttered to my sides. “Oh.” I’d never seen him look so flustered. “You shouldn’t let yourself go so long between feeds.”
“I’ll go check the mail. My wives’ package should have arrived today.”
“Then I’ll go with you.”
“No. Just stay here.” Val left me standing opened mouth in the middle of the suite. The boom of the door echoed. He almost sounded afraid. Even when faced with a crazed demon, Val hadn’t shown any fear. I gazed down at my petite body. Had I grown horns?
I hurried to our bedroom and changed into more comfortable clothes. Maybe I should call John and have him come over early. Screw the contract for one night.
Cooper and John dealt directly with me when it came to our contracts. In exchange for feeding me, they had exclusive rights to my body for that evening. Zur-Sin had a special deal with my father concerning my being fed. Let’s just say I couldn’t break any of the terms or my father would lose his soul. I’d made a big mistake and my dad had paid for it.
Something savage snarled outside our suite door and I jumped. With a racing heart, I peeked out of the bedroom half expecting to see Amel, John’s badass brother. Nothing. My cell phone was in my purse on the counter and this seemed like a good time to call for help. Not that 9-1-1 responded to demon attacks but at least they could clean up my body parts. I tiptoed toward the kitchen and froze mid step.
Pale with a thin sheen of sweat covering his skin, Val halted just over the threshold of our suite. His piercing blue gaze pinned me to the spot. Shadows carved the features of his face and he appeared…
Primal heat of desire blasted through my body as he strode around me, staring as if he could see right through my yoga pants and t-shirt. I twisted to follow his path. “Val?” My voice shook and I was surprised to hear it was from fear, not anticipation. My sweetie knew how to turn on the smolder but this type of intensity bordered on supernatural to the power of ten.
He undid his tie and slid it free, wrapping the ends around each hand as if wanting to strangle someone. Me? I knew I did some things that drove him crazy like squeezing the tooth paste tube from the middle, but that didn’t deserve capital punishment.
I swallowed with a throat gone dry and searched the room. “Where’s Hoel?” The fallen angel assistant-slash-shadow was never far.
“He’s occupied.” Val’s voice caressed my flesh. Incubi were born with enough sexual magnetism to draw the most resistant of succubi to them. Evolution, only the strong surviving, and all that jazz made Val almost crackle with come-hither. Their need to feed upon us gave them the skills to melt the panties off any succubus within their vicinity.
With all that power focused directly at me, I caught my hands already inching inside my pants. Something was seriously wrong. My clothes felt too tight like I couldn’t bear their touch. Every inch of my flesh tingled and my nipples popped in aching readiness.
I’d never seen Val this hungry. An incubus of his power and influence couldn’t afford to lose control. Incubi could only feed off succubi and if his wives couldn’t provide what he needed then he’d be forced to go hunt. Last time I checked raping and pillaging were considered bad.
Normally, as his prospective bride I’d feed him but I couldn’t afford to feed another mouth. Hadn’t Val gone to check the mail for a package containing more vials from his wives? The responsibility to keep him well fed was theirs, not mine. Not yet.
For a succubus, I was considered picky when it came to my lovers. One night stands might be good for my body but they did terrible things to my soul. I needed a few bad boys that irked me enough not to fall in love yet dependable to be around when I needed them.
Yeah, I know, but I was allowed to dream big.
“Take off your clothes.” It didn’t sound like a request.
About the Author:
Annie Nicholas writes paranormal romance with a twist. She has courted vampires, hunted with shifters, and slain a dragon’s ego all with the might of her pen. Riding the wind of her imagination, she travels beyond the restraints of reality and shares them with anyone wanting to read her stories. Mother, daughter, and wife are some of the other hats she wears while hiking through the hills and dales of her adopted state of Vermont.
Annie writes for Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, and Lyrical Press.
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/annienicholas /