A sexy demon-hunting romance novella
Out on 12 February 2014
“Take that, ya dirty shite.” Colleen O’Hara yanked
her blade from the hellthing’s flabby, white
flesh, and the monster wheezed like a deflating
balloon and died. Caustic green blood bubbled onto
the wet sidewalk, burning a smoking hole into the
Colleen shook the gore from her magical blade,
disgusted. That was the sixth low-level hellthing
she’d polished off tonight. And she still hadn’t
tracked down the rift in the hellflux, that
invisible barrier between earth and hell.
Something powerful and very evil had slashed that
rift, letting foul creatures like this one ooze
through. Worse, a demon—at least a level seven,
maybe higher—had come through. She could sense it.
And she wasn’t going home until she’d hunted down
the vile beast and killed it.
The prospect sparkled danger along Colleen’s
spine, like some forgotten lover’s fingertip. A
level-seven demon was mighty, with powers beyond
her imagining. Most likely out of her league.
Nothing Colleen liked better than a challenge.
“Fuck, I love this job,” she announced to the
Sweat trickled inside her leather armor, soaking
her shirt, and she lifted her damp red braid from
her neck. No breeze stirred the sultry night.
Nearly Yule and still stinking hot, no sign of
winter. Demon incursions did that. This year, the
hellflux wore even thinner than usual. Dangerously
thin, so the city stank of brimstone and
hellflame, the horizon bleeding red beyond shining
And some of her colleagues in the Hunter’s Guild
said the damage to the hellflux was no accident.
The vampires of the Guild had protected their
weaker human cousins from hell for centuries, in
return for peace with humans and free access to
blood stocks for food. But rumor was that traitors
had infested the Guild. People called them hellmongers:
supposedly a gang of Hunters secretly in league
with demons, who used their magic to weaken the
hellflux. In exchange, they got evil powers that
let them live forever, like the vampires of old. A
modern vampire’s life was pitifully short, a few
hundred years tops. Few people believed in magic
anymore, and without wholehearted belief, magic
Well, Colleen didn’t want to live forever. She
wanted to live now, every moment rich
with excitement or pleasure or sweet anticipation.
And only hunting made her feel alive.
She licked thirsty fangs, her mouth dry at the
prospect of illicit thrills. The Guild’s rules—so
many fucking rules, Jesus, like a boarding school
for babies—prohibited mixing business and
pleasure. As if she wasn’t supposed to like
what she did. Her Academy instructors had
tut-tutted at her eagerness for battle. But only a
fight sharpened her senses like this—every breath
and scent and sound a molten spike of sensation.
Besides, keeping human souls safe from demons was
her job. That’s what Guild Hunters did. And demons
were evil, homicidal monsters who delighted in
torment for its own sake. They deserved to perish
Was it wrong that the danger turned her on? Did
that make her a bad girl? She could smell
that demon meddler, dark whiffs of sulfur and hot
male flesh. She wanted him.
Dead, that is. Demons were filth. He deserved only
an ugly fate.
And she was just the one to give it to him.
Such a beautiful enemy.
In his shadow form, Seth drifted above Colleen’s
head, a silent breath of blackness in the night.
And fascinated. The fiery glint of her
spell-wreathed knives mesmerized him. Her lean
shadow slipped along the moonlit alley wall like a
ghost. The power that flashed in the magical
bloodstone at her throat made him tingle. If he’d
had a mouth right now, it would have watered.
He’d been watching this Hunter every night for a
week. Stalking the stalker, tracking her sweet
vampire scent through midnight streets, as she
killed imps and fleshcrushers, her lethal blades
flashing. Her victims were lower-level minions,
hell’s dross, mere lumps of flesh and hatred.
Expendable, easily replaced . . . yet her grim
taste for death intrigued him.
He drifted closer, whispering his shadowy fingers
over her braided red hair, and his particles
shimmered, aroused. Hellfire, she smelled good, of
strawberries and female sweat. She hadn’t detected
Seth—but this was no reflection on her fighting
prowess. Seth was a shadow demon, ancient and
powerful. Just a strange shiver down your spine, a
warm whisper on your shoulder, a coil of blacker
darkness in the night. It was pitifully easy for
Seth to drink human and vampire souls.
Warm weariness washed through him. Soon, it’d be
Yule, when the hellflux would be at its lowest
ebb. His mistress—Jezebel, cruel demon empress,
curse her oily hide to eternities of agony—was
amassing her forces for a frontal assault. And
these helldamned Hunters were just getting in the
Which was where Colleen came in. Her powerful
magic-user’s soul would strengthen Seth. Feed him.
Sustain his power, make him invincible, and so on
and so forth. As Jezebel’s consort—and yeah, that
was about as much fun as it sounded—he’d eaten
countless souls in his time, both human and
vampire. It was getting old, the excitement
Seth sighed, a stirring of shadow. Hells, he
was getting old. Couldn’t recall when he’d last
properly relished a meal. He didn’t even bother
taking corporeal form anymore. Just dived down
their throats and sucked the soul from their
But this prey—this juicy lady Hunter—woke
something inside him that he hadn’t felt for . . .
Mmm. Would she taste as good as she looked?
Because she looked damn fine, even in that mannish
Hunter’s armor. Seth drifted his senses over her,
examining every tiny nuance of her body. So close,
just a quiver of breath from touching. Slim
ankles, lean legs, right up to her cherry-ripe
ass, which was encased in rough leather trousers
that stretched and ebbed with her movements. She
was fit, athletic, as befitting a Hunter. Trim
waist, epic breasts filling her hard leather vest.
Lips begging to be sucked on, flashing green gaze
promising both the fight and the fuck of his life.
And that crackling, fire-red hair . . . Seth’s
particles danced, hungry. Her hair was wild, like
a living creature, barely tamed into the thick,
springy braid hanging over her shoulder. Whore’s
hair. He wanted to grab it in his fists. To bare
that swanlike white throat, lick her throbbing
pulse, taste her as she whimpered with need . . .
She stole down the street like a ghost, her boot
heels making only the faintest click. Knife in
each hand, enchanted silver edged with crimson
moonlight. Compelled, Seth tasted the air,
searching for the secret flavor of her name. Colleen,
the shadows whispered back.
Colleen . . .
She whirled, her fierce green eyes sharp. Then she
shook her head, gave a self-deprecating smile, and
Fuck, yeah. Seth loved a woman who might kick his
ass in a fight. Delicate girls didn’t interest
him. He wanted a challenge, and this one had lean
muscles, strong yet feminine hands, long fingers
that wrapped lovingly around her knife hilts. He
imagined them wrapping like that around his cock
and grinned. My, my. You’re a bad girl,
Hunter. Just the way I like it.
Seth followed her, enjoying the rasp of the rough
brick wall against his smoky form. He was a shadow
prince of hell—that bitch Jezebel’s slave, yes,
but a prince nonetheless, lest she forget it—a
manifestation of pure darkness and despair. His
corporeal form was one of his lesser tools, a mere
afterthought . . . but this wild warrior woman
made him thirst for the bright shock of a kiss,
the hot throb of blood in his veins, skin slicking
on skin, the honey-sweet flavor of female
. . .
Seth licked invisible lips, ancient desires
stirring deep. Yes. When he feasted on her
bloodstone’s ripe essence, her magic would be his.
Her soul soon thereafter.
No rule said he couldn’t play with his food before
A dark chuckle rippled through him, laced with
desire. Colleen thought she was the
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