She ignored his anger. "You’re empty."
"Well, you ain’t so great yourself, lady."
She shook her head at his offended tone. "No, that’s not what I meant. I can’t read you. At all. It’s like…" Like she was normal.
Not possible. She buried her hand in his soft hair again.
Dev started to push her away, but two things kept him from it. One, he didn’t want her to snatch out another handful of his hair and two…
She felt really, really good this close to him. The scent of her skin filled his head and all he could see was the image he’d told her he was going to imagine. Every nerve in his body fired as he stared at his own reflection in her sunglasses and saw her nak*d in front of him. Before he could stop himself, he pulled those sunglasses off and tilted her chin up.
Don’t do it.
Asking him to stop was like asking a rock to swim–an impossible task. His body hungry for her, he dipped his head down and sampled heaven. Her soft lips met his and she breathed into him.
Sam’s senses fired as she tasted the heat of Dev’s kiss. Raw and demanding, he ravished her mouth and left her breathless. But it wasn’t just his kiss that ignited her, it was the fact that she couldn’t feel his emotions while he did it. Hear his thoughts. For one moment and for the first time in over five thousand years, she heard nothing but the beating of her own heart. She felt only her sensations.
Not his. Not even a smidgen.
That reality ripped through her and made her hungrier than she’d ever been before. She could sleep with him and not be haunted by it.
Her heart pounding, she deepened their kiss, wanting to savor every lick and touch the way she’d done when she’d been human.
Dev’s hormones kicked into high gear as she ran her hands over him, pulling him closer and closer…like she wanted to crawl inside him. She reached down between them to cup him in her hand through his jeans. Nothing could have made him hotter. Well, not entirely true. Had they been nak*d with her on her knees, it would have definitely made him hotter. But this was damn close.
He turned with her and pressed her against the wall. She lifted her legs to wrap them around his waist and squeezed him tight between her strong thighs.
Oh yeah… If they were nak*d, he’d be in complete ecstasy and right now all he could think about was being inside her.
Dev jerked as he heard Colt’s voice over the headset–this time of night, they worked a skeleton crew which meant he and Colt were the sole awake muscle in the bar–the rest of the men were off the clock and most likely asleep. The only other staff in the bar was Aimee and their new human waitress who was the size of an emaciated twelve-year-old. Since he didn’t know if the threat was human or preternatural, he couldn’t ignore the call.
Damn it. He could kill them for the crappy timing.
He met Sam’s startled gaze. "Sorry, love. Gotta go."
She nodded as her legs fell away and she freed him.
Whoever had done this, they better be dying ’cause if they weren’t, they would be. Grinding his teeth in frustration, he dodged through the doors to head for the ruckus.
Sam cursed in frustration as she took off after him to see what was going on.
Okay, I’m really not this big a slut. It’d just been so long since she’d touched a man without having to deal with his issues, that her hormones had swallowed her common sense. And honestly, she wanted him back for another round….
One that lasted a whole lot longer than three minutes.
Trying not to think about that, she went to help with whatever was happening.
Sure enough, there was a massive fight in the bar between two biker humans. Dev grabbed the biggest one and pulled him away from the smaller man he’d been pummeling while another shapeshifter male got between the combatants.
The bigger human slugged Dev hard across his face.
Dev didn’t even flinch as he grabbed the human by the shirt and shoved him back. "Boy, you knock on the devil’s door and he will head slam you through the wall."
"Fuck you." He moved to strike Dev again.
Dev ducked, spun the man around, and threw him so hard into the wall that his head left a dent in the Sheetrock. The human staggered back two steps, then crumpled to the floor.
"Dev!" Aimee Peltier snapped, coming around a table to check the human’s pulse. Tall and slender, her long blond hair was pulled back in a ponytail. She glared up in fury at her brother.
Dev’s face was a mask of innocence. "What? He was warned. Not my fault he’s too stupid to know when to shut his mouth and keep his hands to himself. I ain’t a saint, baby. They hit me. I hit back. You know the Sanctuary motto."
The bear who held the other human laughed. "So Dev, you want to escort this one out?"
The human held his hands up in surrender. "I’m leaving. Right now. I don’t need to kiss a wall first." He bolted for the door.
Aimee rose to her feet with a lethal glower. "He’s breathing, but damn, Dev…You know better. You could have killed him."
Honestly, Sam considered Dev justified in what he’d done. Like Dev said, he’d warned the human.
A weird groan came out of the man before he rose to his feet. He narrowed his gaze on Dev. "You’re going to die for that, Bear." He swept his gaze around at the other male bear and Aimee, then turned that soulless stare to Sam. "All of you are going to die, including you, Dark-Hunter." Throwing his head back, he laughed maniacally.
This guy was definitely not human….
Dev grabbed him. "Enough of that crap. You’re–"
The man exploded all over him.
Dev cursed as he was soaked by something light yellow that had the viscosity and properties of snot. It went all over him, even into his mouth, eyes, and ears. "Ah, gah, it’s a slug demon. Aimee, mindwipe the humans. Colt, get me a towel and Lysol and Listerine." Spitting out some of the mucus, he slung his arms, which caused the snot to fly in all directions.
"Hey!" Sam snapped, ducking the sticky shrapnel. "Keep your snot to yourself."
Dev scoffed at that. "Oh, so now you don’t want to touch me, huh?" He tsked. "What is it with women? The instant you put a little slime on them, they get squeamish and have no more use for you."
As he stepped toward her, she backed up. "Don’t make me have to hurt you."
"You’re such a tease. I knew it. Fine, I’ll take my slimy self upstairs and deslug. Definitely brushing my teeth first. Then gargling with boiling water and straight rubbing alcohol."
She shook her head at him. How could he have a sense of humor about being coated in slug juice that smelled so bad? She couldn’t imagine how a Were-Hunter with heightened senses could tolerate it and not toss his cookies. Though she’d never been hit by demon snot, she knew from others that it was nasty and that it burned.
"I think you’ll forgive me for my rudeness?" Dev vanished instantly.
Sam turned to see Aimee "visiting" the handful of humans in the bar to erase their memories of the demon and Dev. She met the other bear’s gaze and couldn’t help asking, "This happen often?"
"Not usually. Demons don’t normally come here, except for Simi and on rare occasion her brother Xed." He glanced toward Aimee. "May the gods help them. Aimee’s not real good at that. Hope she doesn’t burn out anything they need."
Ahhh, that explained Dev’s paranoia. Made her wonder what Aimee had taken from him with her ineptitude.
The bear extended his hand to her. "Name’s Colt."
He dropped his hand when she didn’t take it and scowled at the mess on the floor. "Could you tell he was a demon before he exploded?"
"Not even a little bit. You?"
Colt shook his head. "Acheron moves all of you in here. We have a Daimon walk into the bar in broad daylight, and now a demon sliming Dev. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem coincidental to me."
"I agree. Snot funny."
Colt rolled his eyes. "I can’t believe you went there."
"Me neither, but I couldn’t resist." She jerked her chin toward the demon remains on the floor. "What would make a demon threaten us, then kill himself?"
"Stupidity? Slugs aren’t real smart. Maybe he thought he was teleporting and exploded instead. Or maybe even a bad case of indigestion. There’s no telling what he ate before he got here."
"But why threaten us?"
"I’d say shits and giggles, but I’m with you. Something about this isn’t right." Colt held his arm out toward her so that she could see his forearm. "Look…chill bumps."
Yeah, right. Sam let out an annoyed breath. There wasn’t a chill bump on him.
Fang came running from the kitchen door with another blond man–a dragon shapeshifter–following a step behind him. He went straight to Aimee to make sure she was okay while the dragon took over mindwiping the humans.
Sam scowled. "Does the mindwipe happen a lot here?"
"Not as much as you’d think. We do a pretty good job keeping a lid on the unnatural around the humans. Max is the resident containment expert. He can clean out anyone without their knowing it."
For some reason she heard Dev in her ear talking about stealing passwords again. The memory made her smile.
Colt frowned. "What?"
"Nothing." She didn’t want to share it with him. She liked having it as something between her and Dev.
I have lost my mind. Dev was impossible and annoying. And right now, he was covered in demon mucus.
And still he’d been sexy.
I am a seriously sick woman. Only the deranged could think a man covered in paranormal snot was hot.
See what happens when you go a couple hundred years without sex. You lose your mind and all perspective.
She turned her attention back to Colt. "You know, I mentioned to Dev earlier that I wondered if the Daimon you guys thought you saw might be a demon in disguise…."
"No," Aimee said as she joined them. "He was a Daimon. No doubt about it. Believe it or not, we can tell the difference."
Sam still wasn’t convinced. Demons and Daimons weren’t really that far apart on a subspecies scale. "Let’s pretend for a minute that I’m right and he was a demon messing with you. Wouldn’t all of this"–she gestured toward the demon remains–"make more sense?"
Fang laughed low in his throat like he had a secret none of the rest of them knew. "Yes, but he was a Daimon. Trust me. I do know my demons."
Why was he being so stubborn? "Some aren’t that easy to spot."
Fang snorted. "For you people. I happen to be a Hellchaser so trust me when I say I can tell when a demon is nearby. Spot over there is what woke me up out of dead sleep a few minutes ago. I knew the minute he changed from possessed human to demon and manifested his powers. It makes my skin burn and Daimons don’t do that to me."
Sam was unfamiliar with the term he’d used to describe himself even though he’d said it as if she should know. "What’s a Hellchaser?"
Fang flashed a cocky grin. "Dark-Hunters hunt Daimons. Hellchasers hunt demons. No matter what they do to disguise themselves, they can’t hide from one of us for long. The minute they use their powers anywhere near us, we feel it. Just like you guys with your prey."
He was right about that. As a Dark-Hunter, she could sense anytime a Daimon was anywhere near her. So it stood to reason that he’d have a similar power with his targets. "Then do you know why Spot was here?"
"My job is to police them. I’m not their therapist or parole officer. He could have come in to harass me or just for a drink. With a demon, there’s no telling. He might have even followed someone else in here for who knows what purpose."
Sam gave Fang a droll stare as she mentally came to terms with the inevitable fact she’d been trying to avoid. Daimons walked in daylight and Fang was psychotic.
"Fine." Disgusted with what she was forced to do, she pulled her glove off and went over to the snot that Max was in the process of cleaning up.
Nice dragon to mop up without complaining. Though he did pause to give her a puzzled frown.
"Don’t ask." She knelt down and touched a small spot of the demon’s remains. It was so cold and slimy…uuuggghhh! Trying not to think about that or the fact it was burning her fingertip, she closed her eyes and used her powers to conjure an image of the demon in his true form.
Oh yeah, that was a face even his mother would cringe over. Slug demons weren’t attractive. They looked like fat humanoid boars complete with tusks coming out of their chins and foreheads.
But the things she saw playing through her mind were baffling. They made no sense whatsoever….
She saw a place without daylight. Not a city in this world, but it was a city where the sun didn’t shine–she had to force herself to ignore that obvious pun. It was like the sun didn’t exist in that realm…and it had to be an alternate realm. There was nothing about it to say it was the human world and it looked completely different. An odd combination of an ancient civilization and a modern one.
Suddenly the demon was in a hall where Daimons gathered in a number she would have never thought possible for them. There had to be well over a thousand Daimons and they spoke in a language she couldn’t identify.
Crud. She spread her palm deeper into the ick on the floor to get a better immersion into the demon’s last memories.