Heart of the Demon

Finn walked into the Devil’s Domain nightclub and paused to let his eyes adjust to the dimness. The warmth inside the club, produced by a furnace and the heat of the assembled crowd, contrasted with the coolness of the November evening.

Not that heat bothered him. He was a demon after all; he could handle a little heat. Once he accomplished his task tonight, he’d see what kind of hookup he could make and then he’d generate another type of heat altogether. If he could. He scowled a little, remembering those succubi he’d seen a few months ago. He’d had similar reactions since, but hoped that very soon his disinterest would be a fleeting thing.

First, he needed to make some progress on that little matter his father and Tobias Caine had asked him to take care of. Things had been slow moving thus far. Infiltrating the rogue group of preternaturals would be the key to his freedom.

He’d been working on it for the last few months, using his current contacts and making new ones. Going to the leader of the group head-on would be too obvious, so Finn had been coming at them sideways. He was so close, he could feel it. All he needed was one person to buy that he was a true believer and he’d be in. He planned to make some headway to that end tonight, especially since he was running out of time. The next rift was set to occur in only four weeks.

Moving a few more feet into the club, he looked out over the assembled crowd. Prets of every type as well as several humans filled the place almost to capacity. A handful of vampires congregated in the booths near the door that led to the area where they could dine in private if they wanted. Some vamps, though, were exhibitionists and got off as much on audience reaction as they did the actual ingestion of blood, which explained why a few of them were leaning over donors in booths that lined the back wall, fangs in arms or necks.

Shapeshifters—werewolves, various werecats, and even a werebear or two—gathered near the bar. A couple of succubi led entranced humans by the hand toward the restrooms where, no doubt, they’d suck off some of the men’s energy while, well, sucking them off. And they’d probably lift their victim’s wallets while they were at it, but the men wouldn’t care about that, not for a while, anyway.

The club smelled like it usually did, a combination of booze, sweat, and the underlying dark, silky feel of carnal, preternatural hunger. Between the music and voices of people trying to talk over it, the noise level was at a low roar. Finn tapped into his chameleon abilities and took on the hearing of a shapeshifter. He listened to several conversations, none of which was all that interesting. Certainly none pertained to the rogue group he was still trying to get close to. He eased up and shifted his attention to the dance floor. Several demons he knew, most of whom he had no desire to engage in conversation. One guy, an incubus, caught his attention, though. Not because of what he was doing, which was dancing badly, but because of whom he was dancing with.

Finn would recognize that long hair anywhere. It flowed down her back to the top of her shapely buttocks in a fiery cascade. Keira O’Brien.

His body tightened. On some level he recognized the reaction and registered the relief he felt in knowing he hadn’t completely lost his interest in the opposite sex. But on another level he wondered if Keira had ruined him for other women.

He reflected on their first meeting. They’d met here, at the Devil’s Domain, right at the bar. Finn had just come off a job. He’d been tired, in need of a shave, a haircut, and a small supply of give-a-damn. A husky, shamrock-jeweled voice ordering a scotch had caught his attention and set his nerve endings on fire. When he’d seen the owner of that voice, a slender, curvy woman in a barely there black dress, he’d been a goner.

The attraction had been mutual and instantaneous. She’d been as irreverent toward him then as she was now. Unafraid of his strength, she saw right through him to the man he was inside, the man he could become if he wanted it badly enough.

Keira had been new to the city, still trying to find her way. They danced for a while, shared another drink, and agreed to see each other again. Over the following months they had enjoyed a flirtation that had deepened each time they were together, finally culminating in a night filled with overheated bodies straining together against silky sheets.

The evening had started out as their dates usually did—dinner and dancing at the Devil’s Domain. That night, though, they’d both been more than ready to take things to the next level. Slow kisses and a little heavy petting in a dark booth at the club barely held their lust in check until he could get her to his bed.

Her dress had stayed on her for all of two seconds, only as long as it took him to get her from the front door to his bedroom. He’d laid her down on the crimson and plum comforter and she’d given him a slow, sultry smile that told him she knew exactly what she was doing to him, lying there in nothing but her smooth skin and a pair of red high heels.

Heart of the Demon – excerpt – copyright 2013 Cynthia Garner