SCORCH: a succubus vs incubus demon romance
SCORCH: a succubus vs incubus demon romance
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It's every demon for herself
I thought I was the last of my kind, but there's another in Salem.
Not good. We can't both hunt in the same territory. I track the incubus, but when I find him, Daron's irresistibly devilish nature makes me rethink my plan for the night...
One night. One encounter. It won't change anything, right?
Only it does, and it's catastrophic. We've accidentally bonded.
Which means I crave him. Only him. And all the time. A sucky curse for a succubus.
We need to find a way to break the bond before we both starve.
- Cursed hero
- Opposites attract
Opposites attract in this fiery paranormal romance with damaged heroes and dangerous secrets.
"I don't want to spoil the story but let me say this... you NEED to go and read this, NOW!" ~ 5 Candles from Satin Sheets Romance.
I avoid people due to my curse, but when I see a beautiful woman dancing alone in my club, I must find out who she is. She’s surrounded by an unusual glow.
Why does she have that light?
On Halloween night, I return to dance at my favorite goth club. It’s been a year since the fire, and Vamps has a new owner–a tall, dark, brooding stranger. Utterly intriguing.
When we dance, our chemistry is explosive.
But we each have secrets. And danger lurks in the shadows. Will we be destroyed by the flames?
Fire is a standalone romance in the Underground Encounters paranormal romance series. Step into a hidden world of shifters, vampires, witches, and gargoyles. Who will you take home tonight?
"Lisa Carlisle has struck gold once again with "Fire" in her Underground Encounters Series. From the first page I couldn't stop reading. Tristan and Maya are both strong main characters that will make the reader laugh, cry, and sit on the edge of their seats."
Don't miss this Night Owl Reviews Top Pick!
I hadn’t been back since the fire.
Whoever had bought the club had kept the black brick exterior with the painted black windows, ensconcing the club in mystery. Passersby down this hidden alley might think it an abandoned warehouse, unless they got close enough to look up into the recessed doorway to see it flanked by two watchful gargoyle statues.
A moment of hesitation filled me. When I would come with my best friend Nike, I’d never felt threatened. We’d come after long shifts at the firehouse to unwind and dance off some steam. I’d practically bounce down the alleyway so I could get inside sooner.
But now, on my own, the creepiness of the alleyway set in. I wrapped my long black leather trench coat tightly around my body to shield my fishnet-covered legs as if protecting myself. It could be dangerous walking alone through warehouse alleys near the waterfront. No wonder Vamps was hidden back here. You wouldn’t want an underground club on the main drag, would you?
My Mary Jane heels clicked loudly on the cement. The further I walked, the closer the clicks were.
Easy, Maya, I chastised myself. You’re going to break into a trot in a second.
Finally, I made it to the front entrance and pulled on the heavy wooden doors with steel bars intersecting in the middle and was rewarded by a familiar figure.
“Byron, you’re still here!” I said to the extra-large bouncer who had an extra-large heart.
“Maya, where have ya been?” He threw his enormous arms wide and I rushed in, aware that I was grabbing him tighter than warranted, probably due to relief after my misgivings walking here alone.
“Whoa, girl, you must have really missed me,” he said before he let me go.
“Of course I did. It’s been forever. How have you been?”
“Survivin’. Taking odd jobs here and there while they rebuilt this place. You saw the damage from the explosion.”
“Yes, I remember.” It wasn’t something I could forget any time soon.
“Why you here alone tonight?” he asked. “Where’s your partner in crime?”
“Nike? I haven’t seen her since the fire.”
“Are you kidding me? It’s been what—a year?” After I nodded, he asked, “What happened with her then? One of the bartenders told me how she saw her go upstairs with the former owner that night. What do you think—they hooked up?”
I didn’t know how much to tell about Nike and Michel, even though I was still hurt that I hadn’t seen her. Sure, she sent brief emails from time to time, letting me know which country they were in, but it wasn’t the same. We were like this—if you could see me, you’d know I was wrapping my index and middle fingers together. Byron was concerned about her, but I also didn’t want to perpetuate any rumors.
“Word spreads quickly around here, doesn’t it?” I chose to avoid the juicy part of the question and answered, “Last I heard she was traveling around Europe.” I left out the part that she was with Michel.
We were interrupted by a couple who opened the door. He was wearing a red velvet smoking jacket a la Gomez Addams, but didn’t pull off the look completely with his dirty-blond hair. While they showed their IDs to Byron and paid the cover charge, I glanced at her outfit to see if she was sporting a Morticia-like dress. To my surprise, she was wearing a cowgirl outfit—hat, tassels, boots, and a short shirt. Not a usual costume for a goth club, but she pulled it off.
Note to self: see if you can pull off a sexy cowgirl outfit.
After they passed through the next set of doors, Byron asked, “So you’re solo tonight?”
“Hopefully not all night,” I lifted an eyebrow. “How’s the eye candy in there?”
“You know, the usual. Lots of weirdos.”
“Just my type.”
“Who you kiddin’? I’ve never seen you leave with anyone besides your girl Nike.”
“Byron. I haven’t been out in months. I went on some crappy dates this past year and realized I’m happier just being on my own. All I’ve done lately is work. Which means the only males I’ve encountered are coworkers and they smell pretty rank after a twenty-four-hour shift. Since Halloween is on a Saturday this year, and Halloween was always the best night of the year here, I decided to climb out of my self-imposed isolation and make an appearance.”
“Well then, get in there and be a naughty girl.” Byron smacked me playfully on the ass to push me on. Then he said, “Wait.” He took my hands and extended them out to the side. “Let me get a good look at you. See what outfit you’re sporting tonight. Are you wearing a costume under there?”
I cocked my head as I took my hands back to open my leather trench coat shawl, which could fit in just perfectly at a gothic club or a Renaissance fair, but not too many other places. Tonight I was wearing a sexy little pirate wench costume, with a laced-up corset top and short leather miniskirt. “Does this warrant your approval?”
He put his hand on his chin as he sized me up. “Not bad. I’ve seen you in worse. Still trying to forget the blue velvet gown, black combat boots debacle.”
“That was hot,” I protested.
He raised an eyebrow before his gaze moved up to my hair. “And you’ve gone back to black hair, I see?”
“Technically blue-black. There’s only so much color I can get away with at work, being a professional and all.” I winked. Lately, I’d been alternating between blue-black and a magenta tint, which was about as much as I could manage without the fire chief giving me the look. If I was feeling spunky and wanted to sport a hot pink or blue, I’d wear a wig.
“All right, you get my seal of approval. And you know that’s not so easy, princess. Go on in.”
I kissed him on the cheek and walked down the dark tunnel lit by candelabras attached to the stone walls. A new sign adorned the door leading to the main club area. Dante’s quote was carved into the wood: Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.
“But Maya,” he called after me. “Leave some of the pretty boys for me.”
“Obviously,” I said, with an exaggerated eye roll. “Not my style.”
* * * * *
Much of Vamps looked the same, yet much of it had changed. Gargoyles still guarded from their perches around the club. The three smaller dance platforms were replaced by one larger stage. They now had live bands perform up there as indicated by posters adorning the walls. Or when the stage was free as it was now, it was covered with uninhibited dancers who wanted to be watched.
I worried the vibe of the club wouldn’t survive the transition. Some clubs try too hard and end up seeming phony. Vamps always had its own style. Some called it goth for the prevalence of goth-inspired dress and music. But they played other music as well. Others called it a fetish club for the revealing leather or vinyl outfits many chose to wear. Black duct tape pasted over nipples has been seen more than once. And the sexy futuristic outfits with hulking boots were a common choice. But to me a fetish club alluded to sex out in the open, which wasn’t the case here. I’d never caught anyone doing it—but I had seen some couples get pretty close on the dance floor or in a corner.
I’d call it more of an underground club. One that was frequented by people who didn’t stick to conventional dress and music and followed their own path, rather than worrying what other people thought. Whatever the club was, it was where I fit in.
Continuing to look around and assess the club, I thought it still had an authentic feel. The red marble bar hadn’t survived the fire, I noted. But it was still manned—or womanned—by the hot bartender with pink hair and a nice rack. I looked over the drink menu posted above the draft beer.
“What’s in a Tempting Fate?” I asked her.
“Southern Comfort, Amaretto, vodka, pomegranate juice, pineapple juice, grenadine,” she rolled out in a velvety voice that was as sexy as she was.
“Sold,” I said, banging an imaginary gavel.
“You won’t regret it,” she said.
After she gave me my drink, I toasted nobody in particular, well, I guess myself. Here’s to tempting fate. I watched the crowd as I tasted the drink. It was exquisite and I took another large sip. Maybe I’d pay for it tomorrow, but it was gooood.
When I heard a remix of Type O Negative’s Cinnamon Girl, I left my drink at the bar to slink my way amid the gyrating bodies. My favorite band, one of my favorite songs. Tragic that the super-hot singer died so young.
In a sea of black-clad bodies, I blended right in. It had been months since I danced, but I quickly found my rhythm and lost myself in the music, dancing with the crowd. I didn’t feel the least bit self-conscious that I was alone.
That is—until I felt his eyes on me.
You know the feeling when someone is watching you and you’re suddenly aware of it? That tingling sensation made me look up. A tall guy dressed all in black—naturally—stood alone at the right side of the bar.
Something about that gaze arrested me and I stopped dancing. Dark eyes, almost black, on a face that looked as captivating as Jim Morrison in the Young Lion photo shoot. The black hair was a devil-may-care length, past his chin but not quite to his shoulders. Instead of the rock star’s signature black leather pants, this guy was wearing a cape over dark clothing.
His gaze penetrated me. So intense. The eyes of someone who was troubled—maybe haunted.
Why was he staring at me like that? Didn’t he know my weakness was a dark, brooding bad boy?
My lips parted as if they wanted to say something. But what did I want to say? And he couldn’t hear me anyway.
And then with a swoop of his cape, he was gone.
I stood there for a few more moments trying to process what just happened. Some hot guy in the corner watched me, who then took off with a flourish of his cape?
It seemed very Bela Lugosi-ish—another dark, brooding bad boy. I tried to shake off my confusion as Cinnamon Girl ended.
The DJ mixed in a version of David Bowie and Trent Reznor’s I’m Afraid of Americans. It took me another moment or two to brush off the effect that dark stranger had on me. I thought to hell with that guy and then got back into my groove.
Although I usually worked in the lab while the club was open, an industrial remix of Strange Days by the Doors snapped me out of my project. I couldn’t hide out down here all night; time to make sure business was running smoothly upstairs.
Bracing myself for the onslaught on my psyche, I took a deep breath before I walked into the main club area. I glanced around the perimeter of the club, scanning the bar area and the dance floor.
The usual darkness surrounded people, the sadness, the isolation, which I could see so vividly while others couldn’t. Their souls crying out to me, draining me. I tried to ignore their pull as I glanced around. The bartenders looked busy. The bouncers looked alert for any drunken jerks acting out of control. Nothing seemed amiss.
Good, I could make my rounds and get out of there and back to the lab.
But then one figure on the dance floor caught my eye. She glowed with a light around her unlike any I’d encountered before. Her bright spirit overwhelmed the darkness that surrounded the others. I watched as she danced, oblivious to those around her. Her light mesmerized me. For the first time I’d been around people other than my family, I wasn’t overwhelmed by darkness.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her. What was it she had?
Then she stopped and looked at me. Even though the club was dark, her light revealed her eyes were a brilliant blue.
When our eyes met, I saw her more clearly. A sadness buried deep within this bright spirit. Whereas others’ pain usually repelled me, her pain filled me with compassion. What was hiding there so deeply within this light? What hurt her? Suddenly I wanted to protect her from any pain.
Her light was magnetic; it drew me in. Now that her captivating eyes were staring back at me as well, I became unnerved.
I turned away and disappeared down the back stairwell. Safely in my lab, I sat in my leather chair in the corner I dubbed the library and thought.
What was she?
What would explain the light?
I scanned the books in the library, on the bookshelves built into a rounded wall modeled after one I admired in nearby Hammond Castle. I had books and books on the supernatural, so I flipped through them trying to find more information on why I saw what I did and what that meant.
I flipped through one book after another, reading by the light from the candelabra, which I found more soothing than artificial light.
What would explain what I just saw upstairs with that woman? Finding nothing, I closed the book and stared into the flames. Then I closed my eyes.
A vision of her dancing quickly shaped itself in my mind’s eye. Getting past the initial shock of her light, I remembered the way she moved, the way she danced unabashed to Cinnamon Girl. I saw her hips sway, her arms unfurl into the air as if conjuring up the elements, her black hair wave out behind her as she tossed her head back. I visualized her long legs extend up from those chunky black heels, up, up to the tiniest of skirts in her pirate wench costume. Who wouldn’t want a peek?
My curiosity about her was now piqued by my arousal. I felt consumed with a need to see her again. What was she like? I had to get up there and meet her.
I blew out the candles and went upstairs, returning to the dance floor area where I’d last seen her. She wasn’t there any longer. I walked the perimeter of the dance floor, looking for her.
Where was she? She should be easy to see with that light. That glow.
Was it gone? Was it just my mind playing tricks on me?
Yes, that would explain it. I’d never seen anything like that before. It couldn’t be real. It shouldn’t be.
Nevertheless, I scanned the people at the bar looking for my little pirate wench. But she was nowhere to be seen.
I exhaled with a deep sigh of regret. I blew it.
An hour or two later, I decided my dancing legs were broken back in and were now ready for a rest. I went to the ladies’ room to make sure I didn’t acquire raccoon eyes working up a sweat out there, retrieved my leather trench coat from coat check, and then pulled a heavy door to walk back up the alley.
Byron was talking to someone dressed all in black. The man’s back was toward me and I quickly noted the slightly long black hair on a tall frame like Peter Steele of Type O Negative, at least 6’ 3”.
Yes, this was a good night to come back.
Although he was wearing a dark cape, I noted his broad shoulders. Capes were donned by many Halloween revelers tonight, much like my recent encounter with that dark-eyed mystery man. Who just happened to be tall, dark, and caped.
Byron caught my eye. “You’re not leaving already, are you? It’s far too early to call it a night.”
“I think I’ve had enough, Byron. Looks as if I need to break in slowly.”
“Mr. Stone, this is Maya. She used to be a regular at the old club. It’s her first time back since you reopened it.”
When this Mr. Stone turned to me, my insides flipped as if acrobats set up a circus routine. Holy shit, it was the guy who stared at me on the dance floor. The one who gave me weird heart palpitations.
Our gazes caught. His dark, penetrating stare did something to me. Something weird. I was aware of this thing beating frantically inside my chest. How difficult it was to swallow.
Why couldn’t I break our stare? That connection was too intense.
“A pleasure,” he said. I wasn’t expecting such a deep voice, as sexy as Alan Rickman’s but with the accent of someone who grew up on the North Shore. Amazing how a sexy accent can affect your reaction to the opposite sex.
He bowed slightly to take my hand and kiss it. The tingle that shot from his hand on mine, his lips on my skin, did something to me that I still can’t logically explain.
It really must have been too long since I’d been out and interacting with the male species.
“Mr. Stone is the new owner,” Byron explained. “He put a lot of attention into rebuilding the club.”
“And you’re leaving so soon?” he said, never breaking our gaze. “What a shame.”
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