Other divas to check out today:
Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin
The Chancellor’s Bride by Kirsten Saell (Rating: NC-17)
Scenting Cinnamon by Ella Drake (Rating: NC-17)
Asking for It by Kate Willoughby (Rating: PG-13)
21st Century Courtesan by Eden Bradley (Rating: PG-13)
Excerpt Monday by Evie Byrne (Site Rating: NC-17)
The Encounter by Rose London (Rating: NC-17)First in the Soulguard series by Amber Gilchrist
Excerpt Monday, take 2!
This is from Scenting Cinnamon:
** language warning **
She didn’t recognize her own body, rigid in death. The fire red teddy ripped from her cold alabaster skin for the scalpel to cut, the blood to run down the cold metal table, and the drain on the floor to collect it all.
The last remnants of her life.
Cinnamon watched from the corner of the room, feeling raped and defiled by the men spreading her lifeless body before the angel of death himself.
Confusion, loneliness, and fear were not emotions Cinnamon Murphy was accustomed to feeling. And yet, there she was, dead on a slab in the mortuary and awaiting the scalpel with emotions she’d never had in life, and wondered why she was even hanging around instead of going after that big bright tunnel in the sky. Moments ago, if you’d asked her, she’d have said being the hotshot detective should have been a first class, express train to Paradise. Let alone getting the Hellions off the street before they could cause damage, protecting the innocent, righting the wrongs, putting the depraved behind bars.
But if the men with the roaming hands gave any indication, she had more work to do, and unfortunately, she was dead. Still here in this hellhole, she watched filth touching her body. Tugs and pulls, pinches and rough fondling gradually muted as if she were numb, under anesthesia, but with an edge of awareness seeping in.
The deep baritone pulsed through her body lying on the table, and although she had been afraid before, the demon’s voice prodding her desire made her aware of two things. First, she was dead, even if she was self aware, and unfortunately not dreaming. Definitely dead, otherwise she’d be off that table and slicing off the demon’s head in a heartbeat. Second, her apprehensions were verified by the looks of horror etched on the two men backing away from her body. One of the demon’s lackeys crashed into a gurney. Surgical instruments scattered across the floor.
If his own terrified men fled, what did he have planned for her? And why had desire coursed through her body for a type of creature she’d pledged her life to eradicate?
They dashed for the door. Her prostrate body, unable to tremble, left alone with the dark man standing at the end of her table. Tall enough that he would’ve towered over her, his waist brushed across her bare feet since the table had been extended full height.
Despite the anxiety clawing at her throat, she put her observational skills to work, trying to understand how she had gotten here and the identity of the men, starting with the demon at her feet. Surely he was a demon, dark as shadow. The light bounced off his bronze tanned skin and jet black shiny hair. Encased in a black leather jacket, his shoulders stretched wide and long legs strained against matching leather pants, tight enough to see the musculature and fine shape beneath.
Wait a minute, Murphy.
At least seven feet, maybe more, he was too tall to be a demon. A Nephilim, a pre-flood product of a demon and a human woman, a man among men, a fallen angel. Or, something like that. She hadn’t paid much attention to the history sessions she’d sat through when she first joined the volunteer Hellion Squad—which she had done every solstice since she’d gotten her detective license. To her, a product of a demon and a human was quite frankly, demon. No “half” about it.
This complicated matters. She always knew where she stood with a demon, but a Nephilim could be tricky.
Good or evil? Or, as it really played out, evil or only partially depraved?
To her, it was easy. Black and white. If it wasn’t fully human, Cin lopped off the head, asked questions later. She’d learned that lesson the hard way, after losing one partner too many.
“Tanner?” His force of his low tenor reverberated, and a scrambling outside the room answered. Within seconds, the door slid open, and a short burly man barreled in, bringing the heat and humidity of South Florida with him, sweat glistening on his pale bald head.
“Give it to me, and get out. I don’t have much time. Take those two back to their kennel, and prepare a room for our guest.”
The short man’s hairy hands clutched an oak paneled box, laden with scrollwork, the carvings deep, blood red. Shoving the box into his master’s hands, he bowed low, kept his eyes on the floor, and backed out of the room. His shoes echoed on the shiny, hard surface of the floor, bringing Cinnamon’s eyes back to the drain under her gurney where her life’s blood had trickled down.
Tunnel vision narrowed to the grate, while her ears tuned to the plunk, plunk, plunk of drops hitting the pipes underneath.
The snick of air released from the box brought her attention to the strong hands holding it on the steel surgical table next to her body. Not recognizing the implements, she tried to panic, have a sense of concern, anything. In the absence of those emotions, she knew her essence was fading. She was becoming a Shade. Too quickly, she no longer saw the stark red of her wounds, but rather, her slashed body faded, awash in muted browns.
Nephilim or no, the man moved with grace as he took a metal instrument from the box. Like a strange airbrush, or pen, its design puzzled her. Motions quick and decisive lent his hands surgical precision. After using a scalpel to slice his wrist, he held the cut to the strange pen, now open. His blood pooled in the well. When the instrument filled, he brought his wrist to his mouth, his lips lush and full, and licked the laceration. The flow of red abated with steam sizzling from the closing wound.
Crouching at her feet, he used the pen on the soft instep of each foot, the buzzing sound cluing Cinnamon in on the purpose of the implement. He tattooed her feet with his own blood. What the hell?
Appropriate choice of words since he was surely sending her there.
In a logical world, she should be horrified, but she was empty but for a slight numbness where he inked her. No longer bereft over her lost life or afraid for her pale body, she viewed her splayed limbs on the slab with dispassion.
Unable to decipher the signs he drew, she placed it as demon scroll. She slipped further, sure that moments ago she would have been able to read the script. She couldn’t move. Couldn’t speak. Of course not. She was apparently dead with some sort of ritual being committed upon her corpse before her spirit faded.
Putting the tat gun back into the box, he pulled out another metal instrument, one that looked like a tuning fork, and a gossamer skein of thread. The burnished steel fork, around six inches long, dwarfed in his grip. With no idea what kind of arcane ritual was being performed, a last spark of her old self gave in to an intense curiosity to see where this led.
The man walked to the head of her gurney and turned. She should have been able to see his face, but his head bent down as he studied her lifeless form. Her spirit, up in the corner of the harsh, sterile room, couldn’t see him. He grabbed her head and brushed back her hair, gently, as a father with a child. After tracing her face with his large hands, he parted her lips which had been clenched in pain from the angry, violent, jagged slit in her throat. She hadn’t seen her attacker, who had crept up from behind, silent as the death he carried.
Putting the post in her mouth, the twin tines slanting out of her pale lips, the dark man unraveled the thread loosely in his hands, fingers deft and capable. With a movement so swift she almost missed it, he struck the tuning fork. The reverberations slammed through her body, or rather, her spirit body which no longer floated to the ceiling but sank toward the floor.
His head snapped up, and dark-as-night eyes locked onto her spirit form. He could see her. He whipped the strand in his hand out and hit her directly in the chest. The strand snapped around her heart with a tight grip. He pulled the thread, and her spirit drew toward the Nephilim who smiled in satisfaction, white teeth gleaming. She tried to struggle against the inevitable, but she was weak and useless against the tide crashing along the shore of her fate.
Closer, closer. His black eyes, never wavering, watched her.
Awareness trickled back into her. The red markings on her feet grew vivid, glowing in their rich color. Near the end of the table, she stopped. Before she could be relieved, a suction began, even more irrepressible than the thread. The scrolls on her feet drew her in.
Cin jolted into her body, alive again.