Julian McNamara has been living the high life his gambling career afforded him. When he finds out he’s dying, he’s faced with a stark reality and realizes he isn’t the man he wanted to be. In the heat of the moment, he bargains his soul to a smooth-talking demon who offers him ten more years and luck at the gambling table.
Prince Carreau rules the underworld with an iron fist, keeping the demon hordes at bay and forcing peace amongst the demon realms while biding his time to claim his mate. His cousin Olivier wants war, and uses Julian to tempt Carreau into giving in to the darkness.
Carreau is livid when he realizes his mate has sold his soul to Olivier and realizes he needs to find a way to break the contract—before the temptation of Julian’s flesh causes a war of the ages.
Betting On His Demon
M/M/M, ANAL, ORAL, TOY USE,
SPANKING, & BONDAGE
Twisted Erotica Publishing, Inc.
Betting On His Demon
Copyright © 2013 by KELEX
Edited by Marie Medina
First E-book Publication: December 2013
Cover design by K Designs
All cover art and logo copyright © 201
3, Twisted Erotica Publishing.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission.
All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.
To my readers – thanks for making 2013 an incredible year!
Julian glanced at the cards in his hands, trying to keep his cool. Being the second ranked poker player in the country usually afforded him the luxury of being in the cat-bird seat when it came to tournaments like this. Big stakes excited Julian, the higher the risk, the greater the reward. He usually won round after round, collecting huge purse after purse. He lived a lifestyle others were jealous of, held parties where he blew more money than his old man had made in a year.
But that had been before.
Before his life was forever altered.
Now, focus wasn’t on his side. The knowledge he had to win or else made the game go from fun to work. The stakes had never been higher. He needed to win this tournament. His very life depended on it. He could see the doctor in his mind’s eye, repeating the words that had cut Julian like a katana, slicing in so fast he’d barely had time to feel the thrust of the blade.
“Cancer. An aggressive form. It’s already spread farther and faster than any case I’ve ever seen, Mr. McNamara. We can try chemo and radiation, but I’m afraid it’s too far for even that. It will extend your life, but not by much.
It may be time to get your holdings in order.”
Sweat beaded on Julian’s forehead. Twenty-six and he would more than likely never make it to twenty-seven and he was told to get his holdings in order to pass on to whomever because you can’t take it with you, eh? When he’d gone to his accountant after the diagnosis, he’d gotten a rude awakening. He’d bought, partied, and wasted most of the money he’d earned over the past four years, instead of saving, investing, and being careful like his father had suggested. He didn’t have the cash he’d need for treatments, second opinions, or anything that could save his life.
He was young. Tomorrow was supposed to be a given. Julian was too young to die.
“I call and raise fifty-thousand,” said the Texan across from Julian, pulling him out of his stupor. A slow, wicked smile crossed the man’s face, almost as wide as the stupid ten gallon hat that was too big for his head. The Texan seemed to know Julian was struggling, and he was going in for the kill.
Julian glanced at his meager pile of chips and swallowed, knowing he was facing a pivotal moment. If he didn’t win this tournament, he wasn’t sure how he’d afford the treatments he desperately needed.
Julian stared at his cards, the sweat beading more heavily on his brow. No way to have a poker face when you looked like a sopping damned pig.
Yeah, that was more than likely the case. The flames of Hell beckoned Julian, welcoming him to burn forever.
Julian hadn’t been the best person in the world. He’d been too prideful, too sinful, and just an asshole at times. He’d had too much money at a young age, and he’d been tempted by what he could buy. Amazing how one simple word could reduce an ego and make a man take a hard look at his life. There were so many things he’d do differently if he had a second chance. He’d be a better son, a better friend, and he’d use his winnings wisely, planning for tomorrow instead of wasting it all away. Hell, he’d even do charity work if it got him out of this mess.
I’d sell my soul to win this game.
Julian looked over his cards one last time, seconds away from folding. He glanced up at the smirking Texan before he made his decision.
The big guy had a drink halfway to his lips, his smirking smile still plastered over his face. Julian frowned. The Texan was frozen, that drink never making it to his lips.
What the hell?
Julian looked around, realizing the room had suddenly become deathly quiet. Of the dozen players at the table, all of them but Julian were locked into a frozen position, their limbs hanging in odd poses. The player on Julian’s side had been tossing chips into the center of the table, and those chips hovered in the air, suspended on thin air.
Julian jumped from his seat, his heart beating madly. Was he being pranked? But even so, how did poker chips hover?
A roar sounded in his ears, like a mighty wind coming to knock them all down, but there wasn’t even the slightest of breezes. Julian turned, taking in the crowd on the stands surrounding their table. Everyone was stuck, stationary just like those at the table.
What the hell is this?
“Excuse me,” said a clipped British accent as Julian felt a tap on his shoulder.
Julian spun on his heel and saw an incredibly handsome man standing before him in a tailored three-piece suit and a bowler hat. At least half a foot over Julian’s six feet, the man was imposing to say the least. Julian swallowed and looked the guy over.
“What’s going on here?” Julian asked the man.
“You made an offer, and I accept,” the man said briskly.
“An offer? What’re you talking about?” Julian asked before looking around the room again. No one moved an inch. “Is this some kind of weird joke?”
“Joke? Not hardly. I don’t take offers such as these as a laughing matter,” the man answered. “I’m prepared to give you what you require.”
“What are you talking about?”
The man sighed and took off his bowler hat, tucking it under his arm. He extended a hand to Julian. “Pardon my manners. I forget myself sometimes. My name is
Olivier. Second prince of Gehenna and son of Amon. And you are Julian McNamara, cancer-ridden poker aficionado.”
Julian’s mouth dropped open. He’d been fairly certain the man was insane until the last bit popped out. No one but Julian’s doctor knew he had the big C. Who was this guy?
“Nice joke. I don’t know what your game is, but I’m not interested.” Julian turned to sit back at the table and shake his head until everything went back to normal.
“Not interested? But you said you’d be willing to sell your soul to win this game,” Olivier said.
Julian turned back to the man, shock filling him again. “I didn’t say anything. I thought it.”
“Tomato, tomatoe. It’s all the same for me, since I read minds,” Olivier said as he walked closer, bridging the gap Julian had made. “And since you offered the soul up, I decided to accept your pledge.”
Julian laughed, disbelief still filling him. “Where were you ten years ago when I wanted to get into Debbie Monroe’s pants? I recall offering it up then, too.”
Olivier walked past Julian and lowered his hat to the table before turning back to Julian. “You didn’t have something I wanted then. Now, you do. You don’t actually think we pop up each and every time someone was willing to sign on the dotted line, do you? There has to be something a particular demon wants from the human coupled with a desperation level that would imply the human would be actually willing to part with their soul. Impending death has that certain smell of desolation like none other.” Olivier sniffed the air. “This room is rather pungent with the odor, thanks to you.”
Julian stared at the man openly.
He has to be insane.
“Not insane, not by a long shot, Julian,” Olivier said as he waved his hand and a set of papers magically appeared in his grasp. “And I have a contract right here. All I need is your signature and you can have exactly what you want. You can win this tournament and get the medical care you need.”
Julian moved to the edge of the table as Olivier laid the paper on the felted top, the bright white of the sheets standing out starkly against the green. He looked over it without actually seeing it, his stunned mind not working as quickly as he’d like it. “Wait, you want me to sign away my life when I’ll probably die within the next few months? That doesn’t seem worth it to me at all.”
Olivier clenched his teeth. “You wanted to win the tournament. It’s what you asked for,” he spat in clipped tones.
“So I could extend my life a month or two. If the fires of hell await, I’d want more than just an extra month or two to live.” Always the capitalist, Julian tried to consider what he’d truly be willing to get in order to hand over his soul. He still wasn’t completely sure this wasn’t a joke, or some kind of bad dream, but why not have fun with it? He’d just said he wanted to be a better man, a better son. What did he need to do those things?
Olivier stood up straighter and lifted the contract. It erupted in flames and disappeared, a small amount of ash falling to the table beside Julian’s discarded cards. “What is it you’d want, then?”
Julian smiled. “I want to win this tournament and the next nine big ones. And I want at least twenty more years.”
“Twenty? Now you’re just being greedy, but then that seems to be the case with you, doesn’t it, Julian? I’ll give you a decade and not a moment more.”
It was better than ten months, and that was stretching his current actuality since he probably didn’t even have that long. “Deal. Where do I sign?”
Olivier pulled a pen from his breast pocket and grasped Julian’s hand. He jabbed the metal tip into one of Julian’s fingers, the sting making Julian flinch.
“What the hell?”
“Signed in blood, my boy. All contracts with the underworld are signed in blood. I just needed some to fill the pen.”
Julian looked at the glass barrel of the pen filling with his blood, and he swallowed. The reality of his situation suddenly hit him. “Am I dreaming all this? I’m dreaming all this, right?”
Olivier looked at Julian blankly and raised an eyebrow without answering. Instead, he lifted a hand and waved his fingers, another set of documents appearing out of thin air. Olivier dropped them on the table and lifted to the back page as he drew the pen away from Julian’s finger. The man handed Julian the pen and then pointed to a line on the back page. “I just need your signature here, and we’ve got a deal.”
Julian looked at the pen. Ten big tournaments and ten years. He could make plenty of money and right some of the wrongs in his life. He would donate to charity. He’d take his dad on an around the world trip. He’d change for the better, he promised himself. He hadn’t always been the asshole he’d recently become. He could do better and be the man his father had raised him to be.
Ten years was more than enough time for a do-over.
Julian signed his name with a flourish and handed Olivier the pen. The man smiled widely and placed the instrument back inside his coat pocket. He lifted the contract into his arms and popped the bowler hat back on his head. “Good luck, Julian. Not that you’re going to need it.”
Julian sank back into his seat and lifted his cards in hand. As soon as he did, everything unstuck. The Texan gulped from his whiskey glass. The chips flung by the other player landed on the table. Julian looked over his shoulder and everyone was back to life. He sighed and snuggled in his chair. He must
have dozed off for a second and dreamed the whole damned thing. But then he looked at his hand and saw the bead of blood on his forefinger. His gaze then drifted to the small pile of ash beside his chips.
Julian swallowed. It had been a dream, right? Could the tumor cause hallucinations? Yeah, that sounded much more likely than his situation being real.
It was his turn. He had just enough to call, but not to raise. He looked over his cards, knowing full well there was no way he could win the hand, but if he folded, he lost too much in the pot and he would lose the next round. Taking in a deep breath, he pushed his chips in. “I call.”
He dropped his shitty hand on the table and sat back, knowing they’d all think him insane for not folding. One by one, the other men at the table groaned and tossed their cards to the felt.
“I don’t know how you get so danged lucky, McNamara,” the Texan said as he started munching on the end of a big cigar. “I knew I had you beat!”
Julian looked down at the cards he’d dropped. They weren’t the cards he’d held moments before.
A full house?
Julian glanced at the other hands the men had lowered, seeing he had won. He. Had. Won. Had he really signed his soul away for some hands of cards and a decade to live? Without another thought, he pulled the mountain of chips before him, giddy he’d actually triumphed.
Guilt ran through him seconds later. He’d cheated. He’d not won the hand fairly, and he’d not considered that when he’d signed the document. Julian had wanted more years to turn his life around, and here he was cheating seconds after signing his name. That wasn’t how this was supposed to work.
Could he never escape who he’d become?
Julian stood with the promoters, smiling the best he could into the camera as he held his giant check with the winnings from the tournament, a sick feeling in his stomach. No matter how shitty his cards had been, what he laid down on the table had shifted and he’d won the hand. No one seemed to notice the change, no one screamed
—and as they’d all lost time after time, he’d felt worse. Each hand had been a blow to him physically, making him feel ill.
Now an hour later, he stood there sick, waiting for the promoters to release him and the flashbulbs to stop. Sweat dotted his brow again, his stomach churning. Nausea rushed over him, and he took off running, the reporters and check forgotten in the moment of panic. He ran to the bathroom and raced into the first stall, sliding to his knees and puking his guts out and then some.