I shouldn’t have come. It was dark out. Though I’d texted Paula an all clear, she’d be mad. We’d promised not to risk being seen in Jimi’s territory.
Yet here I was, flexing my skills, on the hunt.
It took little time and only a few sultry looks to get Justin to pull me onto the dance floor. The strobe light scattered dots of light over his skin. Justin. Good name. I liked the way it felt in my mouth and could imagine screaming it out, covered in sweat and satisfaction.
The navy shirt hugged his broad shoulders. He knew how to move and took command of my hips. Thank God for tall and lean and beautiful men like this. I wanted Justin. Bad.
No matter how many might deny it, though, men require a steep challenge in order to fall in love. Sex and challenge and more sex. They hate a tease because a tease will win their heart almost every time. If she plays her game right.
I wasn’t a natural by any means, but I’d learned a few tricks over the course of seven men since acquiring my curse. Being so hungry for more would make it difficult to play hard to get. I wanted Justin’s hands in my hair, his waist in my eye line, his cock in my mouth. All, right there on the dance floor, for everyone to see. He smelled so good. But this wasn’t that kind of club and if it had been, I’d have a lust overdose.
will leave you utterly breathless. The prose shines, the plot captivates. Angst, insatiable cravings and tangled emotions collide on a succubus' path to find true love. I can't wait to see what Ms. Scott has in store for us next. Highly recommended, one-of-a-kind read.
- Keta Diablo, author of
Where the Rain is Made
is edgy and erotic. Amber Scott has taken a monster of myth and made magic.”
Ericka Scott, author of
Sexy, sinfully fun, and hot as hell!
will burn a hole through your inhibitions and leave you with a craving for more!”
- Ann Charles, author of
Nearly Departed in Deadwood,
2010 Daphne du Maurier Winner
What a talent Amber Scott has for creating not only characters who grip the reader by the emotions and refuse to let go, but a story so full of suspense you'll not be able to turn the pages fast enough! Make sure you have time to read when you start this book. You won't want to put it down!”
- Susan Schreyer, author of
Death By a Dark Horse
With adoration, for Justine Jones
by Carolyn Crane
Special thanks to my friends and my family for their enduring support through my writing journey. It means the world to me to have each of you inquiring, high-fiving, and bringing the Jack over whenever needed.
But, of course, I have to name a few all important names.
Ann Charles, you are my author chickee soul mate and I would
have come this far without hooking arms with you. Plus, it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. You help me grow a pair and author up every day.
Julie Murillo, thank you so much not only for your expert eyes on my darlings but for being a fan as well. I love to Twi-hard with you, too.
1stTurningPoint crew, thank you for teaching me so much and for chiming in whenever I contribute. I love being one of your motley bunch.
Desert Rose RWA, special thanks to you and all the amazing, talented authors you bring together. I’ve grown from a shrinking violet into a tall, strong sunflower with my face aimed at the sun thanks to you.
Plot Mamas, thank you for taking a chance on a group blog where the hilarity rings through every day.
Most of all, my kiddos, thank you for sharing me not only with each other, a challenge within itself, but with my ‘work job’. I hope you are blessed with a dream and the privilege to pursue what makes your heart soar, too.
Also by Amber Scott:
The Best Revenge
By Amber Scott
Copyright ©2011 by Amber Scott
Cover Art ©2011 by A. D. Holt
Cover Art by A. D. Holt
Edited by Julie Murillo and Merrili Munk
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the Publisher and/or author, except for brief quotations used in critical articles or reviews.
I had no business hitting downtown Vegas on a Friday night. I knew that. Even if I was naïve enough think otherwise, Paula Morrison, my best friend, reminded me with every glance. The closer the bus lumbered toward the strip, the heavier my heart weighed. Sure, living cursed with a physical thirst for human lust held certain inherent risks. But I’d never been a gambler. Regardless, I had to come tonight. I’d promised.
Two weeks ago, as I packed my things and told Seth goodbye forever, he’d asked me to come today. “I just want you there, Olivia,” Seth had said. “If you’re there, I know I’ll go through with it. I don’t want to chicken out.”
I hadn’t been Olivia Starr in years. The succubus I’d become was Liv, even to him. He didn’t know the succubus part, but had called me Olivia just the same. The memory of the vivid sign of closure stung. But in this life, heartbreak ruled almost as much as the hunger.
I hadn’t commented, or corrected him. I probably would have handed over a kidney if it could have eased the hard pain in his pretty eyes.
“Can I say one more time how bad an idea this is?” Paula asked, bringing me back to the whining bus. She adjusted her white knuckled grip on the pole. Her long blonde hair swayed in rhythm with the bumps and turns.
“Yes. Say it a thousand more times if you need to.” At least I’d always have Paula. She and I had set off on our own three years ago, when I’d first gotten the crazy idea for a cure. Seth was supposed to have been my cure. Instead, he was the same as the others for me. Delicious and nourishing, but also ineffective.
I’d convinced Paula away from others like us and now I’d convinced her into coming downtown so I could say goodbye to the one I thought could free me. Imagine the guts it would take for Seth to step into public poetry tonight. I shrugged one shoulder. “Good or not, I promised. And I just feel safer with you near.”
“Maybe I should come in with you, too,” Paula said. “Lingering a block away isn’t exactly safety in numbers.”
“Trust me. I wish you could, but Seth’s nervous enough. Having you with me will make it worse.” He’d take it as some kind of “screw you” from me.
Seth thought Paula wanted me for her own, that the harmless flirtations meant something more.
Paula’s wry grin barely masked the hurt. “You’re probably right. Plus, all that angst would be a complete turn off.”
I was hoping as much, but not for her. For me. Though my lust appetite had remained sated from Seth Hines and our three years together, being in a crowd risked a rapid re-awakening. Such was the nature of the curse. “Well, you weren’t invited,” I said, trying to sound teasing.
Paula playfully stuck out her tongue. “Suit yourself.”
“I will.” I gave her a smartass smile.
“Still, it seems like pointless torture, for both of you. Or are you after something else?” Paula’s hunger tended to make her project her particular needs onto me. While we lived the same life, our needs weren’t identical. Paula didn’t need love to sustain her fix.
I shook my head. “I’m only going for Seth. I have time.” Weeks, maybe more. I never liked rushing into a new relationship. Besides, there was the curse to figure out. “So do you.”
The bus stopped with a loud lurch and Paula took to walking toward the exit instead of responding. As I followed Paula down the bus’s steps, exiting onto the rain-soaked curb, I told myself Seth would be better off without me.
They always were.
Seth would be, too. I used to think the heartbreak would get easier, that somehow, because mine no longer beat the same rhythm, the dense pain of leaving someone would be easier. It wasn’t. But I had to survive. Better his heart break now than he forever lose every little quirk and nuance that made him Seth. Most kinds of love eventually ran out and if I stayed I’d soon be forced to leave behind a man addicted to me. Mindless to anything but pleasing me, getting more. He’d lose who he was.
I’d take heartbreak over enslaving him.
The bus groaned away, tires hissing from the wet street.
“Seriously, Paula. Lay low, okay? This will be hard enough.”
“I know, I know. Don’t worry. I fed two days ago.”
But the stubborn jut of her chin made me worry. “I couldn’t do this without you.” I dug my shades out of my bag and slid them onto my face, breathing in the scent of the oil and grime and cold. Underneath it, I smelled a hint of flavor, the scent my libido preferred in a man. Not good.
“Right,” Paula said, zipping up her cropped leather jacket. “How could you ever ride the bus without me?”
“You know what I mean.” Seth would hate Paula coming, but we could stick together before and after.
“It’s still early. The open mic won’t go till dark even. We’ll meet back up and be gone before Jimi or anyone else can find us.”
Paula nodded and fell in step with me as I navigated toward the main drag. Her heels and my boots click-thudded on the rain-drenched sidewalk. The afternoon sun glanced off the mirrored glass of the buildings and the freshly wet pavement. Rainbows shone in oily puddles. Rainy winters in the desert. Funny. I actually missed snow. I missed a lot of things.
Paula turned to me as we paused, waiting for the light to change. “Don’t freeze your ass off,” she said, eyeing the space between my wool skirt hem and my knee boots.
“Course not,” I said, pulling my scarf snuggly to my neck to block out the citrus and musk that called to me. “If I did, what would you have to stare at?”
Paula smiled flirtatiously, lingering near the bus bench. “Can’t help it. You know how I adore the impossible.”
I’d heard the line before. When the infamous incubus, Jimi Gale, had first changed me, Paula had saved my life. She’d stepped in and stopped Jimi from draining me to death. She’d saved my life and though she often gave the invitation, we both knew I’d never take it. And we both knew she didn’t actually want me to. Flirting helped her hide her worry. But as she walked with me a bit longer, shifting from one high heel to the other, I had to wonder if she was building up the nerve to say something more. Something beyond our friends who flirt pattern.