Authors: Eve Langlais
Published by Liquid Silver Books, imprint of Atlantic Bridge Publishing, 10509 Sedgegrass Dr, Indianapolis, Indiana 46235. Copyright © 2010, Eve Langlais. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Liquid Silver Books
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are of the author"s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.
Hi, I’m Muriel, the only white sheep in a sea of black ones, and a virgin to boot. I am determined
to wait for love, but my Dad, more commonly known as Lucifer, just wants me to stop being an
embarrassment. I’m hoping the hunk I met in my bar will turn out to be the one–just looking at
him makes my insides melt like marshmallows over the coals of Hell, but trusting is hard when it
seems everyone I get close to ends up trying to kill me.
Not only am I dealing with an extreme case of lust, there’s a new threat in Hell, one my Dad says
to ignore. Something easier said than done since it seems everywhere I turn demons are trying to
kill me. But I’m okay with that, because one thing I’ve learned being a princess of Hell is that
sometimes I have to grab a demon by the horns and slap it around a bit.
A rebellion in Hell, demon assassins and scorching kisses, could my life get any more
Satan appeared in a puff of smoke that brought with it the acrid smell of brimstone. I glanced at him briefly, then continued to paint my toenails a gorgeous, seashell pink.
“You"re a disgrace to your lineage,” the Devil said, starting in on his favorite rant, pacing the small confines of my living room.
“Yeah, yeah, I know,” I said with disinterest, blowing on the wet coat of polish. “Whatever happened to „hello"?”
“That would require manners, something you know I abhor,” he retorted.
“Well, could you at least knock? I"m kind of fond of my privacy--not to mention, as a girl, I could have been doing something–” I paused here, trying to think of something appropriate. Of course, I couldn"t at the moment, but I would about an hour later when the conversation was long done. “Girly.”
Satan just snorted. He knew me so well. “Why can"t you be more like your half-sisters?” he railed.
“Um, probably because they"re succubi and I"m part human.”
“Minor details. Couldn"t you at least sin a little? You"re supposed to be a princess of Hell.”
“I bet other princesses are lucky enough to have their dads knock first.”
“See what I mean?” he said in exasperation. “No respect, which would usually make me proud, but you"re not following through with vile acts. You"re making me look like a bad parent. My minions in Hell are laughing at me. There have even been rumors I"m no longer fit to be the Father Of All Sin, since I can"t even control my own daughter.”
“Yeah, well, it sucks to be you.” I"d always been the good apple in a sea of bad ones, a fact that drove my dad--The Devil, Beelzebub, whatever you wanted to call him--wild.
“It wasn"t bad enough you got straight A"s in school. Oh, no,” he said, warming up. “You just have to be a virgin, too. You"re twenty-three years old. It"s just wrong,” he shouted. “I raised you to be more evil than this.”
“I told you before, not until I fall in love,” I said, finally standing up, my body bristling with tension as we faced off over an age-old argument. I wanted my first time to be special. Dad knew that. I"d read enough books about sex to know this momentous occasion would be a memory that would last a lifetime, which in my case could be quite a while, given my parentage. Was it my fault I hadn"t yet found
? I mean, just think of the criteria this poor fellow had to meet.
One, he couldn"t be completely mortal–being a little stronger than normal girls, I had a fear of hurting him in the heat of the moment. Two, he had to not run screaming when he found out my dad happened to be Satan, master of lies and deceit. And three, the lucky winner had to be hot.
Hot enough to melt my insides into mushy goo, and make me go cross-eyed. Those were just the top three criteria; I had a few more, but I had yet to meet someone who managed to get past the first three, which made me wonder if I needed to revise my list, but dammit, I refused to compromise. I knew I"d find
eventually, but while I waited for Mister Right, I had to say, I quite enjoyed driving my dad batty.
Lucifer pulled at his still-dark hair that only had hints of grey at the temples, and sighed wearily.
“Why do you do this to me?” he asked, slumping onto the couch. I sat down beside him and hugged his stocky body. After all, when all is said and done, I do love my father, even if he can be a tad overbearing.
“Hey, if it"s any consolation,” I said in an effort to cheer him up, “I probably won"t wait to get married first. That"s a little sin, right?”
“I guess,” he said, sounding a little mollified.
Of course, my decision to skip marriage might have to do with the fact I couldn"t enter a church without all the religious items bursting into flame. So unfair. I hadn"t done anything evil--well, truly evil--and yet God and all his trappings reacted to me like I was the anti-Christ, something my only human brother found highly amusing. Even priests couldn"t get close to me; well, the pure ones, anyway. The bad ones had no problem at all. It was only the pure of faith following the doctrine of the One God who dropped to the floor writhing in agony. Good thing most of the priests I met were of the other variety. Needless to say, I didn"t think marriage lay in the cards, unless I did the whole „city hall judge" thing, which personally I thought lacked romance and commitment.
My dad still sat on the couch, looking woebegone. Good thing none of his minions were around to see. It made me glad that, around me, he didn"t feel like he had to put on an act. I mean, it had to be hard, being evil all the time. Even bad guys needed a break–and someone to love them.
“Dad, I know what will cheer you up. Why don"t you go back to Hell and torture a few of the demons who are bad-mouthing you, and show them you"re still boss? Start a few eternal fires, make a grand speech about everyone bowing to the king of Hades or facing the flames of perdition.”
“You"re just trying to get rid of me,” he sulked, although I could see my words had perked him up a bit.
“Yes and no. I have to open the bar in, like, twenty minutes; so yes, I am trying to get you to leave, but,” I said, throwing my arms around him and hugging him tight, “I love you, and I don"t like to see you like this.”
“I don"t know why, but I"m attached to you, too,” Satan said grumpily, hugging me back. I cherished moments like that; they tended to be few and far between. “Try to be bad,” he said, before popping out of sight.
The smell of brimstone--the predominant perfume of Hell, and my dad"s calling card--hung in the air, the hard-to-wash miasma clinging to my sweater. Great, now I needed to change again.
Hurrying because I was now definitely running late, I changed my yellow crew-neck t-shirt to a tight, pink, scoop-necked one. I tucked it into my skin-tight white jeans; then I yanked on my pink ankle boots with furry cuffs, because everyone knows: no matter how fabulous or not the clothes are, it"s all about the footwear. I grabbed my keys and white lambs-wool jacket, and hightailed it out the door.
As soon as I exited the building, the wind caught at my hair, which I"d stupidly left hanging down. The long, silken length of it plastered across my face, and I could only see in patches.
With no time to go back and tie it up, I squinted as best as I could and cursed–some of it pretty colorful, considering the people I knew–and trudged off to work. I"d like to blame my hair for slamming into the broad back of the man who seemed to suddenly appear in front of me, but truth be told, I"d been woolgathering again.
Of course, I didn"t intend to take the blame. “Ow, watch where you"re standing,” I yelled, stumbling backwards and teetering over the edge of the curb. I would have probably fallen on my ass, had the rock I"d run into not grabbed me by the arms and yanked me steady.
“You should watch where you"re walking,” said a gravelly tone that made goose bumps rise on every part of my body.
I wanted to see his face, to see if he could possibly be as sexy as his voice suggested, but the damned hair in my face just refused to get out of the way. I only managed to get an impression of height and width. By the time I"d managed to grab my hair and yank it to the side, the stranger had disappeared. I looked ahead of me, behind me, and even across the street; but the humans stumbling along didn"t seem right. For one, they seemed too ordinary. The man I"d hit had felt like something more. I"d sensed power coiled inside of him, an energy my own power reacted to.
He must have been new in town, because I knew I"d never met him before; and not to sound conceited, but anyone with supernatural abilities--be they good or evil--ended up in my bar at some point. Speaking of which, I was late!
Walking quickly, I made the remaining six blocks in under fifteen minutes, arriving just as Charon popped out of a dimensional door inside the alcove that protected my front door.
“Don"t you have to ferry people across the river?” I asked my most faithful client. A long standing joke between us.
“I"m thirsty,” he said, his face hidden in the depths of the voluminous cloak he always wore.
“Besides, they"re dead, they can wait. After all, they have all of eternity left.” Charon chuckled evilly.
“Oh, give it up,” I said. I punched him in the arm before unlocking the door to the bar. “You and I both know you"re about as evil as a fly.”
“I"ve known some pretty evil flies in my time,” he said, dead pan. Then he chuckled normally.
“Actually, I took the night off. My wife says I need to slow down, so I"ve got my son working the boat today. Here"s hoping he doesn"t drop the oar this time and strand the souls in the middle of the Styx again.”
“He didn"t?” I breathed, in shock. Talk about a major
“I"m afraid he did,” said Charon, shaking his head. “I love my son, but, I have to say, he"s not the sharpest blade. I acted preemptively this time though; I tethered the oar to the boat.”
I laughed, and let my longtime friend–who also happened to be Dad"s best friend–into the bar.
He kept me company while I fired on the lights and prepped the bar for the evening crowd.
Thursday nights usually got quite the crowd, but with
Survivor: Burn in Hell
premiering that night on the Damned channel, I knew we"d be missing a few familiar faces. I had it taping myself, on my DVR. I never missed a season. It just reminded me of how much I really needed to invest in a flat screen; another thing on my lengthy „to do" list for when I made some money. I refused to borrow money from Dad, because he always tried to tie it up in strings. I intended to keep my soul–if I had one--thank you very much.
Besides, the bar I"d named Nexus was
. Lock, stock, and mortgage. My retro-eighties bar served as a haven for all the abnormal people in the area. Not my idea. I"d originally just wanted a regular karaoke bar, but of course, bad blood will always interfere. In my case, my satanic side mixed with who-knows-what. Whatever had created me, other than dear old Lucifer, had packed a potent punch. With no effort on my part, the space around me for about a hundred feet or so ends up being a magic-free zone. Seriously, I"m like a walking null field. That didn"t stop the natural-born abilities of the supernaturals who liked to frequent my place, but it sure came in handy for those extras that tended to get lobbed around in other places where too many people with magic gathered and drank.
Falling-down-drunken warlocks arguing over who had the more powerful grimoire? Never good.
Unless you were in the Nexus, of course; then all you saw were two old men swinging feeble punches, instead of devastating earthquakes and meteors falling from the sky. Once word got around about my magic-free bar, it became the hottest place in town for supernatural beings to hang out at, and somehow the mortals just walked on by; funny coincidence, that.
At least the specials tipped well, which made it easy to find staff. I had several dryads who acted as barmaids; Percy, my bartender and bouncer, who, with his half-giant blood, tended to get very little lip; and then there was little ol" me. On the nights Percy was off, I just pulled out my handy dandy baseball bat from behind the bar if people got out of hand. I"d played baseball in the demon female league for years, so I had a nasty swing. Of course, no one at the bar, except for Charon and Percy that is, knew I was Satan"s daughter. I tend to tell that fact only to people I trust because, for some reason, strangers seemed to think knowing a princess of Hell gave them leverage over my dad; and no matter how many times I showed them the errors of their way, they just didn"t get it.