Desperate to reach the ultimate peak, she wrapped her legs tightly around his waist and dug into the backs of his thighs with her heels. He growled in response, braced his elbow at her head, and moved faster against her. Slipping her hands beneath his scrub top, she caressed the hard ridges of his spine, the flexing muscles of his back, the taut buttocks that tightened further beneath her fingers.

“Harder. More.”

He tore his mouth away from hers. “More?” With one powerful, dominating thrust, the bed scooted forward. “Tell me how much more.”

Speaking seemed like an impossibility when he lifted her h*ps against him and rode her harder and deeper, fueling the fire in her blood. “Like that,” she said between panting breaths. “Do it like that.”

He lifted his head, and though his eyes were closed, he’d bared his teeth, his expression a savage mask of ecstasy. So absorbed in the beauty of his pleasure, she barely noticed when something bounced against her throat. A pendant. A necklace had come free of his shirt’s neckline, and the silver dagger encircled by snakes dangled against her skin, a cool, sharp caress.

Then suddenly, he was on his feet, still sheathed inside her, and she was wrapped around him as he carried her across the room. Her back slammed up against a wall. Medical equipment rattled with the force of his enthusiasm.

The doctor had one hell of a bedside manner.

He rocked against her, sometimes fully withdrawing before plunging inside her again, sometimes going deep and driving short, hard strokes all the way to her womb. Pleasure ripped through her, almost shocking her with its severity. His fingers dug into her butt where he held her to him, and his teeth sank into her shoulder, holding her upper body immobile.

It was the most erotic thing she’d ever experienced.

Heat spread through her pelvis as his c**k stroked and rubbed and if this weren’t a dream, she’d not believe how his shaft pulsed inside her.

Pressure built, squeezed her organs, and knotted her muscles. No man could feel this good.

She seized his hair and dragged his head up, made him look at her. Her breath caught. Passion and raw hunger and something even darker lurked in his eyes, but what stole the air from her lungs was the color. They’d been brown before, a bold, rich coffee.

Now, they were gold. Hypnotic, decadent. Twenty-four karat sex.

Oh, she loved this dream. This dream where her lover was walking sex, from his magic penis and hypnotic eyes to his skilled lips, fingers, and even his scent, which was something like dark chocolate, as though it had been designed to attract women.

“Come, slayer,” he growled. “Ride me. Drench me.”

He twisted his hips, drove deep, and she cried out, so close to the summit that her entire body shook. There, there . . . yes! Oh, yes, she was almost there.

He jerked, his roar of release ringing in her ears and rocketing her need even higher. Hot, shivery spurts of s**en jolted her sensitive internal tissues until it seemed as though millions of tiny fingers were stroking her with so much pleasure she could only tremble and pant.

And yet, she didn’t peak.

She should have. Dream or no, this man had done something to her no woman should be able to resist.

He kept thrusting, even though his muscles quivered and his bronzed skin glistened with sweat. The tattoo that covered his right hand and arm, all the way to his throat, rippled like a living thing, angry at not getting what it craved.

“You can stop now.” She wanted to scream with frustration. She should have known better, and now her body felt bruised, alien, and so tightly coiled she needed to strike out at something to achieve some sort of release.

“You didn’t come,” he said, and plunged into her again. Ruthlessly.

“I never do.”

“It’s impossible to not orgasm for me.” He doubled his efforts. “Must be your injuries . . .”

“So I didn’t get off. Tuck your ego back in your pants and deal with it.”

Criminy. Even in dreams men were crybabies when it came to their sexual prowess. In dreams . . . her thought trailed off as her mind finally registered what he’d said.

Injuries? She reached between them and winced when she touched a sensitive spot over her ribs. What had happened?

“Doc?” He didn’t respond, was too deep inside her, stroking, threatening to bring her back to the place that walked the terrible line between orgasm and frustration. “Stop. Please. What happened to me?”

He looked down at her with dark eyes. What had happened to the gold? Where had the dream gone?

“Cruentus demon.”

The answer slammed her back to reality, and this time, when the breath caught in her lungs, it hurt like hell. Images flashed through her brain. The sewer. Blood. Pain. Janet.

No. Oh, no. This was real.

Her heart kicked against sore ribs as she took in the shadowy room and medical equipment. The strange designs on the walls. No, not designs. Writing. Not a language she recognized. Odd, ancient-looking objects adorned shelves inside locked glass cabinets. Was that one thing mounted on the wall a . . . skull?

Where was she?

Her sex contracted around the still-engorged penis inside her. And who was this man who had so thoroughly screwed her?

Narrow whips of air seared her throat as she tried to take in enough oxygen to remain clear-headed. He must have realized how close she was to panic, because he withdrew and set her down gently. Her bare feet hit the cold stone floor—what kind of hospital had stone floors?—and her hospital gown dropped down to cover her.

“Where am I?” she croaked.

“You’re in a hospital.” The dream doctor who’d just given her the most pleasant injection of her life guided her toward the bed with a firm grasp on her elbow. As she walked, the indisputable proof of their union dripped down her thighs, and why did it tingle, sensitizing her skin so that she wanted to rub it all over? “You were injured during a fight with a Cruentus demon.”

She jerked out of his grip. “How do you know about demons? What kind of hospital is this? Who are you?”

“Have a seat. I’ll explain everything.”

“Oh, no. Don’t give me that soothing bullshit tone.” She backed away as he moved toward her, trying to herd her toward the bed. He towered over her, eclipsing the crimson-tinted overhead lights. “Stay away from me.”

“Tayla, you need to listen to me.” His voice morphed into something deep and ominous, rattling what was left of her nerves.

The door opened, and someone, no, something dressed in scrubs, stepped inside. “Doctor,” it said through a mouthful of tusks, “you’re needed in the ER.”

Demon. Cold sweat broke out on her skin. “What in God’s name is this place?”

She whirled back to Eidolon and saw his eyes as they had been in her dream. Only it hadn’t been a dream. The room spun as realization bitch-slapped her. “You,” she rasped. “You’re a demon, too.”

He moved in a blur, and the prick of a needle stung her arm. Suddenly, she couldn’t move, couldn’t so much as scream as monsters surrounded her, strapped her to her bed.

Inside her head, though, the screams wouldn’t stop.


Darkness fell like a guillotine blade, severing Tayla and her partner from the daylight. Somewhere nearby, a dog barked, and gunfire erupted, probably another gang drive-by, but Tay and Janet weren’t cops, and they didn’t care. Hell, even the cops wouldn’t give a rat’s ass. This part of New York City was a third-world country at war, and the cops had long ago gone U.N. and withdrawn from the battle.

Standing next to the sewer access, Tay fingered her jacket pocket where she kept her stang, an Sshaped, dual-ended blade, each end coated with a different metal. The gold side made short work of demons like the Cruentus they were hunting, and she wanted the weapon at the ready.

“Looks clear,” Tay said, and Janet lifted the heavy grating.

With a final glance into the night, they hurried down the ladder into tunnels ripe with the acrid stench of decay and waste. There were no lights, but the darkness posed no problem, not for any Aegis Guardian.

Out of habit—habit in the face of danger—Janet played with her necklace, a crucifix marked on the back with an etching of the Aegis shield. Tayla wiggled her pinky ring out of the same habit, but the protective talisman wouldn’t help her in this instance; her night vision had always been exceptional even without magic.

She crouched at the base of the ladder, touched her fingers to a dark smear on the tunnel’s brick wall.

“Blood,” she whispered. “It’s here.”

The sound of blades clearing their leather wrist housings echoed through the narrow passageway. Tayla held her spiked blade in one hand and her stang in the other as they followed the trail of blood. She ignored the squishing noises beneath her feet, ignored the rats and the sound of moisture dripping down the walls. Her focus narrowed to take in only the sights, sounds, and smells that would lead her to her target. Her eyesight sharpened, her ears tamped down her internal noises and picked up the most delicate sounds, like those of the cockroaches skittering behind the walls.

Down here, she was the predator.

Tay lived for this. Lived for the high, the rush of adrenaline that coursed through her veins during the hunt.

Lived for this because hatred was all that kept her heart beating.

Shadows shifted inside a tunnel ahead, and the hairs on the back of Tay’s neck prickled. In front of her, Janet sank into a crouch. Tay flattened herself against the brick and eased next to the opening.

Heart pounding, she wheeled into the tunnel arch.

Three red eyes met hers. Two rows of sharp teeth flashed. The demon’s high-pitched screech blasted through her brain, and son of a bitch, the thing wasn’t a Cruentus.

“Croucher demon,” she shouted back to her partner, who cursed and surged next to her.

“What, you can’t find a house to terrorize, you ugly piece of shit?” In one smooth motion, Janet drew an air claw from her belt pouch and launched it.

The demon shrieked, clutched the throwing star buried deep in one eye, hatred burning in the remaining two. Tay worked her stang into a spin that would sever the Croucher’s head, but motion in her peripheral vision brought her around. Janet tumbled awkwardly through the air and landed in a crumpled heap. In the space where she’d stood, the Cruentus demon growled deep in its skeletal chest.

“Not. Nice.” Tay hurled her spiked blade backward even as she lunged forward with the stang. She didn’t need to look to know the spike had buried itself in the Croucher’s throat.

One down, one to go.

The gold razor edge of her stang found its target and sliced a thin line across the Cruentus’s stomach. The thing stumbled back, one hand covering its belly like it expected its guts to fall out. She spun, struck it in the pelvis with a roundhouse kick.

The creature slammed into an access ladder. Tay moved in, stang whirling. The Cruentus’s claws lashed out, catching Janet in the shoulder.

“Ow! Bastard.” Janet brought her favorite weapon, a hatchet, from beneath her jacket. The demon sidestepped her attack, and the blade landed only a glancing blow to its shin.

“Hey, asshole!” Tay charged, but she drew short with a cry. Her right leg tingled, the muscles turned to water. Her hand went numb, and her stang clattered to the ground just before her body landed in the slime.

Not again. Not now!

“Tayla!” Janet screamed as the demon’s thorny fingers closed around her throat.

Gnashing her teeth, Tay dragged herself toward the demon, which was shaking her partner like a terrier with a rat.

“Hey!” Tayla’s fingers closed around a jagged chunk of brick. “You disgusting sonofabitch, look at me.”

She hurled the brick with her good arm, and a sharp edge crunched into the back of its head. Black fluid spurted from the wound. Snarling, it released Janet and turned, its eyes little more than orange balls of rage.

“Whore,” it rasped. “Filthy human whore. I’ll feast on your organs, suck them out through your cunt while you scream.” It slipped its narrow tongue between its fangs and slurped obscenely at the air.

“Men,” she muttered, stretching for the stang she’d dropped. “Doesn’t matter what species, you always make everything about sex.”

Baring its teeth in a smile that wrinkled its blunt, hairless snout, it picked up Janet’s hatchet. “Not sex. Death.”

It swung. The sound, the dull thud of a blade sinking into flesh tore through Tayla like a werewolf’s claws. Janet’s head, nearly separated from her body by her own hatchet, lolled to one side, caught against her shoulder only by a strip of sinewy muscle and skin. Surprise flashed in Janet’s blue eyes, and then the cloudy mist of death settled in them.

“Janet! No!”


Tayla’s eyes flew open. Terror swept through her in a series of quakes. Sweat dripped down her forehead and into her hair as she took in the hospital equipment, the darkened, cool room. She was safe.

No, not safe. After the Cruentus killed Janet, it had attacked her, landed her in some sort of facility run by demons. She’d been patched up. Bathed. And, oh, God.

She’d had sex with a demon.

Tayla swallowed bile and tried to keep her stomach from heaving. She needed to shower. And douche. Maybe sterilize her skin by burning it off.

Not that she could do any of those things, seeing how she was chained to a bed and could have been for days as far as she knew.

She made a fist, wiggled her toes. At least function had returned. But for how long? The episodes had been occurring more frequently, had gotten Janet killed and had nearly done the same for Tayla.

Larissa Ione Books | Romance Books | Demonica Series Books