Read an Excerpt
“Not what I expected. But a lovely prelude to our relationship.”
Sunk deep in a relaxing hot bath, Amalya glanced toward the doorway to find a stunning stranger in a very expensive Italian suit devouring her with an amused hazel gaze. Irritation and surprise warred inside her and she bit them back. “I’m sorry. Did we have an appointment, Mr.¾“ She remained in her reclined state with her head resting back against the bath pillow and her arms resting along the sides of the ridiculously large claw-footed tub as she waited for him to fill in the blank as she mentally reviewed her calendar.
There were no appointments for today, and the Madame hadn’t informed her of any pop ups, which was why she’d slept in this morning and was now lounging in the tub.
After all, even succubi liked to relax on their days off.
“Levi.” His rich voice with a definitely upper-crust British accent softly echoed around the spacious bathroom as he walked forward uninvited. He grinned as he crouched and reached out to rub some strands of the long blond hair she’d pinned on top of her head in between his fingertips. “Soft and lovely.” His inflection told her he meant more than just her hair.
Surprised at the man’s bold actions, Amalya resisted the urge to define her personal space. Instead, she mentally shifted into work mode.
She cocked her head to the side and reached out to touch his hair in the same manner he had hers, smiling when he raised his brows as if she’d surprised him. His hair was soft to the touch, the color of rich milk chocolate, clean cut, but longer on the top where it fell over onto his brow. She traced one finger down his sideburns, which were worn long and ended even with the bottom of his earlobes.
He was definitely good looking, attractive with a strong jaw and rich hazel eyes that sparked with amusement.
He intrigued her.
A glowing aura of nearly white energy surrounded him like a pulsing mist. Amalya wasn’t in need of energy, having just entertained a client last night, but this man’s presence tasted human with an undertone of something exotic she couldn’t quite place. Her skin began to achethe succubus equivalent of a stomach growl, telling her he would give her a surge of energy better than any she’d had lately among the stream of humans and lower-level supernaturals. Not to mention he intrigued her, and she had a feeling she would very much enjoy spending some time with this mystery man.
Everything that made it well worth working on her day off.
“So what did you expect . . . Mr. Levi?” she asked with a small smile.
“Levi is my given name.” His gaze devoured her face as silence fell between them as if he were trying to put his thoughts into words. “Perhaps someone older?” His lips quirked up at the edges.
Amalya bit back a smile. Each succubus had a gift and hers was being able to discern truth from lies. Not the most powerful gift among her people, or even her three sisters, but one she’d grown to rely on over the millenniaand millennia was how long she’d lived.
From the way Levi’s eyes sparkled, he knew it.
His grin widened as he slowly stood and reached into the inside pocket of his jacket. “The Madame gave me this.” He held up a black old-fashioned ladies’ fan, and a spurt of surprise threaded through Amalya that she hoped hadn’t shown on her face.
Each different color of fan represented what the client had paid for and what he expected from his time with her. A very simple tool that kept all talk of money out of the bedroom and part of a philosophy that had made Sinner’s Redemption one of the most profitable legal brothels not only in Nevada, but in the world. The black fan meant this man had paid with an open account and he had deep enough pockets to cover whatever he wished to go on inside this room or out.
“My apologies, Amalya. I’ve caught you off guard.” He bowed from the waist as if they were in Victorian England, but the intense hazel gaze that bored into hers held no apology, only delight, intrigue, and anticipation.
“Not at all,” she lied, glad most others didn’t share her gift. “I must not have received the Madame’s message to expect a client. If you’ll give me a moment, I’ll get ready.” She sat up and braced her hands on the side of the tub so she could stand.
“Don’t.” His voice sounded like more of a request than a statement and she stilled and glanced up at him.
He laid the fan aside and crouched again next to the tub, making the room feel very small as he loomed next to her. “Please don’t be angry with the Madame. She didn’t know of my arrival until just a few minutes ago, and I asked her not to disturb you.” He smiledthe first genuine smile she’d seen from him, which made him look younger and more vulnerable. Now that she’d seen the real man behind the mask, he’d never be able to fool her with his masked expressions again. “And now I’m glad she didn’t.”
Amalya sensed no dangerno special succubus talents needed. Pure female intuition honed over a long life. Not to mention that Jethro, her longtime friend and the bodyguard for Sinner’s Redemption, wouldn’t have let Levi through if he were any danger to her.
Amalya had been in Hell’s version of Witness Protection for just over seven hundred years. She couldn’t afford to let down her guard when the demon she’d helped lock away still had plenty of contacts within the human realm and would relish the chance to torture she and her sisters for the rest of eternity.
She searched Levi’s face, finally meeting his deep hazel gaze squarely. Pure logic told her there was something more going on here than a rich playboy who wanted some time with her. “What can I do for you, Levi? Really.”
“It’s what I can do for you that brings me here.”
The truth of his cultured words hit her like a slap before he stood and took off his suit jacket. “Do you mind if I join you? It seems a shame to waste a perfectly good bath, don’t you think?”
Amalya wanted to make him explain his odd statement but figured he’d get around to it in his own time. Years of isolation from her sisters and her own kind had taught her patience.
She studied Levi and debated saying no. She’d never let anyone join her in the bath beforefor her, baths weren’t sexual. A silly distinction for a succubus to make since she’d had partners in just about every other scenario, location, and position before. But there was definitely something about this man that intrigued her and made her want to share even this private sanctuary with him.
She mentally shrugged and relaxed back against the tub. “By all means. There are extra towels just behind that door.”
He smiled and opened the door to her spacious walk in closet, pulling a large green towel off the shelf and hanging it on the hook next to hers. He toed off his shoes and loosened his tie. “You know, I don’t think I’ve bathed with anyone since I was a child. Baths have always been my private thinking time.”
She smirked at the irony of his statement and raised one brow earning a short laugh from him.
“Touché. Apparently, we are very similar creatures, Amalya. And for interrupting both your day off and your private time, I promise to make it worthwhile.”
Amalya didn’t bother to censor the laugh that bubbled up from her throat. “You’re very sure of yourself, aren’t you?”
He stilled and met her gaze directly. “Yes. I have no doubt I can give you everything you need.”
She frowned at the strength of the truth in those few words. They hadn’t been said as a boast but almost as a sad fact.
Pure instinct made her add, “I have no doubt you already know I’m a succubus and everything that entails . . .” By which she meant that time spent with her would drain some of his energy.
He smiled slowly. “I’m well aware and not worried in the least, my beauty.”
A weight lifted from her and she sighed as anticipation slid through her. She hadn’t realized what a relief it would be not to have to hide what she was. Even supernaturals tended to try to forget to some extent what she was during their time together.
What would it be like to just be herself with no secrets for a while?
Intrigued by the man in front of her, Amalya allowed herself to relax as Levi continued to undress.
He draped his suit jacket and tie over the closed toilet lid before turning back to her and unbuttoning his expensive, designer shirt.
A surge of delight tripped through her. He seemed eager to be with hernot the well-known courtesan from Sinner’s Redemption, but her. Which she knew was probably only her imagination, but she held on to the sensation anyway.
Each opened button of his shirt revealed a new tantalizing glimpse of firm skin dusted with crisp, dark hairs, and Amalya, riveted in place, couldn’t seem to look away.
Arousal slid through her like fine Cognac, a slow warmth that built in intensity until her nipples hardened under the hot water and familiar slickness formed between her labia. Apparently, her body wholeheartedly agreed with her decision to suspend her day off.
When both sides of Levi’s shirt hung loose to reveal a strong line of firm, male flesh, his hands quickly moved to the button of his slacks.
Amalya tightened her fingers on the porcelain to keep from pushing out of the tub and taking over the simple task. Apparently, his quick, hurried movements weren’t even fast enough for her. She smiled and mentally chided herself for acting like a teenager in a backseat after prom.
So much for all her hard-earned patience.
Levi lowered his zipper and she found herself moistening her lower lip with her tongue as impatience snapped through her to see what was hidden underneath the fine, dark fabric.
When she glanced up into Levi’s face, he was smiling.
Heat seared into her cheeks as she realized she’d been caught staring.
“There’s no need to be embarrassed for looking, Amalya. I fully plan on returning the favor once you’re not hidden in all that water.” He hooked his thumbs in the waistband of his slacks and slid them off along with his dark silk boxers in one fluid motion.