Read an Excerpt
By Sommer Marsden
Really. You don't want to do this. You don't.
Wesley shook his head to drown out the logical voice of his cautious side. It really wasn't that big of a deal. With the fucked up gene pool he had emerged from, it was a bargain. He'd read everything three times before filling the small cloth bag. He shook it to hide from himself the fact that his own hands were shaking. This was the stuff his crazy Aunt Melinda had gone on and on about over the years. How his third cousin twice removed, Rupert, had sold his soul to the devil so he could become a famous musician or painter or whatever the hell it had been. He shook the bag again. Rattle, rattle, rattle went the little bits of oddity inside.
His boots kicked up dust and stones. His nose tickled with the urge to sneeze. Not a drop of rain in weeks. He glanced around and saw nothing but a weak stream of moonlight and the blacker shadows of trees in the dark night. The air was tinted purple by the silvery light from the moon.
"No time like the present," he said to the crickets. They stilled for a moment, or so it seemed, and then resumed their crazy song. He was humming to himself as he knelt in the dust and dug down with his fingers. How clever he would have been to bring a small spade. Talk about not planning ahead.
Don't do it. You'll regret it. Nothing is worth this. You don't know your fate. You just don't know...
But he did. So many in his family had died early from various things, it had become a bit of a family curse. He knew he had maybe thirty-five years on this earth. That was ten good ones to get what he wanteddone.
"Too late." He only hesitated a moment, holding the satchel protectively to his chest for a few heartbeats. Then he shoved the pale bag into the shallow hole and pushed dirt over it.
He stood and felt the air shift. The hair on the back of his neck spiked, and the pit of his stomach dipped with nerves.
"I like redheads," came the voice.
Wesley froze. His body seemed to go berserk all at once. The tingling along his skin he had only felt twice in his life, both times during very intense storms. Like being kissed by lighting but not struck. His cock went stiff, his nipples tightened.
"Come now, don't be rude. Turn around and say howdy. I just want to see what I get when all is said and done."
Wesley turned, slowly, carefully, half afraid she'd lunge and rip his throat out with her teeth. Her voice was silk and honey, but under it was steel and malice. She could kill him as soon as look at him; he knew it. So did she.
He faced her. Her hair was the color of coal, her eyes an amber that reminded him of whiskey held to the light. When she smiled, for just a moment he thought there were fangs, but then they were just gorgeous white teeth. Straight and true like a cover model. His fear radiated off of him in sickening waves. He could feel it, invisible lines of anxiety and regret. What had he done?
"What you had to." She answered the question she had obviously plucked from his head. "Don't worry. I don't bite. Often." Then she laughed.
His knees went weak even as his heart picked up speed. It was fine. Ten years was a hell of a long time.
"Ten years is a blink, lover," she said. Right before his eyes, she shifted. Long and curvy and lean to tall and brawny and cut. Ink black hair to mocha brown. Amber eyes flashing to ice blue. Then she was he and his grin was just as cold. Just as scary. "I forgot. You bounce around, Wesley. How do you like me? Boy? Girl? Boy? Girl?" The demon flickered back and forth before his eyes. Male then female then male again before he could even blink.
Wesley hung his head and felt the tears start. Not only was she, he ... it, toying with him, a point was being proven. You'll never see me coming. I can be anything. Friend, lover, teacher, boss ... the thought was staggering.
When Wesley turned, she was gone. No sign or trace. Just the faint smell of hot metal and ozone in the air. He kicked dirt as he walked back down the road. Ten years. One decade. He had a lot to do before it came back to collect its due. Suddenly, ten years seemed like an afternoon.