"A wickedly unique voice in paranormal romance!" Larissa Ione
A Little Bit Of Angel Lust
Sammaelcall him Samwas an angel once. An angel of Death. But the dispassionate, watch-from-above thing just wasn't working for him when it meant watching evil torture innocent souls day in and day out. It might have cost him his wings, but these days he gets to apply the direct method on the bad guys. Problem is, what's making his life difficult is a bad girl. . .
Seline O'Shaw needs protection, and with the hounds of hell on her tail, she's not going to quibble too hard about where she gets it. Sam's virtue is questionable, but he's smoking hot, massively powerful, and owes her a favor. So what if she's getting a little case of angel lust? There are some damn deadly sins after her hide. . .
Praise for Cynthia Eden and her novels
"Cynthia's on my must-buy list." New York Times bestselling author Angie Fox
"Highly sensual and definitely dangerous." Shannon McKenna on Hotter After Midnight
"A fast-paced, sexy thrill ride you won't want to miss." Christine Feehan on Eternal Hunter
About the Author
Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes dark tales of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader bestseller. Cynthia is also a three-time finalist for the prestigious RITA® award . Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over fifty novels and novellas. Visit her online at www.CynthiaEden.com.
Read an Excerpt
By CYNTHIA EDEN
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2012 Cindy Roussos
All rights reserved.
The devil owed her a favor, and it was time that Seline O'Shaw called in that debt.
"Well, well ..." Sammael — Sam because he'd long ago dropped the more formal version of his name — raked her with his bright blue stare as she made her way across the crowded New Orleans club and to his side. "Come back for another dance, have you?" His deep voice cut easily through the laughter and whispers that floated in the air.
Dance. Seline's eyes narrowed. "Not tonight." No, tonight she was waiting tables at Sunrise and wearing one of those skimpy black dresses that all the waitresses were forced to squeeze into before each shift. Thankfully, she wasn't scheduled to go onstage again. Too dangerous. She'd only danced twice, and she didn't plan to hop up there again. Seline risked a quick glance over her shoulder. "I need to talk with you," she said as her voice dropped.
Sam wasn't alone. But then, he was the big, bad-ass Other in the city so he usually had company. Not guards exactly. Why would he need guards? If the stories were true, Sam could kill with a touch. The man wasn't human, not even close.
So, no, the demons weren't around to guard him, but she knew they were there to pretty much jump when he so much as whispered an order. Demon attack dogs.
"Go ahead," he invited softly, his voice low and rumbling, "talk."
Right. Like she was going to bare her soul with his two demon goons right next to him. And Seline knew the guys on either side of Sam were demons. Most folks probably would have thought they were humans — very dangerous looking humans — but not demons.
Seline wasn't most folks, and she damn well knew a demon when she saw one. After all, she'd been born with the special curse of being able to see right past a demon's glamour. She didn't have the luxury of pretending that monsters weren't real. She saw monsters every day.
And every time I look into the mirror.
"Alone." She cleared her throat because the word came out way too husky. She really had to watch that. She wasn't trying to seduce Sam, not yet anyway. "I need to talk to you ..." She let her gaze dart to the goons. "Alone."
Sam waved his right hand, and the demons rose. They disappeared into the crowd like good little flunkies even as Sam edged away from the table and closed in on her.
She didn't back down. Seline tilted her head so she could meet his blue stare. The guy was big — had to be at least six feet three, maybe six feet four — muscled, and too sexy by far.
He was also the deadliest man she'd ever met. Don't forget that. Remember who he is, what he is.
Strange. She'd never thought Death would be particularly sexy. He was.
His eyes were the brightest blue she'd ever seen. His cheeks were high, his jaw hard and strong, and his lips — sensual, but with an edge of cruelty she couldn't miss.
Sam took her hand. "Come with me."
A shiver slipped over her at his touch. She hadn't expected her reaction to Sam. The first time she'd seen him, she'd ... wanted him and that wasn't the way things were supposed to work in her world. She was the one desired. The one wanted. That was the way she'd been made. She might not like the life she'd been given, but screw the bitching and moaning routine. Seline couldn't control what she was, but she could use her power.
Sam led her through the crowd and to a small door on the side of the club. The private room. Yeah, she knew the place. She'd been working at Sunrise for a while now, and she'd learned the rules. This room was for the VIPs. A place for them to have quick sex, to run a business deal, or to party the night away. All without having to worry about any prying eyes watching.
Unless you wanted to be watched, because she knew some folks in Sunrise liked that, too.
The bouncer at the door immediately let Sam inside. Figured he'd get instant access because right then, she knew Sam was the most important VIP in the place.
Fear had a way of making certain people very, very important.
The door closed behind her with a soft click. No watching. Seline's heart did a too-fast kick when Sam turned around and locked his stare on her. "Better now?" he asked with a twist of his lips. Sexy lips. "I'm all yours." He crossed his arms over his chest and watched her with a gaze that always saw too much.
Oh, damn. She swallowed. Play the game. "I-I ... you owe me, Sam."
His dark brows — black to match his midnight mane of hair — rose. "Do I?" His voice was careless, but she saw the intensity in his eyes.
Seline nodded quickly. "I helped you before. I told you — told you when the shifter wanted you dead." Who didn't want him dead? But a few weeks ago, she'd tipped Sam off about the very dangerous coyote shifter who'd been hunting him. That tip-off should give her the bargaining power she needed right now.
His head inclined. "So you did." His gaze raked her body, and that hot blue stare lingered a bit too long on her breasts and her thighs.
The top of her "uniform" plunged right between her breasts, and the skirt barely skimmed the tops of her thighs. She shifted slightly beneath his stare but quickly caught herself. "You owe me now, Sam," she reminded him.
That brought his eyes back to hers. His face, that perfect face that didn't belong on someone so dangerous, tilted to study her. Sam might have the reputation of the devil, but the man's face and body were pure perfection. All the better to tempt.
Sometimes she felt like everything about the man was a lie. But, fair enough, she was pretty good at deceiving, too.
She pressed, "You pay your debts, right?" He'd better. "Depends on the debt."
That wasn't the answer she wanted.
Sam lowered his arms and stalked closer until only a foot of space separated their bodies. The door was closed behind her, and when he leaned in, Sam slapped both of his palms against the wooden frame and caged her with his arms. "What do you need, Seline?"
She wasn't surprised that he knew her name. He'd watched her often enough in the last two months. First, he'd watched her at Temptation. Going in as a dancer had been the only way she knew to get close to Sam — and she had to get close.
But when some assholes had torched the joint, she'd had to come up with a real fast plan B. Since she knew Sam spent a lot of time here, she'd taken a waitressing job at Sunrise. All to stay close to him.
It had only been later that she'd learned Sam actually owned Sunrise, too.
"Seline?" His breath feathered lightly over her cheek. "What do you want from me?"
Her chin lifted but she kept her hands at her sides. Don't touch him. "Protection."
His brows rose.
"I won't lie to you, Sam." Yes, actually, she would. A lot. "I haven't exactly been living the pure and innocent life." Okay, that line was one hundred percent true. "I ... made a mistake a while back, and now there are some people out there that want me dead."
The door was shut. They were totally alone. She could confess to him. "Because I killed a man." The words seemed to fall into the thick silence of the room. "I didn't plan to do it. It-it was an accident —"
Her hands clenched into fists. Ah, caught me. "No, it wasn't." Again, this part was true. The lies would only come later. "He was an asshole who got off on hurting women. He used his fists any chance he had, and I wasn't gonna be the next body he put in a box." She wouldn't be any man's punching bag.
His eyes studied her. "You're afraid."
Only of a few things in this world.
"Is that why," he continued quietly, "you're always armed?"
"With a gun close by, tucked in your purse or ..." His fingers slid up her thigh. Up, up, stroking over her flesh until he found the sheath of her knife, tucked right on the interior of her thigh. "Or why you keep a knife strapped to your thigh?"
"You can't be too careful," she whispered, her body tight because he was still touching her — and she liked it. Can't. Too dangerous. Wanting Sam could make her weak, and lust was a weakness she couldn't afford right then.
Unfortunately for her kind, lust was like kryptonite. The closer the temptation, the stronger the weakness.
"So you need protection." His stare narrowed on her. "What, exactly, does that mean?" He paused. "Do you need a guard? Someone to watch over you? Or ..." His left hand rose. His fingers curved under her cheek and his thumb brushed over her lips. Her breath caught, and her heart raced in her chest. "Do you want me to kill someone for you, Seline?"
Killing would be easy for him. Sometimes, she worried it might become too easy for her. "I-I don't know what to do. I've been hiding, and I thought I was safe, but they found me."
"They?" His right hand still cradled her thigh and seemed to scorch her flesh.
"His friends. They know what I did, and they aren't the kind of men you can just walk away from." She let fear seep into her voice. The better to sound weak. Men liked it when women were needy, right? Help me. "They're dangerous, Sam, and they've got a lot of power."
His gaze searched hers. Then his mouth dipped close to hers. Seline stopped breathing. He was going to kiss her and her hormones would go wild. Control. She had to stay in —
He didn't kiss her. He smiled. And dammit, she'd actually been pressing up on her toes to get closer to him.
Heat stained her cheeks. I don't blush. But she was — or rather, she'd started blushing since she met Sam. He made her too uncomfortable.
"What makes you think I'm the kind of man who offers protection?"
She didn't think he'd give her protection. She wasn't a fool. He wasn't the protecting kind.
He was the killing kind.
She wet her lips and felt the tension mount in his body. "I know what you are." Half-truth. She knew what he wasn't. She was still working on the rest. Out of a thousand possibilities, she'd narrowed down the choices to a top five list — and nothing on that list was good.
"And what's that?"
Now this was the dangerous part. If she'd calculated wrong, he could attack her. Good thing she wasn't very easy to kill. "You're not human." This she knew with absolute certainty. Demons didn't play guard bitch to humans. The food chain didn't work that way.
No change of expression crossed his face. But his head came closer to hers and his lips — why would that cruel edge be sexy? — pressed against her mouth. She expected the kiss to be hard and rough. What else? But when his mouth took hers, it was just ... a taste.
His tongue licked her lips and stroked inside her mouth. Slow. Easy. As if he were sampling her.
Her tongue slipped to meet his. To taste. To want. Sam.
When he pulled back, she had to fight to keep her hands off him. Or rather, she had to fight not to yank the guy back and take a lot more from him. Dangerous.
His gaze studied her a moment, and she barely dared to breathe. "I'm not human," he finally agreed, his voice a deep rumble. "But neither are you, sweetheart. Neither are you."
True enough. Now this was the dicey part. Time for some half-truth, half-lies. "You know I'm a demon." Yeah, and good for her, she could admit that truth without flinching in shame anymore.
"Like to like," he murmured. "That's the way, right?"
Right. In the Other world, paranormals could recognize their own kind. Maybe it was Mother Nature's way of making sure the Other didn't vanish into the mist. If you recognized your own kind, it sure made mating within the same subset easier. Demons could see right through the magic glamour that shielded their kind from human attention. The easiest tip-off that you were dealing with a fellow demon? Go for the eyes.
A demon's real eyes were pitch-black. The lens, the sclera — everything was black. But thanks to the glamour that even the least powerful of demons could manage, humans never saw that telling stare. Well, not unless the demons wanted them to see. In that case ... good-bye, human. Because when you saw that darkness, death was coming.
Seline cloaked her black stare with glamour, twenty-four/ seven. For her, it was as natural as breathing. When humans looked into her eyes, they saw a warm brown gaze, not that chilling black.
But Sam ... his eyes were different. She'd caught the slip of his eye color once. Just once — when Temptation had burst into flames, and she'd been trapped in the fire. His bright blue stare had faded to black then. She'd almost missed that change because of the freaking fire all around her.
One slip had shown her his true nature. But the problem was that she should have always been able to see the black of his eyes. He shouldn't have been able to maintain a shield against her.
Sam wasn't your average demon. Actually, she wasn't even convinced he was a demon because there was something else rather unusual about him. When she looked at him hard enough, long enough, Seline could see the dark, shadowy image of ... wings on his back.
Demons didn't have wings.
Sure, she'd heard of some really, really old demons who had tails and one guy with cloven feet, but wings? Not so much a demon thing.
I know what you are. So that was lie number one for her. When it came to Sam, she didn't know. Not that knowing truly mattered.
"So the people after you ..." He dropped his hold and stepped back. Seline didn't like that calculating stare he swept over her. "Are they demons?"
"No. They're humans."
He grunted. "Then you should have no problem taking them out." Cold and flat and exactly what she'd expected.
"I'm low level," she admitted, and lowered her eyes because most demons could be ashamed to admit this. I'm not most. "Barely a four on the power scale." That wicked demon power scale that had screwed up most of her life. Demon power ranked from a one, barely more than a human in terms of psychic power, to a ten. A ten would be the powerhouse capable of leveling a city block.
She was not such a bad-ass. If only. Her strengths lay in other areas.
Her hands balled into fists. "They'll take me out. I've been running from them for nearly a year, but they keep finding me. They want payback, and they won't stop until they get it."
He sighed. "Seline ..."
He spoke her name the way a man would say it in bed. Seductive and —
"What in the hell," he continued in that same seductive tone that had her nearly aching, "makes you think I give a damn?"
She blinked. "But ... but I helped you!" So not the way I'd imagined this going down.
He shook his head. "I didn't need your help with the shifter. No coyote will ever be able to take me down."
"If you don't help me, they'll kill me." Had he missed that part? She'd thought she emphasized it dramatically well. Maybe she should think about shedding a tear or two.
"I'm not here to save the world," he told her, and then he reached for her again. Wait — the jerk was moving her out of his way, not trying to embrace her. Then he yanked open the door and told her, "Sweetheart, I'm just here to watch it burn."
And Sam left her there, with her mouth open. The jerk actually left her.
Shit. Time for plan B — and plan B was gonna hurt.
She watched Sam disappear into the crowd. His goons closed back around him, and he whispered to them. Her eyes slit. Oh, she'd make him pay. Was he really so heartless that he wouldn't help a freaking damsel in distress? Hadn't she looked distressed enough to him? Her eyes were actually watering now — she was sure he'd seen that bit. And what about that breathy moan she'd given when he kissed her? That moan had only been half-faked!
Fine. Seline took a deep breath. One, then another, and she let the tears build up. She might have been a low-level demon, but she was also a semi-talented actress. In order to fit in with the humans, she'd had to be.
Her shoulders shook as she pushed her way through the crowd. Seline made sure to rush past Sam and his demons as she sobbed, the better to lay the groundwork for her next plan.
Her hand slammed against the club's back door, and she burst outside. The hot air hit her like a fist as she hurried forward. She lifted her hand and signaled for the man she knew would be waiting.
She'd tried to do this the easy way, but Sam hadn't cooperated. Pity. A real crying shame.
"You're gonna have to use the knife," she said, glancing back over her shoulder. Sam might not even come out after her. He sure didn't seem to be racing to her rescue. But maybe when she started screaming, he'd come play white knight.
Excerpted from Angel Betrayed by CYNTHIA EDEN. Copyright © 2012 Cindy Roussos. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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