In a world seething with sin and seduction, the chase is on.
Hunting demons for a living can have its moments. Especially when Shay Pearson’s latest quarry is the gorgeous bronze surfer who just stepped out of the sea. Uncovering Nic Diavolo’s devilish side could prove Shay’s toughest assignment yet. Because while she’s acting as bait to snatch this sexy bad boy, Nic’s got a plan of seduction no woman—earthly or otherwise—can resist.
Caught between two warring realms, Nic needs to stay alive long enough to figure out who his enemies are. That includes the beautiful hunter who won’t let him out of her sight. And something far worse: a force of evil with an almost unimaginable goal— possessing Nic’s very soul. But the hunt really heats up when a guy who’s hotter than Hades and a woman who’s afraid of love join forces, igniting an inferno of lust and longing that could send them into mortal danger...or straight into each other’s arms.…
About the Author
Jaci Burton grew up in Missouri, but spent thirteen years as a California girl. Now she's back in the area she loves to call home, this time Oklahoma, where she lives with her husband Charlie and her stepdaughter Ashley.
Read an Excerpt
Hunting the Demon
By Jaci Burton
DellCopyright © 2007 Jaci Burton
All right reserved.
Nic Diavolo stood in the dark place, hundreds of clawed hands reaching for him. They tore at his clothes, the creatures' voices like a cacophony of humming bees. Now the buzzing grew louder, a chant of triumph as they surrounded him.
They'd finally won. All these years the monsters had chased him, and he had always run. Run as hard as he could, slipping and falling, but he'd stayed ahead of them. Always escaped.
This time, he had slowed down. Stopped. Turned and let them catch up, watched as five became ten. Then twenty-five. Then finally there were a hundred or more of the creatures. Horrifying in appearance, with their red eyes and long fangs, their dirty, clawlike fingernails reaching for him.
When they touched him, he expected to scream.
This was it. The moment he had spent a lifetime fearing.
Their nails raked over his skin. He shuddered at the first touch, revulsion and dread filling him.
But they didn't shred him to pieces, didn't sink their dripping talons into his flesh, didn't growl as if they wanted to tear him apart.
They stared at him in awe, stroked him with reverence, bowed their heads.
As if he was their king.
At that moment, Nic realized something monumental.
He felt no fear.And that was the most frightening thing of all.
Take your place.
He heard the voice, but didn't understand,couldn't see anyone around him but the creatures.
You're home, son.
Recognition struck. It was his father. But Nic was confused, didn't comprehend the command.
These are your people, Dominic. You belong to them, and they to you.
Nic shook his head. Something wasn't right. He didn't belong here, with these creatures."Dad?"
All he heard was soft laughter.
"Dad!"The laughter faded, and he was once again alone with the beasts. They beseeched him wordlessly with their groping hands, their mumbled adoration. They closed in and he felt suffocated, unable to breathe as they pressed against him.
No! He didn't want this. He wanted answers, goddammit.
"Dad! Where are you?"
The shrill alarm blasted Nic into an upright position. Covered with sweat, his heart hammering his ribs, he slammed his hands onto the mattress and blinked against the darkness, fighting for breath.
What. The. Fuck. Disoriented and shaking, he struggled for time and place.
His bedroom at the house in Sydney. No monsters.
Just the dream.
Man, that was some weird shit.
Constantly the same. Okay, maybe this one wasn't exactly like the others. But still a theme similar to the rest. Monsters, and him, and wandering around in the dark in search of . . . something. Seemed to be every night lately. Would they ever end?
He leaned toward the nightstand and punched the button, watching the slow crawl of the drapes as they opened, revealing a semicircle of floor-to-ceiling windows connecting him with the outside world again. With reality. It was still dark outside, but at least he had the comfort of the lights in the harbor, boats in the water, real things.
Sydney was alive and breathing, even at five in the morning. And that was good enough for now. Sunrise would come soon, banishing the last vestiges of the dream from the recesses of his mind.
He rubbed his temples, sucked in air, and shook off the confusion. So he had dreams. So what? Too much partying is what he attributed it to. And not enough sleep. In every respect, Nic was normal. Healthy as could be for a thirty-three-year-old male.
"Fucking freak of nature is what you are," he mumbled as he slid out of bed and grabbed his board shorts.
The waves were supposed to be kick-ass right now. It was the only lure that would have brought him home. Not that anyone was here anyway. His father wasn't, which was typical. And even if he had been here, he wouldn't have noticed Nic if he'd paraded naked into the kitchen with a girl under each arm.
He smirked at the shock value of that visual. He might have to try that sometime to see if it got a reaction from his dad or his uncle Bart.
With a loud yawn, he stretched, then slid into his shorts and white nylon shirt, went into the bathroom to brush his teeth, ran his fingers through his hair, and splashed water on his face, hoping to shake off the nightmare.
One would think he'd downed enough booze at the club last night to afford a dreamless sleep. But oh, no. Sometimes he was lucky enough to remember.
Or cursed. He wished he couldn't recall the dreams with such clarity.
The dreams terrified him. And he was too damned old to be scared of monsters in the dark.
As he came out of the bathroom, the first line of dawn slipped above the horizon. He grinned, adrenaline pumping blood into his booze-soaked veins.
Time to catch a wave.
And forget about monsters.Shay Pearson drummed her fingers on the kitchen tabletop of the small house where she and the rest of the demon hunters had been housed for over a month. They'd been plotting and waiting, plotting and waiting. Talking and planning was tiresome. She was ready to get out there and get the job done. The time for all this strategizing was over, at least in her mind.
Try telling that to Lou. He was big on the scheming thing, on making sure there was a plan.
Whatever. This was the reason why she wasn't the one in charge. If it were up to her she'd charge out there on the beach, grab Nic, and haul him off. She still didn't understand why they couldn't do just that. Other than the whole kidnapping-in-public thing.
But if Dominic Diavolo, aka "Nic," was a danger--was a demon--then wouldn't it be better to snatch him now, before he did something . . . demonic?
"Okay, so we've determined Nic's daily routine."
Nic's brother, Derek, rounded the table and pointed to the whiteboard they'd set up. They'd marked routes from Nic's house to the beach to the nightclubs--everywhere Nic had been going for the past month since they'd tracked him down in Sydney. "Which really isn't much so far. He gets up, he drives to the beach, and he surfs with friends for several hours. Then he goes back to the house and stays there until dark, when he typically heads out to one of the Sydney night spots to party."
"And, man, does he know how to party." Punk dragged his hand through his spiky hair and yawned. "The bastard is running us ragged."
Derek grinned. "Yeah, like you hate hanging out in bars."
Punk shrugged. "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do."
Lou stepped up next to Derek and put up his hands. "It's important to remember that we have two main objectives here. First, to figure out what Nic is up to, and whether or not he's part of the Sons of Darkness. If so, how deep into the demon realm is he?"
"And do we kill him if he is?" Ryder asked, his gaze shooting to Derek.
It was a valid question, Shay thought, though a delicate one. Derek was the right-hand man to Lou, a Keeper of the Light, the prime nemesis to the Sons of Darkness, the demons. Derek was also Nic's brother. Derek was half demon, which meant so was Nic. Derek controlled the dark half of himself. But they didn't know yet about Nic, since he'd been kidnapped by their father when he was just a child. Whether Nic was a good guy or a bad guy hadn't yet been determined.
That was their mission here in Australia.
Derek shrugged in reply to Ryder's question. "I don't know the answer to that until I see Nic for myself and gauge the level of his involvement with the Sons of Darkness."
"I know you all want answers now, but we don't have them yet," Lou added. "You'll just have to be patient awhile longer."
Shay knew she wasn't the only impatient one here. Tensions were high--had been that way since they'd arrived here a month ago.
That's how she, how all the hunters, came to be involved in all this. All of their mothers had been kidnapped by demons, used to make half demons. Except for Derek, of course. His father, Ben, was a Lord of the Sons of Darkness, only Derek hadn't known that until they'd run into Ben on the island recently. And Derek and Gina had killed him. That's when they had discovered that Nic--Dominic, Derek's brother--was still alive. Ben had taken Nic when he was eight years old, and Derek had thought all these years that Nic was dead. Now the hunters had to figure out just how much demon lived inside Nic.
What a mess. But it had strengthened all of them, this knowledge about their mothers, the demons' involvement in all their lives. It gave them resolve to fight, to change their lives and become hunters. To want to battle the demons and ensure the Realm of Light came out victorious.
"We're with you, Lou," Shay said. "Though patience isn't easy for any of us, especially after being holed up together in this tiny little house for a month."
"The ocean view has been really spectacular," Mandy added with a wide grin.
"So has the eye candy from the window," Ryder added.
"And the bar," Punk said.
Shay rolled her eyes. She just wanted out of the house. Some of the guys had taken turns hanging out at the clubs Nic frequented at night. She'd been stuck inside for the better part of a month. Oh, sure, there was a pool and a nice view that came with the house, but something more than that called to her. Someone. A pull that she couldn't--wouldn't--talk about, not even with her fellow demon hunters. She just had to figure out how to be the one to get in on this.
"Let's get our heads back in the game," Derek warned. "We have a lot to do."
"Right," Lou said. "Because as I was saying, we have two objectives here. One is Nic. The other is the black diamond. We have to find it before the Sons of Darkness do."
The black diamond. Just the name of it made Shay shiver, though she didn't know whether it was in fear or excitement. The black diamond was some kind of key that the Realm of Light had uncovered after they arrived in Australia, and it was connected to the Sons of Darkness. The Realm knew it was important to the demons, a kind of magical element that was to be used to empower them. The Realm of Light wanted to get to it first, because they felt if the Sons of Darkness managed to uncover and use it, it did not bode well for the future of the Realm of Light and the demon hunters.
"Any clues on that yet?" Shay asked.
"Yes, as a matter of fact. The Realm of Light feels that Diavolo Diamonds is the key to the black diamond. After all, Ben--Derek and Nic's father--was the head of Diavolo Diamonds. As Ben's heir, Nic stands to inherit the bulk of the Diavolo fortune, which includes major stock ownership in Diavolo Diamonds."
"We think the Diavolo mine might be the location of the black diamond. What better place to hunt it down than in the middle of a mine owned by one of the Lords of the Sons of Darkness?" Derek added.
Shay nodded. "Makes sense. I've been studying the research you gathered on Diavolo Diamonds. The mine is rather extensive. They could have been mining for years and not found the black diamond yet. It could even be located on the outskirts of the mine property itself."
"Exactly," Derek said. "Which makes it imperative we get started on our mission. We have to figure out what Nic knows, how much of the demon blood is within him, and if we can pull his loyalties to our side. If we can, then maybe he can help us get to the black diamond before the Sons of Darkness find it."
"And if we can't? What do we do with Nic if we can't get him to come to our side?"
Shay's gaze shot to Ryder. She supposed someone had to ask the question.
"Then I'll take care of him," Derek shot back.Shay's heart squeezed. Derek had been without his brother for over twenty-five years. Now he'd found him again, his only tie left to his blood family. To have to eliminate Nic would destroy him. But if Nic was evil, Derek would do what was necessary to protect the Realm of Light.
Gina laced her fingers with Derek's, the love in her eyes evident as she looked up at him. "It won't come to that. I know it won't."
"Let's hope not," Derek said. "In the meantime, we need a plan.
"Finally, her chance. Shay had to get to Nic and soon, had to see him, touch him, find out if what she'd been feeling was real.
"I have an idea."All eyes turned to her.
He stepped out of the waves like the god Poseidon, at home in his element. Drenched, bronzed, his shorts riding low on his hips showcasing lean six-pack abs, the sculpted body of a man who worked hard at his sport. There wasn't an ounce of fat on him.
His sun-tipped brown hair was cut short and spiked up in all directions as he shook the salt spray from it with a wild twist of his head. Shay held her breath, wondering if the shorts balancing precariously on his slim hips would drop to his ankles.
No such luck. The pictures she'd seen of him hadn't done him justice. Though the photographs showed a charming, handsome man, up close he was just devastating. She exhaled, reminding herself why she was here.
She was bait. Lou and Derek had jumped on her suggestion and allowed her to be the front man, er, woman, on the mission. So now that she'd opened her mouth and volunteered, she had to get the job done. She was equal parts excited and terrified at what would happen when they met, already knowing she was going to feel the telltale zing. She'd been experiencing it for weeks, just glimpsing him from afar.
Hard to believe the water god making his way to the beach, surfboard in his hands, was her quarry. As far as assignments went, this one was pretty damn good-looking.
She licked her lips and tipped her sunglasses down over the bridge of her nose, wishing her knees would stop knocking. She wasn't very good at this stealth stuff. Her heart was pounding, her palms were sweating, and she hoped to God she remembered how to flirt. It had been a really long time. She was out of practice.
So here she stood on a secluded beach in Sydney, Australia, just past dawn, while the most gorgeous man she'd ever laid eyes on strolled out of the ocean toward her.
Excerpted from Hunting the Demon by Jaci Burton Copyright © 2007 by Jaci Burton. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fun 2nd book in series.
The first book was definitely better. I pretty much rushed through this book, it had a hard time holding my attention. The storyline was just not intese enough.
Realm of Light demon hunter Shay Pearson is assigned to take out demon Nic Diavolo. Her plan is to seduce the hunk until she has him caught in her lure so that she can bring him to his brother. On the other hand Nic is attracted to Shay so he plans to seduce her.-------------- However, Nic has some issues to deal with that he does not understand because he is unaware, unlike his sibling (see SURVIVING DEMON ISLAND) that his father was a demon, making him a half breed. When he comes under attack, Shay stays at his side helping him survive as she knows he is special to her. However, when she tells him the truth and what he believed about his family is a lie, he rejects her fantasy though he wonders what is happening to him.------------------ The sequel to the exhilarating campy SURVIVING DEMON ISLAND, HUNTING THE DEMON is as much fun as its paranormal predecessor. The story line is fast-paced and just over the top in zaniness so that readers will enjoy the latest battle in the war against the demons. Nic and Shay are a superb pairing as the heroine knows that a deadly foe is coming for the half demon she is confident against the adversary but unsure of how to deal with her new ¿partner¿. Fans of wild comic book like paranormal romantic suspense tales will enjoy this engaging encounter in which Shay¿s ¿demons¿ from her past stand in the way of love as much as the enemy does.------------- Harriet Klausner
Shay is a new demon hunter with a special skill of foresight that she has never told anyone about and has seen Nic in her visions. She is sent to seduce and help kidnap Nic, a half demon half human and also Derek’s brother to see if he’s good or bad and get him to the Realm of Light. Dominic (Nic) was taken and raised by Ben, Derek & Nic’s demon father, when Nic was 8. Nic has no memory of his childhood prior to 8years old. So when Nic is approached by the Realm of Light he is a little skeptical and his BS meter is running high. However, Nic cant get Shay out of his mind and sees her as “sex and sin wrapped up in a fully armed combat package, ready to kill.” I liked this one a lot more than the first one. My most favorite part in the book that made me laugh out loud and my family turn and give me weird looks was when Nic was tied to a chair and told Shay he had to pee. That entire scene had me cracking up. Overall, it was pretty good. The plot was more interesting than the last one and the characters seemed to have more depth. Nic and Shay are hot together but I wish there was more sex. Don’t get me wrong, the sex is great but the scenes are short and I just wanted more. This is really more of a 3.5 star read for me.
This second book in the Demon Hunters series is as hot, suspenseful and action packed as the first book. I was hooked from the first page ~ after waiting rather impatiently to get my greedy little hands on this book in the first place ~ I limited my fluid intake and read the whole book in one sitting - all 417 pages. The members of the Ream of Light that we met and fell in love with in the first book are all back as they try to convince Derek's brother, Nic just who is friends are, and who they aren't - the Sons of Darkness. This book is fast paced with an engrossing storyline, interesting characters, vivid descriptions and erotic romance. Next summer can't come soon enough for the next book in the series, The Demon's Touch with Ryder and Angelique's story.