Helping to plan her ex-boyfriend's wedding is a different story. Georgina isn't sure which is worse--that Seth is marrying another woman, or that Georgina has to run all over Seattle trying on bridesmaid dresses. Still, there are distractions. Georgina's roommate, Roman, is cluttering her apartment with sexual tension. Then there's Simone, the new succubus in town, who's intent on corrupting Seth.
But the real danger lies in the mysterious force that's visiting her thoughts, trying to draw her into a dark, otherworldly realm. Sooner or later, Georgina knows she'll be too weak to resist. And when that happens, she'll discover who she can trust, who she can't--and that Hell is far from the worst place to spend eternity. . .
Praise for Richelle Mead and her Succubus series. . .
"This is one of those series I'm going to keep following." --Jim Butcher, New York Times bestselling author
"The mix of supernatural mystery, romance, and reluctant succubus is great fun." --Locus
"Mead cooks up an appetizing debut that blends romantic suspense with a fresh twist on the paranormal." –Booklist
About the Author
Richelle's books have been on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists and received honors from the American Library Association. Her books have been translated into over two dozen languages, as well as transformed into graphic novels. A lifelong reader, Richelle loves mythology and wacky humor. When not writing, she can be found spending time with her family, buying dresses, and watching bad reality TV. More at: www.richellemead.com.
Read an Excerpt
By Richelle Mead
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2010 Richelle Mead
All rights reserved.
I was drunk.
I wasn't entirely sure when it had happened, but I suspected it had occurred around the time my friend Doug had bet me I couldn't take down three vodka gimlets faster than he could. He'd promised to take my weekend shift at work if I won, and I was going to do his stock duty for a week if he won.
When we'd finished, it looked like I wasn't going to be working next weekend.
"How did you out-drink him?" my friend Hugh wanted to know. "He's twice your size."
Through the crowd of people crammed into my condo, I peered at the closed bathroom door, behind which Doug had disappeared. "He had stomach flu this week. I'm guessing that doesn't go so well with vodka."
Hugh raised an eyebrow. "Why the fuck would anyone take a bet like that after having the flu?"
I shrugged. "Because he's Doug."
Hoping Doug would be okay, I scanned the rest of my party with the pleased air of a queen sizing up her kingdom. I'd moved into this place back in July and had been long overdue for a housewarming party. When Halloween had finally rolled around, combining the two events had seemed like a pretty reasonable solution. Consequently, my guests tonight were clad in an array of costumes, everything from elaborate Renaissance fair quality garb to the slackers who'd simply thrown on a witch's hat.
Me, I was dressed as Little Bo Peep — well, that is, I was dressed the way Little Bo Peep would if she was a stripper and/or a shameless strumpet. My frilly blue skirt stopped just above the halfway point on my thighs, and my puff-sleeved white blouse was so low-cut that I had to be careful when leaning over. The crowning achievement — literally — was my curly mane of flaxen blond hair, neatly arranged into two pigtails tied with little blue bows. It looked perfect, absolutely indistinguishable from the real thing because ... well, it was real.
Shape-shifting always came in handy as a succubus, but for Halloween, it was golden. I always had the best costumes because I really could turn into anything I wanted. Of course, I had to keep it within reason. Too much of a change would raise the suspicions of the humans around me. But for a hair change? Yeah. Shape-shifting was pretty convenient.
Someone touched my elbow. I turned, and my smug enthusiasm dimmed a little when I saw who it was: Roman, my sociopathic roommate.
"I think someone's getting sick in the bathroom," he told me. Roman was a nephilim, half-angel and half-human, with soft black hair and sea-green eyes. If not for the fact he occasionally went on immortal killing sprees and had me on his hit list, he would have been a pretty good catch.
"Yeah," I said. "It's Doug. He lost a vodka challenge."
Roman grimaced. He wore devil horns and a red cape. The irony wasn't lost on me. "Hope he's got good aim. I don't want to clean that up."
"What, you don't do housework either?" asked Hugh. He'd recently learned Roman wasn't paying me rent because he was "between jobs." "Seems like you should pull your weight around here somehow."
Roman gave Hugh a warning look. "Stay out of this, Spiro Agnew."
"I'm Calvin Coolidge!" exclaimed Hugh, highly offended. "This is the same suit he wore at his inauguration."
I sighed. "Hugh, nobody here remembers that." That was one of the downsides of being immortal. Our memories became obsolete as more time passed. Hugh, an imp who bought souls for Hell, was much younger than Roman and me, but he had a lot more years than any human here.
Slipping away from Roman and Hugh's argument, I headed across the room to mingle with my guests. Some of my coworkers from the bookstore Doug and I worked at were huddled around the punch bowl, and I stopped to chat. Immediately, I was bombarded with compliments.
"Your hair is amazing!"
"Did you dye it?"
"It doesn't even look like a wig!"
I assured them it was a very good wig and dealt out praise for them in return. One person, however, earned a rueful head-shake from me.
"You have more creativity than all of us put together, and that's the best you could do?" I asked.
Best-selling author Seth Mortensen turned to look at me with one of his trademark, slightly scattered smiles. Even when I was dizzy with vodka, that smile never failed to make my heart speed up. Seth and I had dated for a while, plunging me into the depths of a love I'd never imagined possible. Part of being a succubus was an eternity of seducing men and stealing the energy of their souls — a real relationship had seemed out of the question. And in the end, it had been. Seth and I had broken up — twice — and while I usually accepted that he had moved on, I knew that I would love him forever. For me, forever was a serious matter.
"I can't waste it on a costume," he said. His amber-brown eyes regarded me fondly. I no longer knew if he loved me too; I only knew for sure that he still cared about me as a friend. I kept trying to portray the same image. "Gotta save it for the next book."
"Lame excuse," I said. His shirt depicted Freddy Krueger, which might have been acceptable if not for the fact I suspected he had owned it long before Halloween.
Seth shook his head. "Nobody cares what guys wear at Halloween anyway. It's all about the women. Look around." I did and saw that he was right. All the elaborate, sexy costumes were on my female guests. With a few exceptions, the men's dulled by comparison.
"Peter's dressed up," I pointed out. Seth followed my gaze to another of my immortal friends. Peter was a vampire, a very fastidious and obsessive-compulsive one. He was clad in pre-Revolutionary French garb, complete with brocade coat and a powdered wig over what was normally thin brown hair.
"Peter doesn't count," said Seth.
Recalling how Peter had painstakingly stenciled swans around his bathroom's baseboards last week, I couldn't help but agree. "Fair point."
"What's Hugh supposed to be? Jimmy Carter?"
"How can you tell?"
I was saved from answering when Seth's fiancée — and one of my best friends — Maddie Sato appeared. She was dressed as a fairy, complete with wings and a gauzy dress nowhere near as slutty as mine. Fake flowers wreathed black hair that had been pulled into a bun. Her being with Seth was something else I'd more or less come to accept, though I suspected the sting of it would never leave. Maddie didn't know Seth and I had dated and had no clue about the discomfiture I felt over their whole relationship.
I expected her to slip her arm around Seth, but it was me she grabbed hold of and jerked away. I stumbled a bit. Five-inch heels weren't normally a problem for me, but the vodka complicated things a bit.
"Georgina," she exclaimed, once we were far enough away from Seth. "I need your help." Reaching into her purse, she pulled out two pages torn from magazines.
"With wha — oh." My stomach twisted uncomfortably, and I hoped I wouldn't be joining Doug in the bathroom. The pages showed photos of wedding dresses.
"I've almost narrowed it down," she explained. "What do you think?"
Grudgingly accepting the man I loved was going to marry one of my best friends was one thing. Helping them plan their wedding was an entirely different matter. I swallowed.
"Oh, gee, Maddie. I'm not very good at this stuff."
Her dark eyes widened. "Are you kidding? You're the one who taught me how to dress right in the first place."
She apparently hadn't taken the lessons to heart. The dresses, while beautiful on the anorexic models wearing them, would look terrible on Maddie. "I don't know," I said lamely, dragging my eyes away. The dresses were conjuring mental images of Maddie and Seth walking down the aisle together.
"Come on," she entreated. "I know you have an opinion."
I did. A bad one. And honestly, if I were a good servant of Hell, I would have told her they both looked great. Or I would have endorsed the worst one. What she wore was no concern of mine, and maybe if she showed up at her wedding looking subpar, Seth would realize what he'd lost when we broke up.
And yet ... I couldn't. Even after everything that had happened, I just couldn't let Maddie do it. She'd been a good friend, never suspecting what had occurred between Seth and me before and during their relationship. And as much as that petty, selfish part of me wanted it, I couldn't let her go forward in a bad dress.
"Neither are good," I said at last. "The full skirt on that one will make you look short. The flowers on top of that one will make you look fat."
She was taken aback. "Really? I never ..." She studied the pictures, face falling. "Damn. I thought I had this stuff down now."
I can only assume my next words came from the liquor. "If you want, I'll go with you to some places this week. You can try some stuff on, and I'll tell you what works."
Maddie lit up. She wasn't gorgeous in the popular, magazine sort of way, but when she smiled, she was beautiful. "Really? Oh, thank you. And you can look for your dress too."
"Well ..." Her smile turned sly. "You're going to be a bridesmaid, aren't you?"
At that moment, I reconsidered my earlier thoughts about nothing being more painful than helping plan her wedding. Being her bridesmaid pretty much blew that out of the water. Those who believed we made our own hells on earth must have had something like this in mind.
"Oh, well, I don't know ..."
"You have to! There's no one else I'd rather have."
"I'm not really the bridesmaid type."
"Of course you are." Maddie's eyes suddenly looked at something beyond me. "Oh, hey. Doug's back. I'm going to go check on him. We'll talk about this later. You'll give in." Maddie scurried off to her brother, leaving me numb and speechless. I decided then it was worth risking illness to go get another drink. This party had taken a definite U-turn.
Yet, when I turned around, it wasn't toward the bar. It was toward my patio. One of the best features of this condo was its expansive balcony, one that looked out over Puget Sound and the Seattle skyline beyond. As I stood there, though, it wasn't the view that captivated me. It was ...something else. Something I couldn't explain. But it was warm and wonderful and spoke to all my senses. I imagined I could see colored light on my balcony, kind of like the waves of an aurora. I could also hear a type of music that defied all human words and had nothing to do with the Pink Floyd blasting from my stereo.
The party faded into the background as I slowly moved toward the balcony. The door was open to air out the hot room, and my two cats, Aubrey and Godiva, lay near it to look outside. I stepped past them, drawn toward that which had no explanation or description. Warm autumn air engulfed me as I groped for what called me. It was all around me and yet out of my reach. It was summoning me, drawing me toward something right on the balcony's edge. I almost considered climbing on the ledge in my heels and looking over. I had to reach that beauty.
Peter's voice jerked me out of the trance. I stared around, startled. There was no music, no color, no beckoning embrace. Only the night and the view and the patio furniture on my balcony. I turned around, meeting his eyes.
"We have a problem," he said.
"We have a lot of problems," I said, thinking of Maddie's wedding dress and the fact that I'd nearly walked off my own balcony. I shivered. I definitely was not going back for that next drink. Sick was one thing. Hallucinations were another. "What's wrong?"
Peter led me inside and pointed. "Cody's in love."
I looked over at our friend Cody, another vampire and Peter's apprentice. Cody was a young immortal, optimistic and endearing. He was dressed as an alien, with green antennae sticking out of his shaggy blond hair. The perfection of his silvery space suit made me think Peter had played a role. Right now, Cody was staring across the room, mouth open as he gazed at someone. He looked like I had felt just moments ago.
Her name was Gabrielle, and she'd just started working at the bookstore. She was tiny, almost pixie like, and wore black fishnets and a ripped black dress. Her spiky hair was also black, as was her lipstick. Easy coordination. Cody was staring at her like she was the most beautiful creature on earth.
"Huh," I said. Hugh dated all the time, but I'd never really thought of the vampires — particularly Peter — having any sort of romantic interactions.
"I think he likes that she's dressed as a vampire," said Peter.
I shook my head. "Actually, that's how she always dresses."
We walked over to Cody, and it took him several moments to notice us. He seemed excited to see me. "What's her name?" he breathed.
I tried to hide my smile. Cody being smitten was one of the cutest things I'd ever seen and a welcome distraction from the other drama tonight. "Gabrielle. She works at the store."
"Is she single?"
I looked back at her as she laughed at something Maddie had said. "I don't know. Want me to find out?"
Cody blushed — in as much as a pale vampire could. "No! I mean ... unless you think it wouldn't be too obvious? I don't want you to go to any trouble."
"No trouble for me," I said, just as Doug walked by. "Hey." I caught hold of his sleeve. "Do me a favor, and I'll take my shift back."
Doug, whose Japanese-American skin was normally golden tan, could have also currently passed for an alien with his green hue. "I'd rather have my stomach back, Kincaid."
"Go investigate Gabrielle's romantic status. Cody's interested."
"Georgina!" exclaimed Cody, mortified.
Sick or not, Doug couldn't resist a little intrigue. "Sure thing."
He headed off across the room and pulled Gabrielle to him, leaning down so she could hear. At one point, he glanced over toward us, and Gabrielle looked as well. Cody nearly died.
Doug returned five minutes later and shook his head. "Sorry, kid. She's single, but she doesn't think you're her type. She's into the Goth and vampire scene. You're too mainstream for her." I was sipping a glass of water and nearly choked on it.
"That," said Peter, as soon as Doug was gone, "is what we call irony."
"How is that possible?" exclaimed Cody. "I am a vampire. I should be exactly what she wants."
"Yeah, but you don't look like one," I said. If Gabrielle had been a Trekkie, he might have had a shot tonight.
"I look exactly like a vampire because I am one! What should I dress up as? Count Chocula?"
The party continued in force for another couple hours, and finally, people began trickling out. Roman and I, playing good hosts, smiled and bade each of them farewell. By the time everyone left, I was weary and more than happy for it all to be over. I'd refused to drink after the balcony incident and now had a headache as a pleasant reminder of my indulgences. Roman looked as exhausted as me as he scanned the messy condo.
"Funny, huh? You throw a housewarming party to show the place off, and then people trash it."
"It'll clean up fast," I said, studying all the bottles and paper plates with remnants of food. Aubrey was licking frosting off a half-eaten cupcake, and I hastily took it away from her. "But not tonight. Help me take care of the perishables, and we'll do the rest tomorrow."
"There's no 'we' in 'clean,'" Roman said.
"That doesn't even make sense," I said, covering up some salsa. "And Peter's right, you know. You really should do more around here."
"I provide good company. Besides, how can you get rid of me?"
"I'll get Jerome to," I warned, referring to his demon father, who also happened to be my boss.
"Sure. Run off and tell on me." Roman stifled a yawn, demonstrating just how worried he was about his father's wrath. The annoying part was, he had a point. I couldn't get rid of him on my own, and I doubted Jerome would really help. Still, I could hardly believe it when Roman did wander off to bed and leave me alone with the cleanup. I hadn't thought he'd go that far.
"Asshole!" I yelled after him, getting only a slammed door in response. He really wasn't that bad of a roommate, but our troubled past often made him want to annoy me. It worked.
Fuming, I finished the necessary tidying and dropped into bed a half-hour later. Aubrey and Godiva followed me, lying side by side at the end of the bed. They were a contrast in colors, like some piece of modern art. Aubrey was white with black specks on her head; Godiva was a riot of orange, brown, and black patches. All three of us drifted off to sleep immediately.
Excerpted from Succubus Shadows by Richelle Mead. Copyright © 2010 Richelle Mead. 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This series is fabulous. I am so glad i started it after the 5th book came out. I couldn't put this series down! I laughed and laughed!! This book had me going through so many emotions. Like the others, there were funny parts, but it was also sad. I cried, my emotions were all over the place! I found myself so frustrated at both Seth and Georgina for different reasons. I want Georgina and Seth to find happiness together so bad, but they just seem to keep screwing it up! I am so intrigued with the fact that something is up with Georgina's contract and I can't wait to find out more! I was a little shocked with the ending. I didn't expect it! I don't really know how i feel??? As much as I want Georgina and Seth to be together, I know that they shouldn't be... My heart also goes out to Roman in this book. I found myself almost rooting for him over Seth. My emotins were all over the place with this book, and I love that!! It was wonderful!!
Absolutely Amazing! This series breaks my heart and mends it over and over again. It seems every one of these books is going to make me laugh, cry, angry, and fall in love. I will say this again in case you have not been paying attention to me. IF YOU ARE NOT READING THESE BOOKS IMMEDIATELY GO OUT AND BUY THEM OR GET THEM FROM THE LIBRARY!!!! I can't even say what is going on in this one because if you are behind a bit it will giveaway a major part of the plot. Just read it!!!
This book really picked the momentum back up, and has me eager as ever to read the final book (coming out in a few months). I rarely read books in a series back-to-back, and that is the greatest testament I can give this series: I couldn't put them down! Any fans of the paranormal romance / urban fantasy genre should definitely add these books to their "must read" list! If you enjoyed this author, you will probably also like books by Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, Keri Arthur, Devin Monk, and Charlaine Harris.
This book is number 5 in a great series and it rocks!!! I loved these books the minute I started reading them and this one just keeps it going. I love the plots and the way the characters all tie together in some way or another. These books always leave me wanting more and Richelle Mead has been delivering...I can only hope that she continues! Georgina is a smart witty and funny character that I can identify with during some of her trials and triumphs. I love the tension that is built throughout the book and then the sweet release of the conclusion. I would recommend these books to anyone that likes a great read or maybe even something a bit unconventional.
This book kept up a lively inferno through out the chapters. It kept you guessing and wanting to turn the next page. It makes you want to find out if Georgiana can ever have her dream and just what a certain baaaad Imp is up to. This was a very good read and I'm looking forward to the next installment.
I absolutly loved this book. I have been a fan of this series since last year. It is a very thrilling a touching story. Richel Mead is such a gifted author. I always had the hardest time putting it down. I totally reccomend this for the people who love paranormal romance novels. It was incredible.
I have been thoroughly enjoying this series and am really thankful that all of the books are already released and I've had a nice little gap in my reading schedule where I have been able to fit these in and just read and read and read. I love Georgina our main character. She is feisty and confident and oh yes she's a succubus. While she is an employee of Hell basically she has a way of really just bringing up the people around her and even though she needs to steal life energy during sex in order to survive she would prey on and bad men to get her energy instead of corrupting the ones that are more pure. She made a deal in the first book to protects her boyfriend at the time Seth memory OF who she is and the knowledge of the supernatural world that most people in this book don't know about. She also went off the rails after Seth broke up with her. One of her friends Hugh had put in Seth's mind that he is not the one that is going to ultimately suffer from the relationship. Georgina would because he's a mortal and Georgina's already terrified of something happening to him and knowing that he will die and once he's gone after loving like that she would hurt and carry that hurt around for a long long time. This book basically picks up where her best friend Maddie is asking for her help and planning her and Seth's wedding. Mattie you like most people had no idea that Georgina and Seth used to date because they kept it a secret from a lot of the people they were around at the time and Georgia and then it just kept being friends even though Georgina was so hurt at Seth breaking up with her. After finally getting to see Georgina and Seth make love in the last book when Jerome was summoned and the immortals in Seattle were in a holding pattern they were still immortal but they lost their powers so Georgina could be with him without stealing his life energy. Georgina convinced him that their relationship wouldn't work especially now that she was back to being a succubus and urged him to go back to his relationship with Maddie because she could tell that Seth really cared for Maddie and she wanted them to have every chance to be happy. because of a relationship with her meant being in the middle of cosmic battles and putting his life in danger and abstinence because she doesn't want to end up stealing his life energy. So basically right after that conversation he went and proposed to Maddie. It was really hard on me to see this funny sweet charismatic guy that felt so much love for Georgina now in the arms of another woman. I'm just wondering how this is all going to work out. I'm mad at him for going to the arms of Maddie and even though she is such a sweet girl and I want her to be happy I really just feel like so but has been the story of Georgina and Seth and their forbidden love and their undeniable chemistry. Towards the last half of the book things really start to come to a head and fore shadow some of the things that are coming. Seth has the existential crisis about the ending for his characters in his long-running series that is what brought him and Georgina together in the first place. He says that his muse is left him and he can't figure out how he wants to end things for them. as all this is going on he's wedding planning with Maddie and feeling the guilt over what happened with Georgina but there still the tension and chemistry between him and Georgie. So he is just wanting to figure out the root of that and if anything's possible with him and Georgina. we don't have his point of view so just guessing a little bit. Of course I ended up finding out what is going on with visions that Georgina sees almost like a siren and calling her to something happy and bright and usually attacking her when she is in a more depressed mood. As her friends including Eric and Roman in his own way are trying to figure out how to rescue Georgina from what's going on with her visions it is neat to see them all band together and strive for an answer for her. She is usually the one that is so adamant about finding answers and not giving up. She would bring her friends along with her as back up if someone else has problem even if they wouldn't get unsolved without her urging. and now they're trying to help her. The dreams continue to be a big part of the plot line and Georgina realizes something that I've noticed too. that trouble seems to be drawn to her and that she ends up being in the same kind of situations over and over and then she will seek help and then finally get to the bottom of things. but that it just seems like such a pattern and the cycle that she is on. Also liked the situation with godiva in this one showing that some parts of what she was shown to have the possibility to come true and that's it she might be on that path. The ending definitely made me have more questions but it also started to show me how some of the things might unravel and having certain plot lines either be tied up or showing the possibilities of what might happen. Its kind of wild how close to the ending of full series we are and it's been a wild ride and I can't wait for an extra moment to go ahead and read more. Bottom Line: Perfect storm leading up to the finale of this series that I've enjoyed immensely.
The Georgina Kincaid series does it again with Succubus Shadows. I won't say what is about to down in this but I can say that the fans of this series and those who love to read about a Succubus character better hold on tight because things are about to get crazy. Love the books and all the characters in the series. I wish somebody make movies out of the books or a tv series.
I love Richelle Mead, support her work whole heartedly. I buy the online versions because i cant wait to read them, then purchase the actual book signed from her website (its free guys!). I have reread all her series especially this one as its my favorite, over and over. Theres the best character development youll ever read and shes the only authoe who ever actually gets thw endings perfect, even when theyre never as expected!
Another good twist to this exciting series! A fast interesting read that I enjoyed. I finished this ome in one day also and am moving on to the last and final book.
Could not put it down. Wonderful. Simply put a myust buy.
Richelle Mead never fails to entertain! Georgina draw you in and steals your heart. Plenty of good sex and suspense! Looking forward to Georgina's next adventure.