The Devil Went Down to Texas...
Sexy wannabe demon Destiny Carter has pissed off the people downstairs and has been kicked out of hell.
Now she's in Ft. Worth, Texas with one week to corrupt a soul. Or else.
Lookin' For Just One Soul to Steal...
When smokin' hot Destiny strolls into the Stompin' Ground bar in a slinky red dress, she has a feeling her assignment might not be so bad. The cowboy at the bar looks pretty darn delciious and oh–so–corruptible.
But Chance Bellew is no ordinary cowboy, and Destiny gets away more than she bargained for when she rubs up against the sexy dark angel perched on a barstool like sin just waiting to happen...
Praise for Karen Kelley:
"The sex is steamy and the pacing gallops along."—Publishers Weekly
"A perfect blend of humor...and sexy intimacy."—Booklist
"Explosive!...This story astonds at every level. Karen Kelley is an author not to be missed."—Fallen Angel Reviews
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Read an Excerpt
Destiny Carter was six years old when she had the first inkling that her life wouldn't be a fairy tale. That was the day her mother left her in a grocery store and never came back. Destiny was right, her life went downhill from there. Bad foster homes, bad boyfriends, and really, really bad choices.
Then she died and went to Hell.
Until she was kicked out.
Destiny landed on the sidewalk with a hard thump.
"Son of a bitch!" She grimaced as she came to her feet, rubbing her hands over her tender backside. She was probably the first person ever to get kicked out of Hell. Temporarily, that is.
Hysterical laughter bubbled inside her, but she quickly tamped it down. She was not going to lose what little bit of sanity she had left. She would get through this like she did everything else, by gritting her teeth and doing what she had to do.
All is not lost. Just take a deep breath.
Ugh! Her nose twitched as a god-awful stench filled her space. She glanced down the deserted street. Faded army-green painted letters on a shabby storefront window proclaimed it as Ft. Worth's finest resale shop.
Oh hell, she'd landed close to the stockyards in Ft. Worth, Texas, but this wasn't Billy Bob's. No, skid-row bars and vacant buildings lined both sides of the street.
Could her day get any worse?
Not that she had anything against Texas, except it was hot as hell. The dry heat was not helping her mood.
"I couldn't manage to steal one more soul?" she grumbled.
Okay, so she wasn't the best salesperson in the underworld. Why didn't that lawyer just sign on the dotted line? He insisted on reading the fine print and before she knew it, poof, he was gone. One more soul and she would've been a full-fledged demon with all the rights and privileges of that position-like drinking, gambling, and lots of sex.
"Sex," she breathed on a sigh as she slowly combed her fingers through her long, black hair. Naked, straining bodies. Hands touching, caressing. She bit her bottom lip and forced the vision to go far, far away before she grabbed the grungy-looking bum leaning against the vacant store front and had her way with him.
She grimaced. Maybe she wasn't that hard up. But Destiny did really miss sex. Everything about her life might have been lousy, but never the sex. And right now she was so horny she figured she'd start sprouting a pair any time, except people at the trainee level couldn't grow a set of horns to save their lives.
Now she was one step farther from her goal. The ones in charge were really pissed, but at least they had given her another chance, and new orders: corrupt someone and drag the unwitting person back to Hell. She had one week to do it or else. Why the fuck had they tacked on "or else"? What were they going to do? Send her to Hell?
Okay, shake it off. Getting kicked out was only a minor glitch. She could take a soul in less than a week. A moment of panic sent a shiver down her spine and her bravado drained away. Who was she kidding? Only dying souls caught between Heaven and Hell were sent to the sorting station. Her job was to convince them Hell was their best choice. She didn't have to search them out. Nothing ever went right for her in life. Why did she think being dead would change things?
No, she could do this. She would survive.
A flashing neon sign suddenly caught her attention when one of the bulbs popped and blew out. THE STOMPIN' GROUND. A bar. Her mouth watered. Demons-in-training weren't allowed to drink, or do much of anything on the job, and they were always on the job. One drink wouldn't hurt, and a bar would be a good place to start looking for a corruptible soul. In fact, it was her duty to go inside and check the place out.
A slow smile curved her lips as she slid her hands slowly over her body and the plain, butt-ugly, black wool uniform shift became a tight-fitting, low-cut, fuck-me red dress that shimmered with each slow, seductive step she took. Yeah, she was bad. Life made her that way. That's why she went straight to Hell. You never saw a good girl in Hell.
The bum's mouth dropped open. He looked at his wrinkled brown paper sack that obviously held a bottle of booze, then back at her. She grinned and winked. He tipped the bottle to his mouth, guzzling down more alcohol.
"See you in Hell," she muttered.
Destiny made her way to the bar, then pushed on the door, stepping inside the cool, dimly lit interior. As soon as her eyes adjusted, she glanced around. A haze of cigarette smoke formed a gray cloud above the patrons.
Slim pickings. Only a handful of people sat at tables.
Two worn out hookers were strategically positioned close to the door. Too easy. They already had Hell stamped on their foreheads. Destiny wanted to impress the powers that be. Used-up hookers would not make an impact on them.
A couple of men sat at another table deep in conversation about a stupid football game. Not bad looking. Wedding rings glinted on their fingers. Married. Too much trouble.
Hmm... But the demons might be impressed.
Before she could take a step toward them the bathroom door opened, spilling a patch of light into the bar. Two laughing women joined the men at their table. Scratch that idea. Two was company, four was a crowd.
There was a lively group of barely legal college boys chugging pitchers of beer. Hmm, certainly corruptible. From the way they were dressed, they were definitely slumming. One guy glanced her way, eyes practically bugging out.
Oh hell, was that drool? No thanks!
Someone put money in the jukebox and a slow country song began to play. For a moment, she let the deep voice of the singer wash over her. She didn't even mind that he was crooning about his cheating wife and losing himself in a bottle of whiskey. Damn, she missed being alive.
Her gaze languidly drifted around the rest of the room, past dark walls with posters of country singers plastered all over them. The bartender wiped a damp cloth across one end of the bar. Destiny's eyes narrowed as she sized him up. The potential was there.
He raised his head, saw her, then smiled. The kind of smile that made her feel good all over. He wasn't bad looking, in a good-old-boy sort of way.
Destiny drew in a deep breath as she readied herself for a full assault, but at the last minute a movement at the other end of the bar caught her eye.
A lone cowboy sat on one of the stools nursing a beer, his back to her. He wore a black T-shirt that deliciously hugged his broad shoulders. Her gaze dropped. The jeans weren't bad, either. Nope, not bad at all. The guy had a great ass from this angle. Sweet! Cowboy had just enough muscles that he created a fantasy, but not enough that she would be in competition with his ego.
He turned and looked her way, his gaze sliding sensuously over her body. Tingles of excitement tickled her spine. She had such a fondness for cowboys. They knew how to ride 'em long and hard, and she was all for long and hard.
She devoured him with one long lazy look. His black Stetson was pulled down low on his forehead as though he didn't give a damn about anyone or anything. It didn't help that, for some insane reason, black cowboy hats turned her on.
Oh baby, she was about to make his wet dreams come true. Yee-haw, ride 'em cowboy.
The bartender was forgotten as she locked on target. Destiny slid her hands over her hips nice and slow before sauntering toward him, putting just a little bit of swing in her hips.
This time she would be the one calling the shots. The one in charge. No one would ever control her again like they had when she was alive. She would take what she wanted and to hell with the rest! Literally.
The cowboy watched her every step of the way. She was already wrapping him around her little finger and the poor guy didn't have a clue. She stopped beside him.
"Buy a lady a beer?" she asked. Her words held enough invitation that only an idiot wouldn't guess she wanted more than a beer, and this guy didn't look like an idiot. She slid onto the stool next to his, propping her elbow on the scarred wooden surface of the bar.
Over the haze of smoke, over the smell of alcohol, Destiny caught another scent that weaved its way around her, making her lean in a little closer. It was spicy and held a promise of nights filled with down-and-dirty sex. She could feel the waves of heat radiating off him, curling around her body and wrapping her in a sensual cloud of sexual awareness.
"A beer for the lady," he drawled, breaking into her fantasy and nodding toward the bartender.
His voice sent tingles down her spine. It was just a little raspy-low and sexy.
Cowboy swiveled his stool around to face her and tipped the brim of his hat with one finger so she got a better look at his face: the strong jaw, the slight stubble, and the most intense blue eyes she'd ever encountered.
Destiny had her first mini orgasm, and it felt so fucking great! This guy looked good enough to eat. She was going to enjoy corrupting him.
"What's a cowboy like you doing in a bar all alone?" Okay, that sounded pretty cheesy, but she was a little out of practice; she'd died in 1959.
"Waiting for a woman like you," he replied and again his words caressed her as his blue-eyed gaze drifted lazily down her body before returning to her face. Her nipples tightened.
The bartender set a beer in front of her. Cowboy dropped a few bills on the counter and the bartender left.
She grinned as she took the bottle, her tongue sliding nice and slow around the rim before she brought it the rest of the way to her lips. She tilted the bottle a little and ice-cold liquid slid down her throat. Nice. She'd missed the taste of alcohol.
"So, what's your handle, cowboy?" she asked after she lowered the bottle.
"Chance. Chance Bellew."
"Well, you've just met your destiny." She grinned. "Destiny Carter." She thought she might have crossed the line of cheesy, but his eyes began to sparkle and his slow, sexy grin made her tremble.
"And maybe you're taking a chance by sitting so close to me."
She leaned nearer. "Maybe I like taking chances." And she'd certainly like to take this Chance!
"You may not know what you're letting yourself in for," he told her.
"Oh, I think I might."
"Are you a bad girl, Destiny?"
His slow Texas drawl washed over her like liquid fire. It was all she could do to even breathe. She took another drink of her beer, then set the bottle back on the counter before turning and looking him right in the eyes. "You've never seen bad like me."
He casually placed his hands on her knees. She drew in a sharp breath.
"You think so? I've been with some really bad women."
His fingers left trails of fire as he began to draw slow circles on the insides of her knees. She sucked in a deep breath as delicious sensations rushed through her.
"You don't mind my touching you, do you?"
Destiny met his gaze head on and shook her head. "I don't mind at all, but don't you want to find someplace quieter?" Someplace where she could tear off his clothes and make wild, passionate love all night long. Her body was starting to freakin' burn she was so hot. After that, she would take him to Hell.
Chance shook his head. "It's dark enough. No one is watching."
Destiny scanned the bar. The college boys were just leaving. The married men were still talking football. The women with them were starting to look bored. The bartender had walked over and joined in the conversation. The hookers still looked bored. Chance was right. No one paid attention to what they were doing.
He propped his foot on the outside rail of her barstool to block anyone's view, and then his gaze dragged its way down her body. Her nipples hardened to tight little nubs. They ached for him to tease with more than his eyes.
Some small amount of sanity returned. "You want to fuck in the bar?" How much could they experience here? She wanted him totally naked and lusting for her body.
Still, the idea did hold some merit. She was always the one who loved living on the edge. The one who took a dare at the drop of a hat, no matter the risk. She never had anything to lose.
"It's your choice," he told her. "I can stop. I can walk out of your life forever."
His fingers inched higher.
She bit back her moan. Walk away? Leave her aching for more and not even look back? She slowly shook her head. "No way, Cowboy. Like I said, you've never met a bad girl like me."
He met her gaze, and for just a second Destiny thought she saw something-something telling her that she might be in over her head with this guy; but when his hands moved a few inches higher, she dismissed the warning bells.
Chance continued moving his thumbs in slow, seductive circles on the insides of her thighs. She sucked in a mouthful of air, her bottom squirming on the seat as she gripped the edge of the bar with one hand and his thigh with the other. He was so close... so close... to that secret spot that would send her over the edge.
"You know what I want to do?" His voice washed her in sensual fantasies.
She shook her head.
"I want to rip off your dress. I want to see your breasts, hold them in my hands right before I suck on them, teasing each nipple with my tongue."
She automatically thrust her chest forward.
"Can you feel my tongue scraping across your sensitive nipples?"
She whimpered, nodding her head.
"Then I would slide my hands down your body, over your hips. You're fucking hot. I love looking at your nakedness. I'd spread your legs wide and, for as long as I wanted, I'd stare down at you, seeing all of you."
Her legs automatically opened for him. Yes, hell yes. She wanted him to look, to see, to take pleasure in her body.
"I'd lower my head, inhaling your musky scent. Nice."
His fingers continued to draw circles on the insides of her thighs-closer and closer.
"Then I would taste you." His words were spoken low, but it was as though they ricocheted inside her head, bouncing off the images he created.
She trembled. Even when she was alive, no one ever did that. The thought of him licking and sucking caused an ache to settle in her lower region. Maybe she only misunderstood.
"Tasting all of me?" she croaked.
His hands inched higher still until he brushed lightly through her curls. "Especially here."
Her thighs quivered and her imagination kicked into overdrive. She was damn glad the dress and her stiletto heels were all she wore.
"Do you like that?" he asked as he continued to move his fingers through her curls.
"Oh yes." She bit her bottom lip, scooted to the edge of the stool, spreading her legs a little wider.
He fanned open her labia, running his fingers up and down before working the pad of his thumb against her clit. She whimpered.
"Lean in against me," he told her.
She blindly obeyed as little earthquakes began to erupt inside her.
"I want to suck on your pussy," he whispered close to her ear as his hands continued to massage and stroke. He slipped his tongue inside her ear and swirled it around. "I want to suck on your pussy until you cry my name."
It was all she could do to take a breath, and every breath she drew in burned her throat.
He slipped two fingers inside her, sliding them in and out, in and out. "You're wet. I want you to come for me-right now."
His hot breath stroked her neck. She nodded, grabbing his shoulders. She couldn't form one cohesive thought. Every fiber of her being was centered on what he was making her feel-and it felt so good!
He slipped his fingers out, running them up and down her pussy, then slipped back inside. In and out. In and out. The heat inside her began to build hotter and hotter. Flames licked over her as spasms gripped her body.
The room grew darker, everything blurred.
It was only the two of them.
No one else mattered.
Destiny met his gaze and saw the fire burning in his eyes. His fingers continued their assault on her body, pressing against her, massaging, working her as if he knew exactly what to do, what she so desperately needed.
"What do you want?" he whispered.
"More. I want more."
He slipped two fingers inside her.
In and out. In and out.
She was so close, so-
"Don't stop. Please don't stop."
She moaned, her body trembling with release. Her breathing came in short gasps as she tried to draw in enough air to fill her lungs. He held her close, pressing his fingers against her until her body stopped quivering, and the bar came back into focus, then he slowly slid them out of her, scraping against her, making her body quiver one... last... time.
"You've been a very bad girl, Destiny. I think next time I'm going to have to show you what I do to bad girls."
Flames licked up her body at the thought of Chance showing her anything.
He suddenly straightened. He was tall. At least six feet four inches. She grabbed the edge of the bar so she didn't lose her precarious position on the stool and slide off onto the floor. Destiny doubted she would have the strength to get back up.
"Another beer for the... lady," he told the bartender before dropping some more bills on the counter.
When had the bartender returned? Did it matter? No, not really. Destiny felt far too satisfied to let anything bother her right now.
Chance leaned down and brushed his lips across hers, then stood and walked away.
For a moment, Destiny thought Chance might be going to the men's room, but he walked past the sign directing him to the restroom and out the front door.
What the hell? He was leaving?
Nothing ever changed. They got what they wanted, then left. Just like when she'd been alive. Tears welled in her eyes.
The bartender placed a beer in front of her.
She gripped the cold bottle, blinking back the moisture in her eyes. What did it matter? She'd used him, too. Chance had given her exactly what she'd needed, and he'd done it very well. And maybe she wanted more-so what?
"Who is he?" she asked before the bartender turned away.
He looked at her and shrugged. "Some cowboy. He's been coming in here for about a week now. I asked him once if he was from around here. He only said he was waiting for a lady." The bartender's gaze swept over her. "I thought you might be her."
A cold chill ran down her spine.
He was waiting for her? Why? Who was he? Did he know she was in search of a soul?
Of course Chance wasn't waiting for her specifically. He was just a cowboy looking for some female company. Any willing lady would have satisfied his needs.
She glanced toward the door, felt his lingering presence. Chance was good, real good. He had her wanting more. Why shouldn't she test the waters again? She would wait for him tomorrow night. He'd told her "next time." She smiled. Yes, he'd be back.
Chance Bellew won the point for tonight, but tomorrow-he'd soon be all hers. She planned to take him higher than he'd ever been before. By the time she was through with him, Chance would beg her to take him to Hell. He might have been waiting for a lady, but he found a demon instead. Well, a demon-in-training. Close enough.
Her lips curved upward. Tomorrow night couldn't get here soon enough.