Authors: Melinda Barron
Tags: #Erotic Paranormal Romance
Why was I so stupid?
Just one more night, I’d said, maybe two
Then she would call my name, give me physical form
If I’d followed my instinct and given her my name, I’d be inside her right now
The contract would be sealed
Instead I waited
And now there were humans here
Human’s who obviously want to get rid of me
One of the men walked toward the stairs stopped and looked around, as if he’d heard him, but he knew that wasn’t true.
What he’d probably heard was…
Worthless slut, did I tell you that you could speak?
Go back to your corner, which is all that you’re good for
That’s it, whimper and cry
It makes me happy
The man who’d noticed the noise stopped after going up two stairs, his gaze now focused on the ceiling.
That’s right, human, I’m here
Don’t think you can take over
This house, and that woman, belong to me.
* * * *
Franco always loved watching Martin work. How he would have loved to have a gift like his friend’s. It would have been better than being able to read minds. Knowing people’s innermost thoughts wasn’t always pleasant, unless it dealt with Tempest. Damn but that woman was fine.
He imagined himself above her, her legs wrapped around his hips as he buried himself deep inside her. True to the fantasy she’d had about him, he’d love to bury his face between her thighs, too, licking her sweet clit until she screamed in pleasure. His cock throbbed at the idea and he wanted to kick everyone out, toss her on the bed and make the dream come true, right now.
He gazed back at her. She stood in the middle of the room, her dark hair cascading over her shoulders in loose curls. Her brown eyes focused on Martin. Franco gazed down her body, at her full breasts and lush hips. Damn he loved a woman who wasn’t a stick figure.
Easy boy, easy,
he said to himself as more images of her naked body continued to flood his mind.
First things first. Deal with the demon, then you can get the girl.
“Well?” Her question was full of concern.
“I feel a woman,” Martin replied. “She’s scared, though, and won’t talk to me. She died here, on the stairs.”
“What?” Tempest all but screamed the word. “They didn’t disclose that when I bought the house.”
“It was an accidental death, I’d say in the fifties, or the sixties,” Martin explained. “Although I’m pretty sure your demon had a hand in it. I can feel her hovering around the edges of the room. But I can also feel a darker, more evil presence. I would say that’s your guy.”
Franco wanted to gather Tempest in his arms, to soothe the fears that were racing through her body. She was yelling inside her mind, telling herself that this couldn’t be happening. And she was afraid that since the incubus had tried to possess her that the demon somehow had a hold on her. He needed to let her know that wasn’t the case. They could fight this. And win.
“Get rid of it,” Tempest said. “Do whatever you have to do, exorcism, or whatever! Just get rid of it.”
“I can’t,” Martin’s voice sounded very tired. Franco knew he did that sometimes when he tried to contact spirits. “This is beyond my capabilities. I deal with ghosts, not demons. And the ghost I feel won’t respond right now. Once the demon is gone, maybe before, depending on its hold on her, I can help cross her over. But until then…I’m sorry.”
They can’t help you. No one can.
Franco shivered, fixing his gaze on each person in the room. The voice was deep, and menacing, and it didn’t match one person standing nearby. He’d never been able to read people who weren’t in the room with him before. Was there someone else among them? In the house?
You’re mine, you little bitch. Get rid of them. You have some punishment coming your way.
The thought slammed into his brain and this time he had no trouble deciding where the feed was coming from. It came through Tempest, but it wasn’t her. It was…
Oh holy shit. He could hear the demon inside Tempest’s mind.
Franco watched her carefully, seeing how she would react to the demon’s declaration of punishment. He was shocked to see that she didn’t react at all. Had she heard it? If she had, she was sure being very calm about it.
How was this happening? He’d never been able to hear ghosts when Martin, or one of their other mediums, talked to them. How in the hell was he hearing the demon? This was something that had never happened to him before and he wasn’t sure how to proceed. If he let the demon know he could hear it, they were letting go of what could turn out to be a perfect card to play at just the right time.
“Hey Dev, um, could I speak to you for a minute?” He tried to keep his tone light. He didn’t want to distress Tempest any more than he wanted to tip his hand to the demon. “Outside? In the garden?”
Everyone was looking at him now and a barrage of “What the hell?” expressed in various forms hit his brain. So much for keeping things light and not alarming people.
“The garden’s out that way,” Tempest said, pointing toward the backdoor. “What’s going on?”
“Outside first.” Franco crossed to Tempest and put his hand on her shoulder, turning her toward the area she’d indicated. He knew there would be no way she wouldn’t come now. Better to accept it and not waste time arguing.
He led the way, smiling to himself as the group fell into line behind him. He hoped the garden would be far enough. When they reached the doorway, he heard a sharp, enraged
“NO! Get back here you slut!”
and he knew it would be. The incubus was tied to the house.
Just to be safe, once they were all outside, he went to the stone wall that marked the back of the garden. When everyone gathered around him, he took a deep breath, trying to figure out a way to say what he needed to without sending Tempest over the edge.
He listened to see if he could hear the demon again. He couldn’t. Good.
“I heard the demon, and he’s not a happy camper.”
That little bitch!
How dare she disobey me!
I need a fucking body
Why the hell did I wait so long?
This shouldn’t be happening this way
She should be here, lying under me, accepting my seed, doing what she was made to do
That’s her purpose now
I won’t stand for that tall man and the way he’s looking at my conquest
It’s obvious he wants her for himself, but that won’t happen
Once she’s called me into existence, I’ll find a way to take care of her new admirer
This time things will go as they are supposed to, and I’ll finally get the child I need to continue my line
* * * *
“You heard the demon?”
Devlin was the first one to break the silence, and Tempest wondered where he’d found his voice. Hers seemed to be lodged somewhere in her lower intestine, and she felt as if she’d never find it again.
Her heart rate had morphed into an irregular static rhythm that made her wonder if it would ever get back to normal. For some reason, even after telling them about it, it hadn’t seemed real until Franco said he’d heard the demon. She wanted to think he was mistaken, but she knew that he wasn’t. He’d read her mind at the restaurant and known what she’d wanted to talk about before she’d said anything to anyone.
She hadn’t even told Quinn what she wanted, exactly. She’d only said she needed to discuss ghosts. If he’d heard the demon, did that mean it was corporeal?
“How can it speak to you? I’ve never seen a body, remember. Or a face.”
Franco frowned, and then he cleared his throat. “I think I intercepted a message that was meant for you.”
“Oh God, this can’t be happening.” She collapsed onto the stone bench, her hands shaking, her heart hammering even faster. “Every bit of money I had I put into that house. I can’t leave it. If you can’t get rid of it, I…”
“We can get rid of it,” Franco said, sitting down next to her. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her into his chest into a comforting hug. “It’ll just take us a little bit of time to do some research. This is something I’ve never encountered before.”
“We never have either,” Dev said. “But we have several members of our group that specialize in demons. We can call them and get some information. In the meantime, you can come and stay with us.”
“Yes,” Quinn said. “I’ll go inside and pack a bag for you.”
“Thanks, but no.” Tempest squeezed her hands into fists in an effort to stop their shaking. “I won’t allow this—thing—to run me off from my home. I’m staying here.”
“I’ll stay with you.” Franco caressed her shoulder and she felt better from the contact. Until she remembered the demon inside her house. She was about to tell him no, he didn’t have to stay, but then she thought better of it. It would be a comfort to have him nearby.
Tempest nodded, then realized that the others in their group had moved toward the center of the garden. They were huddled together, their voices low as they talked.
“What are they doing?”
“Probably discussing who should call who,” Franco replied. “They’ll set things up for us. My main concern is you, and making sure that you’re all right.”
“Why didn’t I hear him when you said you did?”
“I’m not sure.” His voice was very soothing. “I can honestly say that I’ve never had anything like this happen before.”
“Does that make me special?”
“Very.” His fingertips trailed down her arm and she shivered, this time in delight.
“Thank you for staying.” If she’d been thinking straight, she would question the fact that she was allowing someone who was almost a perfect stranger to stay in her house and protect her from a demon. It was almost like using an unknown to fight an unknown.
But he was a friend of Quinn’s, and she trusted her friend very much. Plus, while she didn’t want to leave her home, she didn’t want to be alone, either. Since neither Culo nor Pero would come into the bedroom, she would have been horribly alone if Franco didn’t stay.
“I don’t mind staying. Trust me. Why did you name your cats are named after characters in ‘The Tempest’?”
She laughed, her body actually feeling as if it were getting back to normal. “The idea you can hear what I’m saying, before I say it, is going to take some getting used to.”
“Sorry, I was just trying to make you relax.”
Tempest gazed up at him, her breath catching. Her body quivered at his look. Yes, she definitely wanted him, and it was disconcerting to know that he knew it. She smiled, then licked her lips, determined to keep the conversation away from sex, no matter what her body wanted.
“My parents are both English professors at Tulane. My mother is an expert on Shakespeare and my father on Hemmingway. I have three brothers and a sister, and my parents named all of us after books written by those two authors. I figured since my parents named me Tempest that I should name my cats after characters from the play, Trinculo, a jester, and Prospero, the Duke of Milan.”
“They fit.” She glanced back at the group of people who were still talking. “Can we sleep inside the house? If it’s tied to the house will it…come visit me again tonight?”
“We can sleep in another room. Sometimes that confuses the incubus. Or we can sleep outside, on the balcony. I don’t think it can come outside. It didn’t follow us out here.”
I want to have sex with you, but…
“I know.” He leaned over and kissed her forehead. “We just met. But you had some great ideas in your fantasy back at the restaurant. I like the second one, especially.”
She closed her eyes and she swore she could feel his tongue on her clit, swirling around it, sending vibrations of pure bliss through her.
“Yes, just like that.” He kissed her forehead again. “I’ll be right back.”
He made his way toward the group and Tempest clasped her arms tightly around her. She would have an orgasm tonight, but this time one of the most gorgeous men she’d ever met would be the cause of it.
How dare that bastard touch her?
Agree to stay with her
Only I’m allowed to do that
But I can’t, can I? I waited too long
Even the defeat in my own voice mocks me