Authors: Lisa Alder
The Demon’s Bargain
A Demons Unleashed Novella
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written consent from the author/publisher.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons living or dead, or places, events, or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are products of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
In the dawn of time the Demons were the chosen of the Moon and the Fae were the chosen of the Sun. Two parts of the whole, one dark, one light, they were much alike and shared common powers. But the magick of Demon and Fae is also fueled by Human emotions
Both need human souls in order to exist. Not content to share with the Demons, through trickery the Fae conquered the Demons so they could hoard all Human emotion for themselves. They trapped the Demons far below the surface of the Earth, hemmed in by mineral and rock and bound by magick.
The Fae did not grasp that in so vanquishing the Demons they sundered their own power. Neither is whole without the other. While the Demons festered inside the Earth, cut off from their beloved Moon, the Fae faded in the light of the Sun until they were little more than shadows.
Until the year 2015, after five years of floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis had plagued the Earth, when a huge earthquake ripped through the Earth’s fault lines like a giant wave and ravaged the planet. The tectonic plates shifted and cracked open the dark, torturous prison which held the Demons captive for thousands of years.
They roared to the surface, overjoyed to be free of their banishment. Their first impulse was to partake in the pleasures they’d been denied for century upon century. And although they initially had no quarrel with Humans, they were stronger, smarter, and more devious. So when the Humans attacked, the Demons defended.
But the Humans were no match for the magick of the Demons. The energy from the Demons disrupted all electrical systems functioning on Earth. The electronic age exploded. Microchips and nanotechnology fried and died in an instant. Banking systems, maintained and funded with electronic chits, crashed. Cell phones and the Internet no longer worked. Electric appliances and cars became inert plastic and metal shells. The world plunged back into pre-electronic times with Humans scrabbling for existence.
Humans had believed all the natural disasters plaguing the Earth had been bad, but Demons were worse. For the past ten years, the battle for supremacy between Demons and Fae continued to rage on...and Humans were caught in the middle.
Subtle light flickered against the black walls. Blood red velvet drapes hung at the windows and let in the fading rays of the sun. While flames licked at the soot-stained stone, Vetis, Demon of Corruption, lounged in the velvet upholstered chair, one leg flung over the ornately carved wooden arm, and stared disinterestedly at the destructive, seductive beauty of the flames.
Gods, he needed a distraction. A challenge.
Prince Gaap had ordered them all to gather as much human energy as possible to prepare for an imminent attack by the Fae. Intelligence suggested the Fae would advance soon. The Demons had to be ready. A battle was coming. He understood. And he would fight to the death before he spent another moment trapped beneath the Earth again. But Vetis was deadly bored with siphoning the energy from dissolute humans bent on destroying their lives with greed.
“A visitor, my Lord.” His current butler, Figgins, bowed.
“Who is it?” Did he even want to know? He swallowed the compulsion to send away without an audience whoever chose to disturb him.
“Edward, the gambler, sir.”
The sod was trying his patience. The man owed Vetis. That was what happened when you bargained with a Demon...and lost.
“Get a cell ready.” He would draw the energy generated by the man’s fear and be done with him.
“Yes, my Lord.” Figgins clicked his heels together. “Shall I show them in?”
“Ah, yes. He has...a lady with him.”
Stupid sod. He thought to trade another for his debt. How many freaking times had these ignorant humans thought they could get away with cheating a demon? Would they never learn?
“Show them in.”
“Very good sir.”
Figgins opened the grand doors to his chamber with a flourish. A sudden rush of cool air swept through the room and the velvet curtains swayed as if heralding a sea change.
Towing a reluctant woman along in his wake, the fool gambler strode in as if he owned the castle. His hard-soled shoes clicked along the stone floor, the harder tap of her stilettos a counter beat to the gambler’s stride.
Still slouched on his throne chair, Vetis observed them.
Edward the gambler fairly vibrated with energy, radiating an excitement strangely at odds with his predicament. He saw no fear in the man. His thoughts were full of only anticipation.
So Vetis turned his gaze to the woman. She’d been dressed up like a hooker on the walk. Black stiletto heels, a black micro-mini so short he was sure if she turned around, he’d be able to see the globes of her ass peeking out the bottom, her wares on display. The black halter top was cut down to her belly button, in a wide V, displaying a decent set of breasts. Large, round, real, her nipples poked the black material but there was no doubt it was not from arousal.
Her face was like stone. Sharp caramel eyebrows over a long blade of a nose and a cupid’s bow mouth the angels would have wept for, except for the fact that she was not smiling. Her angelic blond hair tumbled down her back.
But what drew him was her eyes.
Not one single emotion betrayed her. Her gaze was flat, blue, empty. When he probed her mind, he saw...nothing.
How curious. As the Demon of Corruption, his goal in life was to make people do things against their nature. But first he needed to know their nature. Her mind was blank. Too blank.
“You think to bring me a prostitute to pay off your debt?”
By only a flicker of her eyelid did she reveal her distress. Not a prostitute then.
“No, no.” The gambler laughed and a hint of nervousness finally edged into his mind. He pinched the woman, hard, on her arm. “This is my wife. Smile, dear.”
The woman’s x-rated mouth remained still.
“Your wife?” Vetis said flatly. He pressed his mouth into a straight line. It was nearly impossible to corrupt one already so depraved as to offer his wife to a Demon. Now if the gambler had protested, it would have been fun to demand her as payment. But this, this was annoying.
This...insect dared to try to dupe
“And why did you bring her with you?” Vetis slumped even further in the chair, shifting his weight to put his chin on his fist.
Come, you ass. Show me your true colors so I can decide what your punishment shall be. And how I can reap the energy from your psyche.
“I would offer her to you.”
“I see.” Vetis blinked slowly. The woman hadn’t made any movement. None. She was preternaturally still. And her mind continued to stay amazingly blank. He had no idea if the man’s offer repulsed her or aroused her. Absolutely none.
What an interesting turn of events.
“Come closer, sweet.” He crooked a single finger at her, watching her dead eyes. The burning wood crackled, sparks flaring in the still silent cavern of a room as the earthy aroma of peat wafted lazily through the air.
The woman didn’t move.
“Is she drugged?” Vetis asked with pretended idleness. He couldn’t say why the thought enraged him, but Vetis suddenly wished the man would answer yes, just so he could hurt him.
Edward shifted, his body turned toward the fire as if mesmerized. “No, my Lord.” He pushed his bride toward Vetis without so much as a flinch. “Go to him.”
She shuffled toward him in the stilettos, her gait uneven, as if she were unaccustomed to walking in the sharp heels. The sacrificial woman hesitated at the two-tiered dais that held his chair.
“Come, come, up the steps.”
She lifted her gaze to his. Still no emotion. Still no feeling. And apparently she was mute. After another moment of hesitation she placed one foot daintily in front of the other until she stood directly in front of him.
Up close he could see the makeup slathered over her face. Rouge painted her cheeks, deathly pale beneath the false front. Her mouth, the pouty, puffy lips glossed shiny and slick, trembled.
Finally emotion. Energy he could feed off of. Fear? Desire?
Vetis tested the air, sniffing delicately to sense her mood. Besides an overabundance of some blowsy floral perfume, nothing else scented the air.
“Of course, I can’t make a decision until I sample the merchandise.” He rubbed his fingers against his thumb, then wiggled his digits, like a safecracker getting ready to breach a vault. Vetis slid his palm inside the slinky halter top and brushed a thumb against her nipple.
The woman’s skin was frigid.
As cold as her ice blue eyes.
Even in the heat of his room, she was nearly frozen. She didn’t react. Not one flicker of emotion crossed her face. With the exception of that slight tremble in her lips and the barest flinch of an eyelid earlier, she showed no reaction. She remained perfectly still while he brushed his thumb against the hard point.
He slid his other hand between her knees and with a gentle press, indicated she spread her legs. The skin of her inner thigh was soft as the down feathers that stuffed the comforter on his bed. Slowly, he slid his fingers toward her mound.
No underwear blocked his path. Wiry curls protected her feminine slit. He rubbed his fingers over her. Nothing. No juice wet his hand. The little nub of her clitoris was cold and dry against his fingertips.
He couldn’t take his gaze away from hers.
She was like a giant void. He had to wonder, as she stood without protest against his intimate invasion. What would it take to corrupt her?
Tucked into leather breeches, his cock lay flaccid against his stomach. He waited for some sort of response. If nothing else she’d be good for a few blow jobs. He imagined his cock ramming in and out of her mouth, fucking her throat, until he came jetting down into her body.
And still his body remained limp, uninterested.
Gods, this boredom was killing him.
The sensible, the logical move would be to send the woman home and feed off the sick energy pouring from the gambler. But, her absolute lack of emotion was like a siren, tempting him toward an uncertain path and payout. He wanted to corrupt her, wanted to harness her energy.
Prince Gaap would clearly advocate for the former.
But Vetis needed something. Needed a challenge.
The woman stood straight and still while he tested her indifference. With one hand he cupped her breast while he trailed the other back down her thigh.
He probed her mind again. And finally, he saw.
Amara held herself immobile.
The wicked heat of the room threatened to shatter the cold box where she hid and suppressed her emotions. She couldn’t afford to let her rage show.
But deep inside her head, where no sane woman would venture, she let out her fantasy.
She was going to kill her husband.
She shut off the sensation of the Demon’s fingers brushing against her female place. Ignored the flick of his thumb against her breast. Retreated down into herself, into a place where no one could ever reach her. His touch was a violation she would bear but never surrender to. It didn’t matter. He didn’t matter.
All that mattered was surviving this humiliation. And then she was going to kill her husband.
She imagined the knife, the handle cool and solid in the clasp of her fingers. The sharp serrated edge of the blade as first she sliced off his hands. Blood, metallic and dark red, spurted from his stumps. The spray, wet and warm against her skin, coated the shiny cold steel. Edward’s life stolen as he had surely taken away hers.
She would clench her muscles as she raised the blade high over her head. When the tip hit his breastbone, she’d ram the knife through his ribs and deliver a deathblow to his heart, all the while reveling in his suffering.
She imagined him lying in a pool of his own blood. Just as she had lain in hers on her wedding night, after he had sold her virginity for a spot at the tables.
The Demon held her gaze, but she refused to let her repulsion show. Her reaction didn’t matter anyway. He was a Demon. He would do what he wanted regardless of her wishes. She ground her teeth as the Demon removed his hands.