eBook Details

Demon Bait

Series: Children of the Undying , Book 1.0
By: Moira Rogers | Other books by Moira Rogers
Published By: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Published: Nov 29, 2011
ISBN # 9781609285548
Word Count: 29,326
Heat Index    
EligiblePrice: $3.50

Available in: Adobe Acrobat, HTML, Mobipocket (.mobi), Rocket, Epub

Categories: Romance>Fantasy

Description
His mark could bind her forever—or finally set her free.

Children of the Undying, Book 1

Fifty years after a demon apocalypse devastated the world, summoners still bear the bulk of the blame. Marci lives in secret, hiding the gifts that could cost her a secure spot in one of humanity’s underground cities, and access to their virtual world. After all, her chances of avoiding the genetic-testing lotto are better than her chances of surviving topside.

The bastard son of a terrifying incubus, lust heats Gabe’s blood and sex fuels his magic. Innate charm and charisma help him navigate the cultural gap between the outcast town he calls home and the human settlements he infiltrates for trade. His latest mission nets him an unexpected asset—a summoner strong enough to soothe his darkest needs.

Trust a half demon, especially one who uses a lockdown to trap them together? Not in this lifetime. Yet Marci can’t resist Gabe’s offer to see her safely to a selective outcast settlement where she can live without fear. The journey alone is as dangerous as the way Gabe makes her heart race, but it could be her one hope of a real life.

If only she could be sure Gabe’s telling her the whole truth…

Warning: Contains a virtual world where humans flee to escape the demon-infested earth, a dangerously seductive half demon with sex magic to burn and a network-hacking summoner brave enough to make herself vulnerable to him.
 
Reader Rating:  starstarstarstar (2 Ratings)
Sensuality Rating:   lipliplip
Excerpt:
Copyright © 2011 Moira Rogers
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Chapter One

“Did you hear that Lee came up in the last lottery?”

Marci hesitated in her typing and turned her head just a little toward Asha’s soft whisper. The woman knew every rumor that floated through the network, no matter how large or small, but she only passed on the ones she’d been able to confirm. “He’s fine, right?”

“Nothing was uncovered in the research phase, but he still has to take a blood test.” Asha’s fingers never stopped their dance across her keyboard. “Some of the techs are getting nervous. That’s ten of us this month.”

“Ten techs doesn’t mean anything,” Marci said quickly. “It could be a coincidence.” Except nothing ever was, not when it came to the city heads’ determination to cull danger from their midst.

“People are talking.” One of the mill supervisors appeared on the other side of the room, and Asha’s voice dropped again. “Like maybe the trouble with the ADS grid is related.”

It had been tetchy lately, with several close calls and even one system failure, though it lasted a matter of seconds before they managed to bring it back on line. “Keeping the anti-demon signal operational is the most important part of network maintenance. If they thought someone was sabotaging it, they’d launch an investigation, not mess around with the lotteries.”

“Good point.” A rueful smile curved the other woman’s lips. “That was the most reasonable rumor. Some guy tried to tell me last night he had proof they’re using the blood tests to install brainwashing hacks on our chips.”

“At least we won’t know the diff—” Marci’s words cut off with a single indrawn breath. A man had come in with the supervisor, one with dark hair and piercingly blue eyes. She tried to drop her gaze, look away, but she couldn’t.

Asha followed her stare and nearly whistled. “Wow. Those are some eyes.”

Some everything. “I’ve never seen him before.”

“You think he’s from the city center? We’re not due an inspection, are we?”

“I don’t know.” All the committee flunkies Marci had encountered had been suits. This guy was dressed in rough leather and homespun fabrics, with a knife strapped to one hip and a gun on the other.

He looked like an outcast.

Asha resumed typing, then frowned. “No arrivals from Nicollet today. Not on the schedule, anyway.”

Where was he from? The closest settlement was a place called Rochester. Quiet, with a policy of open acceptance but a reputation for a strict code of conduct. She’d done her share of research and carefully considered Rochester as a possible place to settle, should she be forced to leave Nicollet.

The supervisor stopped near the row of servers that powered Gold Mills’ network and waved a hand toward the windows overlooking the main floor. Though the stranger nodded and appeared to be listening, he kept looking away, studying each of the seven workers in the control room.

He reached Asha, but watched her only for a moment before drifting away. Most men stared at Asha, with her dusky skin and effortless beauty. But when the newcomer looked toward them again, his gaze locked on Marci instead.

And stayed there.

The supervisor continued to speak in low tones. After a moment, he tracked the man’s intense stare to Marci and flashed the man a faint frown of confusion that left her bristling. She was used to being casually considered and dismissed, but the bewilderment pissed her off. She might be plain, damn it, but she wasn’t hideous.

The stranger’s blue eyes stayed fixed on hers for another few seconds, then he abruptly turned away.

Asha leaned in close. “He’s checking you out. Hard.”

He was, no denying that. The question was why. “Maybe I remind him of someone.”

“Maybe. Or maybe he—”

The lights flickered.

Marci clenched her hands around the edge of the desk until the power stabilized. The building was secure, fortified against any and all unauthorized access. Unfortunately, that meant no ambient light filtered in from outside. A power failure would plunge them into utter darkness.

Christian, another of the technicians, spoke from across the network control area. “I’ve got an alert in sector sixteen-B. Infrastructure failure.”

“Hell.” Asha settled into her seat again and reached for her glasses. “I’m going in to do a diagnostic.”

“No, wait—” Marci grabbed her arm. Silly. Stupid, even—nothing could hurt you, not in the network. “Just…wait for the automated—”

Before she could finish, the spinning red lights above the doors activated, along with the blare of sirens. Lockdown in fifteen minutes, which could only mean—

“We’ve lost ADS,” Christian shouted. “The entire regional grid’s down.”

Asha’s fingers tightened on her VR glasses. “Go, Marci. I’ll be okay.”

As senior tech, Christian had to stay, and it was the other woman’s week to pull emergency call as his backup. “I don’t like it,” Marci muttered. “The whole grid? You two can’t fix that. You should be underground with everyone else. Let the city programmers handle it.”

“We can get our backup ADS running, at least.” Asha gave her one last look and slipped on her glasses. “Fourteen minutes, Marcelle. Go.”

Everyone else had already stampeded for the door, desperate to get to their loved ones before the sirens fell silent. Marci grabbed her bag, ducked out into the hall and ran full-force into a broad chest. “Sorry, excuse—”

It was the outcast, the one with the beautiful eyes.

“The ADS is down.” It wasn’t a question. His hands closed around her arms, firm but not painful. “Where are you going?”

It was stupid to answer, stupid and dangerous. “It’s a lockdown. We’re supposed to grab emergency supplies and head to our quarters.”

He blinked at her once, then nodded. “Which way?”

He said it so matter-of-factly that it took her a moment to stammer out a protest. “No. No, you can’t come with me.”

“No anti-demon signal,” he said roughly. “You shouldn’t be unprotected.”

Marci started walking. If she didn’t hurry, she’d be stuck in the endless, serpentine corridors with the crazy man, no matter what. “I won’t be unprotected. I live underground.”

One of the steel workers rushed past them, slamming into the stranger’s shoulder hard enough to push him back a step. He regained his balance, but his expression had changed. Worry—maybe a hint of fear. “I don’t have anywhere to go.”

Damn it, of course he didn’t. And if he was an outcast, he would be used to being shoved aside, no matter what. “Come on, I know a place. We’ll get you some supplies too.”

Relief suffused his features. “Thank you.”

He had a tiny scar on his left cheek, and Marci wasted precious seconds staring at it. “This way.”

It had taken her a while after her arrival at Gold Mills to memorize the route from the control hub to her quarters. It was a long walk, almost a mile, and by the time they made it to the supply station closest to her wing, the loudspeaker announced only four minutes left until full lockdown.

Marci panted for breath. “Water and rations. We’re supposed to grab enough for three days.”

Extra bags lined one wall. He took down two in silence, handed her one, and began to fill the other. “Looks like a lot of people have been through here already.”

“We don’t have much time.”

“How secure is the lockdown?”

Right now, Marci wished she’d paid more attention to the minute security details. “Everything underground should be sealed off completely. If any demons get past the locks, it’ll mean a total breach.”

The corner of his mouth twitched, as if he took wry amusement from her words. He shoved another bottle of water into the bag, looped the strap over his neck and helped her. “And it lasts three days?”

“Up to.” She let him finish loading her bag because he moved so efficiently, as if he was used to doing this sort of thing every day. “It gives the city time to mobilize defense forces.”

“Mmm.” He slipped the supply bag’s strap over his neck and reached for her shoulder bag. “I can move faster carrying it. We’ve only got a couple minutes left.”

She relinquished it. “There’s a lounge area not far from my place. I’ll take you there first.”

Less than two minutes remained, and a computerized voice began to count down the passage of every fifteen seconds. Marci hurried faster. The stranger kept up, even carrying three bags, and they reached the lounge with a minute to spare.

She didn’t have time for pleasantries, so she snatched one bag and shoved him into the room. “Stay clear of the outer doors. Network connections should still work. I’ll—”

His hands closed on her arms and dragged her inside. “I know what you are.”

He’d grabbed her before, and she’d been oddly calm. Panic surged this time, and not just at his unshakable grip. “Let go of me.”

“I’m sorry.” He took a step back, pulling her with him—deeper into the lounge and away from the door. “You’ve got summoner blood. With the ADS down, you’ll call to them.”

Her secret, the one thing her mother had tried so damn hard to hide, laid bare. “Who are you?”

The voice announced thirty seconds left. His hand slid to her stomach, holding her body tight against his chest. “I’m someone who can keep you safe from demons.”

Marci tightened one hand around the strap of the bag. She’d never make it to her own quarters, not now, but she’d be all right in the hallway. With her supplies, she could survive.

She tensed for a fight, drew back and kicked him hard in the shin.

A curse escaped him. One knee bent, like he hadn’t expected her to fight back, but his grip didn’t waver. “Damn it, woman, I’m not going to hurt you.”

Like he’d tell her if he was. A completely inappropriate laugh bubbled up. “And you might be crazy, but you’re not a liar, right?”

“Oh, I lie all the time.” It seemed like an easy admission. “But I’m not lying when I tell you I could make you stop fighting. I could lean on you and make you think the sky’s pink, honey. Someday I want you to remember that I didn’t.”

“I—” The heavy door to the hallway slammed shut with an odd, echoing clang, leaving her alone, maybe for days, with a man who’d just threatened her. A man who claimed not only to recognize what she was, but to be able to protect her, even from a demon onslaught.`
Reader Reviews (1)
Submitted By: KRomanceLover on Dec 1, 2011
I love this world. I absolutely LOVE it! The VR concept is fresh and exciting. The hero is to die for. Very yummy! The relationship worries me however. I didn't believe that the heroine loved him. I wanted to see a bigger commitment from her. Lord knows if I had a guy like that, I'd make a commitment! Can't wait to read more, especially Zel's story.
 

Demon Bait

By: Moira Rogers
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