It's been thousands of years since Raum's angelic wings turned from white to black, and the Destroyer of Dignities and Robber of Kings never looked back. These days he's also on the outs with Hell and works with a motley crew of ex-demons on a new mission: snuffing out lesser demons and their half-human progeny.
Raum's latest assignment brings him to a small Vermont town--and a sweet, funny half-demon, half-human he'll risk everything to save. Ember Riddick stirs him as no woman ever before--and she holds the key to what Lucifer will move Hell and Earth to prevent: his team's redemption.
But Ember's secrets are as dark as Raum's midnight wings. And their fate may leave them entwined...but destroyed....
If darkness had a voice, Ember Riddick thought, his would be it.
"Excuse me, miss...I was told that if I wanted cologne, you were the woman to see?"
Her hand stilled in midair. She'd been diligently restocking essential oils--and truth be told, zoning out--and her back was to whoever had just blown in with the crisp fall air. The owner of that dark, delicious, decadent voice.
Her stomach sank as awareness prickled over her skin, responding to the new electricity in the air that she'd sensed the moment the little silver bell had rung above the door.
Had to be today, she thought. In the year since she'd come to this quaint, upscale little town in Vermont, there had been no slipups, no accidents. She'd made sure of it, even when her nerves felt worn nearly to their breaking point. Like today. Ember closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, trying to concentrate on the soothing scents of vanilla and lavender rising from the candles she'd lit.
Didn't work. Then she laid eyes on him.
She would have run, if she could have moved.
"You were told right," she heard Ginni say, her voice taking on the honeyed tones it only did when she was in the presence of someone interesting of the male persuasion. "What exactly were you looking for?"
"I'm looking for something...unusual," the stranger replied, his deep and smoky voice sending a delicious shiver from the top of Ember's head to the very tips of her toes. Ginni's answering giggle, on the other hand, had her curling her lip, though she fought it. To push it back, she had no choice but to refocus on him.
The pagan god of Lust, come to finish her off completely.
Ember shivered again, and not from the chill air that had wafted in from the open door. Her eyes roamed over a man who should, by rights, be way too beautiful to exist in real life. He was dark as sin itself, with curly raven hair worn long enough for it to coil loosely around his face. His features, in profile, were sharp, almost hawkish, though they were softened just a little by a full, expressive mouth that still looked disinclined to smile.
He wore only black, she noticed: jeans, boots, T-shirt, leather jacket.
A bad boy. He would have to be, Ember thought ruefully. And the severe color showcased his vampiric beauty perfectly.
Her nails began to bite into her palms, and she realized she'd clenched her fists. She also realized that those nails had suddenly become awfully sharp. Ember forced them open, alarm rising almost as quickly as the strange fire in her blood. Sure enough, there were angry red crescents where her nails had been, though even as she watched, they began to disappear.
If normal men healed as quickly, her life would have been a whole lot less lonely.
"You're Ember Riddick, then? The owner?" the stranger asked, his gaze still fixed on Ginni, who looked pretty close to overheating herself. Though Ember kind of doubted her employee would sprout fangs and claws no matter how lust-fuzzed her brain got.
Unlike some people.
The sound of her name on his lips had her licking her own. Ember found herself stepping forward before she could think too hard about what she was doing. Then he turned to look at her, and she had no choice but to follow through with what was no doubt one of her patented Extremely Bad Ideas. She was normal, she told herself. I can do this. It echoed in her head, her mantra.
I'm normal. Normal, normal, normal...
This was her place now, and her shop, damn it. She might be weird, possibly even possessed, but she...