Monday, December 08, 2008

Demon's Bargain by Amanda Steiger

Demon's Bargain
by Amanda Steiger
cover art by Karen Fox
ISBN (13): 978-1-60521-111-4
Genre(s): Paranormal, Daemonum
Theme(s): Elves, Dragons & Magical Creatures, The Dark Side
Length: Novella


Ella is desperate. A vicious dragon stalks her people, killing and devouring. The only man strong enough to defeat it is Vaz, the half-demon outcast -- banished long ago for his tainted blood.
Ella has always been told that demons are cruel and dangerous, but she swallows her fear, journeys alone to Vaz’s castle, and asks him to save her people. He agrees on one condition: that she spends a night in his bed.
The demon’s huge, powerful form and penetrating ruby eyes send tremors of unexpected desire through Ella’s body. Despite her trepidation, she agrees to his bargain, and soon learns just how potent a demon’s touch can be.


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A human approached his castle from the east. Vaz felt the light of its soul, a small, fragile spark in the darkness. Opening his eyes, he rose from his chair. A fire crackled in the hearth, but did little to illuminate the vast, stone hall. Neither the dark nor the cold bothered him. He was accustomed to both.
It had been some time since he’d seen another person. Most humans feared him and gave his castle a wide berth. Who was this lone traveler approaching his home?
Vaz reached out with his mind. His thoughts swept outward, like a vast web of invisible tendrils, touching everything within a mile of his castle. He felt the mind of a sea-hawk as it wheeled over the foamy, gray water, its keen eyes searching for the silver flash of a fish. Looking through the hawk’s eyes, he scanned the shore.
Vaz saw a small, human form, walking near the water’s edge, head bent against the wind. Young and female. He sampled her mind as his consciousness flowed into her, tasting fear and determination. Vaz felt the chill of wet clothes against her skin, the hunger gnawing her belly, the ache of fatigue in her muscles. He looked through her eyes and saw his own castle, dark against the gray sky.
Vaz withdrew back into his own mind and stood, thinking.
For nearly twenty years, he had lived here alone, feeling nothing save the old ache of bitterness and the empty indifference growing like a cancer in his soul. Now, he felt a rare flicker of curiosity, like a tiny candle flame in the dark catacombs of his heart.
Who was she, this girl?

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