Sunday, February 22, 2009

After Hours 1: Tequila Sunset by Moira Rogers

After Hours 1: Tequila Sunset
by Moira Rogers
cover art by Bryan Keller
ISBN (13): 978-1-60521-109-1
Genre(s): Paranormal, Dark Fantasy, BDSM
Theme(s): Werewolves
Series: After Hours
Length: Novella


Detective and werewolf Zack Elliott visits Last Call to satisfy his need to dominate, but it doesn’t satisfy his unrequited love for a woman he can’t have. Still, he’s managed to keep his desire for her under control… until a chance encounter in their apartment building sends him back to the bar for relief.

Iris has spent the last two decades living a strict life of self-denial as New York City’s only demon social worker. She lives in fear of the power inside her, and the dark needs that tempted her down a dangerous road before. But love and need are leading her down that path again, and her only hope is to give in to the man she loves and trust that he’s strong enough to keep her safe from the darkness inside.


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Zack gritted his teeth, finished off his second whiskey, and glared at his companion, barely managing to feign polite interest. “So then what did you do?”
For a seventeen-hundred-year-old demon, Leo looked alarmingly whipped. “I introduced her to the damn demon. It was that, or get kicked out of my own bed.”
At least he wasn’t the only powerful man around who’d been brought to his knees by a human woman. “You realize how ridiculous that sounds, don’t you?”
“Yes.” Leo dragged his fingers through his blond, disheveled hair and sighed. “Fuck. If you tell anyone, I’m going to have to kill you.”
Zack wished he had another drink. He wished he hadn’t run into Leofric. He wished someone would order a damned Tequila Sunrise already, so he could go upstairs and forget the fact that he was still sleeping alone.
Instead, he sighed. “So, your sweet little girlfriend had a vision about some demon’s eternal damnation, and this was alarming to her? You’ve got her snowed, Leo.”
“Normally I’d agree, but Ianthe’s different. She’s…” For a second, Zack thought he saw regret in Leo’s eyes, but it was gone too fast to tell. “Shit, she makes me look like the poster boy of evil. I’m talking soup kitchens and feeding the homeless and who knows what else. If there were a back door out of the demon gig, she’d have taken it two hundred years ago.”
Something about the look on Leo’s face made Zack arch an eyebrow. “You introduced your new flame to an old one? You’re either brave or stupid, man.”
Leo blinked. “What? Oh, fuck no. No, I wouldn’t have fucked Ianthe for money back when she was the dark Queen of the Night, and she won’t do anyone now that she’s all sweet and good.” That obnoxious, irrepressible grin returned, the cocky one that had been tinged with far too much satisfaction since Leo had met Caitlin. “Trust me. I tried. For like, four decades.”
And he wouldn’t have bothered if she’d just put out. “Charming. No means no, Leo.”
“Fuck you, man. I know what no means.” The cell phone on the table in front of him went off, the vibrations making it dance across the table. Leo snatched it up and flipped it open, then grinned. “Cait’s on her way.”
The knot of misery in Zack’s gut twisted tighter. Leo looked happy, and he felt like an ass for wanting to run like hell before Caitlin’s arrival. Buck up, Elliott. You’re an ass, and you deserve to have to watch them make googly eyes at each other.
He should have remembered that the man seated next to him could sense the darkest desires of those around him more easily than breathing. Leo’s green eyes looked almost sympathetic as he shifted and reached into his back pocket. “It’s getting bad, isn’t it?”
Self-denial made him grumpy. “Stay out of my head.”
Leo flipped a credit card onto the table. “Man, I’m not even in your damn head. Every demon within ten feet of you knows what you need. And that could get awkward when Cait shows up with Ianthe, considering her past.”
Zack turned his attention to the bar in the middle of the room. “You want me gone before they get here.”
“You want to be gone before they get here,” Leo countered. “Even I can tell that much. But hey, you could stick around and hit on the reformed demon. Back in the eighteenth century you would have been just her type.”
“No, thanks.” Even if a demon could offer the sort of submission he sought, it would be tied up in complicated power struggles and manipulation. He reached over and nudged Leo’s credit card across the table. “I can buy my own drinks, though. It’ll be worth it not to have to watch you be schmoopy with your girlfriend.”
Leo flashed him a grin. “Go on, Elliot. Order your damn drink. I’ll catch you next time you come through.”
“Yeah, sure.” Zack rose, determined to get the hell upstairs before Caitlin showed up with anyone who might want to hit on him.
Surprisingly, he wasn’t in the mood to play nice.

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