Friday, February 05, 2010

Last Call Europe: Devil's Advocate by Belinda McBride

Tiger shifters Mya and David have a problem. Every time Mya gets aroused, it wakens a beast within her that threatens to overpower her tiger. Unable to consummate their marriage with a proper mating, they turn in desperation to the Last Call, looking for a demon to undo the curse that afflicts her.

Jedidiah Wormwood Worth is a powerful demon and at the top of his field. He's not only a devious trickster who will rob you of your soul, he's also a successful attorney for the underworld -- the real underworld. When he sees the straitlaced shifters at the Specialty Bar, he knows that they'll be his. What he doesn't realize is that by the time the night ends, his heart will belong to them.

Devil's Advocate: Sex for a service, damnation not included.
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Mya sat breathing deeply, gathering her tattered control. The moment her body reacted to his, David could literally see the animal struggling behind her eyes. All her life she'd developed a finely controlled mastery over her birth animal, but this new creature simply wasn't hers. It was angry and vile. It wanted blood and pain. When David's hand brushed hers, she jerked away. He swallowed back the hurt and rejection.

"Baby, look at this..." He glanced down at the abandoned specialty menu, frowning at the fine print. "I never noticed this before."

The section on the menu read Demons and Angels. She read the entry that he'd pointed out.

"Devil's Advocate. Sex for a service, damnation not included."

Their gazes met.

"That wasn't there before. I'd have noticed it."

The feral gleam was fading from her eyes. That was good, but she needed to be distracted.

"This could be exactly what we need." She looked hopeful.

David's heart ached for his wife. Meeting and bonding the way they had was nothing less than a miracle. Their kind was slowly growing extinct. Tiger shifters rarely bonded, and almost never mated. They generally came together, bred and parted. David's parents had been an exception. When his father had returned to the UK, his mother had followed, unwilling to break up the family.

He'd been through his share of lovers, but when he'd spotted Mya in the dimly lit gallery of the museum, he'd known that she was his mate.

To sweeten the bond, they'd fallen head over heels for each other. They'd married quickly, before realizing that the family curse would kick in the first time they attempted to have sex.

"Are you ready?" He reached into his pocket, fingering the previously unused credit card. This night at Last Call would inevitably cost dearly, but David knew in his heart that it would take much more than a mere witch to unravel this convoluted curse. They needed someone who could cut through the red tape. If it saved their marriage, it would be worth every penny and every percentage point of interest that accrued.

She drew a deep breath and looked directly at him. Until this moment, David hadn't considered how it would feel, watching his wife with another man. They hadn't deluded themselves; the service they were offering was sex. The service they required was negotiation. They needed someone to speak on their behalf on the other side of the veil. As far as they knew, Mya's beast reacted only to David.

Even as possessive jealousy coursed through his system, his cock grew hard again. He was used to it by now. Even masturbation brought her beast to the fore, so David had learned to wrestle down his sexuality. For Mya, he'd do it forever, but at some point his beast would demand her submission. That would lead to disaster.

"What if..." She swallowed. He fixated on the slender column of her throat. The pulse beat there like a butterfly trapped under her translucent skin. "What if the demon wants you?"

He'd already considered that. Prior to meeting Mya, David had taken lovers of both sexes. "We are offering the service, Mya. You know my past. I'm willing to offer my body, if that's what it takes." Looking at her, he doubted that would be necessary. A demon would be delighted with Mya. Her fair appearance spoke of innocence and purity. Thankfully, David knew she had backbone, as well as a healthy sexual appetite. That was an integral part of their nature.

Still, you never knew what a demon might want.

Forcing a smile, David rose and took her slender hand in his, admiring her grace. Her blonde hair waved gently to her shoulders like a shimmering length of silk. The color was the palest gold that hair could be without becoming silver. Woven through the light blonde were streaks of soft copper. The effect was stunning.

Her feline eyes were light blue, edged by darker blue at the outside of the iris. With her long, elegant limbs and willowy body, she sometimes seemed more fae than the real thing. She squeezed his hand in hers, and this time David was the one to take a deep, calming breath.

They skirted the edge of the dance floor, finally reaching the specialty bar. The blonde cat shifter smiled, her eyes flicking from one to the other, lingering on David. He sensed, rather than heard, Mya's soft growl of jealousy.

"What can I get for you tonight?"

David set the menu on the bar and pointed to the title of the drink.

"A Devil's Advocate?" She looked them over but held the comment that he could see lingering on her tongue. "Two?"

"Yes. Please." Mya's voice was unsteady, but brooked no argument. The bartender shrugged her shoulders and turned away, assembling the drinks. When she set the glasses in front of them, David slid the credit card in her direction. She waited a moment, giving him time to change his mind.

He didn't.

Palming the card, she spoke into the headset she wore. "Last Call for the couple at the bar. They've ordered Devil's Advocates tonight."

The announcement came over the sound system, and for a second, the entire bar went still. His cheeks went warm with the knowledge that all eyes were on them.

"That's a pretty tall order. A Devil's Advocate isn't just for fun and games." The red-haired head of security slid onto a stool next to his. She glanced from David to Mya. His hackles rose slightly; he caught a slight damp earth scent on the woman.

"We aren't here for fun." He picked up the glass, which was almost painfully cold. Turning away from the vampire, he gave a slight smile to Mya.

"Cheers." She tipped her glass against his, and they drank.

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