Sunday, March 06, 2011

Demon of Convenience by Cynthia Sax

Demon of Convenience
by Cynthia Sax
Cover art: Bryan Keller
ISBN: 978-1-60521-536-5
Genre(s): Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Theme(s): Magic and Mayhem, Elves, Dragons & Magical Creatures
Series: Demon Chronicles
Length: Novella


Mina has to bond with a demon. In return for his permanent protection, she will offer him unlimited power. When she asks her best friend for help, Taurinus -- a deadly assassin -- arrives instead.
Mina is horrified by the last minute substitution, but she is running out of time and has no other choice. She resigns herself to a passionless bonding of convenience… until one kiss changes everything.
Demon of Convenience
Cynthia Sax
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2011 Cynthia Sax

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Papers rustled behind her, and Mina stiffened. She was being followed. She'd felt the presence since she left the museum. She pivoted swiftly on her heels, scanning her surroundings. The street was dark and deserted, the streetlights flickering like candles in the wind. Shadows stretching across the pavement created convenient hiding places. Although she didn't see him, she knew he was there.
There were five blocks to cover until she reached her apartment building. She turned and walked with purpose, her boots clipping on the sidewalk. Yesterday, she had called for Augustine. When her friend arrived, they'd bond. He'd have the rare vessel he searched for, rendering him nearly invincible. She'd have his protection. All she had to do was survive until he arrived.
The sense of being watched intensified until she fancied she felt his cool breath on the back of her neck. There was no waiting for Augustine. Time had run out. Mina pulled a gun out of her purse. He was behind her. She spun around, aimed, and --
The gun was twisted out of her hands, and the unused clip released. It clinked on the asphalt. "A Glock, little one?" Glacial blue eyes warmed with amusement. "How do you plan to stop an ice demon with a Glock?"
Taurinus was here. She was safe. Tension eased from her shoulders. Taur might be an ice demon, a cold-blooded assassin, and an all around bad being, but he'd never hurt her, not unless someone paid him to.
She tilted her head back as she studied his impassive face. His hair was snow white, and his skin was paler than a vampire's. He was handsome and deadly and disruptive to her composure. "Do I need to stop you?" He stood close to her. Although he radiated cold, Mina felt a wave of exciting heat cascade over her. "Are you on a job, Taur?"
His lips twisted, and his eyes iced over. "Augustine said you needed protecting."
It took her a moment to understand the implication. "He's not coming." It was her fault. If she'd mentioned who or what she was, he would have rushed to her side, but she hadn't been brave enough to even whisper that damning word, fearing the unwanted attention of other demons.
"No, he's not. He's busy," was Taur's weak explanation. He nonchalantly stuck her emptied gun in the inside pocket of his long coat. There was the tinkle of metal on metal. Augustine's friend collected weapons. Mina didn't know why he wanted hers. It was a common Glock. "I am here instead."
"To take his place." To bond with Taur would be like chaining herself to a block of ice, a controlling block of ice. A trickle of moisture dripped down her spine. Did she have a choice? It was either bond with Taur or with a complete stranger.
"Yes." He crossed his massive arms, looking even more unapproachable than he usually did.
Taur didn't know what he had signed up for. His entire world would change with this assignment. "I have to think about this." She couldn't make such a decision immediately. Mina turned and walked away, heading home.
Taur trailed after her. She couldn't hear him. For a large demon, he was as silent as a cat shifter. He had no scent and he slipped through the darkness like a phantom. The only reason she knew he was close was because she felt it in the depths of her being. It was as though he stamped his possession all over her consciousness.
Augustine would want to control her powers and that was all. He didn't want her physically or emotionally. He wouldn't be jealous, and once the awkward initial bonding was completed, he'd allow her to find sexual release elsewhere. Their relationship would be open with no strings attached.
It wouldn't be that way with Taur, Mina knew. She was the ultimate weapon and he wouldn't be able to resist adding her to his arsenal. Then, he would own her. He wouldn't allow another being to touch her. She would never be desired. Mina traced the outline of the pendant hidden underneath her cotton blouse. She would never be loved.
"Why are four demons tracking you?" Taur's hand brushed over her lower back. She felt his touch down to her toes.
"They want to fuck me." She was deliberately blunt.
He snorted. "Right." His sarcasm cut her.
"Look." She turned. Her nose smacked into his chest. That was how close he was following her. She breathed in. She was wrong about him having no scent. He smelled of crisp spearmint and hard man. "You may not find me attractive but others do."
She stepped away from him. His arms strapped around her waist, pulling her back. "Who says I don't find you attractive?" They stared at each other. Mina saw the hairline cracks in his ironclad control. They both frightened and aroused her.

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