Leora knew he was here before she ever saw him. It was always the same, the tingle, the electric sizzle that indicated his arrival intensified. “I know you’re here.” Leora fought the urge to wrap her arms around herself and glance over her shoulder. Instead, she put her hands on her hips and straightened up. The echo of her designer stilettos tapping on the worn wood floor let out a much deeper and richer tone than her normal work pumps, but he would notice the difference.
She closed her eyes and inhaled. The change in the air was palpable. Damn him to Hell for making her wait yet another two years. She shook her head. He was already in Hell. She would have to damn him somewhere else.
Every minute he wasn’t here with her was one less minute she would have. She opened her eyes, glancing at her watch and the window. The sky was black. She returned her hand to her hip, not able to watch the seconds count down.
“If you knew I was here, then why are you looking at the time?” His voice surrounded her as it did the first time she heard it. As a six-year-old, she would have called his tone strong. At twelve, it was healing. By the time she was sixteen, she would have called it sexy. Today, his voice was heated as it coiled around her, squeezing her, making it hard to breathe.
“I’m bound to you.” His voice came closer, his footsteps echoed on the stairs. “How could you doubt me after all the torture I’ve gone through at your hands?”
Doubt. She wasn’t certain doubt was the right word. More like anticipation. But always there was the nagging worry that he wouldn’t show. She supposed her disbelief was her punishment for having expectations. “No, you’ve never broken a promise to me. Not that I would allow it.” Once she gained her composure, was able to slow down her heart just a bit, she turned.
Dolan never changed. Her whole body froze, reacting to his presence and allowing herself the time to take him in, though she knew every one of his features by heart.
Until she got older, she didn’t realize how evil exuded from him. Different than monsters or devils, his evil was shrouded in dirty blond hair that grazed his shoulders, a face both masculine and beautiful, and one naughty dimple on the left side of his smile. No one who saw him would ever suspect who or what they had encountered.
Only his copper eyes revealed he was something other than human.
By the time she was a pre-teen, she knew enough to realize his body was sinful. His tall frame filled out his clothes, allowing her to assess every muscle, ridge and bulge. Tonight, he stayed true to his classic fit and style choices in a pair of black jeans and a matching button-down shirt. The only addition to his repertoire was her grandfather’s ring, something he still wore on the fourth finger of his left hand, as if to mock her.
He tilted his head and tossed his sunglasses aside. “Are you ready?”
“I was ready last time, and have nothing to show for it. I suppose I should be the one asking you that question.” She stepped forward, stopping less than a foot away from him. The back of her throat dried out, and she swallowed. “Am I finally worthy of a demon or do I end up with another limp dick?” Yes, she went for the jugular, if he had one.
“Why don’t you open your eyes?” he hissed.
A quick glance down put a swirl in her stomach. The bulge in his jeans crept down his legs. She trembled, but at the same time her mouth watered. She moved closer, step-by-step. “I suppose I get what I want after all.”
As she reached out to touch him, he caught her wrist, holding her hand above her head. “I’m giving you exactly one chance.”
“For what?” In utter defiance of him, she lifted her chin.
“To release me, to save you, to save me.” His tone lowered.
“I don’t need saving,” she countered. “For better or for worse, I will never allow you to break your promise to me.”
He opened his mouth.
She put her fingers over his lips. “You said one chance. I’m not taking it.”
“All this time I have spared you.” He pulled her closer. “Never forget that.”
She stared right into his eyes. No weakness was allowed tonight. “It’s me, Dolan. Me, or you can be celibate until the decade I do you the favor of dying. I don’t care about your pain.” She tensed, preparing for his retaliation.
“I thought I taught you better than to make demands of a demon.” He pressed his palm to the side of her face.
Heat radiated through her body, sending a warning to every one of her nerve endings. “A demon who comforts a child is a failure of a demon in my book.”
His jaw tightened. “That was a mistake. An oversight.”
“You came back.” Her heart rate increased, but she stayed her ground, pushing until she got her desired end.
“You made me promise.”
“Who says a demon keeps a promise? Aren’t you supposed to lure unsuspecting woman into your depraved traps? Why would you keep a promise to a mistake?”
“Because I’m forced to.” He never took his eyes off her and moved his hand down her cheek to her neck. “Maybe the biggest mistake I made was not realizing how unsuspecting you are.” His hand traveled to her chin where he rested his thumb on her lower lip. “You only want what you want, and you don’t even know what that is.”
“My wants are the only reality there is. I have the power.” Fire flashed in his eyes as she practically quoted him. His finger moved with her lip.
“Fine, you will at last get what you want. Your reality tonight will be to see what a real demon can do.” He pressed his thumb down and smeared her lipstick down her chin.
She pushed herself into him. “Promise?”