The Hellish clan had been fighting demons for as long as Dougal could remember. They rushed in anytime a pack grew out of control, threatening the exposure of their world. His clan was the line between good and evil. If they sat back and did nothing, there’d be nothing left of the world humans knew. Demons were the equivalent of a zombie apocalypse. They’d multiply and spread out of control, possessing the bodies and killing the souls of every available human they could find until there was nothing but rotting meat left behind. Demons served no purpose beyond spreading evil.
The irony wasn’t lost on Dougal that he now depended on the very thing he’d sworn to destroy to feed the sickness growing inside him. The cramping in Dougal’s stomach got worse every day. Neither blood nor food eased him. Dougal stared at his reflection in the bathroom mirror of the home he now shared with his captor. He looked the same. Even with the steam from his shower distorting the image of his nude body, Dougal could tell—physically—being with Lire hadn’t changed him. It was his insides that were a mess. The temptation to claw at his skin like the worst sort of drug addict was a real thing living inside him. He shook to the point of giving himself motion sickness. Dougal worried he’d develop some sort of fucked up eye tick at any second. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d fed. Every time Lire touched him, Dougal’s fangs grew. He wanted to sink them into Lire’s neck and draw the demon’s acidic blood inside him. Dougal didn’t care it would probably kill him. There was no sense or logic to his current circumstances. This wasn’t a love affair. Dougal hadn’t moved to New Orleans and shacked up with a demon because he couldn’t resist the man’s charms. Except Dougal couldn’t resist Lire.
He’d known trading his life for his prince’s life wouldn’t mean happy days were ahead. Dougal had thought it would mean his death. Not this. Never this. Lire didn’t keep him prisoner. Dougal was free to dissipate at any time and go back to his clan. Except Dougal would never be free again and it had nothing to do with having given his word. His word was everything, but Dougal couldn’t stare at his reflection and lie to himself. Lire was a lilin demon. No one—human or otherwise—could endure Lire’s touch as many times or as often as Dougal had without becoming half insane with the need to have it every second of every day. That was what sex demons did. They fed and fed from their victims until there was nothing left of the person’s mind.
Dougal swallowed. Sandpaper lived in his throat. No matter how much he drank, the thirst never left. He knew he needed to feed. Lire had tried forcing him. He’d brought women in from the streets, demanding Dougal take their blood. No men had been offered. Lire had made no secret Dougal would die if he touched another of those. He belonged to Lire now. No matter how many humans Lire dragged before Dougal, Dougal couldn’t do it. The only heartbeat he heard was Lire’s. The only blood he smelled was from the demon who owned him. Even its corrosion didn’t deter Dougal from his need to taste it. He was sick. Like a pica-stricken human craving the taste of bleach, he needed Lire’s blood in his mouth.
When Lire’s image appeared in the mirror at Dougal’s back, Dougal wondered for a moment if his mind had finally snapped. It was like his gut-wrenching cravings had conjured Lire from thin air. He clung to the edge of the bathroom counter, scared to move or breathe. Dougal was a junkie—frightened his dealer wouldn’t put out.
“So lovely,” Lire said, brushing his fingers down Dougal’s spine. The sound of Lire’s voice hardened Dougal’s cock. His eyelids weighed a ton, falling closed beneath Lire’s touch. It didn’t last long. He couldn’t stand not being able to see Lire. The man’s brown hair hung over one shoulder and called for Dougal’s fingers to brush it aside. But it was Lire’s sexy eyes that always captured and held Dougal’s focus. They were copper with a hint of unnatural light. Dougal’s gaze latched on to the reflection of them in the mirror. Lire stared back every bit as intently. As he looked on, the demon’s eyes turned amethyst.
Lire took a step forward. His chest collided with Dougal’s back. Even with Lire wearing a shirt, Dougal could feel the press of the man’s nipple piercing against his skin. His dick leaked. Pre-cum rolled down his length. Despite his over-parched state, saliva filled Dougal’s mouth. Lire’s skin was like fire, scorching Dougal.
“I can smell your lust,” Lire said, kissing Dougal’s shoulder. “Tell me all your dirty fantasies. I can give you anything.”
He could. Dougal would know. There was nothing Lire hadn’t done to Dougal’s body in the past few months. Dougal had begged for all of it. He didn’t doubt for a moment that he would plead for Lire’s touch again today.
“You’re wearing my favorite outfit,” Lire said as his hands smoothed down Dougal’s bare sides and came to rest on his hips. With every word Lire spoke, he let his lips lightly brush Dougal’s skin. Dougal didn’t doubt the move was contrived. The goosebumps on Dougal’s skin didn’t give a fuck how practiced Lire’s moves were. “It’s almost like you were standing here waiting for me.”
Perhaps he had been. Dougal no longer knew. Lire’s hands on his body ruled his mind. “Please?” There it was. Dougal didn’t care. The desperate note to his voice didn’t faze Dougal at all. He needed Lire.
Lire palmed Dougal’s cock and stroked. Dougal’s knees weakened. “A man can’t live by sex alone,” Lire said, pulling away and making Dougal cry out in denial. “Shhh,” Lire soothed. “I’ll take care of you. Have I ever made you suffer?” Dougal didn’t answer. He was suffering now. Every second of every day had been torture since the day Lire came into his life. “Do this one thing for me, and I’ll make you fly.” Dougal let Lire lead him from the bathroom to the bedroom, because he had no other choice. Wherever Lire went, Dougal would follow. A girl around nineteen sat on the edge of their bed. Dougal stumbled when he caught sight of her. She looked young and fragile. Her features were soft—almost like porcelain. Dougal was reminded of a doll he’d once seen. They had the same red hair and delicate features. The woman stared calmly at the corner of the room. Dougal didn’t doubt she was under Lire’s spell and wouldn’t remember this moment—the one where he didn’t touch her.
Lire held Dougal’s hands and stare as he walked backward, moving toward the girl. “You need blood.”
Dougal’s stomach cramped at the idea. His fangs were cutting into his bottom lip from having Lire’s hands on his body. He knew Lire was right. Each step became harder than the last. Lire’s woodsy scent filled Dougal’s nostrils. His dick throbbed, screaming for Lire’s touch. An image of sinking his fangs into Lire’s femoral artery flared to life inside Dougal’s mind. In his head, Lire’s blood tasted every bit as delicious as the man’s dick. There was no burning or poison.
Lire’s eyes switched from amethyst back to copper. “Just one drink,” he cajoled. “One little taste and then I’ll be free to make you come. You’ll chant my name.”
He knew Lire was right. Not only did Dougal need blood if he wanted to survive, he would scream Lire’s name. Without a word, he moved to stand between the girl’s knees. He dropped his chin to his chest and stared down at her. A lead weight landed on Dougal’s chest. Everything was wrong. This was wrong. He was nude. His hard dick was inches from this girl he didn’t want. Each breath Dougal took came harder than the last. He tried focusing on her heartbeat—on his hunger. Nothing happened. The only sound penetrating the blood rushing through his ears was the sound of his own rapid breathing.
“Just one sip,” Lire said behind him.
Dougal closed his eyes and tried harder to focus. He needed this girl’s blood. He would eventually die without it. Lire would ease the ache if he did this. Dougal bent, hoping to catch a whiff of the blood rushing through her veins. His stomach heaved. Bile rose in his throat. Dougal swallowed. The room spun. He couldn’t do this. His stomach heaved again. Dougal squeezed eyes shut even harder, hoping his head would stop spinning, and the world disappeared.