“This place is a complete donut fest,” Circe announced. “Let’s go to the new Deviant’s bar on Escala.”
“A donut fest? What the hell does that even mean?” Arya asked, as she looked around the club. It looked just like any other bar they had frequented on the Sapphire Strip that night; filled with too many people and colorful, yet expensive beverages.
Even sangra cost twenty dollars a glass. The steep price tag alone kept Arya from being drunk. She had lost her resolve to get drunk and party three shitholes ago, but her bestie was still raring to go, her eyes glowing amber in the strobes of the club lighting. The music was too loud and Arya was wrestling with a headache, likely induced by the high concentration of fructose in the drinks here that was meant to disguise that the drink was not pure Deviant alcohol.
This is what I get for hanging out with a Valkyrie. Who can compete with a Norse goddess? Why do I do this to myself? Dammit, I’m not the spring chicken I was two hundred years ago!
Circe laughed, shaking her iridescent curls of black and blue. She was stunningly tall and devastatingly beautiful, two traits which served her well as a model in the human world.
“Donut fest means, if you ain’t got a dick, nothing’s gonna stick,” she replied, throwing up her hands at Arya’s ignorance. “Look at the male to female ratio in here. All bitches, no cock.”
“When has that ever stopped you before?” Arya asked with a brow raised. “You’ve never been particular.”
“Oh, come on. You know full well that I am a full meat eater. No muffin munching for me – no matter how much I flirt and joke…and occasionally snack…”
Arya had to snicker at her friend’s comment, but she wasn’t ready to leave. Not when she had just spent half her cash on a double…something or other. She wasn’t exactly certain what the Lycan bartender had thrust at her, but she knew she wasn’t leaving until she had finished it. No matter how much of a headache it caused. She was ninety percent sure she had the right herbs to counteract the morning nausea if need be.
“Let’s feel it out,” Arya replied, reaching a slender hand toward the bar. “Ten minutes, okay?”
Circe grunted in response but Arya didn’t notice. As she went to wrap her fingers around her drink, someone grabbed her wrist.
It wasn’t rough, but it startled her all the same. And then a deep and commanding voice caused a surge of electricity to run through her body.
Arya turned her head toward the voice, baring her brilliant white teeth menacingly. And just like that, she was prepared for battle. It wouldn’t be the first tussle she had encountered in the past four hours and it most likely would not be the last. The Strip was not a place for the weak; which is why the mortals stayed far away.
Another fight that night meant nothing to her. And Circe was always in the mood to kick some immortal ass.
But the expression froze on her lips as she found herself lost in a set of prism-like eyes of violet, green and blue, blending together in a mirage swirl. They continued to move as she watched him and it suddenly seemed the pulsating vibes of the club melted around her, leaving only her with the stranger gripping her wrist.
“No, it isn’t,” Arya replied slowly, her words seeming to lose their bite as she spoke them, her unusually slow heartrate picking up as they stared at one another. “It’s mine.”
She refrained from adding her usual scathing comment to the assertion, as if something was holding her back.
Maybe my libido? she thought with an internal eyeroll.
But it wasn’t just the ethereal eyes. In her world, supernatural features were a dime a dozen, after all. That was precisely why she and Circe had chosen to hang out on the Strip that night; to be around their own. That meant dazzling eyes, unrealistically beautiful features, and mystic auras were commonplace. Almost all “genetically challenged”, or should we say “ugly” immortals, had the ability to change their appearance. Those who were ugly but didn’t possess the camouflaging skill usually lived belowground. Her and Circe were naturally beautiful, and damn thankful for it. But immortals could usually see through another’s glamour – or at least detect that there was a ‘false front’ on the shop window, so to speak. Arya was immediately hit with this guy’s real self. And it was breathtaking.
It wasn’t simply the eldritch manner about him, nor the way he appeared almost fully human with a naturally tousled mass of chestnut waves framing his regal cheekbones. It wasn’t only his tantalizingly full mouth which seemed to monopolize her gaze. It wasn’t just that he was towering over her, his broad shoulders blocking the view of all behind him.
There was something else, something elusive and commanding, something that Arya wanted to possess – or be possessed by.
She felt combative suddenly, maybe because her body’s attraction to the guy pissed her off. She never allowed her hormones to make decisions for her, but at that moment, they were pulling out all the stops and performing cartwheels to invite the stranger right on in! So she pulled the drink toward her and took a defiant gulp.
His tight smile seemed to broaden slightly, his eyes boring into hers beneath the flashing lights of the seedy club, as if amused that she had challenged him.
Careful, Circe called to her silently, her tone fraught with alarm. He’s a demon.
Of course, Arya had already known that. She wasn’t a fool, nor was she new to the scene. A demon presence would not bode well for any of them if she managed to piss him off – and the witch on her shoulder thought that she might actually try to do that.
Never a good idea, and she needed to get her attitude under control, like now. Even with Circe close by, a demon could overpower her with a mere look if he wanted. But for some inexplicable reason, Arya simply did not care. His magnetism had taken a hold of her, one which she had never experienced before.
He raised a hand, and for an unsettling moment, she thought he was going to shatter her dreamlike illusion by striking out at her with his power, and thereby leading to a magical mess of chaos. She readied herself, conjuring the darkness inside her on standby. Even though he was undoubtedly stronger, she would not go down without a fight.
She was Arya Ambrose. She bowed down to no one.
But instead of attacking her, he reached across the bar and grabbed another glass, a drink which had been sitting in the spot between her and Circe, untouched.
An unfamiliar emotion shocked Arya’s body as she realized her gaffe, and she gaped at the demon with sheepish eyes.
If he strikes me down right now, I would totally deserve it, she thought, but she wondered what else he could do. Never had she been so interested in demon powers until that moment. It wasn’t as if they ran in the same circles after all.
“My mistake,” he told her, a bemused smirk covering his perfect face, taking a swig of her concoction. Instantly, his face twisted into a scowl of disapproval.
“I don’t remember ordering such a…sweet tasting drink,” he continued, obviously determined to keep up with tormenting her. “This tastes – “
“Girly?” Arya offered and he chuckled.
You’re playing with fire, Arya. Literally, Circe hissed silently, but Arya waved her away as if she was an annoying pixie.
“You should listen to your friend,” the demon told her, leaning in to whisper in her ear and Arya bristled, realizing that he had heard the Valkyrie speak into her mind.
“I can take care of myself,” she replied, turning her head slightly to cast Circe a warning look, green eyes narrowing dangerously.
The goddess returned her gaze, saffron eyes shimmering with intelligence, but she did not speak again.
“Dantalion,” he offered, extending a manicured hand toward her. “My friends call me Dante.”
Arya slipped her hand into his, her small palm seeming to disappear inside his, their gazes locking.
“Arya Ambrose. My friends don’t call. They text.”
He chuckled at her little joke and Arya was embarrassed at her lame attempt to flirt. It had been a long time since anyone had grabbed her attention, and it had been never that anyone had a hold on her like this.
“This doesn’t seem like your scene,” Dante commented, reluctant to release her hand and Arya didn’t pull it back. The attraction had only intensified on contact and the heady feeling swimming through her body had nothing to do with the Lycan-made drink she had sucked back moments before.
She was captivated by this guy, his movements, the line of his face.
A spark of panic formed in her heart, a glimpse of the future teasing at the edges of her consciousness. But she pushed it away, stopping it from manifesting completely. She was enjoying this encounter with this powerful demon. Nothing else had caught her awareness like this in years. She didn’t want a pall cast on the moment, and a premonition almost always did exactly that. She just wanted to enjoy the moment genuinely and without mythic influences.
“No?” she replied. “So this is more your scene then?”
He laughed and it was the most sensual sound Arya had ever heard in all her hundreds of years on the planet. Deep and rumbling like the rain she adored so much, the storms which kept her living in Seattle, despite her ability to go anywhere in the world.
“I don’t think the Sapphire Strip is anyone’s scene,” he countered and Arya grinned, her lips parting to reveal an array of even, ivory teeth. “But what choice do we really have if we want to escape the mortals, am I right?”
“I can think of a place.”
She was shocked that the words had left her mouth. Circe’s eyes bulged at the invitation, her friend shocked by Arya’s behavior. Arya was usually the responsible one, the one who thought about consequences before jumping into the fire, or in this case, jumping into bed with the fire.
Dante’s face was so close, she could smell the musky scent of his cologne and it made her breasts tingle with awareness.
“I’m always open to trying new things,” he told her quietly, and for a moment, Arya wasn’t certain that he had even spoken. His voice seemed to fill her endlessly, as if it was everywhere but coming from nowhere.
“Then we should get out of here.”
It really was unlike her to suggest such a brazen thing, and she briefly entertained the possibility that he had her under a spell. But then she discarded that notion. Her sorceress senses would detect any spell. He may be more powerful than her overall, but when it came to spells, he wouldn’t be able to touch her. Something else was happening between them, something even the Deviants of the underworld could not combat; a mutual bond, a powerful attraction.
Between a sorceress and a demon.
This was surreal. Their species generally stuck to their own. It was kind of like a law of nature, and yet, she knew in her heart that she and Dante would be together that night, that nothing could keep them apart. And when she looked into his gaze, she knew that he felt it too; their bodies rising in synonymous heat, their fingers still laced from what had begun under the pretense of a handshake.
“Your place or mine?” he asked.
“Well, judging by those eight thousand-dollar shoes, I bet mine is closer.”
~ ~ ~
The door to the flimsy apartment had barely closed at her back, but already, her mini skirt was strewn over a table lamp, and a stiletto lay in the hallway. Arya didn’t notice anything but the heady taste of him, as their lips meshed, a sensuous combination of mouths and tongues.
She danced his huge body backward, tripping over obstacles in the way, but Dante held fast to her, their forms melding together in an erotic embrace.
Arya couldn’t say how he had lost his own clothing, but the shirt and pants were long gone before they hit the small bedroom. Dante kicked the door so hard, the apartment reverberated as his naked back landed on her bed, his body cushioning her fall.
She spread her legs, her body straddling him, as the heat from her core transferred to his. A small moan escaped her as she rubbed herself against him, the friction forcing a delicious spike of pleasure to shoot through her. She leaned forward, pressing her full breasts to his mouth, as he got into the rhythm going on down south. He lifted his hips, while at the same time, gripping and directing hers. The harsh grinding of his rigid cock against her was threatening to make her explode, and he hadn’t even penetrated her yet.
Dante latched onto her nipple, sucking it hard into his mouth while his strong hands slid back, embracing her full rear, massaging with his mouth and fingers simultaneously. The sensations inside her were growing exponentially with his skilled manipulation of her body.
“Oh God,” she breathed, “I…don’t…usually do this.” It was difficult to form the thought, never mind verbalize it, but she suddenly felt the need to explain. She just wanted to make sure he didn’t see her as some slut who trolled the Sapphire Strip, looking for demon meat.
Dante’s head leaned back, his lips still suctioned around her breast as his mysterious eyes pierced hers, the intensity in his gaze burning her.
He didn’t need to speak. She could sense that he knew. Whatever she was feeling in those moments was far more than a surge of heat and wetness, the racing of her pulse and the beads of sweat cumulating between them.
There was raw emotion there, something deep and fierce that she had never experienced.
His fingertips found their way between the cheeks of her ass, slipping along the cleft of her middle and Arya sighed, her crotch riding against the bulge of his engorged shaft.
She positioned her hips above him, wanting to feel the tip of his head inside her wet core, but then a shiver slid through her mind as she stared down at him, the premonition refusing to be blocked.
He will be gone in the morning, her inner voice warned her, this is going to be a one-night stand,
Arya silenced the warning, pulling her lithe frame back and raising her body to position it above his jutting shaft. She refused to let the dark thought ruin her moment, so she stared into his eyes before lowering herself slowly onto his cock, the burn making her body sing.
They gasped in unison, Arya breathless from the sheer size of his member, their gazes meeting again as he arched up to fill her entirely.
She was swept up in a wave of pleasure, her fingers splayed against his bronze skin, teasing his rigid nipples as he drove himself further up inside.
“Oh, my gods!” Arya moaned, feeling the breadth of his cock reach that hidden bundle of nerves deep inside her.
They fell into an almost feral rhythm, her nails digging into his toned chest, his jaw clenched hard against the pleasures tearing through him.
She watched as his lips parted, his eyes piercing hers and she allowed herself to get lost in the sensation of his thrusts, the desire to climax overriding all else.
“Yes!” she gasped, not knowing how much more she could endure, juices running down her legs as she fell forward.
Again, he captured her nipple in his mouth, his finger finding her clit as he plunged even deeper inside her. As he manipulated her body like a master, Arya exploded, her orgasm ripping through her like a tidal wave.
“God, yes!” she screamed, green eyes shooting sparks as the tremors continued to tear through her. But Dante did not slow, his movements growing almost violent beneath her.
A growl was ripped from his chest as he grasped her hips firmly with both hands, directing her movements to compliment his, forcing her down hard as he thrust upward one final time. She felt the tremors that were coursing through her body intensify as he, too, lost control and shot into her with hot, relentless streams.
Slowly, his arched back relaxed onto the bed and she fell forward as the sensations finally subsided slowly. Arya rested her head on his chest, his heart pounding beneath hers.
She willed herself to stop trembling as they lay entangled in one another for a long moment, a crumpled mess of arms, legs and heavy breathing.
Arya didn’t want to move, knowing inherently that she had succumbed far too easily to the demon, but she could not regret it, not when her body still quivered with the euphoria flowing through her.
If she had to do it again, she would, without hesitation, no matter what her supernatural awareness had tried to forewarn. Never had she experienced such a connection with another being, mortal or immortal.
“You’re incredible,” Dante told her, gently rolling her off his body to lay her at his side. His eyes reflected the sincerity in his words and she found herself wanting to doubt her foreboding sixth sense as his fingertips traced the skin of her collarbone.
She gazed at him almost suspiciously. Who felt a connection like this, this fast? It just didn’t seem possible.
“You’re not so bad yourself,” she replied, brushing a thick strand of red hair from her eyes. It fell against the base of her neck in an unruly wave, just above the Algiz rune tattoo.
“Who are you?” Dante asked and suddenly Arya felt uncharacteristically shy at the question.
“In the existential sense?” she hedged, shifting her eyes away. She felt as if he could read her darkest thoughts, and not because he was more powerful but because she was vulnerable.
What would he say if he knew who I was really?
It was a difficult question. He wasn’t a mortal, after all. He did not operate by the same moral code as them. He might even embrace her criminal enterprise, but Arya felt that was more a second date discussion.
If there ever was be a second date.
Dante caught her face between his finger and thumb. A shiver of excitement coursed through her as she caught a whiff of her scent but she stared at him, biting on her lower lip.
“I don’t know what it is about you,” he murmured, his tone flooding her with gooseflesh again. “I’ve never been so drawn to a stranger in a bar. Let alone a sorceress.”
“Have you had bad experiences with sorceresses?” she joked. “Some of us give the others such a bad reputation.”
Arya wanted to dismiss his words as post-sex flattery but she couldn’t deny the honesty she felt in them, nor the intense attraction between them. Even as she lay at his side, recovering, she felt another burst of heat slide through her and she blushed, knowing that she wanted to feel him inside her again. And again.
“You don’t trust me,” Dante announced and Arya’s eyes widened, a laugh escaping her lips.
“Of course not,” he replied, his own smile growing. “But I can tell you this, Arya Ambrose…”
He trailed off and she waited, her breath catching in her throat, knowing that his next words would be prophetic.
“Now that I’ve found you, I will never let you go.”
A wave of relief flooded through her body and she sank back against the lumpy mattress, closing her eyes as Dante’s mouth found her throat. There was no reason for him to say that. He owed her nothing, no more than she owed him. She had already given herself to him, he needed nothing else from her. The only reason that he would bother telling her such a thing was because he felt it, the same way she did.
Arya knew it defied reason or reality but she would not resist it, not when everything aligned so perfectly. As his mouth travelled along the soft skin of her chest toward her navel, Arya’s fingers curled into his dark curls. She guided his head along the path of her body toward her still-sopping middle and sighed when his tongue lapped at her throbbing nub.
Her vision was wrong. It had to be.
He wasn’t going anywhere.
~ ~ ~
They came together four times that night, each occasion bringing Arya to new heights, her body experiencing a high she never knew it could achieve. She fell asleep in his arms, exhausted, spent and throbbing, listening to the sound of his hot blood firing through his veins. When the pale light of morning peeked through the cracked blinds of her dilapidated apartment, Arya blinked slowly, a smile still on her face.
Dante had plagued her dreams, his eyes boring into hers, just as they had in her wakeful hours.
“I have to go,” he told her. “But I’ll be back soon.”
“You better,” she murmured.
And when she opened her eyes fully, she realized that it had not been a dream, and that she lay alone in her bed.
Dante was gone.
She tried to remember anything he may have said but it was still hazy, her mind still caught in the fog of eroticism from the night before.
He’ll be back, Arya told herself, rising to greet the day with coffee. She was surprisingly worse for wear, considering how little she had drunk, but a smile touched her lips as she remembered the vigorous sexual exercises Dante had put her through.
But as the coffee pot emptied again, and the sun rose on the filthy streets of South Park, a dark, ominous cloud rolled through her mind, blotting the sun’s rays from casting the weakest flicker of hope that Dante was coming back.
By nightfall, the actual storm had rolled in, dumping rain onto the soggy dumpsters below and Arya was concerned, her natural cynicism returning. The truth was a bitter pill to swallow, but she was a big girl, even if, apparently, she had been caught up in the charms of an immortal player.
He was a demon, after all, devious and untrustworthy. Whatever connection she had felt had only been one sided, she guessed.
She felt like a fool, but Arya Ambrose was not one to lay down and cry about her losses. She would move on with her life, pretending that the chance encounter never existed, even though she secretly wondered about Dante and what he had done after he left her place.
Maybe something terrible happened to him. Maybe he tried to call her, but he didn’t know her number. Her mind spun through possibilities, all the while, never facing the most likely possibility of all.
He could find you. He knows where you live for Hades sake. And he’s richer than Hades too, so even if he couldn’t come to you, he could have sent someone.
Her mind finally accepted the sad fact, but her body still mourned the loss of him, the twinges of soreness she felt throughout that day and the next constantly reminding her of how she had been played for a fool – by a master.
Finally, after a week, the anger came. She was rip-roaring mad that he had the nerve to treat her that way. And to plaster on all those promises and endearments too! He hadn’t needed to do that, so the fact that he had, just made her realize that he was probably laughing his hot demon ass off at her expense. What a colossal asshat, she thought. I’ve got a good mind to tell him that too. And I’ll be the one to laugh in his face, to show him that I don’t care, I never really did.
And with that thought in mind, she got dressed in her classiest white silk sundress that made her mane of soft red waves positively pop, put four-inch stilettos on her dainty feet, and ubered her way over to his office tower.
Good thing I did this while I’m still angrier than hell, she thought to herself as she peered way up at the imposing expanse of the mirrored high rise.
She entered the building regally, gliding right over to the receptionist, who peered at her with a bit of hesitation. Arya’s determined pose had obviously given the girl a heads-up about what she wanted.
“I’d like to see Dantalion, please,” she demanded.
The secretary looked at her closely, trying to weigh the possible options in her head.
“Do you have an appointment?” she asked, obviously trying out the easiest option to get rid of her first.
“No, but he will want to see me,” she lied.
Slowly, the receptionist picked up the phone and dialed a single number. She brought the phone to her ear, and hesitantly asked if Dante would want to see Arya. Then she thanked the person on the other end of the line and replaced the receiver into it’s cradle.
She did all this without making eye contact with Arya. Possibly because she just knew she was about to have an argument on her hands. Finally, she looked at Arya and sat up a little straighter, seeming to decide that she best get this over with.
Arya didn’t exactly like intimidating people, but if she could use that to her advantage, then in this case, she would. She’d just say an extra prayer to her gods later to make up for it, she decided.
“He, um, isn’t seeing anyone today,” she mumbled, struggling to maintain eye contact. “Maybe you can come back next week?”
Arya gritted her teeth, trying to remember that it was not this poor girl’s fault that Dante was a complete ass.
“Try him again, please,” she ordered. “Now.”
The girl’s eyes widened at the command. “But… I can’t! They said no, and I can’t – “
“He’s too busy to see anyone, or just me?” Arya demanded, suddenly needing to know the answer to that specific question.
The poor receptionist’s face fell even further, but then suddenly, her eyes perked up as if she had just thought of a way out of this. If Arya hadn’t been so angry, maybe her senses would have alerted her to that little tell.
“Um, sorry to say this, Miss… but, he um, doesn’t want to see you.”
The humiliation hit her first, and then a wave of anger so strong, her body almost vibrated with it.
“Fine. Tell him he can go pound sand for all I care.”
And she whirled around, stalking from the building with her head held high.
Never again. Never again will I speak to him, or of him, she vowed.
Work consumed her days, her friends distracted her at night.
No one besides Circe ever knew about the demon who had inspired an unbridled passion inside her, and then an unparalleled fury, and slowly Arya felt less…just, less. Life went on as it was supposed to, Dante mostly forgotten; or at least Arya had convinced herself of such.
Until the day he kind of reappeared – in another form.
As her body changed, Arya knew then that she would never be free of him, no matter how much the thought enraged her.