“I'm Michael.” He offered his hand, hoping she'd accept his touch. His gut twisted as that jolt of recognition hit him again.
Did she know him? He hadn't failed to notice her anxiety earlier when her friend had jumped him. When he considered her paternity, he could kick himself for the oversight. She might not be aware of who her father was or of her own untapped abilities, but he sure was. She could sense something wasn't kosher with him.
Hell, he'd have to turn down his natural magnetism if he hoped to snare her in his little trap tonight. Zeus had come up with a plan, involving his daughter's friend. He turned to Keisha. “This is your first time at the House of Purgatory?”
“It sure is, but not my last, if all those guys are an example of what hangs out here.” He watched Keisha smack her lips, as two of his “employees” passed.
“What made you decide to give us a try?”
“My no-good ex-boyfriend, that's what.” Keisha punched his chest with her forefinger.
Michael took a step back.
“Decided he wanted something with a little more white meat on it.” She glanced at Mercy. “Sorry.”
Mercy shrugged. The graceful lift of her shoulders drew his gaze to the creamy white skin.
His palm itched, but he curled his fingers in to stem his need to touch her.
Zeus had known his daughter wouldn't come to the club without a good reason. All they had had to do was convince the friend's boyfriend he wanted someone more reserved than the exotic Keisha. That had taken several weeks longer than they had anticipated.
Too much rode on this plan to have it blow up in his face. She was here now, so he could relax. He released a silent sigh and smiled. Now, to get rid of the other one.
Michael opened his mouth to introduce Keisha to the young man she'd lusted after earlier.
Mercy's hand slid into his grasp.
An unexpected frisson of arousal shot up his arm, like a bolt of lightning.
From the shocked expression on her face, she must have felt the same sensation. She tried to pull her hand away, but he held on tighter, pulling her closer. An intense desire to crawl into her skin and wrap her body around him shook him to his bones.
His nostrils flared at the smell of her skin, intoxicating -- a woman's musk mingled with a fresh lemony fragrance. With eyelids half closed, he mentally matched her face to her scent. Now -- his eyes opened fully onto her -- he'd be able to track her anywhere she might venture through the tunnels of Hell, for all eternity.
Emerald eyes flashed with surprise as she met his gaze.
His cock tightened. I know her, know her body
He scanned the angular face sprinkled with freckles. High cheekbones and a pert, turned-up nose completed his survey.
His lips twitched in a flash of pleasure. “You're a pixie.”
Her eyebrow rose, and her eyes sparked irritation this time.
He realized he'd spoken out loud. “Don't be angry. You're beautiful.” With a forefinger, he traced the silky line above her eye, blacker than a raven's wing, like her short hair. Raum's image surfaced.
Michael sucked in a sharp breath and released her, taking a step back.
The need to touch her was overwhelming. He couldn't explain why. The comparison with Raum was even more disturbing. He'd been able to force the unfamiliar attraction for the demon from his mind these last several weeks. Now, in a matter of seconds, these unwanted desires crashed within his mind and body.
Glancing at Zeus's daughter, Michael gained some satisfaction; she looked as shocked as he felt. He studied her body.
Short, not like the demonesses he usually fucked. He angled his head, stroking his chin. Not that that's a bad thing
Toned and attractive legs met slim hips. He usually preferred rounder, fuller curves to grasp tightly when he thrust his full weight into those heated depths. He shuddered.
The sudden urge to span her tiny waist with both his hands made his balls ache. A vision of her on all fours with him behind her flickered through his mind. He could almost feel her slick heat around him as he slid in and out of her cunt. His jaw tightened on a groan.
From somewhere to his left, he registered a cough. He looked up in time to see Keisha tapping her foot, a look of frustration on her face.
The tide of pure lust eased. He winked at Mercy's friend. “Sorry, Keisha, but I think I need to introduce you to Jade.”
Mercy turned toward Keisha. A blush spread over Mercy's chest, neck, and cheeks.
He wondered if the pretty pink color covered her whole body.
Christ, get a grip!
With narrowed eyes, he snapped his fingers. A man of medium height, with long auburn hair, appeared in the hallway. Muscles rippled beneath the skin of his bare chest. His nipples were pierced, as were his left eyebrow and -- Keisha would be happy -- his tongue.
“Now, look here. If you think you can just snap your fingers and make me go aw-- Well, who do we have here?” Keisha's tone changed when she saw Michael's employee in the archway.
Michael had seen the way the girl's attention had followed the demon earlier in the night. He smiled. His plans were going better than he'd expected, except for the indescribable attraction he felt toward his prey and his demon-earl. His smile faded.
“Every desire is possible in the House of Purgatory.”
He moved behind Mercy. His job tonight called for him to ensure the daughter of Zeus passed through the gates of Hell for all eternity. The Creator's kingdom depended on it. His freedom depended on it. Encircling Mercy's waist, Michael let her feel his erection, hardening into the curve of her lower back. He could not fail.
“Keisha, meet Jade.” The feel of Mercy's ass tight against his thighs forced the words from his throat with a husky need. “Jade, this is Keisha. Make sure she gets everything she wants, and more.”
Jade nodded, but never let his eyes leave the exotic black woman he was assigned to pleasure for the night. Michael knew Keisha would leave the House of Purgatory well sated tomorrow morning without memory of anything else but the sex she would share with his most trustworthy demon, if she chose. Some decided to stay after experiencing the pleasures and pain of this dimension. It was their choice.
Unlike you, my dear
. He kissed the top of Mercy's head. You have no choice. Your fate has been decided.
“Come on.” He moved his body away from the temptation of Mercy, but linked his fingers through hers. “Let them go dance.”
Michael stepped behind a screen that concealed a passage known only to a select few.
“Where are we going?” She stumbled behind him, looking over her shoulder at her friend. When she turned back around, she stopped, forcing him to pull up short with his arm extended toward her.
She studied the secret hallway. “Oh, this was the way that I was searching for, but couldn't find.”
His eyebrow lifted with a jolt of surprise. “Most people who search for this particular path lose their way. Because it is hidden, they give up their quest and choose the path more obvious and convenient.” He tilted his head to indicate the mosh pit.
Her face tilted up toward him. A nervous laugh, tinkling and crisp, emitted from her lips and tingled across his skin. “There were too many people that way. I didn't want to go where they went. I like being different.” Her smile turned impish. “I'm not most people.”
He heard the catch in her voice, but it was her choice of words that snared his attention. They were the same words he'd said to her earlier. His heart skipped a beat, knowing what he was about to do to her life.
“No, Mercedes, you aren't ordinary. You are special. That is why you were chosen.”
Wanting to touch her, but knowing he shouldn't, Michael snatched his fingers away within centimeters of her face. He stepped quickly around her and pulled a stained-glass door open for her to pass through.
A blast of air, so cold it burned, hit them. Michael glanced down, knowing the effect the temperature change would have on her body. He wasn't disappointed or apologetic for his observation.
Her nipples hardened beneath the silk of the red dress. He leaned forward to whisper in her ear, much like his brother the “serpent” must have whispered into the ear of Eve. He could begin to like this temptation business.
“Would you like to play?”