This short story is about Renata, a demon who appears in Chained in Desire, the fourth book in the Enforcers and Coterie series.
Renata strolled along the deserted street, the gentle rush of water slapping against the shore soothed her. Not many wandered the Cherry Beach industrial area at this hour on a Saturday night. They preferred the more exciting nightlife of the entertainment district, bar hopping, watching exotic dancers, or sweating on the dance floor.
She, however, hoped to hide from her asshole ‘master’. She scoffed and kicked at a pebble on the ground with her bare foot. The mage had assumed that since he’d summoned her, he had control over her every move. To some extent, that assumption was correct. He could order her to feed and point her in the direction of her next victim.
Forcing her to kill another, though, wasn’t possible. She had morals, even if he didn’t. Instead, she’d fed from three men, almost draining them dry, and then called an ambulance for them.
And now, here she was, hunted by Mage Demon Enforcers who would banish her the moment they got the summoner’s name, which she’d gladly share, but they wouldn’t listen to her side of the story. None of them cared that she’d been coerced into it. In fact, she didn’t even like feeding from men.
Renata glanced down and tsked. She’d lost her shoes when she’d raced from her latest victim’s house. The paramedics had shown up quicker than she’d expected. At least she’d already shimmied back into her black pencil skirt and black, scoop-neck blouse. Sure, she could’ve just illusioned herself in clothes, like she did with her human mask, but she liked the feel of silk and cotton against her skin. As for shoes, well, she enjoyed being barefoot.
A scent drifted on the light breeze, two males, both mages, although one had the hint of something more and she grinned. She hadn’t expected them to send him after her. Giddy anticipation tightened her stomach and Renata ducked into a nearby warehouse.
It wouldn’t hide her from them, but she wasn’t looking to hide.
She shrugged aside the guilt she felt over breaking the lock, and scouted out the tiny receptionist’s area. A few chairs, a main desk, a water cooler, and a door leading deeper into the building.
Resting her hip against a dusty desk, she waited.
Several minutes passed and she impatiently tapped her toes against the wooden floor. The cherry-red nail polish made her grin. She loved that shade even though redheads apparently shouldn’t wear the colour. As if she cared.
The door opened, not a sound accompanying the move, and she sniffed. Ozone. One of the mages had cast a spell to cover any noise they might make. Hoping to sneak up on her?
In swaggered the two mages, as if they had no fear. Nope, no sneaking for them.
Neither one seemed surprised to see her waiting for them. And damn, what fine specimens they were. She almost regretted preferring women. The shorter male had dark brown hair, cinnamon-coloured eyes, and high cheekbones. His strong jawline and aquiline nose reminded her of a Roman emperor she once knew.
The other mage had honey-blond hair that spiked around his hair, like he’d run his fingers through the strands. Hazel eyes zeroed in on her and she gave him a seductive grin along with wiggling her fingers in greeting. He was pure sin, undeniably gorgeous, and yet it was his scent that snagged her attention.
Only one mage smelled like he did.
“Mmm, well hello,” she purred. “So this is the wondrous Victor.”
Could she snare him with her pheromones? If not, then a touch would do. Straight men had a damn hard time resisting her, and while she didn’t want to sleep with him, a pet mage would be handy, especially this one. All the demons knew Victor’s name, some because they believed him stupid and incompetent. Others because he’d proved he wasn’t stupid and incompetent. She’d heard too many stories about him to doubt his demon hunting prowess.
Sauntering closer, she reached up to trail a finger down Victor’s face. The other mage remained still, following Victor’s lead. A junior partner? No matter. His eyes were already glazed and heavy-lidded.
Victor, however, grabbed her wrist before she could touch him. Not many would dare touch one of her kind. While her pheromones could be resisted — barely — skin to skin contact was a guaranteed way of falling prey to her charms.
Victor sneered at her, “Nice try, sweetheart. Doesn’t work on me.”
A shudder went through her body. He was stronger than she’d assumed, and she needed him on her side. Playing the part, she allowed pure lust to shine in her red eyes. “Give me a taste.”
Victor laughed, a surprisingly pleasant sound, as he released her wrist. “Not gonna happen, sweetheart.”
“A small taste. Just one, please. I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll make every single fantasy of yours come true if you’ll give me a taste.” Renata flicked her pointed tongue over her lips. Seduction was second nature to her. After all, she was a succubus.
Using her body as a weapon in this little war, she bounced just enough to create a jiggle in her ample chest, her breasts straining against the tight, low-cut top.
He leaned in close, his mouth almost touching her ear. “I’m sending you back and you won’t fight me. Understand?”
She moaned, disappointed he hadn’t been tempted, not even a tiny bit. She didn’t want to go back, not without a mage to summon her. Victor would find her master and put a stop to him casting another summoning ritual, and then she’d be stuck on her home world, since no one else here knew her true name.
Closing her eyes for a moment, she trembled at the thought of being trapped on Ryesca.
“Jackson, leave us.” The command in his voice stated he was indeed the senior Enforcer. The other mage spun on his heel and exited the building.
Dropping her seductive act, Renata gazed at Victor’s shuttered features. She had no clue what he was thinking.
“What now?” Why hadn’t he sent her back? Why have his partner leave?
“You drained three men to near death in the past few days and then called an ambulance for each one. That makes no sense. A succubus doesn’t need to feed so deeply in such a short time, which means it wasn’t a mistake. Why call for help?” His tone gave nothing away. Flat and almost disinterested.
Arms around her middle, she walked away from him, studying the boring landscape paintings on the wall. Would he believe her if she told him the truth? What the hell, it’s not like he’d change his mind about sending her back and she’d like at least one person to know the real story.
Renata spun around. “I didn’t want to. The mage who summoned me — George Albine by the way — ordered me to feed from them. They’re business competitors of his. Actually, he told me to drain them completely dry, but I won’t kill. He can’t compel me to do that.”
Her chin jutted out, daring him to call her a liar.
His expressionless eyes bore into her and she had no clue how to manipulate him, so few men fell into that category.
“You were under duress, then?” At her jerky nod, he continued, “Thank you for telling me the truth. Please remain still while I banish you. You will not come back to this plane again.”
Her breath hitched. A banishment would trap her in her world. “Please don’t. Just dismiss me. My true name is Lisrenatanalya. Call on me when you need information or company.”
Not by a flicker of his eyelash did he betray his thoughts. Instead he flicked his fingers and magic washed over her, swirling around her essence, tugging at her until she vanished from Earth.
He didn’t banish me, she thought in surprise. And now he had her true name. He could call upon her anytime he wished. But would the notorious demon hunter summon her?
To read more about Victor and find out if he summons Renata again, check out Chained in Desire.