Saturday, July 12, 2008

Frosted Hearts by Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks

The December days passed relatively quietly, sliding toward Christmas. Josh worked hard, getting the gallery rearranged and came home exhausted every night. The trees moved as fast as Anthony could make them. As often as not, Josh would bring home take-out or frozen food rather than cook. And somehow the phrase "happy ass" crept into Anthony's vocabulary more and more, a verbal tic he couldn't seem to rid himself of.

One evening, as they were polishing off the last of the ice cream, Josh licked his spoon suggestively. "Speaking of your ass...can I make it happy?"

Anthony blushed to be caught using the phrase again. "How could I turn down an offer like that?" He fed Josh the last bite of his ice cream and followed it with a kiss that left the ice cream melting to peppermint sludge in both their mouths.

Josh took the dishes to the sink. "So, December. Ice, snow, ugly trees, presents, stockings."

"Family gatherings?" Anthony shuddered. "Eggnog. Much better."

"Winter Carnival at Dartmouth. Ice Sculptures." Josh burst into the chorus of the Dartmouth Winter Song: "For the wolf wind is whining in the doorways, And the snow drifts deep along the road, And the ice-gnomes are marching from their Norways, and the great white cold walks abroad."

"Oh... I see where you're going."

Josh caught him around the waist. "Boo! Pass the bowl!" he finished. "It's not until February, though."

* * * *

Anthony laughed. "You want to see your lover, who has a hard time working a screwdriver, hefting a chain saw and assaulting a block of packed snow."

"Since neither of us is enrolled, and they don't let alumni lovers participate, we're out of luck."

"Ah well... We'll just have to visit, then. I do like ice sculptures."

"You need me to pose for anything tonight?" Josh stretched. Unable to resist the stripe of belly, Anthony tickled him. "Whoa, hey, no!" Anthony hadn't seen that particular scowl in almost a year.

"Couldn't resist. Forgive me?" Anthony did his best to sound apologetic.

Josh pounced, rolling him onto his back. "Mmm, maybe." He licked Anthony's neck. "Or maybe you need to prove how contrite you are?" He nipped Anthony's earlobe.

"So sorry.... so very sorry." Anthony dropped his voice to a whisper. "Master."

Josh purred a little and then gently stripped him. "Sweet treasure." He laughed when Anthony's fingers left glitter in his hair. The stuff got everywhere. Anthony arched into his mouth when Josh licked his nipples. "Ever think of getting these done for me?"

"What would you like to see? I'd do it." Anthony wasn't sure if they were in scene or not.

"Just a pretty ring." Josh nibbled at the left one, making Anthony squirm. "Titanium. I'd pay for it."

"You're on." Anthony sucked in his breath sharply when Josh nipped him too hard to be playful.

"Respect or I'll spank you," Josh snapped, his voice cold.

"Yes, Master. Alter me the way you like, Master," Anthony said, more contrite now.

Josh kissed him sweetly. "You'll be beautiful for me." He ran his finger over the floor and sifted the glitter into Anthony's chest hair. "Just like you are now." He sat up and looked at Anthony.

Anthony felt his own eyes get wide and his breathing speed up, just watching Josh. When Josh touched him, it was a very gentle stroke along his side, but it left him panting.

"Roll over," came the soft command. Anthony rolled over and felt Josh's lips on the back of his neck. "Going to make you very happy, my treasure."

Anthony couldn't do anything but moan. When Josh stripped his pants away, he lifted his bared rear up toward him. Josh swatted it.

"Patience." Josh kissed his way down Anthony's back, licking at his shoulder blades. Anthony moaned some more, squirming a little as Josh took his time. When Josh took his first lick, rimming him, Anthony swore softly, unable to help himself. Josh chuckled and slipped a couple of lubricated fingers into him.

"My sweet boy."

Anthony whined when Josh pulled his fingers away and went to turn out the lamp. In the eerie black-light glow of the tree, Josh returned, and Anthony was ready for him. This style of play always relaxed him. Josh made love to him, very slowly, very carefully, and Anthony stored up the weird bluish colors and the way they looked for later painting.

They lay together for a while afterward. Once he could talk again, Anthony ventured, "Happy ass, indeed."

Josh kissed his neck, which was still bare. "Knew I could." He cuddled Anthony, pulling him up onto the sofa and wrapping them both in an enormous blanket Ma Bellini had given Anthony years before.

"So when do I get the needle?"

"Mmm, my Christmas present. Maybe this weekend? Or should we save it for the sixth, after the opening?" Josh suggested. Anthony's eyes went big and he swallowed comically then nodded. Josh kissed him. "Yeah, our last present of the season. I'll go along. Want me to join you?" Anthony nodded. "What do you want done?"

Anthony looked him over critically. "Don't think nips will suit you."

Josh grinned. "Nope. But I warn you, cock piercing take a while."

"No. Those really don't suit you either." Anthony kissed one of Josh's ears. "But these would."

"Only one. Two ears is a girl."

Anthony laughed. "That went out with the eighties. You can have anything you want now."

Sweet Backlash by Violet Heart

She couldn't be serious. Chip tapped his foot as her car pulled onto the street and stopped at a red light. It occurred to him she had told him absolutely nothing about herself. She had not answered any of his questions other than telling him she made a sandwich when he asked what she was doing. Sly. Wicked smart. God, and drop-dead gorgeous! Just standing in the same room with her set his body on fire.

He had thought his reaction in his office that afternoon had happened because she caught him by surprise. A fluke. He prided himself on his self-control. But she proved him wrong. In her apartment, his brain fizzled and his senses took over. He gave the appearance of a relaxed visitor, but inside, he was on meltdown. He barely remembered anything she had said about Judge Edmonds. He could only wonder which door led to the bedroom, and how difficult that leather outfit would prove in removing.

As the red light continued to stay her, an impulse had him racing to his Mercedes. He had noticed a slight softening in her expression the last time he asked her to lunch. If he pushed a little harder, maybe she would accept. He could crash the party. Go as an attorney. He still wore his suit, after all.

Adrenaline gave him a rush as the light turned green, and he turned the key in the ignition. He screamed through the parking lot and chirped his tires when he hit the street, barely making it through as the light turned amber. Keeping his eyes on her taillights, he followed her through back streets to an industrial park full of warehouses and massive, sprawling office buildings. He waited for her to go inside before he pulled in and claimed a parking space near the street.

* * * *

"Where have you been? You're never late. I thought you were in an accident or something." Kathy marched from the ladies' room to join her in front of the meeting hall.

"Sorry. My apartment became Grand Central Station." For the Irritation Express!

Her friend hesitated. "George is here. He's all weepy and pale. Did you break it off with him?"

"Yeah." Really? Weepy? She didn't think he would take it so hard.

"You scared him? Made sure he won't come looking for you when your guard is down?" Kathy thrust out a hip and punched it with a fist.

Melony chuckled. "Threatened to fry his nads with a cattle prod."

Her friend threw arms wide and bear hugged her. "That's my girl. You make a mamma proud!"

"You're not my mother," Melony said dryly.

"Thank goodness," snapped Kathy. "I'd have beat your skinny, sassy ass every day. But I did teach you everything you know."

"I'll give you that one. Have I missed anything interesting?"

"No way. Just George whining about how nobody loves him the way he needs to be loved. You weren't hard enough on him. He needs a Domme who'll shut down that whine and teach him a proper, subservient attitude." Her friend let disappointment show in her expression for a second before beaming. "So let's go find you another victim, shall we? Somebody raw, like George, who you can practice molding through discipline."

Inside, the greeters waved them in. Familiar faces sipped punch from cups and milled about tables displaying X-rated candies and cookies. First-timers and inductees sat in chairs down front, listening to a talk on ethics and rules of conduct. Melony remembered listening to that speech close to a year ago. Half the attendees wore leather, chains, and spiked accessories, while the others had come in street attire. She fit right in.

Scanning the backs of the newbie's heads, she tried to determine if anyone struck her fancy. As much as Kathy pushed her to take on a new partner, however, she thought she might like a break. Just live for herself for a little while. She collected a cup of punch and a bar of white chocolate shaped like a penis then sank into a plush, red armchair in a nook at the back of the room. Her feet were killing her.

Hushed voices at the door let her know a newbie had arrived late, since first-timers had to sign in, fill out a waiver, and wear a name badge. Slipping the tip of the penis confection between her lips, she cut her gaze sideways to see if the newcomer would welcome a flirt. She almost choked on the candy when she saw her boss standing alone, looking lost and not a little angry.

A tiny piece of chocolate found its way to the back of her throat, activating her gag reflex, and she hacked. He turned and pinned her with his gaze. Even in the low, nightclub lighting, his intensity reached out and touched palpable fingers to her chest. So much for keeping her lifestyle a secret from the workplace.

Anger surged through her, fueling her already sour mood. In three strides, she thrust her nose in his face. "Who do you think you are? You son of a bitch!" She poked him in the chest and sneered when he winced. "What's the matter? Can't take the pain? Isn't that what you came here for?"

In a lightening move, he took her face in both hands and smashed his lips to hers. She shoved at his shoulders, but he sent his fingers into her hair, massaging her scalp, and softened the kiss. With an expertise that turned her mind to mush, he worked his lips over hers. He eased her into the nook and bent her backward over the chair. Through her leather pants, his hard cock ground against her clit as he urged her lips open and thrust his tongue inside.

She had never let a man get this far. Men scared her. Their strength caused pain. Their aggression overpowered and demanded submission. Like now. No!

But he caused no pain. He pushed her coat off her shoulders and skimmed his fingertips across her hot skin. His tongue caressed hers and he traced the outline of her breasts above the hard edge of her bodice. No! She tensed. She was the Dominatrix! Her control ruled!

She wilted. Just a little longer. He tasted so good. Carmel, coffee, and a hint of dry roasted peanuts. She had never tasted a man. He smelled good, too. Sandalwood and vanilla. And his left hand smelled like leather, from his briefcase handle.

His hips ground harder, hurting a bit, and he bent her further over the chair back. Her spine protested and she whimpered. Stop it. Stop it! She slapped him. Hard.

Lifting off her, he stared with stunned, passion-misted eyes. "Oh, God, Melony. I'm sorry."

He offered a hand to help her up, but she slapped it away and heaved off the chair. Ow! She put her fingers on her lumbar and squeezed to cease the muscle spasms.

Suddenly, one of the bouncers rushed over and put Chip in a headlock. "You seemed to be having fun, Melony. I didn't know you were in trouble."

"I'm okay, Frank."

Chip struggled in vain against the burly biker. She suspected the bouncer's spiked wristbands didn't feel good digging into her boss's neck. Let him suffer a minute.

"So, how's Velma? I don't see her at the meetings much these days." The spasm stopped and she twisted her torso to release the last of the tension. She tried not to smile as Chip swung wild, impotent punches in every direction, his head cocked by Frank's elbow so he couldn't see much of anything.

"She's got a new job. Nightshift down at the bottling plant." He hitched a thumb over his shoulder.

"Does she like it?" She didn't care.

"Sure does, sweetheart. Best money she's made yet. And her days are free to go riding with me, among other things." He waggled his eyebrows.

She smiled. He looked fierce, but he loved his wife like nothing she'd ever seen. And he treated Melony like precious cargo.

"You want me to break his neck?" he asked, tightening his hold.

Chip when still, his face turning lavender and his eyes popping. "No. I think he's learned his lesson. Go ahead and let him go."

"You sure about that, sweetheart?" He loosened his grip a fraction and her boss gasped.

"Yeah, go ahead. I've got him from here. Where's a whip when ya need one, huh?" She shrugged and grinned.

"Right!" Frank released a hearty laugh. "You take him home, now. Take good care of him."

What did he think? That she took Chip on as a partner? "Oh, I'm not—"

The bouncer froze, refusing to release her boss. Scowling, he said, "Nobody comes in here and treats us like he just did to you. Now you tell me he's your new slave or I'm taking him out back, snapping his neck, and dumping him at the railroad tracks."

Chip sent her a desperate look, his lips opening and closing like a fish out of water. He had a muscular build, but he didn't stand a chance against the biker's sheer brawn. Damn it. She couldn't let Frank kill him. And Kathy would never let her get away with lying about taking on a new partner. The society would kick her out of membership, and they provided the only support she had ever known. They were friends. An adoptive family of sorts. No, she had no choice.

Waving a hand in the air, she faked a lighthearted laugh. "Oh, he's mine alright. He's really raw. I've got to teach him some manners. I was going to say that I'm not ready to leave yet. But if you think we should go…"

"I think that would be best. He's made enough trouble for one night." Frank growled, reached for the back of his belt, and came up with a collar and leash. Clamping the harness around Chip's neck, he handed the leash to Melony. "See you both next month." The bouncer saluted her and headed into the heart of the meeting.

"Come on, slave," she said, giving the leash a tug. "Let's get you settled at my place."

"What?" Chip rasped, trying to insert his fingers under the edge of the collar.

"You heard me. My place." She shrugged into her coat and ripped his nametag off his lapel.

He followed her outside, giving her no trouble. The cold March air cleared her head and she tried to imagine how they would establish their boundaries between the workplace and home.

"I can't go home with you. I've got a room at a hotel that's paid through the week." His voice still rattled.

"You don't understand. You just sold your soul to the devil for that one kiss."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wind by Sarah Dickson

Mari never felt more contented as she did now. Lying on the large sofa in her cabin, she ate another grape. She couldn't help it if she wanted to prolong the memories of being pleasured senseless for a week on Destiny, a world that catered for such diversions from reality.

A pity this kind of decadence would have to stop after she returned home.

She sighed. Soon she'd return to the routine as befitting the heir apparent: meetings, disputes, and accepting invitations from men who wanted the throne over her.

In her position, Mari could choose whomever she wanted as a life partner. Her suitors so far had wanted to control her, not treat her as an equal. At least paid lovers never disappointed.

In frustration, she had taken a trip to Destiny to unwind.

Her father, Emperor Suran, had approved of the trip. It had surprised her why he'd insisted on using their most sophisticated craft. Her trip hardly stretched the sentient mind of the ship, which was more accustomed to longer voyages.

She decided not to argue, certainly not with her father. If he was going to provide her with such a ship, who was she to complain?

Gazing out of the small window, the red planet Namfel came into view. The last stopover they had to make before returning home.

"Your highness, we're approaching orbit," the captain said over the speaker.

Climbing off the sofa, she tossed the remaining grapes into a nearby bowl. Donning another robe of gold as befitting her rank, she opened the door of her cabin and proceeded to the shuttle bay.

They were here to collect her cousin, Piela.

The Psychic Engineer of the ship, Karn, seemed agitated. Odd, considering he and Piela were lovers and her shuttle would soon be docking.

He ran his hand through his dark hair. Before she could think of something to say, he averted his gaze from hers.

Well. So much for conversation.

As for Piela, Mari had to admit being a little curious as to why she had ended up on Namfel at all. Only those who suffered psychologically from an accident or a terrible incident in their lives went there to be healed. Piela, the last time she had met her, appeared to be in perfect health.

"A shuttle is approaching," Captain Tallis said over the intercom.

Gazing out of the one of the nearby windows, she saw blood-red desert sands with the occasional mountain range relieving the monotony. Aside from several citadels and a few hundred caves, little else existed on Namfel. Extreme heat during the day and cold at night prevented any kind of outdoor recreation. And if that wasn't enough, raging dust storms at times covered the whole planet, resulting in an untimely end for anyone who didn't find shelter quickly.

She opened the intercom. "You've been there, haven't you, Captain?"

"I have. The caves are extraordinary, as are the keepers who heal. I had a woman tend my recuperation. The method of healing can't be described, only experienced."

Considering sex was an integral part of the healing process, Mari could well imagine. Briefly she wondered if Piela had dabbled in any sex during her stay.

She'd soon find out.

"The occupant of the shuttle has been positively identified as Piela," the captain said. "Open the outer door."

Once the shuttle landed and air had returned to the bay, the inner door slid open. She smiled as her cousin strode over. Arranging her red robe, Piela gave a look of triumph.

Karn's face brightened. "Did you--"

Piela stood on tiptoe and kissed Karn's lips. "Yes. I need to speak to Mari first." She grabbed Mari's sleeve. "Come on."

Confusion filled Mari as they reached her cabin.

Karn followed. "Piela. There is no time to--"

"We'll be only a moment," Piela interrupted.

Karn clenched a fist.

Inside the cabin, Piela brought her lips to Mari's ear. "The keepers are supposed to have very strict rules when it comes to any sexual healing, but I found one who was most accommodating."

A ripple of energy raced across her hand where her cousin touched. Looking down, Mari noticed a bulge in a fold in her robe.

Piela removed a blood red crystal, its inner glow almost extinguished. "I took this. Isn't it perfect?"

A silent scream filled Mari's mind. Heart racing, she backed away. "Are you mad?"

"You haven't heard why I went."

"Every ship that leaves Namfel's orbit with a crystal smuggled on board explodes," she shouted.

"It's not going to explode."

Mari didn't care what Piela thought. She pressed the intercom. "Captain, don't leave orbit."

"We almost have. Should I halt?"

How many seconds from oblivion had they been? "Yes, for now."

Piela pressed mute on the intercom. "We've always shared secrets, right."

Mari's heart drummed so loudly she could barely hear her cousin's words. She nodded.

She gripped Mari's arm. "Listen to me. All we need to do is tune into the crystal to keep it stable."

How many others had tried to stabilize a crystal taken from Namfel? To some, the healing properties were worth the risk of possible destruction. Anyone who could control the energies of the crystal would never be ill again. Problem was, no one had ever succeeded.

"Please, Mari. Once we have this contained, the crystal will become inert, causing no danger at all."

A sliver of curiosity broke through her walls of doubt. "How?"

Piela's eyes took on a wild look. "In essence, all we have to do is create a perimeter field of psychic energy around the mind that controls this ship."

Mari noticed the increasing pressure on her arm from Piela's grip.

"How do you propose to create a field without the aid of a Psychic?" Mari's heart skidded to a halt before restarting. No wonder Karn seemed agitated. "Karn instigated this ... venture?"

Piela appeared to hesitate, then nodded quickly. "Once the energy is stabilized, Karn can connect to the memories inside this crystal and be able to read about whomever we want."

Had her hearing left her? "What memories?"

Wishes by Stella and Audra Price

Nicodemus Marsh sat on the white leather couch in his apartment, cell phone to his ear, listening to his most recent employer drone on about his assignment. This SOB thinks I don't know how to handle a sweet little human female? Who the hell does he think he's dealing with? A fucking Jenai?

"Look, I'll be able to deal with her. Nobody fucks with me, succubae have given in to me. What makes you think little Miss Janey Duvall is any different?"

"Because she's a pain in the ass. I need this done, Marsh, and I need it done properly."

"And that's why you came to me," Marsh muttered "So, what exactly is the fucking job?"

"I need you to...well, take her into your care. I need her pliable, easily worked. I need her not only willing to do as I ask, but to be happy doing it."

Marsh laughed. He knew there was a reason he was needed. "You need her broken." It wasn't a question.

"Exactly. I'm sure it won't be too difficult for a man of your talents."

Marsh rolled his eyes again. "Indeed. Anything in particular she needs to get done while I'm there? I'm sure I'm not being sent in to break her and because she mouthed off. What's the job?" Marsh got off the couch and grabbed a smoke.

"She's recently taken full control of Duvall, Senior's organization. She controls all the fun things written in blood, if you get my meaning. I don't know if you've heard about my recent trouble in China, but it's proving difficult getting assassins there in a hurry. I need them there two weeks ago. I'm far too pretty to stand in front of a firing squad, and it would ruin a perfectly good shirt. Plus, the fact that the bullets wouldn't kill me might raise a few eyebrows."

The demon walking away from a firing squad was one thing that would turn a few cranks. Not that it mattered to Marsh; Djinn and Demons might share a slight common ancestry, but there was no love lost between the races. Marsh went where the money was and, working with the Demon prince, money was good.

"That's all well and good, Taylor," he said and rubbed his forehead. "Get to what you need me to make sure Janey does, I'm losing patience here."

The demon prince Cassiel, who went by Sean Taylor topside, was ruthless and beyond efficient. Marsh wasn't sure what house he belonged to in the Afterverse, all he knew is that he was well respected and brutal. To be called personally by the demon spoke volumes.

"Like I said, I need you to make sure she supplies me with enough assassins to kill my witnesses. I have my own lawyer, but even he can't get me out of this if there are witnesses."

"Yeah. Simple. Where the hell is she?"

"Rome. Her offices shouldn't be too hard to find." He gave Marsh a rough description of the offices located just outside Vatican City.

"Well, call the little chit and tell her she's getting company. And Taylor, I have carte blanche to deal with her as I see fit, right?" he asked slyly, knowing the demon would agree. As a Djinn, Marsh had certain needs to be met and, if he played his cards right, Janey might play ball...and he'd have a new harem girl.

Oh yeah, she'll play ball. She'll take her three wishes, and then she'll be mine. The thought was heady. It didn't matter if she was pretty or not; there were certain things all women asked for, beauty being one of them. He never begrudged them their vanity; after all, he would be the one reaping the benefits in the long run, and that was the trick. Use his power for his own ends, and get them to make themselves perfect, just for him.

"You may do anything you wish with her; as long as I get those assassins and a much more compliant little Janey."

"You'll get it, demon. A bargain is a bargain."

"Perfect, so I trust you'll enjoy yourself."

"As always, Taylor. You'll hear from me soon enough."

Marsh hung up, stubbed his cigarette out, and looked around his apartment. The place was clean, sterile, as if no one lived there. That was as close to the truth as he could get. He didn't actually live there, he just stopped there between jobs and wanderings, and now he was leaving on yet another of his erotic adventures.

Janey Duvall, huh? he thought with a smirk as he flipped his cell open again. Sweetheart, you don't have one clue what you're in for.

* * *

She sat back in her leather chair and stifled a yawn. The demon was ranting again, and he was very un-sexy when he ranted. Cassiel was well known for his rants, especially the ones aimed at her. Taylor, as he was called by pretty much everyone with whom he dealt with, was a dangerous man to piss off; however, his latest trouble was beyond belief.

Disagreeing with the demon's views, she denied him the power he needed to make it all go away. Partly because it was bad for business to have so many of her assassins in one place, but mostly it was because she didn't like the demon. She imagined the his face turning beet red and steam coming out of his ears every time she denied him. The thought always put a smile on her face.

The warm leather of her short skirt inched up her thigh as she crossed her legs, creating a sensuous feeling. She smiled; it had been years since a man had been that close to her, and not by her choice, either. For some reason men turned tail and ran at the mention of her name. Well, all the clever ones ran. She'd never been one for sleeping with the stupid ones.

Janey Duvall's parents had died when she was very young, her guardianship passing over to the one and only Trent Duvall. Trent was the toughest, meanest man around, and he'd built the organization, which she now ran, from scratch. Sheer force of will and determination put them on top, and although Trent and the organization had recently parted ways, she knew he'd be back. He had to. She wasn't going to be around for much longer to take care of things.

She had cancer, and it was terminal. So far a few select witch spells kept it at bay, but it wouldn't be long before she lost the battle. The tumors had spread rapidly through her body, piggybacking through her bloodstream to find new locations to nestle and grow Her body was killing her, and with all the money in the world there was nothing she could do about it.

She was going to die. It wasn't a prospect that she was thrilled about, but at least she'd made her peace, and would die with her soul. Not that it was much comfort.

"Are you even listening to me?" The demon's smooth, cultured voice startled her back to the phone conversation.

"Of course, I heard every acid edged threat, darling. But, I'm afraid that it just wont do, Taylor. It's impossible to have that many of my people in China by that date. I'm sorry, I can't help you." She grinned.

Well, if there was one good thing about knowing that she was going to die, it was that she could afford to piss off the demon. While she was sure that Cassiel was going to come up with something very creative, it hardly mattered. In fact, she was looking forward to it.

She heard him sigh and could almost feel his exasperation on the other end of the line. "Janey, love, you're failing to see the seriousness of all this."

"Oh, I see it, all right. To be honest, I just don't care enough to try and bail you out. You've never done me any favors, demon, you don't intend to. You just think that you can call me—on my direct line, might I add—and you offer no deal, just expect your name and position will sway me. Frankly, I'm disappointed. Your skills in manipulation are somewhat lacking."

"Would you like me to manipulate you, little girl?" he asked, his tone deathly cold.

She looked at her nails, scraping a little piece of dirt out from under one of them before replying. "Oh, it'd be nice." She smiled. "But, from what I've heard, you're somewhat housebroken recently. How's the wife and kids?"

The prince growled. "I will have those assassins, Janey," he said with all the petulance of a child with no dessert.

She sighed. "Well, I wish you all the best in that, Taylor," she answered caustically.

He chuckled suddenly, causing her to sit up and frown. "Yes, love, maybe you should wish. I will have those people, and I have offered you the easy way out. Now, unfortunately for you, I'm going to devote at least a full quarter of my time to making your life a living hell. There's no need to kill you so quickly, not when there's so many years of suffering…"

She hung up the phone on him and switched off the ringer. "Stupid demon. I'm half way there anyway." She chuckled, picturing the scene and the cursing that the five-hundred-year-old demon was doing right at this very moment. She rolled her eyes and pulled some papers out of a file.

"Might as well get started on the next lot of contracts. They don't sort themselves out." She muttered into the empty office as she began to read.