Smoke & Gold by Tesla Storm

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SKU 978-0-3695-0374-9
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Darker Desires, 1

Vivianna Sky is addicted to demons.

She’s found the perfect high in Astaroth, infernal prince of Hell. But when he refuses to possess her, Vivianna unleashes him on the world, and the Reformed Church—more cult than church—wants her dead for it. And they're not alone. The wendigo, a monster Viv has only heard of in stories, is hunting her too.

Enter Adrian Graves: the priest-in-training hired to kill Vivianna. The only problem? He's possessed, and when Vivianna takes his demon, a bond stronger than their immediate attraction makes hurting her impossible.

Then Vivianna learns that Adrian works for the Reformed Church, the same entity that killed her mother, and no bond is enough to convince her to forgive him—even when he uncovers evidence to bring the cult to justice. Passion rises as the world burns, and Viv is left with a choice: forgive and fight, or sink deeper into darkness?

 

Excerpt:

When I come to, the all too familiar horror of a demon dream slowly washing off, I am desperate. It’s day—that much I know—but which day eludes me. My fingers wrap weakly around the velvety upholstery of an overturned pew, and shakily, I pull myself to standing. Even in my demonsick mind, I know two things. One: I am too far from Deja’s to make it without passing out again, and two: I need a demon anyway.

I don’t consider the unpleasantry of Father Michael or how I will tactfully ask the priest-in-training for his demon. It doesn’t matter. All that does matter is making it to the Reformed Church without succumbing to another vision in the middle of the street.

The walk feels hundreds of times longer than it actually is, and the sun bores holes in my skull the entire way, but I reach my destination despite it all. Smiling faintly, with blackness at the edges of my vision, I take hold of the heavy brass door handle and try vainly to open it.

“Can I help you?”

When I turn dizzily, I find that the priest-in-training—the one with the unruly mop of red-blond curls and demon energy coursing through him—is looking at me with a mixture of confusion and pity.

“Yes!” I jab a finger into his chest and almost collapse into him. “You can help me, Mr…”

“Graves,” he finishes, pulling the heavy door ajar for me and admitting us both inside the dimly lit alcove. “Adrian Graves.”

“Mr. Graves,” I repeat, feeling giddy from the lightheadedness paired with the promise of a new demon. “You can give me what’s inside you.”

There is a flicker of fear behind his green eyes, but it is quickly replaced with a darkening of both irises.

“And what if I don’t want to go?” the darkness inside him asks, Adrian’s voice dropping to an inhuman octave. “Aren’t there … other ways we could unite?”

Adrian’s finger—the demon’s?—tilts my chin gently upward, and his full lips meet mine hungrily. I resist weakly at first, but then my heart flutters in response. The encroaching demon dream slips gently beneath the surface, and suddenly, I am in agreement. This seems as good a method as any to shake the withdrawal.

At my enthusiastic response, he takes hold of my shoulders firmly, guiding me backward to a darkened alcove behind lattice doors.

The confessional.

I cock an eyebrow at him as he lays me across the bench inside the hand-carved closet. “Do you have sins to confess?”

He grins wickedly above me, his hair a mess. “I will soon.”

And then he drops to his elbows, kissing my ear, my neck, my collarbone … making his way to my collar before peeling my shirt over my head and shoulders in a gesture hungrier than I thought possible of the perfect priest-in-training, demon or no.

If only Father Michael could see him now.

My fingers go to work without hesitation, undoing the black buttons down his chest, unfastening his belt and tossing it through the open door. He rolls his broad shoulders to rid himself of the shirt, and I wriggle out of my jeans as he does. Once I’m completely naked, my bare spine against the polished wooden bench, I watch him drop his pants, biting my lower lip in anticipation.

The man I saw the day I laid outside this church is not the same one who stands before me now. Backlit by his glorious aura, Adrian Graves stands above me, looking like an avenging angel with his downy layer of tawny hair across a well-muscled chest. His abs aren’t chiseled or hard-looking, but the planes of muscle are lean. And below them … well, let’s just say that the good Lord has blessed the priest-in-training Graves in more ways than one.

“Jesus Christ.”

A smirk plays at the corners of his mouth. “Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain,” the dark voice warns me, pressing a finger to my lips. I nip at the pad, then draw it between my lips, sucking up to the first knuckle and thoroughly enjoying the change in expression on that perfect face.

“My turn.” His voice turns hungrier, deeper, and he takes me by the hips and slides me to the end of the bench. Kneeling, he parts my knees, and without preamble, drops his mouth between my thighs.