NEW From Nola Sarina & Emily Faith: IGNITE (The Core, #1)
Short, erotic fiction
The Core is secretly more than a rave-style nightclub. Everyone’s there to connect… In every way they want. With music pounding, go-go dancers grinding, and vodka shooting, Andee lets Alice, The Core’s charismatic matchmaker, introduce her to some new friends. Shaun sweeps Andee away with his rhythm and kisses, and under the black-lights beneath the DJ booth, they do far more than dance.
A vigorous beat pounds through the walls, and a high sort of energy surges into me with each hit of the bass. The bouncer checks my ID when I get to the front of the line. “Andee,” he mutters, and I smile, batting my blue lashes once. He notices, cracks a grin, and lets me in.
Yes! I did it. I got into a rave. Excitement runs through me like an electric shot, and I’m suddenly craving a drink stronger than I’ve ever craved one in my life.
Just inside the door, the hall is dark and the girls in front of me giggle and shout above the music. I can’t hear what they’re talking about, so I lean in to try and catch their conversation, and that’s when I get my first glimpse inside The Core beyond them. Everything else around me drowns out, diminishing into nonexistence, as I step into a world so unlike mine it takes my breath away.
So many lights pour fountains of colors across the dance floor that it feels like I’ve stepped into whatever place must hide at the end of a rainbow. Dancers move with abandon around the open, central dance floor, floating across in spins and hair-flips, and just as many guys are out there as girls. Hot guys, as Alice promised. Platforms suspended in the air mid-way across the dance floor hold go-go dancers, caged by bars and dressed in scant, neon bikinis. The go-go girls wind and twist in their cages, hips making a sexy rhythm of their own, and I take in the length of the marble bar to my left. Everything in here is electrified, amplified, and my mood perks up with each inch I move further into the club. I can’t make out any faces beyond the dancers, but I squint and think I see dark, leather booths behind the spiral staircase on the far end of the dance floor, beneath another level above the club. I can’t see what’s up there and hope with all my heart I find out tonight.
Someone bumps into me from behind so I squeeze forward between the two girls ahead of me. Craning up, the DJ booth comes into view—it hangs over the side of the club opposing the bar, and beneath is an open space with less light, and lots of ravers getting cozy in the shadows. Two guys are in the dark corner nearest me, deeply engrossed in a kiss that goes on and on. I steal my gaze away from the romance and look up as I move across the perimeter of the dance floor, hesitant. Above the bar, dark windows hide private rooms, and my heart flutters. Wow. A balcony and private rooms overlooking the club. What the hell goes on up there?
Everything is chrome and neon, and the walls are painted with elaborate graffiti illuminated by the black-light fluorescents, though the furniture screams elegance and class. I slip over to the bar and find an empty stool, slide in, and let the music wrap around me. I dance without thought even while I’m sitting, letting my arms move above my head. It’s like once I stepped in, I became a part of this place, and I don’t ever want to leave.
The bartender leans over to me. “Meeting a friend?”
I glance at him, take in the short sleeves that ride up just high enough along his dark, chocolatey skin to reveal enormous, solid biceps. “Alice,” I say, unable to keep the grin of excitement off my face.
“Oh, good.” He flips a shot glass over on the bar. “What’ll you have?”
I hesitate. I don’t even know where the bathroom is, yet. But somehow, with the vibrancy of the dancers on the floor and the crazed energy around me, I doubt a shot of vodka is the most daring offer I’ll face tonight. I order one, down it, and sit back to watch while the liquor takes effect, smoothing out the edges of my nerves. No, I haven’t been to a rave before. But I sure as hell am glad I’m at one now.
Long, lean legs twirl on the dance floor, and I follow them up to take in her face. She’s tossing her short, dark hair around in mad circles as she dances, her shirt barely covering her breasts, scooping in layers down over her chest but leaving a deep dip to her navel. The back of it is completely sheer. Shit, I should have worn something more revealing. Her pink skirt swishes with her movement as fringe bounces over the top of her bare thighs, and she’s in ankle-high, heeled boots with silver studs all over them. She moves like a professional dancer from a music video, both men and women staring, dancing near, trying to just brush against her if they can.
She’s everything I wish I was, and everything I don’t know how to be. Alice. She catches sight of me, lets out a squeal I hear over the music, and strides over to me in smooth steps, smiling from ear to ear.
“You came!” She swoops me off my barstool into a hug and drags me to the dance floor. I trip after her—she’s too graceful, too fast for me to keep up. But when we hit the dance floor, she spins around and crushes me to her, breasts against mine, her hands on my hips. The music pounds as I laugh out loud, surprised, and the dancers around us cheer.
And then she’s kissing me.
Andee: The Core Complete Set
(Includes Ignite, Shock, Pulse, Intensify, and Release)
The door clicks shut and I jump. I’m alone with Christopher. I turn slowly and he tucks his hands into his pockets, regarding me.
“A few things,” he says. “First and most important: if you tell me to slow down or to stop, I will. No questions asked. I won’t yell at you or guilt you into continuing something you don’t want to do.”
I swallow and cross my arms over my chest, nerves kicking in. I should have had another drink.
“Second,” Christopher says, peeling off his suit jacket and letting it fall to the floor. “I don’t finish until you do. So you have to tell me when you’re coming, in case I’m so wrapped up in you I don’t notice.”
I almost want to laugh at that. “Um, you’ll notice. I’m not quiet about it.” Memories of Shaun downstairs glance through my mind, and I tighten inside with the memory.
Christopher laughs, starting on the buttons of his shirt. “Andee, I’m going to have you screaming so hard I won’t be able to tell the difference.”
My jaw falls open, and Christopher lets his shirt drift to the floor. He’s sculpted nicely: lean, but defined. So many bands of muscles wrap over his shoulders, his arms… he must work out often. I have a hint of imagining that he does something aerobic rather than pumping iron, since he’s not bulky at all. I open my mouth to comment on his physique, but he steps close to me and bends to kiss my neck.
God, that’s my weak spot. I’m learning so much about myself here. His lips melt my uncertainty away, and within moments of his lips moving along my skin I’m surrendered in his embrace, his hands firm around my lower back.
“You need to get dressed,” he says.
Oh, that’s right. The whole dress-up thing. I bite my lip and look around. Christopher chuckles and leads me to a walk-in closet. Inside are rows upon rows of elegant, satin gowns on hangers. My jaw falls open.
“Call it a fetish if you want,” Christopher says with a shy shrug. “I like the feel of satin gliding over skin.”
God, he’s honest. I flash him an eager smile. “Of course you do. Who doesn’t?”
His eyes widen with excitement, and he gestures at the gowns. “Pick whatever you like. All of them are new. You keep it when we’re done.”
With that, he turns and closes me in the walk-in closet, and I face the wall of gowns, breathless.
My hand finds something red, first. I don’t need to see other dresses: this is the one. It’s bright crimson satin, strapless, and surrounds my breasts like the curves of a heart when I zip up the back of it. I slide my hands down my sides. Satin on skin does feel so good.
Stepping out of the walk-in closet, a flush runs up my cheeks. I don’t dress like this, in fine evening gowns. But when Christopher sees me, his lips part and he reaches for my hand, his eyes smoldering with desire. I take his hand, and a static shock jolts me when we touch. Must be from handling the new fabric in the closet.
He pulls me to the sofa and makes me sit. I stare, my body swimming with new energy, as he opens his belt and lets his trousers slide down to his ankles. When he’s fully naked, I lick my lips: he’s already hard, ready for me. He’s not as long as Shaun, I think, but he’s beautiful there, and looks so hard I can already imagine how he’ll feel inside me. He wasn’t lying: he’s going to fuck me until I scream.
Christopher raises his chin as I regard him with wonder, and when he speaks, his voice is husky with desire. “Are you ready for me?”
I squirm. Holy fuck, yes, I’m ready for him.
A woman’s memory returns when she falls in love with the monster who took it from her.
“Paranormal action, suspense, drama, a bit of romance, and the aching feeling at the end that you have to read MORE!” – New York Times Bestselling Author A. Meredith Walters
“…a fresh paranormal concept, very tight storytelling… explosive new series that is just a tad darker but every bit as intriguing as some of the best…” – BittenByBooks
“I fell in love with this book from the start.” – Paranormal Reads Reviews
Nycholas took a deep breath and reached up to stroke his hair back from his scalp as he sighed. He let his hands fall to rest on my thighs – again, the perfect mixture of too much pressure and not enough pain.
“I meant to eat you,” he said. “But you know this. Your colors distracted me.”
“Why did you come back for me?”
Nycholas’ chest rose and fell quicker as his nerves visibly increased. “I wanted you.”
“But not to eat,” I said. It wasn’t a question: I didn’t need to ask. The temptation of this forbidden thing hovered in the room between us, and heat lanced through me from my eyes to my core.
He shook his head, his golden cords sweeping slowly over his arms and half-covering his chest. He didn’t blink, just watched my mouth as I spoke.
“Will you poison me, if you touch me that way?”
Nycholas shifted and cleared his throat. “What way?”
Had I misunderstood? No. Nycholas was shy. I refused to lose my nerve. Somehow, his predatory nature – the danger he posed to me – enhanced the feeling brewing between my thighs, made me want it more…
My voice came out stronger than I expected. “My body. Naked. With yours.”
Nycholas sucked in a breath and he slipped his hands beneath my shirt again, cradling my back, pulling me slightly forward in my sit on the counter. “No. If our mouths meet… open… then, yes, you’ll sleep.”
If our mouths fucking meet, good God, fuck me now. His constant groping of my skin – hands roaming across my aching body, firm like a massage rather than a caress – wasn’t helping me keep my thoughts sorted and carry on a coherent conversation. All I wanted to do was drink in his voice and melt into his touch. “But I won’t die.”
“Not unless I bite you, and poison your blood.” Nycholas stroked the front of my throat with the backs of his knuckles. “Which I will not do.”
I licked my lips to wet them for speech, but Nycholas ducked his head to get a closer look at them as I did, his breath even more rapid than before, and I couldn’t remember what the hell I wanted to say.
“In three nights,” Nycholas whispered, never taking his eyes off my mouth, “the master will come for me. He so rarely leaves his home, the Pit. He will come this time, because I dared him to.”
“Your brothers will tell him where you are?”
Nycholas nodded. “In three nights, I will let him have me. I will be done running. But… when I saw your colors, I thought… that I want to feel your colors before I die. All of your colors.” His hands slid back down my hips to my upper thighs and he spread his fingers, squeezing me again.
My voice was barely a squeak. “If I say no?”
Nycholas shook his head and pressed his thumbs harder into my inner thighs. “Please don’t say no.”
My heart roared in my ears with lust and panic, wanting and fear, vacillating heat and chill, and the cocktail of furiously warring emotions in my system was enough to put my libido on overdrive. Instinct and arousal battled between my legs – the urge to flee mingled with the urge to pounce. Arousal – hot and liquid and spurred on by this big, muscled, inhuman man – was dangerously close to winning.
I knew he could kill me. I knew he could eat me. I knew his master could find us and rip us apart, and I knew Blair would be looking for me, looking for Freddy, wondering what happened…
But I couldn’t bring myself to say no, not with those thick thumbs pressing deeper into the crevice between my legs, daringly close to my center, where I wanted him to sink every ice-cold velvet inch of steel he possessed while he grabbed me with such possession.
“I will blank your mind and take you home in three days, if you’ll let me,” Nycholas said. “Please.”
The desire in his tone melted any motivation I had to argue with him. The way he said please. Like I was the last thing he wanted, the only thing he had left to look forward to. But… to forget Nycholas… to have never known this gold and pale and dark god who wanted me so badly… “Don’t make me forget,” I whispered. “Let me know you. Let me feel you and remember you, Nycholas.”
Nycholas stepped just a little bit closer – there wasn’t much room to spare – and slid his hands further up, his palms resting on the fold between my hips and my thighs, those seductive thumbs of his on my lower belly, just above my pubic bone, pressing. I lost my breath again.
Nycholas leaned forward, and I tilted, expecting a kiss… but he rose higher than my mouth and touched his lips just barely across the skin of my forehead. The chill of his breath smoothed my eyelids shut and I shivered, leaned into his kiss and let his massive arms envelop me in an embrace. Exhaustion took over my body as I slumped against him, and even though all I wanted was to lift my hips, wrap my legs around his waist and throw my head back with the glory of his pleasure, I couldn’t move.
“It’s nearly morning,” Nycholas said. “I forget you’re so breakable, and I’ve used up your energy tonight.”
I shook my head, my nose brushing his bicep. “I’m okay.” I heard the exhaustion overpower the conviction in my voice.
“Are you saying yes to my request?” Nycholas’ voice rushed through my hair, and I shivered.
I nodded and scooted my face closer to his arm. I kissed his bicep with parted lips, tasting his skin, which was so smooth on my tongue I didn’t have a single memory in my battered brain to compare it to. “Yes.”
The explosive, second Vesper novella Jaded Touch is full of emotion, suspense,
and even sexier immortal passion!
It took three scars to break her, and two men to save her…
“Every step of the way, from the timid and stubborn first steps to the torrid and fulfilling ending, Jaded Touch kept this reader enthralled and engaged. ” – For The Love Of Books
“I got totally wrapped in the story and characters and didn’t want to quit reading. You have secrets, love, action, and some wicked creatures that are very original.” – Paranormal Reads
Warm fingers found mine. I froze as his fingers twisted through my hand, and then he took that hand in his other and flipped my palm up, inspecting me.
“What are you doing?”
“You Vespers talk too much. Shut up and let me look at you.”
Shut up? He just told me to shut up. “When was the last time you let your dinner talk to you that way?”
“I’m not your dinner. If you wanted to eat me, you’d have already done it.” He traced a fingertip up my palm, over the inside of my wrist, and I tried not to tremble at his touch. The pad of his finger wasn’t silken steel like that of a Gent, but what Gent would touch a Maid this way, either? I didn’t really know how a Gent would feel, caressing me like this. I didn’t know how any man would feel trailing a finger tenderly over my sensitive skin. I’d been touched before, but not like this. Not with reverence, desire, and respect all at once.
Jacked clicked his tongue. “Incredible.”
“What’s incredible?” My voice came out with a breathiness I didn’t expect.
His jade eyes met mine, and he blinked at my confusion. “You. Vespers. I’ve never had the opportunity to really look at a Maid up close like this, you know? You all keep your distance a lot more than the Gents. Not that they ever come over for a drink after work, but they’re always hovering around, being spooky and shit.”
I almost laughed, but pulled my hand back. “We don’t do this.”
“Vespers. We don’t… do things like this.”
“You don’t touch each other. Or humans.”
I shook my head, and the sound of my thick heartbeat, pumping viscous Vesper blood through my body, hollowed at the truth of that spoken out loud. No, we didn’t do this. Not unless we wanted to get caught, punished, and killed. I knew that all too well.
Jack hummed and reached forward again, touching my arm. He slid his fingers all the way up to my shoulder, watching his tan skin glide along my powdery Vesper pallor. My breath drew in ragged as he stroked his hand along my arm with a warm, gentle touch, as though touching a priceless antique. “But that doesn’t mean you don’t like it, right?”
I swallowed and wanted to lie, but couldn’t find any words. His hand reached my shoulder and he hesitated for a moment, but then cupped my chin and pulled my gaze to meet his.
His light jade eyes searched mine. “If you like this so much – touch – why don’t you do it more often?”
I knew I should flinch away from his hand. I had been without touch for so long, save for my sister’s torture and my Lady’s occasional affectionate contact. It wasn’t the same as this. It wasn’t… warm, or inviting, like this. My voice was rough with something foreign, unknown, slipping through my body like hot oil. Touch. “Physical intimacy has nothing to do with procreation for us.”
He tilted his head to peek at my fangs. “You drain blood and fill the body with poison to make other Vespers, right?”
“Right,” I whispered.
Jack grimaced at the pain in his injured bicep as he slipped his hands on either side of my face, cupping my face for a moment. I leaned into his warmth, but he let go too soon and slid his fingertips up and down my arms, stroking me. “So you were human, once.”
I nodded. I had been human, once. Breakable, like Jack. And intimacy had hurt me. But I wasn’t human anymore, yet Jack’s caress woke up a sensitivity in my heart I’d never felt before. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I recognized how wrong this was… but this heat licking through my body… I wanted more of it, more than I wanted to feed, more than I craved darkness. There was no way this man could hurt me, with the strength I possessed as an immortal. And this desire had been suppressed for so long it coursed through me with undeniable potency.
Jack pulled me back to his bed and sat down. I hesitated, so he tugged on my fingers and I climbed into his bed, sitting astride him once more as he lay back, my body alight with something so foreign I almost felt like I was operating a shell that wasn’t my own. A shell that felt good, for once, liquid heat moving through me, melting my fears and smoothing out the sharp ridges of rage in my soul.
The moral screaming in my argumentative head dwindled behind the sound of Jack’s breathing and heart, the life force that made him so tempting to my hungers in every terrible way.
Jack’s hands fit around my hips just right and I leaned down again, my mouth above his. He stretched to kiss me, and I pulled back, but just a touch.
“Careful,” I said, cautious of my anaesthetic venom.
Jack chuckled, his voice so low and rough with the growl of arousal that I nearly lost my breath. “Oh, trust me, I want to be alert and coherent for this.”
I kept my lips tightly closed as I closed that final gap and let him kiss me.
And holy crap, did he kiss me.
By Nola Sarina & Emily Faith
“Asher . . . oh Asher, you hot devil you. He was everything I look for in an
alpha hero. Rich, sexy, fiercely protective and loves like his life depends on
it (which you will find is the absolute truth). To say I swooned was an
understatement. And when Asher takes you to hell, you’ll be glad you went.”
- A. Meredith Walters, New York Times and USA Today bestselling
“It’s sexy and erotic, a dark love story with enough heat to curl your toes.” – New York Times bestselling author J.S. Scott
Chapter 1 – Asher
The vigorous thrum of orgasm rippled through me from head to toe. Below my weight, thoroughly pinned to the bed, Kellie sighed with happy satisfaction. The transfer of her energy and aura to me began when our bodies connected, though I’m quite sure she didn’t notice. They never noticed until it was far too late to survive the bed of an incubus.
This moment was the worst. For most men, I’m sure it was the best–a beautiful woman beneath me, happy from the pleasure I bestowed upon her, stroking the muscles of my chest with admiration. But I wasn’t most men, and this moment meant I was once again a killer and the worst type of monster. I didn’t want this life of murder for survival. I didn’t want this curse.
But there was no escaping my curse. Every six months—if I was strong enough to hold out that long—I took a woman to my bed and claimed her soul with my body. Kellie was a simple seduction: money, looks and a charming smile always guaranteed that when I needed to fuel myself, the selection of eager women would be near overload. She jumped into my car as soon as I suggested a romantic getaway to my cabin on the shore of Lake Superior without hesitation. And now, thanks to her enthusiasm, I lay buried inside her body as she admired her killer. Most men would congratulate themselves for a job well done as they kissed the delicious, sweat-sheened breasts of a woman like this. But I was not most men, and I couldn’t enjoy even a heartbeat of the encounter. I lacked the strength to resist the monster in my soul, and I hated every breath that crossed my lips as she inhaled her last tastes of earthly air.
My urges boiled. The predatory nature of my being lurked just beneath my personality, waiting for me to slip up and lose control. The incubus part of me needed to be charged, lest I physically weaken until that side of my soul took over and forced me to fuck and kill. If I didn’t do it, he would do it for me—the incubus, the monster I loathed, always looming over my shoulder and threatening to dominate my body in the worst way for the rest of my life. I couldn’t let him have control. I might be a monster, but the least I could do was reduce the number of kills by keeping ownership of my own body. If I wanted to remain partly a man rather than the pure, vile soul of the monster I had become, I had to do this.
So I kissed Kellie’s forehead and withdrew from her heated center, feeling my eyes blaze. Kellie’s life and silhouette burned brilliant blue before me for only a second—the image of her beautiful skin doubling as it lifted above her body—before her eyelids snapped open and she gasped. It was far too late for her to object. As I withdrew from within her, that double image of her aura lifted further to meet my flesh and I absorbed her into my body, charging my muscles, little, electric zaps of satisfaction jolting through my limbs. Her aura slid into my soul and I gasped above her mouth, taking in the last bits of her life that remained, fueling my body as she let out a strangled grunt from the back of her throat. Then, Kellie was limp beneath me. Spent. Empty. Nothing but a lifeless shell of a woman.
I rose to my feet and felt new life pulsing through me. I was charged and satiated. I looked over Kellie’s corpse, and my heart sank heavily in my chest. Though my body swelled with new strength by the power of her life, there was nothing left of the woman before me. I hated this. Six years of killing had worn on me, though her aura tasted of fresh water to my aching, needy body. I was a murderer. My stomach rolled and I turned away, swallowing bile.
And if I didn’t inhale her, as the needs of the incubus demanded, I’d face a fate much worse than swallowing murder as a sin. I hoped Hell would prove to be a nicer existence than my life. At least there might be no sex in Hell.
I tapped my phone to send Gypsy her cue that I was through and strode into the bathroom for a shower. The triple-sized glass panels around me fogged as the steam filled the room. I stepped into the luxury shower: referring to my hideaway as a cabin for the sake of wooing unsuspecting women into my private company was a gross understatement. My heart pounded as I stood under the stream of scalding hot water. I didn’t bother trying to scrub the filth of murder from my hands—or the rest of my body, for that matter. There was no clean enough for me, and I’d scrubbed myself raw enough times to know better. Nothing helped in these moments after a kill. Nothing soothed the guilt or the foul taste in my mouth. I washed my hair and tied a towel low around my hips as I stepped out into the steam.
I heard footsteps outside the bathroom and leaned on the counter. The steamy mirror reflected the haunting I felt, my appearance obscured by the fog as my life had dwindled in importance to the demands of the incubus. I stretched, cracked my neck and felt the energy of murder coursing through my veins, which bulged against my biceps, rippling over and around the muscles with the perfect texture, enticing any woman who spared even half a breath of time to look at me. My physique grew more sculpted with each passing year—a product of my chronic workout habits, I figured. Gypsy disagreed. She felt it was a natural progression of the incubus . . . I became more flawless and attractive with each life I inhaled. I never argued with my twin when it came to the topic of my bizarre, exclusive condition. She could see me objectively, while I could only see the monster that hid behind the unique, starburst pattern of my eyes.
I suppressed the urge to take another shower and scrub. It would do no good. Did all killers find the soothing shower after a kill to be a sarcastic rebuke, a mockery? No amount of expensive shampoo and warmed towels could wash the stench of death from my life. I brushed my teeth instead and took a few deep breaths after I rinsed, willing my pounding heart to slow. I had to carry on, no matter what I’d done or how many times I’d done it. The footsteps outside the door—the sound of my sister helping me in the only way she knew how— reminded me that I had more to live for than just myself. She needed me, so I needed to cope, no matter how impossible it seemed.
The door swung open, clearing the air. Gypsy regarded me in all her standard beauty: medium-dark hair tied neatly at the nape of her neck, an elegant gray suit and high heels. She tilted her head and studied me.
“Clean up’s done,” she informed me, her voice expressionless as ever.
I sighed. “Thanks, Gyp,” I muttered. “As usual.”
Gypsy leaned out of the bathroom and snapped her fingers at Jim and John—the two blond henchmen that handled disposal of all of my victims. They left to wait in the car until Gypsy was done, I supposed. I was eternally grateful for my sister’s efficiency at managing my condition. She was the lucky twin, born normal and free. She was the only person I told, six months after our parents died, when I killed for the first time. The loss of my virginity at age sixteen turned on the appetite of the incubus. Gypsy helped me through it all, knowing I was a killer of the worst sort and assuring me there was nothing I could do about it. It wasn’t my fault, she said. I wasn’t sure I believed her.
“Ready?” Gypsy asked me.
I opened the drawer before me and took out a folded, leather satchel of black powder and a slender scalpel. Gypsy grasped the knife and jerked my arm forward, revealing the tiny rows of black pinpricks tattooed in my skin: my tally of victims, my sins marked in flesh. She punctured the skin that stretched over my solid forearm muscle with the tip of the blade and ignored my grimace at the metal’s bite. Grinding black, powdered ink into the fresh wound, my sister tattooed me with a dot to represent Kellie: victim number forty-three. I refused to allow myself to escape the gravity of my condition, though Gypsy so expertly masked the bodies as mere heart attack sufferers. The journalist in my bedroom being swept away by Jim and John suffered from a severe, hidden eating disorder, so the cause of her death would not be questioned when someone found her back in her own bed with no evidence of my touch. Gypsy wiped off the blade, replaced it in the drawer and left.
I dressed, made the bed with fresh sheets and followed her out of the cabin.