Friday, October 28, 2011

Hunt or Be Hunted
Rachel Lynne

Ray Henderson accepted his beer from the bartender and rolled his eyes at the tour guide’s spiel. What kind of moron bought that load of bull shit? He smirked as his gaze fell on Chrissie’s enthralled face. Apparently, morons like his wife, and, judging by the enthusiastic crowd, she wasn’t alone in her obsession with all things paranormal.

Ray shook his head. He was surrounded by a bunch of losers. What a great way to spend Halloween. He tuned out the tour guide and examined the bar. With its rough brick walls and scarred floors, the Crescent River Brewing Company delivered on the historic and slightly creepy atmosphere conducive to ghost tours. He took a sip of beer and grimaced. Too bad they couldn’t claim the same with their microbrews; though in fairness he hated even the regular stuff so one imbued with the essence of rosemary was probably not destined to change his opinion.

Chrissie caught his gaze and grinned, her face glowing with happiness. So much for trying to convince her that the tour was lame and they should go home. It was going to be a long night. Ray sighed and looked around for an empty seat. Judging by the capacity crowd, he was the only one who felt the beer left a lot to be desired and ghost hunting was a crock of crap. The joint was a sea of crazy costumes. The raucous crowd seemed to have been celebrating all day; in hindsight, taking a haunted pub tour on Halloween night was not such a great idea.

Ray shoved his way through the throng as a woman dressed like a happy hooker vacated a bar stool. He planted himself in front of the big screen and tried to tune out the bat shit crazy chatter of the ghost obsessed group.

Chrissie could take the tour without him. He snorted and took another swig of the swill masquerading as beer. Damn tour had cost him sixty big ones. She should be grateful he’d forked over the blunt because God knew he could have found a better way to spend his hard earned money.

The sweater he’d seen at Marc Jacobs flashed in his mind. He would look great in pumpkin colored cashmere; chic and successful. Not everyone could afford cashmere, especially from Marc Jacobs, and wearing something like that would surely get him noticed. He should be manager of the WFI telecom store. Hadn’t he gone to college? An associate degree from Savannah Business University should have counted for something.

He gritted his teeth. Damn Chrissie and her whining. He should have told her to get a job if she wanted to go on the damn tour. It wasn’t like he didn’t provide for her. Hell, she had a roof over her head, food on the table, and enough bus fare to get to the store once a week. She should be grateful.

He blinked as a bevy of camera flashes blinded him. Ah, what the hell … he turned to see a cluster of nut jobs, his wife prominent among them, madly snapping pictures of something behind him. He scowled at Chrissie and opened his mouth, but the tour guide’s words halted the rebuke forming on his lips.

“The area behind the bar has been the site of frequent visitations. Many of our servers and bar staff have experienced cold spots and several have reported items disappearing. One staff member, closing the bar for the night, saw a shadowy outline of a man smoking a pipe. When she moved closer to investigate, the shadow emitted a piercing scream and rushed toward her before evaporating.” The guide’s lips twisted into a faint smile. “I’m sorry to say that server gave notice that night and left the employ of Crescent River.”

Oohs, ahs, and nervous laughter erupted from the crowd. Chrissie sidled closer to Ray and squeezed his hand.

Ray snorted. “Ya’ll believe that and I’ve got ocean front property in Iowa with your name on it.” The guide and several tour members scowled at him. Ray sneered. Bunch of idiots and gullible fools.

He shook off his wife’s hand and tried to turn back toward the TV, but Chrissie grabbed his elbow and tugged. “Come on, Ray. They’re gonna take us upstairs!”
“Go on. I’m gonna watch the game.”

Chrissie’s lip trembled and tears welled in her big blue eyes. “But, you promised! It’s my birthday present …” Her voice rose with her distress, drawing the gaze of two well-dressed men sitting close by.

Ray gritted his teeth and slid off of the stool. He could have cared less about disappointing Chrissie, but the reproach he saw in the eyes of the business men – he couldn’t risk marring his public image. You never could tell who was watching or how they might be useful someday.

He joined the throng of ghost hunters, staying well to the back, but the guide’s words still reached his ears. “Crescent River Brewing Company is located in what used to be the City Hotel. The first place to offer rented rooms in Savannah, it also functioned as the city’s post office, bank, and bar.” The thin young man adjusted his Confederate cap and grinned. “A lot of interesting characters have called this place home, which explains the lively paranormal activity we see today.” He motioned for the group to follow and walked toward the pool table area.

Ray smirked and wondered what ‘activity’ would be produced for their benefit. From what he’d heard, the brewing company tour rarely failed to deliver thrills. A woman shrieked. Ray made his way to the front of the line in time to see a cue ball rolling back and forth across the green felt, apparently of its own volition.

“As you can imagine, the City Hotel was a popular place for Savannahians to imbibe and that was often accompanied by a desire to gamble. The hotel became a hangout for professional card sharps.” Their guide nodded toward the pool table. “On several occasions, people sensitive to paranormal entities have reported a ‘heavy’ or menacing presence in this area and even regular patrons have confessed to seeing the shadowy outline of a human head and torso near the stairs. We’re in luck tonight because our spirit seems to be offering us a game of pool,” he grinned. “Anyone care to take him up on the offer?”

Ray laughed. “Come on, that’s your idea of a ghost? More like an unbalanced table.” He scowled at Chrissie. “I can’t believe I let you talk me into wasting sixty bucks on this!”

“Hey man, some of us want to be here. Why don’t you shut up?”

Ray whirled around. “Why don’t you –“ The smart ass retort died on his lips in the face of his opponent’s size. Ray gulped. The guy could play defense for the Steelers! No fool, Ray backed down and slunk to the back of the group.

He grabbed Chrissie’s arm, squeezing the soft flesh until it turned white beneath his fingers. “This is all your fault and don’t think I won’t make you pay for it.”

Tears formed in Chrissie’s eyes. She mouthed ‘I’m sorry’, and hung her head.
Ray shoved her. “Get your camera out, dumb ass. If I have to be here, I want my money’s worth."

The woman in front of them gasped and turned around, glaring at Ray.

“What are you lookin’ at?”

The woman huffed and let her friends pull her away.

Ray snorted. “That’s what I thought.”

He pushed Chrissie toward the stairs as the guide suggested they move on to explore the upper levels. Bringing up the rear, Ray was still on the steps as the guide began to point out the places of reputed spiritual phenomenon. He paused on the last step to hear another tall tale being spun for the entertainment of the gullible masses.

“The upper floors remain unfinished after a fire in … death below—“ Ray frowned. The guide’s location, combined with the din from the bar made it impossible to make out more than a few disjointed sentences. He stepped onto the landing in time to hear the remainder of the tale.

“According to legend, a woman was ‘sold’ as part of a gambling debt. The card sharp who won her saw the potential to earn extra income and prostituted her. From all accounts, he was a bastard who beat and verbally abused the poor woman.” The guide met Ray’s eyes. “One day he went too far and the woman snapped and fought back. In the struggle, the man fell from the balcony, killing him instantly. Several members of the staff have had encounters--”

Ray rolled his eyes. “Great. I shelled out my hard earned dough for the ghost of a slut—“

“Ray, please, let the man talk!” Chrissie tugged on his arm as everyone on the tour stared at Ray, open mouthed.

“What? I’m just sayin’ what everyone else is thinking. Everyone with a brain that is!” He shouldered past his wife and the cluster of ghost hunters, coming to a stop in the darkened hallway that overlooked the bar. He smirked at the guide and motioned for him to continue. “Let me guess, employees claim to see the ghost of the dead bimbo –“

“Sir, I think you should choose your words more carefully –“

“Or what?” He threw his head back and laughed. “Let me guess, the so-called lady will take offen—oomph!”

Ray gasped as something struck him in the chest, knocking him back on his heels. He opened his mouth to complain, but the air around him turned frigid, turning his breaths into visible plumes and robbing him of speech.

He squinted as a blinding ball of light filled the hall. The hair on the back of his neck rose as the light slowly glided toward him. He swallowed around the lump that formed in his throat and found his voice. “Wha …what kind of trick is this?”

The whirl of camera motors was his only answer. His mind reeled, searching for an explanation. It was all a hoax. He’d complained about the tour being a rip-off. The staff was just getting even.

Ray attempted to move away; the response was immediate, and terrifying.
The freezing air began to churn, as if gale force winds were somehow whipping through the building though nothing, not even his hair, moved. Heart pounding, Ray looked across the room for help. His jaw dropped. The tour members clearly saw what was happening; and they were busy snapping pictures!

His limbs shook. His chest rose and fell as he panted for breath. A low moan filled his ears as the strange light encircled him. He shivered as a feeling of intense hate and rage rose within the cold air swirling around him. His teeth chattered and his stomach rolled.

The moan turned into a wail and out of the frosty fog emerged the hazy outline of a woman. She glared at him and then rushed forward, her arms extended, hands curled into fists.

Ray scrambled backwards, hands raised to protect himself. The backs of his legs slammed against the wooden balcony rail. The spindles vibrated and then gave way. Arms flaying, he struggled to regain his balance as his feet encountered nothing but air.

Exultant laughter filled his ears as he plummeted through the air. Eyes wide, Ray watched as his wife leaned over the rail, the bulb from her camera’s flash lighting up the night.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Daria's Dating Dilemma, Part Four

Daria’s Dating Dilemma, Part Four
When we left Daria on September 26th, her first worthwhile date had been interrupted by the arrival of her ex… But will it be a total loss?

Keith stared at me and I felt miserable. Frankly, I desired nothing more than to walk over to my ex-fiancĂ© and stab him with a hundred of those cheese toothpicks. How dare Scott destroy me years after we “mutually” called it quits!

Well, the mutual part involved finding him pumping away at another girl and me blurting out the relationship was over. Since then, he’d taken every opportunity to cross my path and try to win me back. Even telling the jerk hell would freeze before I’d rescue him from a fire had no effect.

I took a deep breath to calm the rising anger. Losing control would only cause an explosion of my infamous temper. One flash inferno and Keith would definitely go running. I shook out my hands and gritted my teeth until calm, or a semblance of it, took over.

“I broke it off with him two years ago. After I found him in bed with another woman.” I explained for Keith and then turned. “Funny, Sam, wasn’t she a friend of yours?”

The other woman was Sam’s little sister, and she clearly remembered her part when she turned white and hightailed it for the kitchen. She was now blocking the only other means of escape unless I jumped out an open window. I rolled my shoulders and tried to breathe while the introductions of my ex continued around the room.

A hand grabbed mine and squeezed. “He still works you up?”

I frowned. “I have no feelings for Scott, except annoyance at him for not leaving me alone. Two years and he still can’t take a hint.”

“You must be special then.” He squeezed my hand again and I wanted to kiss him silly.

I don’t know why I said what I said next. I do know I’d come to regret my choice of words. “Just keep him away from me and everything will go splendid.”

Everything did go well, except for the occasional rumor or baited glance. I was used to those and shrugged them off as par for the course when hanging around this crowd. I counted down the moments until I could make my escape and something told me Keith knew it.

“Maybe we could skip out and get some coffee?” He offered from next to me, causing me to grin widely.

“I would love to. Say after this round?” He nodded and we went back to playing the game.

I was excited to leave. Playing the perfect guest while everyone talks about you was exhausting as hell. Didn’t help when every one of Maggie’s friends took Scott’s side in the equation. I remembered overhearing her tell Pat how I should have sucked it up and stuck it out since Scott was the best thing I’d ever find. I’d run crying to Pat, upset since—in a way—Scott had betrayed both of us. We’d known Scott for almost as long as each other.

Mental Rule Number 6: Do NOT date childhood friends.

Remembering her heated words brought my temper to a head and I bolted off the sofa uncontrollably. I looked down at Keith and pasted on a fake smile. “Coffee sounds great. What do you say we blow this popsicle stand?”

Lucky for me, he laughed and joined me in walking away from everyone. I didn’t bother telling them bye—it would have been a wasted effort. I did stop to thank Pat and that’s when it happened.

Apparently, Scott had snuck up on us while I was hugging Pat. When the tap touched my shoulder I thought it’d been Keith. Imagine my surprise when I turned to tuck my arm around him and my ex was standing there… with my purse and jacket no less!

Okay, I admit it wholeheartedly. I overreacted and my exaggerated response was the trigger on the atomic explosion that went down in the record books as Maggie’s Game Night.  If I could go back in time, I would have shoved us out a window. And, in hindsight, I’m pretty sure Keith would have happily dove for it with me.

Scott standing close with my things lit my fuse and my temper exploded. I grabbed my belongings from him, slapped him, and called him every nasty word in the book. Not that I recall exactly what I said, but I’m guessing it was shocking by the remembered expressions on Pat and Keith’s faces.

When I went to storm out, of course the dumbass tried to follow. Then things got really ugly. In his defense, Keith was trying to help. He grabbed Scott and told him to leave me alone. After that, it was a barrage of fists in every direction. Even Pat took a hit, from Scott of all people.

I sat with Keith in a police station waiting to give my statement. Maggie had called the police and Scott wanted to press charges. I wasn’t sure exactly what to tell the police since it was all an angry blur, but I would do my best to get Keith out of trouble. I owed him.

“Well, it was a fun date,” I whispered, blushing fiercely. “I’m sorry you got dragged into this.”

“Just tell me his face looks worse than mine,” Keith answered.

I nodded, still feeling incredibly guilty. “You did a bang up job, that’s for sure. Listen, I’ll do my best to keep you out of trouble.”

“It’s nothing. I’m sure the cops see this kind of thing all the time.” He tried to smile and winced. “Look at the bright side. We won’t be invited to any more of Maggie’s game nights for awhile.”

My laughter earned me a few cold stares from the officers around us and I choked on it. “Still, I owe you one.”

“Yes, you certainly do. You can repay me by going out to dinner when I get back.”

“Look, you’re not going to prison.”

He leaned forward and pressed the tissue into his nose again. “No, I have to go to London in two days. Arrange a consolidation of businesses.”

I leaned back, staring at the stained ceiling tiles and the glow of florescent lights. “So you’re a negotiator?”

“In a way. I make sure acquisitions for the company transition smoothly and help iron out the details.”

I reached over and patted his knee. “I’m sorry you’ll be bruised for it.”

“It’ll give me some macho man credit,” he chuckled and fell silent.

“Let me see if I can sweet talk someone into an ice bag for you.” I stood and marched over to a desk. The lady took one look at me and asked if I was hurt. I looked down and, sure enough, found blood on my clean skirt. “Damn. I’m fine, but my friend is hurt and needs an ice pack for his face.”

“He should have thought of that before the fight.”

Serve and protect my ass. “Look, he was defending me. The guy deserves an ice pack.”

She shrugged and went back to her computer. A random stranger whistled and I turned. He pointed at a vending machine. “The pop cans come out really cold.”

“Thank you,” I nodded and walked over, popping seventy five cents into the machine and getting a root beer. The guy was right, it was freezing.

I carried it back over to Keith and gingerly held it to his face. “I’m so, so sorry. Just so you know, I am the Queen of disaster dates…”

“Pat told me.”

“He what?” I would kill him next time I saw him.

“He told me you have awful luck with dates. I just forgot to wear my suit of armor.” Keith mumbled.

I eyed him carefully. “Are you okay? Concussion? You hit the wall pretty hard.”

“Maybe, but I’ll be fine.”

An officer called my name and I let Keith take over holding the can. I rose, and walked over to the room. Scott was marching out to a desk at the same time. He started to say something, but I ignored him. The officer told him it was in his best interests to leave me alone—smart officer.

I sat at the lone metal table and gave my statement as honestly as I could, all while trying not to think about the police shows I watched.  I calmly detailed the rough time I’d had with Scott, the history we had, and how Keith had only been trying to protect me.

“Let me get this straight. You told that man to keep Scott away from you.” The officer jotted something down.

“Well, yes, but I wasn’t suggesting violence…” my voice dropped off as the officer stood. Was he reaching for his cuffs? “Look, I just didn’t want to deal with my lying, cheating ex-fiancĂ©. I did not ask for anyone to exchange fists.”

“That may be, but for now I’ll need to arrest you as an accessory to assault.”

“Don’t you dare! I want my phone call. If anything we should be pressing charges against Scott. I’ve told him how many times to leave me alone. And your office was no help…” I slammed my mouth shut, realizing the officer was taking notes and I was digging myself a deeper hole.

He slid the cuffs on and led me out. Keith was whistling some tune and looking awful. The bruising on his jaw was starting to swell and I really worried about an unseen injury. There was an officer checking over Scott’s injuries a few desks away. Why did he get the gold-star treatment? Because he’d cried victim first?

“Hey, hey! I think my friend here has a concussion. He needs medical treatment.”

“Sure, lady, we’ll get a paramedic over to look at him… eventually.” A round of laughter followed as I tried to get comfortable on my bench seat.

I kept an eye on Keith while pondering who to call first. I didn’t know any lawyers.
I mean, I talked to a few in the company on occasion, but those were business attorneys. Weren’t lawyers supposed to know other lawyers?

The tears started and I couldn’t help it. Everything had gone horribly wrong, and now I was stuck with cops who didn’t care. Police who couldn’t be bothered to see things from my point of view and a date that most likely had brain damage – it was all highly depressing.


I looked up at the sound of my name, mascara stinging my eyes. I blinked as a handkerchief was blotted against them. My blurry vision cleared and I gasped in shock.

“Marcus? Is that you?” I looked him over in his suit. It was a far cry from the baseball uniform he’d worn in college. “What are you doing here?”

“I'm a defense lawyer. What’s going on?”

I poured out the whole story while Keith whistled and chuckled at himself beside me. A few times more, Marcus had to blot my eyes. “And that’s all of it. They’re calling me an accessory.”

“Do you have representation yet?” I shook my head. “You do now. Let me find out about your case.”

“Thank you, oh thank you!” I would have hugged him if my hands hadn’t been cuffed behind my back. After he walked away, I leaned against Keith. “We’re going to be okay.”

I took Keith drooling on my shoulder as a sign of his shared relief.

Please return for the continuation of Daria’s journey on November 26th, only here on Digital Digest. If you'd like to catch up on Digital Digest stories, check out our ebooks available on Kindle and Nook!

~Jennifer Feuerstein~

Copyright © 2011 Jennifer Feuerstein
All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Review of Cassandra Clare's City of Fallen Angels

A Review of City of Fallen Angels
Jennifer Feuerstein

As always let’s go over a little background information. City of Fallen Angels is Cassandra Clare’s fourth book in the Mortal Instrument series. Just when you thought the Shadowhunters had won, a new battle emerges.

Quick recap. City of Bones 3 Jester hats, City of Ashes 4 Jester hats, and City of Glass 4 Jester hats. This one, blows them all away in my opinion. It starts up a little after City of Glass ended and Ms. Clare writes it like a brand new series. The book was meant to be told more by Simon’s point of view, but the rest of the cast is still highly present and accounted for.

The character development is great and the plot is amazing. The conflicts, oh the conflicts are so juicy I wish I could let you in on the secrets. But, the Jester promised you no spoilers in her reviews so there will be no giveaways. The only downside to this book is having to wait until May 2012 for the next one!

And here’s where the previously mentioned WARNING comes in. If you’re the type who can’t stand cliffhangers, wait to read this until the next book is available and have it close at hand. Cassandra Clare leaves us with a whopper of a cliffhanger. I personally screamed out “WHAT!” in the middle of work and then cursed when an internet search informed me I had to wait until next year.

So, to sum up this little review, I give City of Fallen Angels 5 out of 5 jester hats. I really enjoyed this book the most in the series so far. It had me riveted to the point where sleep was not an option. Ask my boyfriend, I even read while eating. I could not put it down and I love a great cliffhanger. Is it May yet?!

In November, I’ll review the adult Fever series by Karen Marie Moning and you won’t want to miss it! Never fear, I’ll continue to review the new Cassandra Clare books as they’re released.

As always, I welcome suggestions for books to review.

~Jennifer Feuerstein~

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Finders Keepers: Tempted - Chapter Seven

Recap: In Chapter Six, Adam wraps up his mission and seeks out Demonica. The undeniable attraction between them is acknowledged and accepted.

Adam ran the distance to the pickup spot, not noticing the familiar sights around him. Blake waited with the chopper and he hopped in. This was going to be the fastest debriefing he’d ever gone through and hell would be paid to anyone who slowed him down.

“You’re late,” the pilot barked a sharp reprimand.

Adam answered coolly, “Simmer. I thought I was being followed so I doubled around a few times.”

Blake laughed. “I call bullshit.”

He whipped off his shades and stared into his friend’s eyes. He knew they could both see perfectly well in the dark interior. “Try me,” he growled, his eyes never wavering from the perfect animalistic pupil revealing the killer instinct behind them.

After a minute Blake calmed down and chuckled. “So the mission was successful?”

“Damn it Remy, you ask me that every fucking time this chopper picks me up. Has it ever picked me up if I failed?”

“Once...” Blake looked back at him.

Adam leaned back in his seat and smiled. “That does not count.”

Their banter continued until they reached Command. Then they were fully professional, back to the killers they were created to be. Both also aware they were surrounded by enemies in their own headquarters, nothing could slip.

He jumped out before the chopper landed at base. First up, walking in to record his mission. He didn’t have to hide anything on this one. He’d followed his instructions to the letter. They might be pissed the only evidence he had was the recording from his scope, but tough shit. The guy practically had an army guarding him and Adam wouldn’t have risked wandering into the middle of that for anything.

His weapons were checked and he made it through his physical in short time. He walked back out as Blake finished refuelling his black beauty. Adam climbed in and waited, checking his phone for any messages.

Blake climbed in and took his seat, sweet talking his chopper before turning to his passenger. “That’s the fastest debriefing you’ve ever delivered. What’s up?”

He closed off the growl by biting his lip. “I’m tired. I just spent weeks chasing a bastard all over the world. I barely had time to shower, let alone relax.”

“So I take it you want a ride home?”

He smiled and nodded. “Make it fast. I want to catch the morning news.”

Blake dropped him on the roof, as usual, and Adam ran for it the minute his feet were on solid ground. He hadn’t been home two hours before the orders for another mission came through and that had been a week ago.

He’d sent Danny a quick message to inquire about Monica and the reply worried him. She’d been to the pub every night for the first few days and then stopped coming in.

Adam ran the five blocks to Monica’s house. He stopped outside her gate and quickly scanned the yard to make sure the hounds weren’t on the loose before vaulting over and sprinting to the door.

“Monica?” he called out. “It’s Adam. You home?”

His heart pounded in his chest as the seconds ticked painfully by. The sound of light footsteps preceded the door opening and he grinned as she blinked up at him sleepily.

“Adam?” she squinted and pushed a clump of curls from her face.

Hauling her into his arms, Adam kissed her senseless. The warm, sweet smell of her enveloped him with a sense of home and he pulled from the kiss with a moan.

“Thank, God. Are you okay? Danny said you haven’t been to the pub in a couple of days.”

“I’m fine,” she yawned against the back of her hand. “I’ve just been working like crazy to get my summer line out. Come inside, please?”

He frowned and followed her in. “Summer line?”

Monica nodded, “Demonica Lingerie. Ever heard of it?”

“Lingerie?” he grinned and watched the sway of her ass while she walked. Figured. A woman who oozed sex the way she did wouldn’t have an ordinary job like secretary or accountant. Nope, he’d found himself a lingerie designer and if memory served – the lacy stuff her company sold ran toward the expensive.

“Yes,” she yawned again. “Come cuddle with me? It’s too early for decent people to be awake.”

“I thought you’d never ask,” he chuckled. “I’m gonna kill Danny later. Well, maybe maim him. His mistake did buy me some cuddle time with you.”

They reached her bedroom door and he scooped her into his arms. He opened the door and carried her in, closing it with a slight kick. “Bed time, sugar.”

He set her down on the edge of the bed. “Do you have a preferred side?”

“No,” she fidgeted with a curl. “But, I usually sleep naked. There’s nothing but me under the wrap I’ve got on. I can wear something if it would make you feel more comfortable?”

Adam tugged off his shirt and laid it on the end of the bed. “Considering I’m about twenty degrees warmer than the average man, you should probably just sleep naked but I’d hate to have you uncomfortable.” He stretched out on the bed and held his arms open for her, “Come here, Monica. Let me show you how a real man takes care of a woman.”

She plucked his shirt up and slid it over her head before dropping the thin silk on the floor.

He smiled at the sight of her in his shirt as she crawled up and stretched out against him. His clothes covering her skin seemed perfect somehow.

“You smell amazing,” she purred. “Like home.”

“I know the feeling,” he chuckled. His hands traveled lightly over her back in soothing circles. “Sleep well, baby.”

“Thank you,” she covered a yawn and snuggled closer. One of her arms slid over his chest and he stifled a groan at the delicious feel of her skin on him. “For coming over, and staying. I’m glad you’re here. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since you left.”

“Anytime,” he whispered against the top of her head. Secretly, he wondered if the unrest Danny had sensed on her last visit to the pub related to her lack of sleep. Of course, not knowing Monica well, he’d misinterpret the signs. “Shush, sleep. I’m here and this is perfect.”

Happy for the first time in ages, Adam smiled as she relaxed and her breathing evened out. His body and senses took in his surroundings with practiced skill. Once he felt everything was safe and secure, Adam willed the lock to turn on Monica’s bedroom door and drifted to sleep.

A cold muzzle pressed into Demo’s outstretched hand and her eyes fluttered open to the sight of Sheoul snuffling her fingers. Smiling, she scratched her pets and stretched luxuriantly.

“Good morning, boys.”

Sheoul’s soft growl and yip fully woke her up and she spotted the note on the pillow beside her. A rose lay tucked between the folded paper and she brought it to her nose while she read. Sorry I had to run to check in with command and didn't want to do it from here. I'll be back later. Until then, sleep well and keep the shirt. It looks way better on you. Adam 

“Adam,” she sighed. Tartarus whimpered softly at the word lovingly whispered by his mistress and she reached out to pet the hound’s head. “I know, but he’ll be back. You boys want another treat before you go outside?”

 Both hounds yipped and barked as she made a quick trip to the dresser to slide on a pair of lacy boy shorts. She padded barefoot out to find the bag of treats and gave them each one before setting them loose in the backyard.

“Alright,” she addressed the kitchen. “Now to figure out what he might like for breakfast.” She glanced at the clock and laughed, “Or lunch.”

A loud chime from her office rerouted her and she raced to answer the video call. A select number of people contacted her through video conference, and they only ever did so if it was an emergency.

She plopped down into her chair, accepted the call and pasted on a smile as the entire staff of her New York office appeared on the screen.

“Guys,” she greeted them. “What’s going on?”

Cecily fidgeted while the others spent a few seconds desperately trying to avoid Demo’s gaze.

“Um, I don’t know how to tell you this,” Cecily began. “The, uh, building for your new boutique burned to the ground last night.”

Demo’s heart sank. She sat back in her chair, stunned. “How?”

“We don’t know. They’re still looking into it but we’re going to need to find a new location.”

Another of her team, Paul if she recalled correctly, leaned closer to the camera. “How fast can you get to New York? We need to move on this if we’re going to be open for fashion week, honey.”

Her gaze skimmed over the clock in the bottom right side of the screen. “Crap. Okay. Give me an hour to get some things together and I’ll call you back with details.”

“Let me know what time your flight is scheduled to arrive,” Cecily spoke up. “I’ll come pick you up.”

Demo shook her head. “No thanks. I’m a big girl. I can get to the office on my own. See you guys in a bit.”

Clicking off the video screen, Demonica leaned back in her chair and cursed until she ran out of breath. They had been working on the newest Demonica Lingerie boutique for almost a year with every detail planned down to even the minutest thing. Now, it laid a charred ruin and she’d have to hustle to complete another one before the big fashion show they planned to put on in September.

“This would be so much easier if I could just poof in to the office,” she grumbled. “But no, the humans can’t know demons exist. Stupid rules.”

Two hours later her bags were packed for a week-long trip and Demo sat in a coffee shop down the street from her New York offices. The staff didn’t expect her for another two hours which gave her plenty of time to relax, enjoy a latte and think.

Marco’s email had come in as she landed in the alley a few blocks over and the news of Beelzebub’s change in tactics worried her. Instead of sending out the usual goof troop of made demons, he now relied on the best tracker in the supernatural world. Finder’s success rate boasted more captures than any other demon mercenary and she sat firmly in his crosshairs.

The message also made mention of a demon hunter team he’d discovered living in her sleepy little village. Details of their identities were sketchy at best, but Marco could confirm they were all military of some sort. Like Adam.

Dozens of questions swirled through her mind. He had to know she was a demon. Why hadn’t he tried to kill her if he did? Would he take her out when he discovered her true nature? Round and round the list of what ifs went on.

Demo shook her head. She didn’t know anything for certain and therein laid the problem. The list of things she knew about Adam weighed heavily toward him being a demon assassin and the thought of him using their relationship as a ruse to get close scared the hell out of her.

“Innocent until proven guilty,” she reminded herself.


Finders Keepers: Tempted will continue on November 20th, 2011.

Copyright © 2011 Danielle Gavan and Jennifer Feuerstein

If you missed any of our previous posts and would like to catch up, you can purchase the Digital Digest Volume II anthology as an ebook for only $.99.

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Danielle Gavan
Urban Fantasy and Erotic Romance Author

All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Power Play: Chapter Eight

Cassie’s not having a good week. She’s tired of dealing with the mixed signals from her boyfriend and she’s attacked by a large dog. Then it gets worse. Said boyfriend is keeping secrets and possibly using her for his own ends and the dog that attacked her? Yeah, that was a werewolf and now she’s going to be howling at the next full moon.

Not only does she have to deal with a deranged werewolf, intent on killing her but she’s got her boyfriend’s father pushing them to mate. Did she mention her boyfriend was a werewolf too? It’s going to take all she’s got to handle these alpha men and get what she wants too. Things can only get better. Right?

If you missed Chapter Seven, you can find it here.

Almost a week had passed since she’d left Alex’s house. Cassie had walked miles in the river, hoping to mask her scent. She must have hidden her departure well because she knew that regardless of her asking him not to follow, he would have. The longer she lived with this wolf inside her, growing stronger each night the full moon drew closer, she knew that his instinct to protect her would override everything.

The upside was that the rogue couldn’t find her either. The camp owned by the orphanage she grew up in stood empty, too early in the season for the next batch of young kids. She knew this place inside out after spending many summers here. No one that knew her, not even Alex, would associate this place with her. She hadn’t been here in over ten years.

It hadn’t changed much, though. The buildings were still sturdy and airtight, keeping out the cool night air so she didn’t have to light a fire for warmth. She’d set booby traps around the perimeter of the camp, not complacent with her safety.

The time away had been good for her. She’d done a lot of thinking and realized several things. The most important, that she wanted, no needed, to change was her habit of running away. She’d always prided herself on being a strong woman, a survivor, yet since her attack, she’d done nothing but run. It was time to face both her fears – the biggest being her feelings for Alex and whether they were reciprocated, the other her first shift.

The second would be over soon. Cassie moved through the forest on silent feet, thanks in part to her new DNA and hours of practicing her new abilities. The late day sun peeked through the canopy of trees surrounding Alex’s compound. Tonight, the full moon would shine bright and she would shift for the first time.

Her skin itched from the inside and ripples rolled along her body. When it had first started two days ago, she’d freaked until she realized it was her wolf. When she stopped fighting it, the pain at the beginning dissipated, leaving a general discomfort.

A rustle to her right brought her out of her thoughts. Cassie stopped and crouched low, waiting. Arms like steel bands encircled her from behind, catching her unaware.

“Well, well. What do we have here?” An amused voice chuckled behind her.

She kicked her legs and tried to head-butt him with the back of her head, but her struggles were useless. Even with all her new strength, she was no match for him. Obviously another werewolf. She prayed he wasn’t the rogue.

The branches that had originally caught her attention parted, and she stared at a familiar face. She almost cried with relief and wondered at the animosity present.

“Let her go. That’s Alex’s mate.” Disgust lined Mace’s voice and at his terse command, the arms let go.

She fell to the ground in a pile as the guard spoke into a radio. Gathering her feet beneath her, she stood. She imagined the burly wolf wasn’t happy about her sneaking away under his watch.

“Come on.”

He grabbed her elbow, firm but not painful, and trudged toward the house. As they broke through the trees as the edge of the clearing, Alex rushed toward her. His appearance shocked her. Gone was the urban, well-groomed man.

A scruffy beard and hair that looked as if it hadn’t been washed in several days jarred her, but it was the feral gleam in his eyes that sent her heart into spasms. Cassie hung back, but Mace’s grip wouldn’t allow her to go too far. Alex snatched her up and hugged tight, rocking from side to side.

Had she done this to him? She’d guessed that he would worry, but nothing of this magnitude. After all, he didn’t care about her. Did he?

After several minutes, he finally set her back on her feet. The two guards that had accompanied her to the house had melted away. It was only the two of them.

“You scared me, Cass. I was terrified that he’d gotten you.” Alex’s voice cracked and fresh guilt surged through her.

She laid her hand on his arm. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to worry you.”

A short bark of laughter escaped him and he turned away, stalking toward the house. “Worry doesn’t begin to cover how I felt.”

Trailing behind him, feeling lower than a slug, she hurried to catch up with him. “I’m sorry, Alex. I needed space.”

He whirled on her at the door. “You could talk to me about your concerns. Listen to me when I try to talk to you instead of running off like a scared little girl. I’m not an ogre. I’ve never raised a hand to you, yet you ran. From me.”

The hurt in his eyes, in his voice, undid her. “You’re right. I did run. But not from you. I ran from my thoughts and my feelings, but they just followed me. I did a lot of thinking while I was gone and I do want to talk to you. About everything. But can we wait until tomorrow? After my shift?”

Alex stared into her eyes. After a long moment of silence, he crossed his arms over his chest. “You stay here tonight and we talk tomorrow. In the morning.”

Relief swept through her. “Agreed.”

“Fine. My sister will be here soon to help you prepare for your shift.”

With that, he pivoted on his heel and vanished into the house. The slamming of his office door reverberated throughout the downstairs and all the way to her on the porch.

Perhaps she’d been too hasty in her relief.

A soft knock preceded Meg’s entry into her room. As soon as the other woman saw her, she ran to Cassie and hugged her. Hard.

“We were all so worried. Thank goodness you’re all right.” The younger woman pulled back and gave her a stern stare. “You shouldn’t have run off like that.”

Cassie, unused to so many people caring about what happened to her, swallowed back tears. “I know. I’m sorry. I was scared and confused. I just needed time to think and didn’t feel like I could do it here.”

With a brisk nod, Megan straightened. “In the future, remember that you can stay with me. Now, let’s get you ready to shift.”

Several hours later, freshly washed, buffed, and primped, Meg led Cassie to the area where the rest of the pack waited. Meg had explained that on the full moon, the whole pack shifted together. Since this was her first shift, they would wait until she’d completed the change. Acid gurgled in her stomach at the thought of being the center of attention.

As they approached, everyone turned to watch. Alex stood in the center with his father. He’d cleaned up since this afternoon, once again looking like the suave man she’d dated. A pathway cleared for her as she moved to join him. Meg gave her a quick hug before melding into the crowd. Alex smiled down at her and took her hand. Gone was the feral gleam and her heart picked up its pace, this time from being near him again.

Jackson raised his arms and the murmuring stopped. “Tonight, our new packmate becomes one with her wolf for the first time.”

A chorus of howls rose in the air, startling her at first, but curiously, helped to calm the butterflies fluttering in her stomach. After a short serenade, silence once more fell.

Alex turned her to face him. As he untied the knot of her silky white robe, he stared into her eyes, somehow reassuring her. She remembered that he’d said it wouldn’t hurt. His gaze, his touch, made her forget everyone else. She thought she’d be embarrassed to be nude in front of the others, but now, she could only see him.

“It’s time. Don’t fight it, okay?”

A shiver rippled down her spine, due more to his soft whisper than the slide of her robe to the ground. He brushed his knuckles across her cheek before helping her to all fours in a shaft of moonlight. After a few moments, the rippling in her body increased, not really hurting, but not comfortable either.

A bright light enveloped her as her bones moved inside her skin, seemingly absorbing any pain she might have felt. Fur burst through her skin in a wave, from head to toe. As the light faded, she looked around the clearing. Through the eyes of her wolf, all color disappeared, the shades of gray sharp and detailed.

A sense of freedom flowed through her and the need to run, to hunt, to play overwhelmed her. Somehow, Human Cassie gave way to Wolf Cassie and primal instincts took over. The relief of letting go of everything that had happened in the last two weeks sent a jolt of happiness through the wolf.

Another round of howls broke through the crowd and Cassie joined in, the sound rolling up her throat to blend in harmony with the others. Next to her, Alex shifted, followed by Jackson and the rest of the pack.

Alex nudged her hind-quarters with his snout, urging her into the trees. With a yelp of pleasure, she took off at a run, quickly learning the way her new body worked. The exhilaration of the cool night air rustling over her back sent her racing faster, free in a way she’d never been before.

Then she stopped thinking altogether and joined her pack in the hunt.

The pull of the moon called to his wolf, but he refused to yield. It’d been over a week since he’d gotten his last shot at Alex’s little bitch. If he didn’t take care of her soon, they would perform the mating ritual, making it harder to kill his enemy.

Tonight, she would transform for the first time. If he’d been successful that first night, she’d be dead rather than growing stronger. He punched the wall, angry at himself, enraged at his inability to wreak revenge on those that had destroyed his life.

They’d pay one way or another, whether he took out the bitch or fought both Alex and his father. After all these years, he wouldn’t let this last chance pass him by.

Please return on November 2nd for Chapter 9 of Power Play.
~~Riley Quinn~~

If you missed any of our previous posts and would like to catch up, you can purchase the Digital Digest Volume I Issue I, Digital Digest Volume I Issue II and Digital Digest Volume I Issue III anthologies as ebooks for only $.99!

Copyright © 2011 Riley Quinn

All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.