Welcome to the last day of the Seven Sins and de-lurking week! It’s a seven-day contest, with a chance each day to win a copy of DEMON ANGEL. Here’s how it works: comment on any one of the seven sins, or confess your own weakness, lurker or regular or first-time-visitor — and tonight (at 11:59 pm exactly) I’ll choose seven winners by random drawing: one commenter from each post.
The seventh sin is LUST.
Oh, come on! There’s no way I’m going to talk about how I’m guilty of lust :joker: I am, and I lurve me some lust, but I’m sure not going to share it.
But I’m more than willing to share a short excerpt from DEMON ANGEL, and it has a bit of lust … and every other sin. (It also includes minor spoilers — but if you’ve read the excerpt from the page at my website, there’s nothing that isn’t there.)
Lilith gestured toward his sword. “Do you want to stab me?”
As she no doubt intended, the offer startled Hugh out of his anger, but the energy coiled within his muscles did not fade as easily as the rage. He raked his hand through his hair, stalked across the room. It wasn’t enough. He turned back. The detachment had settled over her again; she stood, looking at him without expression, her arms folded beneath her breasts, her demonic skin like a violent gash against the black shirt.
A few long strides and he was beside her again. She took a deep, sudden breath, as if something in his appearance unnerved her. A human response, despite her apparent intention to show none.
“This is not kindness,” he said. He slid his hand over her jaw, behind her neck to thread his fingers in the damp curls at her nape. Her skin burned beneath his palm, sent warmth spreading through him.
Her gaze dropped to his mouth. “What is it?” Her chest rose and fell in a quick rhythm.
“Envy.” He envied her control, desired it for himself. And when he touched her, his restlessness fell away. Left a new purpose in its place, a direction for the energy within him.
He closed the distance between them, grazed her upper lip with his tongue. And immediately wanted more. “Avarice.”
“Wrath?” The word shook, with laughter and fear andâ€”
He smiled against her mouth. “Lust,” he corrected, and his voice was rough with it. He drew her lower lip between his teeth. Why fear? He couldn’t hurt her. His wrist still throbbed from her grip earlier, but she… “Why is kindness more destructive than a sword?”
She closed her eyes, began to pull away, but he followed. “Gluttony.” He whispered it against her mouth before kissing her, coaxing her open with the gentle insistence of his lips and tongue. Despite his claim, he drank from her with delicate sips; he had less control over his hands, and they gathered and pressed her full-length against him. Slid up her ribcage, over her peaked breasts.
Arching into his touch, she moaned low in her throat, yet amidst the desire he could still hear the fear. She responded, but held back. His chest tightened with an unbearable pain.
The last time he had kissed her thus, he had killed her.
Hugh dropped his hands, staggered back. Lilith’s stance mirrored his, her hands fisted at her sides as she stared at him. In her attempt to resist touching him, her nails had cut into her skin.
Of course, her resistance indicated that, for all her preparation, the emotions she’d tried to hide were not far from the surface. Lucifer would easily sense these, and physically smell Hugh on her. She’d have to cleanse herself again when he left. But for now, she was finished with suppression.
She licked her lips, slowly uncurled her fingers. “You’ve never been a proficient sinner. That,” she said with a grin, “was not gluttony.”
“If it had been, it would be the least of the sins I have committed against you.”
Her eyes widened, and a laugh broke from her. “You’re overcome by guilt…because of Seattle?”
His mouth compressed. “You are not free; and you are still afraid. I should have found another way.”
“Hugh, I couldn’t tolerate the idea of your Fall. I would have slain you had you not me first. Like this.”
Quick as thought, she was back in his arms, her lips raised to his. His body was taut and hard, and he drew in a sharp breath.
She shivered, resisted the urge to rub against him like a cat. “Your sword, here.” She called the broadsword in, placed it in his hand.
He looked down at the weapon, and his gaze flew back to hers. “Lilith,” he said softly. “How didâ€””
He stiffened as the cold length of her blade pressed against his back. She drew the point up his spine, slicing his shirt but careful not to cut his flesh. With her free hand, she circled around his chest, smoothed her palm over the plane of his shoulder blade. “Your wings were here,” she said. Her fingertips found the edge of the tear, and she pulled. The shirt ripped as easily as tissue. Bare, warm skin beneath. She slid her forefinger across his back, felt the shape of the bones under the sheet of muscle. “And this would have been the entry point for my sword. Between your ribs, through your heart.”
She pressed on the spot, then raked her nails gently over it. The swords vanished, and he shuddered as if she’d released him from an invisible hold. “That does not absolve myâ€””
“I would not have regretted it.” The words fell between them like drops of ice. “You have nightmares, do you not?” She knew he did, even without the confirmation in his tight nod. Impossible to have that level of guilt without it manifesting in some way. “I don’t.”
A wry smile touched his lips. “You don’t sleep.”
“I wouldn’t have them even if I did. By that time, you were not worth the regret. There was nothing left of the man who’d once fascinated me, who’d ruled emotions I’d rather not have acknowledged. Yet you were still my tyrant.”
His face whitened. His throat worked, and she dropped her gaze to the buttons at his collar. The top two were undone, and she began unfastening the rest.
“Will be easier for you to fulfill your bargain.”
His voice was hoarse, thick. It took a moment for her to realize what he meant. She looked up from the smooth expanse of his chest. “No. That was then. Now, I would regret. Why else would Lucifer have waited so long? No reason, but for you shed the skin of frost you wore as a Guardian, and to become Hugh again.”
She pressed her hand over his heart, and he captured her wrist, held it still. “What do you need from me?” He searched her face, and she wondered what he saw there. “Do you need me to be as I was when I was a Guardian?”
She shook her head, laughing. “You can not save me.” Pushing the shirt from his shoulders, she vanished it before it hit the floor. Oh, but he was beautiful. Golden flesh, sculpted by his inner demons, and more perfect than any illusion he’d been able to create as a Guardian.
He lifted her chin. “I can try.”
“I hate martyrs,” she said, smiling. Her hands moved to the waistband of his jeans. Her fingers dipped in, stroked the hot, silken tip of him.
A broken, unraveling breath escaped from between his teeth, and the muscles of his abdomen stood out in sharp relief. “What is this?”
“Pride.” She cupped her hand, slid down his thick length. She could have eased her way by unzipping, unbuttoningâ€”eased the tight fit of her fist and his cock within the clothing. His groan made her glad she didn’t.
“No, it is mine,” she said, and squeezed. Heat gathered low in her belly as he shuddered again. “Though you have reason enough to be proud.”
He laughed, but it held a desperate edge, and she could feel his need to move within her grip. “Vanity.” He choked on the word as she pulled upward, pumped her hand at the crown.
He closed his eyes, and his hips jerked once, as if he had to thrust or expire. “The book.”
“Mmm, the book,” she agreed, her tone teasing. She spread a bead of moisture over the head of his shaft with her thumb. Her nipples were tight, and the slow heat had become a burning ache.
She ignored it.
“You don’t like the translation?” he said, and his head bowed as she circled the crown again.
Her lips pursed. “Couldn’t you have reprinted it? It’s humiliating. But the original is very good.”
“You wish another version? A new translation?” He was shaking, with laughter and frustration.
Her eyes narrowed. “You’re allowing me to punish you this way, so that you feel less guilty for it.”
“I hardly think”â€”he broke off on a gasp, clenched his teeth as she stroked down his length with pressure that bordered on the painfulâ€””this is punishment.”
“No.” She released him, stepped back. If her grin was strained, she doubted he would notice. “This is.”