Read Betting on Julia (A Melville Sisters Novel) (Entangled Covet) Online

Authors: Nina Croft

Tags: #Melville Sisters, #Werewolf, #Covet, #PNR, #Demon, #paranormal, #romance, #Operation Saving Daniel, #Entangled, #Nina Croft, #Sexy, #Betting on Julia

Betting on Julia (A Melville Sisters Novel) (Entangled Covet)

BOOK: Betting on Julia (A Melville Sisters Novel) (Entangled Covet)
8.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Julia wants a normal guy. Bastian needs a good woman. Neither is going to find what they’re looking for.

Small, blonde, bubbly, and with a penchant for all things pink, Julia Melville has always considered herself a nice girl – until she was attacked by a werewolf. Months later, and still in total denial, Julia spends the time between full moons fantasizing that her life is normal. And who could be better to help her with that than her new neighbor, handsome accountant, Sebastian Crane.

For two hundred years, Sebastian, a powerful warlock, has been possessed by a demon. Each day, his soul grows darker, and he knows that soon he will be beyond salvation. But the demon loves to gamble, and he’s made Bastian one final bet—get a good woman to say the words “I love you” and he’ll be free.

Julia wants a normal guy. Bastian needs a good woman. Maybe together they can find something far more valuable…redemption.

Betting on Julia

a Melville Sisters novel

Nina Croft

Table of Contents

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2014 by Nina Croft. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.

Entangled Publishing, LLC

2614 South Timberline Road

Suite 109

Fort Collins, CO 80525

Visit our website at

Covet is an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC.

Edited by Liz Pelletier

Cover design by Curtis Svehlak

ISBN 978-1-62266-595-2

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition August 2014

To Rob, who doesn’t mind if I get a little possessed every now and then…

Chapter One

Sebastian Crane resisted the urge to propel the woman across the floor with the hand at the small of her back.

It was obvious she wasn’t ready to go.

Finally, they reached the front door. He opened it, silently hoping she wouldn’t want a lingering good-bye. In vain, it turned out. Resting one long-taloned hand on his shoulder, she gazed meaningfully up at his face. Melanie was tall for a woman, but still had to tilt her neck. With her other hand, she stroked down the rough skin of his cheek. Hopefully, she would take the shudder that ran through him as desire rather than distaste.

She wasn’t his type. Actually, he wasn’t sure what his type was anymore or whether he even had one. But no, she was Dante’s type.

Long dark hair, a beautiful if petulant face. Perfect, if too-heavy makeup, which had impressively survived the energetic sex they’d recently indulged in without even a smudge.

The things he did to buy himself a little peace.

“You know, Bastian-baby, you really are a kinky son of a bitch.”


Again, that was more for Dante’s benefit than his. Though he wasn’t denying he had enjoyed the sex. It gave his body a brief relief and he wasn’t above a little bondage or spanking as long as it was consensual. But now it was over, and he wanted her gone. He needed to be alone. Or as alone as he ever got to be.

“You’re also a moody bastard.”

He couldn’t deny that one either. But he was tired, bordering on exhausted. The constant vigilance was wearing him down and that made common courtesy more work than he could manage.

He opened the door. Time to say good-bye. “Well that was nice, but…”

Melanie pursed her lips as annoyance flashed in her eyes “You know, if the sex wasn’t so good, I’d be out of here, and you’d never see me again.”

Trouble was, she was perfect for his needs, and he didn’t want the hassle of finding a new partner with which to indulge Dante’s somewhat strange tastes in sexual entertainment. So he lowered his face to hers and gave her a lingering kiss on the lips. Felt her melt against him and fought another shudder. “But it is good, so I’ll call you.” He backed away and gave her a long look out of half-closed eyes.

She licked her lips. “Make it soon.”

Then thankfully, she was gone. He shut the door behind her and returned to the main living area. The room was in near darkness. Outside night had fallen, but lights filtered in through the open blinds. He crossed to the floor-to-ceiling windows. The penthouse was high up, higher than the surrounding buildings, and he stared down on the city of London sprawled out below him. He was just south of the river that formed a ribbon through the buildings. From here, he could see the Tower and Westminster, St Paul’s, the Eye.

Once, he’d loved this city. Now he felt nothing. After over two hundred years, he’d lost the ability to feel, to experience simple pleasures.

He craved peace and solitude.

As if on cue, something rapped inside his head.

“Shit.” He so didn’t need this right now. Usually, the sex at least quieted his companion for a short while. Bracing his hands on the cool glass of the window, Sebastian fought to banish the tapping in his mind, push it back into the corner it usually inhabited, and lock the doors up tight.

But Dante was growing stronger. Each year, he wrenched a little more control from Sebastian, took over another slice of his miserable life. Pushing himself up straight, Sebastian stared at his reflection in the glass. In the black leather pants and shirt, he appeared almost formless, only his face pale, his eyes dark pits of exhaustion.

The rap came again. He’d get no peace until he found out what the bastard wanted.

The floor was black marble. Sebastian took out a piece of white chalk from his pocket and drew a circle encompassing the huge crimson leather sofa. The sofa over which he’d so recently bent Melanie, beaten her with a leather strap while she screamed in pleasure and then fucked her brains out. All for Dante. He muttered the words of the summoning spell, flung himself onto the corner of the sofa, and closed his eyes. For a second, it felt as though his brain was being wrenched from his skull. Then he was alone in his head, and he relaxed back and savored the sensation.

“Oh, Bastian, you are

He ignored the mocking voice, giving himself another minute to enjoy the brief respite and solitude.

“Even I think you outdid yourself with inventiveness this time.”

“Fuck off.” But at last he opened his eyes.

Dante stood before him. He appeared human, though Sebastian presumed he had some sort of demonic manifestation, no doubt complete with horns and a forked tail. His tall figure was dressed in black pants and a black shirt, and he had pale blond hair, almost white, and dark eyes with whirling glints of crimson in their depths.

“What do you want?” Bastian asked.

“You don’t sound pleased to see me.”

“I’m not.”

Dante paced the confines of the circle, his feet halting before they hit the chalk lines, which he couldn’t cross. “You know, if you dislike my company so much, you could always just let me out. You’d be free of me.”

Yeah, and there would be a fucking evil demon roaming the streets of London, causing havoc. He’d caught glimpses over the years of Dante’s real tastes. They went way beyond the spanking and rough sex Sebastian was willing to indulge in to appease the demon. He wouldn’t release that onto the world.

He’d gotten himself into this, and now he had to pay the price. But for how long?

And “dislike” really didn’t cover his enforced relationship with Dante. Loathed, abhorred…

“What do you want?” he asked again. “And make it quick. I have things to do.”

“I wish that was true, Sebastian, really I do. But when was the last time you left this place? The fact is, I’m fucking bored.”

“So go back to where you belong.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that. There are a few people not too happy with me back home.”

They’d had this conversation too many times. It was a pointless waste of energy. “Get to the point.”

“Get off your fucking high horse, Bastian. You’re no better than me. You think I don’t know you after two hundred years in your fucking sanctimonious head.”

“I’m nothing like you.”

“You’re bad to the bone. You love the things we do. You’re just too much of a pussy to admit it.”

“Go to Hell.”

“You think you can get rid of me and have a nice, normal life? You weren’t normal before.
people would run screaming if they knew what you really were.”

“You know nothing.”

Dante turned to face him. “You want to bet.” A look of cunning flashed across his face. “In fact, that’s an idea… Why don’t we have a little wager?”

“No, thank you.” The demon loved to gamble, but Sebastian avoided joining in whenever he could. That’s how he’d ended up in this mess. Well, that and the need to survive, slaughter his enemies, and save his daughter’s life. It had already been too late for his wife.

Dante gave a sly smile. “How about if I offered to leave you?”

“I thought you couldn’t go home.”

“Not ‘couldn’t.’ It would just be dangerous. But as I said, I’m bored. You’re boring me, Bastian. And I don’t deal well with boredom. How long have we been together now?”

“Too fucking long.” And each year his soul grew darker.

“Two hundred and twenty years. Maybe it’s time to say good-bye.”

Oh God, how he wanted that. But he didn’t believe it possible and so kept his mouth shut.

“Sebastian, you seem happy at the thought. I’m wounded. Of course, nothing is that easy. First, you have to win the wager.”

He wasn’t going to do this. Really, he wasn’t, but the thought of being free of Dante was intoxicating. If the demon would go back to the Abyss where he belonged, Bastian could have peace. He looked for no more than that.

But there was a problem with Dante’s wagers. He would never tell the whole deal up front.

“You didn’t enjoy Melanie?” Dante asked, the question jolting him from his introspection.

The change in subject took him by surprise, and he frowned. “What?”

“Your little friend who just left—‘Oh hit me harder, baby,’” he mimicked. “You’ve forgotten her already?”

He shrugged. “She’s more your type than mine.”

“So I gather. All the same you enjoyed it—you can’t hide that from me.”

Dante smirked and Sebastian forced himself to breathe slowly. The demon was just trying to get a rise out of him.

“Which takes me to the wager,” Dante said.

“I told you, no wagers.”

“Come on, you’re interested. I know you are.”

Sebastian sat forward on his seat as Dante came to sit beside him, leaning back relaxed, one leg crossed over the other.

“I told you, I’m bored and I have it in mind to see what you’re really made of. You think you’re so good, but in reality your heart is almost as black as mine.”

Sebastian didn’t say anything. What was there to say? If he’d been a good man, he would never have come to the pack’s notice all those years ago. Never come to Dante’s notice.

“You’ve been a big disappointment to me,” the demon continued, “but there’s still time to change. So the wager is…”

“Get the fuck on with it.”

Dante smiled. “I want you to get a ‘good’ woman to fall in love with you.”


“Within one month of your meeting, she must say, ‘I love you.’ And mean it. No love potions allowed.”

There was more to this than initially obvious, though he couldn’t see what. “And do you have a ‘good’ woman in mind?” Was this going to be the problem? Who could she be? Christ, he couldn’t believe he was thinking about this. Maybe before they got down to details, he should find out the down side.

“Hold off on the woman for the moment. And if I lose?”

“If you lose, you’re going to show me a good time. A week of unadulterated demon-style fun.

“Nobody dies.”

“I said
.” Then he shrugged. “Okay, nobody dies, but that’s the only limit.”

Sebastian could live with that. And maybe he could win. Be free of Dante forever. But he didn’t believe for a second that this would be easy. There had to be something else. “The woman?”

Dante grinned as though he’d known Sebastian would agree. He leaned across and picked up Sebastian’s laptop, powered it up and typed in a few words. A face flashed up on the screen. “Julia Melville.”

Sebastian stared at the face. Small, heart-shaped, with a pointed chin, dimples, and huge blue eyes. Blond curls framed the face. She was pretty with an almost palpable sweetness. Where had Dante found her?

For a second, he had the urge to slam down the lid of the laptop. Someone like that had no part in their fucked-up world. But he hesitated because she was obviously already in Dante’s scope. And that made her vulnerable.

“Well if
don’t want her,” Dante murmured, “maybe I can think of some other way to amuse myself with poor little Julia.”

Could the demon harm her? Dante might be trapped inside Sebastian’s body, but the demon had ways and means of contacting his old friends. Sebastian had no doubt he would destroy the woman purely out of spite. So he’d take the bet. Save Julia Melville from a fate worse than death at the hands of a demon. “I’ll do it. But if I win, you go back to the Abyss and absolutely nothing happens to the woman.”

“Cross my heart and hope to die.” Dante rubbed his hands together. “So the bet starts now. You have thirty days, and I’m thinking you’d better get busy, make a few…image changes if you ever hope to see the back of me. Because I’m guessing, right now, you’re not quite Julia’s type. Okay, I’m going for a snooze.” And he was gone—at least from Sebastian’s vision—now back in his brain.

Make a bet with a demon and chances are, you would live to regret it. Sebastian couldn’t help but wonder what Dante really wanted with Julia Melville.

He was going to have to find out.

And he was going to have to pretend to be nice while he did it.

Shit. He needed a cover. And maybe some different clothes. Dante was right—the black leather would have to go. And he was going to have to practice the “nice” thing. Because he was guessing he was a bit rusty.

What sort of man would appeal to a good woman? He had no clue and very little time to find out.

His gaze snagged on the sweet face of Julia Melville and a flicker of remorse jabbed him in the gut.

But what choice did he have? What choice did he ever have? And hopefully, this way, the worst that could happen to her was a broken heart.

BOOK: Betting on Julia (A Melville Sisters Novel) (Entangled Covet)
8.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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