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Authors: Nina Harper

Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Contemporary, #Romance

Succubus in the City

BOOK: Succubus in the City
12.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Contents

Title Page

Dedication

Acknowledgments

 

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

 

Epilogue

Copyright

 

This book is for those wonderful, irreplaceable people who feed me chocolate and floofy drinks when I’m miserable and depressed, and celebrate with chocolate and floofy drinks when things go well for me. Who take my calls at 3 a.m., who listen to my miseries and tell me that I’m still good company, who will tell me when the jeans are not flattering, who will notice all my weight loss but never notice a gain and who always give me a ride, mascara, or carfare home when I need it.

This book is for my girlfriends, the most excellent buddies any woman ever had. I love you all, and without you my life would be unbearable.

 

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank John Landers and Tom Major for putting me up, and John Irvine for putting up with me. Liz Manicatide and Karen Marcovici were invaluable in research. And always, Cecilia Tan, Sarah Smith, and Van-dana Singh for critical advice on writerly matters. I also would like to thank Bill Fawcett for making everything happen.

 

chapter
ONE

There I was on a Saturday night, dressed up in Prada and ready to go out, to our new favorite club in the Meatpacking District when the phone rang. It was my friend Sybil, very contrite, to say that she was down with a nasty cold and really could not make it out. And that I was welcome to come over and share her chicken soup and her germs but she was planning on bed before the A crowd would even arrive at the velvet ropes. So my choices were to stay home and watch reruns or hunt. I’d already seen everything in the latest Netflix order and I was already dressed. And I just didn’t want to look at the stack of dishes in the kitchen sink or admit to wasting forty minutes on my makeup.

So hunt it was.

A convention is always easy hunting. Like any New Yorker, I don’t like the invasion from out of state, gawkers who stand in the middle of the sidewalk staring up at the high buildings and blocking traffic, to say nothing of display windows. The out-of-towners are so wary, watching their wallets and their keys and trying to look behind their backs—but they never worry about me when I show up.

I took a taxi to a hotel near the Port Authority with a scuzz factor to match the address. The lobby and bar were crowded with bored-looking men in Arrow polyester shirts and bad toupees. Old Spice overlaid but did not mask the scent of disinfectant and I had to resist the impulse to gag.

They turned to look at me. They always do. I am a succubus, and they can’t help it. But I knew that my clothes were way over the top for this crowd. Suddenly I was tired and depressed and thought the reruns looked appealing after all. Then I spotted my prey.

I don’t make the judgment calls, I just deliver the goods. That’s the way I think about the job. But like everyone else, I’m trying to make the world a little nicer, a little safer, so I choose men who make it…less nice. There he was, sitting at the bar, hooting and leering and whistling when I entered. He did it again when another woman made the mistake of passing the doors and that decided me. I walked over to him and leaned against the faux leather edging and tried to get the bartender’s attention.

I ordered a Jack Daniel’s. Somehow with these guys, that seems to indicate that I’m available and not quite respectable. I always order Jack Daniel’s but I never drink it, and it did the trick again. Before I could get the change from the twenty into my wallet he was all over me.

“Hey baby, come here often?” he asked.

And that clinched his fate. I hate to be called baby, hate it more than almost anything else. Then, to seal it in stone, he reached around and fondled my ass. Yes, the women of the world could definitely do without him.

I smiled. “What’s your name? Where are you from?” They always talk about themselves and never notice that they hear nothing about me. They think that they fascinate me and they’ve thought it for thousands of years. And for nearly that long they have been my prey, my mission.

His name was Brad and he was from…someplace that wouldn’t miss him. Suddenly I was bored and wanted it over. No use playing the game, luring the prey, making it appear that I had to be caught and seduced and that I was overwhelmed with his charm. Or charisma. Or whatever. “Shall we go upstairs?” I asked when he paused to breathe.

And then he blushed and looked at the condensation on the bar. “I, ummm, well, my friend said we could save money on our per diem if we shared a room and he’s a serious Christian and friendly with the boss…could we go somewhere else?”

“We could go to my place.” I hate taking them to my place.

He followed me out and lit a cigarette as soon as he cleared the door. Then he balked when I hailed a cab. “I don’t think that’s covered in my per diem,” he said, fingering his wallet. Cheap to boot. I sighed. “I’ll take care of it,” I said. I’d hit the trifecta: called me baby, cheap, and a smoker. The only good thing about this evening was where he was going and that he was going there as fast as I could manage.

My doorman noted that I’d returned, and with someone in tow. He looked away as I dragged Brad into the elevator and then into my bedroom.

At least he’d had a shower in the last forty-eight hours, I had to give him that. Though as he peeled off the layers of his Kmart suit I could see that his body was even flabbier than I had imagined.

They have to come before I can deliver them. That’s the deal, and I was hoping he’d be a fast one. Fortunately, he was. I had him on his back and stripped carefully, teasing and not letting him touch as I hid my breasts with my mass of auburn curls or turned and slid my panties over my thighs. Oh, he was more than ready when I turned back and hovered over him. He lay looking up at me, plenty ready. It only took a few short strokes before he groaned.

He got his moment of pleasure, and then he ignited, bursting into screaming yellow flames that flared under my hands. In less than five minutes he was a few ounces of ash cooling on my sheets.

I dustbusted, changed the sheets, and then took a quick shower before settling in for season three of
Friends.

On Sunday morning the alarm got me out of bed before noon. I turned on NY 1 for weather and news, and started some Costa Rican shade-grown dark roast in the French press. There was still some housekeeping to do. The dirty sheets that I’d tossed into the corner belonged in the laundry pickup bag. Brad’s clothes, which also still littered my carpet, went into another bag to be dropped off at the Salvation Army on Fourth Avenue. Imitation Gucci shoes and bad knockoff of last season’s jacket and tie, pants, a polyester-blend shirt, and underwear. Yuck. Bad clothes. But someone would buy them for three dollars and be glad and no one would trace them back to me.

After removing the cash from his wallet I set the driver’s license and credit cards aside to be left on a subway bench later. All organized and cleaned up from the night before, I poured my first cup of coffee just as Wolf Blitzer started on the latest Washington scandal.

Vincent the doorman rang for the ashes.

Well, he’s Vincent this week. Next week it’ll be Jose or Michael or Vitale. Likely Vitale. Satan seems to like names that start with
V
, at least for doormen. Anyway, this was his first day so he came up to introduce himself and pick up the bag himself.

“And if you need anything, Miss, remember that my number one priority is to look after you.”

Ack! Had this guy been in advertising or retail? Where does She find them?

And I know his number one priority is to look after me. Literally. Watch my movements, see who I bring home, take out the ashes in the morning, and send the sheets to the cleaners and drop off the clothing donations and wallets in anonymous locations. I mean, I can’t complain about the service and it does improve my quality of life. After all these centuries I should be used to it by now, but there are just some aspects of the job that I’ve just never become really comfortable with, and having a doorman who knows way too much about me is one of them.

At least he’s cute. They’re always cute. This one had chestnut curls cropped short, and sherry-dark eyes. I do have to bow to Satan’s class—She has never given me a dud doorman yet.

He stood there, smiling. “My name is Vincent.”

“You said that already.” I was late. Was he waiting for a tip?

“Will you be wanting a cab this morning? In fifteen minutes, perhaps?”

I was running late and Sybil would kill me, because there wouldn’t be a table open at our usual restaurant and they won’t even take us in line until the entire party is there. I’d made a real effort this morning, actually got up with the alarm and had even picked out my Seven jeans and the rose-colored lace camisole the night before.

“Thank you, Vincent. Fifteen minutes would be perfect.” He smiled as broadly as any of the gentlemen, excuse me, creeps, I picked up for the delivery service.

I was in the lovely white marble lobby of my building in thirteen minutes flat and Vincent already had a cab waiting. Efficient and useful. I hoped he would stay around for a while, but if he discharged all of his duties so well he would be promoted by the end of the week. Well, I’d enjoy it while it lasted. So I sailed out the door and relished the sight of the young man running from the building to get the door to the cab as well.

“I knew you’d be late.” Sybil sighed as I ran up to her on the sidewalk. She stood in front of the steps leading up to the restaurant and shivered slightly in her thin spring jacket. She should have worn a coat, but it was one of those perfect almost-spring days that New York has in the late winter, just to tease the natives who should know that there are at least six more weeks of slush to go. But when the sky is a clear, perfect blue and it’s warm enough to wear a jacket instead of a coat it’s easy to pretend that spring is just a few weeks away.

Of course, Sybil looked disappointed at my late arrival. Her large blue eyes were almost brimming with tears at my delay. Guilt, guilt, who could help but feel horrible at making this lovely, sweet-looking woman so miserably dejected by the ultimate sin of Being Late.

“Wait a minute,” I said, looking at her. “What about your cold? You were too sick last night to go out and—Sybil, we’re demons. We don’t get sick.”

She shrugged. “I really felt awful. If you’d come over you would have seen it. I’m not like the rest of you. I’m not a sex demon, I’m just a greed demon. So I do catch colds.”

Sybil always seems to feel left out because she’s the only one of us whose duty is not sex. Maybe she did have a cold. Or maybe she had just been feeling sorry for herself, which happened at times.

“What about Desi and Eros?” I asked, trying to distract her.

“Already inside, trying to pretend that we’re all here so that we can keep our place in line. They lied and said that we were just outside having a cigarette.” She shuddered delicately, and I agreed. Tobacco, ugh! I couldn’t abide the smell. It was all I could do to swallow my revulsion if one of my deliveries was a smoker. I cannot understand why anyone smokes anymore. It’s such a social liability.

We raced inside and joined our friends in the crush at the trendy poured-concrete hostess station that was separated from the entrance by a glass wall. Desi waved us over. She had snagged one of the dark wooden seats in the waiting area that was artfully reminiscent of a cross between a Victorian gentlemen’s club and a Victorian train station. Though the press of bodies obscured the antique brass lockers and the deep mahogany desk, I could see the hostess shaking her head and studying the seating book that lay open in front of her. “Probably twenty minutes,” Desi said, “Did you have a hard night?” That last was directed to me, and was genuinely sympathetic. I love Desi for that kindness more than anything. The others all think that I’ve got the easy gig, but Desi understands that the ashes-to-ashes business has gotten very old.

“At least this one had taken a bath,” I said, and watched with some satisfaction as my friends winced a little. “I think he was with some convention. He wore a polyester-blend shirt and Drakkar Noir.”

BOOK: Succubus in the City
12.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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