Title: Three Wishes
Author: Debra Dunbar
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Anessa Books
Date of Publication: March 7, 2015
Word Count: 79,000
Cover Artist: Phatpuppy Art
Dar helped his foster sister become the ruler of Hel, and helped her free the enslaved humans from the elves. It’s about time he helped himself – to a fun week of mayhem in the Windy City. Collapsing a few buildings and corrupting politicians is an ideal vacation for a demon in Chicago, but Dar didn’t count on a beautiful angel sabotaging his fun and putting him to work.
Asta is an angelic enforcer, scanning for demons in her assigned territory and sending them to an early grave. Unfortunately, the latest trespasser from Hel has diplomatic immunity – but immunity doesn’t mean she can’t coerce him into helping her track and dispatch the powerful demon that’s been cycling in and out of her radar for the last few days.
Demons are the sworn enemies of every angel, but Asta must learn to trust Dar or the dark presence that is growing in Chicago will spread – and this particular enemy has the skills and knowledge to send human civilization back to the dark ages.
She has one week left as an enforcer before she returns to her heavenly home – one week to catch an elusive monster, and one week to safeguard her heart from the demon who is determined to seduce her to sin.
Stupid revolving doors. What idiot thought these things were a good method of entering a building? She stood watching as the door made its circuitous route. Could she time it so she actually managed to get in between the sections? The last time, she’d been knocked backwards onto the pavement. That wouldn’t be a graceful entrance given her current dress and sky-high stilettos.
She recognized his voice even before the faint energy trickled across her skin with its siren song. How did he do that? Thank Aaru all demons weren’t as stealthy as Dar, or her job would be nearly impossible. As she turned, she realized that with her heels, she towered over him. In flats, she was the same height as the demon, but the shoes she loved so much put Dar’s chin right at her bosom — a fact he’d quickly realized and had taken advantage of.
“Want me to get the door for you?” he asked her breasts.
“Did you make reservations? Otherwise we can skip the revolving door and just head over to Taco Bell.”
The demon chuckled and brushed a curl from her bare shoulder, his fingers lingering against her neck while his eyes explored the skin north of her cleavage. “Of course I made reservations. I didn’t want you to give me any excuse to not eat tonight.”
“I swore I’d play your game tonight as long as you help me catch the other demon. I’ll eat anything you put in front of me.”
Why did that cause the demon to nearly fall over laughing? Did he have something in particular he wanted her to eat, the thought of which was giving him such amusement?
Oh. Yeah, that probably wasn’t the best thing for her to say given his proclivity toward the sin of lust.
Wiping his eyes, still chuckling, Dar strode forward, stopping the revolving door to the angry protests of those trapped inside. “Then let us dine, my angel.”
Asta took a deep breath and walked past him, putting her palms on the front of the glass as she’d seen the humans do. Hopefully he wouldn’t bump her out as he had the other evening. With these shoes on, she’d probably land face-first on the plush carpet.
She should have known he’d squeeze into the tiny space behind her, pressing the full length of his form against her back and rear. Asta tried to scoot forward, only to find herself sandwiched between the demon and the glass. The humans yelled at them to move, but Dar held still, his body warm and powerful.
“Maybe we should just stay here a while.” His hips shifted and Asta felt something stir to life, hard and firm against her buttocks.
She’d told him no sex, but rubbing against her in the doorway wasn’t off limits. And it was most definitely brought with it welcome sensations. “We need to move,” Asta said with regret. She tried to push the door forward, but Dar had it wedged in place. The trapped humans began to pound on the glass.
“I love pissing them off,” he whispered against her hair. “So much anger over such a minor inconvenience. The gifts of Aaru seem to have turned them into a bunch of minor demons, don’t you agree?”
It did seem a fair comparison at the moment, but Asta hadn’t squandered her century here. She’d seen sparks of divinity in the human race, and no demon was going to convince her otherwise.
She shifted to look at him over her shoulder, rubbing herself along his body in the process. Oh stars, this felt good. If only those darned humans weren’t causing such a racket. “You’re being inconsiderate.” Her voice was breathless. “They have a right to be angry. And they’re still very early in their evolution. Give them another ten-thousand years or so, and I think you’ll find they’re more angelic.”
Asta hesitated. He was being so kind, so un-demonic. She did want to ride the Ferris wheel with him, sip a margarita while she eyed this handsome demon over the salt-crusted rim. He’d say all sorts of outrageous things, and she’d laugh in spite of herself, throwing right order and her vibration levels to the winds. The idea appealed more to her than he’d probably ever know, but he was a demon, and she was an angel. And there was work.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to lose my temper. It’s just been a really stressful hundred years.”
He smiled, and she barely resisted the urge to reach out and stroke his face, to rub her thumb along his bottom lip.
“Come out with me. I’m pretty sure you deserve one night off after one-hundred years.”
“I can’t. I really, really want to, but I just can’t.” She didn’t need to feign the regret. I’m making the biggest mistake of my life.
“You’re making the biggest mistake of your life.”
She jumped at his words, wondering if he could read her mind, or if her emotions were that transparent. Dar sighed, tightening his grasp of her waist. “You angels are fucking slave drivers when it comes to duty and responsibility. Well, if I can’t spend the evening with you, I’ll have to go with plan B.”
Before she could even wonder what plan B was, his lips were against hers. It wasn’t the sort of kiss she’d ever expected from a demon — not that she’d ever envisioned herself kissing one. His mouth was gentle and tender, barely a caress. His lips explored hers, then he lifted his head from hers, tugging her bottom lip with a hint of teeth.
“Goodnight, Asta,” he whispered.
It had been over too fast for her to stop it. She’d been too surprised to resist. Liar. All she wanted was for him to kiss her again. That wasn’t something she was willing to admit, so, instead, she summoned up the dredges of her long-cooled temper and pushed him aside. “Go to Hel.”
“Eventually. Right now I’m having too much fun.”
She shook her head, unable to resist returning his smile. Looking down, she saw their tussle in the alley had torn her pants. Another pair of pants ruined by this infernal demon. If he stuck around the rest of the week, she probably wouldn’t have a stitch of apparel left intact. The thought should have pissed her off, but, for the first time in the last century, she found she really didn’t give a flying leap about the state of her precious clothing. It’s not like she’d be taking it with her to Aaru, and the last twenty-four hours with this demon had been far more exciting than even a Versace dress could ever be.
She gave him a watery smile. “And flying? I’m sure you fly all the time, since you have immunity and don’t need to fear death at the hand of us angels.”
Don’t look down, don’t look down.
“Uhhh, I don’t fly.”
The angel’s eyes widened. “You don’t fly? I know you all lost your wings in the Fall, but I thought you could still manifest those leathery bat-type wings. What do you mean; you don’t fly?”
“I . . . we . . . .” Dar made the mistake of looking down and felt himself break out in a sweat, his hands white knuckled as he gripped the rim of the roof. “Not all demons can manifest wings. I can’t. I don’t fly.”
Silence fell, and Dar felt her pity. It grated on him like sandpaper. “I don’t want to fly. It’s not my thing. I’m a rat. I like it underground in caves and tunnels. The air isn’t my thing.”
As soon as he’d said the words, a lump settled in his throat. She was an angel with an affinity for air, and he couldn’t fly — wouldn’t fly. The very thought of it sent chills down his spine.
“I’ll fly you. You need to experience it, even if just this once. If you don’t like it, that’s fine — you don’t ever have to do it again.”
Dar tensed, his hands gripping the ledge of the roof so hard he feared it would crumble in his grasp. A hand touched his shoulder, and he jumped with an involuntary reflex.
“Trust me. I won’t let anything happen to you, I swear. Trust me.” Her mouth turned up in the most adorable smile ever. “I’ve trusted you these last few days. It’s your turn.”
The demon drew a shaky breath. It was as good a day to die as any. “Okay. Just a short flight.”
He glanced over and saw the warm approval in her face. Moonlight and some inner glow lit her like a beacon in the night. Golden brown. Everything about her was like a warm loaf of bread right out of the oven. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe she’d drop him from a thousand feet up, or drown him in Lake Michigan. It didn’t matter, because he was lost in the beautiful joy shining from her dark eyes.
“I’ll even fly you in your rat form. How’s that? Both of us conquering our fears at the same time.”
Who says I’m afraid? It’s what Dar wanted to say, but instead something totally different came out. “Right. You’ll be more likely to panic and drop me as a rat than as a demon. I know how you feel about rodents.”
The brown eyes widened then Asta threw back her head and laughed. It was a deep, smoky, musical laugh, and Dar felt his hands loosen on the roof ledge.
“I swear on my eternal soul that I will not drop you.” The angel’s eyes grew soft. Dar could have sworn he saw something in them that was more than affection. “I will never let you go, Dar, no matter how red your beady eyes are, or how your whiskery nose twitches, or how much your sharp claws dig into my skin. I will never let you go.”
Dar took a deep breath and stood. “I can’t promise I won’t puke on you.”
Asta rose, huge wings of brown and gold extending full-width from her back. “Vomit is not included in this excursion. You puke on my shirt and you’re going for a swim.”
About the Author
After majoring in English with a concentration in Medieval Literature and Folklore studies, Debra promptly sold out to the corporate world, occasionally writing marketing copy and op/ed articles for a local city paper. By day, she designs compensation programs, after dark she stuffs her nose into obscure mythology, and feverishly writes her novels. A DEMON BOUND is her debut novel.
Debra lives on a farm in Maryland with Sweetie, three sons, and a Noah’s ark of four legged family members. She drives an old PT Cruiser, couldn’t carry a tune if you duct taped it to her back, and enjoys an occasional cosmopolitan (heavy on the vodka). On a good day, she jogs and horseback rides, hopefully managing to keep the horse between herself and the ground. Her only known super power is ‘Identify Roadkill’.