Thursday, November 29, 2012

Excerpt: Fire in the Blood

“You still haven’t eaten,” Harvey reminded after I hung up the phone.
“Drive through. Don’t let me forget.”
“You said that this morning.”
“I did?” I asked in surprise.
“Yes, you did.”
Damn it all to hell and back, my brain must really be fried, because I had zero memory of that. At least I’d been chugging black coffee all day, so there was something in my system, even if it was only caffeine. I couldn’t keep up this pace for much longer, but I didn’t have a choice. I was the only one left to handle the demon problem. I’d tried to call in extra help from the coasts, and everyone turned me down. They were too afraid of the hunters, and though I couldn’t blame them for that, it still pissed me off. I outsourced what work I could to the local guardians, but it wasn’t enough. They weren’t specialists like me.
I was trying to bail out the Titanic with a teaspoon. It was only a matter of time before we all drowned.
“Well, this time I mean it,” I said lamely.
“Of course, Mistress.”
I grabbed my black cashmere coat from the rack and donned it along with my scarf, then slung my messenger bag over my shoulder. This time I made it halfway across the room before I was stopped, but it wasn’t the phone that interrupted me. It was a faerie invasion, and I had only a moment to recognize Faust by the smoky lenses of his round, dark glasses before he pounced on me. He kissed me fiercely and nudged me back until I stumbled into the front of my desk.
“I dislike this overcoat. It’s much too bulky.” He reached for the buttons and I batted his hand away.
“I’ll be in the car, Mistress,” Harvey called out loudly before vanishing. He’s not a voyeur, and he disapproved of my relationship with Faust. I didn’t approve of my relationship with Faust either. Every summoner knows you shouldn’t get involved with a faerie, because it always ends badly.
“Cut it out. I’m on a call,” I warned.
Faust grinned, and my chest tightened with an emotion I fought not to show. Yes, this was headed toward disaster, but I couldn’t help myself. Faust was the most addictive temptation I’d ever met. He was just so damn pretty—tall for a faerie, which made him about my height, and dark haired with a pale complexion that spoke more of a vampire than a faerie. Faust had an angular face with high, sharp cheekbones that reminded me a bit of a runway model, a finely-drawn brow and a smile that could make a girl weak in the knees in 0.5 seconds.
“It can’t wait,” he insisted. “I’ve missed you.”
He tugged my scarf aside and kissed my neck, and it was suddenly much too warm to be wearing my coat. I didn’t fight him as he unbuttoned the garment and slid it off. I kissed him and indulged in the lovely diversion of letting his nimble hands roam for a few moments, because the past few days had been all business and no pleasure. But I had an appointment to keep, and I pushed him away with a disappointed sigh.
“I missed you too, babe, but I don’t have time for a break. I’m on call 24/7 now.”
“I know you are.” Faust’s expression sobered, and he caressed my cheek. “You’re a brave woman, Patience, and I admire that about you. But that’s also why I’m here.”
“You’re here because you admire me? Funny, seemed more like desire a second ago,” I teased. The corners of his mouth twitched, and I bit back the urge to kiss him. Experience had taught me that if I encouraged him I’d end up naked and bent over the desk.
“There’s a problem—” he began, and I cut him off.
“I don’t have time for more problems. We’re all full up here.”
“This is serious. Zachary has hired someone to kill you.”