During the fund-raiser luncheon’s after-party, the Itch hit me. As I shook hands with one of the rich benefactors of New City University’s archaeology department, I felt the full-body flush take over me. Without looking, I knew that my normally bleached-gray eyes had turned a blazing blue.
That meant just one thing: I needed sex, and I needed it now.
The Itch is what drives succubi, forcing us to hunt down men and have amazing, mind-blowing sex every forty-eight hours. As you get closer to your time, your eyes darken to blue, your skin becomes sensitive and flushed, and everything turns you on. Everything. The Itch makes it impossible to forget sex—you live, breathe, eat, and drink it. Crave it like you once craved oxygen and water.
I had a definite craving right now.
“Jackie Brighton, so good to see you again,” a voice boomed, and a hand slid over my bare elbow, pulling me to the side.
Dr. Morgan was my new boss and the head of the New City University archaeological team. Anyone who was anyone in Wyoming university archaeology worked for him, and I was thrilled to be included.
He smiled at me. “How are you enjoying the fund-raiser, my dear?”
I smiled in return, wondering if it would be offensive to yank my arm away. The slight touch was maddening to my overheated flesh. “I’m great, thank you, Dr. Morgan. I don’t suppose you’ve seen—”
“You seem a little flushed. Is something wrong?”
Why, yes. I’m actually a succubus. Got turned into one a few weeks ago, back when I was just a dumpy docent at the local museum. Now I’m the hot babe you’re ogling, and I need sex to survive—right now. That’s why my eyes are turning blue, my skin is feverish, and I feel the urge to rip off my clothing and throw the nearest man down on the carpet and make hot love to him.
But I couldn’t tell my new boss that—no one believed that succubi were real except, well, other succubi. And their masters. So I kept the bright smile on my face. “I’m just fine, Dr. Morgan. It’s kind of you to ask, though.”
Dr. Morgan’s hand slid from my elbow and caressed the soft underside of my arm. “I’m just looking out for my favorite new team member.”
If I’d been a normal gal, that sexual harassment move would have sent me right to a lawyer’s office. But since I was a succubus, a ripple of desire pulsed through my blood. And Dr. Morgan noticed, judging by the possessive way he stared at my now-heaving breasts.
“Is it warm in here?” I pulled my arm out of his and fanned my face. Stepping a few feet away, I plucked a glass of champagne off a waiter’s tray. Time for me to leave the party, and stat. “Have you seen my date, Noah Gideon?”
Six feet tall? Utterly gorgeous? Blond? Fallen angel? Tattoos on his wrist?
Noah was one of the two men who had turned me into a succubus. The other was Zane, a vampire. A few weeks ago, I’d been an invisible docent with mousy brown hair and an expanding waistline, toiling away at the New City Museum of Art for a boss who hated me. Everything had changed the night I was transformed by Zane and Noah. I’d gone from plump and dowdy to svelte and stunning. My hair had transformed into a fabulous red mane, my breasts had more Ds than a bad report card, and men lusted after me. A lot.
You’d think there was no downside, except for the whole “master” thing that tied me to Zane and Noah. Any command one of them issued, I had to obey like some oversexed I-Dream-of-Jeannie.
Noah was my date to this afternoon’s shindig, and it was a good thing, too. Not only was Noah one of the archaeology department’s benefactors, but his presence would keep Dr. Morgan and his overly grabby hands away before I did something that both of us would regret.
Like throw him down on the floor and ride him like a bronco.
Dr. Morgan backed off at the mention of Noah’s name. He might like boobs a lot, but he liked archaeology funding more, and his upcoming Mayan dig was in need of additional money. “Mr. Gideon? I believe I saw him over in the east wing not too long ago. Would you like me to—”
“Not necessary.” I gave him a quick smile, downing my champagne. “I’ll find him.”
I hurried through the crowd, the pulsing in my veins growing more insistent with each moment. It concerned me that the Itch had appeared out of nowhere—most of the time it was a gradual change in my body chemistry. To have it flip on like a switch was disturbing.
And until I fixed my Itch, my body would grow steadily more sensitive, overheated, and needy. If I didn’t? Well . . . I’d never resisted for longer than a few days, because that way lay madness, pain, and death. In that order.
Not too irksome a fate if you had a hot man at your beck and call, and I had two of them. But since I’d just had sex last night with the vampire, Zane, I wasn’t due for another two days.
The east wing of the archaeology department was crowded, benefactors and their trophy wives circling around ancient vases and clay figurines, and commenting about them as if they knew what the heck they were looking at. I looked for Noah’s tall blond head in the sea of silver hair and poofy, frosted helmet-hair, but there was no sign of him.
I found him down one gallery hall, wine glass in hand, gazing at a large painting. Noah Gideon was breathtakingly gorgeous—not a surprise, given that he’d fallen from Heaven. His dark blond hair had been brushed into a haircut that looked perfect despite the intentional tousled style. His shoulders filled out his designer tuxedo, and I paused to admire him from behind. Because damn, the man had a nice behind. It made me quiver just to look at it.
Then I noticed what he was looking at and froze. It was a dark painting, full of shadow and light (chiaroscuro to the art nerds like me). A crumpled angel lay at the bottom in one corner, collapsed in a heap of feathers and rosy flesh. At the top, crimson heavens seared the dark canvas. Fall from Grace, the plaque read. It was a painting that one of the professors was restoring for the Smithsonian, brought out to display so all the wealthy patrons could see the good things we were doing.
And Noah was staring at it with an intense look that made me think that he hadn’t forgotten that part of his past, not by a long shot. As a fallen angel, he didn’t like to be reminded of Heaven. Originally angels like Uriel and the rest of Heaven’s warriors the Serim were condemned to live among mortals for all eternity because they’d had the bad luck to fall in love with human females. Exiled to Earth, they were doomed to have sex and give orgasms to their partners.
As curses went, I had no complaints (being the recipient of said orgasms), but Noah seemed sad for his loss.
Crap. How had I forgotten about that painting? Noah never talked to me about his past and how he’d fallen. I didn’t know how old he was (though I knew it was old) or if he kept in contact with the other angels that had fallen, or anything like that. Heaven was private, and I didn’t ask. I figured he’d open up on his own at some point.
From the devastated look on his face as he stared up at the painting, that point would be a long time coming.
“Noah?” I said quietly, moving to his side and slipping my arm into his. “Can we go now?”
He turned to me, the melancholy leaving his face so quickly I wondered if I’d imagined it. “Leave? But I thought you wanted to—”
His voice died at the sight of my bright blue eyes and the moist flush on my skin.
I gave him a faint smile. “Bit of a problem seems to have cropped up.” I slid my hand down his chest, a blatant invitation.
His eyes grew darker, the gray turning almost black, then a deep blue within a second or two as his own desire flared to match mine. “You’re never a problem, Jackie,” he said in a low voice, and the husky timbre caused my entire body to tremble.
I automatically moved toward him, pressing my body against his and tilting my face toward his.
“Not in here,” he said, glancing down the hall.
Oh, pooh. I frowned at Mr. Propriety, even though he was right. I just didn’t like being reminded of it. “Where, then? It had better be someplace close, or I’m going to make a spectacle of myself.” I slid my gaze over him meaningfully. “And you.”
He took my hand and led me through the crowd, murmuring excuses to the people who tried to stop us with a greeting.
When we finally cleared the wall-to-wall throng, Noah headed toward the double glass front doors. “Is the limo okay?”
The limo? All the way across the parking lot? “I have a better idea.” I tugged him down toward the professors’ row of offices.
“Is one of these yours?” he asked, his hands sliding to my hips despite his reserve, and I nearly lost my breath. My body began to tingle even harder with excitement. Sex now.
“No.” Good things the halls were clear—everyone was at the fund-raiser. I cussed under my breath when I discovered the first door was locked. I moved down to the next one—success. Pushing Dr. Morgan’s door open, I dragged Noah inside, then locked the door behind me.
“Jackie,” Noah warned, “I’m not sure this is a good idea.”
“Morgan won’t care,” I said, grabbing Noah’s tie and ripping my fingers through the knot. “He already suspects I’m sleeping with you for the good of the archaeology department. He’ll think I’m trying to do some extra fund-raising on the side.” I pushed him up against the heavy wooden desk in the center of the small room, and nearly swooned with delight when my hips pressed against the hardness nestled between his. Oh, yum.
“I can’t say that I approve of him having that impression of you,” Noah said, his voice sounding stern as he ran his hands over my hips again, teasing me.
A moan escaped me and I pulled his mouth down to mine, biting at his lower lip in excitement. “Right now,” I said between fierce kisses, “he could watch and I wouldn’t care.”
The Itch had me in its grasp, and all I could think about was the erection inside Noah’s pants and getting its wonderful, delicious length into my body.
Our mouths locked in a deep, thrusting kiss, and fireworks began to dance behind my eyes. I kissed him back, my tongue sliding into his mouth to taste him. His hands flexed on my ass and then I felt him hike up my skirt, my overheated skin tingling with excitement as I felt the brush of his fingers higher and higher up on my body.
He gave a loud groan as his hands encountered my bare ass. “Where are your panties?”
“At home,” I said, nipping at his mouth. “Didn’t want panty lines.” I arched, wiggling against his hand suggestively.
That brought my cool, in-control Noah over the edge. He gave a fierce growl against my mouth and picked me up by the hips, and I wrapped my legs around his waist eagerly. Within two seconds it was my ass plastered to the desk, and Noah’s hardness pressing me down against the surface in the most amazing way. A stack of paperwork jabbed me on one side, but I didn’t care. My fingers reached for his shirt and began to undo the tiny white buttons. I needed to feel his warm, hot flesh pressed against mine. I ripped the shirt out of his waistband and slid my hands underneath, trying to pull his body tighter against mine.
“I’m flattered that you waited for me for your needing,” he said, his breath warm against my skin.
Oh, uh oh. He thought I’d waited two days to see him again, just so I could have sex with him? Nice thought . . . except I hadn’t. Not the time to bring that up, though. My fingers slid to Noah’s nipples and I brushed across them to distract him, but Noah wouldn’t let it go. He pulled off of me slightly, a serious look on his face. “Are you and Zane having problems?”
I would have taken that as concern, except for the hint of smugness in his voice. Noah hated my vampire lover. Most of all, he hated sharing me.
Vampires and fallen angels got along about as well as . . . actually, they didn’t get along at all. Both were forced onto the mortal plane when they fell from Heaven. But while the Serim strove to eventually work their way back to the good graces of Heaven, vampires had pretty much given up on that. Instead, they sold their loyalty to demons in exchange for wings and lived a life of selfish debauchery.
The vampire I was sleeping with was great at debauchery.
So, yeah. Serim and vampires did not get along. Add in the fact that there was some sort of weird, tense undercurrent between Noah and Zane—some old rivalry that neither would discuss with me—and that left me stuck in the middle. Both wanted me to pick sides, but I refused.
Like right now. I lifted my chin, trying to angle my face so Noah would kiss me again. “Do we have to talk about Zane right now?”
Noah just gave me a long look. “Tell me the last time you saw Zane.”
That was low of him. Noah had just given me a direct command, so I had to obey it. I sighed, sensing where this was going. “A few hours ago, asleep in bed.”
That killed the conversation fast. Anger tightened Noah’s face. “I see.” He began to pull away.
“No, you don’t. You never see. Why did you ask that, unless you wanted to know the truth?” Honestly, this silly tug of war between the two of them just ticked me off. They hated each other passionately, and sometimes it made me think that they didn’t like me nearly as much as they liked fighting over me.
“I thought perhaps we were ready to commit to each other.”
Yikes, the “C” word? I stared up at him in shock. “Noah, I’m a succubus—”
“And I’m a Serim,” he interrupted. “It is in my nature to want you only for myself, that is who I am. And vampires are my enemies. So to think of you rushing from my bed straight to his . . .”
He didn’t finish the sentence, and I didn’t rush in to do so, either.
After all, what could I say? Noah’s kind went into a deep sleep at the sight of the rising moon and didn’t awaken for the next twelve hours or so. Vampires were the opposite; they slept through the daylight hours and prowled through the night.
I didn’t sleep at all, being a creature of both worlds. So it seemed ideal to me to have one Serim lover and one vampire lover. Judging by the scowl on Noah’s face, I was the only one thinking that way.
“I can’t do this, Jackie,” he said, shaking his golden head like an angry lion. “We are not going to keep playing these mind games. I’m not going to play along.”
So I wouldn’t be having sex with Noah unless there was some sort of commitment involved, like I won’t sleep with Zane ever again? I couldn’t keep that sort of vow.
Rats. I leaned up on my elbows as he pulled away from me, straightening his shirt. He wouldn’t look at me, but he didn’t move away. He was waiting for me to say something to make him change his mind. But I wasn’t going to.
I sighed and gave Noah a gentle push on the shoulder. “If we’re not going to do this, let me up. I think I’m lying on a stapler.”
He moved back with a frustrated glance at me, and we fixed our clothing in silence. My body still throbbed with need, but Noah’s movements were angry and jerky. Easy for him to forget about sex—Serim only needed it monthly.
I tried to slide my hand into his once he had shrugged his jacket back on. “Noah, are we good?”
Normally Noah was my solid one, my rock. Normally he’d give me a faint smile, apologize for hurting my feelings, and we’d be friends again. Friends and lovers, the best kind of friends. He was always there for me.
He shrugged my hand off and shook his head. “I need time to think about all of this, Jackie. Maybe it’s best if we keep things at a more professional level.”
Professional—like master and succubus. Not lovers. Not friends.
He wanted to be strangers.
That hurt, but I forced a smile to my face. “Sure. Whatever you want.”
He nodded and let himself out, leaving me alone, rubbing the stapler-shaped bruise on my butt.
© 2010 Jill Myles