"We've got to get inside tonight," I told Ren. Halfway across the parking lot, I picked up my pace. "It's getting darker in there. We're going to lose more if we don't move soon."
There was so much life...so much emotion.
Lust. Anger. Jealousy. Need. Love. Rage. Hatred.
Emotions--uncontrolled emotions drew predators. That's why the demons were here. Wherever there were people there would be emotion. And wherever there was emotion there would be demons.
Wherever there are demons there would be Grimms.
There would be us. Unlikely guardian angels trying to keep the unsuspecting mortals from making bad, bad and worse mistakes.
That was our job. We would do it. We would do the job. We would deal with the succubi and incubi. We would find the king or queen and eliminate them. Then Ren or I would hang around long enough to make it clear this area was now under the Circle's watch.
If I had my way about it, it would be Ren hanging around. If at all possible, I wanted to clear the hell out the second we dealt with the king or queen.
I was planning on getting out of Ohio as quick as possible.
Maybe head for New York this time. Or Chicago--
No. Screw that. I was going to Milan. And the Circle could pick up the damn ticket, too.
I'd asked for a break and I'd ended up with an assignment instead.
They owed me that break, damn it.
I took a deep breath and glanced down at my clothes. Barbie goes badass. That was the look I'd been going for. I had on a black silk corset and, unlike some of the corsets I'd seen around lately, mine was the real thing--it pushed my boobs together and up, cinched my waist and kept my spine ramrod straight.
I was as comfortable in one as anybody could hope to be, but then again, I'd had a lot of practice. I'd grown up wearing these things when I had to--thanks to a doting father, I hadn't spent my entire childhood in one.
But I had worn them often enough.
Never one quite like this though. Black-on-black silk brocade with blood-red lacing. I'd paired it with leather pants and heels that would break my neck--if I fell, and if I could break my neck in such a mundane manner. Which I can't. I'd pulled my blonde hair into a high ponytail, gone a little heavy with the black eyeliner and red lipstick.
Barbie does badass, with a little bit of Dominatrix Barbie thrown in for good measure.
"You look delicious," Ren said as he kissed one bare shoulder. "You sure you don't have a whip lying around?"
"Oh, please." I smirked at him and took a few seconds to adjust the bodice. I had my pendant tucked between my breasts. Wasn't very comfortable, but I couldn't afford to have the wrong person see it, nor could I afford to be without it. There wasn't any room for weapons on me, but that had been intentional.
I wanted to look around this first trip in, not fight. I'd made that clear to Ren as well, but he'd have weapons on him. I knew that as sure as I knew my own name.
Still, I knew I could trust him not to draw them unless he had to.
I just hoped nobody forced his hand...or mine. I might not have weapons, but I'm pretty far from helpless.
The air closer to the building felt hot and heavy, a warning of what lay inside.
I'd known from the get-go this wouldn't be a quick, easy job. I might have been harboring hopes, but they were dying, fading, withering away with every second I remained close to this abyss of darkness.
"Should be a piece of cake," he had told me. Those had been my boss's exact words.
"Will, one of these days, I'm going to kick your ass," I said to myself.
I shook my head. "Just grumbling about Will. The bastard had the nerve to say this should be an easy job."
"Well, so far all I've done is make out with you in view of others and watch other people making out as well," Ren shot me his trademark devilish smile and in a low voice added, "Seems remarkably easy."
"Your luck is about to break."
This wasn't going to be easy. It wasn't going to be quick. We would have to kill while we were here. Not tonight, but sometime before the job was over. I knew it as sure as I was standing there. Possession by succubi or incubi was subtle...a seduction. It started out as just a minor need. Sex--something pleasant...maybe even harmless.
But the more the victim fed that need--through sex, naturally--the stronger the hold. It was like an addiction.
In the early days it was possible to rid the victim of the demon's presence. Possible, but not easy, and the longer it went on the harder it would become.
Sooner or later, without intervention, the demon would be in control and the need for sex would dominate over anything else. Everything else.
Either the victim literally fucked themselves to death--forgoing food, water, anything and everything that wasn't sex. The other scenario--the need for sex became so overwhelming they lost all inhibitions and all sense of right and wrong.
I'd saved people in the past before one of the possessed could rape them.
Somebody in there was already too far gone. Either they were killing themselves without realizing it, or I'd have to kill them when they went too far. Personally, I'd rather find whoever it was and just end it now.
A waste. Such a waste. Somebody had given up everything, just for the fun of a few quick fucks.
Do I sound slightly bitter? Sorry. Can't help it. I'd lost my rose-colored glasses a few hundred years ago. Right about the time I lost my virginity and, shortly thereafter, my Prince Charming.
Speak of the devil.
I knew that voice. It was the last voice I wanted to hear right now. Unless he was saying something along the lines of, "Ow, that hurts!" as I beat him across the head with a heavy, blunt object.
I stood there, frozen. Although I didn't want to turn and face the music, my partner had no reservations.
I dug my fingers into Ren's arm.
Will. Damn it. He'd done this--orchestrated this. The bastard.
Schooling my features, I turned around and I'm proud to say, I didn't feel the urge to swoon. Not even for a second.
That angel face of his hadn't changed at all in the past three hundred years.
He looked as perfect now as he had the day he kissed me for the first time.
Heat flashed through his grass-green eyes as he studied my clothes and despite myself, my belly clenched in response.