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Vortex blues, p.3

Vortex Blues, page 3

 

Vortex Blues
 


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  A laugh bubbled up her throat and spilled out before she could help it. Rocky had been on the mark when he’d said Guthrie had brass ones. Molly had a sudden urge to ask to see them, but she bit her tongue before the words could escape.

  She took a deep breath before speaking. “Cleo said you were a sensi-freak, which many in the supernatural community will see as an invitation to see how tuned in you are. She really should’ve warned you about Squid.” Molly traced the top of her cup with her finger, and smiled as she realized Mitch’s gaze followed each movement with those misty sea green eyes. “Ask me anything. I promise, I’ve heard it all before.”

  He studied her for a long moment, a familiar spark of attraction lighting those fascinating eyes before nodding and leaning an arm on the bar. “What exactly is a succubus? What are their origins, feeding habits, strengths, weaknesses…and anything else you can think of that might help?”

  Molly took a thoughtful sip of tea and smiled as the scent of peppermint and chamomile infused her senses. “You don’t ask for much, do you?” When his gaze remained steady, she shrugged and set her cup on the bar next to his coffee. “Let’s see. There are two distinct sexes—the females are succubus and the males are incubus. Most humans think succubus and incubus mate and produce offspring, but in reality, the two can barely tolerate each other, so copulation is a rarity, and even when it does happen, it never results in offspring. Most are created as succubus or incubus, and have lived since the beginning of time, like Cleo. However, some of us were cursed into this role by a witch, a wizard, or one of the pantheons of gods.”

  “You said ‘some of us are cursed.’ Does that mean you fall into that category?”

  Shit! I really need to watch what I say around this one. He’s much too observant for my comfort.

  Molly pursed her lips and picked up her cup, more to have something to do with her hands, than for more tea. “My origins aren’t germane to this discussion.”

  Rocky snorted behind the bar and she resisted the impulse to throw her cup at his stone back, since it would have no effect but to break her cup.

  Those inquisitive eyes continued to study her as Guthrie’s expression never wavered. “Fair enough, for now. However, I do need to understand how the curse works to turn humans into a new species.” He let silence hang between them for a moment before adding, “It may prove important to the investigation.”

  She leaned forward on her barstool closing some of the distance between them and smiled. “When it proves important, then we’ll discuss it.”

  He laughed, both surprising and irritating her. Especially since his deep, rich laugh rolled over her in caressing waves, reminding her of things best forgotten. “I’ll make sure we do, Molly.”

  Her name flowed off his tongue like the name of an exotic liqueur, causing her to shiver.

  Suddenly needing distance from this irritating human, she placed her tea on the bar and stood. A dizzying kaleidoscope of colors spun behind her eyelids and she swallowed hard to keep from falling.

  What the hell? I probably just stood too fast. She steadied herself and took a few deep breaths. She opened her eyes and glared at him, daring him to say anything. His jaw tightened, but he remained silent, although his probing gaze still tracked her. “Why don’t we just dive right in, Guthrie, and you can ask questions as we go. And I’ll decide which deserve an answer.” Without waiting for him to respond, she turned and headed for the front door.

  ****

  Mitch stood as he watched her leave, frustration warring with relief that his normal male reactions had returned in force. Ever since he’d laid eyes on the enticing Detective Molly Beck, his entire body had been stuck on overdrive. Anger and betrayal had flowed through him like a hurricane when his body had responded to her so willingly. But when the physical attraction had been augmented by his appreciation of her fiery spirit and quick wit, he knew he was in trouble.

  What the hell had possessed him? He was attracted to a supernatural! And try as he might, his body, and even his mind weren’t listening to reason. Right now, he was just thankful she’d walked out ahead of him so he had a moment to stand without advertising his raging erection to the world.

  The floorboards rumbled ominously under the soles of his cowboy boots, and he glanced up to see Rocky staring down at his crotch.

  “Looks like I’m not the only one around here who has a ‘stone’ problem today. Be careful you don’t let Molly get too close to your precious package around meal time, or that may be all that’s left of you, little man.” Rocky’s stone teeth flashed before he turned back to his work, the floorboards still buzzing from his deep chuckles.

  Mitch shook his head and filed the gargoyle’s comments away for later before he headed toward the door Molly had disappeared through.

  He squinted against the bright sun as the crisp Sedona air stung his cheeks and hands. Coming from the sizzling Phoenix summer, he welcomed the drop in temperature that the higher elevation brought.

  As his eyes adjusted, he realized Molly stood watching him with large grey eyes that looked the texture of soft velvet. Her hair was pulled back in a clip, similar to Cleo’s. The two women may have been succubi, but that was where the similarities ended. Cleo exuded pure sex, while Molly reminded him of innocent temptation. Her girl next-door beauty only reinforced that impression and made his traitorous hands itch to touch and possess.

  Now that she stood in the sun, he noticed auburn highlights glinting in the deep brown of her hair as it drifted over her shoulders in gentle waves. She wore a grey button down sweater that matched her eyes, jeans and simple white tennis shoes. Her belt holster hung next to the badge at her waist.

  Molly didn’t have heart-stopping curves like Cleo, but instead had a trim athletic body that made his mouth water as he pictured peeling her out of the simple sweater and jeans and thoroughly exploring every toned inch of her. Not to mention, she’d sent his cock into overdrive in just a few short minutes.

  Her lips curved into a smug smile as she caught his perusal. “Would you like another minute to stare? Or are you ready to get to work? I can assure you I’ve been ogled by better men than you, Guthrie.”

  Mitch stopped short as Rocky’s words came back to him. Molly was no innocent girl next door, she was a succubus, so she’d obviously used sex to sustain her. The thought of other men touching and possessing her flashed his temper and burned at his insides. Snap out of it, Guthrie. You have no business getting involved with a woman anyway—especially a supernatural and one who consumes men like potato chips.

  He quickly recalled what little he knew of succubi and his eyes narrowed as he remembered that they used some sort of trance state called thrall to lure their victims. Relief warred with anger and disappointment. No wonder he’d been so attracted to her. “If that’s your version of succubus thrall, Molly, I’m not sure how you’ve survived this long.”

  A quick flash of hurt swam in the grey depths of her eyes before she hid it with icy distain. One of her dark brows quirked upward and she pinned him with a pointed stare.

  “Let’s get this over with, shall we? Here’s your first succubus lesson…Detective.”

  She continued to stare at him, her arms crossed in front of her. But in the next instant, mindless sexual need slammed into him like a tsunami. His cock hardened inside his jeans to the point of pain. Lava flowed through his veins, and his only thought was giving himself entirely to the woman who stood before him. He clenched his fists against the sudden onslaught of sensations, and when he raised his chin to look at her, she’d transformed. She looked the same as she had a moment ago inside his mind, and yet…she was now the most enticing creature he’d ever seen. Gone was the innocent girl next-door beauty, replaced with the most exotic seductress he’d ever laid eyes on.

  Mitch would gladly give every last bit of himself to satisfy even the tiniest of her whims—even if it meant his death. He’d go willingly if it would please her. His heart thundered inside his chest faster and
faster, as if it chanted in his mind over and over, “take her, please her, take her, please her.”

  His head swam and when his legs would hold him no longer, he dropped to his knees in front of her. His blood burned through his veins like liquid fire faster and faster, and his balls tightened against his body as the familiar tingling started deep inside his groin. Before he could stop it, a feral groan ripped from his lips as the mother of all orgasms tore through him like an explosion.

  Then, as suddenly as it started, all the sensations stopped as if she’d flicked a switch. Mitch sagged to the sidewalk in front of Molly. His ragged breathing sounded like the roaring ocean inside his own head. The gentle breeze made him suddenly aware of his very wet and sticky situation.

  “That’s what a succubus’ thrall feels like, Guthrie. Got it?” Her voice sounded calm, but he sensed more than heard the thin line of anger that laced every word.

  Unsure if his voice would work, he nodded before pushing to his feet to face her. His own dose of anger and humiliation pricked at him. He’d provoked her. So, in a way, he deserved the demonstration, and knew when his pride recovered, he’d be thankful for the distinction. But a man’s pride wasn’t something to be bruised lightly.

  He stepped forward to tower over her. “Did that satisfy your morning snack? You could’ve just mentioned you were hungry.”

  She winced and he knew his barb had hit its mark. She raised her chin, and her eyes flashed in defiance. “You asked me to teach you. You may not like my methods, but I bet you’ll never forget what thrall’s like.”

  “So do the demonstrations go both ways, Molly?” He recognized the menace in his own voice, but couldn’t seem to stop.

  A quick flash of confusion played across her face as her dark brows furrowed. “You don’t have anything I need to know…”

  Before he could think about what he was doing, he yanked her against him, her softness branding him almost in accusation as he devoured her mouth, punishing her with all the anger and embarrassment from both her and from himself.

  The kiss was hard and demanding and to his surprise and dark delight, she met him with an equal storm of need until he could almost drown in her taste, her scent, and the softness of her curves under his seeking hands. Everything about her infused his senses until the entire world receded and there was only Molly.

  He thrust his fingers into her hair, knocking loose the clip and enjoying the flow of silky warmth over his fingers. She tasted dark and spicy with a hint of peppermint, and yet she smelled of cinnamon and some other exotic herb he couldn’t quite place.

  She made a small helpless noise deep inside her throat that acted like a cold bucket of water and reminded him there were life and circumstances beyond the here and now. He gentled his hands and brushed his lips over hers one last time, unable to resist. Her eyes opened slowly, her now dark grey gaze languorous and still filled with unmistakable need. She blinked as if bringing herself to the surface of a dream and then stepped away.

  Immediately, the loss of her closeness left him out of sorts and bereft. He tucked his hands into his front pockets to try and brush the lingering sensations of touching her from his awareness. He had no idea what to say, but he opened his mouth to try. “I—”

  “Don’t apologize. You made your point.” She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, but color still rode high on her cheeks. “Well, I guess we’ve both satisfied our curiosity now, haven’t we.” She said the last as if it were for her own ears only.

  No, Mitch wanted to say, but he clamped his mouth firmly shut. He’d leave well enough alone for now. But he’d had a dangerous sample of the real Molly Beck, minus any supernatural thrall, and he thought he might more willingly die for another taste of that real passion than for any amount of the thrall she’d shown him. He swallowed hard before answering, saying the first thing he could think of to help rebuild his shield. “Let’s just say I think we both understand each other a bit better now.” When she nodded, he continued. “Why don’t we get back to the case.” Before I lose all control. The breeze cooled his wet crotch reminding him of his situation. “And I think I’d like to find a restroom before we move forward.”

  Molly opened her mouth to reply when a distinct buzzing sounded from the back pocket of her jeans. She pulled a lime green phone from her pocket and checked the number before flipping it open. “Yes?”

  Over the next minute, she nodded several times and then said, “Thanks,” before hanging up and slipping the phone back inside her back pocket. When she met his gaze, no trace of their kiss remained in her expression or in her velvet grey eyes. “That was Nancy at the police station. She said there’s been another murder. I’ll take you to the scene…or at least what’s left of it.”

  Chapter Three

  The scent of sex, death and succubus assaulted Molly’s senses as soon as she and Mitch ducked under the police tape strung across the door of the honeymoon suite at the Mystique hotel.

  Although the entire suite was only two rooms including the bathroom, complete with large whirlpool tub, Molly was sure it wasn’t worth the $29.99 per night they touted on the blinking neon sign outside. The obnoxious velvet lime décor was enough to make her vomit. Not to mention the stench of human urine and sweat—and that was all before she accounted for the victim’s remains. No wonder this place was several miles off the main roads of Sedona. The thriving tourist town wouldn’t suffer this place marring the beautiful red mountain views, which drew people by the millions.

  Her gaze swept over the threadbare curtains and the crushed shag carpet the color of dirty green Skittles. Then settled on the group of four police officers gathered around what had to be the cornerstone of the suite’s opulence—the “sumptuous” round king-sized bed she’d only seen on the tasteless TV commercials that aired so late they competed with infomercials and reruns of Jerry Springer for space.

  She and Guthrie both flashed their badges, even though Molly knew everyone assembled, and they pushed through the crowd until they had a front row view. The stench hit her harder, like an open slap to the face, and she closed her eyes and took shallow breaths wishing she’d had more time to feed before Mitch showed up at the Vortex this morning. Apparently, she needed more than one breakfast with her new partner around.

  “Please tell me that’s not what I think it is…” Mitch swallowed hard, his Adam’s apple bobbing precariously, as if his few sips of coffee from the bar threatened to make a sudden reappearance.

  “It’s a penis,” a grizzled barrel of a patrolman with webbed hands named Maddox answered matter-of-factly.

  “I was afraid you were going to say that.” Mitch’s jaw clenched as he stared at the grisly scene on the bed.

  The entire surface was slick with a shiny rust-colored gelatinous substance. Perched in the middle of the mess was a fully erect uncircumcised penis and what looked like part of one testicle. “Poor bastard. Where’s the rest of him?” Mitch’s voice was tight as if he still waged war with his stomach. Molly glanced over at Mitch. Cleo said he was a veteran detective, so it followed, he had to have seen his fair share of grisly murder scenes, and if he couldn’t handle the gore, it would’ve been in his record. So why did he look like a rookie just about to lose his lunch? She mentally shrugged. Maybe something about seeing the most prized male body part in such a state shook their equilibrium. It made Molly glad she was female.

  “Succubi manufacture a healing substance within the vaginal canal which keeps the male sex organs from digesting along with the rest of him.” Molly widened her stance as her hunger took on a sharper edge. It had been over a hundred years since she’d fully digested a man, but the memory came back crisp and fresh. Her mouth watered, and she had to fist her hands at her sides to keep from reaching out with her thrall to every man within range.

  The searing kiss earlier as well as her thrall demonstration had drained her energy faster than normal, and if she didn’t get some sexual sustenance soon, she might lose control of her thrall. She
had to do everything she could to get Mitch to finish this scene soon so she could get out of here.

  “Just how does a succubus digest a man?” His gaze took in every part of the room as if he were memorizing it for later study.

  “There are many ways a succubus can drain energy from a human or even some other supernaturals, only one of them involves actually digesting his body tissues.”

  All eyes turned to her, even though the other officers had already heard her explanation before. “One way is through sexual energy. Go to a strip club, a swingers club or anywhere you can be a voyeur and voila, they can feed off the sexual energy. The created as opposed to the cursed succubi and incubae will also feed off sexual domination and pain, but the aura doesn’t taste right in here to fit that scenario.”

  Mitch’s misty green gaze swept the room and then stopped to study the gooey mess on the bed. His eyes narrowed but at his almost imperceptible headshake, she bit back her question, saving it for when they could speak privately.

  “Does that mean we are working with a cursed succubus?”

  She shook her head avoiding his gaze since she wouldn’t answer that question about herself earlier. “Not necessarily. All types still feed through sex. They have the ability to keep their victim or even a willing partner aroused for long periods of time.”

  He raised his brows in question and she knew he was thinking about the thrall she’d hit him with earlier sustained over several hours. She didn’t feel the need to tell him she’d pulled out all the stops and he’d received the full wrath of her abilities, draining her power in the process. She was paying the price for it now. She avoided his gaze. It wasn’t the first time her temper had gotten her into trouble, and she was sure it wouldn’t be the last.

  “A succubus can feed off semen, which is a pure boost to the system. However, when they don’t let the partner rest and regenerate his semen, his body will begin to break down tissues, organs, skin, anything it can to continue to ejaculate and sustain the succubus. If they wait too long to feed, nothing but sex will do. Energy feeding can only sustain, not repair or heal.”

 
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