Layla thought she was nothing more than a nursing student drowning in debt. Her entire life upended itself on her twenty-fifth birthday when an incubus appeared in her living room. One spell book only she can read, a demon bound to her soul, and a family destiny dropped on her head.
As she studies the witchcraft entwined with her DNA, she stumbles upon dangerously hot men. Men that aren’t as human as they first appeared. But when she has to square off against a force that scares demons and angels, she’s going to need all the help she can get—both in and out of bed.
After a month and no sign of the witch hunters, Layla thought she was in the clear. A gigantic werewolf has different plans. As if her life being threatened by a mad werewolf isn’t enough, the world seems to be ending. At least that’s what an impossible, deadly-to-gaze-upon angel living underground claims.
Layla is tasked to find whatever is ripping tears in the realms, causing creatures to appear and unravel everything in the world. Good thing she has an angel by her side. Garavel may not technically be angel, despite having white wings and a golden glow, but he’s sweeter than sugar and adores witches. It’s impossible to not fall for the cuddly teddy bear. Except, once Layla finds the culprit, Garavel must return to his master’s side and she’ll never see him again.
She’s going to need her sarcastic incubus, steadfast werewolf and stately ghost at her side. If not, she doesn’t stand a chance in hell of surviving the ride.
“You’re a…” I stared past the man with giant white wings to Ink staggering to his feet. I jabbed two fingers at them while waiting for him to look to prove I was right when the angel caught my hand.
Oh my god, he’s so soft and warm. It was like his ebony skin glowed with a heavenly golden sparkle when I touched it, which shut my brain down.
Flecks of amber sparkled in his eyes—such a deep brown as to be black—as he shook my hand up and down. “You must be a witch.”
Here it comes. I girded myself for the typical reaction of either fear or disgust. Didn’t matter who it was—if they knew about witches they hated us at first glance.
Garavel smiled wide with teeth brighter than his shockingly thin robe. He wore two pieces of white cloth that clung to his wide chest and solid stomach before tapering at the hips and dangling near his sandaled feet. The cloths were attached via gold loops at the shoulders and a strip of gold fabric at the waist. The outfit left the entire sides of his chest exposed, which he didn’t seem bothered by at all. Instead, he stared at me as if I were the answer to all of his problems.
My heart leaped at the idea I could mean anything to a creature of such divinity. Garavel sheathed his giant sword on his back and tucked his wings in. They vanished along with any sign of the blade. “I cannot believe my luck to find a child of creation here!” he bellowed like a kid at their birthday party.
“Well, I’m…that’s me, witch lady. I mean lady who does witchcraft. Um, spells and stuff.” I tried to smile through the pain in my chest at how stupid I sounded and twirled my hair around my finger.
A slow chuckle drew not only my attention, but the angel’s as well. Ink tipped his head at my embarrassing fumbling, then he extended his shadow wings wide. Oh no, he’s a demon, Ink’s a demon. Demon and angel—they were going to rip each other to shreds in this underground pit of bones and I…
“Are you a demonic sin?” Garavel asked.
Ink fluttered his wings, blanketing the rest of the mausoleum in shadow. “Good eye. Lust,” he said, pointing to himself.
Why can’t he lie just once? I tensed up, trying to figure out how I could stun someone who’d taken out a room of corpse eaters.
“Delightful!” Garavel shouted, reaching over and taking the demon’s hand. His massive palm nearly dwarfed Ink’s, but the two shook with a disconcerting bonhomie, like two coworkers spotting each other outside of the office.
“You…you’re okay with him?” I asked. Why wasn’t the angel attacking? Weren’t they always at war with the denizens of hell?
It was Ink who responded with a slow chuckle while Garavel stared down at his attire. “I am afraid I seem to have spilled a little soot on my robes.”
“No, I mean you’re a—”
“Layla!” Daniel’s cry burst into the room right before he appeared, his face stricken in panic. “Are you…?” He reached over for me, the cold of his form barely competing with the chill of the tomb. Slowly, Daniel turned to take in the piles of decapitated pishachas on top of the mutilated corpses.
“As punctual as you are useful,” Ink said, giving Daniel two thumbs up.
Ink slapped an arm across Garavel’s fridge-sized frame. “Our newest addition to the coven.” He gave me a knowing look and my mouth dried. I needed an angel to save Daniel, not to…gah.
“Hello.” Garavel held out his hand and Daniel bridled beside me. He stared at the strange man like a wary cat.
“He’s a ghost,” I butted in, trying to explain why Daniel didn’t share in the angelic handshake.
“I know.” The angel reached over and clasped Daniel on the back. His eyes went wide at the touch and my jaw dropped. Instead of going through, Garavel was able to pull Daniel close in a hug. “Doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.”
“You…you’re touching. How are you able to…? Huh?” I’d read through everything I could on ghosts, Daniel’d done even more and neither of us had seen any mention that an angel could do that. Could other celestials touch him?
I had a million questions to put to him, but everyone was silenced by the sound of stone ripping away and a howl echoing from above. Were there more corpse eaters prowling the graveyard? I turned, prepared to fricassee whatever came through the wall.
Heavy footsteps lopped against the bones, not even pausing at the crunch. I wound my hand back, when a head of blond hair poked through. “Babe?” Cal asked, and I laughed out of joy at his appearance.
“It’s all good,” I said to him and reached to take his hand.
“A werewolf!” Garavel snarled, his once harmonic voice crackling. He rushed forward and clasped a hand to my stomach.
“Who the shit is this?” Cal demanded. He plummeted the last few feet and stared at the angel tugging me back.
“You shall not harm her, moon cursed!” the angel shrieked.
“Let go of her.” Cal’s words warped into a growl. He snapped out, “Now!” and his teeth sharpened to fangs.
“Okay, everyone’s on edge, but…”
Garavel’s wings snapped wide, blanketing the entire area in feathers. They didn’t bend, but dug into the walls like unbreakable chisels. I tried to leap out of the way to defend Cal, when Garavel shouted, “I will shield you, my lady.”
“You will not take her,” Cal snarled. He planted one wolf foot on the ground and I felt mine raise off it.
Tightness caught around my midsection and, before I could think, Garavel lifted us into the air. His wings beat an inescapable wind, shoving hard on Cal and not touching Daniel. Where was Ink in all of this? “Ink!” I shouted to my demon to break up the party.
“Ah!” Cal slammed his claws into the stone and slashed. In the blink of an eye, Garavel folded his wings around us and we shot straight up into the mausoleum and out the door.
“Holy shit!” I shouted. The cemetery ground was growing smaller and smaller below my feet as he flew into the skies. When it looked like a train model, I slammed my eyes shut. My stomach floated in my throat and I did my best to not think what would happen if he dropped me.
Ellen Mint adores the adorkable heroes who charm with their shy smiles and heroines that pack a punch. She has a needy black lab named after Granny Weatherwax from Discworld. Sadly, her dog is more of a Magrat.
When she’s not writing imposing incubi or saucy aliens, she does silly things like make a tiny library full of her books. Her background is in genetics and she married a food scientist so the two of them nerd out over things like gut bacteria. She also loves gaming, particularly some of the bigger RPG titles. If you want to get her talking for hours, just bring up Dragon Age.