Hey, it's fun to add twists to old ideas. It makes people realize right away that they aren't going to get exactly what they expect out of a well-worn paranormal being. It also gives me a chance to play with the idea of good and evil, right and wrong. So, what happens if demons were just demonized over the millenia because their jobs are to catch evil souls and keep them locked in hades? Are they really all that bad? That's how I kicked things off in my Demon Heat series. And what happens if a human messed up in life and got himself and his soul mate killed, then became a guardian angel and has to convince other soul mates to get together--basically doing what he couldn't do for himself in real life? Is he really a perfect being who does no wrong? I take my hard-headed angels for a spin in the Unbelievable trilogy.
Anything or anyone that's totally good or totally bad is no fun at all. My characters make mistakes and then have to fix them and, hopefully, become better people in the process. If you're already perfect or already so evil you'll never move from that spot, then there's no way to grow. So, I like my gray areas. I like when lines get blurred and things get a little unexpected. It makes my job a lot more fun. Plus, a perfect angel having dirty, dirty sex? It just seems wrong, and my characters always get to have the hot and sweaty lovin'. It's how I make up for the fact that I put them through hell before I give them their happily ever after!
Excerpt from Demon's Caress:
She was being hunted.
Adrenaline pumped through Maron’s veins, made her heart pound and her breath rush as she darted between pedestrians and across a busy intersection. Horns blared and drivers swore at her, but she ignored them, a feral smile curving her lips. It was usually she who hunted, she who captured and claimed. Even now, she trailed a killer, the scent of his evil stinging her nostrils, and all the while she knew others of her kind–demons–drew closer by the minute. Seeking her. Wanting her.
The dichotomy sharpened the experience.
This was what she lived for. The thrill, the chase. The order of demons she belonged to tracked down evil souls and shipped them straight to the hot spot before they could hurt any more innocents. Once a person crossed over into true evil, the soul festered inside them, the stench enough to make Maron gag.
If only humans knew the truth about what demons did on earth, keeping the baddies away from them. But it made sense that her kind would be demonized over the ages. You worked in the gutter long enough and it was inevitable you’d end up knee deep in shit. Maron shrugged and let her body dissolve into nothing more than a shadow as she ghosted up a narrow side street. It didn’t really matter what people knew or not, she would do her job.
And bringing in this piece of scum was going to be a pleasure.
David Norris. Drug dealer, pimp, murderer. His stink was in her nose, sinking into her blood until her heart thrummed with the need to vanquish the evil. Her world came down to a single focus–find him.
He was close. Very close.
A high scream froze Maron in place. Every sense went on alert, and she eased around the edge of a building to see what was going on. Norris struggled with a teenage girl who looked way too clean and well-dressed for this part of town, but her eyes and nose had the red-rimmed look of a junkie coming off a bender. He slammed her against a dumpster, cutting her next scream off. She gagged and sobbed for breath, tears streaking her make up down her cheeks. He got in her face and growled, “Where’s my money, bitch?”
“I’ll get it to you!” The girl squeaked when he shoved her again. “I swear I will, Norris. I’m good for it. Just give me a little more time.”
“You said that last time.” He grabbed a handful of one of her breasts, squeezing and twisting. “Maybe I should take it out of you a different way.”
Her hand locked around his wrist, her knuckles whitening as horror crossed her face. “No. No!”
Maron wasn’t about to stand around and watch some kid get raped by this asshole. She was only supposed to reconnoiter, find the evil soul, and wait for her back up. It didn’t look like that was going to be an option tonight. Her boss, Samael, was going to be pissed. She stepped out of the deepest shadows, rematerializing not far from where Norris had the teen pinned.
Both humans jerked, their heads snapping in her direction. The girl’s look was pleading, the man’s enraged.
“Get the fuck out of here, bitch. This has nothing to do with you. Unless you want it to.” He grabbed his crotch for emphasis.
Maron rolled her eyes at the crude gesture, which just made the bastard more furious. Too bad. She flexed her fingers, held her hands out in front of her, and unleashed the power deep inside her. It rushed up eagerly, the hot, consuming force of it shaking her down her to her bones. Flames danced at her fingertips, and she shot forward an arrow of fire. It sizzled on the concrete in front of Norris, and he shouted, jumping back. She drove him further away from the girl with one ball of flames after another.
The teen cowered against the dumpster, snot and tears dripping from her chin. Maron spared her a glance when they drew even. She felt the fire flickering from the corners of her eyes, and her smile was a simple baring of teeth. “Run, little girl. Stay out of dark alleys from now on. And don’t do drugs. They’re bad for you.”
The kid’s eyeballs almost popped out of their sockets and she nodded so fast her hair flapped against her pale face. Then she ran like her ass had been scalded. Smartest thing the kid had done that night. Sadly, she wouldn’t remember her encounter with Maron. That was the thing about demons. They faded from your memory the moment you left their presence. The fire and lightning and soul-stealing power was just a bad dream. Unless they’d come for you.
Once the teen was safely away, Maron spread her fingers, and a ring of fire whipped around Norris. He screamed, the sound as terrified as the girl’s had been. Maron’s smile deepened.
A bead of sweat slid down her temple as she felt the evil of his soul begin to sap her strength. She just hoped she could keep him caged long enough for her backup to arrive. There was no way she could harvest him on her own. Too bad she’d done the best she could to shake the demons hunting her…Samael would fry her ass for trying to ditch her new partners, but damn it, she didn’t want a new partner, let alone two. She sure as hell didn’t want a fully bonded Demon’s Triad, and that was what Samael had in mind for her. He’d already shuffled her last partner off into that kind of sexual bond with a couple of demon operatives. Fucking matchmaker.
Norris’s shrieks grew louder, the unholy sound pounding against Maron’s skull, and her mental distractions exploded into shards that sliced through her control. Where were those two? She couldn’t hold on much longer. Her muscles began to quake in helpless shudders as her powers dragged at her physical strength. The flames around Norris began to waver and die down. He’d be able to escape soon. No! Shit, shit, shit.
She tried to hang on, poured everything she could into the fire surround him, but the weaker she grew, the more overwhelming the evil emanating from him became. It drained her faster. If she pushed herself much harder, she might not be able to pull back at all. Disaster. Letting him go would be a slightly smaller disaster, but one she’d be livid over for a good long while. Her legs cramped and she locked her knees to remain upright, but it was a losing battle. The world faded in front of her, tilting sideways, and she knew she was falling. She was failing.
“Got you.” A strong set of arms wrapped tight around her, pulled her back against a wall of muscle.
“Kobal,” she rasped.
The fire before her roared higher as he added his power to hers, the red flames turning to a brilliant blue. The hottest part of the flame, the heart. “You were expecting someone else, love?”
“Where’s Raum? We won’t be able to bring this one in without him.” She shivered as a small connection snapped between them and Kobal’s energy flowed over her, which made the pain knifing through her brain fade. The relief had her sagging against him, but she forced herself to straighten away from him. No need to encourage his and Raum’s designs on her.
“He’ll be along, don’t you worry.”
Contest: Which hero would you want more--a less than perfect angel, or a not so evil demon? One commenter has the chance to win an ebook copy of Demon's Caress or one of the ebooks in the Unbelievable series. Angels or demons, your choice!
Crystal's contest will close at midnight tonight and her winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.