12th Instalment DEMON INTERRUPTED: A Lakeland Witches Story
I’m very happy to offer the twelfth instalment of Demon Interrupted, a new story from the Elemental Coven that will be unfolding in its entirety right here on A Hopeful Romantic over the next few weeks with the final episode on October 31 — the final day of Things that Go Hump in the Night. All through the month of October, A Hopeful Romantic will be celebrating all things paranormal and all Things that Go Hump in the Night. There’ll be lots of great authors stopping by bringing with them lots of paranormal fun. There’ll be lots of great giveaways and lots of scary, sexy, excitement, so be sure to put Things that Go Hump in the Night on your calendar. More on that in a later post.
The Lakeland Witches Trilogy left so many stories untold and so many fun places in the lives of the Elemental Coven yet to be explored, that a serial seemed like the ideal way to share more of the coven’s adventure. With a coven that specialises in sex magic, it’s not only exciting to revisit my witches at Elemental Cottage, but it’s sizzling hot.
If you’ve missed the previous episodes of Demon Interrupted, find the links at the bottom of this instalment.
Enjoy Chapter twelve, and thanks for joining the fun with this Work in Progress. If you want to know more about the Elemental Coven’s sexy adventures, check out the Lakeland Witches Trilogy: Body Temperature and Rising, Riding the Ether and Elemental Fire. Enjoy!
‘What the hell?’ Ferris roared like an angry beast as he fought his way out of a blackberry bramble to land with his naked arse on the hard ground. The thick summer night effervesced with the tingle of strong magic, and the sting and bite of the bramble were evidence that he had been called, very unceremoniously, into physical form, but who would have treated him with such disrespect? And other than Lucia, the Fire Demon, and the demon who now possessed that evil aberration spawned in the Americas — what was it he called himself Deacon — there were few who could have done such a thing. Besides, what would either of them want with him? And certainly it behoved them to treat him with a little more respect than to up-end him bare-aresed and bleeding in a thicket. Whoever had done it, when he found them, they would be sorry for humiliating him so. He would make certain that they …
The yelp of a female voice put a halt to thoughts of punishing the transgressor. As he turned, the dance of firelight dazzling his eyes made him think for a moment that it was Lucia, who had summoned him. The Fire Demon’s sense of humour was evil at best. But the flames were nothing more than a tiny blaze set in an insignificant fire pit. And then he saw her. Beyond the blaze the woman stood as naked as he was with lustrous dark hair that hung down her back and over the swell of her breasts. He would not have imagined it to be possible, but the slender woman, body burnished golden in the firelight was the source of the magic that had summoned him.
‘What do you want, little girl, and why have you called me in such an uncivilised manner?’ He said, making his voice as thunderous as possible and pulling the shadows around him like a cape because it lent him at least a little of the dignity she had stolen from him.
But she did not cower. Instead she squared her shoulders and stood to her full height, which, as with most mortal women, was not significant compared to him. ‘I am no little girl, Rider, and I have summoned you to do my bidding.’
Though he made no effort to hold back the roar of his laughter, the mortal did not so much as cringe. ‘You summoned me to do your bidding, little one? You are either very brave or very stupid.’ With a sudden flick of his wrist the wind rose and swirled around her, whipping her hair across her face and then back over her shoulders, and he saw that she was, indeed, no little girl. Her breasts were in the full bloom of womanhood crowned by roseate nipples that peaked in the cool kiss of the wind he had summoned. His cock rose in response to her, and for the first time since his unceremonious arrival, he was pleased to be in physical form. This human, this mortal woman was delicate of build, skin as pale as the finest porcelain, skin that seemed lit from within, skin that contrasted with hair that was night itself and eyes that were like a moonless sky. Her hips flared away from her center as though they hugged the soft pillowing of dark curls that caressed her womanhood, and she stood unladylike, with her feet set wide apart on the ground so that even his tempest did not unbalance her.
‘I am neither brave nor stupid,’ she said, when the wind settled enough that she could catch her breath to speak. ‘I am without recourse.’
He moved closer to her, so that the fire did not interfere with his vision of her, and still she did not flinch. ‘You must be desperate, indeed, if you would summon a Soul Rider to do your bidding.’
She ignored his statement. ‘You have it within your power to visit horrible hallucinations upon those who displease you, do you not? It is within your power to drive them form their sanity, and it is said that you have power even to drive them to their death. Is that not so?’
He moved still closer, until he could see the rapid rise and fall of her chest that belied the nerves she hid so well, until he could feel her warm breath against the body that now held his essence. ‘Shall I demonstrate that of which I am capable upon you, little one?’ As he reached for her, she stepped back.
This time he stepped close enough that she had to bend her slender neck back as far as she could to look up into his eyes. ‘And might I ask what’s in it for me?’
‘Anything.’ Her breath caught in her throat and for the first time he felt the passion of her request with the intensity of the powerful magic she had just performed and what that magic had cost her. And was that passion tinged with more than a hint of despair? ‘Anything you ask.’
‘And if you are the payment I demand?’
Her eyelids fluttered and her voice was little more than a whisper. ‘As I have said. Anything you ask.’
That she did not frighten easily, that she was braver than most men who had, ultimately, cowered before him made him want to taste her fear all the more. ‘Then I shall have you.’ He pulled her to him and took her mouth, not expecting the full pout of her lips to part for him, not expecting her body to relax and soften into his embrace nor her arms to encircle his neck. As his tongue flicked over hers, he was stunned to find it was not fear he tasted; it was power, exhilaration, need, mixed again with a heavy patina of desperation, and all of those tastes in this woman made him want her even more. His cock stretched hard, pressed against the tensing muscles of her belly. The pillowed press of her breasts against him in her battle for breath made him want to take more of her breath, so that the pumping of her lungs would keep her fullness rising and falling and nestling against him.
He unclenched her fingers from behind his neck and guided her hand down between them, down to rest on his cock. ‘It has been long since I have worn flesh. My need is nearly beyond my control. It may well be that I would split your fragile frame in two, little girl.’
Before the words were off his tongue, she circled his hardness with slender, but strong fingers, and began to stroke the length of him, whispering in his ear. ‘I told you, whatever you asked, and I am not nearly so fragile as you might think.’ But then the brazen child did something he could have never anticipated. She stepped out of his embrace, back just enough that he could not easily touch her. ‘But I am not yours for the taking until you have done my bidding, Rider. Then split me in two, you may, or in a thousand pieces if it please you.’
He growled his frustration, and his cock bucked against his belly. ‘I do not need your permission to take you, little one.’ He took a menacing step closer to her, and she stepped back again until she stood flush with the bramble behind her. ‘Nor do I need to do your bidding. After all, your invitation was not very polite, now was it?’
‘There was no invitation, Demon. There was a summoning and a bargain to be struck.’
‘Again, I will ask you why should I not take what I want now rather than wait. I am the one who –’
His words died in his throat as her power buzzed over him, a bolt of lightning and a touch of silk and he sucked breath to keep from humiliating himself as the content of his balls threatened to spill itself at her feet. Though in truth, he was not sure that perhaps it was his very life force that this woman, this witch threatened to coax from his cock with her magic. He raised his hands, palms facing her, in a gesture of peace. ‘Tell me then, what is it you want, little witch.’
She studied him for a moment with eyes bottomless as the night sky. ‘I want you to ride the soul of my enemy. Make him suffer long and hard, make him pay for what he has done. If this you do for me, then I am yours to do with what you will.’
‘Are you sure this is a price you can afford to pay, little witch?’ With a move that was no more human than he was, he pulled her into his arms and fisted her thick mane of soft hair and shoved it off her shoulders, seeking to admire the delicacy of the mortal form, as one did art in a gallery — beautiful creations that were far too fragile for any practical purpose. Their fragility in itself a part of their attraction, and his ability to break them somehow made them even more valuable to him. With his eyes shut, he tracked the beat of her pulse to the soft spot on her throat, then bent to nuzzle her there, and just as she moaned a sigh, he bit her in that spot against the thud, thud of her tenuous life force.
At first he thought the near sob that breeched her lips was a release of her pleasure, disappointingly easy, he thought. It was as he opened his eyes that he saw the bruises on her neck, green and angry in the dance of the flames, and he realised the sob had been one of pain. Though he was no fire demon, the thought of his little witch — for that is how he thought of her now, as his possession — the thought of her in pain kindled a strange inferno in his belly that burned with the same rage he would have felt if someone had so marred the Mona Lisa’s perfection. ‘Who did this to you?’ Even as he spoke, he noticed other bruises on her arms, on her hips … on the insides of her thighs. ‘Who did this to you,’ he growled.
She shoved her way free from his embrace and stumbled backward nearly falling before she caught herself. He could taste the rage rolling off her, overpowering the desperation, overpowering the longing, overpowering all else to the point that it was he who was rendered breathless by it. ‘The one whose soul I wish you to ride, the one who I seek revenge upon. He did this to me and more than even your demon eyes can ever see. He took everything from me, and I want him to pay! I want him to pay!’
‘Elaine! Woman! Where the hell are you, you little cunt.’
She jerked as though she had been shot, and in the next instant she was scrambling in the shadows for her clothes. ‘He’s not supposed to be here! He’s supposed to be in Edinburgh.’ Her voice was little more than a hiss. ‘And he’s drunk.’ The curse that she whispered under her breath was an ancient one in Latin, the shock of it coming from the lips of such a delicate female would have made his blood run cold, if he’d had blood. ‘I fear there will be more than bruises when next I see you, Rider,’ she said as she struggled into her gown.
As she turned to go, he grabbed her by the arm. ‘There shall be no bruises, nor any other sort of pain for you, my little witch. You are Elaine?’
She nodded, glancing quickly over her shoulder as the man roared more foul abuse into the night air.
‘And this roaring sack of excrement is the one whose soul you wish me to ride?’
‘And who is he to you?’
‘He is my husband, Patrick Farringdon, and I hate him with a hate that burns me like the flames of hell.’
As the man roared again, Ferris could sense the rage and fear and myriad other emotions racing through the woman’s delicate frame. ‘Elaine, what I do tonight is because I admire your bravery. This night, I promise you, he shall not harm you. In truth, he shall not harm you until next we meet. You intrigue me, my dear little witch, and I will hear your proposition.’
She surprised him by pressing a fervent kiss onto his lips before hurrying from the overgrown garden.
Ferris found his little sorceress locked in a pleasant tower room that he suspected was the place to where she escaped the monster that was her husband whenever she could. The walls were lined with books and there was a huge free-standing orrery in one corner of the room, close to a polished bronze telescope facing the large window that looked out onto the northern moors. On a huge desk, there were stacks of parchment and a holder with extra quills, not the kind of room in which one would expect a woman to spend her time.
As though she had heard his thoughts, she spoke. ‘This room was covered in dust when I arrived. Patrick Farringdon has no love for learning. He loves money and whores and torturing me. He doesn’t come into this room because I have convinced him it is haunted.’ A smile curled the corner of her lips. ‘He’s a very superstitious man.’
‘And yet her married you, little witch.’
‘Do you think I had a choice? He was more in love with my father’s money than he was afraid of my craft. After squandering his own fortune, marrying a witch seemed less loathsome than being poor. For him. For me nothing is more loathsome than being forced to do his bidding.’ Her voice was dark, venomous, and even Ferris’ skin prickled at the hatred therein. She shook herself and shrugged as though coming out of a bad dream. ‘I have no doubt that the time will come when he will use my craft against me to his advantage.’ She turned to face him, ‘If he lives long enough for such scheming. He has already let it be known among the villagers that I am a strange one, that I have … unholy tendencies.’
Ferris moved to stand behind her and closed the book she had been reading. ‘The death of one accused of witchcraft is not pleasant, my dear woman.’
She raised her eyes and looked out the window at the night sky. ‘I can only die once and then this suffering will be over. But I wish to insure that he suffers much before I do, and that my … dear husband … precedes me in death. Since he has not sought me tonight, then I assume you have paid him a visit.’
Ferris laid a hand against her jaw and pulled her hair back to reveal the angry bruise. ‘He will give you no bruises this night. Night terrors can be so troublesome, and they often leave one far too exhausted for such spineless activities as beating helpless women – for days at times, or so I am told.’ He slid his hand down onto her collarbone and was once again surprised to find she did not cower. ‘But then I see no helpless woman here.’
‘Is my proposal acceptable to you then, demon,’ she asked. From the angle at which he stood he could see the hardening of her nipples below the fabric of her gown and the rise and fall of the rounded tops of her breasts.
‘For the price we have agreed upon, I will do your bidding,’ he said. ‘It shall give me pleasure to lay waste to such a corrupt soul.’ He slid his hand down over her sternum and inside the gape in her gown to caress her breasts and felt the catch of her breath in unison with the catch of his own, which was only a memory of breath, but a memory he knew well. ‘In the meantime, I will enjoy the world of the flesh.’
She shoved his hand aside. ‘I am not yours to dispose of until you have given me what I ask.’ She pushed her chair back and came to her feet, turning to face him. ‘If you take me now, than I have naught with which to bargain.’
He bowed his head. ‘As you wish, my little witch.’ As he lifted her into his arms, she yelped and he felt her body tense against him as he carried her to the cot on the far side of the room where it was clear that she spent most of her nights. ‘Then you shall sleep, and I shall watch over you.’ He undid the robe that she had carelessly thrown around herself, the one she had worn from the garden, and slipped it off her shoulders. Then he guided her down beneath the blanket.
‘You don’t have to watch over me. That was not a part of the bargain.’
‘Indeed not,’ he said, as he settled onto the bed next to her. ‘But I must protect my investment. When my end of the bargain is fulfilled, I would not want my reward damaged and unable to uphold her end.’ He brushed a kiss against her lips. Her breath was warm and sweet and he longed to linger in it until dawn.
‘How can I trust you to keep your word?’ She whispered.
‘How can you not?’ He replied, curling up next to her on top of the covers. ‘What I have promised I will perform, now rest, my little witch, and be at peace.’
Here are the links to the previous episodes in case you missed them:
Chapter 6 Beneath the Weight of Shadow
Chapter 7 Possessions
Chapter 8 Necessities and Inconveniences
Chapter 9 Demon Dreams
Chapter 10 Backlash
Chapter 11 Chasing the Dream