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A New Excerpt from A Demon’s Tale

It’s rough and ready … well getting that way, but here is a new excerpt from my WIP
A Demon’s Tale to tease you and appease you for the long wait. Book Four of the Medusa Consortium Series, and the novel in which all the characters decided to take control away from the writer. Sigh! Negotiations are in progress.

 

The Demon Begs a Favour

It was the early hours when he came to her again. Susan had drank more wine than she could have ever tolerated before she became a vampire, and still it barely took the edge off. She was considering taking on Magda’ drink of choice to up the ante, but it didn’t really seem to be any more effective on her, so she figured the woman drank single malt for comfort more than effect. She understood that. Upstairs in their room Michael slept. She figured everyone else in the house slept. Magda had sent the jet to Manchester for both Annie and Alonso. Annie didn’t need to be alone and she reckoned Reese would need Alonso, and Susan. And she would need them both as well as Michael if the shit hit the fan, and when was the shit not hitting the fan these days. She slouched in front of the fireplace where the fire she did not need blazed. Her Mac cast a pale light across her desk behind her, open to a nearly blank document. It said only “Just because you dream it, doesn’t mean it’s not real.” It made no sense in terms of anything but her own suffering, and yet that single statement kept coming back to her. The fact that everything would take place in the Guardian’s dream construct, perhaps was playing on her and not allowing her to see more clearly.

She still would not allow herself to sleep even though she had been assured she was safe in the dream world at the moment. Talia had even offered to take her to the dream world succubus style. But she couldn’t sleep even if she wanted to, not when the Guardian was soon to strip aside all that he was becoming and face the witch with everything that had made him so terrifying and so irresistible and dangerous to everyone in the world, human and otherwise. This he was doing, in no small part, because of her, and he had left thinking she did not trust him. So lost was she in her thoughts that when he all but burst into that space inside her mind, she jumped.

“Susan, I have very little time. The witch is stronger that I remember her to be. Oh do not worry, I shall succeed in my mission,” he crowded in tight and gave her no room to speak, and the pressure in her chest from the weight of him was almost unbearable. “I cannot linger, but I must beg of you a favor before the witch is upon me and I must be other than I am with you and those we love.”

“Anything.”

She regretted her words instantly at his request. “You must not believe anything you glimpse in my dream world, for I will not be myself, but I hunger, Susan, I hunger knowing what she will give to me willingly. I do not wish it so but it must be if I am to complete my task.” Still he gave her no room to speak. “I ask that when I have done what I must, when I return, if I … if I can no longer remember what I am, what you and all our friends are to me, that you will, without the slightest delay, return me to the depths of isolation in the dungeon deep inside you, for I do not wish any of those I care about to suffer because of me, nor to see me as I was.”

“That won’t be necessary,” she managed, her blood roaring in her veins, every muscle in her body aching to stop him. “You’ll come back to us whole and more yourself than ever. I trust you.”

“I do not trust myself, Susan, so I beg you promise me.”

“Please don’t –”

“Please, Susan, I beg you!” his urgency bled through into the room, terrifying her in ways she would have never expected.

“If it comes to that, I will,” then she added quickly, “but it won’t. I know it won’t.”

“Thank you, Susan,” the relief bled through his voice in a way she had never heard before. “I must go. She will come soon.”

“G,” she was surprised at how easily the simple name he had allowed Elise North to give him came to her now, and she sensed him turning, pausing, taking in the sound of it coming from her lips. “Do what you have to and hurry back to us.”

And then he was gone, his absence aching along her nerve endings and exploding into her chest into the vast chasm his absence always left. And just like that, she understood. Just like that, the spell appeared in her head.

She grabbed her cell phone and called Talia. “Get up here now.” She didn’t wait for a response, but settled in front of the computer, where the words she had written now made perfect sense, and the spell became clear. Typing frantically, she called the Guardian back to her for the briefest of moments, feeling his anxiety snake across her skin like static electricity. “Can you hold Circe off for just a little longer? The spell has come to me,” she said without pausing from her efforts. Then she opened her mind to him so he could see exactly what the spell involved.

“Will the succubus agree?” He asked with quiet calm.

Just then Talia knocked, but burst into the room without waiting for a response. “What?” was all she said, but her breath caught with a little hitch the moment she saw Susan at her laptop. Without another word she moved to stand behind her and read over her shoulder. Susan felt the Guardian as though he stood looking over her other shoulder. For a long moment Talia said nothing, and then she let out a long, slow whistle. “You are one crazy bitch, Susan Innes.” Then she bent and kissed her cheek. “I’ve always liked that about you.”

 

 

 

Interview with Elise North Part from A Demon’s Tale

Welcome back to the second and final instalment of my interview with PI Elise North, straight from the pages of my WIP, A Demon’s Tale — the next novel in the Medusa Consortium series. I’ve refilled coffee cups and topped up the shortbread, and we’re ready to chat.

 

KD: Elise, if Magda Gardener, and now the Guardian, are any example of your clients, I would say your life is not dull. Can you give us a peek into what your client list looks like?

 

EN: Well, KD, living here in the Big Apple, I get my share of vampires, most with the same reasons for coming to a PI as any other client. Sometimes they want me to help them find a way to let those they left behind before they were changed know that they are okay, to give them some closure, but they still don’t feel it’s safe for them to put in an appearance all transformed. I do get some vampires wanting me to check up on their familiars. I’ve worked for witches and shape shifters. I’ve worked for a lot of ordinary folks who want me to investigate strange activity that would get them laughed out of any other PI’s office. Of course I’ve done some consulting with New York’s finest – mostly with Detective Paul Danson because he’s always open-minded enough to realize when he’s investigating something outside the box, so to speak.

 

Ghosts, yes. The strangest one calls himself the Historian. He lives in the basement of the New York City Public Library. I had to meet him after midnight when we met. I don’t mind saying that place is creepy after dark. Even more so when I had to virtually break in to talk to him. Most of the time, though,  I liaised with his PA, who is an actual sibyl straight from Delphi. Can you believe it? She’s immortal, so she’s well preserved, but flakey as an old paint job, scary as hell too, when she lapses into prophecy mode.

 

KD: Wow! You should write a book.

 

EN: Don’t be silly, KD, I think writing is kind of like music, there’s magic in it. I mean just look at Susan Innes. I’ll stick to being a gumshoe.

 

KD: As I mentioned earlier, you were hired by Magda Gardener to follow an incubus, a Mr. Sands, I believe?

 

EN: Oh yes. Daniel Sands was an interesting character. Seemed he only ever fed on women who’d never orgasmed, never killed any of them, just made them sing the Hallelujah Chorus. That job bordered on voyeurism almost from the beginning. Strange though, Magda Gardener had me tailing him for months, then all of a sudden she pulled me from the case telling me she had all the information she needed. I haven’t heard any more about him since I left the case. When he’s not in feeding mode, I think he keeps pretty much to himself somewhere in remote Scotland.

 

KD: And the Guardian is the first demon you’ve worked for?

 

EN: Oh I’ve investigated a fair amount of demon activity, but I’ve never actually worked for one before. Would have never thought I would accept one as a client, actually. They’re just too unpredictable.  The Guardian is a special case, though. Any other demon would not have found me so receptive.

 

KD: Having made an attempt to interview the Guardian myself, I shiver at the thought.

 

EN: He’s okay, G. Got a wicked sense of humour he’s still trying to figure out how to use.

 

KD: Wait a minute, G?

 

EN: Well I can’t go around call him the Guardian all the time. Especially when that’s just his last job title, not his name, and since he doesn’t remember his name, or maybe he’s just keeping it to himself, G does the trick and he’s okay with that. As for working for him, well he’s a great client, actually. He’s honest and above board with me, intrigued by the fact that he can’t affect me. I think he might have tried a bit in the beginning, but he mostly wanted my help for Susan Innes, his jailor, so to speak, whose dreams were being invaded by a megalomaniac god claiming to be her father.

 

KD: Poseidon?

 

EN: Yup. What a twat. Calls himself Richard Waters now. Wants to take over the world for Olympus once more and needs Susan Innes’s help to do so. Anyway, that was the original purpose of my visits with G. I found that I enjoy his company, and I’m totally intrigued with gaining some insight into what makes demons tick while I’m working for him.

 

KD: And have you? Gained any insight into demons?

 

EN: Well, I’m not sure, actually. He’s been very open in telling me about what it was like for him before he was imprisoned, and frankly I wouldn’t have wanted to be in the same city with him when he was free. One scary bastard, from what I here. But I think it’s changed him, being imprisoned in a woman – now vampire – he clearly sees as a dear friend, I would say he even loves, though he claims demons don’t feel love. I think, interacting with humans in such a human, such a vulnerable way, he’s evolving. That’s exciting to see. Oh I know you can’t trust demons. But frankly I don’t trust most people either.

 

I find that I enjoy his company, and I’d love to spend more time with him, but there’s only one way I can go to him and not have to go through either Susan Innes or Reese Chambers, who is Innes’s fledgling and the prison annex, as he calls himself. The only way I can visit G. privately is to fall asleep and dream. He has his own dream construct, and I can get there because dreaming does not involve magic.

 

KD: Thanks for stopping by today, Elise, and sharing a bit about yourself with my readers. I know you keep a busy schedule with important cases.

 

EN: My pleasure, KD, and the coffee was great! Since I was up all night working. I’m heading home hoping to grab some shut-eye and maybe dream my way into a visit with G.

 

KD: And the coffee won’t keep you awake.

 

EN: Never does. I guess even coffee’s magic doesn’t really work on me. Or at least not the bad insomnia juju.

 

KD: Come back any time, Elise. Maybe we can catch up later in the book.

 

EN: Sounds like a plan.

 

An Interview with PI Elise North from A Demon’s Tale

I’m very pleased to have the lovely Elise North to mine for coffee with
Elise this morning in the first of this two part interview, which will conclude next Monday, the 21st.

 

KD: Elise is a private investigator with some very unique gifts, and one of the main players in A Demon’s Tale, my present WIP, the next instalment of Medusa’s Consortium. Elise, I first heard about you when I read your reports for Magda Gardener concerning your investigation of an incubus, Daniel Sands. What got my attention is that you could get close to an incubus and not be affected by him. Tell us why that is

 

EN: “First of all, let me say wow, I love your coffee. I adore cold brew, and this morning I really need it. I was up all night searching for a wayward shape shifter. Anyway, never mind that. (runs her hand through short blonde hair, her large brown eyes sparkling like she’s about to share a good joke.)Of course I can’t talk about it at the moment. But to answer your question, yes, for some reason I can’t explain, nor can anyone else, magic has no effect on me, but I can sense its presence, even when no one else seems to be able to. Sort of like a sixth sense I guess you could say.

 

KD: Let me get this straight, you’re not affected by magic at all? Of any kind?

 

EN: Nope. Nada. But the flip side of that coin is that I don’t have any magic in me. I mean most normal people don’t, or think they don’t, but almost everyone has a smidge, even if it’s just a bit of intuition that’s uncanny from time to time.

 

KD: So there’s never a chance of someone slinging magic at you?

 

EN: Nope, never. The real risk is, for example, the strength of a vampire. I’m as vulnerable to strength and physical power, or a plain old handgun as anyone else. While I’m not vulnerable to demons, a person possessed will have super human strength. It’s the secondary stuff I have to watch out for. But I’ve trained for that. If there’s a physical threat, I mean. I spend a good bit of my leisure time at the little dive gym just down the street from my flat, or on the shooting range and I’m well trained in several martial arts. That’s a part of my job.

 

KD: So this being immune to magic but at the same time being able to see it, how does that work, exactly.

 

EN: Well for one thing, I do see dead people, like the kid in the film, though they almost always know they’re dead, and they come to me because they know I can see them, which means I might be able to help them.

 

KD: I take it you don’t mean help them cross over.

 

EN: Nope. Like I said, I don’t have even the teensiest bit of magic. They have to find someone else for that, if they’re in a traveling mood. They come for the typical PI stuff, you know, to find out if a spouse was cheating on them before they died, if said spouse might have been responsible for their death, to find treasure that was stolen from them, to get me to sort out things that only the living can sort. They’re only a small part of my business though.

 

KD: How do they pay you then?

 

EN: Well, as you might guess, KD, it costs a lot to hire me. You wouldn’t believe what I have to pay for insurance. I mean most insurance companies would laugh me out of their offices. So there’s that, but also, my line of work involves a lot more potentially dangerous situations most PIs would face. I mean most don’t have to worry that a less than well-behaved vampire might try to make them lunch or that they might get caught breaking and entering in the New York City library in the middle of the night to speak with a ghost. And I’m pretty sure none of them has ever had to deal with a demon possessed person trying to hammer their brains out. So while I do have a sliding payment scale when need be, generally speaking, I charge a lot.

 

Problem is that more often than not, I’m paid in assets that are only moderately liquid or in come cases not very. I get old coins, jewelry, even pirate treasure on occasion. I get a lot of stuff that has a high value, but can’t be easily converted to cash. One vampire paid me with a priceless Stradivarius. I actually kept that, even though I don’t play. At the time the legal hoops I’d have to jump through to place it in a museum without it looking like I’d nicked it were just too much to bother with. It didn’t seem right to take money for it. I figure some day I might know someone who can play, or maybe I’ll take lessons. Not likely, since I’m tone deaf. I wonder if music is a type of magic. Can I have another cup of coffee?

 

KD: Yes, of course.

 

I pour her another cup, and push a plate of shortbread across the table

 

KD: So I imagine you must have a lot of acquaintances and colleagues who can help you convert those sorts of things to cash.

EN: I have connections. Believe it or not a lot of them are in the police department,
mostly people who know someone who knows someone else they talked to while investigating a theft, but they have lots of connections at the NYPD. I try to stay on their good side.

 


KD:
Very wise, I’d say.

 

Check in with A Hopeful Romantic next Monday, the 21st for the conclusion of our interview, in which Elise North discusses her relationship with the Guardian and what it’s like to work for a demon.

 

Interview with a Demon 9th Instalment

R&R is over, and I have been properly lectured by Magda Gardener on my flight
home from the States. I’m relieved that she knows about my interview with the Guardian, but she made it very clear she didn’t approve. That being said, in spite of Magda’s warnings, a few days later I returned to the penthouse for my next meeting with the Guardian for instalment 9 of the interview. Listing for previous instalments are at the bottom of this post.

 

Chapter 9  Anticipating

It was almost a month before I was invited to return to the Guardian’s dream prison. In those first days, I slept most of the time, and when I did wake up, I was ravenous. I ate and slept again. On the evening of the third day I woke, ate and showered, and boarded the plane for some much needed R&R with family. I thought I was prepared for whatever would happen next, when Magda Gardener showed up on my flight home to informed that not only did she know about my interview with the Guardian, but she was not best pleased.

 

For the next few days, I waited, expecting that any time I would get called back to New York to continue the interview. But when the call had not come by the third day, I found myself unable to settle, unable to relax, vacillating between hoping Magda had forbidden further meetings with the Guardian and longing desperately to see him again, to hear the rest of his story. On the fourth day, not only did I get the call, but one of the Consortium’s private jets had been sent for me. It seemed that after her stern talk to me, Magda had decided best expedite the whole interview under her watchful eye. I didn’t know how I felt about that, but I was more than a little bit anxious to get back to the Guardian.

 

I arrived in New York with more of a sense of excitement and anticipation than I would like to admit. That in itself frightened me. I told Magda Gardener that I had made a commitment and I would see it through to the end, but in my heart of hearts, I feared my desire to continue the interview had little to do with my commitment at this point.

 

At the flat in New York City, Talia met me at the door and invited me back to the big bed. This time it was Reese who sat in the wing backed chair, rising to kiss me on both cheeks. Then he held me at arms length and inspected me as though he were checking for physical wounds. “I’m all right,” I mumbled. “Better now that I’ve rested.” Then I added without waiting, “Magda knows.”

 

Reese didn’t seem surprised. “It doesn’t matter. She doesn’t know him as well as she thinks she does. He won’t hurt you,” Reese said, as he stepped back, still not taking his eyes off me. “But no matter what his intentions are, you’ll never be the same after being with him.”

 

“Thanks for that, Reese,” Talia grumbled. “You didn’t do too bad out of the deal. Besides that no one is forcing her to do this interview. She’s not so stupid as to think a demon is ever safe, and if she is, well she deserves what she gets.”

 

She motioned me toward the bed, but I balked. “Do you love him?” I asked Reese.

 

He took another step back, almost as though I had hit him, and rested a hand on the back of the chair. “I … think of him differently now.” Then he settled back in the chair, but avoided my gaze.

 

As I lay down to the bed, Talia crawled in next to me and pulled me close to her. This time she wore silk pajamas. “He’s a monster, K D,’ she whispered next to my ear. “It takes more than most people are up for to love a monster, whatever the hell that even means.” Her words were brittle, lacking in the usual humor that usually surrounded the succubus.

 

I wanted to argue that Reese was a monster too now and so was she, that they all were, but I fell asleep before I could say anything.

 

I awoke on my back in the grass looking up at the stars. The Guardian sat next to me looking out over the fells. “You appear much more rested now, K D,” he said without looking at me.

 

“I am, thank you.” I eased myself into a seated position, fighting a slight sense of disorientation. He let me get my bearings before he spoke again then he simply said. “I overheard the conversation. So our dear Magda Gardener knows of our meetings.”

 

I nodded. I’d begun to understand he didn’t need to see or hear me, and sometimes I didn’t really need to respond at all. That happened more often than it was comfortable to think about.

 

“Well, I’m delighted that our situation merited a plane flight and a motherly lecture. You should consider yourself among the blest.” I wondered if I was only imagining the strange blend of humor and bitterness in his voice. I was certainly not missing the hint of triumph when he added, “and you came back anyway. I am honored.”

 

There was another moment of silence and then he spoke without preamble as though I hadn’t been gone for nearly a month.

 

“She wrote my escape, Susan did. Of course I deceived her into thinking that she and Annie, in their drunken celebration after she had seen Chapel House, were only making up tales inspired by the place, and I was nothing more than the imaginary lover hiding in the dark. I was simply an idea for a story Susan would write later, put aside among her notes and documents to be opened and resurrected when she had time and when the inspiration struck her.” His laugh was forced. “You see to what levels I was willing to stoop to be free, and I would say that it was nothing, that I would have done so much more. That would not be a lie, I promise you. But you must understand I had never encountered a real Scribe before, in fact I did not believe that such a creature even existed in these secular sterile times.

 

“That she could simply write my freedom into existence was joy beyond joy for me. But that she had such power made her all the more desirable, for no matter how much I lusted for Annie, no matter how much I wanted her, she had no power other than her beauty, and beauty is a fleeting thing. A story well told, however, is immortal.

 

“In the night, she rose up from her bed, while Annie slept the sleep of the comfortably inebriated. She found the key to Chapel House and she drove there by herself. I knew that she would come. I knew that nothing short of death would keep her from me and, K D, I was then, as I ever am, insatiable. My freedom would never be enough, I would possess not only Susan, but I would take Annie as well.

 

“And there is more, another part of this story that makes me believe, in spite of all that has happened, that my experiences, all of our experiences, have led us to this point in our journey for a reason. That it was meant to be.” He chuckled softly. “How very human it sounds to say such a silly thing. But you will understand when I tell you. You will know why I believe such a thing to be true. You see, while Annie spoke of her plans for the renovation of Chapel House there in the crypt, she mentioned the builder who she would hire on for the project, Michael Weller. Oh yes, I knew full well who Michael Weller was, and my greed, my hunger, could barely be contained as I waited for my release.

 

“You see, I would have it all. Susan would make it so. I would have my freedom, I would have Annie, and then I would have Susan and Michael, and I would make them my own and keep them close to me for the rest of time.

 

“Dear K D, in the whole of my existence I cannot recall a moment when I was more beside myself with excitement, with anticipation of what would soon come to fruition because of my lovely little Scribe. I waited in the dark, a creature of infinite patience impatient as I had never known impatience. I waited with anticipation for my first proper taste of freedom, for my first proper taste of Susan.

 

Links to Previous instalments of the interview

 

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

 

In The Flesh FREE!

 

Fun and Freebies with a Paranormal Flavour

It’s time for FREEBIES! Lots of freebies! And if that’s not exciting enough, I’m especially excited that in the run-up to the 29th September release of Blindsided, book 2 of the Medusa’s Consortium Series, In The Flesh, book 1, is included in the freebies. All you have to do is follow the link and click on the book.

And I don’t want any of you to miss out on any of the fabulous free paranormal reads, so here are all the deets.

Love Paranormal Romance? You’ll Love this PNR Freebies Promo!

The fab folks at Instafreebie have rounded up twenty-one (count ‘em) authors of Paranormal Romance, who are each offering a FREE book. That’s 21 (count ‘em) amazing PNR books for FREE! August 28th until September 1st.

As I said, I’m very happy that my novel, In The Flesh, is included in the fabulous list. FREE for this limited time only. This is book one of the Medusa’s Consortium Series.

Now’s the time to nab all these fabulous books and read till your little paranormal-loving heart is content.

Go grab your free here:

http://www.thearielmarie.com/freepnrbooks

 

 

Landscapes is Still FREE!

And if you want to get the full experience of Medusa’s Consortium before the upcoming launch of Blindsided, be sure to take advantage of the free download of my exciting M/M novella, Landscapes. Landscapes is the very first of the Medusa’s Consortium stories.

 

 

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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