Wow! Time for a double-barrelled happy ending! Today is the last day of I Things that Go Hump on the Night and the grand finale, final instalment of Demon Interrupted. What a fabulous month it’s been, with fabulous authors, fantastic giveaways and lots of sizzling paranormal fun!
After you’ve read the final chapter of Demon Interrupted and cheered Ferris and Elaine on to sexy sizzling times, make sure you check out the fabulous giveaways and take advantage of lots of chances to win on the rafflecopter at the end of this post.
Also, if you’ve missed any of the exciting posts and chances to win from Things that Go Hump in the Night‘s month long celebration of all things paranormal, follow this link to Day One and enjoy all 31 Things that Go Hump in the night!
Not ready to stop the paranormal partying? Be sure to catch my blog tour for the Lakeland Witches Trilogy. I’m over at the ARE Cafe today talking ghosts, druids and haunted pubs.
Now grab another cuppa and settle back for the final instalment of Demon Interrupted.
If you’ve missed the previous episodes of Demon Interrupted, find the links at the bottom of this instalment.
Enjoy Chapter sixteen, and thanks for joining the fun with this Work in Progress. If you want to read more about the Elemental Coven’s sexy adventures, check out the Lakeland Witches Trilogy: Body Temperature and Rising, Riding the Ether and Elemental Fire. Happy, reading!
Tim Meriwether and Lucia sat at the kitchen table looking out into the rose garden where Ferris sat next to Cassandra in companionable silence. ‘At least Cassandra can get him out into the fresh air and sunshine. I thought Anderson and I were going to have to drag him out kicking and screaming.’
‘He mourns his Elaine deeply,’ Lucia said. ‘I would not have thought such suffering possible in a soul rider.’
They watched the two in silence for a long moment, then Tim spoke around a mouthful of Fiori’s homemade shortbread. ‘Lucia, let me get this straight, demons can travel in time, and you went back to get Ferris?’
‘Some demons can travel in time, but not all,’ Lucia said. ‘Riders can, I can, but usually don’t. Frankly there’s little in the past that interests me. Time is much less relevant to us than it is to mortals. We simply are, wherever and whenever we are. But Ferris was summoned by a mortal, and her magic was strong enough to call him to her. It could have simply pissed him off, in which case he would have considered her fair game and ridden her soul until she was insane. But she intrigued him, and then he fell in love with her.’ She shook her head. ‘Honestly, whoever heard of a demon falling in love?’
Tim held gaze over his cup of tea. ‘Whoever heard of a demon having a daughter?’ He nodded out the window to where Cassandra and Ferris sat side by side on a stone bench.
‘Indeed,’ the demon replied.
‘And whoever heard of a demon showing compassion for another demon? Tara asked from where she stood at the counter pouring steaming water from the kettle over a cup of Fiori’s famous hot chocolate mix. She had just come in from the garden with a trug of baby carrots and ripe tomatoes along with a bunch of coriander for the aubergine curry Fiori was planning for dinner.
Lucia’s robe flamed as though it were offended ‘I was simply being practical. Not being tied to time, and letting strong emotions, in fact the strongest emotion of all control him meant that Ferris could wreak havoc in any time during history he wanted. Few beings are more dangerous than an enraged soul rider. There are consequences to such actions, and mortals – no matter how weak they are – are not to be trifled with when it comes to their survival.
Tim nodded. ‘They hung Elaine, after all.’
Lucia glared at him. ‘And you think justice was served?’
‘I didn’t say that. Farringdon sounded like he deserved what he got, but still …’
‘Any crime that was committed has surely been paid for long ago,’ Tara said, leaning against the counter with the cup steaming between her hands. ‘Elaine hung for a murder she didn’t commit and Ferris has paid a very high price for his part in Farringdon’s death.’
Lucia offered him a look that she might have reserved for a very stupid child, then waved a dismissing hand. ‘Be that as it may, Ferris is not exactly subject to justice as you know it, Mr. Meriwether. That being the case, I could not allow Ferris to rain down his grief and rage on untold thousands. And I needed a protector for Cassandra. I needed someone to keep her safe from Deacon. I believe it’s what you mortals call a win-win situation.’
‘And you trusted a rampaging soul rider to take care of your daughter?’ Tim raised a sceptical eyebrow.
‘The pact we made, the magic it entailed ensured that Ferris would not remember his past until that pact was fulfilled. In fact he asked to live in the moment with only the memories he needed to care for and protect Cassandra and to oversee Storm Croft and her inheritance for her. I gave him the magic he needed as he needed it. I made his life peaceful and very bland so that he would also not attract Cassandra’s attention as a succubus. But I could not keep his past from him forever. I never imagined that he would refuse his memories, that he would mentally block them when our pact was finished. But he is a soul rider, those powers are his. He simply used them on himself.’
‘He’s still waiting for Elaine,’ Tim said, ‘He’s convinced she’ll come to him.’
‘There’s no doubt she guided him safely through his ordeal when no one else could,’ Lucia said. ‘Whether she was real or only a memory that he dreamed, I cannot say.’
‘Poor bastard,’ Tim said. ‘I nearly lost my mind when I thought I’d lose Marie to Deacon.’
‘The heart is a powerful thing,’ Lucia replied. ‘And if anything it’s even more powerful for demons, who must live without that organ. I cannot say whether or not he’ll heal. I can say that he would have died, and most likely everyone at Elemental Cottage as well if he had not faced his past.’
‘Are we expecting company?’ Alice came into the kitchen and stripped off her walking boots, face flushed from tromping the high fells.
‘Not that I know of,’ Tara said. ‘Why?’
‘Well, there’s a strange woman standing out in the front garden. She’s just … standing there looking sort of lost.’ Alice slipped into a pair of trainers with ragged laces. ‘I’ll go see what she wants.’
Ferris had always appreciated Cassandra’s ability to be comfortable with silence. She never had been much for unnecessary conversation, and he had never quite known how to make small talk. Besides all the words had been said. The memories of his past were so much sharper than he wanted them to be, and the serrated edge of them constantly cut into him like it all happened only yesterday. And really, it might as well have.
‘Lucia warned me it would be like this if I let her bring me into the future as she did,’ he said, gently squeezing Cassandra’s hand, feeling the effervescing comfort of her magic. ‘She said it was best I dealt with the grief and the pain in a normal timeline, but even she knew how I would have dealt with it after the destruction at High Moor.’ He turned to face her. ‘And I fear I would have been so much worse than Deacon ever thought of being.’
If Cassandra were shocked by his words, she didn’t show it. ‘When Anderson was lost in the Ether, and I didn’t know if I’d ever see him again, I had a focus for my rage. Goddess only knows what I would have done if I hadn’t.’
‘A focus, yes. That’s what Lucia brought when she gave you into my care. You were my soul reason for existence, caring for you and your inheritance, easing your suffering as best I could. She would have never given back my memories had she believed you hadn’t healed me’ He shook his head. ‘Oh the pain is still there as though I held Elaine’s lifeless body in my arms only yesterday, but the rage is gone. The rage couldn’t heal me, the rage could only dishonour the memory of what Elaine was to me. But caring for you, seeing how you suffered and knowing that I could do little but be there when you needed me, that was so much more important than my revenge on ignorant people who didn’t understand and had nothing to do with what happened. And now, my dear Cassandra, you’ve returned the favour.’ He leaned in and kissed her on the cheek.’
There was a soft clearing of a throat. ‘Demon, have you forgotten me already after only three hundred years?’
Ferris was certain his heart stopped. His breath stopped. Time stopped. He feared to turn, he feared that he might discover he was only dreaming or worse, that Lucia had been wrong and he was hallucinating. But the way Cassandra squeezed his hand and the catch of her breath could only mean that … Dear Goddess, let it mean … Slowly, holding his emotions in check just in case this was but a dream, he turned, and surely a vision from the Mother herself could not have been more lovely.
There she stood, between Tara and Lucia. Elaine. And still he feared he only dreamed her. ‘Ferris, you have a guest.’ Tara’s voice was laced with empathy. ‘She’s come a long way and waited a long time to be with you.’ She laid her hand gently on Elaine’s shoulder and nodded toward the bench. Still he didn’t move.
Cassandra released a sigh, then stood, kissed him on the cheek and moved to Tara’s side. And still he did not move. ‘If I’m dreaming, please don’t wake me.’ His voice cracked and he struggled to gain control, to take in the reality of the woman who stood before him.
‘And no hallucination,’ Lucia added. ‘Elaine is here. She’s real, just as you said she was, just as you always knew she was.’
Elaine offered a smile bright enough to shame the sun. ‘Well, technically I’m dead, but you are a demon, my dear Ferris, and you live among ghost riders. You know that death is just an inconvenience, that there are ways of overcoming it.’ She moved forward, slowly, carefully, almost as though she feared he would bolt. She was dressed simply in a summer skirt of flowered cotton and a blue t-shirt. Her silken dark hair was pulled back in a ponytail. She sat down next to him on the bench, not taking her eyes off him, but not touching him either. ‘I summoned you once, my dear rider, and we made a bargain. You fulfilled your end of that bargain. Surely you didn’t think that I would not uphold mine.’ The sparkle in her eyes went from mischief to misty, and she swallowed emotion. ‘I have waited a very long time to fulfil my promise to you.’
In his peripheral vision, Ferris could see Tara quietly motioning the others to the house.
He reached out a hand to stroke Elaine’s cheek, and then drew it back, shyly. ‘I am sorry, my dear little witch, but I can not now easily part with Farringdon’s vessel.’
She grabbed his fingers, kissed them and pulled them back to her cheek. ‘I no longer see Patrick Farringdon, when I look at that vessel, my dear Ferris. I see the one who wore it in a heroic effort to save me, the one who wore it in a tragic effort to avenge me, the one who gave up vengeance to serve love.’ She glanced over her shoulder just as Cassandra disappeared into the house. ‘The succubus is worthy of that love, and so are you, my darling rider.’ She leaned in and brushed his lips with hers, and he pulled her to him with a sigh that was near a sob, and the heart of him was near exploding at the feel of her solid and whole and warm in his embrace again.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and spoke softly against his ear. ‘The Fire Demon has told me your plight. I came to you as soon as you were able to receive me.’
‘When you came to me at Storm Croft, you didn’t know me, nor I you.’
‘That was but a hallucination, my darling, your unconscious trying to help free you, to bring you back to me. It broke my heart to see you so.’
He had so many questions for her, so much he wanted to talk about, and yet he found himself at a loss for words. For a long time they sat silently just holding one another, then he pulled her onto his lap. ‘I can’t get close enough to you, my little witch.’
She offered a mischievous laugh and wriggled playfully against him. ‘There are ways of getting still closer, my dear rider, ways I seem to recall, in which you are quite well versed.’ She quirked her head toward Elemental Cottage. ‘And I’m sure you’ve learned many more methods of getting closer living among practitioners of sex magic, as you do.’ With her eyes locked on his, she began to slowly shift and grind her luscious bottom against him. ‘I have been waiting for the pleasure of your flesh for three hundred years, demon.’ She moved just enough that she could slide her hands down to fumble with his fly.
‘Even in this flesh?’ He caught his breath as she worried her fingers inside his boxers and stroked his erection.
‘Any flesh you wear, my demon, will service me very well. Of this I’m certain.’ With that she guided his hand up under her shirt and laid it between her breasts. ‘I am yours, demon, body and soul, just as I promised – all of my flesh, all of my heart, all that I am is yours to use as you will.
He wound a fingers in her ponytail and pulled her into a deep kiss, speaking against her lips, between hungry darts and probings of his tongue, ‘And use you, I will, my little witch. Just as I promised. Oh yes, how I shall use you.’
She shifted until she straddled him, the thin crotch of her panties unable to hold back the humid heat of her raking and sliding against his partially covered cock. ‘Don’t keep me waiting, rider, I’ve waited long enough.’ She shoved and tugged at his trousers and boxers, and he lifted his arse and nearly unseated her onto the grass, as he pushed them down until his bare butt settled onto stone. When he was free, his cock pressed at full attention between them, she stood, her eyes locked on his, and slipped out of her panties. Then she lifted her skirt, giving him an exquisite view of her tight dark curls just before her hand slid down to splay herself open for him. Then she climbed back onto his lap and sheathed him.
He sucked a harsh breath that sounded as though she had gut punched him. ‘Dear Goddess, Elaine, I can hardly contain myself in your impatience. Please, I want to make it last.’
She bit his lower lip and cupped his face in her hands so that he couldn’t look away from her. ‘I belong to you, demon. That was our bargain. And I know that it’s in your power to make it last lifetimes, but right now, I starve for you. I need you to fill me.’
In truth, he could no more refuse her now than he could all those years ago when she summoned him into the overgrown garden. His need for her was as great as hers for him, and there was no denying how that fact delighted him. Her grip on him was fierce as he clutched at her hips to push deeper into her. With a move that was like water flowing, she lifted the t-shirt off over her head so that he could see her breasts, ruby-crowned, dancing and swaying in the tight space between them. She wore no bra. Frantically she clawed open his shirt, ripping buttons off in her desperation to him, the get flesh against flesh. Then as he shrugged it off his shoulders, she wrapped her arms around his neck and tightened her grip on his cock still further. The press of her full breasts against his sharpened nipples, nearly sent him over the edge as they battled for breathing space, pressed tightly to each other, grinding and shifting until the world contracted around them. Ferris didn’t know when his demon had overwhelmed Farringdon’s vessel, but as he lowered Elaine onto the ground, it was his demon hands that cupped the rounded pillows of her bottom, and it was his demon flesh that rode her deep into the soft summer grass, thrusting his need into her with a lust that he wasn’t sure even the demon could contain.
She gasped her surprise as the rider overwhelmed the human vessel, then the gasp became a sob, her eyes wide and bright and deep enough to swallow him whole. ‘You are my demon,’ she grunted in a desperate breath. ‘You are so much larger than the vessel you wear, and I love all of you.’
‘And I love you, my little witch. You have held my essence safe in your heart for three hundred years, a burden I would have never wished upon you, and now you’ve come home to me. I am undone. I am truly undone.’
‘No my love.’ She wrapped her legs around his hips in a grip that told him she was near her release. ‘You are not undone. You are remade. And so am I.’ Then she clutched him in her orgasm with a grip so tight that he believed with all of his heart she would never let him go and, as he convulsed deep inside her, he felt as though he had come home at last and he had brought her home with him to a place where there was magic and laughter and family. His family, and now hers.
Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain!
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(from the beginning)
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
Chapter 12 The Summoning
Chapter 13 Tenuous Threads
Chapter 14 Corporeal
Chapter 15 The Vessel
Chapter 16 The Undoing