Falling For Her
Devil May Care, Book 4
by Lily Vega
Ebook ISBN: 07469-02409
[ Dark Fantasy Romance, MF ]
A millennia ago a woman’s betrayal resulted in the loss of Kristoff’s wings and his banishment from heaven. Forever lonely, he seeks a companion to spend eternity with in his own personal hell dimension.
A cutting gust of wind capable of ripping the wings off angels blew Kristoff’s conjured umbrella inside out, and rain plastered his hair to his face. He wrestled the infernal contraption back into place, but with the pelting rain, the umbrella did little to keep him dry.
What a crappy welcome to the damned Windy City.
Traveling to Chicago for a blind date arranged by a lust demon playing matchmaker was pathetic enough without looking like he’d taken an impromptu dip into Lake Michigan. If his power in the human realm were stronger, he’d force the storm clouds away and evaporate the clinging droplets of water. But his fall from heaven limited his abilities. Especially when he strayed beyond the hell dimension he called home.
The building before him was a thousand-fold more intimidating than the gothic castle he shared with his imp minion. And the mere sight of the structure with its tall wooden cross and stained-glass windows slammed into his gut with the force of an archangel’s staff.
What business did a lust demon have inside a church?
Of all of the possibilities, he’d never imagined Xanthe would spend quality time at a holy place, even one decommissioned and in the process of being converted into a restaurant. While the ground was no longer sanctified, the building reminded him of how much he’d lost. Of how far he’d literally and metaphorically fallen. Of his biggest and most regrettable mistake.
His heart ached, and the scars on his upper back throbbed as though in an effort to regenerate his lost wings. Never again would he soar among the clouds.
The huge front door opened and a woman, the polar opposite of the lust demon, emerged. Xanthe had a curvy figure, light olive skin, green eyes, and long hair the color of flame. The woman framed in the doorway possessed the slim build of an athlete, pale white skin, and short hair that brought to mind strong coffee with a dollop of milk.
His gaze lingered on her full, pink lips. He’d never kissed anyone but Gavrielle, the angel with a devilish agenda. Like Adam’s first glimpse of the apple, their kiss ultimately led to his expulsion from paradise, and had far-reaching consequences.
When the woman bounded down the steps, her clothing remained dry. The rain failed to touch her, as though a powerful force field deflected the droplets from her skin.
The door of the church flew open again and Xanthe emerged. “Wait, Chandra. Do you have a Saturday free in October or not? We want a Halloween theme for the commitment ceremony.”
The dark-haired woman turned to face the lust demon and raised her hand, palm outward. Xanthe stopped mid-step, her face went blank, and with stiff robotic movements, she retreated inside the church.
“Nice trick.” Kristoff hadn’t witnessed such an effortless display of witchcraft in a millennium.
Without acknowledging he had spoken, the witch headed down the street at a brisk clip.
Normally when someone ignored him, a raw anger filled his chest, but this woman piqued his interest. His attraction to her went beyond her considerable beauty and power. The sight of only one other woman had ever made his heart pound and his desire spike in this way. But while Gavrielle relished her power over him and his resulting banishment from heaven, the witch barely spared him a glance. Did she deem him, Kristoff, former holy guardian angel, too insignificant to bother bespelling? But the urge to prove that the fascinating witch, like Gavrielle, served only to tempt and destroy men, burned inside.
He should forget all about the witch. After the lust demon offered to set up the date, his imp minion had convinced him a companion would bring light into their dark existence. Kristoff hoped and — even though he’d never admit it — prayed his date would be someone who could stimulate his mind and body. He doubted he’d ever find joy, but he’d settle for good conversation and sex.
No doubt his date would be enraged when he transported her to his dimension. But once she realized the impossibility of escape and tasted the sensual delights his bed offered, she’d resign herself to be his partner for eternity. And he’d never be alone again.
* * *
Chandra Wilson stalked toward the elevated train station. She shouldn’t have used her powers to silence Xanthe, but if one more person asked her to officiate a wedding or a commitment service, she’d zap them with a spell or at least scream bloody murder.
Too bad she didn’t get paid for her teleportation services. Few witches were strong enough to transport themselves or others without the use of a sacred circle. And she’d never heard of anyone creating a talisman like the enchanted moonstone she wore on a silver chain around her neck. Whenever she held the stone and spoke a special incantation, magic would transport her home. She didn’t believe in abusing her powers, though. Most days she used public transportation.
Before she’d agree to perform another commitment ceremony, she needed to restore her belief that someday she’d be a bride. Nothing made her regret her single status more than witnessing two or three people declaring their undying love.
Her recent dating experience had been sketchy at best. The guys she met on truelovematch.com were more interested in booty calls than in long-term matches or love, true or otherwise. And if she reached the stage where a guy considered her worthy enough to bring home to meet his sainted mama, the woman would freak out when Chandra revealed her religious views. One mother had waved a cross and called her a dirty heathen. Thank the goddess witch-burning was a felony.
She’d had enough problems trying to make her own family comprehend her beliefs. Most people didn’t understand Wicca. They thought witches a joke, a character to play on Halloween, not a religion to practice all year around. And the haggy crone Halloween costumes were just as insulting as the slutty versions.
The sensation of prickly caterpillar feet crawled up her neck. She glanced behind her. The man from outside the church, who looked like sex on a very scrumptious stick, was gaining on her. The bastard probably wanted to book her for a winter wedding. Of course his bride-to-be would be buxom, bubbly, and beautiful. Right out of the pages of a fricking fashion magazine.
“I’m not scheduling any ceremonies right now.” Her words came out brusque.
He cocked his head as though he failed to decipher her words. Water dripped from his strong chin, and he shivered.
“Okay, then.” She turned on her heel and continued on her path, but the squishing sound of his wet socks inside black dress shoes tore at her conscience.
Then he sneezed.
The rain had slowed to a drizzle, but the man was a damp mess. The poor guy would likely catch pneumonia if he didn’t dry off and warm up. On his deathbed, he’d tell his never-to-be bride how trying to book a witch for their wedding led to his demise.
With a steaming mug in front of her, she might be able to stomach his fairytale love story. And a snack would provide the energy needed to brave the dating website.
She stopped in front of Chi-town Coffee. “If you insist on following me, and if I’m going to listen to your love story, I need chocolate.”
Something like disgust flashed through his narrowed green eyes. “I don’t believe in love.” Despite his words, he held the door open and followed her inside.
Maybe he planned to break up one of her scheduled weddings. With his broad shoulders, narrow waist, and bad-boy sexiness, he’d make objecting to a union look good.
The aroma of ground coffee beans did little to disguise the man’s masculine, woodsy scent. When she leaned forward to peer into the lower section of the pastry case, her shirt rode up. His hand brushed against her bared skin, bringing goose bumps to the surface.
An unfamiliar aura of magic surrounded him. The dude was something unusual, not a garden-variety demon, witch, or werewolf. While he was hot enough to be an incubus, the creatures were incapable of such icy detachment.
If the men on truelovematch.com were half as attractive and mysterious, a booty call might be an option.
The barista poured an espresso shot into a mug and glanced up at Chandra’s sexy, nameless stalker, who examined the chalkboard menu. A sticky-bun-sweet smile lit up her features and she abandoned the unfinished beverage to rush over to suggest drinks and pastries. After describing each option, the woman licked her lips and flipped her over-processed hair. Despite his apparent lack of interest in her, the woman continued her pathetic attempt at seduction undaunted.
Chandra needed to repeat her order three times before the employee shook herself out of her trance and acknowledged her presence.
Since Mr. Sex-on-a-Stick made no attempt to reach for his wallet, Chandra paid for their drinks and food. She left him at the counter with the besotted barista and settled down at the only unoccupied table close to the fireplace. If she was treating, the hottie could carry everything to the table.
He stacked the two white paper cups and used his chin to hold them together. Gripping the plates with his free hand, he navigated the crowded shop. Despite his damp and disheveled appearance, the gazes of every female and a couple of the males followed his progress.
Chandra imagined the women wondered why such a dreamy dude would be out with a skinny, boring chick. With her dark brown hair, gray eyes, and ghost-white skin, she tended to fade into the background. The last time she’d given blood, one of the nurses rushed over to invert her chair only to be stopped by another nurse who informed her that Chandra was not in danger of passing out. She’d looked just as pale upon arrival.
Genetics determined her appearance and her talent for witchcraft. Both traits had skipped multiple generations, making her an enigma to her blonde, blue-eyed, Lutheran family. Even now, a year later, her mother refused to believe the genealogy analysis linking the family to the witches of Salem.
The dishes clattered to the table followed by the two plastic cups.
“We need utensils and napkins.” She nodded toward the self-service counter.
“But you could conjure whatever you desire.”
Right. If she could have anything she desired, she wouldn’t need to troll the dating site. While she’d kissed her share of frogs, she lacked the power to transform an amphibian into a suitor.
“I paid. You can contribute by serving and cleaning up.”
He raised an eyebrow. “My minion serves, not I. And I have no human currency.”
Minion? She bit back a snort. Of course, the hot guy was an unemployed, arrogant ass with delusions of grandeur. With her shitty taste in men, no wonder she found him so attractive.
She crossed her arms. “You appear to be fresh out of minions. Grab the damned napkins before your mocha gets cold.”
When he turned toward the counter, she took a long look at his butt. With those fine glutes, he should be modeling underwear. Lost in thoughts about squeezing his butt and taking a nibble of his naked flesh, she sipped her chai tea latte. The sweet and spicy drink made her taste buds do a happy dance.
He returned with a stack of napkins and a fistful of plastic knives, forks, and spoons. After sorting the utensils in three neat piles, he blotted his skin, hair, and clothing with napkins.
She bit back a snarky remark about wastefulness. The guy had done what she’d asked. Lecturing him on landfills and the effect of trash on the environment would be a punishment, and he deserved a reward. With a tiny spark of power, she drove most of the moisture from his clothing and his long blond hair. A full magic blowout and dry cleaning would be too conspicuous in public.
His lips curved into a sensuous smile, and she nearly choked on her latte. The wickedly attractive bastard had a dimple.
“Thank you.” He cupped his mocha and took a slip before slamming the cup down. Whipped cream and steamed milk shot out of the opening like a money shot in a dirty movie. “Did you bespell this beverage, witch?”
The unfounded accusation spiked her anger. When people learned of her abilities, they tended to blame everything on her, from their petty misfortunes to bad weather. Stupid witch stereotypes.
“This is the worst non-date I’ve ever had. Referring to me as ‘witch’ is rude. If you don’t care for your mocha, complain to the barista. She’s the person who suggested and prepared your drink.”
All of the indignation drained from his face. He took her hand and rubbed her palm. “I apologize. I meant no offense.”
His gentle touch muddled her brain and curled her toes. If slight contact felt this amazing, she didn’t dare imagine what kissing him would be like.
Her anger dissipated, replaced with an ache of longing. She really needed to get laid. Many moons had passed since her last orgasm, and the lack of release added to her crankiness. “Why did you think I zapped your drink?”
“Anything this good must be a trick.” He eyed the caffeinated concoction as though he expected the beverage to transform into a cobra and strike.
Using one of the forks, she dug into the rich frosting of her brownie. “Then you’d better not eat your dessert, because the chocolate cake is so delicious you’ll think you’ve gone straight to heaven.”
His face tightened in pain, and he looked away.
“Now I’ve said something wrong. Let’s start over. I’m Chandra.” She chewed the delicious dessert and squeezed his hand.
“Kristoff,” he replied, meeting her eyes. “You referred to our time together as a non-date. May we have an actual date?”
“You want to go out with me?” Her voice rose. “Are you married? In a relationship? What’s the catch? Guys like you don’t stay single long.”
He pushed the chocolate cake away. “I don’t do relationships. They tend to end badly.”
“Amen to that.”
A furrow appeared between his eyebrows. “Why did you use that expression?”
“Christian parents. Speaking of parents, what would yours say if you brought home a witch?” She bit her lip and wished for a world where she could be accepted and not judged.
“Father no longer welcomes me.” His voice dropped whisper soft, and his shoulders tensed.
Picturing a lost little boy inside the dreamy man, she longed to wrap her arms around him and squeeze him tight.
She’d never have a future with someone this far out of her league, but the guy needed some sexual healing. And she’d go out of her mind if she couldn’t touch every inch of his naked body and burn the image into her memory. Maybe she had more in common with the men on truelovematch.com than she wanted to admit.
“Take me to your home, Kristoff. A booty call would do us both some good.” Her words came out confident, as though she propositioned guys for one-night stands on a daily basis, but she’d never even asked one on a date.
“Booty call?” His eyebrows scrunched together.
Her face grew warm. “You know, sex.”
“Are you certain?”
“Absolutely,” she lied.
The panty-melting grin and wicked dimple were back.
She waited while he cleared the table and scooped their unfinished treats into the trash. When he opened the door of the shop, they stepped out hand in hand into a room with stone walls and a four-poster bed draped with heavy burgundy fabric. A dank, musty odor filled her nose.
Stupid. She should have set parameters. Asked more questions. Like where he lived instead of assuming his home was somewhere in Illinois or at least somewhere in her dimension.
She had no idea where they were, but they certainly weren’t in Chicago.