"You're too young to know what love is. You don't love me. You're infatuated with me." -- Sir Aric, The Prince's Knight

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Avery and the Devil

Avery and the Devil
is my next paranormal romance scheduled to release through Forbidden Publications. The edits are now done for it, so I thought I'd share the official excerpt.


In a moment of weakness and to save her dying boyfriend's life, Avery sells her soul to the Devil. Once she realizes what she's done, she fights to get out of her contract, but it's unbreakable and she soon finds herself in Hell, dealing with demons, impure souls, and a temptation impossible to resist.

The Devil hides behind the cool facade of Quinn Deville, a successful businessman in the mortal world--a man who has everything he could ever want. But when he realizes that what he really wants is Avery, he struggles with himself to push her away, not wanting to corrupt her innocence and sentence her to an eternity in Hell.

Warning: Avery and the Devil contains a couple adult scenes, including the start of one in the excerpt below.


"Someone here to see you, Avery," Trace's deep voice announced.

Avery looked up from her computer monitor, where she was busy retyping a letter for Haiden. Trace filled the doorway, but when he moved aside, a new figure stepped into the room.

Avery gasped and jumped to her feet. “Quinn!” Remembering herself at the last minute, she refrained from leaping into his arms. She felt relieved to see his familiar face. Though more reserved, he looked glad to see her too. A muscle jumped in his cheek.

“We need to talk,” he said without preamble.

For a moment, Avery was at a loss for words. Now he wanted to talk? After ignoring her for nearly three weeks?

He held a hand out to her. “Come, Avery.”

“Um, okay.” She forgot all about her job as his fingers closed over hers, but she managed to ask Trace to inform Haiden that she would be out of the office for awhile.

To Avery's surprise, Quinn led her upstairs to the penthouse, giving them complete privacy. Settling herself on one of the sofas, she gave Quinn her undivided attention. Her heart gave a funny little flip at his presence as he prowled around the sitting room. Folding her hands in her lap, she forced herself to calm down. He looked good. Too good.

His mahogany hair had fallen over his forehead in a disarrayed mess, as if he'd been running his fingers through it. The suit he wore was as immaculate as ever, but without a tie, and with the collar loosened, he looked positively devilish.

“So what's up?” Avery asked when the silence stretched on a little too long. She had the irresistible urge to run across the room and run her fingers through his unruly locks, but she restrained herself. What was wrong with her?

Quinn drew in a deep breath and then crossed to stand in front of her. Slowly, he sank to his knees and placed his hands on the sofa cushion on either side of her knees. “I'm prepared to answer any questions you might have about the next eleven months.”

“Are we leaving today?” she asked, surprised.

“No. I am here merely to prepare you. I will be back for you in three days.”

Giving in to the urge to touch him, she reached out to brush a lock of hair out of his face. He closed his eyes, leaning into her touch. His hands moved to her knees, clutching at them.

“Oh, Avery,” he said with a shaky sigh. “I've missed you so much.”

Is this emotion I suddenly feel even real? Avery wondered. She realized she had missed him too, but was it just the Devil's temptation that caused her to react this way to his presence? She wanted to run her fingers even lower, but didn't dare. Could she trust herself to behave? I miss Lucas, she reminded herself. And she did, but Quinn was right here, and starting to moan under her ministrations.

Avery jerked her hand back and Quinn opened his eyes, looking up at her with a heat-filled passion. His gaze smoldered with an intense desire, but he didn't move. He was waiting for her, she realized.

But she couldn't do that. Her loyalty to Lucas was important, although she was finding it difficult to remember why. She swallowed hard and decided to ask another question.

“What is Hell like?” She couldn't resist touching his smooth forehead, running her fingers through his hair.

He laid his head on her lap. “It's a horrible place. It's never-ending torment that saps your will and makes you go crazy. And I'll never be free of the place.”

“What's happened to you?”

His fingers traced circles on her thighs. “I spend so much time trying to be good—not committing any sins—just in the small hope that someday I can ascend to Heaven, just like everyone else. I know it's a hopeless dream, but a part of me still refuses to accept that fact, even after all these centuries.”

“Oh, Quinn,” she breathed. “I had no idea.”

“What am I supposed to do?” When he glanced up, his eyes shone with unshed tears. “I set high standards for myself, but my punishment must last for an eternity. Why do I torture myself like this?”

Avery wasn't sure she completely understood what he was talking about, but she smoothed his hair back, trying to soothe him.

“I drive myself crazy,” he whispered. “I work hard because it's a sin to be lazy. I push you away because it's a sin to feel lust. But I want you so badly. I can't help myself.” His hands settled on her hips.

“Why?” she asked. That one word held all her questions, and she knew he'd understand.

He focused his gaze on his hands as they slid along her thighs. “I've spent your whole life watching you, hoping you'd become the person you are today. I need you, Avery, in more ways than one.” He licked his lips. “I've tracked everything you've ever done. Every triumph. Every defeat. I needed to. But I never realized that I'd fall in love with you along the way.”

Gripping her hips, he raised his head. “I know you think you're just an unwanted orphan, but that's not true. I've been trying to tell you all along that you're special. I just wish you'd realize it.”

Now Avery found herself choking back tears. His touch felt good, but his words brought harsh memories to the surface. “Ever since my parents died, people have looked down on me. I've never been good enough for anything.”

“I know.” He took her hand, his warmth sending a tingle through her.

“You're the Devil,” Avery said, awe in her voice, as well as a quiet acceptance. “How could you be interested in me at all? I'm just a mortal.”

“You're everything I wish I could be,” he said, rising up enough to brush his lips across hers. “Someday you'll find ecstasy in Heaven. I just wish I could be there to see it.”

Something broke in Avery at the soft touch of his lips to hers. Suddenly, she wanted him. Badly. All thoughts of Lucas flew from her head. Not even Lucas had ever looked at her with such longing. And his very touch sent heat shooting through her until she just wanted to drag him into bed and never let him go. His earlier words, spoken to her three weeks ago, echoed back to her. The devil leads to temptation. But right now she didn't care. She didn’t want to care. She kissed him back.

Quinn growled and rose to sit beside her, deepening the kiss they shared until Avery couldn't breathe. When he relented, his lips blazed a trail across her cheek and then down her neck, leaving heat in their wake. She gave into the sensations coursing through her body, wanting to give in. She needed this. She deserved it. It felt too good to tell him to stop.

She urged him on with little moans. He nipped at her ear lobe, his skilled hands seeking the buttons of her blouse. His fingers slipped each button free, leaving her shirt to gape open. Once done, he stood, and then lifted her easily. His warmth enveloping her, he carried her to the bedroom, and laid her gently on the bed where he continued his careful exploration.