Her Happy-Ever-After has been a long time coming…
Grimm’s Circle, Book 2
Elle spent years trying to get over her so-called Prince Charming, and she’s finally getting the hang of it. A Grimm—a guardian angel with unique gifts—she spends her nights trolling for demons and kicking ass, and lately, her days have been spent with her on-and-off-again lover, Ren, a fellow Grimm. But fate has other plans in store for Elle, plans that include Michael, the prince from her youth who broke her heart.
“What do you choose…live for her? Or would you rather die?”
That was the choice Michael was given all those years ago. Although he knew she’d never forgive him, when Michael was given the chance to become a Grimm, he took it. Still, he isn’t so sure Elle needs him in her life. With a lover at her side and a mission before her, Elle looks like she’s doing just fine.
But the not-so-charming prince isn’t going to back off that easily…not if there’s a chance she might need him again. He’d do anything to save her. Kill for her, live for her, die for her…
Warning: This dark, twisted version of Cinderella involves demons, deceit, and desire between a princess and two sexy guardian angels, both determined to win the fair Cinderella.
A cool wind whipped across the parking lot, carrying with it the acrid stink of smoke, the earthy tang of sweat and sex…and a miasma of death.
Not physical death. No, this was worse. Death of the soul, of everything that makes you who you are. Oh, the body will die. But the body dies anyway. The soul doesn’t have to, unless you give it away.
The soul can go on. It’s meant to go on. People aren’t supposed to give their souls away. But they do it anyway.
Though people didn’t realize it, that’s what was going on. Inside that club, people gave away their souls or their bodies or both. I could feel it.
Idiots. There was a line winding around the front of the building, all these fools vying to get inside—there was fun to be had, after all. Dancing. Drinking. Maybe even some drugs, for those looking to score.
But the real party wasn’t on the main floor.
“Are we going inside or what, Princess?”
I glanced over my shoulder at my partner for this current job and gave him a halfhearted smile. Ren was one of my best friends, and as such, he could get away with calling me Princess without the threat of bodily harm. Come to think of it, he was the only friend who called me that.
I didn’t have many of them and most of the good friends I did have wouldn’t call me princess just because… Well…they knew. At least, they knew enough. It was a nickname that brought back terrible memories.
The first time I’d been paired up with Ren he had caught my hand and pressed a courtly kiss to my knuckles. As he stared at me over my hand, he’d murmured, “I must call you princess. Or perhaps empress. No…goddess. I’ll call you goddess.”
“How about just Elle?” I’d suggested.
“No. Too simple. Too mundane. I need something to remind me that I am in the presence of magnificence…perhaps it will keep me from making too big a fool of myself.”
The other man with us had given a sigh of long-suffering patience and then, that patience at an end, he’d cuffed Ren across the side of the head. “You’ve a job to do, remember. If you can get it through that daft head of yours.”
Looking back, I remember how those words had worried me. The last thing I’d wanted to have to work side by side with was an idiot.
But Ren wasn’t an idiot. I’d learned that quick enough. Before that job had ended, we were friends.
By the time the next job was dealt with, we were lovers.
The on-then-off-again relationship was one of the few constants of my life. At any time, I knew I could go to Ren, find welcoming arms, a warm body, a lot of pleasure…and a decided lack of pressure. I’d drift away and he’d always be there—waiting until I drifted back.
His presence in my life was a comfort.
Sad, that. He’s an amazing lover and the best thing I can say about him?
He’s a comfort.
Like a beloved old blanket. I grimaced. Ren would utterly despise it if he knew that was what he meant to me. It was more than that, of course. But still…
Sighing, I said, “We might as well go in.”
Ren cocked a brow. It was black, black as midnight, arching over eyes the same intense dark shade. His skin was swarthy and dark, his scalp smooth. He’d been that way for as long as I’d known him and I’d spent enough time around him to know that he wasn’t taking a razor to his head every other day.
“Don’t sound so anxious, lovie,” he drawled, his mouth quirking up in an amused smile. “If I didn’t have a healthy ego I might be a bit…concerned.”
I opened the door and climbed out. He did the same and I looked at him over the roof of the car. “Concerned about what?”
“How not excited you are about walking into a sex club with yours truly at your side ready to do your every bidding.” He wagged his brows at me as he brought his arms up, resting them atop the car. He dropped his chin down to rest on them and gave me a winsome smile. “So, my pretty little poppet, are you going to surprise me with a whip? Some chains? A simple pair of handcuffs?”
I rolled my eyes.
“We’ll hold off on the props for now. Remember, we’re just here to investigate.”
“Oh, now you really don’t believe that,” he said, his voice sardonic.
No. I didn’t. Investigation might be the official reason, for now, but it wouldn’t be an investigation for long.
For now though… “Investigation, darling. Remember that.” As I pushed away from the car, I smirked at him and added, “Besides, investigation or elimination, it doesn’t matter… Sex clubs are not my thing. It’s a job.”
“Well, damn.” With a forlorn sigh, he shoved away from the car.
Let it not be said that the man didn’t get into his role.
There was a line of people just waiting to get in and we hadn’t been in that line forty-five seconds when he started…well, feeling me up.
I’d been watching the others around us without appearing to do so, and I already knew these people were not the shy type. They weren’t afraid to be seen, and they certainly weren’t afraid to look.
I was standing with him at my back when he rested his hands on my waist, easing me closer so that I rested against his chest. He pressed a kiss to my shoulder and then he murmured against my ear, “We might as well blend.”
That was all the warning I had before his hands came up, cupping my breasts. Warm hands…hard. Strong. He knew exactly how to touch me and despite the fact that I was extremely self-conscious, I didn’t have to fake the pleasure as I arched into his touch.
I loved the way it felt when he touched me. I had no reason to pretend about that.
I just had to pretend we weren’t being watched.