Sometimes Caroline Wallace really hated her fucking life. That revelation was usually reserved for when she worked a double shift at Meats N' Cheeses, a hole in the wall restaurant that literally only served various meats and cheeses.
It was probably meant to be some sort of hipster paradise but the building itself was run down and in a shitty neighborhood. Not that she could dog on the surroundings too much; she could barely afford to live two blocks down in her shoe box apartment, hence all the double shifts.
The customers were rude, the tips were awful and so was her mood as she got ready to close up shop for the night. Her feet were aching, the soles of her shoes worn down so much they were ridden with holes. She was kind of surprised they were still functioning as footwear, if just barely.
Her back ached, the mop she'd just used haphazardly propped against the wall in the kitchen. She wasn’t going to worry about putting the damn thing away. Not tonight.
The last worker had left ten minutes earlier due to some sort of family emergency that left Caroline stranded at two a.m. to finish the last of the closing tasks.
She wasn’t a fan of closing up by herself so late in the night. The world was full of scary creatures and humans were still among the worst of them.
She didn’t have to worry too much about vampires as they usually stuck with blood banks or blood hosts, humans who offered their ‘services’ for the promise of possible immortality. She also had a vampire on speed dial for emergencies.
Shifters were usually of an honorable sort and most weren’t the kind to attack a random woman on the street.
Demons were a separate beast in and of themselves. They were ruthless, cruel, and vindictive. A demon clan actually ruled over the local area she resided in, kind of like a demon mafia. But her boss paid them for protection each month so she probably had nothing to worry about there. She avoided them like the plague regardless, hoping like hell she never crossed paths with one.
The Fae? She’d never come in contact with any of them which was probably in her best interest. Fae were cunning creatures.
The humans, though? Well, she’d probably get raped if a group of men caught her out and about in the middle of the night, walking home alone from a shift.
Terrible thought to have right before she was supposed to leave. She sighed, weariness hitting her harder than her hunger. She really should have had some food before closing shop, but it had been a rough day full of rude customers and an even rougher evening of working alone and she just wanted to get home.
She was more than ready to pass out on her flimsy mattress, sleep for a few hours, wake up and repeat her same boring day again.
Turning off the lights, she gathered her flimsy winter coat, zipping the lightweight jacket before tossing her purse strap over her shoulder. It was the nicest item she owned, something she'd found at a thrift store during a random day off.
Caroline flipped the light switches off, grabbing the bag of trash as she exited the backdoor and into the alleyway.
The chill hit her, her slender body shaking with cold. She’d always been thin, but the past year she’d sensed a shift in herself, something she didn’t want to inspect too closely. She had to constantly eat to maintain her weight, though food barely seemed appealing. On the bright side she’d kept her breasts, thighs and butt, enjoying the hourglass figure. It didn’t really matter how appealing she looked though. Her sex drive had completely plummeted with her appetite.
A lesser woman would mourn the loss of sex but it wasn’t like she’d had tons of partners and most of them had been lackluster. Her fling with a bear shifter had been quite enjoyable though. The big man knew a way around a woman’s body.
The memory should have sparked some interest in her down there but of course nothing happened. Her cooch was practically dormant, the damn thing.
Caroline reached the dumpster at the dead end of the alleyway, lifting the lid and tossing the trash bag inside. She’d barely finished her task before she heard shuffling at the entrance some twenty feet away, followed by a masculine cry of pain.
She turned, squinting into the darkness. A light from the street allowed her to see a silhouette of two men, both tall and muscular. One wore a suit, the other in jeans and a big puffy jacket.
It was the man in the suit that worried her, who had her backing up stealthily until she hid behind the dumpster, head barely peeking out to scope out the situation.
Suit Guy was definitely a demon. No one else dressed so wealthy on this side of town except for the demons.
She had no clue who the other guy was though.
They were arguing about something, the demon clearly agitating whoever the other guy was. The man shoved at the demon who didn’t budge an inch, just canted his head to the side as if he were studying a bug under a microscope.
Definitely not a shifter then if he lacked the strength to move a demon.
The agitated man shrieked something, the sound grating on her ears. Must have been hell for the demon.
An instant later a red ball of fire formed in the man’s hand. Holy shit, a warlock? A demon and a warlock were fighting right next to her? What shitty luck!
The warlock hurled the ball of fire straight at the demon, the shoulder of his suit singing from the contact before the ball extinguished. The demon was completely unaffected!
“Should have used something else.” The demon’s voice was deep and gruff, almost as if he rarely used it. A shiver raced along her spine and she felt a tingle down there.
Oh absolutely not. There was no way in hell, especially no way in demon hell she was going to allow herself to be attracted to a demon. She glared down at the apex of her thighs, hoping like hell her vagina would stop with the tingles. The damn thing was clearly defective.
The warlock cried out, Caroline’s attention snapping back to the two men.
“You’ll do your job, wizard. Now.” The demon had the warlock in his grip, his large hand wrapped tightly around the warlock’s throat.
Caroline wished she was closer to make out their features. Unfortunately she was far more interested in what the demon looked like, his entire demeanor holding her rapt, completely absorbed by his presence.
“I told you tracking her would be next to impossible,” he wheezed out, hands scratching at the demon’s arm as he was lifted high into the air by his neck.
“The king does not ask for your insolence but your obedience. You will locate his daughter or you will die. Decide.”
The king? Of demons? Oh hell no. She needed to leave immediately. She inched forward, crouched low so as to not draw attention to herself as she slowly made her way to the back door, clinging to the wall for dear life. The last thing she wanted was the demon to notice her and perceive her as a threat. Or worse, recognize her.
“The tracking spell led here but there’s nothing.”
Caroline was to the door, hand gripping the handle, eyes locked on the demon.
“Then I suppose you hold no value.” He seemed to grin then, as if he knew some joke she didn’t.
“No, please! Kane, I beg-” The warlock’s pleas died with him, the demon’s hand shoving into his chest. There was a squelching sound that nearly had Caroline gagging before the warlock’s heart was pulled from his body, the organ tossed into the alley. It landed near Caroline’s feet with a squishy plop, droplets of blood flying onto her shoes.
The warlock’s body fell to the ground moments later, startling Caroline enough that she let go of the door handle, the cursed thing rattling loudly into the silence.
She looked down as the demon Kane turned toward her and the noise, slowly approaching. His steps were light for such a mountain of a man. The heart at her feet pumped once before it stilled.
Her own heart kicked up in an eager beat which pissed her off. The stupid organ clearly didn’t know what was good for it. He stopped in front of her, his black dress shoes coming into view, nudging the heart away from them both. She kept her head down, afraid to look up, afraid for him to recognize her.
“Well, then. Turns out the old wizard was right.”
Caroline leapt up, her fist slamming into Kane’s shadowed face, the blow landing and rocking him back on his heels.
She barely registered the sting of pain as her knuckles split. She turned and rushed toward the street entrance, leaping over the dead body in her haste to flee.
Her feet slid on the blood coating the ground, slamming her into the wall before she righted herself and kept going, not slowing for several blocks until she was at a bus stop, fluorescents lighting up the sidewalk.
How had she gotten free? He seemed formidable against the warlock but clearly he was lacking if she escaped so easily.
Kane materialized in front of her. Tracing was a skill higher level demons could achieve with little effort and obviously he was far more intimidating than she'd thought originally. She skidded to a halt, nearly smacking into his impeccable suit.
With the lights surrounding them, he stood out to her, and, wow, was he delectable. He was massive, suit hugging his broad shoulders perfectly, showing off a trim waist and long legs.
His face, unfortunately, was quite handsome in a rugged sort of way. He had a strong jawline, thick blonde hair that reached his shoulders and a day's worth of growth covered his face. He had dark blue eyes, long lashes and eyebrows that framed his face just right.
He smirked at her, one dimple appearing as he took her in as well.
“It seems they didn’t exaggerate your beauty.” Why did he have to have such a deep voice? Like velvet brushing along her skin. It caressed her, melting her insides.
She absolutely hated it.
“Look. Kane, was it? I believe you’ve mistaken me for someone else, so I’ll just be on my way.”
She made to step around him, stiffening as his hand grabbed her arm. She could feel the heat of his palm through her jacket all the way down to her core. Her traitorous body was practically leaping up and down at the contact. How would she react if he touched her bare skin? She shivered.
“We can do this easy or hard. You’ll be coming with me either way.” He leaned into her, inhaling deeply. “Now that I’ve got your scent, escape is impossible. Your father wants to see you.”
“Fuck you,” she bit out. She wrench from his touch, giving her own little smirk.
Then she disappeared, tracing back to her apartment.
Kane wasn’t the only one with tricks up his sleeve.