Aires (Demon Guardians)
Jessica Coulter Smith
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Copyright ©2013 Jessica Coulter Smith
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I'd answered the call of my charge, Della, and now found myself facing a most unpleasant sight. A Surack demon had cornered her against a building. They weren't known for violence though. A lower level demon, the Suracks were more mischief makers than anything else.
Was he leering at Della? Oh sweet Lucifer! Just what I needed, an amorous demon. Not that I could blame him, Della was certainly something to look at. I was, however, concerned that he'd gone after her in the first place. No, she wasn't wearing a sign or anything that said she was protected by me, but demons could usually sense when a woman was under the protection of a Tinta demon. That he was blatantly ignoring it didn't bode well.
When I'd materialized, I'd made sure no one could see me. Now I had little choice but to make my presence known. Allowing myself to show, I stepped forward.
The Surack glanced my way. "This is no concern of yours, Tinta. She's mine," he snarled.
I saw a spark of annoyance in his eyes. What I didn't see was his intention to back down. "I beg to differ. She happens to be my charge."
He looked my way again, scanning me from head to toe, as if sizing me up. I could tell by the look on his face that he was going to argue with me. There was something about Della that appealed to him, and it seemed he wasn't going to give up his prize easily. Just what I needed.
"Just because she's your charge doesn't mean she can't be with another demon." He flashed his fangs at me.
I nodded my head toward Della. "She doesn't look like she wants to be with you."
The Surack frowned and looked at his cornered prey again. Maybe prey wasn't the right word, since he didn't seem to mean her harm. It was unbelievable that the demon thought he could just toss her over his shoulder and take off with her, and that she'd be happy to go. Didn't he see the look of terror on her face? You could almost taste her fear.
Of course, Suracks were rather fearsome looking, with their gray skin, red eyes and long white hair. When they smiled, which was rare, a rather pointy set of fangs could be seen. Not to mention there was me to contend with. I wasn't about to let him just abscond with her. It was my sworn duty to protect her. He had to realize it was futile to try and take her.
The Surack growled at me before turning back to Della. He held his hand out to her. "Come."
She closed her eyes, tears slipping down her cheeks. "Please, don't hurt me."
The demon frowned, seeming puzzled by her reaction. "I'm not going to hurt you. I want you to be mine."
Deciding enough was enough, I grabbed a handful of white hair and jerked his head back, slamming my fist into his nose. Black blood spurted and the demon growled. He twisted in my grasp and brought his leg up, kicking out. His foot glanced off my hip, and I quickly grabbed the offending appendage. I jerked him off-balance, sending him crashing to the ground. He wasn't going to take Della, not on my watch!
The Surack flipped over and tried to sweep my legs out from under me, but I jumped up in time. When I landed, I drew my foot back and kicked as hard as I could. He groaned in pain and curled up. With a hateful glare thrown my way, he growled at me again.
"This isn't over." He threw an energy ball at me, then he disappeared.
Thankfully, his aim sucked and he missed. I focused on Della, who was trembling from head to toe. I approached her slowly, not wanting to frighten her any more than she already was. Her puffy eyes looked at me with uncertainty.
"I won't harm you, Della. I'm your guardian. I'm here to protect you."
I knew I was probably terrifying to look at, topping six feet by quite a few inches. I didn't think my blue skin, dark eyes and long hair weren't all that scary,. The small ebony horns on my head, however, were another matter. Black tattoos wound down my torso from my neck and shoulders. Thankfully, I'd donned jeans and a T-shirt before running to Della's rescue so it made me appear slightly more human.
"My name is Aires," I told her. "I've been your guardian for the past six months."
"Only six months?"
I shrugged. "Your previous guardian was pulled from duty when you were nearly kidnapped. Lucifer decided you needed someone a little more detail oriented." I frowned. "Although, since you were almost kidnapped again, maybe I'm not doing such a wonderful job, either. You seem to be a magnet for trouble."
Her eyes nearly popped out of her head. "Lucifer assigned you to me? Why?"
I slowly eased forward. "Because you're special, Della."
Her trembling had subsided and she pushed away from the wall. I watched as she took a hesitant step toward me, then another. When we were standing barely a foot apart, I reached out and smoothed her hair behind her ear. She tensed for a moment but then relaxed when she realized I wasn't going to harm her.
The fear drained from her eyes and a moment later, she was flinging herself into my arms. I caught her without thought to the consequences. Her soft body pressed against me was enough to short circuit my brain. I didn't understand why though, it wasn't like I hadn't had women before. I was sort of known for my ability with the fairer sex.
Having her so close was just too much temptation for me. I tried to set her away, but she clung to me like a vine. Her hands fisted in the front of my shirt and I slowly lowered my head to hers, giving her time to back away. She held steady, even rose on tiptoe to meet me, and our lips met in the gentlest of kisses. It wasn't much, as far as kisses go, but it was enough. I felt something inside of me shift and I pulled away. The gratitude shining in her eyes was like a bucket of ice being dumped over me. I'd kissed her because she was a desirable woman, but it seemed she'd kissed me as a way of saying thank you. That wasn't what I wanted.
I set her aside and lightly took her hand. "Let's get you home."
With a blink, we arrived at her apartment and I released her hand. She smiled at me, a sweet smile of innocence. I knew I had to get out of there. If I remained around her, innocent was the last thing she'd be. I might have wanted to explore that kiss a little more, assuming she'd put real passion behind it and not just her gratitude, but I tried to convince myself I could never let that happen again.
With a nod, I blinked myself home, back to hell, where I belonged.