Excerpt When I come to, Lou’s gone. It’s just me and Ta and … a dozen demons that don’t look too friendly. The ones who enjoyed the show are writhing in the final throes of their own erotic adventures. They pose no threat. The bastardized hybrids of beast and man, however, scare the bejeezus out of me.
“Get dressed while I hold them off,” Ta mutters, barely moving his lips. He buttons and zips up, staring down the bolder demons that move a mite too close. The monster-type aren’t clever but they’re persistent and deadly when the spirit moves. Their kind also tends to follow a pack mentality―when one attacks, they all attack.
I tug my own clothes on with supersonic speed, ditching the underwear. Before I slip on my boots, I remove the two church-blessed daggers I have concealed in the shank of each boot. I never visit Hell unarmed.
When I spin around, Ta holds an ax in one hand and a knife in the other. He’s also slipped on a shirt he either hid or stole. He takes in my status and nods. “You retain the title of smartest succubus I ever created.”
“High praise, indeed,” I say.
“If we can make it to the door of the palace, I can seal it from the outside. That’ll give us a small head start, hopefully enough to get us to the portal.”
“Why are you helping me instead of them?” I wave my dagger at a lecherous satyr who takes a swipe at me but only snags my hair.
“Because, my sweet Yve, you are not the only one who has fulfilled a contract.” Ta delivers a roundhouse kick to a second satyr who tries to sneak up on him. With a loud screech, it falls to the floor and is set upon by two dragon-like demons that rip it in half.
“What? You’re a conscript? You were human once?” All this time, I’d thought Ta a minion. I’d no idea, he’d bargained his way into the job of chief succubus-maker.
“A conscript bound to deliver a billion souls for my freedom through the succubi I made. Your millionth was my billionth plus one for extra security. I chose you well, Yve. You were my first, my favorite.” His smile is boyish with a hint of pride. The heart I thought frozen solid thousands of years ago thaws enough to release a slow drip of water.
“Let’s get the hell out of here then,” I say to Ta.
“On my signal… Now!”
I bolt for the door. Two drooling, fanged demons covered in thick pelts of black dreadlocks try to block my path. A stab in the gut transforms them into shrieking balls of fur and teeth. Four demons pounce and finish them off. The rest pursue. Ta spins to take out one of the speed demons.
“Keep going, I’ll be right behind you!” he yells.
I do, taking out three foul-smelling trolls who charge as I enter the front lobby. My flight skids to halt, however, when the front door refuses to open.
“Go!” Ta shouts as he finishes off a large attacker with the head of a komodo dragon and the body of an orangutan. I hear its death howls and Ta’s approaching footfall.
“It won’t open!” I shriek tugging on the door handle.
“It’s warded. Say ‘Owa’a Teygu’u Siyam’ three times while spinning and it’ll open.”
“What? Okay.” I do as Ta says and when I finish, he’s standing next to me flipping a series of latches I’d not noticed. The door swings free.
He chuckles and motions me through, slamming the door behind us. From his pocket, he produces a padlock he uses to secure an external latch. “Owa’a Teygu’u Siyam!” He claps his hands three times then clicks the lock shut. When he says the words, they sound suspiciously like ‘Oh what a goose I am.’ Damn him. I’m such an idiot.
“There was no magic ward on the door, was there?” I cross my arms in front of my chest, the points of my two daggers pointed to the sky.
“Nope. But you sure were cute spinning around, confessing your mental slowness.” A peal of laughter erupts and has to run its course before he takes my hand and says, “Come on, Miss Fois Gras. Let’s get out of here before Lou sics any more nasties on us.”