It’s our fifth and final chapter of our free novella Demon Seduction by Pat White! Remember that Pat’s Silhouette Nocturne novel Saving Destiny is always available in eBook format. Pat also has a new Harlequin Intrigue book Undercover Stranger coming out in February 2009!
I’d love to hear what you all thought of the story, and what kinds of reads you’d like for future installments of our Free Read Weekend! Just leave a comment to this post. Happy reading — Amy
Demon Seduction, Chapter Five
Marcus finally understood why his kind was taught from the first day of existence to reject their mortal tendencies. The emotion called love would not allow him to fight back. This girl had forever dreamed of earning her father’s love, and Marcus could grant her wish by surrendering himself.
Elizabeth approached him, her eyes pleading. He would not resist her. How could he? She’d captured his heart; she owned his soul.
“Marcus.” She walked up to him, placing her hand to his cheek. Heat lightening shot across his body.
“You need to come with us.” She leaned close. “Get away, fly out of here. Now,” she whispered.
But he could not leave, could not deny her the love of her father.
He looked at Edmund Burke. “I am your prisoner.”
“Marcus?” Elizabeth asked, confused.
He ignored her. “I will come willingly.” He walked toward her father.
The man took a step back. “If you’re sincere, you won’t mind wearing this armband against your skin.”
“What is it?” she questioned.
“Something I’ve created that neutralizes creatures of the dark realm,” her father said.
“You don’t need to use that,” Elizabeth argued.
“I admire your confidence, Elizabeth, but I’m a realist.”
“I will wear it,” Marcus agreed.
He rolled up his sleeve and her father placed it against his skin. “Put him in the truck,” he ordered Mickey.
Marcus glanced at Elizabeth and smiled. She shook her head in her silent plea for him to escape.
But he’d made his choice. He was led to the truck and shoved inside. His vision started to blur.
“Why don’t we shoot him and be done with it?” Mickey asked.
“No, don’t you hurt him,” Elizabeth said.
Marcus took comfort in the fact that she cared, that maybe his wasn’t a wasted death. He’d shown her what it felt like to be loved, and now she finally had the respect and love of her father.
“Calm yourself, child,” her father consoled with an arm around her shoulder. “Father’s in charge now. I’m so proud of you.”
He kissed the top of her head as Mickey closed the truck door.
“Goodbye, my love,” Marcus whispered, and drifted into the abyss. He knew the armband would kill him, yet what mattered was that he’d given Elizabeth the gift she’d wanted most: her father’s love.
* * *
“Marcus, can you hear me?”
The soft voice cut through the fog and touched his heart. “Elizabeth?” Did he speak or simply think her name? Was he…nonexistent?
Warm, moist lips brushed against his own and he ached, only this time he ached for what he’d given up.
“You need to open your eyes, Marcus,” she whispered. “Open your eyes so we can get out of here.”
He blinked and found himself staring into his love’s sparkling, golden eyes.
“Father’s gone. We need to get out of here.”
“You will betray your father, give up his love?”
“Marcus.” She stroked his forehead. “If the only way to earn his love is to go against what I believe in, well, I don’t want any part of conditional love like that. Besides, your love is what’s most important. Come on, we have to go.”
“I replaced it two days ago with one of my own, complete with a healing compound.” She smiled, and he instantly felt better. But not strong enough to fly. Not yet.
“Elizabeth?” Her father stood in the doorway, flanked by two guards.
Elizabeth turned to him. Marcus was completely helpless to defend her.
“What are you doing?”
“I should have anticipated this.” He motioned to his guards.
They started toward her and Elizabeth aimed a four-inch, metal tube at them that emitted a low hum. They guards froze.
“Get them,” Burke ordered.
“Can’t move,” one of the guards said.
“What do you mean?” Burke took a step forward, and then he, too, was frozen. “What is this?”
“Your silly daughter has created a device to temporarily paralyze the enemy so we can leave without incident. I don’t want to hurt you, Father.”
“Hurt me? You disappoint me so, child. How could you betray me like this?”
Marcus felt her blood pressure spike through the touch she had on his arm.
“You betrayed me my entire life, Father. You never loved me.”
“I did my best to love you, considering you were spawned by demon seed.”
“What?” she gasped.
“One of these hideous creatures,” her father motioned to Marcus, “visited your mother while I was away. She was easily seduced by his charm as, I see, you have been.”
“That’s why you never loved me,” she said.
Marcus touched her shoulder, wishing he could ease her pain.
“And this creature, you think he loves you?” Burke said. “If you believe that, you’re a complete fool.”
“No.” She looked at Marcus, then back at her father. “I’ve been a fool to want your love so desperately that I’d betray my own integrity. Demons, paras, are different but they’re not all bad. But then—” she hesitated as they passed him. “You’ll never understand that because you’re motivated by fear. I’m sorry for you, Father. I’m out of your life now. You no longer have to worry about me.”
She shoved the paralyzing device into a holster on her belt. “We have two minutes before they’re mobile. I don’t suppose you can fly?” she said as they climbed the cellar stairs.
“Not quite, my love.”
“No problem.” She led him outside onto the Burke Estate grounds.
Was she devastated by the news of a demon being her real father? “Elizabeth, about your father…” Marcus said.
“It makes sense, actually.” She glanced at him. “I always felt different. But then, different is okay.”
He wanted to take her in his arms and kiss her, but there was no time.
“Over there.” She pointed to a machine in the distance. “Flying helicopters is a hobby of mine. Wait a second, if my true father was a demon, can I fly?”
“Powers are only passed to male children.”
“Well, that’s sexist, isn’t it?”
He admired the strength of this woman to be able to quip at a time like this, when her life had been rattled to the core.
As she grabbed his hand and urged him forward, he felt his balance and strength return. The poison must be completely out of his system. Or was it the love surging through her touch that fueled him?
“Your father will not stop until he destroys us.”
“His choice. I’ve made mine.”
She smiled. The slicing pain in his chest eased, as if something had healed inside.
They strapped themselves into the flying machine and took off, hovering above the property. Her father and the guards raced out onto the grounds below.
“Good bye,” she hesitated. “Father.”
Suddenly the machine rocked with the assault of a PCell weapon.
“Bugger, Mickey got us!” she cried, flying away from the estate, the machine sputtering in protest.
Another blast jarred the helicopter. “Mickey’s not giving up!”
Neither was Marcus. “Turn around and aim for the bastard!”
“What? Are you mad?”
He placed his hand to hers as she gripped the steering device. “Trust me.”
She nodded, and started back toward Mickey. The PCell agent was reloading his weapon. Marcus unbuckled his seatbelt and Elizabeth’s. “What are you doing?” she cried.
Mickey snapped around and aimed his weapon.
Marcus grabbed Elizabeth by the waist, kicked open his door and flew away from the machine as it exploded into pieces. He aimed for St. Yve Wood and spotted his cottage in the distance. Elizabeth wrapped herself around him, her breath warming his neck, making him want her.
He descended near the cottage, but suddenly weakened. They dropped to the moist earth beside the riverbank where they had met only days ago.
“A little rough on the landing, wouldn’t you say?” she said, sitting up.
“Are you hurt?” He touched her cheek.
“On the contrary.” She winked and shot him a smile that lit his demon heart.
“Are you flirting with me?” he said.
“If that’s what it takes.”
He stood and pulled her to her feet. “It won’t take much, Elizabeth. My heart is yours. And so is my cottage.”
She sighed. “I’ve always wanted to live in the country.”
And she kissed him.