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The Devils Advocate

Book 1

By Michaela Haze




THE DEVILS ADVOCATE


Originally published in the United States/ United Kingdom in 2017 by

DIRTY JEANS PUBLISHING LTD

www.michaelahaze.com

Copyright © Michaela Haze 2017

All rights reserved


This book is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product of the authors imagination and all characters and events in this publication, other than those clearly in the public domain, are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.




Part 1


I lifted my painted toes out of my Louboutin heels and balanced my feet on the edge of my mahogany desk. Twirling a biro in one hand, I took a deep breath as I prepared for my next client. It was only ten a.m; was considering breaking out the Vintage Pinot Noir that had magically appeared in the corner of my office that morning.

“Welcome to Morgenstern and Clark Brokerage, Sir,” The dulcet tone of my assistant Luiz drifted into my office. “Right this way, please.”

I sighed and dropped my feet to the floor as I shifted myself into a professionally seated position. I tugged my short shirt over my thighs and pulled my comfortable office chair behind my desk. Luiz always knocked once before walking in. I had daemonic sense, which meant that I could hear everything within a hundred-metre radius if I concentrated. It seemed to disorientate the human clients though, so I tried to hide it.

I did not bother to stand up. It was a power play that I had learnt from Luc Morgenstern, my boss. I started to sift through the contracts on my desk and did not bother to look up as Luiz walked in with my newest client.

I could smell the stranger’s fear. I could taste his incredulity; he was not expecting a woman. It was all part and parcel with my day job.

“Ms Clark,” Luiz cleared his throat softly. “Your ten o’clock is here.”

I said nothing as I continued to organise my papers. I heard the frosted glass door close behind my assistant. I listened to the sounds of Luiz’s expensive Italian loafers as they padded away.

I turned to my laptop and scanned my meeting schedule for the name of my client, while said stranger hung in my doorway like an awkward houseguest.

“Please sit, Mr Parr. I cannot abide when people hover,” I said severely.

I looked up in time to see a young man, nondescript apart from a piercing on his left eyebrow. He wore flannel and did not fit with my usual standard of clientele. Parr took the empty seat in front of my desk, and I watched him with a quirked brow. No Manners.

I disliked having to speak first; it meant that I was relinquishing power.

Ms. Clark?” Parr murmured; he refused to make eye contact.

“Yes, Mr. Parr. That is my name. How may I help you?” I turned to my laptop and readied my fingers over the keyboard, ready to strike out his name. The meeting was going to be a bust.

“I’m sorry. I expected you to have horns or something,” Parr laughed nervously.

I turned to him slowly, my lips were pursed. “I was told that you were interested in my Brokerage services, Mr Parr. If you’re here for any other reason, then I suggest that you leave.”

I’d kill Luiz if he let in another journalist. He was normally pretty good at sniffing them out.

Parr turned milk-white, and his hand began to shake. He knitted his fingers together on his lap and looked to the ground. “I’m sorry, Ms Clark, I am here for a reason.”

I nodded and turned back to my laptop. “And what reason would that be?”

“Didn’t your assistant tell you?”

I waved my manicured hand impatiently. I should have been easier on the young man, but I had lost all my patience already that morning.

“My girlfriend, she’s…” He croaked.

“I can’t bring someone back if their death has been acknowledged by anyone other than the client. It doesn’t work that way.” I cut him off, rather rudely. I couldn’t help it; I hated time wasters.

“She’s dead. But that’s not what I wanted.” Parr spluttered. “I’m being targeted. Someone thinks I killed her, and they want to kill me.”

I closed my laptop. “Intriguing.” I drawled. “How may I be of assistance?”

“I don’t know!” Parr’s forehead was clammy with sweat. I tended to have that effect on humans. I had been told that it was akin to walking into a pressure chamber. I could make a man’s ears pop simply by being in the same room. Humans were innately uncomfortable around me, and they had no idea why.

“Do you want money to be able to escape your crimes?” I asked, delicately.

Parr shook his head; his neck had flushed red in embarrassment. “My crimes? I didn’t kill her!” He exclaimed. His voice reached a high enough octave that I had to hide my flinch. Sometimes enhanced senses were not desirable. Particularly in the presence of hysterical humans.

“What do you want then?” I gestured with my hand for him to continue.

“I don’t want to die,” Parr shouted, getting irate as a response to my apathy.

I shook my head. “If you did not kill her, then you should go through the Human Court until you are proved innocent. Surely then your would-be assassin will lose interest.”

“I’ve been through the court. A jury has found me innocent of all crimes.” Parr wrung his hands nervously. “I still… there is still someone out there that wants to kill me.”

“Please do not waste my time Mr Parr.” I quirked my brow, and for the first time, I studied his eyes. I knew what he saw, the silver light of my Hell magic under my skin. It skulked under the surface, it wanted to grip onto the human and rip his sins free of his body, thread by thread. I shook my head to clear it.

“I didn’t kill her.” Parr snarled, anger lit up his eyes from within.

Finally, I was getting an honest reaction. “How did she die?”

“Heroin Overdose,” Parr said through gritted teeth.

“It’s semantics then. You gave her the drugs.” I pushed away from my desk, ready to lead the man to the door and out of my office.

“I didn’t push the needle in her arm!” Parr spat.

“This is all too human for me. Mr Parr.” I rolled my eyes. “If you can’t explicitly tell me what you want from our Brokerage firm, then I cannot help you.”

“I need you to make the person that wants to kill me disappear.” Parr held my eye contact, an impressive feat for a human.

“Disappear. Kill? Coma? You have to be more specific.”

“I want you to kill them.” He stated slowly.

My painted lips twitched into a smirk. “Finally, Mr Parr, we are getting somewhere.”

“What do you want in exchange? Money?” Parr wrung his hands together. I looked down to the cracked skin on his thumb. Skin-picking. An unfortunate and disgusting habit.

I opened the top drawer of my desk, and as expected - readily prepared - was a contract that had come from the Devil himself. It was a necessary exchange of services form. I flattened out the sheaf of A4 paper and wrote Parr’s full name on the top of the form. “Do you know who is targeting you? Their name?” I clarified.

Parr nodded and spluttered out the name of a woman. I crooked my brow but did not allow myself to ask the question. It was uncommon that a male, who was so nervous about proffering my services at all, to want to kill a female.

Parr was a bottom feeder, but he didn’t seem to be entirely destined for Hell just yet; although, the second that he signed on the dotted line, his soul would be mine.

I held my hand out for him to shake. “Pleasure doing business with you, Mr Parr.”



I pinched the bridge of my nose with my fingers and tilted my head back. I had an exhausting day; so many contracts but it had been like pulling teeth. Getting people to part with their souls was becoming more and more difficult when meeting face to face. I preferred our email system. You know the Nigerian Prince? Luc was the mastermind behind that little gem.

Vinum?” Luiz asked. I looked up to see that my assistant was surveying the lonely bottle of Pinot Noir.

“And?” I said with disinterest. I took the stress ball from the side and worked it between my stiletto nails.

“That’s Hell wine. It does not enter the Human Realities. It’s a priceless bottle of red wine, Dahlia,” Luiz whispered in awe. “Who gave it to you? A client?”

“As if a client would gift me a bottle of wine.‘Thank you for taking my soul, Ms Clark’,” I snorted, “Good one, Luiz,”

“Who gave it to you then?”

“You know who.”

Voldemort?” Luiz gaped.

I stepped away from the desk and pushed my feet back into my patent heels. “You’re an idiot,” I muttered. “My boss left me that rather thoughtful gift.”

“The big guy?” Luiz blinked. Something lit up behind his eyes which I did not recognise. It was something akin to longing and jealousy. At what, I didn’t know.

“He leaves me gifts from time to time.” I walked over to the coat rack in the corner and slipped on my blazer. I looked out of the floor-to-ceiling windows of the high-rise office. It was dark outside, apart from the twinkling lights of the other offices in the City.

“The Devil leaves you gifts,” Luiz scoffed.

“Is that so hard to believe?” I opened the office door, and my assistant followed. He grabbed his man-bag and rushed behind me, right on my tail. He tripped and caught the back of my heel with his enthusiasm.

“Must you walk so close to me, Hellhound?”

Luiz bowed his head in submission and muttered a simpering apology.

I held open the front door of the office and let Luiz walk first, lest he ruin my shoes. “Luc Morgenstern likes to give me gifts. Keep me sweet,” I smiled softly. “He thinks it excuses him from talking to me.”

“Mr Morgenstern is never in the office; does he manage another branch?”

“You could say that,” I chuckled. The other branch was Hell.

“Why doesn’t he drop in?” Luiz asked, like a dog with a bone.

“Because it’s awkward working with your Ex?” I shrugged. “He doesn’t like to see me if he can help it.”

“When was the last time you spoke? Saw each other?”

“Physically, about two hundred years ago.” As we reached the exit of the building, I looked out to the pavement outside and saw that my driver Simon was waiting for me. He had been with me since the eighties. Simon must have been close to retirement age.

I’d be lucky if I got a vacation, let alone retirement. You can’t exactly drop down to Hell and put a holiday request form in with Satan himself.

Luiz gave me a shy wave and turned away. Something about that boy made me want to take him under my wing. Maybe it was the kinship that came with being a creature of Hell. Hellhounds were linked to the Original Seven. And I was connected to Lucifer. So, it made sense.

Even if I didn’t want to be linked with my ex, it had been two centuries, and I was still ‘Luc’s Dahlia.” It was grating, to say the least.

“Where are you going, Luiz?” I called, pausing at the open limo door. Luiz turned around, startled.

“I’m going to the Tyburn Tree.” He shifted from one foot to the other. Uncomfortable.

I nodded. I wondered if he thought that I would invite myself along. I almost snorted at the notion. I was a Pureblood. A creature far beyond mingling with the Elite Families and their muddy corrupt bastardised human heritage.

“Would you like a lift?” I asked, knowing that the distance to Oxford Street were quite a way to travel.

Luiz smiled, but it did not reach his eyes. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, Ms. Clark.”

“I won’t be joining you,” I assured him, walking to his side and patting his shoulder. Luiz flinched, and I knew that he felt the tell-tale pressure that came with the touch of a Pureblood. I felt his lifeforce in my hands, like a pulsating snake. It would take little effort to choke the orange embers of his life from him.

“Are you sure?” Luiz said hopefully. I gestured for him to get in the back of my vehicle. Simon opened the door for him without a word and bowed his head, politely.

“I don’t often mix with daemons.” I relaxed into the buttery leather upholstery.

My assistant pushed his brown hair out of his eyes and looked around in awe. I did not need to hide the fact that I was wealthy. I had been around long enough to amass clever investments, and I was a named partner at Morgenstern and Clark.

“If you don’t speak to daemons,” Luiz asked carefully, “Who do you speak to?”

I looked out of the window, at the passing flashes of headlights and sighed heavily. “My clients. You.” I answered honestly. It did not bother me. I was used to it.

“Must be lonely.” Luiz offered kindly.

I scoffed and ignored his pity. Pity cannot help the damned.





I was born with Lucifer’s Sigil on the back of my neck.

Most people think that an upside-down crucifix is the sign of the Devil. They'd be wrong. Lucifer’s Sigil is much more intricate. Curling lines on a triangle.

Hell is made up of circles. Each one wound more tightly than the last. The dimension is a conical shape. The point is the First Circle. The birthplace of treachery. The ice castle of the King of the Damned.

I had never been human. I was born from Sin.

Lucifer took the wisps of the first betrayal of man and weaved them into my being. I became part of the fabric of Hell. I became an extension of the Devil.

Taking a sip of Sauvignon Blanc, I kneaded my temples with the balls of my fists. The dry white wine was to spite Luc. ‘A fuck you, you don’t know me anymore’ gesture. A childish and passive aggressive move than impacted only myself. Luc had left me red wine, so I deliberately drank the opposite.

I did not like white wine, but I had still instructed Simon to take me to The Connaught Bar in Mayfair so that I could drown my sorrows before going back to my Kensington home, alone. My metabolism ran too quickly for alcohol to influence my faculties, but the initial buzz was pleasant enough to take my mind from my trivial musings.

I thought back to the note that Luc had left on the wine bottle.

I touched my lips with the pads of my fingers and closed my eyes with a delicate sigh. If I concentrated, I could still feel the tingling sensation of Luc's kiss on the flesh under my tongue. The pressure of his fingers as he twisted my honey coloured hair around his wrist. The guiding pump of his pelvis as he fucked my mouth.

I shook my head and snorted. Somehow it always came back to sex with Luc.

We would scream and fight. Tear each other apart. Punish each other. But no one could make me feel as wanted. Even when he punished me for deceiving him, peeling off strip after strip of raw skin from my belly. Hanging the flaccid, damp flesh over my face. Watching the drops of crimson lifeforce trail across my skin like breadcrumbs. He would still touch my cheek with love. A soft touch.

His whispered words:

Look what you’ve made me do, Pet.

The white wine was a childish needling; going against Luc in my own immature way. I wondered if I was putting him behind me and moving on with my life, or if I was trying to get his attention.

I scoffed and brought the rim of my wine glass to my lips and paused. The skin on the back of my neck prickled with awareness. I was being watched. Taking a delicate sip, I pulled my magic inside of my body and briefly severed my connection to Hell. Not many Purebloods would attempt the action, but it made me appear human for all intents and purposes.

Whether I was being watched because of the uncomfortable sensation that my proximity caused ordinary people, or because I was being targeted, I had not a clue. If someone were searching for a creature of Hell, they would never know it by looking at me.

The sound of expensive leather shoes sounded to my left, and the bar stool glided out to meet my new drinking companion. I placed my empty glass back on the edge of the bar and signalled for the bartender to bring me another.

The Connaught Bar was one of the most luxurious drinking establishments in Mayfair, a cesspool of the rich and the corrupt. I thrived when I was around betrayal and deceit. Poverty tended to bring out strong bindings of Loyalty in people. I found that money did the opposite.

“Can I buy you a drink?” A smooth melodic male voice asked. I allowed my eyes to flick over to the stranger who sat with the kind of confidence that can only come with immortality.

Auburn hair. A bit wild. But the thing that drew me to the man was the indentation of a scar than ran from the edge of his right eye until the curve of his smirk.

He had lips that I could bite.

Not that I would. Unless he asked me to.

He was an Incubus. A sex daemon.

I wanted to laugh in his face and tell him that he would not find a meal inside of my Victoria Secret knickers, but decided against it. I nodded stiffly and silently and turned back to the bar in time to see the Bartender bring over my wine.

The incubus slid over a Black Amex card, and when he caught me looking at it, he flashed a contrite grin. He must have expected me to be impressed. I might have been if my Chanel clutch did not have the exact same credit card inside of it.

Samuel Rose,” The man introduced himself, his eyes were the colour of the forest and flashed with mischief.

I cocked my head to the side, in a movement that only Purebloods seemed to favour, I had noticed. I saw that it was akin to that of a Bird of Prey about to devour its meal. Samuel’s expression did not falter, and I quickly realised that my potential suitor had no inclination of my true power.

Samuel Rose did not know me as Luc’s Dahlia. He was not aware that I was ‘the Pet of the Devil’ or the ‘Soul Broker’. Or even 'The Queen of the First Circle’.

A smile lit up my face, a bright contrast from the cold indignation that had graced my expression earlier.

My internal turmoil had not been missed by the incubus, but his gaze was languid as he perused my body like it was for sale.

“Dahlia Clark,” I smiled demurely and held out my hand.

Samuel gripped my fingers delicately and placed a kiss on top of my knuckles. I felt the dark tendrils of his magic sift through my skin and amplify any lust that may have burned within me.

Contrary to belief, Incubi are not rapists. Samuel could enhance his natural attraction, but he could not force his will into someone’s mind and take away their ability to say no.

That was a Pureblooded trait. Although the Satanist’s Bible is very particular about consent, not many people knew that.

“Do you work in the City?” Samuel asked, taking in my fitted silk blouse and pencil skirt.

I crooked a brow and in turn surveyed his own outfit. His white shirt was form fitting but it was not formal.

“I take it that you don’t?” I quipped, allowing my gaze to hover on the way that his abdominal muscles were scantily visible through the fabric.

“What do you do?” The corner of his mouth twitched into a smirk. He was enjoying our verbal sparring it seemed.

“I’m a Broker,” I said, remaining honest. “And you?”

“I own a few bars in the city.”

“I thought so.” I took a long sip of my wine and allowed the floral notes to play across my tongue. Revelling in the silence, as I often did, to encourage people to talk beyond would they would typically share. Samuel must have been well versed in psychology because he did not seem to fall into my trap.

“What makes you say that?” Samuel cocked his head to the side, his expression was cocky. Arrogant. I guess that if you have a hundred percent success rate with the fairer sex, it would be enough to make anyone big headed.

“You look like the type.” I hedged, keeping my eyes on the mirror behind the bar. I couldn’t very well say that most Incubi that I knew had their fingers in the London Bar scene. It would have been uncouth, considering that I was pretending to be human.

“Do I? What were the clues?” Samuel laughed softly.

“Oh, I couldn’t tell you,” Was I flirting? “Just a feeling.”

“You’re an enigma, Dahlia Clark,” Samuel leant forward and tucked a strand of my honey blonde hair behind my ear. I felt his knuckles brush against the side of my cheek. His breath tickled the shell of my ear. “I would very much like to become further acquainted with that devilish mouth of yours,” Samuel’s hand slipped into mine, and before I had a chance to blink, he had slid from his bar stool and had left me alone.

I looked down to my manicured hand. Samuel Rose had given me his hotel key card.



I ordered another glass of wine and took my time to settle my bar tab. The plastic edges of the hotel key card dug into my skin as I internally debated whether to join the Incubus in his suite.

It had been a long time since I had allowed someone inside of my body. I did not feed on sex like Samuel did. I fed from Betrayal, Deceit and Treachery. Backstabbing was my source of entertainment and my most prevalent meal. If I surrounded myself with the rich and corrupt, my power would remain buoyant.

It had been a long time since I had feigned humanity and cut myself off from Hell. Even for a short while.

Maybe I could have some fun. A few hours where I would be whatever Samuel Rose saw me as instead of the obedient pet to a monster that had long since put me back on a dusty shelf. Never to be played with again.

My heels clicked against the ornate floor as I wandered to the elevator. I had never stayed at the Connaught before, and only frequented it for its immaculate bar area. What would be the point in procuring a room when I couldn’t physically sleep?

Swiping the key card, the lift automatically ascended to the top floor. Samuel Rose must have been fairly successful to have been able to pay the extortionate fees that came with the nightly hire of a room at the Connaught. Even I flinched at the price.

I loosened the fabric belt from my suede trench coat and pulled the antique jade clasp from my hair. I allowed my honey waves to fall until they reached their natural length at the middle of my back.

Licking my teeth and wiping my smallest finger under my eyes, just in case my Clinique mascara had gone for a walkabout, I sauntered to Samuel’s door.

Slowing my steps, I reached out to knock only to have the door open in my face.

Samuel’s white shirt was undone and the top of his sculpted chest was visible. I pulled my bottom lip in between my teeth.

“I don’t normally do this.” I admitted honestly.

“I do,” Samuel was brazen.

“I trust that I am in good hands then?” I smiled brightly, happy that he had told the truth even when my baser nature desired the opposite.

I reached out and allowed my fingers to touch the scar on his cheek. My caress was too tender for the situation and Samuel Rose gripped my wrist. He tugged me into the room and slammed the door behind me. He had tapered his strength and the action reminded me that he still thought that I was human.

I could live with that. I could be someone else for a little while.

My spine slammed against the door as Samuel used his knee to pry my stocking clad legs apart. He stepped in between my thighs, with his hands on my tiny waist and began to place hard and possessive kisses on the hollow of my throat. I gasped into the sensation and pulled his body flush against mine.

I allowed my hands to roam across the sculptured muscles of his back.

There was no pain. No master and slave. There was only desire.

“I plan to fuck you hard, Dahlia Clark.” Samuel breathed. “You will not be able to walk straight after I am through with you.” His confidence and the way that his smile only twitched on one side, making it crooked, reminded me of the Devil.

My hands wrapped around his neck as Samuel dipped his finger to my wetness and spread it around my clit in slow torturous circles. My head tilted back as I released a long breathy moan.

I retreated into my head, into the fantasy of Luc. Imagining the Devil above me, surrounding us with a sheet of platinum white hair as he pounded inside of me.

Jolting me from my fantasy, Samuel pinched the bundle of nerves between my thighs. I squealed as the sensation hovered on the perilous line between pleasure and pain. My eyes darted to his.

“Be with me,” Samuel hissed, he leant in and took my bottom lip between his teeth with a nip. “Don’t retreat inside of your mind.”

In a move that reminded me too much of the Devil for comfort, Samuel gripped my thigh and sheathed himself inside of me with a low groan. His eyes rolled back into his head as I felt myself stretch around his length.

For an incubus, I had expected more touching, fireworks and fancy frills. Instead, the motion of our bodies was animalistic. The sounds were guttural and low. Fierce as Samuel fucked with abandon.

My orgasm wracked through me until I saw stars. Samuel followed closely behind, his thrusts became erratic until he found sweet release inside of me.

His eyes flashed silver and the pale ice blue. I told myself it was a trick of the light, as my body succumbed to the aftershocks of my orgasm.






Having no physical capability or need for sleep meant that I was bright eyed and bushy tailed when I arrived at Morgenstern and Clark the next morning.

Compared to my typically frosty demeanour, my cool smirk could be 'perky.’

When I waved at Luiz as I entered the office, he had used another set of words. Intimidating was one of them.

I sank into my ergonomic office chair with a sigh. I couldn’t win them all.

I cast my eyes around my office until they rested on the bottle of wine from the day before. Tapping my manicured nails against the mahogany desk, I inhaled deeply to ground myself. My nostrils tingled with the faint scent of the beeswax polish that the cleaners used religiously on my writing desk.

Standing up, I walked over to the offensive bottle on my side table. I picked it up and rolled the green glass cylinder in between my frigid hands.

The ink on the side of the label had done what Luc intended it to do. Annoy me and entice me to lash out.

I placed the bottle down with a thud. If the Devil had wanted to fuck with my mind, he had succeeded.

You'll always be mine, written on the side in Luc’s calligraphy.

For a brief second, I had become the same little Hellion that he had sculpted to fit his every desire.

Coming back to reality, I knew that I was wasting my immortal years brokering souls for him.

I sacrificed my place by his side because he had told me that he needed me on Earth. My home would always be the ice castle in the centre of the First Circle.

Or it would have been ... until he broke my shrivelled Pureblooded demonic heart.

I snorted an indelicate laugh and shook my head as Luiz knocked on the open doorframe of my office, startling me out of my reverie.

“How was your evening, Ms. Clark?” Luiz smiled sedately.

I stared at my assistant blankly.

“Mine was rather brilliant if I say so myself.” Luiz continued unprompted. He walked into my office and made himself comfortable in my chair.

I blinked slowly in confusion. I had only recently acquired the Hellhound, and I could not say if I admired his gumption or thought of him as terribly idiotic.

“The Tyburn Tree is giving off some major Hell Magic now. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Luiz picked up my crystallised scorpion paperweight and grimaced at the insect encased in crystal.

“I had no idea that Hellhounds could sense such things,” I said dryly. I stepped in front of my desk and took the paperweight from his grubby mitts and placed it back on my desk with delicacy.

“The D trade is booming.” Luiz continued. “You can get anything from a human if you let them have a little bit of your blood.”

My brow pinched. “Why on earth would I do that?”

Luiz swung around in my chair, he had cranked it all the way back so that he was almost lying down. A small niggle at the back of my mind sighed that I would have to rearrange all my office chair's settings to get it just the way I liked it.

“Have you ever given a human your blood?” Luiz asked.

I perched on the edge of my desk and picked up one of the contracts that I had yet to file from the day before.

No.

“Why not?” Luiz licked his bottom lip, his eyes sparkled with curiosity.

“I killed my last Hellhound.” I lied smoothly. “She was a curious one too.”

“Liar.” Luiz snorted. “Meesha works at the Hound races. Don’t change the subject.”

My face gave nothing away as I internally debated the merits of confiding in my assistant. The sooner I gave him the answers he seeked, the sooner that he would leave me alone, I reasoned.

“Pure Blood is potent. I would only bequest it for a purpose.” I relinquished reluctantly. “To kill a human or to allow them to become a Vessel.”

“A Vessel?”

“For one of the Original Seven.” I supplied, with disinterest.

“Have you ever possessed anyone?” Luiz tapped his lip, his eyes sparkled with curiosity.

Yes.” I replied. “But Luc is more skilled than I.” I flicked through the paper on my desk before turning to my assistant. I held up the contract in my hands and crooked a brow. “Luiz, why is this contract not filed? Robert Parr's deal was simple.”

The Hellhound yawned, which I knew to be for dramatic effect more than anything else. “It got returned. Void. Null. Rejected.”

My face folded into a frown. “That’s never happened before.” I murmured to myself.

“What do you think it means?” Luiz skimmed the first page of the contract which I knew was ironclad.

I worried my bottom lip between my teeth before I caught myself amid the bad habit. I walked behind my desk and kicked Luiz's shin with the side of my stiletto to imply that he should move. I then proceeded to sit and check my compact for lipstick stains on my teeth.

“It’s not like the Devil to refuse a soul.” Luiz wrung his hands. His typically jovial demeanour had thawed into worry.

“Calm down. Luc likes to keep us on our toes.” I said, opening my laptop and signalling that I needed to get to work with a dismissive wave.

“Do you think he’s coming here?” Luiz whispered in awe.

“On all Seven Circles, I sincerely hope not.” I laughed, kicking off my shoes as I began to prep for my first clients of the day.



My first appointment was a young couple with a sick child. Congenital heart problems, something about valve replacements and needing a transplant. Humans are so fragile.

I agreed to find them a heart in exchange for their souls. They would live to the end of their natural life, which could end tomorrow or in seventy years, and then their souls would be tethered to Hell.

Not many people can be heinous enough to warrant the First Circle of Hell. It is reserved for betrayals that shake the foundation of the earth and put into motion things that should never come to pass. The souls that I delivered to the First Circle were not destined to be punished. They were simply fuel.

The people that rotted away in Lucifer’s torture chamber were the ones that deserved to be there. The people that I signed over were destined to be used up. Their soul would become fuel and never be redeemed or reborn.

Dealing with grieving parents, and taking their soul to extend their daughter's life was not a mood enhancer. The parents did not deserve to be used up and spit out.

I was their only option, so I would not fight it.

Kneading my temples with my fists like bread dough, I rested my elbows on my desk. I watched Mr and Mrs Deluca's contract burst into a flurry of blackened Hellfire.

FAO Lucifer Morgenstern.

I slid my plush office chair away from the mahogany desk, it’s wheels moved sluggishly through the thick cream carpet. Leaning down, I plucked my Hermes handbag from the locked bottom drawer. Standing up, I placed it over my shoulder and pressed the button on my office phone that connected directly to Luiz.

“I’m heading out for my appointment with Mr Kerning. I'll be back in two hours.” I informed him.

Striding past his desk and then through the maze of the other broker’s offices did nothing to ease my annoyance.

Almost all clients, even the most obnoxious ones, would come to the Morgenstern and Clark offices in Mayfair. We were a well renowned brokerage firm in almost all fields. Mr Kerning, the next possible leader of the Labour Party had demanded that I meet with him outside of his office. As it had never happened before, it piqued my interest.

Simon, my driver, was waiting for me outside of the office; the sleek limo was parked in my designated spot and my driver was ready and waiting with the door open.

Kerning lived in Tottenham. The years had done wonders to some parts of London. I remembered when a woman wouldn’t have walked through Muswell Hill without a strapping man to protect them. Now the house prices were ostentatious and the schools were top tier.

Mike Kerning MP lived in a three-bedroom house; it had no other discerning features or personality. Simon parked up on the curb, almost certainly earning a ticket if the residents only parking signs were true.

Kerning's housekeeper opened the door and led me to the study.

My face soured. I disliked being treated as an employee. I loathed it when people asked to meet and then did not have the manners to greet me themselves.

I had half a mind to decline the MP's request and leave.

I had my own set of rules that co-aligned with Lucifer's. I could not make a man Prime Minister. I did not have the power to influence millions of British voters. It did not work that way.

“Ms. Clark,” Kerning stepped into the room behind me and I did not turn to greet him. “I am very happy that you were able to accommodate my whims and meet me at my residence.”

I turned around and narrowed my eyes. “I do not take daemons as clients.” I kept my voice level as I allowed my eyes to pursue his body. Leviathan. Envy daemon.

How had Luiz not known? I had walked into the meeting and assumed that I was meeting a human. I hated being blindsided.

Kerning cocked his head to the side. “I think we can help each other, Ms Clark.”

“I. Do. Not. Take. Daemons. As. Clients.”

“Well—,”

I waved my hand in dismissal.

“You may find it easy to forget, Mr Kerning, due to my impeccable wardrobe and my blonde hair but I am descended from one of the Seven Original Demons. I am a Pureblood.”

Kerning’s eyes bulged as his jaw clenched. He chewed his tongue as he tried to push words around it. He could not. I held up my hand and he shrank back.

“You thought to invite me to your home. Perhaps use your charisma to make me fall to your knees and somehow crown you the king of the house of Commons?” I quirked my brow and gave him an intense look of chastisement. Kerning opened his mouth to speak again, so I took his voice.

I forced the illusion into his mind. His lips melted together. Soldered and burnt flesh. Kerning began to panic and clawed at his face. His eyes sparkled with fear. Deciding that his frantic actions would not bring his ability to speak back, Kerning turned with his hands curled into claws. He lurched forward for my neck but I stepped into the space between worlds and around him.

“I. Do. Not. Take. Daemons. As. Clients.” I repeated, enunciating my words as I turned on my heel and left.



There is a vast and inscrutable difference between a Pureblood and a Daemon.

A Daemon was once human, but then corrupted by Hell Magic.

There are two types of Daemon: Elite Daemon and Low. Elites were corrupted directly and thus retained the ability to hold onto Hell Magic and have the power to create new Daemons.

Low Daemons were basically immortal humans.

Purebloods were creatures that were born of Hell. They had never been human. A handful walked the earth, the rest lived in various circles of Hell. I was one such creature.

The once human Daemons clung to the farce of the Elite Families. Structures of hierarchy and Power that had surpassed many human lifetimes. The Families had been around long before I had been banished from Hell. Each type of Daemon had their own Families. Incubi and Succubae were by far the most populated.

As far as I knew, there were no descendants of the First Circle, and thus no family of Treachery Daemons running about.

I had never had the desire to corrupt a human with Hell Magic and make them immortal. I had never shared my blood.

When I arrived back at Morgenstern and Clark, I found a human behind my assistant’s desk. Cocking my head to the side in confusion, the tiny intern blustered and offered me coffee. To which I declined.

“Mr. Ramirez had a family emergency to attend to, so he asked me to fill in.” The redhead explained. She was unable to meet my eyes and would shift from one foot to the other. At one point, she placed her hand on her ear and I knew that it caused her discomfort to be in my presence.

I turned and walked into my office without a word. Peeved at Mike Kerning and whatever the Envy Daemon had planned, I opened my MacBook and wiped all my client meetings for the rest of the afternoon.

No sooner had I pressed, “delete”, did the trilling sound of my office phone fill the space around me.

I picked up the handset.

“Clark,” I answered simply, as I picked up my bag and readied myself to go home.

“Ms. Clark, it’s Marina from the Italian office. Mister Luc would like to pass on a message,” the subtle purr of Luc's Sicilian Hellhound would be the closest I had spoken to Lucifer in an age. I found myself unable to work my jaw, anger had turned my words into taffy inside my mouth.

“Tell Mr. Morgenstern that if he has a message then he can speak to me directly,” I said curtly, clutching the handset with white knuckles.

“Mr. Luc wanted to know why you have cancelled your appointments for this afternoon? Si?”

“Marina, tell Mr Morgenstern that whatever I do is my own business and not his.” I snarled.

“Mr. Luc will not like to hear that Miss Clark.” Marina's beautiful lilting voice sounded playful but that was just how she spoke.

I slammed the receiver down and then ripped the cord from the wall. Plaster left a cloud of white dust on my carpet and I had a uncouth hole in my wall. I did not care.

My personal mobile phone began to ring; it was an unknown number.

“Marina, I will reach through this phone and pull out your vocal cords if you attempt to speak to me on Mr Morgenstern's behalf again!” I hissed into my phone.

“Ms. Clark?” Luiz’s voice was shaky but I knew it wasn’t my tirade that had caused his fearful reaction. Luiz dealt with my fits of anger like an old hand.

“Luiz?”

“Ms. Clark. I need your help. Can you come to the Fold at Denmark Place?”

“If you’ve gotten tangled up in some daemon scheme, I may have to rescind your payslip.” I muttered.

Luiz laughed nervously and I knew that someone was listening to his phone call.

“I may have mentioned that I knew a human that can tell the truth from a lie.” Luiz wrung the sentence out like a nervous rag.

At least he hadn’t informed any one of my heritage. That was something.

“I’ll see you soon,” I did not wait for his response as I hung up.

I despised going into the Folds. They were almost completely daemonic domains. A fold was the space where the fabric of Hell and Humanity met and thinned. Normally caused by a heinous event such as mass slaughter or grief.

Many of the folds were places of revelry for daemons. Bars and clubs, hidden away in pockets around London. Some were simply used for transport.

I had the ability to Lace the fabric of space together. I could travel any distance if I willed it. However, Luiz had done me a favour by keeping my Pureblooded lineage a secret from whatever daemons had attached themselves to him.

I stepped onto the curb and slipped into my Limo, signalling for Simon to take me to the outskirts of Camden, where the Fold in question was located.

When the car pulled to a stop, I took a second to collect my thoughts as I severed my connection to Hell.

I stepped onto the broken concrete and found Luiz was waiting for me.

I looked at him in question. My eyes sought the shimmering film of the Fold, and Luiz held my hand out for him to hold.

Oh, yes. I had almost forgotten. I was playing the role of a simpering human. One who would not be able to venture into the Fold without help from a Daemon.

Samba music accosted my ears as we stepped onto the dancefloor as easily as disembarking from an elevator. The Fold was almost empty due to it being mid-afternoon. Luiz led me through the array of dark furniture and down a staircase. My heels clacked against the wooden floor. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not sticky.

“What do you need me for?” I whispered.

Luiz's chocolate button irises flicked to mine. “You’ll see in a second.”

A door appeared on my left, as if materialising from nowhere. My senses were dull and sluggish as I was cut off from Hell and little more than a human. I had not seen the Magic that had hidden the door until I was almost touching it with my nose.

Luiz depressed the handle and gestured for me to walk through first.

I did not know what I expected to see, but it was not a blonde she-daemon strapped to a chair with her throat in the grip of a man. And I did not expect to see Samuel Rose as the owner of that hand.



A shockwave passed through my body at the unexpected event of seeing my one night stand again. I quickly dismissed the situation, not caring why he had his hand on a frail daemon’s throat.

Instead, I lazily perused the room for some clue as to why I had been pulled into the situation with such urgency.

Samuel Rose. Vincent Rose.” Luiz nodded to the two men on the other side of the room. Vincent was a carbon copy of Samuel, minus the intriguing scar. I could have sensed more from them if I was tuned into the threads of Hell, but so far all I could smell was the stench of their Incubi heritage.

“Dahlia Clark.” I offered simply. My eyes languished around the room, taking in my surroundings. I had not been in a Fold in an age. It was a step closer to Hell than I would have liked.

I shivered at the thought.

“A pleasure to meet you, Dahlia.” Samuel released his captive, but his smile was predatory as he faced me. “This is your human lie detector?” he asked Luiz.

My Hellhound nodded stiffly.

Samuel Rose was going to pretend that he had never met me before? What a compliment, I rolled my eyes internally.

“You smell like fresh cotton,” a voice almost identical to Samuel’s chimed out, catching my attention. It was Vincent. His eyes sparkled with manic energy.

“Thank you,” I said, but I did not return their smiles. “What do you need from me?”

“You can tell truth from lies?” Samuel asked, his eyes narrowed.

I nodded stiffly. I knew what he was thinking. Only First Circle Purebloods had that ability and there I was, what looked like a little human, professing to be able to do the same. He would have been right to be suspicious.

“How long have you had that ability?” Samuel asked.

I shrugged. “Always.” It was the truth.

Samuel’s full lips pulled into a teasing smirk as he offered his hostage to me with the grace of a game show host.

“Have at it then,” he said jovially.

My lip curled; my mood soured further as he mocked me. I was already a Hairsbreadth from slaughtering a mass of people, I only needed one little push to take me over the edge. How dare a Seventh Circle daemon forget me?!

“You ask the questions and I will tell you if she is truthful or not.” I murmured, playing the part of the timid human.

Samuel walked behind me, his steps were cocksure just like the man. He dragged a chair across the floor, the wood screeched and made me flinch. I disliked being cut off from Hell around other predators but needs must if I wanted to appear as a human.

I took the chair and faced the blonde she-daemon. Her head dropped to her chest, blood had crusted around her nostrils and a lump marred the perfection of her nose. It had been broken sometime that day and healed quickly without being set properly. One of the downsides of Daemon healing.

“This is Vinca,” Samuel crooned, dragging his finger down the side of my face. I felt the coiling tendrils of his Incubus magic. It curled around my body with certainty. Even his touch felt different. If not for the presence of his twin in the room, I would have questioned if that man was Samuel Rose at all.

“She has some interesting news and I wish to know if I can believe a word that she says.” Samuel patted my cheek in a condescending manner.

I crossed my red bottomed heel behind my ankle and folded my hands on my lap. Taking a deep breath, I stared at the she-daemon. Her face was one metre from mine, like an interrogation suspect.

“Ask the questions then.” I urged impassively.

“Vinca, tell Dahlia what you told us when you arrived at Denmark Place this evening.” Samuel ordered.

Vinca looked up, her aquamarine eyes darted from mine to the Daemon twin behind me. Vincent. It appeared that he was the one to watch if her reaction had any justification.

Vinca cleared her throat, “Two Roses. One thorn. Bloody and infected. Lucifer will come to claim her. A child will be born. More powerful than fallen.

I hid the abject terror that shot through my veins like a syringe full of ice water. I nodded numbly in response to her lyrical words. “She doesn’t believe that she is lying.” I shrugged. “But I can’t tell you if her words are true or not. Just that she isn’t deceiving you.” It was a prophecy and one that I had heard before. I schooled my expression into mild curiosity.

“Anything else?” Samuel asked.

Vinca's eyes had taken on the Celestine opaque quality that came when the connection to Hell grew stronger. The blonde woman heaved a wet cough as she peeked at the twins through blurry eyes.

“Go on Vinca,” I urged gently.

Vinca heaved a forlorn and defeated sigh. “That’s all I know. It came to me in a dream.”

This time it was Luiz that spoke, “Daemons don’t sleep. They can’t dream.” He said thoughtfully.

“What she said has been known for hundreds if not thousands of years.” I shrugged. “It’s in the book of Prophecies.”

Samuel and Vincent's heads snapped in my direction. Their faces shared identical looks of incredulous suspicion.

Luiz laughed nervously. “Dahlia does a lot of reading. She’s a PHD student, specialising in Anglo-Christian mythology.” He lied with ease.

Vincent seemed mollified but Samuel did not.

“You are full of surprises, Dahlia Clark.”

I was expressionless as I peered at Samuel through my thick lashes. I should have had the foresight to change my appearance before I stepped into the fold, but then again, I hadn’t been expecting to see someone that I knew. It was too late to shift my facial features now that Samuel Rose had seen me for a second time.

“Can I leave now?” I turned to Luiz, internally rolling my eyes at my attempt to appear human.

Samuel’s expression was shrewd and he licked his bottom lip, his gaze hovered over my body as if my clothes were non-existent.

“You may take your leave, Ms. Clark. But I may have need of you again.” His voice was low and dangerous.

I couldn’t help myself. I had faced the Devil almost every day of my life for millennia. If Samuel Rose thought that he could scare me, he had another thing coming.

“Try to book an appointment,” I called over my shoulder. “I am a busy woman.”



Being almost invincible and older than dirt meant that it was not often that I was manipulated into doing something I did not want to do.

It was clear that Vinca, the she-daemon, was a Seer of sorts. Extremely rare. The problem with Seers though, was that people often shot the messenger.

I stepped into the space between worlds, commonly known as Lacing in demonic circles. Emerging behind my desk, I slid out my office chair and sat down. Pulling my laptop towards me, I threw myself into my work. A new email waited for me, it was from the Italian office.

Lucifer had voided another contract. Mr. and Mrs. Deluca’s transplant request.

I could only think of one reason why, because I had cancelled my afternoon of appointments.

Luc did not like it when I did not jump through his hoops.

Unfortunately, even though he had had two centuries to deal with fact he couldn’t make me do anything from afar, it did not mean that he wouldn’t find petty ways to punish me.

My phone chirped with a reminder. Thursday was Scrabble Night with the Ferryman.

Looking out of the floor to ceiling windows, I saw that it was early evening. I walked over to my bookcase and slid the green box into my manicured hands. The Scrabble set was worn with age and bleached by the sun. An effect of spending long periods of time in Limbo.

Popping in and out of purgatory was more difficult that Lacing through the human reality. Even though I was Pureblooded, I was limited to travelling through a Fold to get to Limbo.

I took out my compact mirror from my Hermes bag and began to rearrange my face like Plasticine. I changed my hair into tight raven black ringlets and my eyes from a delicate green to a chocolate brown. Creating mass was difficult, so I opted for becoming shorter but wider. I did not look like Dahlia Clark anymore - which was my aim.

I laced back to the Denmark Place Fold as its location was fresh in my mind. As it was evening when I returned, the samba bar in between Hell and here was full of daemons.

If I did bump into Vincent or Samuel, they would never have known who I was. I masked my Pureblooded presence but did not cut myself off from Hell completely.

Daemons of all varieties undulated and writhed to the acoustic trance music. A strange combination that I had never heard before. I allowed myself a cursory glance, telling myself that I was the dance floor for potential clients but I was looking for Samuel.

I caught a glimpse of his wild Auburn hair in a dark corner. I allowed my senses to climb over every surface and towards him. He was not alone. He was in the arms of a human woman and seemingly orgasmic.

I quashed the niggling and sickly feeling in my stomach. It wasn’t jealousy, and our foray had meant little to nothing.

Perhaps the reason for my reaction was because I had not allowed another to touch me in a long time.

I strode towards the back door of the bar. The pressure dropped and became stifling when I neared the entrance to Limbo, but it was a comforting feeling for me.

A succubus narrowed her eyes as she watched me go towards the door. Daemons did not often venture into Hell. The human part of them feared it. As a Pureblood, I did not have the same problem.

The divide in Hell Society was clear. Purebloods thrived in Hell. Daemons (in their families) flourished on earth.

I could feed anytime, connected and sustained by Hell Magic. The woven threads of all sin. Daemons had a diminished connection and needed to feed from humans, so it made more sense for them to live near them.

Limbo looked almost exactly like London but in Greyscale. It was all built from the mind of one Pureblood. Charon. I had no idea why he had chosen the capital to fill the swirling abyss between Hell and Here as I had never asked him.

I walked through the empty streets; my only company was my handbag with an aged board game box poking out near my armpit and the squirming souls in the air.

Souls took all forms. Butterflies. Ravens. Dragonflies. Anything winged. They collected together like writhing black patches of fungus on the famous London landmarks.

I reached Shoreditch quickly. Charon lounged outside of a cafe, his Doc Martin’s were propped on top of a bistro table as he reclined in relaxation.

A halo of sparrows circled about a metre above his head, but his bearded flannel Lumbersexual ensemble was clear of avian shite. Which was surprising.

Charon had an affinity with the bird-like souls. There was no rhyme or rhythm to the form that a soul would take, but every person that the black winged creatures represented was a lost soul with no destination to which to go.

Charon stretched his arms behind his head. “Are you ready to take a beating?”

I rolled my eyes and took the Scrabble board from my handbag. Charon scratched his ginger beard as he watched me set up the board.

“I think you’re delusional. I’m the reigning Hell-Scrabble champion.” I said with a straight face. Charon guffawed and slapped his knee, which caused the glass table to rattle and the pieces in the box to jump.

“It’s all fun and games until someone loses an 'I',” Charon started off the match with an impressive 'dog' in the centre of the board.

“That old prophecy has come up again.” I sighed as I placed a letter onto the board.

“Which one? That damn book is full of them.” Charon rolled his neck and stretched.

“The one about Lucifer’s child.”

Charon stared at me intently as if he was trying to gauge my emotions. “Does it still bother you?” he asked.

I laughed without humour. “Do you remember when I was in the First Circle? Whenever someone would mention Luc's potential heir and that cryptic bullshit about Roses and poisoned thorns, I would lock myself in my chambers for days.”

Charon's lip twitched and he smiled sadly. “Luc banned anyone from speaking about it. I think it’s been ripped from the pages of the Book.”

I watched him place a tile on the board. He gained a triple score from a heinously rude word. “How’d it come up again anyway?” he asked.

“There’s a new Seer in London.” I murmured.

“Daemon or human?”

Daemon. Succubus.” I replied.

“Damn,” he whistled.

“I think that the Rose brothers are involved. It would make sense, based on the content of the prophecy. The Seer has somehow ended up in their hands. It can’t be a coincidence.”

Charon placed his hand on mine and I quickly realised that I had been picking the skin on my thumb. Dirty. Filthy habit.


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