So you think you know fairy tales? Guess again.
Greta didn’t get her happy ending her first time around. And now that she’s a Grimm—special kind of guardian angel and official ass-kicker in the paranormal world—romance is hard to find. Besides, there’s only ever been one man who made her heart race, and the fact that he did scared her right out of his arms. Now Rip is back. And just in time too, because Greta needs his help.
On a mission he knows is going to test all of his strengths and skills, the last person Rip expected to see is the one woman who broke his heart. Working together seems to be their only hope. But, when faced with a danger neither of them anticipated, the question is, how will they face the danger to their hearts—assuming they survive, of course.
Dark, sexy, a little bit scary—this fairy tale is only for grownups and is best saved for bedtime
Copyright © 2009 Shiloh Walker
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
You must be joking.
Rip stood across the street in the shadows, watching as the brunette made her way down the sidewalk, staring into the bars and restaurants, like she was searching for somebody.
That what their kind did. They searched for those who needed them. That’s why the Circle existed, after all. Under normal circumstances, he wouldn’t mind seeing pretty little Greta. Under normal circumstances, he wouldn’t mind teasing her and seeing if he could get those blue eyes to blaze fire at him. Under normal circumstances, he wouldn’t mind trying to figure out how to convince her to get naked with him again.
It was a task he’d been working for close to a hundred years, ever since that first—and last—time.
She ignored him, though. All too easily. If he didn’t know women as well as he did, he might have even believed that feigned disinterest. She was good at hiding it, but she wasn’t as oblivious of him as she liked to pretend. On the odd occasion their paths crossed, he would see the heat in her eyes. Heat…hunger…and need. A need that just might match his own.
It was a hope that kept him going through many a night and yes, under normal circumstances he’d be more than happy to see her sauntering down a city street, taking in everything with those big blue eyes. More than happy to approach her and see what it would take to get those blue eyes to focus him.
But right now he wasn’t functioning under normal circumstances.
He was on a hunt and he wasn’t about to get distracted, not even by the very distractible Greta. Even though he’d much rather be distracted by Greta.
As he stared at her, brooding, she stopped on the sidewalk and cocked her head to the side. Her eyes narrowed and he saw the change come over her, watched as she went from bored to predatory. Watched as she became aware. He saw the intent interest flare in her eyes and knew without a doubt she’d caught scent of something.
“Shit, don’t let it be my something,” he muttered, reaching back and grabbing the band that held his hair secured at his nape. He shoved a hand through his hair and then gathered it back into a queue. He wasn’t sharing this quarry, not with anybody. Not even Greta. He couldn’t.
This was even worse than being distracted by Greta.
If she picked up on his hunt, she would want to get involved, and she’d do just that. She’d get involved, and in a very big way, simply by placing herself at his side. Definitely not what he wanted to see happen. She was a pit bull. Once she got a hold of something, she didn’t let go.
Not until the job was done.
Of course, if he didn’t keep his attention where it belonged, he was going to become a job, of sorts, himself, when his associates had to track down his killer. He felt the warning ripple down his spine and jerked aside just in time to evade the downward stroke a wicked-sharp Kel-Tech knife. It wasn’t big enough to take his head off unless somebody was either very patient, very fast or very strong. The demon-possessed man in front of him looked to be very, very strong, even without aid of the demon that had settled inside his body. His body was no longer his own, though. It belonged to the demon. He was nothing more than a host—basically just a vehicle for the monster inside.
The demon was called a paraisei—sounds a lot like parasite and that’s exactly what this kind of demon was. A parasite. It picked out a victim, set up housekeeping and whittled away at the victim’s will until the human was no longer strong enough to fight. Once they reached that point, there was no saving the victim. They were trapped until the victim was either killed or the body gave out.
With the paraisei, it didn’t take long for one of those endings to come about. They were vicious and a lot of them ended up going on murderous rampages, the kind that often ended up in death.
Since the demon didn’t need food to live, those paraisei-infected humans who didn’t meet a bloody, brutal end had the pleasure of dying of thirst and starvation.
Usually, the demon vacated its host right before death. The only way to kill one of the monsters was to kill the host before the demon left it. To Rip’s eyes, the face was still human. Barely. It had probably only been a few days since the paraisei had taken complete control.
The typical person looking at the demon-possessed wouldn’t see anything but the insanity lurking inside his eyes.
The demon wasn’t insane.
It was actually very sane—functioning exactly as his kind did. Feeding on the misery of others, taking them over. It was too late for this one—the demon was in control and the only way Rip would set this poor bastard free was if he killed the paraisei inside.
“Aren’t you due a nap, Grimm?”
Rip was startled. Not at the raspy, obviously inhuman voice that came from the man’s throat, but by the words. The paraisei knew him. He pushed the surprise aside. It was something he’d worry about later.
He was curious, though. The paraisei knew him. Not many in the world did—within the Circle, among the demons, anywhere.
Curling his lips in a smile, he said, “Don’t worry…dealing with you is going to leave me so bored, I may just sleep for a week. When I’m done.”
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