*Graphics courtesy of Elle Woods, PR.
That's right, it's only 2 more sleeps until Semi-Fated goes LIVE! You can pre-order right HERE and it'll show up on your Kindle like magic on 7/30. But just in case you're impatient like me, feel free to check out the whole first chapter right here:
Adrianne Riddick always said she’d only return home under the threat of violent, fiery death for anything longer than a quick visit.
And today, she was going home.
That was just the kind of week she was having.
It wasn’t that she didn’t love her family. She did. She adored them. Her father, stepmother, and stepsister were her favorite people in the world.
But they were demon hunters. They ran Section 8, the government’s super-secret operation that tracked down demons who crossed into the human world through rifts in the veil between dimensions. So the threat of violent, fiery death was just…Tuesday for them. It wasn’t a life Adrianne had ever wanted for herself.
It was bad enough she was half dhampyre (a vampire/human hybrid) and a psychic. Those little genetic “gifts” had caused her nothing but grief over the years. Add to that her family’s legacy of hunting things that go bump in the night and it was just more than her teenaged self had been able to handle.
Going away to college had been Adrianne’s saving grace. She’d grown and blossomed during those years at Julliard. She was no longer a shy, awkward kid with braces and a bad attitude.
The braces had been gone for three years, thank you very much. Awkward was probably still debatable. As was the bad attitude, she supposed.
But all that mattered at this moment was getting home and letting her parents know the details of her psychic vision.
The vision of her own death.
The truly hilarious part of this whole thing? (And by “hilarious” she meant not in any way funny. Not. At. All.) Her stepsister, Haven, had sent a demon to the airport to pick her up.
Not a metaphorical demon, either. The real kind.
This demon was the only one that had been recruited by Section 8, rather than eliminated or imprisoned. He was also the demon that, six years ago, Adrianne had kissed the crap out of, and offered him everything she had—heart, body, and soul.
He’d, of course, soundly rejected her.
Yeah. Good times.
And that was the demon who was waiting for her now.
She imagined Haven was somewhere laughing her ass off at the thought of Adrianne having to ride home with him.
Haven knew there wasn’t anyone—human or demon—on the planet who made Adrianne edgier than Gabriel Malek.
Gabriel, of course, didn’t look the least bit uncomfortable (the smug bastard) as he stood there, leaning negligently against the wall in the baggage claim area, wearing the hell out of a gray Henley and a faded pair of jeans.
He was every bit as gorgeous as he’d been when she’d last seen him. The least he could’ve done for her was gotten a little soft around the middle. Maybe developed a receding hairline and adult acne. But no, not Gabriel.
I’m not a kid anymore, she reminded herself. I’m a Julliard grad, owner of a shiny new Master of Arts in music degree, with a teaching job waiting for me at Berklee College of Music.
None of which made her feel any better about seeing him again.
Gabriel had a kind of dark mojo about him that turned Adrienne into a simpering puddle of mush. Always had. Ever since she was thirteen and he was…how the hell old was he, anyway?
She’d never gotten a straight answer out of him about that. Not in all the time she’d spent with him before she’d gone away to college. (Which was a lot of time. Her younger self had used any excuse to seek him out.) All he’d say was that time passed differently in his dimension.
The hell dimension he’d come from, that is.
But you’d never guess his age or background by looking at him. At a glance, Adrienne would think he was maybe thirty years old and worked as either an underwear model or a construction worker. Maybe a construction worker who modeled underwear in his spare time?
He straightened up as she got closer, his eyes—black as midnight—locked on her.
She swallowed hard. Shit, why did he have to be so damn handsome?
And had he always been this tall? Adrienne topped out at five-five in her ballet flats, and the crown of her head barely cleared his shoulder.
His hair—which was perpetually shaggy and in need of a cut—was as dark as his eyes. He had the kind of knife-edged cheekbones and chiseled features that would make an angel weep.
And his mouth…
Well, there was nothing angelic about that mouth.
Those lips were made for sin, and Adrienne had always wanted to take a bite out of that plump lower lip of his.
Not that he’d ever let her. He’d probably always see her as the pimply faced thirteen-year-old who used to follow him around Section 8 like it was her damn job.
She twirled the chain of her necklace—the gold half- moon one she hadn’t taken off in six years—around her index finger like she always did when she was nervous.
The necklace was her good luck charm, and today, she needed all the luck she could get.
She really needed to snap out of this Gabriel-induced angst coma she was slipping into. This wasn’t an episode of Dawson’s Creek, for fuck’s sake. Her current problems were so much bigger than a stupid little unrequited crush.
One corner of his mouth quirked up as he snatched her carry-on bag from her hand—without asking permission, of course.
That was Gabriel. Absolutely zero fucks given about what other people might want. He did only what he wanted to do.
“Moonshine,” he said, his rough, raspy voice sending a shiver of pure longing down her spine. “It’s been a long time.”
Moonshine. His nickname for her since she was just a teenager. He called her sister Sunny.
Which made sense. Haven had always been the happy, sunshine-y one. Adrienne leaned more toward the dark and twisty. Hence her dyed black hair, black-on-black wardrobe, and black nail polish.
She was nothing if not consistent.
“Gabriel,” she said, cringing as her voice cracked on the word. Jesus, five seconds in his presence and she’d already reverted to her teenage self. “I wasn’t expecting you.”
He quirked a brow at her. “Sunny said you needed a ride—someone who could keep their mouth shut and not tell your dad you were on your way. Can you think of anyone other than me who wouldn’t immediately spill their guts to Riddick?”
She bit her lip. Noah Riddick could be terrifying. Not to her—but to pretty much everyone else on the planet. No one (other than Gabriel, of course) would be bold enough to keep secrets from him.
And knowing her overprotective father, he would’ve insisted on coming to collect her along with his entire staff of armed trainees and dhampyres as protection. It would’ve been a circus.
But that was to be expected. Chaos was the norm for her family.
“Thank you,” she said. “I didn’t want to worry him.”
Gabriel snorted as they made their way to the exit. “He worries about you all the time. He’s probably going to kick my ass for not telling him you were coming home.”
And he didn’t sound particularly concerned about the prospect of getting his ass kicked, either. Probably because Gabriel was one of the only supernatural beings in all of Section 8 who could hold his own with her father in a fair fight.
“We can go to Section now,” she told him. “I’ll tell him everything that’s going on. I just wanted to avoid a lot of extra attention here at the airport.”
She didn’t look at him, because looking at him turned her insides to jelly. But she could feel his attention on her when he asked, “What is going on, Moonshine? Something is obviously wrong.”
Stupid, perceptive, ridiculously hot demon. Leave it to Gabriel to see right through her everything-is-normal façade.
And it was just a façade.
She’d been fooling herself these past six years. Playing piano, partying on weekends, planning a future that didn’t involve demons…it’d been fun while it lasted. For a short time, she’d been almost normal.
Too bad normal just wasn’t in the cards for someone like her.
“I had a vision,” she admitted quietly.
He snagged her wrist and stopped moving, forcing her to look up at him. She tried—and failed—to ignore the tingles shooting up her arm at his touch.
“How bad?” he asked.
She swallowed hard. “Bad.”
For the briefest of seconds, she saw flames flicker in the depths of his dark eyes. And again, not the metaphorical kind. The actual kind.
Because that’s what happened to fire demons from the hell dimension when they felt any kind of emotion.
Most people who knew Gabriel were freaked out when they first saw the flames. But not Adrienne. To her, they were beautiful.
Just like the rest of him.
Ugh, she was so pathetic! This whole oh-poor-me-why-won’t-the-hot-demon-love-me thing she had going on had to stop. Like, now.
She forced herself to look away and start moving again. The quicker she got to Section 8, the quicker she could get away from Gabriel and give her father news he was not going to be happy about.
It was going to be a long, long day.
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