Of the heroines I've written, the Devil's Daughter, Hellé Hawthorn is my favorite. A spitfire in the truest sense, she proves she's more than just a pretty face.
Hellé is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't...
The Devil’s daughter survives a battle with ball lightening and learns her days in Sin City are numbered unless she consumes a precious mineral found only in Hell—the Hell from which she’s been banished.
Three men compete for Hellé’s attention. The first evildoer controls much of Vegas’ development and vows to destroy her. A second rogue as powerful as Satan hopes to dominate her. The third, an irresistible Greek fisherman, wants her until death parts them.
Hellé and her lover, Menlikus, embark on separate dangerous journeys with a common purpose. Their lives hinge on the cooperation of two persons—one who’s betrayed Hellé’s friendship, and one she doesn’t believe exists.
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Excerpt -- To Hellé and Back Again (Ellora's Cave Exotika)
The dark-blue glass clung to my fingers. Each cycle of Van’s menacing words burrowed them deeper into my gray matter. Wispy fog floated in front of my eyes. Stench such as that from sulfur deposits clogged my nostrils and throat and coated my tongue.
“You feel like watching?” Van turned and flashed me a fanged grin.
I’d missed the latest sale at Saks due to this graveside agenda but Van missed a conscience and good manners from birth. “I’ve seen far more horrendous sights when in Hell.”
“Come over here to the portal.” Van stared us down.
At reaching the narrow trench I stepped away while Van posed Men with his feet close the burial mound, straddling the open ground.
Now to see if Van possessed the ability to read minds. No sense going any further with this game if he did. The blackness behind my closed lids formed a swirling vortex. The Brekennium barrier—a protective shield that prevented brainwashing and mind-reading and was possessed by only by Satan and his offspring—lifted around my brain. Only by intense focusing could we hellish beings temporarily remove and later reconstruct this unique magnetic field inside our skulls.
Menlikus is far sexier than you. You couldn’t do me a hundredth as well or as deep.
With my eyes open I concentrated on Van’s closed lips and recycled the thought.
Not a single twitch.
Fang-Face heaved a breath toward the close-to-midnight sky. “Are you finished praying or whatever it was you were doing?”
Van wasn’t a mind-reader. Or if he was, one of my precious powers still remained—I could prevent others from getting inside my head and learning my thoughts.
Without answering I squeezed Men’s hand. “Quite.”
Caught in the moon’s glow, the claw on Van’s forefinger shone bluish-white. “Not so close to him. I have to prepare the Skave zone.”
Men and I shrugged.
From the pouch positioned near where the knife lay buried to its handle in dirt, Van removed a small cloth bundle. After laying it on his left palm he unfolded the edges until all four corners hung over his hand. His right thumb and forefinger sank into the pile of reddish-brown powder and pinched together. He dusted the faintly sweet-smelling dust onto his tongue and took another measured portion between his fingers. Three times he performed the ritual, bending over the furrow and sifting the powder into the opening. A sneeze teased the back of my throat. I closed my fingers over my nostrils and caught the outburst but pitched forward. On removing my fingers the air in front of my face lay heavier than that a couple inches behind me. Cloying citrus-sweetness soothed the thumping in my temples and unknotted the muscles in the back of my neck and I righted myself.
“The flaçon of eshlew.” Van snapped his fingers.
Barely did I extend my arm before he snatched the fluid from me. A soft pop floated toward the sky as the stopper was freed from the neck. In the same way Barden drizzled oil over her garden salads, Van spread the cod-scented contents along the ground rift.
He slapped the stopper into place and dropped the empty bottle into his pouch. “Where’s the lighter?”
When I remained silent he fished in Men’s back pocket and produced the device. His thumb incited the strike wheel and a flame flared. He crouched and touched the dancing oval of energy to the edge of the trench. A blue flame leaped about a foot above the ground and tracked down the man-made furrow to the end. Van closed the lid and tossed the lighter behind me.
What at first resembled fish oil morphed into the aroma of roasting nuts.
Van’s laughter blanketed us.
The fence of fire climbed to within a couple inches of Men’s ten inches of glory. Van beat his hands toward the flames and they lowered by half.
Daddy would love that trick.
The longest claws adorned Van’s forefingers and he pointed the left one at Men’s heart. “Straddle the flames as I’m doing. Then you’ll be ready.”
Men started toward me but Van drifted between us before my lover made a third step. The sexy Greek with the heart of gold sought the pyre that might mark his own funeral if malice or a mistake prevented Men from reaching Hell and returning.
At the base of the flames a bubbling erupted. Sparks shot into the air. Glassy amber orbs formed as the bubbles shrank.
Without a doubt, Van wasn’t playing with all his marbles. And if this were his way of playing a sick practical joke, I’d deal with him in a way he wouldn’t like.
The madman’s amber marbles swelled a bit and hissed. Their surfaces clouded and the crackling intensified.
My nails gouged my palms and my throat muscles clenched. Menlikus posed over the pyre wearing a smile I’d always remember.
“Good riddance. Hope you stay down there.” Van chanted a few phrases in Latin and pierced the tip of Men’s right middle finger.
He milked a few drops of blood, turned Men’s hand so the palm pointed down and slapped the backs of my boyfriend’s fingers. The blood hit the fire and flared the blue flames a few inches higher. A ferrous tang replaced the roasted aroma.
Van swept around to Men’s right, grabbed a fistful of his hair and tipped his head toward his left shoulder. The walls of my veins cleaved closer together and more heartbeats launched toward my tongue.
Wishing you many happy reading moments,
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN -- Ellora's Cave
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave
TORMENTED -- Ellora's Cave