“I do,” I say sulkily as the minister asks if I take this man standing next to me to be my lawfully wedded husband.
“You could at least muster some kind of joy over this,” Haines says quietly as he squeezes my hand.
“Shut-up,” I snap at him.
For our friends and family attending our nuptials I have nothing but sweet smiles and kind words. But for this d-bag, I have snark for days.
This is not the happily ever after either one of us was hoping for. And Haines is certainly not the man I wanted to end up with. But if I don’t have a holy union (holy my arse!) with him, all hell will break loose and blah, blah, blah. We’re destined to be together. I despise him. He likes it. He can’t help it. He’s a demon. Figuratively and literally.
Haines is a full blooded incubus, a male demon that feeds off the sexual energy of women. I am the female counterpart: a succubus. I also happen to be a cambion, a half-blood. My mother is a succubus and my dad is human. If I don’t marry an incubus who can tame my demon side, the part of me that craves sexual pleasure will take over and I could be a hazard to men I come in contact with. The urge to stalk men and bed them while they slept would consume me, and I wouldn’t be able to help myself. What makes matters worse is that I can kill the men I have sex with.
“Oh my God,” echoes the blubbering voice of my Aunt Rita amid the silence as the minister says his final lines of the ceremony. “She’s. So. Beautiful!” She sure loves to be heard.
Succubi, like me, tend to go after the same man over and over again to gain control over and then suck the life out of them. Then we move on to the next victim. In fact, if I don’t marry a full incubus I won’t be able to stop myself from draining the life force of any man I have sex with. And this is with protection!
The minister smiles as he presents us to the crowd sitting in the church pews. “I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.”
I turn to Haines and frown at him as he leans in and gives me a hard kiss on the lips. “Could you be more of a dick,” I say quietly while everyone stands and claps for us. “That hurt.”
“Could you be happy about something for five minutes?” Haines says through gritted teeth, grabbing my hand as a show of affection.
I look at him and scoff. “Are you insane?”
Haines is one of the yummiest men I’ve ever laid eyes on: he’s just under six feet tall with broad shoulders, a narrow waist, and dark hazel eyes that compliment his honey brown complexion perfectly. His dark brown wavy hair is cut fairly close, but grown out just enough so that I can pull it when I get angry with him. Trust me. I’ve done it several times before. He pisses me off daily.
When my mother found out that I had inherited her demonic genes, she contacted a soothsayer who did some witchy crap and found out that Haines was the man for the job. Again, we are fated to be together. There was a choice though. Either marry Haines, apparently the only living, unattached incubus that has the power to help me control myself, or allow my need for sex and energy to take over. I loathe Haines, but I don’t want to kill anyone.
Well, may be Haines.
Before we walk down the aisle, my mother stands up and addresses the crowd. “Please, everyone, listen for a moment. Mr. and Mrs. O’Neil Haines…”
I roll my eyes. “God, you have a stupid name…”
“…will be joining us at the reception hall after they take formal pictures. Please, head over to the hall and they will be there shortly.” She turns to face us. “Downstairs. Now.”
Haines tries to take my arm and lead me down the aisle, but I pick up the front of my poofy white dress and walk off. “I gotta pee,” I tell him over my shoulder.
“Come on, Perry,” my mother says through the bathroom door. I’ve locked myself in. A girl has gotta have privacy.
“Coming, mother,” I say sweetly, but I’m sure she catches the sarcasm.
I look in the mirror and see a not so blushing bride giving me the stink-eye. My dress is your typical A-line fit with silver embroidery leading to the bottom in long flowery lines. Since it’s late November, I opted to have a lace sheath that falls just below my shoulders added to the top. My hair is pinned up with real diamond pins and real silver ribbon laced through it. Haines may not be the man of my dreams, but my father is wealthy and this son of a bitch I just married is loaded. I insisted we do this in style. Why not? I’m not paying for it!
The make-up on my face is sparse and flawless and my platinum tear drop earrings make my neck look longer. I’m only five foot four and I’m not what you’d call petite. I have wide hips, child bearing hips my mother calls them, not-so-small breasts and a complexion just a little darker than Haines’. I’m a size 12. Plus-sized model by today’s standards. I’m beautiful. Every succubus is. Most men don’t want a demon that actually looks like a demon.
I eye myself in the mirror once more, unlock the bathroom door and snatch it open. “Let’s do this!” I say loudly, as I walk toward Haines.
“You really do look lovely,” he says, looking at my breasts.
“Suck it.” I roll up my left lace sleeve.
“I fully intend to later.” He knows that shit pisses me off.
“You’re disgusting. Oww!” My mother grabs my arm and makes a minute but deep cut just below my elbow.
“Knock it off, Perry,” she says, as she puts a small bowl under my arm to catch the falling blood.
“You could have gotten blood on my dress. I’m selling this bad boy on e-bay when we’re done.”
Haines takes off his jacket and rolls up his sleeve. “Do you know how much I paid for that dress?” My mother cuts his arm.
“I most certainly do.” My arm is starting to heal. Our union is already quickening. “Aren’t we sullying the church by doing this here? Why haven’t you burst into flames yet? I mean, you are a demon,” I say, looking at Haines.
“The same reason you haven’t burst into flames yet. You’re half demon.” Even though he’s being a dick, his deep voice is like velvet.
I lean into him and inhale deeply. His scent is clean and warm. “Dammit! It’s already starting. You did that on purpose.” I feel drawn to him. I can’t help it. An incubus’ power lies in his sexual attraction.
He looks offended. “Mrs. Haines…”
“Don’t call me that.”
“Whatever do you mean? I didn’t do anything.”
We’ve been married in the sight of God and now the blood-binding is kicking in. As an incubus, he calls to me. My body yearns, needs to be touched by him. Until we consummate our union, I will want him more than anything and despise him just as much. “Let’s just do it here,” I tell him.
“Absolutely not. I’m going to take my time with you, little girl.”
“Eww,” my mother says. “Join hands.”
Haines grabs my hand before I can protest. My mother has soaked a thrice blessed sacred white ribbon in our blood. She ties it around our hands and puts the bowl on the counter behind her. “By the powers given to me, I bind thee. Perrian Ettis Haines, I bind you to O’Neil Haines. May you serve and tame one another. Blessed be.” She unties the ribbon and puts it in the blood stained bowl.
“That’s it?” I say snatching my hand out of his. “I thought there’d be more to do instead of getting my arm cut.”
“It’s healing,” he says interrupting me.
“Shut. Up.” I check to make sure the cut is fully healed and then roll down the lace sleeve. “Come on, husband. I’m hungry.”
At the same time, Haines and I both inhale sharply. I look down at my hand that was tied with Haines’ to see the blood that was covering it, our blood, is now seeping into my skin. He’s looking at me strangely.
Haines touches my hand and a flood of passion spreads through my body. I shake my head. “Knock it off.” My voice is a little too breathy.
He comes to stand in front of me. “You will stop telling me to shut up. Do you understand, Perrian?”
“You two were made for one another,” my mother says over her shoulder, as she ascends the steps leading from the basement of the church.
“Curse your lips,” I scream.
“Do you understand?” he repeats. He looks pretty pissed off. “I am five-hundred and twenty-six years old. To me, you—“
“Just shut up,” I tell him as I walk away leaving him standing next to the water cooler. And for good measure, I turn around just enough to give him the finger.
“I feel like my skin is on fire. But in a good way.” I’m sitting with my husband, barf, in the limo waiting for the driver to come around and open the door for us. I’m starving.
“Perrian, you need to calm down. Until I take you tonight—“
“Please stop,” I tell him as I open the door my damn self. That driver is dragging ass.
Haines takes hold of my arm and pulls me back into the limo. “Enough!”
His energy bounces off the inside of the vehicle and I moan loudly. “Don’t.” My voice is barely above a whisper.
“You want me to. I know you do.” He traces his nose along the side of my neck and skims his teeth against my shoulder. “There is no better sex than between incubi and succubi. You wanted this big wedding, you got it. But the more agitated you get, the more trouble the human men will be in.” He reaches inside the top of my dress and thumbs my left nipple. “We are now joined in holy matrimony and blood bound. You’re powers need a release that only I can give you. I told you I would take my time with you, and I will. So calm down. If not for my comfort, then think of all your family and friends in there. You ardor will set that room on fire if you don’t compose yourself.”
I try to think but his hands are in control of my thoughts. A moan escapes my lips and I press my hips back against him. I can feel his erection through the ten layers of this dress. “Ok. Ok. You have to stop before the driver…”
“He won’t open the door. I thought I may have to give you some kind of release in this vehicle before we went in, so I pushed him to wait. I’ve been keeping a handle on your fervor since right after the ceremony, but I need your help now. You’ll be fine if you calm down.”
He pulls his hand out of my dress, and my thoughts clear. “God-dammit, if you ever touch me without asking—“
“What? What did I just say?” His voice is slightly higher and he sounds irate.
“What did I just say? Ask. Before. You. Touch.”
He inhales deeply to settle himself. “I will not let you out of here until you are ready. Besides, tonight you will want me to touch you. And I will not release you until you beg for it. Now, will you relax?”
My lips draw up in a grin as I see the anger I’ve caused. I’ve still got it. “Alright. I’m stopping. But you should be considerate. Tonight will be my first time. I’m a virgin.”
He looks horrified. I slide forward and open the door of the limo, peel me and my dress out, and slam the door behind me.
That little admission should shut him up.
“You two make a lovely couple,” my Aunt Rita says. She’s my father’s oldest sister. “I didn’t even know you were dating.”
“We weren’t,” I tell her through a mouth full of mashed potatoes. I take a sip of champagne. “Shouldn’t you be enjoying your food, Rita? Dad will bust a vein if you waste it. One-hundred and forty bucks a pop.” That pretty much means ‘Go away, I don’t wanna talk.’
She looks perplexed. “Oh, I get it. You want to be alone with your sweetie!” Aunt Rita goes to walk away but then turns back to look at us. “Your father never thought you’d get married. I mean, you are twenty-six and we’ve never seen you with a man. Your cousin Jen thought you were gay,” she says smiling at Haines.
“Go eat your food, Rita,” I say pointing my steak knife at her.
She flitters off and I notice Haines staring at me. “What?”
He looks me up and down and then takes a sip of bourbon. “I assume the reason you haven’t been seen with a man is tied in to the reason you’ve never had sex before. What is it?”
I take his bourbon from him and down it in one gulp. Oh my God! My chest is on fire! “Every time I’ve tried to have sex with a guy, I wind up either taking so much energy from him he passes out, I don’t do it on purpose of course, or he reaches his happy place before we can properly start. I just stopped trying.”
He eyes me and then looks over to the waiter that stands waiting on our every whim. The poor guy is just for the bride and groom. He’s already gotten me two helpings of mashed potatoes and three extra dinner rolls. Haines takes his glass from me and tips it up to the waiter. The guy nods and runs off to get another drink for him. He looks at me. “That’s it? Nothing more.”
“You’re lying,” he says grabbing my hand. He thinks for a second and then let’s go. Smart man. “In your early years your powers must have been like electricity. Who did you hurt?”
I look at him and he blanches. “Stop talking.”
He doesn’t listen. “That doesn’t happen too often with a young succubus. You’re very strong.”
I take another sip of champagne and turn toward him. “So I’ve heard. I wish I was like my mom. She controls herself so well she was able to marry my father, who is human. If she was anything like me growing up, she deserves a cookie. That’s power. Mom and dad love one another to death. He knows exactly what she is and he still thinks roses fall out of her…”
The waiter gets closer to us, sits the glass down in front of Haines and then looks at me. “Miss? Would you like anything?” The waiter is gawking at me.
“No, thank you.” I turn to look at Haines, but the waiter stoops down next to me.
“I can get you anything you want: drink, more food, anything?” His lips are slightly parted and he’s completely ignoring Haines.
Waiter-boy’s scent is changing. He smells like burning jasmine.
“This is priceless,” I say, reaching out to touch his face. “No sweetie, I’m good.”
“Do not touch him, Perry.” I look up and see my mother standing behind the boy. My dad is quietly standing behind her. She gently touches the waiter on his shoulder and he turns to look at her. Her power causes goose bumps to spread along his skin. I can see them on the back of his neck. “Young man, please, go get yourself a drink and take a break.”
He stands up and gazes at her. She touches his arm and I can actually see his release. I see her absorb it. He shakes his head and walks away.
My mother looks drunk for a moment and then regains her composure. “You’re not going to be able to stay much longer, Haines.”
“Yes, Barbara.” Haines stands up and takes his jacket off. “I’m keeping her powers as discrete as I can. But if she touches someone,”
“I’m sorry,” I say looking between them. “I didn’t mean to.” I have felt a change since the ceremony, but this is too much.
“I know, darling,” Haines says trying to soothe me. “We should leave soon. We’ll have one dance, cut the cake and leave.”
“Why are you being nice to me?” I ask him.
“I’m always nice to you—”
“Bull-shit.” I try to grab his glass of bourbon but he pulls it out of my reach.
He pulls the tumbler to his lips, takes a sip and then pushes the glass toward me. “You didn’t let me finish. I’m always nice to you, until you open your mouth. You’re nice to look at, Perrian.”
“You see mom,” I say standing and taking Haines’ drink in hand. “This is the man I’ve married. You sure know how to pick em’.”
My mother inhales and closes her eyes. A small ‘V’ has appeared between her eyebrows. I’m getting on her nerves. “Perry, you need him. You don’t know how to control your powers. More and more supernaturals are coming out and humans are getting more and more anxious. This may be a new day and age but if too many men start dying from unnatural causes, the proverbial villagers will start hunting us with pitchforks and torches. Haines is doing us a favor.”
I purse my lips. “Thanks Haines. You breaking my cherry is really going to help.”
“Jesus Christ!” my father says speaking up for the first time. He covers his eyes and shakes his bald head. “I don’t need to hear this. I need a drink.” He walks away carting my mother with him.
I watch my parents retreat and feel sorry for the both of them. My father is the innocent bystander in all of this and he’s being a real sport about it. My mother is just her normal cynical self. Everyone’s got my best interest in mind and I’m just being a bitch about it.
“Come,” Haines says. “Let’s dance. I’ll make an announcement that our flight was delayed but we have a chance to catch an earlier one. We’ll have cake and then leave.” He holds out his hand. “May I have this dance?”
I plant my hand in his and take a step toward him. “See, it goes so much smoother when you ask before touching me.”
We walk toward the DJ and Haines makes the announcement. Everyone seems pretty disappointed. My lovely Aunt Rita yells out something crass about us hurrying to be alone. She still hasn’t cleared her plate. Too busy running her yap.