As a Seminus demon, Raze’s life literally depends on having sex with females. The problem is that he doesn’t desire females, and it’s physically impossible for him to be with males. Thankfully, he and his best friend, Fayle, have an arrangement that keeps him alive . . . if lonely. He finds some solace in his work as a medic at Thirst, a vampire club known for its rough clientele. But his carefully structured world turns upside down when he meets a mysterious male who makes him want what he can never have.
Slake is an assassin used to getting what he wants, and what he wants is Raze. But he also wants to earn back the soul he sold when he was a much different demon. All he has to do is capture a runaway succubus named Fayle and hand her over to her family. What he doesn’t count on is being caught himself by a web of lies—and his attraction to Raze.
Raze and Slake must navigate a dangerous world to be together. But as Fayle’s jealousy of their relationship turns deadly, they find themselves embroiled in a battle not only for their love, but their lives and souls.
– See more at: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/base-instincts#sthash.eAFRxoV7.dpuf
“Base Instincts filled me with smiles and happy sighs; it truly was a wonderful read and well-put-together story. I admire how Ms. Ione doesn’t short-circuit her own mythology, but instead deepens it to make something special. She creates two unique characters that I grew to care about in a very short period. I loved reading about Raze and Slake working through the rough spots to ultimately find happiness.” — That’s What I’m Talking About Reviews
According to the news, the weather system bearing down on Damon Slake was a proven killer.
But then, Slake was also a killer, and he could guaran-damn-tee that he was far more lethal than any thunderstorm.
Rain and hail pelted him as he stood outside one of several secret entrances to Thirst, a vampire nightclub that operated in the shadows of a human goth hangout called The Velvet Chain. Like most upscale vamp clubs, this one catered to all otherworldly beings, as well as humans who were willing to give themselves up as a snack for those who fed on blood. And, as one of the busiest high-end establishments, this place even had a medical clinic. Reputation was everything, and no club owner wanted to deal with a bunch of human deaths from overfeeding, or demon deaths from a drunken bar fight.
Which was smart, especially now that the recent near-apocalypse had revealed the demon world to humans, causing tension, fear, and chaos. They were in all-out extermination mode, while demons were dealing with some sort of political shakeup in Sheoul, the realm many people called Hell. Slake had no idea what was going on in Sheoul, and frankly, he didn’t care. He had a job to do, and he always completed his missions.
His latest prey had been cunning, maybe his most clever adversary yet, but he’d finally tracked her here. The wily succubus had covered her tracks well, but Slake had a knack for ferreting out secrets, and as good as Fayle was at hiding, Slake was better at finding.
Lightning flashed like some sort of horror-movie foreshadowing as he entered the dimly lit club through a doorway only supernatural creatures could see. Instantly, the blare of rock music, the stench of sweating, dancing people, and the electric, sensual energy of sin assailed him. If he hadn’t been on the job, he’d revel in the club scene and be scoping out potential partners to take home for the night.
Partners like that sexy-as-hell medic propped against the wall near the first aid station, his gaze sweeping the crowd with the hard-core intensity of a battle-wise soldier in enemy territory. Even from across the room, Slake could see the readiness for anything in the subtle tautness of his body.
And what a body it was. His black uniform was stretched tight across his shoulders and abs, the rolled sleeves revealing thickly muscled arms made to pin his partner to a mattress.
Slake had no idea if the dude was into males, females, or both, but the guy practically oozed confidence and sex. The medic folded his arms over his broad chest, giving Slake a prime view of a sleeve of tattoos winding from his fingers to his biceps, where they disappeared beneath his uniform and then reappeared at the top of his collar. The pattern ended just below his jaw, and Slake decided he’d need to get a closer look, because damn, he loved tats.
And maybe getting in closer would help him figure out what species—or breed—of demon the guy was. He was definitely a demon; Slake’s ability to distinguish a blue human aura from an orangey-red demon one made that clear. Not that Slake was picky when it came to bed mates, but he drew the line at fucking any species of demon that rated a five on the Ufelskala scale of evil. Fours were bad enough, but with a five, you never knew whether or not your partner was going to kill you after you came.
Or before you came, for that matter.
A scuffle erupted out near the bathrooms, drawing his attention away from the medic, but bouncers broke it up before too much blood spilled. No doubt the fight would be just one of many tonight, but that wasn’t Slake’s concern. He strode through the club, his eyes peeled for his target. There were approximately a million and a half females milling about, but none resembled the petite, black-haired Asian in the picture he’d been given two months ago by his boss at Dire & Dyre, the law firm that employed him as an Acquirer. Yup, if a client wanted something or someone, Slake was the one sent to acquire it.
Except this job was different. This job would determine the course of the rest of Slake’s life.
And the rest of his afterlife.
But hey, as his boss pointed out, it was only his soul on the line.
He spied an empty booth near an exit to the sewers and made a beeline to it, growling at a burly green-skinned demon who tried to slip into the seat ahead of him. The demon cursed, but one look at Slake’s arsenal of weapons peeking out from beneath his leather jacket gave the guy second thoughts. Probably third thoughts too.
A waiter brought Slake a double whiskey, neat, and he settled in, hoping his prey would show her pretty face. In the meantime, though, he didn’t see any harm in checking out the medic at the rear of the club a little more.
That male was something special. Even his coloring was perfect. Not too tan, but not pale. And given the guy’s reddish hair, shorter in the back than in the front, Slake would bet that close up, he’d have some freckles waiting for the caress of a tongue.
Slake’s mouth watered at the thought, and he had to shift to make a little more room in his leathers. But he didn’t let his lust distract him from his mission. Not when success meant freedom . . . and failure meant kissing his soul good-bye forever.
He downed half his drink and reached for his cell phone just as the thing vibrated in his coat pocket. The name that flashed on the text screen with a curt, You there? was exactly who he’d been wanting to hear from for days. Hoping for good news from his favorite underworld spy, he tapped out a message.
Hey, Atrox, it’s about time. Tell me you have an update on our prize.
He waited an unbearably long time for the reply. Atrox’s fat fingers and long claws weren’t exactly compatible with touchscreen keyboards. The reptilian demon had to use his knuckles to type, which Slake had found funny . . . until lizard boy had used those knuckles to knock Slake on his ass.
Finally, the phone beeped with Atrox’s incoming text. Got a lead. One of the dudes I grilled last night is a regular at Thirst. Said he’s seen the succubus several times in the company of a male with red hair and a sleeve of tats on his right arm.
Red hair and a sleeve of tats. Slake looked up at the hot medic and grinned.
This assignment had just gotten interesting.