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BLOOD CURSED
by Erica Hayes

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

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Diamond glanced at my ring, chewing his beautiful lip. "So you took Jasper's gift, and now you're stuck with his demon owings, too?"

"Seems that way."

"Well, that sucks. You got yourself a probby-lem."

I snickered, humorless. You. Not we. "Yeah. I sure do. Look, Diamond old buddy, I appreciate you saving my ass and everything, but—"

"The demon say who these morons was you're lookifying?"

I gave him a whadda you care? scowl, slurped more pink lemonade, and smacked my lips as loudly as I could. "Nice talking to ya, cutie. Don't let me keep you. Thanks for the drink. 'Kay. See ya. Bye." I pushed my chair aside.

But he caught it with his foot and dragged me back.

"Hey!" Now the table caged me. I wriggled, jerking my wings, but it only made my bare thigh rub against his under the table. Hot fairy muscle, too strong for me to shift. I sweated, seeping fragrant pink. "C'mon, no fair. Let go!"

He trapped my flailing hands against the table, light but firm. "Names, Ember."

Panic shuffled my wits like cards. I didn't want to owe him. Debts to sultryfae gangboys were dangerous. Damn it, did he have to insist? "I don't need your help, okay?"

"Choice? Nope. Hushify," he added, a dangerous purple glint in his eyes when I tried to protest. "My boy made you a pretty mess. My job to unmessify."

"Yeah?" I glared, inches away. More stupid gang loyalty. He wasn't even pretending he cared about me. "And what do I owe you for your unmessification, huh?"

"A favor." His lips twitched, and inwardly I groaned. Don't do it. Don't smile.

Aw, hell.

Stunning. Hypnotic. Sparkling with promise, dark with suggestion, wicked with the echo of kisses and laughter.

My belly melted, all warm and wobbly like treacle, and the moon howled wild in my blood. I'm special. I'm wanted. I'm the only woman in his world.

I wanted to press my legs together. And his thigh jammed between mine wasn't helping. God, a girl could die for that smile.

I swallowed, warm. "What kinda favor?"

"Hellfire cocktails and pitchforks in your butt, right? You care?"

"Maybe." I flushed under his scrutiny. Jeez, if he thought I'd do something cheap and dirty, he was dead wrong. I didn't care how tempting his smile was.

"It's just a favor." His musical voice dropped down a harmonic, mesmerizing. "Nothing grim. We're friends. That's all."

I knew what he meant. My friend, your friend, all that anachronistic mob crap. I'd owe him, and everyone would know.

Awesome. Just great. I rid myself of one controlling boy, only to glue like a suckerfish to another. Emphasis on the sucker.

He let go and leaned back, his blinding smile quirking into a sly shadow of itself. "Yes or no, Ember. Got better plannings?"