Painted Hearts Publishing

Heat Rating: Sizzling
Word Count: 79,713
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I belong to a Demon Lord. His name is Roman. He’s tall, strong, has long dark hair, a deep sexy voice and, let me tell you, absolutely f-ing gorgeous. Yep. I even wear his ring. Third finger, left hand.

Except – its’s not a wedding band. Far from it, actually. It simply means I’m his submissive.

Well – it doesn’t really mean that either, although I wish it did.

No. The ring’s function is only to give me “sight”. Being human, once I had it on, I could suddenly see Roman’s stupid lost legions; very nasty scary things that would as soon kill me as look at me. And because I wear the ring, guess what? It’s now my job to recapture all those creatures for him. Yay me, right?

At least I get to be close to Roman… sometimes.

But, to tell you the truth, I was tricked into putting this damn ring on by Cathy, some random woman I met at a park, who unfortunately likes Roman, too. A whole lot. She brazenly flirts with the demon every chance she gets and right in front of me, too. Crap, it pisses me off. In fact, she brags she was the one who found me, got the ring on me and then offered me up to Roman like I was a T-bone steak or something.

Well – honestly – that part’s okay. 

However, there’s something else going on. Something big. Because there’s another gorgeous Demon Lord in our little earth realm and he will stop at nothing to capture Roman’s loose legions for himself. Not only that, seems he’s out to catch me, as well.  

Huh. My name is Micah and things just got very interesting.

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Painted Hearts Publishing

Heat Rating: Sizzling
Word Count: 79,713
0 Ratings (0.0)
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The man Cathy called Roman surprised Micah. He was big, muscular, gorgeous. The guy’s face was rugged, a shadow of a beard on his cheeks and chin, his eyes were dark and intimidating. His hair incredibly black. He found himself wanting to touch it, run his fingers through it. But it had to be his vivid imagination the man seemed to be glowing with an infinite darkness that resembled what he thought he saw in the ring. It had to be the shadows in the room or even the night itself. It sure as hell could not be the truth. But it probably was, because he felt drawn to that darkness, as if it were something he needed to be enveloped by.

Roman was sitting behind an old desk that was covered in dirt and broken glass that sparkled dully in the pale moonlight filtering in through the huge windows. There were other darker things on the desk. He thought it was most likely dead bugs and rat crap and probably other disgusting things that Micah couldn’t identify and didn’t want to. He cringed thinking he would in no way be sitting anywhere near the desk much less behind it. Walking up to it now was bad enough. But then he supposed demons, especially Demon Lords, didn’t mind such things.

He shivered.

Cathy, who had traded in her flashlight for an LED lantern, had led the way down dark hallways and through deserted rooms, things crunching underfoot, others scurrying in the shadows. She was more confident than he thought even possible given the circumstances. Hell, given any circumstance. Even if Micah had known the way because he had been here a dozen times before, he would still be as freaked out as he was this very moment. This was the stuff nightmares were made of and Cathy acted like she was headed to a fucking party. It was just pissing him off.

But he followed. Like a puppy. No, like a lamb to slaughter. But what else could he do? He had a legion to get rid of, a ring to remove and now he was standing in front of a filthy old desk in a dark eerie room in a deserted massive building structure with a deadly history and probably ready to collapse, about to meet a Demon Lord.

Okay, that last part was a bit funny.

Demon Lord. Ha, ha.

No, really.

She set the lantern on the desk. Suddenly, Micah felt like he was reporting for work with this guy, who gracefully got up from behind that desk, showing how truly big he really was, and came around it extending a hand, acting like he was going to be his employer. But then things changed as he took the hand and the other man gripped it hard and did the one shake thing.

Because he didn’t let go right away.

The soft, almost confused expression on Roman’s face as he continued to hold Micah’s hand tight and gaze into his eyes, was captivating. Micah stared up into that beautiful face, being swallowed by those fathomless eyes, and for a moment, he was no longer frightened. His imagination had Roman’s arms around him next, holding him tight and those lips…

Micah pulled his hand back and Roman did the same, as if they had both been shocked.

He chose me.

That’s what Cathy said. But it was a job. He was supposed to collect legions for this guy. This big guy. So why was he suddenly thinking about the big guy’s lips crushing his own?

He chose me even before Jeremy died…

No. This was not good. But what had been that day? His life and everything he knew to be order in his world had been pretty much fucked, so why wouldn’t he think he wanted the Demon Lord to hold him down and kiss him?

And maybe do other things…

Oh God…

Heat filled Micah’s face as he directed his gaze to anywhere but the eyes of the demon. Had he sensed Micah’s thoughts? With the way he pulled back his hand, like he had been struck by lightning, made him think he probably had. Fuck. How embarrassing.

But it had happened before.

Micah had questioned his sexual orientation only once back in high school. He had an overwhelming attraction to the young brand-new football coach. Micah, being on the small side, never even dreamed of being on the team but he attended every game, usually standing right behind all those huge guys on the sidelines. He found he even liked how the boys grabbed each other out on the field, rolled together, piled on top of each other, all in those tight football uniforms. But then, one evening, after winning a game against a team they had never beaten before, Micah had hugged the coach. Hugged him. And then realized he was hard as nails. Shit. Some of the guys on the team even noticed and gawked at him like he had grown another head. Well – to be fair – he had. It sure as hell didn’t help that the coach pushed him away, absolute disgust written clearly on his face. Then came all the comments and jokes.


Micah wouldn’t go to another game and was convinced he would never live down that hug. But then the whole Tom thing happened, and people simply avoided him after that.

And he avoided his feelings about men.

And now he was fantasizing about being wrapped up in demon arms. Clearly, a male demon.

Oh Jesus, so clearly…

He shook his head. This was just going to be a way to spend his weekend. A job. It appeared Roman was going to be his boss. Okay. Yeah. He could handle it. But didn’t people usually get paid for doing a job? Wasn’t there some sort of compensation? What would this guy who lived in an abandoned, haunted, creepy, scary and countless other adjectives he couldn’t think of at the moment, what could he possibly have to offer Micah to take on that kind of challenge? A hug? Micah nearly laughed out loud.

You get to live his mind whispered.

No. Not his mind.

What the fuck?

Micah stared wide eyed at the tall man not three feet away, leaning back on the front of the desk, a smirk on his face. He seemed to be watching Micah, waiting for a reaction, for Micah to come unfrozen. But Micah was having just a little bit of trouble doing that. He couldn’t help but think that guy was just in his head. Really? Fuck. Did that guy just… did he just…

Yes... I did, his mind whispered again. And the demon cocked his head.

Okay, this was no longer fun or entertaining or even amusing anymore. He was done with this.

“Quit talking inside my head,” He screamed at the man in front of him. Cathy, who was standing beside him after muttering introductions, jumped away from him and screamed a little herself. Good, he thought. Finally, something that fucking scared her in this place. The man leaning on the desk had no reaction at all. The smirk remained and he continued to watch Micah which was sending not unpleasant shivers up and down his back.

Roman appeared to be somewhere in his thirties. Honestly, not that much older than he was. But how old did demons get anyway, Micah thought he was probably a lot older than that. He was lean but not thin, muscular and well built. Micah would have trouble taking him down if he had to. In response to Micah’s thoughts Roman pushed himself leisurely up from the desk and walked the couple steps over to where Micah was standing and stood directly in front of him. The smirk never left his face. Micah realized Roman had at least eight inches on him, which of course, was the point of walking up to him. After her initial outburst Cathy remained silent beside him. Except, out of his peripheral vision, he saw her mouth hanging open, as she stared at both of them. 

He gazed up into Roman’s face. His presence was overwhelming. The fragrance of his aftershave wafted over him. Did demons have to shave, or maybe it was cologne. Still, it was a nice surprise. He could also smell his own fear, damn it. Roman didn’t have to read his mind to know he was scared. He involuntarily took a small step back. It wasn’t a show of submissiveness or defeat, it was simply the guy was standing too close, his scent doing things to him. What if Micah started thinking he needed to rub that fragrance all over himself…?

Plus, Micah had never liked it when people invaded his personal space. He knew it was left over shit he probably picked up from being with his former crazy girlfriend but having this guy that close was uncomfortable in a more embarrassing way than he wanted to admit.

Roman smiled and said softly, his voice almost hypnotic, “You don’t need to be afraid. I’m not going to hurt you.”

Yet, Micah thought. Roman’s voice sounded low and gravely, like he had been a smoker in life. Were demon’s human at one point?

“No. We were not. At least not me.” The smile had returned to a smirk as he continued to watch Micah.

“I told you to fucking knock it off.” Shit, that was pissing him off.

Roman raised an eyebrow. “I did.”

“Quit fucking reading my mind too, asshole.” Okay not the best way to greet your new boss, someone who could probably be provoked easily to murder instead of firing and could most likely dispose of a body where it would never be found. But I’ll come back as a ghost and fucking haunt your demon ass. He glared into Roman’s eyes and dared him to comment on that thought.

Roman raised both hands as if in defeat and turned finally to Cathy who stood, mouth wide, still gawking back and forth from Roman to Micah. It was clear she had no clue what was going on. “Good evening, Cathy. Thank you for all of your trouble. You have done well.” He winked at Micah as if they continued to share secrets.

She turned her full attention to Roman and smiled, her shocked expression gone. “We already captured one, Roman. It’s in the ring.”

“Oh yes, I am aware.” His gaze wandered back to Micah, as if he couldn’t keep from watching him. “But he seems to be a little… crabby.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that. I think he tends to talk before he thinks.” She giggled. “But I believe he’s capable. At least…”

I’m standing right here. Don’t talk like you don’t know that.” If Micah could have found his way out of the building by himself, he would have turned around at that moment and stomped out. It would have been childish, it would have been stupid, and yeah, it would have been fucking crabby. He didn’t care. But he would get lost in that darkness and probably end up dead, just like his brother, and if he had to really face facts, he was scared crapless to go it alone. But crap of all craps, Roman could ‘hear’ everything.

On cue, Roman chuckled. “Oh, Micah, you are a treasure.”

Oh God, this was not good. Just like back in high school. But this guy knew what Micah felt for him on a whole other level then that bastard coach did. Micah really wanted to find a hole to drop into. Okay. No. Not a hole. Shit. It was hard enough keeping his thoughts reined in for his own sake but now this guy was actually listening to them, too, and it was miles and miles creepier than his girlfriend had ever been.

Not to mention Cathy seemed to really like the jerk.

Roman raised another eyebrow.

Fuck you. Micah stuck out his tongue.

Roman burst out laughing, throwing his head back. He reached over, grabbed Micah around the neck with his right arm and pulled him in for a hug. “You are going to be fun. I already like you far too much.” He held him fast as Micah struggled to free himself. Hadn’t Roman already figured out Micah’s attraction? But it appeared as if the demon intended holding him close anyway as he began pulling Micah out of the room. Finally, Micah gave up and allowed himself to be man-handled – demon-handled – across the hallway after leaving the office or whatever room they had just been in and into another large room. It was so large Micah could not see the ends of it; the far walls were swallowed in deep shadow. But that wasn’t the only reason he knew the room was large. The sounds of their footsteps changed dramatically when they entered, the sounds seemingly echoing from across a great chasm. It was very uncomfortable how exposed they were and even more disturbing why Micah even thought that was a problem.

Roman pulled him closer yet and whispered in his ear, “Have no fear, Micah. I would not be a good master if I did not protect my submissive.” A shiver of pleasure at those words chased up Micah’s back and seemed to take over his body. Again, he found himself wanting to have those arms around him even tighter. To counter the thought, Micah growled and struggled harder to get away. Roman chuckled and let Micah go but not before Roman’s hot breath blew right into his ear.

“I am not your… your submissive.” Micah shouted as soon as he was free. Wow. The sound of his voice was amplified by the wide-open space. “I sure as hell am not here by my choice, either,” he muttered more quietly.

“You put the ring on yourself. The ring would never allow anything else. Because…”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Micah interrupted. “It chose me.”

“No, Micah. I chose you. You know that.”

“Big deal. You can take it back. I don’t want it.”

Roman sighed. “Then take it off.”

“You asshole. You know I can’t do that. The thing shocks the hell out of me when I try.”

“Oh… yes,” he chuckled. “That’s right. I forgot.”

“Like hell.”

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