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Detective and werewolf Zack Elliott visits Last Call to satisfy his need to dominate, but it doesn’t satisfy his unrequited love for a woman he can’t have. Still, he’s managed to keep his desire for her under control…until a chance encounter in their apartment building sends him back to the bar for relief.
Tequila Sunset: Looking for submission.
Iris has spent the last two decades living a strict life of self-denial as New York City’s only demon social worker. She lives in fear of the power inside her, and the dark needs that tempted her down a dangerous road before. But love and need are leading her down that path again, and her only hope is to give in to the man she loves and trust that he’s strong enough to keep her safe from the darkness inside.
* While originally published as After Hours #1, this story stands apart from the rest of the Last Call series and can be considered a “follow up” to Tequila Sunrise answering the question of what happened to Zack.
Read an Excerpt
She turned, and he could almost see her gathering her determination around her like a shield. “I owe you an explanation, and I’ll give you one. But I’m not going to change my mind. You’re a good man, and you need a good woman.”
He chose his words carefully. “And you think that’s not you?”
“I’m a demon, Zack.” Gentle words, spoken as if she wasn’t sure he understood — or believed. “I’ve played human for seventy years, but it doesn’t change what I am.”
“So I’ve heard.” He rose again, just to keep from fidgeting like a kid on his first date. “Guess that means you think Leo’s making a mistake with his new girl, too.”
“Caitlin’s too young to understand what he is.”
Her condescension set his teeth on edge. “And me?”
Iris met his gaze, and the challenge in her eyes wasn’t enough to cover the tiny thread of nervous vulnerability — or the desire that stirred in her every time they were alone together. “Alpha werewolves think they can handle anything.”
He ignored the challenge, though doing so made his hands shake and his words rough. “Leo’s as whipped as any man I’ve ever seen. So either his girlfriend’s an astronomically terrific lay, or you demons aren’t as immune to emotion as you make it sound.”
“I never said we were immune.” She took a step closer, crowding his space, and for the first time he felt power rise in her as she stared up at him with dark, dangerous eyes. “If I didn’t love you enough to want you safe, I would have fucked you straight into hell by now. You can’t trust me. ”
He wanted to grab her. Kiss her. Instead, he took a deep breath and steadied himself. “Love doesn’t send people to hell, Iris.”
“The things I want you to do to me might.”
Don’t even think about asking, Elliott. “That’s bullshit. Give me another excuse.”
Her mouth opened and then closed again, as if she hadn’t been prepared for such a casual dismissal of what was apparently her best argument. “I… that’s reason enough. ”
It didn’t come close to balancing out the nights alone in his bed, dreaming of her. “No. It isn’t.”
She huffed and spun on her heel before stalking toward the door. “That’s it, then. If you’re so cocky you don’t think anything can touch you, it’s pointless to argue. You should go home now.”
His steps were longer. Zack overtook her before she could open the door and pressed his chest to her back, trapping her against the wood. “I never said nothing could touch me.” The scent of her filled his nose, heated his blood, and he nudged her ass with his hips. “Tell me what you want that’s so wrong, and we’ll see.”
Her breath caught, and he could smell her arousal as she braced her hands against the door. “An alpha werewolf told me once that nothing made him as hot as a strong woman’s submission, and that was my specialty. I decided he wasn’t worth the risk, and I stayed away from strong werewolves after that.”
“Your specialty was faking it… or not faking it?”
She shivered, and the words came hesitantly, as if she wasn’t sure she wanted to give him the truth. “I faked submission. But I didn’t always want it to be an act.”
If he’d tried to imagine Iris telling him these things, it wouldn’t have worked. Yet here she was… His hands clenched against the door. “Is that the problem you keep talking about? That you want to submit to me?”
“I would submit to you. And giving up control is dangerous for a demon.”
Refuting her words would be easy. Refuting them confidently, on the other hand… “I think I can handle it.”
“You think so?” The whispered words sounded like a challenge, and a moment later he found out why.
Power flooded the apartment, unleashed from whatever restraints she’d kept it under for so many years. He was used to the steady prickle of Leo’s magic, but Iris’ felt different. Not stronger, but more persistent. Magic curled around him, brushed his aura and left behind a tingling feeling of arousal. And deeper, underneath it all, was the silent promise that he’d found a woman who would take everything he could give her and revel in the sexual abandon.
His mind darkened until only a single image remained, a vivid scene painted in shades of longing and lust. Iris, standing before him as she was now, only naked and trembling.
Zack sucked in a ragged breath as he pictured pinning her hands against the wall over her head and sliding his hands down her back to the curve of her ass. She moaned and bared her throat when his fingers slipped between her legs, and he –
He shook himself from the fantasy. If it had been anyone but Iris, he’d have dragged her to the bedroom and fucked her into exhaustion and beyond. Instead, he swayed closer. “Let me try, baby. I’ll be careful.”
She moaned, and the stiff line of her spine melted into a submissive arch as her head fell forward. “This is why I didn’t dare tell you. I’ll let you do anything you want to me, Zack. Do you understand? Anything.”
It took a willpower he didn’t know he possessed, but he let his hands fall to his sides and stepped back. “Then invite me to your bed, Iris. Now.”
Iris turned slowly and gathered the hem of her dress in her hands. Large brown eyes stared at him as she pulled the fabric up and over her head. When her face appeared again, her eyes were closed and her face held nothing but slack, desperate need. “Take me to bed. Take me wherever you want. Just… take me.”