A good demon?
Ezra is a timekeeper in Hell, responsible for building and maintaining the clocks that tick away eternal torment. He’s never believed he deserves to be in Hell, and when the reason he’s there is revealed, he’s horrified…yet filled with hope. But is this just another form of torture? When Ezra’s given a chance to go to the surface, he’s determined to uncover the truth, but his fellow demons seem just as determined he won’t survive the journey.
A bad angel?
Roman doesn’t understand why an angel who failed his training the first time round has been given the job of policing paranormals in the UK’s capital city. He’s consumed by unhappiness. He might not be in Hell, but sometimes it damn well feels like it.
When Roman meets Ezra his failings come back to haunt him. Ezra makes him want to break the rules, but an angel protecting a demon? Discovery would bring an eternity of suffering, and with a boss none other than the archangel Michael, it’ll take more than a miracle for the lovers to stand together.
Excerpt: (found at Loose-Id website)
As Roman followed Ezra from the shelter, he’d told himself to stop several times and each time ignored his own advice. He’d watched the dark-haired guy run, seen him hide, witnessed the incident with the dog when Roman had almost broken the rules and interfered. Ezra wasn’t a demon. There was no aura around him. Nor was he a vampire, shifter, or angel, but there was something…unusual about him. Unusual? That was one way of putting it. Roman felt an irresistible pull, a need to see his eyes.
The voice in his head chimed in. Liar. You want to see more than his eyes.
I want to help him.
You want to fuck him.
His stomach roiled in discomfort.
The guy’s clothes were thin, dirty, and torn. Too thin. Too dirty. No one with any sense would wear so little in weather like this. What had happened to him? Maybe he had been in a fire, and all he had was what he stood up in. But why did he wear sunglasses and keep his head lowered?
Roman followed him out of the park to Marylebone High Street, watched him glancing into the windows of cafés and food stores. Hungry? He seemed jumpy and anxious. When he started to speak to passersby, Roman guessed he was asking for money. No one stopped; no one gave him anything. Everyone hurried past, either ignoring him or shaking their head. Ezra sagged against railings and sank down onto his haunches. He took the snow globe from his backpack and shook it.
Roman risked nipping into a Starbucks to buy two coffees and a croissant. He was relieved to see Ezra still there when he emerged. He crouched down a few feet away and put a coffee and the bag with the croissant on the ground between them. “For you.”
“You look cold. I thought you could use a coffee and something to eat.”
The snow globe went back in his bag, and he rose to his feet but kept his face averted. Roman stood.
“No, thank you.”
Why the fuck was he refusing? Roman had just seen him begging. Roman picked up the coffee, grabbed the croissant, and held them out.
“Take them, or I’ll throw them in the trash. I can’t drink two coffees, and I’ve had breakfast.”
Ezra hesitated but accepted what he offered. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” Roman’s heart had started to beat fast. Fine black hair under that matted dirt, a thin face with sharp cheekbones, pale lips, and a long, slender, possibly undernourished body. Not forgetting those fucking marks on his wrists. But Roman’s heart lurched at the glimpses of bare skin revealed by the slashes in his pants. Had the dog done that? Not on both sides.
“You don’t have any money,” Roman said, part in question.
“I was robbed.”
He looked as if he’d been sleeping rough for a long while. “Have you told the police?”
Ezra shrugged. “They wouldn’t be able to find who took it.”
“You look frozen. Don’t you have any other clothes?”
“Take my coat.” He started to unbutton it.
“No,” Ezra snapped. “Thank you for the coffee, but I don’t want your coat.”
He took a bite of the croissant, and Roman could have sworn he heard a quiet groan. A few bites and it was finished. Ezra brushed the crumbs from his lips, and Roman felt a pull in his groin. Walk away.
“Take your sunglasses off and look at me,” Roman said.
Ezra shifted in obvious discomfort. “I can’t.”
“My eyes hurt, and I don’t look… I don’t want to upset people.”
What the hell? There was nothing wrong with this guy’s face. The sunglasses only hid his eyes. Maybe it was his eyes that were the problem.
Ezra sipped the coffee, and this time the sigh of pleasure was quite clear. Roman’s cock began to fill. Shit. At least it was hidden by his coat. He wondered what on earth he was doing. Tempted by the most unlikely of guys, some filthy homeless guy with a secret, and if he wasn’t careful, he was going to fall. The best thing to do would be to hand Ezra money and walk away. His good deed for the day. His sensible deed for the day. I have a lot of other things to do that are more important.
“Come home with me,” Roman whispered. Oh crap. Do I have no self-control? “You can have a shower. I’ll fix you something to eat. You need warm clothes, or you’re going to freeze. I won’t ask questions. Let me help you.”
He didn’t know if Ezra would agree, and Roman was definitely going to ask questions, particularly about those marks on his wrists and the tears in his clothes. He was counting on Ezra being too cold and hungry to refuse the offer. Roman could have tried a little…persuasion, even though he wasn’t supposed to, but he wanted Ezra to go with him of his own free will.
Roman let out the breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding. He hailed a cab; for once there was one available when he needed it, though when the driver spotted the state of Ezra, he tried to turn them down. Roman didn’t let him. Money worked as well as angelic persuasion. Often better. Ezra climbed carefully into the back and sat against the window on the far side.
“Put your seat belt on.” Roman watched Ezra fumble before finally clicking the belt into place.
The guy clutched the edge of the seat as the taxi pulled into the traffic but kept his face pressed against the window, facing away from Roman. Why the hell did he think he’d upset people? Scars around his eyes? Weird color? Squint? An eye missing? Why am I so intrigued? Why am I unable to walk away? I know better than this.
That was true, but Roman had no idea what he was doing. He had an invasion of demons to deal with plus an influx of angels, one of whom was going to bring back memories he’d tried to bury. He really had enough on his plate without offering shelter to a dirty, stray mutt, particularly one who wouldn’t look him in the eyes. Roman didn’t try to engage Ezra in conversation. He had a feeling the attempt would be doomed. Better to let the guy come around on his own, assuming he ever did.
He was still wondering if he’d done the right thing when he led Ezra into the elevator inside his building. The guy acted as if he expected someone to leap out at him at any moment. Plus he kept touching things. Walls, doors, glass, though never Roman. It was almost as if he went out of his way to avoid even brushing against him. Ezra wasn’t just wary of people but a whole load of stuff—doors that opened on their own, the movement of the elevator, the disembodied voice announcing the floor. Roman stared at the marks on Ezra’s wrists. Someone had tied him up. The someone who’d stolen his money? The someone he was running from? The reason he was on edge?
Am I sure he’s not a demon? I should see or feel it if he was, and I don’t, but… If he was, Ezra was unlike any Roman had ever come across. But no demon would have stepped in front of a dog to save a child. No demon would be this…anxious. They were mostly cocky bastards. Unless it was all an act. He needed to be on his guard.
Roman strode out of the elevator and headed down the corridor. Ezra slowly followed.
“My name’s Roman, by the way. What’s yours?”
“You already know.”
Roman spun round.
“John told you my name was Ezra, though how he knew, I have no idea.”
Roman gaped at him.
“I heard you talking to him at St. Agnes. When you spoke to me on the street, I recognized your voice. I assume you followed me when I ran from the shelter.”
There seemed no point in denying it, and it explained some of the jumpiness, but Ezra had to be mistaken. He must have told John his name.
Ezra seemed to shrink into himself. “What do you want with me? Why did you follow me?”
You don’t want to know. You don’t want to hear that I want to shove you up against the wall and ram my cock into your arse, that I want you on your knees with my cock in your mouth, or that I want to do every depraved and disgusting thing I can with you.
That was helpful. Now his cock ached.
“I help and protect people who are in need.” It was true but still a minor miracle that that was what had come out of his mouth, because his mind was a long way from help and protect.
“You like to do good?” Ezra asked.
And bad, at times. “Doesn’t everyone?”
Ezra’s laugh sent another spike of lust into Roman’s groin. “Today I asked twenty-seven people for help. Twenty ignored me. Seven turned me down. Three of them swore, and one spat at me.”
“You know not everyone is like that. You had a warm place to sleep last night. A meal. You could have had breakfast if you’d stayed. The volunteers at St. Agnes are decent, kindhearted people.”
“You’re right. I’m used to people not being kind. It’s what I expect.”
“Someone tied you up.”
Ezra glanced at his wrists. “Yes.”
He said nothing more, so Roman opened the door of his apartment. “You can have a shower or a bath. Both if you like. Maybe you should shower first. Want to show me those dog bites? Do they need attention?”
Ezra didn’t move.
Give him some money and show him the way out. That’s the right thing to do.
“No strings,” Roman said. “I’m just being hospitable.” Oh damn, an outright lie. Roman hadn’t wanted anyone so much in a long time, though he had no idea why. There might be a lot he liked about Ezra, but there was a hell of a lot he didn’t. Plus he was making a rather large assumption about the guy’s sexuality. Have I ever been wrong? That didn’t mean he was right this time.
He pushed the door farther open. “Your choice.” No, I can’t let it be. He couldn’t help but employ a little angelic persuasion.
You really want to come into my apartment.
Plenty of hot water.
You can be clean again.
There’s nothing to be afraid of.
I mean you no harm.
Much to his surprise, Ezra didn’t move an inch. Roman wished he could see his eyes. He tried again with the persuasion.
A hot bath.
Soak away all that dirt.
I’ll make you something to eat.
When Ezra showed no reaction, Roman swallowed hard. Have I lost my touch? Unless Ezra was a demon, he should have responded to that. Or maybe Michael had disabled his ability to manipulate humans.
“Make up your mind,” Roman said more sharply than he’d meant to.
“Sorry. I guess I’m not used to people being generous without some ulterior motive.”
Ezra smiled. Just a little one, but it was enough for the hook to sink deeper into Roman’s heart. I’m a weak, pathetic, bad angel. As he watched Ezra walk into the apartment, he wondered how he still even deserved to be an angel. What the fuck was angelic about him? He swore, lied, cheated… Shit, don’t begin that list. You’ll never stop.
Roman closed the door to the apartment and pointed to the bathroom. “There’s everything you need, including towels. Help yourself.”
Ezra went in and closed the door. Roman didn’t hear the lock click, and he groaned as his cock pushed against his zipper. I am such a shit.
Available now at Loose-Id