A Preternatural PNW Novel, 1
Finn’s a failure—at necromancy and life in general. “It’s not my fault,” he’d insist, looking deep into your eyes as he lifts your wallet. You’d catch him, of course. Because he’s a failure.
Veruca, on the other hand, is competence personified. She has to be, working as a Reaper directly under the Prince of Hell. When Finn shows up in a stolen sport coat and uses Veruca as cover from his murderous mistress’ glowering goons, she finds the one thing she may not be so good at: resisting Finn’s handsome face.
“We’re not eating?” Finn asked, wondering why she’d set the chair facing the door instead of the table full of stomach-seducing food.
“Not yet. Sit.” She made it an order this time, though her voice was still soft, her expression still calm. He did as she said, settling in curiously. Immediately, she stepped around the front of him, tucked one leg between his knees and leaned over him.
He thought for a moment she was going to kiss him and he tilted his face up to meet her, but she just rested her palms on his cheeks, running her thumbs gently under his eyes, her gaze focused on his cheeks. She touched him, and he found himself immensely confused by it.
Plenty of people had touched Finn, in varying degrees of pleasantness. He’d been slapped, punched, squeezed, groped, pinched, all manner of molested. He hadn’t always enjoyed having a stranger’s hands on his body, but he’d always found he got something from it in the end. Whether he needed to endure abuse in order to survive or make some money, or whether he’d welcomed a partner into his arms gleefully, he’d come out safe enough.
This was a wholly new experience, Veruca rubbing her soft fingers across his face and neck. His body relaxed as she went, the tension and curiosity running out of him as she tipped his head, caressed his neck, and inspected his skin. When she slid her hands from the back of his throat up into his hair, he let out a low moan, his eyes closing as they rolled back in his head. Almost immediately, he found himself embarrassed and opened his eyes. Veruca was smiling as she watched the way her fingers moved through his hair.
“How’d you get the bruise?” she asked, dropping one hand to his shoulder while the other flitted across his jaw. He had to take a second for the question to get through as he sat there, head tilted back to stare up at her. She waited patiently, her thigh warm against his knee. He swallowed, shaking himself out.
“Ehm, had a … I was mugged. Lost all my clothes.” It was close enough to the truth that he hoped he’d appear sincere enough to gain pity. She tilted her head.
“So all you’ve got is the shirt on your back?”
“Take it off.”
Olivia loves cats, action movies, and vegan candy. She won an award for her writing in high school and has been insufferable ever since. Rattle is her second novel out, so if you like what you read, check out her blog for another book set in the Preternatural Pacific Northwest!