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Authors: Lea Barrymire

WiredinSin

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Wired in Sin

Lea
Barrymire

 

Victoria is a business owner, a
friend and a succubus, the latter being something she despises with her whole
heart. As she works to free others like her from the daily need to feed from
sexual partners, she stumbles across her mate. Now she’s fighting destiny and
the call of his lust, refusing to sate her need on the one male made for her.

Dominick is a technowizard used to
living his life his way. When he arrives at a business meeting and senses his
mate, he’s intrigued. When she slams walls up around herself and refuses to
even look at him, he goes on the prowl. He uses her phone sex business to get
her attention, but can he keep her on the line long enough to capture her
heart?

A
Romantica®
paranormal erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave

 

Wired in Sin
Lea Barrymire

 

Prologue

November 1921

 

“Is she going to make it?”

“We don’t know.”

“She was screaming like a lunatic earlier when—”

Victoria struggled to see through the darkness. Her head and
arms felt heavy, leaden and stiff. Her ears took in voices and sounds but her
mind couldn’t make head nor tail of them. It was like thinking through a ball
of cotton yarn, or soup, thick and sluggish.

“They say something attacked her. Maybe a dog, but she kept
screaming about a winged devil.”

Who was that? She knew that voice. Didn’t she? It was the
words that brought terror to her mind. Winged devil. Black, leathery, huge.
Glowing red eyes. A forked tongue that spewed forth such disgusting and vile
words at her. She whimpered in the darkness. What had that thing done to her?
Memories came at her hard and fast. She’d been walking home from work, scared
because it was so dark out even though it wasn’t past half past five. A noise
had made her heart race and she’d sped her steps. The feeling of someone
following her had made her skin crawl.

Then the voice.
Oh God. The voice
.
So smooth
and silky. It’d pulled a response from her body that she’d never experienced
before. Arousal so hard and fast that it made her steps falter, nearly forcing
her to her knees. Then his arms had been around her. Dark as night and strong,
like steel. He’d carried her faster than she’d ever moved to an alley. It’d
been so dark—not an ounce of light showed between the buildings. He’d murmured
promises and temptations in a sinful voice, stealing her thoughts and stopping
her denials. His lips had moved against her temple, stroking her heated flesh.
Anything he wanted, all he had to do was ask and she gave.

She’d allowed him to do things to her that only a husband
should have been allowed. He’d penetrated her virginal channel with the skill
of a master. Not a single twinge of pain had caused her guilt. Nothing had hampered
the passion he’d forced from her.

Victoria shuddered as images and memories filled her mind.
He’d had wings that had wrapped around her, caressed her like a second set of
hands. They’d been strong and thick, hot against her skin. When he’d finished
inside her body, leaving traces of his seed dripping down her legs, those same
wings had pulled her close to his chest for a surreal embrace.

A scream built in her chest. The next part…yes, that was the
part she didn’t want to remember. The sex had been dirty, demoralizing. But the
rest… The remembered struggle and pain pulled her from whatever dark, drug-induced
world she’d been in. Her hands, clumsy still from the narcotics, battered at
her chest. Bandages covered her ribs, hiding the damage that she knew was
there. She needed to see if it was real. If he’d really opened her chest with a
clawed hand and sucked her soul from her body. If he’d really dug into her
chest cavity and manipulated her organs while he’d chanted words in a language
she hadn’t understood. He’d marked her with symbols drawn in his own blood then
tortured her.

The sound of her voice ripped through the hushed room. No
longer human. That was what he’d told her. She was going to be like him—a
demon, a devil. She screamed again, thrashing and clawing at the bandages. If
she could just get them off and see that she didn’t bear his marks. She needed
to see that she didn’t really have strange symbols burned into her chest over
her heart. She’d be okay if it had all been a dream, a fever-induced
hallucination.

“Stop her before she hurts herself.”

“John, sedate her for God’s sake. Get the chloroform if you
need to—she needs to stop pulling at those.”

“Victoria, can you hear me?”

She couldn’t focus on the voices. None of them mattered. She
needed to see her chest. Her life depended on what she’d see. If he truly had
marked her, every single person in the room was in danger. She’d been turned
into a demon, an employee of the devil. She had to get out of there.

A strong chemical smell accosted her, making her mind fuzzy
once more. Her movements slowed with each inhalation of the noxious scent. Her
limbs grew heavy. She couldn’t find oblivion, but she should have.

Chapter One

Present Day

 

Phones rang in the distance, echoing down the long hallway
outside Victoria’s office. Three distinct ringtones warred with each other,
clashing against her eardrums. The sound reminded her of the switchboard
offices she used to work in. At least now the phones were portable and the
girls who worked for her weren’t required to wear headsets that weighed a ton.
And even though her employees were required to answer, now they could do so
from the comfort of their own apartments.

Back in the day, as her girls said way too often, she’d been
known to sit for hours wired to a switchboard, directing calls, chatting with
nosy neighbors and trying to earn enough money for her family to pay their
debts. Those memories were clouded by time, softened by the years that had
passed. The images that played through her mind were from back when she’d
worried about bills and what the wars would bring to her home. Back when she’d been
human. Her thoughts and fears had been so trivial then, revolving around a
finite existence that meant nothing in the grand scheme of things.

In the 1920s her only concerns had been about having a
family and being a good daughter. Her goals had been so simple. Settle down,
keep a nice house, cook meals for her husband. Plans to find a caring man to marry
and to move from her parents’ house had ended the moment her Maker had attacked
her and stolen her innocence and her soul. The attack, thankfully, had started
to fade in her mind over the years.

The terror still woke her every once in a while, but she could
no longer close her eyes and see the male, the incubus, who’d nearly killed
her. His face was fuzzier now, shrouded in misty forgetfulness. The attack
played more like a movie, distant and not as potent as it had once been. The
feel of his body against hers, the pain as he shredded her soul and threw her
forever into the fiery pit of demonhood had finally started to fade as well. If
she concentrated hard enough she could pull up the memory of the exact smell of
his cologne on his skin, but those thoughts never got her anywhere. Shoving the
imprinted images, smells, tastes from that day deep into the depths of her
psyche was the only way she had been able to deal with it. At least she didn’t
have to know who he was, didn’t have to pretend that he was important to her as
her Maker. The sickening chuckle that had echoed off the buildings as he’d
ravaged her would never again race chilly and evil down her spine. Not like it
had on that fateful night.

She shuddered and shook her head to clear the macabre thoughts.
None of that mattered now. She was what she was—a demon who fed on sexual
energy to survive. Those few moments in her past had sealed her fate and
forever changed her life. Mortal to immortal, blessed to cursed, human to
supernatural. It had only taken a few moments, just long enough for the demon
to tear her apart, body and soul.

Even with her change in status, the fact that she was now a
demon living in a human’s skin, she still had to work. The ringing of distant
phones haunted her, taunting her with her human past and the ever-present
stretch of eternity in front of her. She’d never escape them now. Giving
succubi the ability to feed without actually touching another being was her
gift to her kind. It had taken years and millions of dollars, but she didn’t
have to run a brothel or an escort service any longer. Now it was all virtual.
Pretend sex with real energy exchanges. The technology had branded her as a
savior and a troublemaker. She’d been called many things. Brilliant.
Revolutionary.

She employed fifteen girls and just as many males who had no
desire to troll bars looking for their next feeding, or find another stranger
for a string of one-night stands to satisfy their cravings. Victoria’s company
gave the succubi and incubi a safe way to feed without all the mess of sex,
dead bodies to clean up if the feeding went wrong and the emotionally clingy
victims. Now her employees could live their lives as they wanted. Sin
Incorporated had freed them, even if it hadn’t done the same for her.

Another round of phones ringing down the hall pulled her
mind back to the task at hand. She stood in the middle of her office trying to
stare through the long-lost humanity “filter”. She wondered what her old self
would have thought of the room. It reflected what she was now—inhuman,
immortal, succubus. Her old apartment would have easily fit within the office.
Beautifully ornate furnishings held nothing in the way of emotion or connection
for her, but they served to show her standing in the supernatural community.
The desk she used for business was from an era of perfection. Gilded scrolls
graced the sensual curves. Hand-painted cherubs peeked from hidden locations
along the legs and sides. Everything held a sense of balance, artistic
perfection. Sort of like her own adornments. Both showed how grandiose the
craftsman was. At least in her case the crafter was herself.

She sighed. Her watch showed 8:30 p.m. She had fifteen
minutes before her first client of the evening called and the dreaded sound of
her
phone reverberated through her apartment. She grimaced, knowing she’d be tied
to that piece of technology for hours. She couldn’t scrape up enough enthusiasm
for the evening to get her moving. She should have closed down her computer
before, should have changed and eaten something. But doing those things meant
she’d be sitting around her apartment thinking about the night. Nothing made
her squirm more than time to think. She scoffed at her own musings. If she were
a child she would’ve been scuffing her feet and whimpering something like, “But
I don’t
wanna
go.”

The lack of excitement should have worried her, but nothing
excited her these days. Living day to day, hour to hour, feeding from others
like a fucking parasite had taken its toll on her. She spent so much time burying
her emotions, stripping herself of everything remotely related to a feeling,
that she was icy inside. The fact that her heart continued to beat within her
frozen chest surprised her. Being a succubus enabled her to siphon energy from
others’ emotions, feeding from them, taking vital nutrition from others. But
there was more. What she’d also learned was that she could encapsulate her own
feelings and the energy she’d sucked from her prey, using it as a barrier
between the small piece of her soul she retained and the outside world. Nothing
could affect her any longer—she was stone, cold and unbending. She was better
off that way.
Are you so sure? Loneliness isn’t making you happy either.
She shoved the voice of her other half down, ignoring it and refusing to
understand its longing.

Her internal debate seemed to be raging this evening. How
many times had she flip-flopped on her stance of remaining alone? Hundreds,
thousands of times a day? Some days, when she was being weak and feeling sorry
for herself, she wanted to feel connected to someone again. Spending years of
holding everyone at arm’s length, even those whom she counted as friends, wore
her down. During those moments she craved a male of her own, someone whom she
could be with, talk to, be herself with.

With a shake of her head she glanced at her watch again. She
had fifteen minutes to get her mind in the game and ready to invade another’s
head to sustain herself. A shiver of disgust slid down her spine. Another night
of feeding someone else’s fantasies, living out their deepest wants and needs,
didn’t make her giddy. Nope, it made her downright irritable. Always giving to
satisfy her clients’ wishes so she could pull their lust from them had drained
more from her than anything else.

To others she was the example the Makers pointed to, the
epitome of the succubus hierarchy. They sent their new “children” to her for
training, instructing them to observe her, mimic her, to become the best demon
they could. If only the Makers knew how little she wanted to keep going, keep
surviving. The hours she spent every day in blackness within her own mind were
a secret no one would ever understand. The days of castigation weighed her down
even now. If suicide had been an option she would have ended her demon existence
days after she was turned.

Now, with years under her belt, she was the master of
illusion. To the Makers, her employees—hell, everyone—she was the beautiful
being she saw staring back at her from the portrait on the wall. They didn’t
know her, the real Victoria. It was safer that they didn’t. Safer for her
and
for them. She’d long ago given up the idea of taking her own life and now knew
she’d fight with everything in her to remain alive, even if she hated her life.
Until something changed she would continue being the beautiful shell everyone
saw, no matter how empty she truly felt.
Well, aren’t you a happy girl
tonight?
She snorted at her own thoughts.

Walking to her desk helped to ground her mind. She needed to
be in the moment until after she’d fed. Being as old as she was, feeding three
nights a week was enough. It kept her sated and her succubus side happy. It had
been a long couple of days and she could feel the stirrings of her demon just
under her skin. She’d siphon deeply from her clients to ensure she was fully
satisfied. No one was safe if she became too strung out. Her demon would only
allow her to starve for so long before it came out, all leathery and evil.
Deaths piled up quickly when she didn’t keep a grip on her other side and her
demon emerged.

As she did every Thursday, she closed her computer down,
saving the accounting documents and filing all the papers she’d accumulated
throughout the week. She might not enjoy being what she was, but it kept her
and her employees well fed and a roof over their heads. She wandered into the
bathroom and washed her hands, breathing in the fragrance from her organic soap
and letting it relax her. One of the few pleasures she’d found was that smells
were so much more intense in her immortal body. She could pick out the
individual ingredients of almost everything. The soap she used was oatmeal and
almond milk, all natural and organic.

She mused about her calls for the evening. Her first client
was new. She’d taken him on as a favor to Gynger, after the girl had begged for
weeks. Normally Vic didn’t do favors for anyone—they tended to be bad for
business—but Gynger was a friend and she’d been owed a favor or two. Victoria
didn’t know the client, but he’d obviously made it through the screening
process.
Nick
. That was his name, or at least the name he used for
interacting with the girls. She didn’t even know what kind of super he was. She
didn’t need to know. The magical safeguards would combat all forms of ill
intent. She’d paid a fortune to guarantee her employee’s safety.

Sin Incorporated was not a standard phone sex, nine-hundred-number
line. Victoria had made sure of that when she founded the company. Each client
was screened thoroughly on both the human and the supernatural side. None of
the potential callers ever made contact with one of her employees without
extensive background and financial checks. The company employed four full-time
psychics and other supers to keep tabs on every single male or female who
became one of the chosen few to be assigned to one of her workers. If a client
turned obsessive or abusive they were
mindwyped
and never allowed to
call again. Every precaution to keep the staff safe was taken.

Victoria’s first few years as a made succubus had been
filled with death and pain. She’d refused to let her employees go through the
same thing. She’d suffered enough for all of them. Without a Maker to claim and
teach her, she’d been left to fend for herself, leading to more than a few
disastrous feedings. She pushed the memories away with a shake of her head.
They wouldn’t help her to do her job—they would just distract her.

If she’d learned anything in the business it was that men
wanted her undivided attention when they called her. Sex with her came with a
price. Energy and money were paid each time one of her clients called, but they
gladly paid as long as she kept her real feelings buried deep inside where they
couldn’t detect them.

Ten minutes. She sighed.
You’re stalling.
She knew
she was. It wasn’t like she even despised her clients on Thursdays. She just
didn’t want to have to do this again. Another night of being someone else for
men who didn’t care at all about her left a bad taste in her mouth. In one of
those rare moments where she gave in and felt sorry for herself, she wanted someone
to want her for her, not for who she could be. Always being someone else caused
her enough nightmares to fill a library. It was one of the few things she kept
from her employees. She would never share the anger, disappointment and disgust
she felt for every male she serviced and fed from.

Perhaps she needed to take a paramour as so many of the
others had. Someone to actually connect with, even if only for a while. The
dream of having someone to curl up with, to snuggle against in front of the
fireplace, to chat about work with, was tantalizing. But the possibility of
killing another man by draining him too far kept her from doing that. She’d
spent so long locked inside that even the thought of getting close to someone
terrified her. Even her girls didn’t touch her heart. No one did. She was
cordial, helpful, a good boss, but she never let anyone near enough to
know
her. Loneliness threatened to pull her to her knees. She sighed and shook her
head.
Nothing you can do about it now, Vic, so move on.

Three minutes. She wandered to her bedroom and turned down
the lights. The room was so different from her office that the contrast was
like walking into another world. Her bedroom was
her
space, filled with
the things she found soothing. Candles bunched together in small clusters were
mixed with large stacks of books. Soft down pillows were piled along the back
of a small cream-colored couch. The walls were a deep burgundy, broken only by
a chair rail done in the softest of grays. Her bedding was in shades of cream and
tan. There wasn’t a single gilded item to be found. No gaudy cherubs smiling at
her. The furniture was rich mahogany, dark and shiny. Sturdy dressers and
tables were punctuated with filled-to-overflowing bookcases. She knew that if
she took a deep breath her senses would be washed clean by the smell of old
books and sandalwood.

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