Genevieve Drake never knew this demon world existed. Now she just wants to survive it. Hunted on the streets of New Orleans, Gen turns to the hunter, Jude Delacroix, who is bound to protect her soul and who’s also captured her heart.
The Vessel Trilogy
Published: July 31st, 2017
Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde
Forged in Fire
Genevieve Drake has never been the helpless kind of girl, has never needed to be rescued. That is, not until her twentieth birthday when some dude nearly chokes her to death in an alley and a hot stranger rips a monster from inside the guy.
The hot guy? Jude Delacroix—Dominus Daemonum, Master of Demons. Now her guardian, whether she likes it or not.
But she’s seriously beginning to like it.
Jude hadn’t moved, his eyes roving up and down. My sweaty tank clung to my torso and loose hair stuck to the side of my face. Having redone my ponytail twice, I tightened it once more as he shoved off the wall.
“Give her a weapon.”
Kat pulled a dagger from a sheath at her thigh, walking toward me.
“I thought we were practicing without weapons today.”
Jude started to circle. A primitive part of me stiffened.
“A demon won’t give up when you throw a few punches, even with the casting power. You need to cut them.”
“But I could hurt you.”
“You could try.”
His shoulders rounded in a relaxed posture. Muscled arms swung just barely at his sides. He was in no way threatened by me. He probably found this comical.
“No sifting,” I warned
He continued to stalk me with slow precision. Kat handed me her dagger. It was heavier than I thought.
“It’s too big,” I said, feeling the weight of the twelve-inch blade.
“Oh, I think you can handle it.”
A dark mischievous look. Wait. Were we still talking about daggers? Heat flushed my cheeks. He circled. I pivoted. Kat disappeared into the corner.
“No power this time, Genevieve. Let’s see if you can deliver more than karate moves.”
“You don’t think I can cut you?”
An eyebrow lifted. Still smiling. Still circling. Arrogant ass.
“I can,” I gritted out, widening and squaring my stance.
Sparks of gold glittered in his eyes, a predator honing in on its prey. He stalked closer, then stopped two feet from me, speaking in a husky tone.
My heart jumped, hearing my own challenge thrown back at me. Last night. Scorching kisses, whispered words, rough angles, soft sighs. My eyes strayed to his lips. One corner quirked up into a knowing smile. He was taunting me right there in front of Kat. What kind of game was he playing? Anger flared in my gut. I lunged, swiping out at his chest. Grabbing one of my wrists, then the other, he twisted me around, pulling me tight against his body, my arms crossed and bound in front of me. Completely immobile in less than a second.
Okay, that was embarrassing.
“Too predictable.” Warm breath close to my ear. I shivered. A short rumble of laughter in his chest. “Again?”
I struggled. He released me at once. This time, I did the circling. Leaping left, then dodging right, I ducked under his outstretched arm, slicing as I went. I popped up behind him. Jude glanced down at the tear along the side of his white T-shirt. A small drop of blood seeped through the fabric. Very small, but I gasped anyway. He laughed, stripping off the T-shirt and tossing it to the side.
Not a good move on my part. My concentration scattered to the winds. Cords of muscle and tight, sinewy limbs flexed in preparation for the next attack. Black swirls and barbs of Celtic interlacing traced over tight pectorals and down his chiseled abdomen. My mouth went bone dry. A shift of his upper body gave me a glance of a feathered wing inked across a powerful shoulder blade.
I fought the urge to shake my head as if dizzy from intoxication. For that is truly what I was, imagining what it would feel like to have his beautiful body against mine, skin on skin. Trying not to imagine what it would feel like.
“Anytime you’re ready,” he said, smirking.
“You know,” I said, thinking to take a different approach, “a demon will attack me, not the other way around. Why don’t you attack first?”
“As you wish.”
He lunged low. I twisted out of reach, leaping right. He changed position, shot out his leg, tripping me to the floor. I landed on my stomach and pushed up an inch before being summarily pinned by two hundred pounds of hard muscle. Oh. Very hard.
A whisper against the shell of my ear: “Mmm. Close, but not quite. Again?”
He obliged. Another haughty laugh. “The key is to not become distracted or let your anger control you. You must find a way to get the better of your opponent, no matter if you’re outmatched in size.”
Before I’d even rolled completely over, I clipped him behind the knees. He buckled to the floor as I leapt, swinging my body over his. I straddled his chest, pulling his head to the floor with my left hand knotted in that pretty hair of his, exposing his throat and thrusting the point of the dagger beneath his chin.
“Like this?” I hissed.
A genuine broad smile lightened his face, making me more breathless than I already was. Amber and gold shimmered in his irises, nearly cutting out all the black. Nearly. His hands were on my hips.
“Exactly like this.”
Sealed in Sin
While Jude Delacroix spends his days and nights searching for the prophecy, another protector steps in to take his place. Thomas, a guardian angel, claims Genevieve is his to protect if the demon hunter does not. As threats against her life escalate, he offers her the power to sift.
Knowing the transfer of power comes through a kiss, she hesitates. Thomas stirs a desire where there should be none.
The moment he entered the room, all my senses rose to full alert. The man packed enough heat and power in his aura to melt a girl into jelly. A mere glance from his dark eyes or slight touch from rough hands, and I was lost.
I focused on flipping the pancakes on the stove, still trying to figure out how to tell him about our trip to the House of Hades, the near-miss with Gorham, and the brief and strange meeting with my guardian angel. Kat preferred asking forgiveness rather than permission, or just omitting the admission of any sins altogether. But I had trouble lying, though I seemed to do it often as of late. I especially had trouble lying to Jude.
“Want some brinner?” I asked, plopping another dollop of butter in the pan.
“Brinner? What might that be?” He leaned with his back against the counter next to the stove, splaying one huge hand on the countertop, watching me pour the batter into the pan. How did this man make watching me cook a sexy thing?
“You’ve never heard of brinner?” I glanced at the door to make sure Mindy was out of earshot. “For someone who’s been alive nearly two thousand years, you don’t know a whole lot.”
He slid a finger down my forearm. I nearly dropped the spatula. He leaned closer, his chest brushing my shoulder, voice dropping several decibels. “Educate me.” And just like that, my heart slammed into my rib cage, my thoughts scattering to the wind. I stared at him, knowing my eyes were no longer hungry for pancakes. He pressed warm lips, a feather-soft kiss, to the slope between my neck and shoulder. “Genevieve?” Another press of lips higher up my neck, melting me into goo.
“Hm?” Eyes closed, I welcomed a third kiss just under my jaw.
“Your brinner is burning.”
I snapped open my eyes, grabbed the smoking pan and thrust it under the water faucet in the sink. A hissing crackle spit up more smoke.
“There goes brinner.”
“You’ve made more than enough already.”
He motioned to the ten-high stack with a smirk. I couldn’t even think about eating now. Not after that kiss. And not with this guilt weighing me down.
Something registered in his gaze. He reached out his hand.
From his expression, I wasn’t sure if he planned to give me a hug or a spanking. I wouldn’t mind either. Taking his hand, I let him pull me into his arms.
Bound in Black
Genevieve Drake is on a dangerous mission—to find the soul collector, Lethe, and enter the deepest, darkest level of the underworld, where no one has ever gone into and returned.
But when an old enemy makes a surprising appearance, she is tested to the point of breaking and risks remaining in this dark abyss forever.
Pulse-pounding, bone-grinding music vibrated the entire second floor. Dancers, if you could call them that, melded together in one mass of moving limbs. A few couples and trios needed to find a private corner before their make-out sessions morphed into an all-out orgy. The bartender stopped in front of Dommiel’s throne. A massive dragon’s head—openmouthed and fierce fanged—hung above the oversized wood-carved chair like a crown.
The first time I’d been here, I assumed the head was a magnificent work of art by a local New Orleans sculptor. Because dragons aren’t real, right? Now I knew better. The beast’s head was cut from a high demon’s spawn, probably killed in battle against one of the Flamma of Light, someone on my team. Even now, after the head was severed and stuffed, a low vibration of eerie energy swirled in the air. I hadn’t detected this before. But back in September, I wasn’t the Vessel I was now. My Vessel Sense, VS, amplified every day, detecting any demon within a one-mile radius. Not only that, my fist and blade packed major force. Still, I knew I hadn’t experienced full awakening. Kat, my mentor and friend and the only female hunter I’d met, told me that I’d know when I experienced my awakening. It would be like falling in love. And I definitely knew what that felt like…as well as the tragic heartbreak when that love was ripped from my arms.
I clenched my jaw, willing away those thoughts, and focused on the task at hand.
Dommiel sprawled atop his throne with the latest blonde propped on his lap. With a clean-shaved head and wearing his usual attire—black slacks and white button-down with silver cuff links—he was a contradiction in appearance. If he hadn’t pierced every part of his face—lip, lids, nose, tongue, and the entire cartilage of both ears—he’d be hot. Metalface didn’t turn me on, but some girls were into that. For example, the buxom woman now whispering in his ear, pressing against him with her ample cleavage pouring out of a red patent leather corset. Dommiel cupped her breast with the one hand he had, brushing his thumb casually along the exposed skin above the too-tight casing. He turned his head when I approached.
His groupies didn’t move, though tension rippled in the air. Dommiel’s familiar—a black-eyed raven—perched on the dragon’s head and watched me. For a second, I wished I’d brought Mira. The white hawk that I’d created the day Jude was taken away had become my pale shadow wherever I went these days. But I didn’t want any of these freaks trying to hurt her in this confined space. Before her creation, when I was steeped in a well of grief from losing Jude, I hadn’t known Vessels could create spawn of Light. If demons could beget creatures of darkness, then it made sense I’d have the power to create one of light. Only, no Vessel had ever done it before. George, the commander of the Dominus Daemonum—the Masters of Demons—said it was because no Vessel before me had ever come so close to her awakening. When I glanced up at the beady-eyed bird, I wondered what it would do if I’d brought Mira with me and let her poke out one of those evil eyes. I suppose it would’ve started a shit storm, and that wasn’t why I’d come here.
Standing tall, hands at my sides, I said to Dommiel, “I come in peace.”
He considered me for about five seconds. “If this is peace, I’d hate to see war.”
“Yes. You would.”
In our past dealings, Dommiel had used his sardonic tongue to cut me and keep me in line. I waited for his next smart-ass remark, but something in his gaze told me he recognized this visit was different. I hadn’t come to threaten or coerce him into doing my bidding. I had a genuine offer of partnership—one I never thought to present to a high demon. With a heavy sigh, he squeezed his blonde’s breast still cupped in his hand, then gave her a quick deep-throated kiss before pushing her off his lap. He stood, revealing the silver hook on the stump of his other arm, which had been concealed till now.
“This better be good, Vessel.” He stepped in front of me, leading me past a guard and down a dark hallway. “I haven’t had a taste of her yet and was quite looking forward to it.”
“It looked to me like you just got a taste.”
He shot me a piercing look over his shoulder. “Okay. Let me rephrase. I haven’t yet fucked her until she can’t talk or walk. And I was about to take off that edge when you showed up.”
“Too much information, Dommiel.”
About the author:
Juliette lives in lush, moss-laden Louisiana where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab, Kona.
Multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance, she loves reading and writing brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes.
From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance.
Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.
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