“Now that’s just plain tacky, girl. I hope you don’t plan to wear that outside. Oh, and I have to tell you… Those high heels just don’t go with that outfit.”
Sabrina—Sabby to her friends—spun about and stared at the woman who’d appeared without so much as a peep in the dark recesses of the library. She instinctively raised her arms and tried to cover her breasts, but this stupid costume didn’t have enough fabric to even manage that. Forget the rest of her body. It just wasn’t going to work.
“I don’t plan on wearing it anywhere, Aunt Luce,” she responded before directing a dark frown at the other occupant of the room. “Brel-ez figured he’d try to talk me into wearing it for the imps’ party tonight. I only tried it on to show him how ridiculous it was. And by the way, a little sonic boom or some hellfire or something to announce your imminent arrival might have been nice.”
“I am Lucifer, Supreme Ruler of Hell. I go where I please, how I please.” She drew herself up to her full height, her eyes flashing red sparks.
It took all Sabby’s willpower to keep a straight face. It wouldn’t do to annoy her Lordship by laughing at her, even if it was funny. Aunt Luce wasn’t much more than five feet three inches tall, but what she lacked in stature, she made up for with presence. As the ruler of Hell, she was a formidable lady and a dangerous opponent.
“Sorry, Aunt Luce. I didn’t mean to offend you. I’m just a tad embarrassed to be caught wearing this.” She gestured to the outrageous outfit.
“I would think so. It’s nothing short of disastrous. Human or demon, no woman should be seen in this.”
Lucifer frowned as she walked a circle around Sabby, her high heels clacking on the flag tiles that made up the floor of the dungeon-library. She shuddered when she stood in front of Sabby again.
“Leopard print is so out now, and that itty-bitty G-string is…” She broke off and shuddered again. “Doesn’t it hurt your girly bits, pulled up between your butt cheeks like that? And the rest of it… A flimsy scrap of material over a bra that barely covers your boobies and nothing but transparent scarves attached to a band around your waist. What is this? The dance of the seven veils? If you want to change your image, girl, you’d do better to emulate me.”
Sabby had to fight to control her emotions again. There was no doubt that Aunt Luce had a distinctive style. She looked like everyone’s idea of a cuddly grandmother. Slightly chubby—although Sabby would never tell her that—she mostly favored twin sets and pearls teamed with a tweed skirt. Her hair was a snowy-white halo that curled around her face. She did, on occasion, tip the ends with vibrant reds and purples to match whatever-color shoes she had on. Sporting long nails—or more correctly ‘talons’—she matched her shoes with her nail polish. And those shoes? Nothing but three-inch-high stilettos in bright colors for Aunt Luce. Today’s color was scarlet.
Before Sabby felt forced to comment on Lucifer’s suggestion, Brel-ez decided to get in on the conversation.
“Your most magnificent Lordship, please tell Sabby she must attend our fancy-dress party tonight. She has to be there. She’s our queen.”
Lucifer rounded on him. “Queen? There is no queen but me. King. Queen. Lord. I am Supreme Ruler. I am all of them—and don’t you forget it.”
Brel-ez, captain of Lucifer’s Herald and head imp, shrank down, which was pretty difficult, given that he was only three feet tall. His little pointy red horns actually quivered as he tried to abase himself before Lucifer.
“So sorry, your Lordship. So sorry, but I found a prophesy in an old book and I’m sure it refers to Sabby.”
“I told him it’s all rubbish, but he won’t believe me,” Sabby chipped in.
“What prophesy?” Lucifer’s voice thundered throughout the library.
Holy Hell, Aunt Luce is really getting angry. Sabby just prayed that Brel-ez could extricate himself from this before Lucifer zapped him out of annoyance.
Brel-ez quickly retrieved a slip of paper from the pocket of his red-and-gold uniform and read it out loud.
“When the small stand up and fight against the law,
When the hungry hold out their hands asking for more,
When the greedy profit to improve their lot in life,
Unconcerned that their everlasting legacy is strife,
When pandemonium erupts and floods the world above,
Then the queen of chaos reigns—and the winner is love.”
Brel-ez shoved the paper back into his pocket and held out his hands to Lucifer. “See? Sabby’s a chaos demon, the only one living down here in the first level of Hell. It must be her.”
Lucifer burst out laughing, all her anger appearing forgotten. “Oh, you silly imp. That’s no prophesy. Bet you found that in an old diary buried here in the library, yes?”
“My great-great-great grandfather fancied himself a poet. That’s one of his—and not a prophesy at all. And I’m the queen of chaos. You got that?”
Brel-ez nodded again and opened his mouth to speak. Before he could, Lucifer held up one finger.
“Is it important?”
“Definitely, your Lordship.”
He nodded so hard that Sabby was certain he was about to lose his head. And he would if he didn’t watch what he said to Lucifer.
Aunt Luce sighed. “Get on with it, Brel-ez.”
“Sabby has to come to the party. Otherwise, how else can she get la—?”
“Brel-ez,” Sabby shouted. Damn it, can’t that imp keep his mouth shut for once?
Now Lucifer turned her attention back to Sabby, her eyebrows raised in question. There was no way she’d back down if she didn’t get an answer straight away.
“She wants to get laid,” Brel-ez shouted.
“Way to keep a secret, imp.” She scowled at the little captain with the cocky grin spreading across his face. She turned to Lucifer. “I’m a twenty-five-year-old almost-virgin. Why shouldn’t I get laid before I bury myself down here in your damp dungeon?”
“It might have been a dungeon in the past, but it’s my library now. And I’ll have you know that there’s no dampness down here. It would ruin the books.” Lucifer frowned as she stared at Sabby. “Well, I guess there’s nothing wrong with going to Brel-ez’s party, but I’d choose another costume if I were you. One deep breath and those boobies of yours will pop over the top of that scrap of a bra.”
Brel-ez burst out laughing. “Hey, Sabby, that will sure get you a lover for the night.”
“Oh, be quiet, Brel-ez,” Sabby snapped, holding her hand over her chest as she dragged in a choppy breath. “It just so happens that I don’t want a demon to teach me all about the joys of sex.”
“Just because you look human and can’t change shape or form, you’re still a demon, my girl. What’s wrong with a demon lover?” Lucifer demanded.
“I’d rather practice on a human man—a real one. I screwed up every relationship I ever tried when I lived above. I want to give it one last shot, to see if I can make it work. Hopefully, now that I’m older, I won’t create as much of a mess as I’ve done in the past.”
Lucifer snorted. “You’re a chaos demon, girl. Of course you’re going to leave behind disorder and mayhem. And you know why? Your parents never got around to teaching you how to control your powers. Instead, they just shipped you off to me when it looked like your uncontrolled magic would expose them as demons. No thought for you at all. If your mother wasn’t one of my best friends…”
Sabby winced as Lucifer actually growled. She couldn’t really blame Aunt Luce. She’d been a trial for her parents from the time she’d been born. By the time she’d hit puberty and started to notice the opposite sex, the problems had simply gotten worse. Everything she’d tried her hand at, whether it had been jobs or relationships, had ended in disaster. Now here she was, buried in this dark library where she couldn’t cause any problems.
She sighed. “I’m sorry, Aunt Luce. I know I’m a misfit, but I do try. In fact, I think I am doing better. The library has run without a hitch for a couple of years now. I just want this last shot. If I screw it up, I promise I’ll come back here and never complain again.”
Her heels clacking on the flagstone floor, Lucifer moved close enough to give Sabby a hug. “Sabrina, you’re one of my goddaughters. I want you to be happy.” She grimaced. “I don’t apologize often, but I am sorry I parked you down here in this dark old dungeon. I should have taken you in hand and taught you how to use your magic, but I took the easiest way out.”
She released her hold on Sabby and strode across the room before turning to face her again. “You think this will make you happy? Getting down and dirty with a human male?”
Sabby chuckled at Aunt Luce’s turn of phrase. “I’d like to at least give it a go.”
“Hmm-m,” Lucifer mused. “Anyone in mind? It has to be someone who pushes your buttons.”
Someone who pushes my buttons?
Oh yeah! There was one person who came immediately to mind. When Sabby had been a kid, her best friend and neighbor had been a girl called Brianna. They’d been more like sisters than friends. They’d done everything together, and Sabby had loved spending time at Brianna’s home—but not just because Brianna had been her best mate.
Brianna had an older brother. He was eleven years older than she was, but he was oh-so-sexy. Sabby had hero-worshiped him, but as time had gone on, that had morphed into the biggest of crushes. By the time Sabby had reached her later teens, he had moved out, but Sabby had hung on his every word whenever he’d come to visit his parents.
Brianna’s folks had been terrific. Never once had they chastised her for her klutzy behavior. They’d just kept telling her she’d grow out of it eventually. And when Brianna’s brother came to visit, Sabby had followed him about like a bad smell, falling over her feet to keep up with him. Heck, even falling over his feet.
She smiled at the memories, wondering for a moment what had happened to him. Heat suddenly invaded her mind. Sabby frowned. For a moment there she could have sworn that invisible fingers had done a quick tour through her memories, one after the other—like someone—or something—hastily flicking through the pages of a book. Weird.
Sabby shook her head. Then, with a determined effort, she buried all thoughts of her juvenile crush in the back of her mind. Nothing had come of it and never would. It was time she settled for whatever she could get.
“No, no one special, Aunt Luce. I’d just like to go back above for one last time.”
“Well, in that case—”
“Nooo,” Brel-ez broke in. “Sabby has to come to our party. What am I going to tell the demons I’ve lined up to scr—er, romance her?”
“Brel-ez, you didn’t…? I don’t believe you’d do that to me,” Sabby said.
“I was just trying to help,” the little demon whined.
This time Lucifer cut him off. “I’m the one who makes the decisions here in Hell. You don’t get to say what happens in my domain.” She flicked out her hand and a spear of white-hot light erupted from the tip of one finger. It zeroed in on Brel-ez and zapped him on the rear end. The imp let out a yelp and smacked at the smoldering fabric of his pants.
Lucifer turned back to Sabby. “And you, missy. Is this really what you want?”
Sabby nodded, unable to say a word in case her godmother changed her mind.
“Then so be it. I’ll give you a month. After that, regardless of what happens, you come back here. Okay?”
Before Sabby could nod, a sonic boom resounded throughout the library. Pungent smoke swirled about Sabby and caught in her throat. She started to shake. First there were vibrations deep in her belly. Then they spread out to totally encompass her whole body. There was time for one last thought before Sabby disintegrated into a stream of airborne atoms.
Yeah, baby, let’s get to the sex part.