Home > Sweet Temptation (The Sweet Trilogy #4)(4)

Sweet Temptation (The Sweet Trilogy #4)(4)
Author: Wendy Higgins

Madame Marissa.

I hear her nauseating, lazy laughter when I push my hearing into the house. I want to turn my car around, but I know Father has heard me by now. He’s always listening. He’s the one who taught me to be constantly on the lookout. He’s the one who taught me everything I know.

He’s the Duke of Lust. Known to demons as Pharzuph. Known to humans as Richard Rowe. And he chose to make his home near the most sinister human bitch that ever lived—leader of the largest sex trafficking ring in the Southern states. The two of them go way back, having met in the U.K. Father even brought her and several of her older girls over to help with my carnal training when I first turned eleven.

I’ve never hated someone as much as I hate Marissa.

I grit my teeth and take my sweet-arse time getting out and trudging in through the giant doors.

I want to go straight down to my room in the basement, but I’d be smacked in the skull for slighting our “guest.” So I paste a polite expression on my face and enter the heated sun porch beside the indoor pool. The room is as lush with plants as a damn jungle and smells like chlorine and tropical flowers.

There are plenty of lounging chairs, but Marissa is sat on Father’s lap. Her guardian angel looks resolute, if not a bit worn, beside her. I actually feel bad for the spirit, especially since a peevish demon whisperer is circling it like a giant gnat.

Marissa’s black hair reaches her hips, and her giant breasts are about to tumble out of her black scoop-neck dress, a sight that does nothing for me. Bloodred lips match her creepily long nails, and she gasps when she sees me.

“Look at him, Richie . . . he looks more like you every time I see him.”

Father nods, looking me over and tipping his nose up, probably to check the air around me, to be sure I’d done my job for the night. His sense of smell is astounding.

I nod back. “Father. Marissa. I hope you’re well.”

“It’s only two in the morning,” Father says. “Early night for you. How many’d you get?”

Damn it. “One,” I admit. I would have stayed out if I’d known they’d be here.

“Not much of a birthday celebration,” Marissa says. Of course she would remember my “special” day.

Father looks from her to me. “Is it March thirty-first already?”

Marissa laughs and swats his shoulder before looking at me again. “Seventeen looks nice on you. And you’ll only get better as you age.”

I choose to ignore this. “Mates threw me a party last night since we had a gig tonight,” I lie.

Marissa stands and saunters toward me on high heels. She’s in her late thirties. She’s pale as porcelain. Avoiding the sun has been good for her skin. If she weren’t so evil I’d think she was hot.

She comes too close and looks up at me with a pout. I know what she wants. She fancies a kiss, which I never voluntarily give to her. I lean down to quickly peck her cheek, but she grabs the back of my neck with viper claws and takes my mouth with a satisfied sound. No tongue, thank God, but she takes my bottom lip between hers and suckles it. I’m certain her lipstick is all over me now.

Father chuckles at the ridiculous display, as if Marissa is an auntie pinching my cheeks, not molesting my mouth.

“Madame has a job for you, son,” he says from his lounging position.

This causes Marissa to release my lip and turn for her purse. I take the opportunity to wipe my lips with the back of my hand and school my face to hide the revulsion I feel.

“I’ve a new niece coming from Hungary in a couple months.” Marissa has taken a photo from her purse, and she crosses her arms while she explains the fate of a girl who was either stolen from or sold by her desperate family. “A valued client has requested a virgin, so she is to stay innocent.”

She hands me the picture and I blink several times, rocking back on my heels. The girl can’t be older than eleven. She hasn’t even begun developing. She’s frail and tiny with stringy blond hair and big doe eyes. Father watches me with expectancy and Marissa clicks her long nails together, a familiar sound that follows me into nightmares.

For the first time ever my disgust overrides my fear.

“She’s a bloody child,” I spout without thinking.

Father sits up, his forehead pinching at my minor outburst.

Marissa snatches the picture back, but her eyes are amused. “She is old enough.”

Father stands and walks over now, taking the picture. “She’s not that young. And her age is not your concern.” I hear the edge of warning in his voice, a sound that feels like shards of ice. He’d kill me in a second. I have no doubt of that.

“We’re not asking you to have sex with her,” Marissa croons. “We just don’t want her too terrified when her new owner touches her. Some buyers like that, but not this one.”

Ugh! I don’t want to touch her at all.

When it comes to girls my age and older women, I’m down for anything. But this is disgusting. Father deals with lust of all kinds—he’s into the sickest shit out there—but I cannot, I will not, physically force myself to be attracted to a child.

“Looks like your boy’s more plain vanilla than you thought,” Marissa mutters.

“He’ll be fine when the girl arrives, luv,” Father assures her, eyeing me. “He’ll do what needs to be done.”

Fuuuuck. Will I? I think of the little girl’s face again, and my stomach cramps.

No. I won’t. This is not good. I’ve crossed a lot of lines in my life to make Father happy and prove my worth, but this is different.

Maybe the picture is old. I can only hope, because I don’t want to find out what consequences he has in store if I lose my usefulness to the demonic cause. I should have known breaking hearts wouldn’t be enough.

“Yes.” Devil woman runs her nails down my arm. “He always does what needs to be done.”






Strange Girl

“My devil loves your angel, you can’t take that away . . .

See if she’ll take her halo off, if only for today.”

—“Devil’s Love Song” by Tishamingo

I am still pissed off when I get to the club. When we parted this evening, Father’s face was tight as he reminded me it’s now May and the child will be arriving soon. In the two months since I turned seventeen and showed defiance about the young girl, Father has been pushing me. Testing me. Nothing is good enough.

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