Martinis with the Devil, Part One

By: Alexia Chamberlynn
Zyan Star Book One, Part One






For Gareth

Dreamer, Mischief Maker, Co-Conspirator





CHAPTER ONE





I had just slammed back a cocktail and was happily contemplating my eternal damnation when the angel walked into my bar. Solid muscle, like all the warriors, and with that same self-satisfied, holier-than-thou attitude. It was the set of the jaw. Gave ‘em away every time. He paused just inside the door, scanning the patrons to the right and left of him. After a moment, satisfied his glamour concealed him, he headed in my direction.

The bar was packed, and no one but me seemed to notice that one of Heaven’s own had just joined the party. I poured a bubbling green concoction into a martini glass and slid it down the counter to a customer as the angel leaned against the black marble of the circular bar. He hooked me in an intense gaze and parted perfect coral-colored lips to speak.

I flashed him my highest-beam smile. “What’ll it be, Wings? Can I interest you in a Wild Stallion cocktail? Real unicorn pheromones.”

His smug expression fell and a scowl replaced it. “No thanks. I’m looking for Zyan Star.” His cold tone brought to mind dark, celestial skies, and my name sounded very formal coming off his tongue.

“Not a lot of heaven’s errand boys come looking for me. I’m not on the big guy’s naughty list again, am I?”

“You’re Ms. Star?” He leaned forward even more, arms crossed over his chest, bulging against his gray t-shirt. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see my fellow bartenders Riley and Quinn staring at him.

I nodded and pushed a strand of burgundy hair behind my ear. “So, what brings a pretty boy like you to Noir? Somehow I don’t think it’s just because you decided to take a walk on the wicked side and mingle with the commoners.”

He tensed, standing up extra straight. “I’m here on official business for the Holy Representative of Northwest America.” His milky white skin seemed to glow as he said it.

“Uh-huh. And?”

“Is there somewhere private we can talk?”

I made a sweeping gesture at the room around us, just one big space with the bar dead center. Floor to ceiling windows revealing a star-streaked night formed the perimeter, and the only two exits were the sky door, and the elevator for supernaturals without wings. Not to mention we were a hundred stories up. “Not so much. And I’m a bit busy as you can see.”

The angel frowned. “The HR wants to hire you for a job.” He enunciated each word as it came out, as if I wouldn’t understand him.

Which actually, I didn’t. “Come again, Wings?”

“My name is Eli,” he said, with a very angelic glower.

“Of course it is,” I crooned. “So, Eli, I kind of thought I just heard you say that the Holy Representative, that is, the direct ambassador between Heaven and Earth, God’s right hand man, all that’s pure and holy, etc., wants me, an eternally damned soul sucker who’s technically within the Devil’s jurisdiction, to work for him. Did I hear that right? Or did that extra shot of pixie dust in my cocktail push me off the far edge of crazy?” I tapped my Twizzler-red fingernails on the bar.

A muscle in his jaw twitched. “The HR wants you to join his security team. Temporarily.”

You know, when you’ve lived over two and a half centuries, not a lot surprises you. But this was so surprising as to borderline on hilarious. “Is this a joke? Are angels allowed to do that?”

“Of course we can. But it’s not a joke.” His tone tightened.

“Right.” I rolled my eyes to emphasize how ridiculous all of this was. Like my dripping sarcasm needed any help. “Really though, when he’s got a team full of devoted angels that are a hundred times stronger than the whole NFL on steroids, why would he need me?”

Something moved across Eli’s face that almost looked like fear. He leaned in and gestured for me to do the same. I sighed and cast a quick sound bubble spell to keep our conversation private. We were so close I could feel the warmth coming off his cheek as he spoke in my ear. He was obnoxious, but man did he smell amazing. Like sunshine and sage.

“There’s been a threat on the HR’s life.” His words vibrated in my ear, tickling my skin.

“He gets death threats every day,” I countered.

“This one was different.” He hesitated. “Whoever’s behind it has hired a vamp assassin.”

I pulled back a little and looked him in the eyes. “Again, with a legion of angels, I don’t see why this is a big deal. You guys are pretty evenly matched against vamps one to one, let alone a thousand to one.”

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