Succubus Dreams

By: Richelle Mead

Acknowledgments




It takes a village to write a book, sometimes even a whole suburb. I’m grateful for all of the friends and family who have helped me along the way. Mega-thanks go to my speed-reading feedback team: David, Jay, and Marcee. I appreciate you guys being there to do quick reads for me and reassure me that it’s all still doing what it’s supposed to. I also appreciate you letting me know when it isn’t doing what it’s supposed to, whether it’s a bad word choice or Georgina being “all emotional and stuff.”



Many thanks are due my agent Jim McCarthy, who is always there with fast email responses, solid advice, and reassurance that I really am good enough and smart enough. Thank you as well to my editor John Scognamiglio, who is also quick with email and very, very generous with deadlines.



Lastly, I owe a big shout-out to the readers who encouraged me on a daily basis via email and my blog. Getting all those messages about how you were excited to read the book made me excited to write it.





SUCCUBUS DREAMS





Chapter 1




I wished the guy on top of me would hurry up because I was getting bored.

Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like he was going to finish anytime soon. Brad or Brian or whatever his name was thrust away, eyes squeezed shut with such concentration that you would have thought having sex was on par with brain surgery or lifting steel beams.

“Brett,” I panted. It was time to pull out the big guns.

He opened one eye. “Bryce.”

“Bryce.” I put on my most passionate, orgasmic face. “Please…please…don’t stop.”

His other eye opened. Both went wide.

A minute later, it was all over.

“Sorry,” he gasped, rolling off me. He looked mortified. “I don’t know…didn’t mean…”

“It’s okay, baby.” I felt only a little bad about using the don’t stop trick on him. It didn’t always work, but for some guys, planting that seed completely undid them. “It was amazing.”

And really, that wasn’t entirely a lie. The sex itself had been mediocre, but the rush afterward…the feel of his life and his soul pouring into me…yeah. That was pretty amazing. It was what a succubus like me literally lived for.

He gave me a weary smile. The energy he’d had now flowed in my body. Its loss had exhausted him, burned him out. He’d sleep soon and would probably continue sleeping a great deal over the next few days. His soul had been a good one, and I’d taken a lot of it—as well as his life itself. He’d now live a few years less, thanks to me.

I tried not to think about that as I hurriedly put on my clothes. Instead, I focused on how I’d done what I had to do for my own survival. Plus, my infernal masters required me to seduce and corrupt good souls on a regular basis. Bad men might make me feel less guilty, but they didn’t fulfill Hell’s quota.

Bryce seemed surprised at my abrupt departure but was too worn out to fight it. I promised to call him—having no intention of doing so—and slipped out of the room as he lapsed into unconsciousness.

I’d barely cleared his front door before shape-shifting. I’d come to him as a tall, sable-haired woman but now once again wore my preferred shape, petite with hazel-green eyes and light brown hair that flirted with gold. Like most of my life, my features danced between states, never entirely settling on one.

I put Bryce out of my mind, just like I did with most men I slept with, and drove across town to what was rapidly becoming my second home. It was a tan, stucco condo, set into a community of other condos that tried desperately to be as hip as new construction in Seattle could manage. I parked my Passat out front, fished my key out of my purse, and let myself inside.

The condo was still and quiet, wrapped in darkness. A nearby clock informed me it was three in the morning. Walking toward the bedroom, I shape-shifted again, swapping my clothes for a red nightgown.

I froze in the bedroom’s doorway, surprised to feel my breath catch in my throat. You’d think after all this time, I would have gotten used to him, that he wouldn’t affect me like this. But he did. Every time.

Seth lay sprawled on the bed, one arm tossed over his head. His breathing came deep and fitful, and the sheets lay in a tangle around his long, lean body. Moonlight muted out the color of his hair, but in the sun, its light brown would pick up a russet glow. Seeing him, studying him, I felt my heart swell in my chest. I’d never expected to feel this way about anyone again, not after centuries of feeling so…empty. Bryce had meant nothing to me, but this man before me meant everything.

I slid into bed beside him, and his arms instantly went around me. I think it was instinctual. The connection between us was so deep that even while unconscious, we couldn’t stay away from each other.

I pressed my cheek to Seth’s chest, and his skin warmed mine as I fell asleep. The guilt from Bryce faded, and soon, there was only Seth and my love for him.

I slipped almost immediately into a dream. Except, well, I wasn’t actually in it, at least not in the active sense. I was watching myself, seeing the events unfold as though at a movie. Only, unlike a movie, I could feel every detail. The sights, the sounds…it was almost more vivid than real life.

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