February is upon us, and you know what that means – hearts, kisses, and romance galore!
This month brings us to the next holiday-themed flash fiction challenge, #LoveBites2020. This time, yours truly will host along with Cara Michaels (#NYR2020), Siobhan Muir (#MonsterMash2019), Ever Addams (#TipsySanta2019), and Miranda Kate (#MidsummerMadness2020).
But first, some rules:
- Choose from one of five prompts (outlined below).
- Write your story (300-750 words) and add its URL to the linky list or paste the text directly in the comments of this post.
- Share and read the entries using #LoveBites2020.
- 1st and 2nd place winners will receive an Amazon gift card for $10 and $5, respectively.
- The contest will be open from 2/10-2/21.
Prompts – pick a romance trope:
- Enemies to Lovers
- Trapped in an Elevator
- Forbidden Love
- Secret Billionaire
- The Fake Relationship
Time to spread the love!
Click here to enter your link and view the other entries!
My chosen trope is Enemies to Lovers, and my (ineligible) response below follows the same characters as my responses to the previous challenges.
Time doesn’t make being demon-bound any easier.
Fighting his impulses makes life hell.
“No. You will not kill them.” My whisper is harsh as I hide in my panic room, hoping the police would hurry up.
“They’ve intruded on our home.” His hiss is pure malice.
“They’re a petty thief!” His anger seeps into mine, until I’m not sure where his ends and mine starts. My grip on the phone tightens, and a part of me wonders if that’s him, trying to take control. “And this isn’t our home. It’s mine.”
“I don’t need your permission, human.” Venom drips off the last word. His shadow hovers right behind me, and I can feel the tendrils of his control slide around my shoulders.
“Is that a threat, demon?” I don’t budge.
Outside, sirens sound. Crisis averted.
“You couldn’t pick something, I don’t know, less conspicuous? Or warmer?” Coming to after one of his take-overs always sucks, but this time sucks in particular. I’m drenched in blood and chilled to the bone thanks to the late winter breeze. My only comfort is that I’m in a dark alley and no one but our victim – a murderous bastard – saw me. The sheer, skin-tight top clings more than it should, and I can feel the mini-skirt stiffening thanks to the drying blood.
“Well, we needed to get his attention. And it worked, didn’t it?” He’s a vaguely human shadow circling me as I try to wipe myself down. Though I can’t see his eyes, I get the distinct feeling they’re roaming a little too freely. “You can’t argue with results.”
While I can’t say I always agree with him, he did have a point – not that I’d ever say that out loud. All that was left of our victim was a bit of splatter on the concrete, my soiled clothes, and the taste of copper. He would never hurt another girl again.
“You really can’t give me a minute of peace, can you?” I don’t have to look to feel his presence encroaching upon my dream-space. Above us, the sky turns a tempestuous gray. The air stills.
“I bore easily.” He sits beside me, stretched on the grass with hands behind his head. I can’t help but stare. “You like it? I’ve been practicing.”
Though we’re in a dream, I’m betrayed by a blush. His latest attempt at a human form is – and I’m loathe to admit it – attractive. He’s still angular, but now the features look regal instead of predatory. Light muscle defines his arms, abdomen and chest, and he’s chosen not to wear a shirt. Like always, though, his eyes remain cat-yellow, and his hair is the color of shadows. I have to remind myself he’s not a conjuring of my imagination, but an actual demon.
“Have I made you uncomfortable?” There’s laughter in his voice.
Turning away, I roll my eyes. “You almost pass for something other than a demon.”
In a rare show of consideration, he’s made himself scarce tonight. But I wish he hadn’t.
I can’t sleep.
Flashes of images play on repeat behind my eyes – blood, screaming, cries of pain. They’re his victims – our victims – and though I know they deserved what we did, I can’t shut them out. Can’t find the peace I need to sleep.
It’s a unique torture I should be used to by now.
“Where are you?”
I feel him before I see his shadow reflected in the mirror.
“I’m here.” He settles behind me on the bed, encasing me in his presence. “I didn’t intend to be gone so long.”
“I need sleep.” He knows what that means, what I want without having to ask.
The demon takes over, and blissful darkness cradles me.
“Do you ever regret helping me?” I like talking to him here, where he’s more than just a shadow. “Tying yourself to a human?”
“No.” Voice low, his eyes meet mine with a seriousness usually reserved for our hunts. He shifts closer, until our hands on the grass almost touch. “Do you regret letting me?”
I think back to the fear that drove me to him. To the thing that would have taken my body otherwise. “I don’t.”
The relief in his smile strikes at my core. When his hand moves to brush a lock of hair behind my ear, I let him. I inch forward, press my lips to his, hesitant, afraid of crossing a line I shouldn’t. But he welcomes me in, touch tender and sweet.