"It's twisted." Mallory sniped out, her tone coolly disapproving. Grabbing Jonas by the arm, they trudged down the main street of the Old Towne shopping district, dodging tourists and rabid consumers on a mission. "You have lost your mind. Here? Seriously?"
Holiday music piped through the air and the smell of chestnuts roasting wafted towards them. The Carver Hills Old Towne Winter Carnival was in full force and it warmed Jonas' soul to see it. Throwing caution to the wind, he let out another burst of energy and sent it spiraling into the crowd. What could it hurt? He was here on a shopping expedition of his own and it wasn't for the latest transforming doll or gadget. Nope. Lust. Just a little. He was hungry.
Lust was, after all, his personal vice of the seven deadlies. It really didn't matter the form. It was usually sex that got people into trouble, but any old lust would do. And right now, he was indulging in a little proclivity of his own. Christmas. Twinkling lights. Tacky reindeer yard ornaments. Tinsel. Garlands. Ah, the things you could do with a garland. A little tricky rope work and a willing partner and you had yourself your own little version of a bondage Christmas carol. A happy smile tilted up the corner of his mouth. It was funny as Hell, really. A lust demon with a fetish for Christmas ornaments. He sent a little preemptive tickle out into the crowd and felt a slap on the back of his head.
"You are one sick bastard, Jonas." Mallory smoothed her hands down her shapely form, trying her best to look angelic and not succeeding for a second. Jonas had to resist the twinge of jealousy that flared. It was like shooting fish in a barrel for her. Men's eyes followed her every move, even in the thick of the holiday shopping frenzy. She drank in their stares, using their emotions like an appetizer. That was a succubus for you; always showing their curves to their best advantage. The problem with Mallory was she usually succeeded, and he hadn't had a bite in months. It was starting to wear on his nerves.
"At least you could have a thing for Halloween like a normal demon." She gave him a look like he was shit on the bottom of her daintily shaped boot.
"No. Not you. It has to be candy canes and sleigh bells." She shuddered. "Sick."
Mallory muttered to herself and craned her head around him to scope out the action. She jerked her head up with a triumphant smile, and he groaned inwardly. He was not in the mood to watch her pick at her food. Not tonight. He had his own hot mess to worry about. Like finding his own dinner. Alone.
"Come on!" She tugged at his coat again, and he had to stifle his irritation.
Jonas pulled out of her reach and opened himself up to the energy of the crowd as shoppers threw out thoughts and emotions. He could pick out desire in a heartbeat, but tonight was one week before Christmas and the vibe surrounding him was panic. Snow flurries trickled down in lacy droplets and a chill rushed down his spine. But it wasn't the air or the snow that made him cold. His time was running out, and he needed to do something. One more soul. That would be the end of his damnable deal with Baal. That bastard had tricked him once. For all he knew, he was fucking with him now. Why could he not feel someone, anyone with a breath of desire in them? It was unnatural. Was he losing his touch? It had been months since he had felt the pull, and he was beginning to feel like he was seriously off his game.
"What the Hell is wrong with you tonight?" Her voice was getting more agitated, and he knew it wouldn't be long before he would have to fess up to what they were actually doing here, in the thick of Christmas shopping season, surrounded by rabid women clutching shopping bags. It was a suicide mission, but he was desperate, and he wanted Mallory to believe he was just on a normal run-of-the-mill dinner cruise, so to speak. Letting her in on what was at stake could be lethal for him if she was double teaming with Baal.
"Give me a minute, Mal." He sighed in sheer exasperation. His eyes scanned the crowd, and he offered her a distracted smile. No. Not a single force that pulled him. There was the usual avarice a couple blocks away and gluttony in the restaurant to their left. It wasn't enough. He wanted, no, needed to feel the rich flavor of a woman's complete surrender, in savage detail and nothing else would do.
He had hoped that the pulse of the quaint shopping district would be enough. It was a city. It shouldn't be that hard to find someone who needed to part with their soul. As an incubus, he could incite lust just by being in the same room as a woman. Invade her dreams and make her wet in the panties by a smile alone. So why, lately, was he unable to get it up, metaphysically speaking? It was infuriating.