Sister Mercy was raised with a dull, passionless life behind clergy walls. Her mysterious background and secret love of sinful underwear make her a complete misfit—and the perfect sacrificial lamb for Arioch, a fearsome Hybrid. When she is caught snooping through his belongings, she fears certain death. Instead, she finds herself stripped bare and subject to the handsome beast’s commands.
Sister Mercy’s shadow froze on the wall as the massive door opened behind her. She gasped, and her heart pounded in panic as she yanked her hands from the bag through which she had been rifling. There was no time to think, nowhere to hide. Immodesty be damned, she should have worn the maid’s uniform for the mission. Bald, boring Brother Ezekiel and the others had tried to demand it, but she had refused, stubborn girl that she was.
Instead of listening, she had told them no and clung to the propriety of the clergy’s traditional long-sleeved, white blouses and scratchy, gray skirts. As a result, she was practically glowing now against the backdrop of primal blues and reds that decorated the bed and the walls of the monster’s temporary quarters.
There was no reasonable excuse, aside from the obvious one of treachery, for her being there. Even in this place of arbitration between their two peoples, spying was punishable by death under Hybrid law.
“Explain yourself!” Arioch’s voice was a terrifying growl that shook the walls like thunder.
“I...” Dumbstruck, Mercy licked her lips and turned around.
She pushed a stray lock of hair behind one ear as she looked up at him. It was the most curious thing: her nipples felt painfully stiff. They had been from the moment he’d spoken. With every breath, the taut buds rubbed and chafed against the soft silk of her secondhand underthings.
She was suddenly distracted by awareness of those garments. They were shameful yet naughty scraps of silk and lace that she was always afraid would be spotted in the communal laundry. They had become her most prized possession.
Arioch was a handsome beast, considerably larger than any male Mercy had ever seen. He stood at least seven feet high, his body a wall of muscle and his long, black hair pulled back in a ponytail. Cobalt and Indigo tribal ink crept above the collar of a shiny red dress shirt and onto his face. These demonic tattoos shone in stark contrast to the marble white of his skin.
To an orphan like Mercy, who had been raised by members of the cloth, this Hybrid—half man and half demon—was an odd sort of royalty. He was also a warrior, and surely he was already angry and frustrated at being ordered to the Neutral Zone to perform a task so far beneath him.
Negotiations were for men. Yet Mercy was stuck in a room with something more than a man, terrified that she would be torn apart and eaten for spying.
“Speak.” Arioch barked the order. “Tell me why you came here before I remove that tongue for you, woman!”
“I’m sorry, sir. It was just...” She looked down at his well-polished boots, then up at the bulge in his pants. Good heavens, it was huge. His cock. Even thinking that word felt sinful as all get-out. She found herself wondering if the network of ink, said to cover the length of his body, was there too.
Since she was going to die regardless, she decided she might as well say those rebellious words out loud. “Your cock.”
“You come for my cock, yet you dress like a member of the clergy.” Arioch gave her a different kind of growl, less of a yell and more of a rumble.
Or maybe she just imagined it.
“A Hybrid killed my parents when I was just a babe, and the church raised me,” she admitted almost defiantly, clutching the sides of her skirt. She peered up at his face from beneath long lashes, but her mind remained focused on his monstrous cock. “I’ve never been allowed to say that word, cock, but I like the sound of it. I fear I’m depraved, sir.”