Heaven’s Embrace – J.A. Cipriano, Erin R. Bedford

Heavenly Arms brought in the normal kind of crowd for a Thursday night, and I mean normal if you think drinking before five P.M. just so you could get a chance to find out if your boyfriend was cheating on you was normal. That was the kind of crowd that was always there for me. I tried my best to focus on the blonde woman in front of me. Samantha something was three shots deep and bawling her eyes out about which guy she should choose, the rock star or the billionaire. Cue eye roll. I wanted to be sympathetic, I really did, but the tingling trailing up the back of my thighs in a teasing manner took all my give-a-fucks from my mind. Shoving at the hand, I tried to play it off as scratching an itch, but that only earned me a dark chuckle in response. Of course, the woman in front of me had no idea what was going on. Samantha something couldn’t see the gorgeous hunk of a man currently playing bartender behind me. No one could. Besides, me that is. How’d I get so lucky? “Quit it,” I hissed under my breath, hoping not to attract attention to him. Not that anyone could see him, they would think I was just talking to myself.

Again. “Make me,” a husky voice laughed, the same warm tingling from before brushing the back of my neck and sending a shiver down my spine. Lucifer, fallen angel, and Devil extraordinaire loved to come to work with me, and sometimes, he meant that literally. Why he thought torturing me was more fun than the very deserving victims of the underworld, I’d never know. Not that I could complain because Lucifer was some serious man candy. Too bad he wasn’t corporeal enough to back up his deliciousness. Talk about clit tease. “What was that?” Samantha something slurred, her brow creasing. “Nothing,” I replied with a strained smile as I tightened the hair tie around my dark locks. I imagined it was Lucifer’s cock and his eyes were begging me for mercy.

The Devil at my beck and call was a pretty dream indeed. “You were saying something about your boyfriend?” “Oh, yeah.” Samantha sniffed before breaking into a scowl. “So, the rock star, Damien, he’s got the whole bad boy thing going for him, but there are all the groupies to contend with. Who wants random women pawing at their man? Not me I tell you!” As she slammed her glass down on the counter, I winced. Please, don’t break the glassware. Samantha ignored my silent plea and continued on her tirade, “Then there’s the billionaire, Eric. He’s so hot you could crack an egg on him and watch it sizzle! But” – she pointed a finger at me with a pop of her lips – “he works all the time. Sure, that means more money, and that’s good and all, but I need attention! So, here I am pouring my heart out to a damn psychic bartender! No offense,” she added at the last second before drinking deeply from her glass, her manicured nails tapping an annoying beat on the bar top. “None taken,” I said between clenched teeth.

She wasn’t the first to use my services and then talk shit about them, and she wouldn’t be the last. Although, I wouldn’t have any extra services had it not been for the devil on my shoulder, so to speak. I’d always been special … or cursed. Depends on how you look at it. It wasn’t like I saw random things that weren’t there. I see one specific kind of thing. Angels to be exact. I’ve tried to ignore them, but once they realize you can see them, they don’t give up. Like Lucifer. As if knowing I was thinking of him, the fingers on the back of my thighs dipped beneath my skirt and brushed the line of my soaked panties.

It wasn’t much more than a sensation, a barest of caresses that never really gave more than a taste of what it could feel like to have Lucifer really touch me. I’d gone years with these angels following me around, teasing me with touches but never able to give me more. To say my body was a bit on overload would be an understatement. As Lucifer’s fingers got awfully close to my center, I sucked in a breath and closed my eyes briefly. Don’t moan. Don’t moan. “Are you okay?” My eyes snapped open and landed on Samantha’s worried face. I could just imagine what I looked like, standing there behind the bar with a glass I’d washed about a dozen times in my hand with an expression of desperate ecstasy. It would make anyone think I was crazy … which they did, often. “I’m great.

” My voice went up an octave as Lucifer’s thick fingers brushed my bare, sensitive skin. Clamping my legs closed, I mustered up a grin. “Just need to use the little ladies’ room.” “Oh, okay,” Samantha drew out as I ducked out from behind the bar, my three-inch heels clacking loudly on the wood floor. I shot a glare at the dark-haired devil following on my heels with smug satisfaction on his lips. Did I mention that fallen angels count as angels to me? My powers didn’t discriminate or make much sense, for that matter. They really should have come with an owner’s manual, or at least a warning label. Warning: Psychic powers will attract delicious angelic man meat with a horny meter of over nine thousand. Massive quantities of panties required! Thursday nights were slower than most, but I still had to push my way through a crowd to get to the bathroom. I nodded toward Bret the door hop, a large fellow with a soft spot for musicals and appletinis.

He was an odd fellow, but I could always count on him when some drunk idiot got out of hand. Too bad he couldn’t help me with my need for a little stroke and poke. Bret liked a big dick more than I did. The bathroom door closed behind me, and I could finally get the smell of body odor and dried beer out of my nose. Honestly, the bathroom wasn’t much better. Really, Heavenly Arms was less of a hole in the wall and more crowded dive bar with an extra order of stink. A woman was standing at the sink washing her hands as I barged in. I paused for a moment, surprised anyone else was in there. I shook it off, giving her an awkward little greeting before darting into the stall. The stall wasn’t big enough for one person, let alone me and the Devil, who thought he was so slick popping in there as I shut the door.

“Get out of here,” I hissed, pointing at the stall door. “I actually do have to pee, you know.” And maybe rub one out, but he didn’t need to know that. “Well, then by all means.” Lucifer crossed his arms over his meticulous designer suit and leaned back against the door. Where the Devil found clothing like that was a mystery. Maybe Devils Do Prada? Wherever those clothes came from, they knew exactly how to wrap his tall frame and broad shoulders into a nice package. Not that he didn’t already have a nice package. He had been pretty prompt at informing me of that fact when I’d dared to insult his size. My traitorous mind flashed a reminder of what exactly lay beneath those pants and my face heated.

Lucifer’s smile grew, and I held a hand up so he couldn’t come closer. “I’m not going to go pee in front of you.” This time I said it a bit louder than I meant to. Outside the stall, a loud scoff sounded, followed by the banging of the bathroom door. “I don’t think you really need to go,” Lucifer taunted. We stared at each other for a moment, each one of us trying to make the other yield. After a few seconds, my eye started to twitch. Damn Devil and his overpowering stare. “Fine, you win.” “I always do.

” Lucifer smirked. With a frustrated sigh, I pushed through Lucifer, causing a full body tingle as we merged for a moment, and then made my way out of the stall. “Don’t you have some poor souls to damn to hell or something?” I ducked down to see if someone was in the other stall before heading to the door. Clicking the main door’s lock into place, I spun around only to find Lucifer inches from me. How’d he get so close so quickly? “Oh, bathroom sex, this will be fun,” Lucifer commented with a chuckle, earning himself a glare from me. “I don’t damn souls, you know that. Humans damn themselves, I simply punish the wicked.” He smirked, caging me against the door. “All kinds of wicked. I know for a fact you have been a very naughty girl.

” Lucifer licked his lips, his eyes making a cursory path down my body. My skin heated from where his gaze roamed, sending lightning pulses to my clit. Tired of being permanently turned on with no relief, I scowled up at him. Lucifer had more than a foot on my height, and even with my heels, my eyes only reached his collarbone which made trying to be intimidating a bit tricky. “Instead of being a cosmic-sized tease, why don’t you do your job and give me a break?” I crossed my arms over my chest, trying to put some distance between the two of us. “Where’s the fun in that?” his voice lowered, and his dreamy brown eyes flicked down before meeting mine once more. More than any of the others, Lucifer had always been harder to keep my sex drive under control around, probably because he was, you know, evil. Or supposed to be. So far, he just liked to drive me into a lust-crazed haze while I served beer to the undeserving populous. Damn sadist.

“Job security, of course.” My voice came out more breathless than I had intended, and I cleared my throat, my shoulders rolling back. “I pretend to be this all-powerful psychic while you get to get your rocks off fucking with unsuspecting humans. That was the deal, remember? Or are you tired of playing with us already?” His grin broadened, and if I hadn’t already soaked my panties, he’d have just destroyed them. Then he turned it up a notch as he leaned in close. “I’ll never be tired of playing with you.” His mouth skimmed mine as he spoke, the buzzing sensation not even close to enough friction to tide me over. I was dangerously close to saying fuck it and let him watch me, anything to relieve some of the tension in my clit. There had to be a first time for everything, right? As luck would have it, before I could inch my finger into my panties, the door banged loudly behind me. Jerking away from him, I clicked the lock and opened the door to see a long line of pissed-off women waiting.

Face flushing, I coughed nervously. “Uh sorry, shy bladder.” I moved past the angry mob and back toward the bar which had become way more crowded since I’d left. My cobartender, Terry, a self-proclaimed cowboy who refused to wear anything but boots to work, shot daggers my way. Mouthing an apology, I jumped back behind the bar and began to help him with the sudden rush. I was thankful for it because it kept my mind off my raging libido. Not that it would help with the Devil looking deliciously tempting just inches away. Not being able to touch the angels didn’t mean they couldn’t torture me in their own way. Ignoring someone talking in your ear every five seconds was hard. Especially when you weren’t trying to look like the crazy person most people thought you were.

They made plenty of situations awkward for me. Not for them, though, because they didn’t give a crap. They’re both non-corporeal and invisible which meant they could do whatever the fuck they wanted, and I just had to deal with it. Still, having them around had their upsides… usually. “So, a house rum and coke? Coming right up,” I said, moving to grab a glass and as my fingers closed around it, Lucifer’s hand touched my waist, startling me. The glass slipped from my hand and shattered on the floor behind the bar, and as I stared at it, I nearly blew a gasket. That was the third fucking glass tonight. Not caring who was watching, I spun on my heel and growled, “Do you mind?” I pointed at the glass. “This is your fault.” Chuckling in his devilishly handsome way, Lucifer backed off a few feet and sat down on the stool in the corner I’d specifically set out for him.

“Sorry, love. I just can’t help myself.” He waggled his dark eyebrows. “Can’t blame a Devil for trying.” Rolling my eyes, I turned back to the waiting crowd only to be greeted with curious stares. Mouth gaping, I tried to find the words to explain, but good ol’ Terry was there in a split second to save the day. “Don’t mind Jane, ya’ll. Being psychic makes her seem like a hog out of its pen sometimes.” Like usual, Terry’s Southern accent made the customers settle, and as they started returning to their shots and conversations, he clapped his hand on my shoulder and flashed a lopsided grin at the still curious. “Price of being gifted.

” “More like cursed,” I muttered under my breath before giving the crowd a small smile. Then I tapped my temple with one finger. “Don’t worry, folks. My hog is back in its barn. You can go back to drinking your life away.” Terry clapped his hand on my shoulder again, a bit harder this time in warning before going back to his side of the bar. I didn’t really know if Terry believed I was psychic or not, but he played it up for the crowd like we all did. My so-called psychic abilities brought in people who wouldn’t otherwise be caught dead in the place. Often people with more money than sense, which also meant more money for all of us. So, Terry, like most of the others had made a capitalistic decision.

Play up the charade. “Sorry about that,” I said, sliding the newly made rum and coke across the bar to the guy who had ordered it just before my little mishap. He was in his mid-thirties, buzzed head, and had his eyes too focused on the other man in front of him to pay attention to me or the drink he’d ordered. He also wasn’t fooling anyone into thinking he was just there for a good time. He had cop written all over him. “Have you seen this girl?” The cop playing undercover, badly I might add, held a picture up to one of our regulars. Dan, I wanted to say his name was, but it could have been Fred for all I knew. Good with names, I’m not. “No way.” Dan/Fred shook his head before swigging from his beer bottle.

His eyes were glazed over but deliberately not looking at the cop. I didn’t have to turn around to know Lucifer was behind me again. I could feel his presence warm against my back causing a not so unpleasant feeling of pleasure to ripple down my spine. “He’s lying,” the Devil whispered into my ear, his voice a soft coo that tickled all my senses and made me want to lean back into him. That alone would have made it take me a second to realize what he’d said, but honestly, it was really his fingers dancing down the side of my body, tempting, teasing. “Are you sure?” I said, using the words to give me time to pull away and collect my thoughts. Honestly, I needn’t have asked. The king of lies always knew. “Yes,” he said, appearing on the bar between us, pointing down at the guy though no one else could see or hear him. He could be dancing the cha-cha on the bar in nothing but a tutu, and no one would bat an eye.

“It’s written all over his sallow face.” “Okay.” I set down the glass I’d just filled in front of its owner and moved toward the cop. Even in heels, the bar top barely reached below my chest. If I didn’t wear them, the girls bounced off the bar all day, and trust me, that was not a pretty picture. “Hey, Dan.” I batted my eyelashes at him, but the moment he saw me, he choked on the beer he was drinking, and his face paled. Yeah, I get that reaction a lot. “Hey, J-Jane.” He coughed and cleared his throat, his eyes becoming skittish.

“What’s up?” I guess I did get his name right. Go me! Giving him my best, no-nonsense look, I placed my elbow on the bar top before propping my chin on it. “You know what’s up, Dan. Or do you want me to tell this nice police officer?” I grinned and slid a sly look at the cop who looked startled by my presence. Dan shook his head rapidly. “No, no. It’s all right. I got this.” He turned back to the rightly confused officer and said, “I saw her, but that’s it. She left with some tall, balding guy just after happy hour last Friday.

” Stunned by the guy’s admission or maybe by my looks – hey it could happen – the police officer stood from his stool and hooked his belt with his thumbs. Why did all cops do that? Did their pants not fit right? After a small adjustment, he gestured for Dan to stand up. “I think we need to take a ride downtown. You can give us a better description of the guy you saw.” Dan begrudgingly stood and shot me the stink eye. Can’t please everyone. The police officer didn’t leave right away. Instead, he turned back to me with a suspicious glare. “I don’t know what you did to make him talk, but thanks.” I gave him a two-finger salute and a grin.

“No problem. All in a day’s work.” He snorted but didn’t say anything more as he turned and followed Dan out of the bar. Shrugging, I didn’t let his reaction bother me. Most people didn’t get me or my sense of humor. Or my psychic powers. Which, by the way, are fake. Like, pay-by-the-minute fake. The only abilities I had were seeing sexy angels who really needed to get laid – oh wait that’s just me. Though, I wouldn’t complain if they were the ones doing the laying.

Sadly, though, they’re the ones with all the powers, I just monopolize on them for my own gain.

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