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Jill Myles. Gentlemen Prefer Succubi

(Succubus Diaries — 1)

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I wrote this book in 2005. In the five years between now and then, this list has grown exponentially and continues to grow every day. Getting a book published has truly been one of the most thrilling experiences of my life, and so many people have helped me or supported me along the way. I’d say that it takes a village to publish a book, but I’m pretty sure everyone uses that phrase.

Thanks to my Pocket team-my brilliant editor, Micki Nuding, who wields an editing pencil of greatness, and her fabulous assistant, Danielle Poiesz-I cannot gush enough about how wonderful it is to work with both of you. There should be some sort of national holiday involved to celebrate your combined awesomeness.

Thank you to the art team for the beautiful cover art that quite possibly made me stand up and prance around, waving my hands and squealing at the sight of it. The bellybutton sweat on the model nearly did me in.

Thank you to Carolyn and Ashley Grayson for finding this book a home. And to Holly Root, who preserves my sanity on a daily basis-you rock, you really do.

Mega-thanks to Jane Litte and Vernieda Vergara, because we have sent enough emails between us to make servers tremble. You guys keep me sane. Thank you to Meljean Brook, Roxanne St. Claire, and Kasey Mackenzie, who constantly let me bounce questions off them, even the weird ones. And to Ilona Andrews-I couldn’t have done it without you. Or I might have, but there probably would have been a lot more panic attacks along the way. You’re a great friend, and I’m going to stop teasing you about the mustard paper … someday.

Thank you to the pfriends (no typo) who are some of the best cheerleaders around-Jodi Meadows, Holly Mcdowell, Rae Carson Finlay, and Heather Marshall. Also, a thank you to my Purgie people-the Purgatory thread over on Absolute Write. I’ve never met a more supportive group! And a special shout-out to Gretchen McNeil, who is the fastest reader in the west.

To my Mom and Dad. You are the best supporters ever and I love you both. Please understand if I come to your house and rip out all the sex scenes in my books, though. And to my sister Jennifer, who is my biggest fan (you can keep the sex scenes in your copies, you dirty bird). To my cousin Betsy, who once said I could take a book from her shelves and I ended up sneaking away with a suitcasefull. You and several dozen paperback romances started me down this road.

And finally, I’d like to thank the Greek historian Herodotus. Because you wrote two paragraphs about an obscure Egyptian queen named Nitocris, and that was enough to set my mind on fire with a story.

To my husband, who allows me to be the world’s worst

wife. You’re my hero.

CHAPTER ONE

It had obviously been one hell of a night if I couldn’t recall why I was waking up in a Dumpster.

I blinked a few times, staring at the sky overhead. A Dumpster? Surely not. But between the flies, the stench, and the garbage bags surrounding me, I didn’t know what else it could be. My left hand rested on something clammy and wet, and I hoped that it was an old newspaper and not something more sinister. I didn’t even want to think about what was tickling my bare toes.

I sat up, cradling my throbbing head and trying to think. What the hell had happened? I didn’t normally find myself comatose and drooling amid piles of garbage.

Shit. My boss was going to be sooo totally pissed at me.

Something itched against my breast and I reached up to scratch, finding a hard plastic card shoved into the side of my bra.

A room key for a hotel. The Grand National here in New City, Wyoming.

My mind regurgitated a series of drunken memories from my bender last night. I’d met a man at the bar of the swanky hotel just as the sun was cresting into dawn and I was polishing off my latest martini. He’d walked into the bar and, since the place was deserted, headed straight for me and bought me another drink. I’d let him. I mean, hell, free alcohol.

He was even hot to boot, which was a nice change from the creeps that normally tried to pick me up. I vaguely remembered an amazing body, a voice that could stop traffic, and the bluest eyes I’d ever seen.

That wasn’t the only thing I remembered. My brain flashed another image into my head, of a rather large part of my date’s anatomy. Which I’d seen in close detail.

“Ohmigod. I’m a slut,” I moaned, burying my face in my hands.

I’d never had a one-night stand before, but by the time I’d met my Blue-Eyed Casanova, I was eight or twelve martinis into an all-nighter and three sheets to the wind. I couldn’t remember a darn thing except those eyes and that smile. And his dick.

That bothered me on levels I didn’t even want to think about. I sighed and brushed a wet wad of trash off my hand and straightened my thick, smudged glasses on my face. At least they hadn’t been wrecked in my night in the garbage.

“Who’s there?” a warbling voice called, and I clambered through the trash to the edge of the Dumpster, peering over the metal side.

A bearded older man-homeless, if the stocking cap and reek of whiskey were any indication-stared up at me in surprise. A familiar cute black-and-pink handbag was tucked under his left arm.

“Hey, that’s mine.” I pointed a grimy finger at the purse. “Give it back.”

Much to my surprise, he handed it up to me with a wide-eyed expression. “I thought you were dead. Sorry.”

What an odd statement. I frowned down at him. “Sorry, no. Do you have anything else of mine I might be needing?” My legs were devoid of pantyhose, and my bare toes wiggled between the garbage. My shoes were nowhere to be seen, and I wasn’t even sure I still had panties on-all of which was making me extremely nervous. Resisting the urge to cry, I swallowed hard.

“I didn’t take them. I didn’t take anything else.” The bum sounded rather miffed that I had the gall to accuse him of stealing.

I ignored him and began to dig through the garbage, trying not to think too hard about what I was touching. Sure enough, my favorite pink-and-black Steve Madden pumps were there underneath a pizza box. I shook them out to be safe.

With my belongings in hand, I swung a leg over the side of the Dumpster and began to climb out. I’d probably given the bum a flash of panties (if I still had them), but I didn’t care.

He took a swig from his brown-bag-covered bottle. “You were dead, you know,” he pointed out. “You weren’t breathing.”

I slid down onto the pavement with a thump, losing a few strands of chow mein that had stuck to my skirt. “Um, what exactly makes you say that?” I asked as I put on my shoes.

“I’m serious,” he protested. “I checked. You weren’t breathing. I even saw your boyfriend dump you here. I wouldn’t take a purse from a live girl.”

I looked up from picking a noodle off my shoe. “You did? Blond guy? Blue eyes?” Big package?

The bum shook his head and took another swig of alcohol. “Naw. Black-haired. Real tall. Nice coat. He kissed your cheek and dumped you in there.”

I didn’t recall Bachelor No. 2. Good lord, what had I done last night? My date had definitely been blond. An image flashed through my mind-a memory? — of us in the shower, my arms twined around his neck while he lifted my bare leg to fit around his hips …

I wanted to cry. I didn’t know if I was upset that I’d slept with a stranger, or that he was hot and I couldn’t remember very much. I sighed and rubbed my neck. A sharp pain shot through my skin, like I’d rubbed it raw during my sleep. I touched the spot with careful fingers and found it sticky. Yet another gift from the garbage. Ugh. I looked over at my drunken companion. “What time is it?”

     

 

2011 - 2018