BONUS: Unedited – Roth Bonus Scene 1

March 16, 2020


I stepped back out and glanced at the bar, expecting to find Layla sitting there, looking as uncomfortable as an angel dining in Hell.  With her whitish-blonde hair and wide, innocent eyes, that’s exactly what she looked like. But she wasn’t there.  

“What in the hell?” I stopped, scanning the surrounding floor.  

Cayman glanced up from behind the bar. “She’s… dancing.” 

My body tensed. “What? You were supposed to watch her.”
“I watched her. You didn’t say anything about stopping her.” 

Oh, for the love of all that was unholy in this world and beyond. I shot him a dark look that promised retribution and then made my way around the raised danced floor, scanning the darker recesses of the club. A handful of seconds passed before I found her. 

What I saw brought me to a standstill.  

To the outside world, it would look like Layla was acting out a teenage boy’s fantasy. She was raised up on her tips of her toes, her head angled in way it appeared like she was kissing. Another woman’s head was lower, their mouths too close.  

Layla was feeding.  

An odd mixture of emotions swirled through me. The demon part of me, my true nature, approved of this. It was sitting inside me, grinning from ear to ear. It was thrilled, and yeah, a little bit turned on. But the other part—a part I didn’t even fully recognized felt fear. If Layla fed and the other Wardens found it, it would be over for her.  

Still, there was a part of me that wanted her to indulge in her demonic side, wanted her to be bad and wanted her to enjoy it. The corners of my lips turned up— 

Then I saw the incubus.  

The male was behind her, his hands gripping her arms, and the look on his face smashed through whatever approval that was simmering in my gut. He was touching her, and I did not like that. Rage was like a wave of fire. 

There wasn’t single part of me that missed the fact I was stopping this because of the incubus and not because of what Layla was doing.  

Crossing the distance, I grabbed a hold of the woman’s shoulder and yanked her away from Layla, breaking the connection. A cursory glance told me the woman’s soul was… mostly intact.  

I gripped her chin, forcing her to meet my gaze. The moment the woman did, she couldn’t look away, and what I said, would not be undone. “You will remember none of this,” he said. “Leave this place. Go home and never come back here again. Do you understand me?” 

The woman staggered to the side when I let go, and without a backward glance, she shuffled into the thick crowd surrounding us.  

A giggle rattled like dry bones from the succubus. “You ruin all the fun. She said she didn’t belong to you.” 

My gaze swung to Layla.  “She doesn’t belong to either of you.” 

Layla sighed like a kitten after a belly rub. It was oddly adorable.  “Where have you been all this time? It’s been hours and hours.” 

Exasperated with the turn of the events, I barely managed to yell. “I’ve only been gone ten minutes,” I said, and when Layla pouted—actually, pouted—I thrust my hand through my hair. “Shit, Layla… .. Didn’t I tell you to stay put? Not to dance?” 

She giggled, but hers sounded like wind chimes. “They made me.” 

“We invited her,” the succubus corrected. “We didn’t make her do anything. We know the rules.” 

“She just wanted a taste,” added the incubus.  “We didn’t hurt her. Did we, lovely little sister?” He reached out, touching Layla’s arm.  

Oh Hell no.  

Snapping forward, I wrapped my hand around the incubus’ throat and lifted him off the floor. I dug my fingers in, right where it counted.  “What did you just call her?” 

I heard the female hiss, and I smiled coldly into the male’s eyes. “You take one step toward me, I will snap your brother’s neck. Do not ever touch her.” I added pressure, driving the point home. You’re not welcome here any longer.” 

“You cannot banish us,” Sister shrieked. “You are no King.” 

I almost laughed as I dropped the male and faced the female.  “Maybe not, but I can rip your heart out and feed it to Hellions. How does that sound? Like a party you want to join?” 

The female drew back, clutching her brother’s arm. They knew I was bluffing. As they backed off, I turned toward Layla. She’d drifted toward the raised stage.  

Oh Lord.  

I walked up and circling an arm around her waist, stopping her before she got up and then started taking off her clothes. Then again…  

I sighed. Bad Roth. “Where are you going, shortie?” 

She leaned into me, and my heart did something funny in my chest. “I don’t know. I feel…really good.” 

“You do,” I said. God, she felt great against me, trusting and soft and warm. But she was high, so freaking high. “You almost killed that girl, shortie. I shouldn’t have left you alone. 

Her shoulders rose as she waved her hand in front of her face.
I arched a brow. “What are you doing?”  

She wiggled around until she was facing me.  “I think I can see my soul.” 

“Can you?” I asked. Can you see anyone else’s now?” 

“No, but mine is white.” She smiled up at me, and it was a beautiful smile. “That means my soul is pure.” 

I couldn’t help it. My lips tipped up at the corners.  “Demons can’t have pure souls.” 

Layla studied me for a moment and then planted her face in my chest. “Then I can’t be like you.” 

“Oh, wow, you’re so off the charts right now.” I needed to get her out of here, before she got herself in any more trouble I lifted her up, just incase she decided to make a wild dash. “Up you go.” 

She tossed her head back, laughing loudly. “What are you doing?” 

“Taking you someplace you won’t get into any more trouble.” I moved the crowd as she rambled on about people walking on the ceiling. I readjusted her, and answered her questions as I carried upstairs to my loft. I figured at least there she couldn’t be sucking people souls out.  

There was not just a small part of me that was greatly amused by the way she kicked her feet and how she chattered on. I kept glancing down at her, realizing that I’d never seen her so relaxed and happy. It was a damn shame that it took sucking out to soul to see her this way.  

When I reached the hallway that led to my loft, she squealed as she clapped her hands, her gazed fastened on the two hellhounds guarding the door. I do want to pet them! They’re so tiny!” 

I sighed. Right now, they looked like teacup dogs. “I’ve been told size doesn’t matter.” 

“Someone lied to you,” she retorted. 

“Ah, that may be the case.” I gently placed Layla on her feet, but kept an around her. “Do keep in my mind that looks can be deceiving.”
She grinned “I could carry it in a purse, like… like one of those expensive purses.” 

Both hounds had rose and were standing, their ears back and growling. Admittedly, it looked ridiculous. “I don’t think they like they sound of that.” 

Layla laughed.  “What are they going to do? Bite my ankles?” 

I tucked her into my side, unable to ignore the way she seemed to fit perfectly under my arm. I sensed the moment she realized that too, and my jaw locked down. She turned sideways, her pale blue eyes hazy as she placed her hands on my chest. My heart jumped. 

My dogs did not like that. 

One squeaked and the other let out a Godzilla sized roar. Layla whipped around as the hellhounds quickly revealed their true form. They were huge, the size of bears, with jagged fangs.   

“Holy shit,” Layla whispered. 

Sit down,” I demandedblocking Layla.  “Vos mos non vulnero suus! 

Immediately, they backed away and sat. The hounds were a wee bit frightening looking, but they were smart and loyal.  

I looked over my shoulder at Roth, smirking.  “You’re right. Size does matter. They won’t harm you. Come on.” I offered my hand. 

Her small hand folded into mine as I led her to the door. Bluebelle, the goofier of the two hounds, flopped onto his back. I knelt, rubbing his belly. “That’s a good boy. Who’s the good boy?” 

“What’re their names?” she asked.  

 “This one is Bluebelle and that one,” I gestured at the one that smelled had been smelling her leg, “is Flower.” 

She wrinkled her nose. “What is it with you and the movie Bambi?” 

I stood up. “It’s an American classic.” 

Her eyes closed as she smiled widely. “You’re ridiculous.” 

My gaze drifted over her upturn face, and I stepped forward, my hands rising to clasp her cheeks. The desire to touch her, to bring our mouths together slammed into my gut. With great effort, I lowered my hand to hers again and squeezed it. “Open your eyes, shortie.” 

Thick lashes lifted.  “Why?” 

“You need to see where you’re going.” I pulled her into the room, flipping on the light as I closed the door behind us.  

Layla floated away from me, kicking off her shoes and then off went her socks. My brows rose at that. Cute. Hell. It was cute, the way she wiggled her toes in the carpet. 

 “I think I’m hungry,” she announced.  

I was starving, but not for food. “I’ll have the food sent up here.” My voice sounded gruff as I turned away, pulling my shirt off and tossing it aside. “I had a little bit of everything made. Hamburgers. Fries. Chicken tenders…” Noticing that Layla was just standing there, I stopped. A warm shiver tip-toed over my skin. The way she looked at me got under my skin. The hunger I felt was in her stare.  

I smiled.  “See anything you like?” 

Without realizing what I was doing, I ended up standing a few feet in front of her. My skin tingled with the possibility of contact. “Sorry. I can’t stand the smell of smoke. Does it bother you?” 

She shook her head. “No.” 

“Then you won’t mind shedding this?” I knew I shouldn’t, but when did I ever not do something I wanted? I wrapped my fingers around the strings dangling off the neckline of her sweater. “It reeks of Sucky and Inky.” 

That much was true. Sort of. I just really wanted it off.  

What I was doing was dangerous and stupid, and I knew that, but I worked the zipper down. The back of my hand brushed over the skin below her throat and her breasts rose with a deep breath. I let the sweater fall to the floor. 

And then I looked my fill.  

Layla was wearing some sort of thin tank top that clung to ever swell and dip. If I thought I was hungry before, I was famished—famished for her. Sometimes I didn’t even know why she affected me so much. I could have anyone I wanted and there’d be no strings, no worries. But with Layla… there was everything.  

“Pretty.” I dragged my finger over the lace edging. “What is it called?” 

I knew damn well what it was called.  

“A …camisole.” She paused. “Roth?” 

I dragged my gaze to hers. An eternity stretched out. “Layla?” 

Her mouth opened, but then she jerked and looked down. Nitro was at her feet and distracted, she reached for it, stopping seconds before she picked it up.  “No. I remember you. Bad kitty.” 

White fur stood up on Nitro’s back. It hissed and the flew under the bed. “I see you’ve learned from your previous mistakes, but I think you’ve upset Nitro.” 

“Those kittens have rabies.” She rose and then stumbled to the side.  

I caught her by placing a hand on her shoulder. Concern flashed through me.  “Are you okay?” 

“Yeah… I’m fine. This happens after…” She trailed off, staring at the bed.  

“After feeding?” I finished for her. Her gaze swung back to mine, and she shivered, not in a good way. “You didn’t take her soul, shortie.” 

 Her lower lip trembled.  “She was okay, right?” 


“And if she was down there, that meant she was bad, right?” 

Somehow I was closer, my lips near her cheek. “Yes.” 

“I don’t want to think about this.” 

“You don’t have to. Why don’t you sit down?” I offered.  

Layla danced away from me, practically power-bombing the bed. She immediately curled up, and I busied myself with ordering the food, chuckling when she rolled onto her back and starting singing.  

“Take me down… to Paradise City where the grass is something… and the boys are pretty…”  

Shaking my head, I leaned against the wall as I waited for the food and just… just watched her. Layla’s version of Paradise City was a hot mess, but Hell, in those moments, I felt… well, I didn’t feel like Prince Asharoth. I wasn’t sure how I felt.  

When Cayman showed up with the food, he shot me a look. I promptly showed him my middle finger and then took the food from him.  

“Whatever,” he muttered, whirling around. “It’s her funeral.” 

The words chilled me as I brought the tray over to the bed.  

 Layla sat up, frowning. “Did I fall asleep?” It had felt like seconds had passed when I’d closed my eyes.  

I laughed as I sat the tray between us.  “No. You were sitting here singing.” 

“I was?”  

“Yep. Paradise City.” I smiled. “I think I’m rubbing off on you.” 

Layla smiled back, as if we were sharing some kind of great secret. After I removed the lids, we demolished the food and while I cleaned up, Layla laid back and patted her stomach. “My belly is happy.” 

“I bet it is.” I washed my hands and then came back to the bed. Her eyes were closed again, pink lips parted. Sitting down next to her, a placed a hand on her shoulder. “How are you feeling?” I asked, because I knew that she usually got sick after feeding. It had yet to happen.  

She rewarded me with a wide smile.  “Good. Great. Happy. Maybe a little tired, but I feel like—” 

“I get the point.” I laughedDamn, I wished… I wished she was like this when…. None of it mattered. Not at anymore. I tilted my head as I picked up the strands of her pale hair, spreading them across the pillow. I liked they way the looked there. “I wish you would feel this way later,” I said mostly to myself. “But you won’t.” 

My gaze tracked over the long length of her hair. “You’re going to hate yourself after this, even though you didn’t hurt that woman. To her, it will be like having a hangover after a bad night of partying. And she won’t miss that tiny part of her soul that you took. Not that she missed any part of her soul that she willingly gave for every atrocious sin she committed.” An invisible force settled on my shoulders as I looked at her.  It had a name. Guilt. What a shitty feeling, I realized. “I didn’t mean for you to do this when I brought you here. Sucky and Inky should’ve stayed away from you. I should’ve made sure of that.”  

I took a deep breath. “I just wanted you to see how the other half lives. Not those two bastards. They are bad news, but not… not all of us are like that. I wanted you to see that. For you to see that what’s inside you… I lowered my hand, tapping my finger on the center of her stomach. “Isn’t bad, no matter what that asshole of a clan leader says to you or how he makes you feel.” 

“Same to you,” she replied immediately. 

“What does that mean?” 

She lifted her hand and tapped her finger off my chest. “You are not as bad as you like to think. You are capable of acts of great kindness.” 

I snorted. “You’re high.”
“Am not.” Her tap turned to a poke. “You’ve done things that humans with souls wouldn’t do. You—” 

I caught her wrist, pulling her hand away. “Everything I do is for a purely selfish reason. Trust me on that.” She had no idea. Like right now. I could’ve taken her home. I could’ve called Zayne. But I brought her up here, under the guise of keeping her out of trouble, because I was selfish. Even Cayman saw that.  

With a burst of strength, she tugged on my arm, pulling me down so that I had to catch myself before I toppled over. We were close now, and a small smile crossed my lips as Bambi’s head appear on her shoulder. I missed that damn snake, but I liked the idea of something that was a part of me now a part of her. I lifted my gaze to hers. 

“Kiss me,” she said. 

Taking a punch in the face would’ve been easier to deal with. I tensed against my body’s immediate reaction. “Layla…” 

She tugged my arm again, and I let her—I let her draw me closer, so close that when she spoke the two words again, our lips nearly touched.  “Kiss me.” 

I closed my eyes. “You don’t know what you’re asking for.” 

“Yes, I do.” 

I needed to put some between us. I could only deny this for so long. I wasn’t good. I wasn’t even freaking human. I was going against my nature. That would only work for so long. “You don’t. You’re really—” 

Layla flipped me—actually flipped me. I was stunned as I hit my back, the bed bouncing under me with the force. Before I could blink, she swung a leg over my hip and straddled me, her hands pressing down on my chest.  

The weight of her and where she decided to sit sent of bolt of pure lust through my veins. It knocked a hole right through my chest, seized my heart and stole all the air. I gripped her hips, to lift her up, but I ended up holding her there.   

“God.” I kicked my head back. “I really, really like you this way.” 

“Then what’s the problem?”  

Layla rocked her hips as she trailed her fingers down my bare stomach, and a groan rolled out of me. What was the problem with this? My grip tightened. “I can’t really think of one right now.” 

“Good.” She lowered her head. 

Common sense returned at the last moment. I captured her wrists, using her arms to hold her. The words were painful to utter. “This… this isn’t going to happen, baby.” 

She tried to get closer, but I held her back. Some of the giddiness faded from her expression. “You… you don’t want me?” 

I was done for.  

Turning the tables, I rolled her onto her back and followed, stretching her arms above her head. “Don’t want you?” I pressed the lower half of my body between her legs, letting her know and feel exactly want I wanted. “I think you know the answer to that.” 

Her cheeks flushed.  

This… this was bad move. She hooked her leg around mine, and that brought us closer together. Sparks exploded over my skin, and I groaned again. She was going to be the final death of me.   

But it was a death I’d run face first into.  

“I want you so badly it’s like a hunger that gnaws at me endlessly. It doesn’t go away.” I dipped my head to her neck, inhaling deeply. “You have no fucking clue.” 

“Then do something about it,” she whispered.  

I lifted my head and my chest rose and fell rapidly “Layla…. Please…” I don’t even know what I was pleading with her to do. To stop? To act?  

Layla acted. 

She stretched up and her lips brushed mine. That was all. A slight caress, and my control snapped like a band pulled too tight. My mouth was on hers before the next heart beat and I kissed her like I’d been dying to do from the moment I was let out of the hellish pit.  

I kissed her. I tasted her and she tasted me as I slid my hand down her arm and then down her side. My fingers found their way under the hem of her camisole. The feel of her bare skin was like the lick of flames. She moved under me, both legs around mine as she lifted her hips. Sensation pounded into me. It was mindless and it was full of pleasure and anticipation, but damn, it rode deeper than that as we moved our bodies together on the bed, as our breaths mingled and our hearts thundered.  

“You feel too good,” I told her, kissing her again. “You taste too good to be true.” 

She pulled against my hold at her wrists, and I knew she wanted to touch me, and I wanted to touch more of her. I wanted to strip away everything separating us. I wanted to gather her close and to keep— 

It’s her funeral. 

 Cayman’s words were like being doused with a bucket of ice. What in the Hell was I doing? Layla was high. Not to mention that fact that I literally held her life in my hands.  

I tore myself away from her, breaking the hold of her legs.  

 “Roth—” She rose, having no idea what a dangerous temptation she presented. 

“Don’t” My hand shook as I raised it. “God, I can’t believe I’m even saying this, but don’t come closer. Don’t move.” 

I stood and stalked away from the bed, thrusting my hands through my hair. What was I doing? I was a demon. I did want I wanted, and Layla… she wanted me, high or not, she hungered for me just as badly as I died of want for her. Lowering my arms, I looked over my shoulder at her. Her camisole was pushed up, past her bra. She looked thoroughly kissed and she looked like she wanted so very much more.  

Even as the baser part of me clamored to get out and take control, I spun around and went into the bathroom, slamming the door behind me. My legs gave out and my ass hit the tiled floor and my back was pressed against the cool door.  

 Closing my eyes, my head hung from my shoulders, my arms limp on my bent knees. Most days I didn’t even know what or who I was anymore, but I did know one thing. Like.., like Zayne, I would do anything to protect her. I already had.  

I’d given her up… and I couldn’t forget that, no matter how much it killed me. 


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About Me

#1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, hanging out with her husband and her Border Jack Apollo.

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