Lost Wages of Sin - Excerpt

From Sinners and Saints Book I: Lost Wages of Sin

A hot flash of anger raced down Ava’s spine. This was so like him. Show up, distract her, and ruin the one solace the night had given her. Glad as she might be to see a familiar face, her frustration needed a channel, and he’d just stolen the only one in sight. “Dante!”

He tossed her a cocky grin. “Snooze you lose, darling,” Dante said, seizing Demon Two by the head and giving it a good snap. It crumbled to his feet without a fight.

“Son of a bitch.”

He rocked proudly on his heels. “You’re welcome.”

“What the hell, Dante?”

“Looks to me like I just saved your life.”

Ava gestured furiously. “Saved my life?”

“Glad we agree.”

“Those were my demons.”

He shrugged. “Weren’t killing them fast enough.”

“That was on purpose.”

“Likely story. You can admit it, now. It’s just us.”

“Admit it?”

“Yeah. That they were too much for you to handle.”

Ava snorted, flexing her fist. Times like this it was difficult to keep from showing the overconfident pest just how much power she wielded...but then again, she was in enough trouble already without running the risk of exposure.

“I’ll give you something to handle.”

“That a promise?”

“You don’t wanna find out.”

“You’re a spoilsport.” Dante shook his head. “I just helped your ungrateful ass, putting myself...” He paused and slapped a hand across his heart, his eyes wide with false sincerity. “...at great personal risk.”

“Too bad they didn’t wipe the floor with you. Your ego’s due for a downgrade.”

He scowled. “Is it too much to hope for a thank you?”

“I didn't ask you to do anything!”

“Fair enough. I suppose next time I'll just let them have their way with you.”

There was no end in sight, and Ava had neither the patience nor the inclination to talk herself in circles. Thus, rather than taking a further dive down a verbal labyrinth, she grounded herself with a long sigh. The pressure on her chest didn’t alleviate, but it would with time. Ending an argument without bloodshed was something knowing Dante had forced her to learn.

Perhaps she liked him so much because they fought so well.

“Okay,” she conceded. “Okay. What are you doing here?”


“I don't want to fight.”

“Since when?”

“Since now. What are you doing here?”

“It’s my concern,” he replied indignantly. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m on the lamb.”

Dante nodded tightly. “That’s what I heard. What’d you do this time?”

Fell in love with an angel. Got the holy treatment.

Ava’s face flamed, her skin growing itchy. It’d be a cold day in hell before she gave Dante that bit of blackmail fodder--and she happened to know the last cold day had occurred in 1908, when the Cubs won the world series. “None of your business.”

His brows perked mischievously. “Nothing to do with a certain angel?”

A long, tired groan rumbled through her throat, her head swinging downward. “Fuck,” she muttered. “How’d you hear?”

“Demon falling for a celestial one? Not much chance of keeping that in.”

“Of course not.”

“There’s a story there.” Dante took an eager step forward. “Come on. Talk to daddy.”

“Not a chance.”

He bounced impatiently. “What do you have to lose?”

“Except my dignity?”

“You’re in Mississippi and word on the wire is there’s a hefty price on your head. Plus, the last man you had between your legs couldn’t find a clit if the salvation of mankind depended on it.”

“Fair point.” She sighed and ran a hand through her hair. “Wanna grab a beer?”

“Thought you’d never ask.”