Lily O’Connell, a succubus, owns Lily Bound, an elite sex salon in the Blood Night District of Seattle. When a client is murdered in her house, a patch of skin missing from his chest, she knows there’s something evil afoot. Then comes the news that the Souljacker—a tattoo-artist-turned-vampire—has escaped from an institution for criminally deranged Supernaturals. And he’s hunting and killing everyone he has ever inked.
With one of the Souljacker’s tattoos on her thigh and nowhere else to turn, Lily hires Archer Desmond, a chaos demon and PI, to help her track down the vampire before he finds her and her friends. But Lily didn’t plan to fall for Archer. And as the old tales say—a succubus who falls in love will destroy the heart of the one she seeks to claim.
About the Author
Actress and director Cassandra Campbell has narrated nearly two hundred audiobooks and has received multiple Audie Awards and more than twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman.
Read an Excerpt
A Lily Bound Novel
By Yasmine Galenorn
Diversion Publishing Corp.Copyright © 2017 Yasmine Galenorn
All rights reserved.
I leaned against the side of the sliding glass door, staring out into the cold Seattle night as I waited for Jolene Whitehorse to arrive. A brisk wind was blowing off Puget Sound. Even though the doors and windows were closed, the chill still seeped in through the glass. Beneath the snow that drifted down to cover the world, the streets were busy with people hurrying home before it got too dark. Or hurrying to work before the midnight curfew set in. Everywhere, people were rushing to get under cover before the vampires came out to prowl.
I pushed back my hunger, but once again the gnawing force whispered in my ear, urging me to go out on the hunt. Glistening drops of perspiration clung to my forehead and I wiped them away with the back of my hand, then absently clutched my robe tighter. I should have gotten dressed. Or called Dani or Nate. I should have called Wynter to let her know what was going on. In fact, I could think of a million things I should have been doing but, at that moment, I felt as frozen as the icicles hanging off the eaves of the house.
The Wild Hunt was on the rampage, racing overhead under the new moon. The sound of their horns reverberated through the astral. They were terrifying and yet ... they called to me, enticing me to join them. One thing was for sure. When the Fae decided to pull out the stops and ride, everybody felt the world tremor. Especially night demons like me.
Not that I was a true demon. No, I was fully Fae. Fae on the dark side, you might say. I was a denizen of the Winter Court, though I mostly answered to myself. The Hunt would always summon me, though. I was a succubus, and the chase was in my blood.
The satyrs echoed their war cries, howling it up in the Underground. They came out to party when the Hunt was on the move, and I could feel it like a pulse, rippling through the air. Their hunger acted like an aphrodisiac, and I caught my breath, quivering from the cries of the wild boys. I wanted nothing more than to join them, to get down and dirty with the boys of the hood. I hadn't fed in a couple of days, and the thought of a muscular satyr with plenty of chi made me salivate.
But then, like a dose of ice water, the memory of what was waiting in my salon washed over me, and my libido took a nosedive. Because upstairs, Tygur Jones was lying dead on my floor, sucked dry by a vampire who had managed to somehow get through my wards, and there was nothing I could do about it. With one last glance into the icy darkness, I abandoned my thoughts of the rave playing out in the streets of the Blood Night District, and turned, reluctantly deciding to face the dirge sounding through my own life.
* * *
Mr. Whiskers mewed at me as I glanced at the clock. I had called Jolene twenty minutes ago, but after I told her what had happened, the urgency fled from her voice.
"We'll be there as soon as we can, but since this was a vampire execution, it's lower priority. You know that. My partner and I have to corral some of the horny boys first. They're tearing it up downtown and scaring the tourists. Buzz me again if the vampire returns. Otherwise, we'll be there as soon as we can."
Vampire execution. Also known as VE, it was the new catchall phrase for any death due to the fangboy brigade. Jolene's answer didn't make me happy, but since the vampire had fled, there was nothing more I could do other than settle into a chair and try to relax.
"So, what should I do, Whisky?"
My nickname for Mr. Whiskers had stuck, but he only put up with it from me. Anybody else, he'd flick his tail at and ignore. And considering Mr. Whiskers's true nature, being ignored was probably safest. Though I couldn't prove it, I had the feeling the cat had retained some of his original nature.
He jumped up and I groaned as the twenty-pound Bengal sprawled across my lap. But as he stared into my eyes, I realized he was trying to tell me something. He seemed concerned, but I couldn't quite read what he was upset about. My ability to do so flickered in and out, depending on the day. He was probably upset about the vampire. Vampires and cats hated each other, because a cat could always recognize one.
"I'm sorry, Whisky, but I don't understand. I guess I'm just too tense to focus."
Fidgeting, I glanced at the stairs leading to the second floor, wondering if I should go check Tygur again. The thought that I might have been wrong preyed on my mind. What if I had missed his pulse? What if he was still alive, but up there, dying right now?
Suddenly panicking, I unceremoniously pushed Whisky off my lap and raced up the stairs. But as I softly approached the open door, I hesitated. I had dealt with death before — far more often than I wanted to admit, but this was different. For one thing, this was in my home. For another ... well ... vampires.
Gathering my courage, I swung into the room.
Tygur was sprawled on the floor, his face powder white, his throat — bloody. The tall, brawny-shouldered weretiger with tawny hair that barely cleared his shoulders was normally hot to trot, and not afraid of anything. But now, he lay pale and still.
Glancing around to make sure we were alone, I dropped to my hands and knees and inched forward until I was close enough to touch him.
Tygur looked so pale. I brushed my hand along his face, shuddering. He had the smoothest skin of any man I knew, but now the texture was that of cracked leather, typical of a vampire kill. The blood on his throat had already coagulated, and two gaping holes marred his neck, but the only sign of blood on the floor was where it had trickled down the side to drip on the carpet. My hopes evaporated. He was really dead.
"Oh, Tygur ..." I let out a slow sigh.
I wished I could cry, or feel anything except the numb disbelief that welled up. But I was a succubus, and it was a matter of self-preservation to build strong walls. I did my best to avoid any emotional entanglements with anybody I slept with.
The truth was that I genuinely liked Tygur Jones. He was a great guy, and we'd had a lot of fun together. But the reality? He was my client. Or rather, had been, until tonight. A wealthy client. A decent guy. But a client, nonetheless. Even after several years of servicing him, I realized that I couldn't call him a friend, and that made me sad.
I started to close his eyes — I wanted to show some sign of respect — but then stopped. Jolene had instructed me not to touch the body any more than I already had. Not that it would make any difference. More often than not, vampire executions were slapped under the cold-case label as soon as they hit the computer.
Vampires were cunning and powerful, and they pulled all the strings in the Blood Night District. Breathers who chose to live in the area either listened to the old timers, or they learned the hard way. Buy the wards for your house and business. Travel in groups at night. Keep to the curfews. Stay away from the vampire clubs unless you have a free pass to get in.
As I stood, I noticed something that had previously escaped my attention. A strip of skin had been flayed from his chest. Grimacing, I bent down to take a closer look. Sure enough, someone had excised a neat rectangle of skin, exposing the raw, glistening muscle below.
"What the hell? Why would a vampire want skin?"
Something niggled at the back of my mind — a memory — but I couldn't quite recall it. After a moment, I gave up. It would come back if it was important. As I turned toward the door, it hit me that there was nothing I could do. Nothing I could say would bring Tygur back, and stalling wouldn't help. I exited the room, shutting the door quietly behind me.CHAPTER 2
Once I was in the hallway, I texted Nate, asking him to come over. I needed moral support, and I knew Dani — my best friend — was busy.
Whisky was waiting for me. He batted at the hem of my gown, and I realized that I'd better get dressed. He followed me into my personal bedroom and parked himself in front of the closet.
"Come on, boy. You have to move so I can get in there." Disgruntled, I shifted him away from the closet door. Owning a sex salon suddenly seemed more of a burden than a boon. More often than not, I enjoyed my work, but when I really thought about it, most of my clientele were powerful Weres, with powerful enemies, and sometimes those enemies tried to kill them. What if the assassin had managed to succeed his way right into my house?
Or what ... what if it was somebody angry at me? I had left a trail of pissed-off people behind me over the years. Angry wives, outraged husbands, ticked-off clients who didn't think they should have to pay my rates. Not to mention the revenge-bent families who had lost loved ones when I was younger and didn't know how to control my hunger.
Shivering, I changed clothes, choosing a pair of black jeans and a purple tank top. I slipped on a pair of leather ankle boots and shrugged on a lace cardigan. Pulling the kanzashi out of my chignon, I swept the shoulder-length strands back into a sleek ponytail. My hair was dark burgundy and was as much a part of me as my steel-gray eyes. I was wearing the silver dragon-scale pentacle that I never took off. I touched it, softly. The necklace was protective, and I realized that it had done its job. Silver alone wouldn't completely ward off vampires. Silver from dragon scales? Yes.
With a last look in the mirror, I felt ready to face Jolene. I headed down to the kitchen to wait.
* * *
Nate knocked on my front door a few minutes after I had finished dressing.
My next door neighbor, Nate was also one of my best friends. He was also my computer guru, and kept my website up to date. Nate was human and I had never slept with him. I never would.
Hell, I had never even offered him a backrub. My touch could spark off my glamour, even when I wasn't trying. All it would take would be one little mistake and he'd be hooked. And since Nate was like the brother I never had, I wasn't about to risk hurting him.
As he bounded up the steps, I motioned him in. "Get in here. I need backup. Life just got weird on me, and not in a good way."
"This, from a succubus? What happened? I thought you were working tonight." His startlingly blue eyes met my gaze, and his tousled hair told me he'd been sleeping. Nate kept odd hours and was always on call for his company — Modal Technologies.
"I was supposed to but ... just get your ass in here, Percival, and I'll tell you." Nate's first name was actually Percival, but he hated it. I used it when I meant business or wanted to watch him sputter. We were that kind of friends. "I need the company right now."
His presence would give me something to focus on other than Tygur's dead body. I busied myself by putting on the kettle and finding the Orange Spice tea.
"So what's up? You look like you saw a ghost." Nate leaned back in his chair, propping his feet up on the cedar chest I kept near the kitchen.
He was tall and lanky with black shaggy hair, and he always had a five o'clock shadow. He had a roguish look that should have won the girls over big time. But Nate was challenged in the romance department and had zero self-confidence in himself as a lover. I had tried to help boost his ego over the years, but it seemed a lost cause. I kept trying, though, because he was one of the good guys. He deserved to find the love of his life and settle down.
"For starters, there's a dead weretiger in my salon. Tygur Jones."
He slammed his feet to the floor, sitting up so fast he almost tipped his chair over. "What?"
"Oh, it gets better. A vampire killed him. A vampire who should not have managed to get into my house because I recently bought new wards. I have to keep them up to date given that I'm a business and have to make certain my clients are safe. Do you realize what this is going to do to my reputation?"
"How do you know it was a vampire?" Nate shuddered. He liked vampires about as much as the rest of us. Which was: Not so much. Especially among the human community.
I pulled out a bag of macaroons and began to arrange them on a plate. "The two gaping holes in Tygur's neck tell me so. And the lack of blood on the floor."
"How did it get in?"
"That's what I'd like to know. I've called the cops and they'll be here in a few minutes. Meanwhile, I'm going to pour us some tea and talk to you so that I don't start imagining that Tygur Jones is up there, being animated into a zombie or some sort of nightmare like that."
"Can that really happen?" Nate tried to avoid facing the darker sides of the supernatural community unless he was forced to.
"It most certainly could. Someone like Dani could bring him back and run him around like a puppet on a string." I poured the tea and set one of the mugs in front of him, taking care not to spill it. "So, what have you been up to today?"
He stared at me. "You have a murdered client upstairs, and you're asking me what I did today? Lily ..."
I shrugged. "Listen, what do you expect me to do? Fall apart? Burst into tears? First, the vampire isn't in the house anymore. I saw it leave. Second, I don't dare touch the body till the cops go over the room. Third, I can't really leave until the cops get here. No, the only thing I can do is try to come down from my hunger, because I haven't fed for a couple days. I was waiting for tonight so I could make it especially ..."
I paused, leaning against the counter as I tried to focus. I'd been prepared to feed on Tygur but that wasn't going to happen now. The shock of his death had staved off the hunger, but it would be back soon, harder than before.
"You need to feed." Nate frowned.
"Yes, Captain Obvious." I rubbed my forehead. "I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound churlish. But you're right — I need to feed, however that can't happen for a little while. Until then? Cookies and tea and conversation with you will have to do."
He grinned. "I could be insulted, but I'm not."
"Don't be. You wouldn't survive me and you know it, babe." I gave him a wan smile.
He played with the mug, the corner of his lip tipping up with that quirky half smile he had. "Trust me, I know. You're careful around me and I appreciate it. We don't have the same kinks. I couldn't go where you do. And I don't think I'd want to."
"Good. So talk to me. Take my mind off of Tygur and my hunger. Help me focus."
The wash of energy unsettled me, so strong that I could barely control it. I had never let it go this long before, not for years. Now I realized what a stupid move it had been, even to satisfy a client.
Nate sipped his tea and then wiped his mouth. "Good stuff. Get it at Haverish's?"
Tea. Focus on the tea. "Always. He has the best tea in the market."
"I should go there sometime. But White Tower Center makes me nervous, even though I live in the Blood Night District. I don't like going where humans aren't all that welcome. Would you pick me up some next time you're there?" As I nodded, Nate glanced at me. "Do you have any idea who the vampire was?"
"Not a clue. Tygur was a powerful man, and he had a lot of enemies." I stopped, as the image of the skinned area on his chest flashed through my mind. Maybe this wasn't just some power-hungry assassination. But I didn't want to worry Nate, so I just said, "I don't know. So, tell me about your day."
At that moment, the doorbell rang. Relieved, I answered.
Jolene Whitehorse was a werewolf. Tall and willowy, her short, edgy hair was the brown of soft earth and her eyes were golden, ringed with black. Before entering the kitchen, she took off her hat and dusted the snow off her shoulders where it had accumulated on her walk from the car. Jolene and I went way back.
She had joined the Paranormal Investigations Unit shortly after a falling out in our friendship. The cops who worked for the PIU were top notch and they understood the nature of people like Tygur and me because they all lived on the fringe themselves. Meaning every single officer assigned to the unit was either Fae or Were. Though we had patched up our argument, we had never become close again. She didn't approve of my business, and I didn't like feeling judged.
Her partner was a junior member of the force. Another Were, I guessed.
"Hey Lily, it's been awhile." Jolene was methodical. That, I appreciated. She never panicked, just went about her business in a calm, almost taciturn manner. She was good with a gun, hard to startle and, unlike most werewolves, she didn't submit to the alpha of her pack, which was why she'd been kicked out. She was the original lone wolf.
Excerpted from Souljacker by Yasmine Galenorn. Copyright © 2017 Yasmine Galenorn. Excerpted by permission of Diversion Publishing Corp..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the first in the Lily Bound series (currently this series is on hold because the author does not have her writes to the series after leaving Indy publishing, but hopes to continue it in the future). I’m not sure I would have read this book, because it may never be serialized, but I got it as a gift and found out later about the series on hiatus. I had it, so I figured why not. I really hope things work out because I really enjoyed this book. The characters are well developed, and the story runs smoothly, and never has a dull a moment, and surprisingly a lot less sexual romps than I expected, considering it’s about a succubus. Soul Jacker introduces the reader to Lily, who is a Succubus and uses her “Private Salon” to sate her need for chi, or energy. Her life has been quiet for a while until a client is found dead in her salon. If that wasn’t enough, she discovers that the murderer has ties to not only her but several of her friends and acquaintances are in danger because they all had once gotten a tattoo from The Soul Jacker. Then enters P.I. Archer, and Lily’s life as she knows it begins to unravel, and not all in bad ways… I’m still glad, continued or not, to have read this book. I really enjoyed and think it’s worth reading.
Great story enjoied and can not wait for next book
Lily is a great new heroine! I'm excited to see the continued saga between she and her friends with the new antagonists of the series.