Marteeka's Dreams

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Are you ready for a new kind of hero?



A Shadow Demon, hell-bent on protecting his city…

Alexei Petrov has more money than he can ever spend in many lifetimes, but his life is more than glitz and glamour. Behind the scenes, Alex is part of an elite group working in the shadows, hunting down those who would prey on the most vulnerable in the city. Which is how he found the most desirable women he’s ever seen.

A young mother in fear for the life of her child…

Merrily fled with her daughter with death on her heels. She has no idea what her father has done, but he’s managed to throw her and little Bellarose into the middle of a war. Scared, hunted, Merrily gets caught in the crossfire of what looks like a gang war, but it’s something far more sinister. A desperate flight lands her in the arms of Alexie Petrov. Literally. And the man is everything she knows she can never have but wants with every fiber of her being.

Nowhere to hide…

Even tucked safely away in the home of the richest, most powerful man in the city of Rockwell, Merrily’s past finally catches up with her. Bellarose’s father has come calling, and hell is hot on his heels. Fleeing seems like her only option, but Alex is just as dangerous as anything headed her way. And far too seductive and possessive for her peace of mind. Though she knows he will only break her heart, Merrily can’t resist the lust that burns between them and soon finds herself more than infatuated with the man. Needing to prove her worth, Merrily knows she’s up for the challenge. Welcomes it. But just who are the demons in the night? And why does she welcome this one’s embrace?


EXCERPT!
"Son of a bitch, she's good," Giovanni muttered in awe, sweat pouring from his face. Alex tried not to react, but wasn't quite sure he suppressed his smirk. For the last week, Giovanni had put Merrily through a battery of tests to determine her proficiency with software, hardware, and programming. Giovanni had been more than a little condescending when they'd first started. The man truly had no idea how to behave in the company of people he didn't know. Merrily hadn't once pushed back, doing anything he asked of her without complaint or comment.
Currently, she was supposed to be trying to hack him. Gio had set up a controlled environment in a computer she was supposed to break into. He'd set her up across the room so neither could see what the other was doing and sent her to work. Two hours into it, Gio had stopped smirking and throwing little digs her way and started actively trying to keep her out. Five hours later, he’d started swearing under his breath. Both of them had fingers flying over the keys, but in contrast to Giovanni, Merrily had a serene visage, actually humming to herself as if thoroughly enjoying the experience.
"Ha," Gio exclaimed softly. "Thought you had me, didn't you…" He trailed off a second before the alarm on his real system started blaring an angry, urgent claxon.
"What the fuck?" Azriel pulled his gun, tracking around the room, looking for an intruder.
"Oh, come on!" Giovanni jumped up, knocking his chair over. He hastily hopped behind what he lovingly referred to as his "command center," which consisted of a wall of monitors and his work station. All the monitors were flashing an angry red with the words "SECURITY BREACH" blazoned in big white, flashing letters. Giovanni looked around, confused. "Why is it doing that? It's not supposed to flash on the monitors or make such a racket. What the fuck?"
The monitor in the very center switched to a black screen with code in white lettering flying up it in a blur. "No, no, no! That's impossible!" Giovanni pressed a few buttons, his gaze focused squarely on the monitor until he finally dove under the desk and unplugged the whole thing. The silence was deafening. The monitors dark.
"Uh, what just happened?" Alex asked. He'd also pulled his gun, unsure of what to do but making damned sure he was ready if there was a need. It wasn't until that very moment he realized he'd sprinted across the room to cover Merrily. He'd done it without thought or telling Azriel what he was doing.
Giovanni crawled out from under the desk to collapse in his chair. Sweat streamed down his face, his red/orange hair a disheveled mess. A stunned expression met Alex when they locked gazes. "I got… hacked." The voice that had been filled with sarcasm and cutting comments was now shaken and more than a little awed. "I got hacked," he repeated. "I… got hacked."
"All right there, buddy," Azriel said, helping Giovanni to stand. "I think this calls for a double malt. Right this way." He urged Gio to the bar in the corner of the room and poured him a shot before swigging from the bottle himself. Gio downed his with a gasp and held his glass out for more. Once filled, he downed the second one with less drama before wiping his mouth with his sleeve.
Once more, he looked at Azriel as if he were in a daze. "I got hacked."
"Yeah, I got that," Alex said. "But who…" He glanced at Merrily, who was leaning back in her chair, fingers laced together over her belly, that serene, innocent expression firmly in place. Too innocent.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Shadow Demon: Along Came A Demon... SNEAKY PEEK


What struck Merrily the most was the difference in his appearance. He was, of course, in an impeccable tuxedo that molded his large, muscular frame lovingly, obviously tailored to perfection. His broad shoulders tapered to his narrow hips. He'd been good looking before but now   he was devastating. That was only part of it. His expression was completely closed off, giving away nothing of what he was thinking. It had been much the same way before, but his eyes had been at least somewhat expressive as he stared into hers. Now, they were cold. Calculating. As if he saw and heard as much as she had and was making a mental note on every single indiscretion and how to use it against the transgressor. He might look like he was there drinking and having a grand time without a care in the world, but Alex was working that room even harder than she was. The only difference was, he intended to do something with the information he gleaned. Either that, or he was looking for something in particular.
Their eyes met and he held her gaze steadily. A tall, thin blonde draped herself over him, as if he was all hers. Merrily had no idea if they were together or not and that made her blush, turning away. What if she'd kissed another woman's man? She was many things, but she'd never overstep like that.
She tried to keep moving, finding the pattern she was supposed to follow again away from Alex, but people kept snagging food from her tray. With any luck, she'd run out soon.
"I don't understand why you don't use this fundraiser for the local animal shelter, Alex," the blonde pouted. She'd burrowed so close to his side, she was practically fused there. "The city has enough homeless shelters. Besides, who wants that element in our city anyway?" She purred her stinging, insensitive comment, as if she were so much better than people like Rose and Merrily.
"There are always those in need, Victoria," Alex said with a shrug. "People are more willing to take in a stray cat than a person."
"Maybe so, but shouldn't they be getting jobs or something? I mean, handouts only mean more handouts." There were a few murmurs, but no one outright agreed or disagreed with her.
"Spoken like a person who paid more for her shoes than she did for her admission donation." Merrily didn't realize she'd said it out loud until all eyes settled on her.
Victoria looked down her nose at Merrily, giving her a disdainful, scornful look. "I'll have you know, I'm on the board of directors for the Housing the Homeless committee. I guarantee you I know more about the city homeless shelters than you do, girl."
Merrily knew she should just duck her head and leave. Keep her mouth shut. To her horror, her mouth had other plans. "I know every shelter in this city but one is currently filled to capacity on one of the coldest nights of the year. The only one with any room is one of the scariest places I've ever been in." Before she could get her wayward mouth under control, she added, "But I'm sure with your superior knowledge of homeless shelters, you know all about the drug dealers and pimps taking over during the night. Why, I bet your sleeping bag is down there right in the middle of the room where you can be available to anyone who wants to talk to you about it after you leave here." She tilted her head. "Do you even know where all the homeless shelters are? Because I can name every one and tell you which street they sit on and the landmarks surrounding them."
Again, no one seemed to know whether to outright disagree so they kept quiet, looking to Alex for guidance. Merrily wanted to sink into the floor and disappear. She was more foolish than her mother had ever thought she was.
Alex gave a slight smile. "Our little Mary over there has yet to learn her place in my home, but I'd say she was well on her way." He didn't say it with menace or even as a reprimand, but Victoria took it as such. The blonde woman sneered and looked down her nose at Merrily once again. "Once she does, her words will have greater meaning."
"My name is not Mary," Merrily said between clenched teeth.
Alex shrugged, but met her gaze directly. "No. It's not."
"I suggest you leave now, little girl," Victoria snapped, cuddling even closer to Alex as if seeing Merrily as a threat instead of a servant. Merrily thought she might as well be trying to climb inside his jacket. "I assure you, you won't be here long." The carnivorous smile said she'd be the reason Merrily left. Apparently, they really were together. Alex gave Victoria the side eye, still not showing any discernible emotion. Maybe a little irritation, but Merrily had no idea if it was for her or Victoria.
"You could use a break," he said, waving his hand toward the kitchen. "Take fifteen minutes to yourself."
"Without pay," Victoria called. Merrily wanted to throw the tray at her and had to concentrate on turning around. If her body ran away as horribly as her mouth had, she'd be in a world of hurt.
"Alex!" A deep voice boomed from behind her and a burly man pushed past her, nearly knocking her down to make his way to Alex. To her horror she recognized the man. Daniel J. Maddison… the second. Rose's paternal grandfather.
Merrily felt the room closing in on her. She couldn't breathe. Alex had gotten her to tell him about Rose's father; now the very man who'd paid her mother for Merrily to get an abortion was in the same room with her. Talking to Alex!


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Not all Demons are bad...


COMING SOON!
Shadow Demons 1: Along Came A Demon
by Marteeka Karland

He met her gaze steadily. When she turned away, he took the few steps separating them and cupped her face, forcing her to look at him. "In the meantime, I want you to cooperate with Mrs. McDonald when she brings you and Rose clothing or anything else she says you need. Don't fight her." Another tear slipped down her cheek and Merrily tried to free herself from his grasp. Alex was merciless, putting his other hand on the other side of her face. "Don't look away from me, Merrily," he said softly. "Take a couple days to rest and recuperate from your ordeal. Let Ruth do what she does, and I'll take care of the rest. After that, if you still want to leave, I won't stop you. But perhaps you'll find you like it here."
Finally, she nodded slightly. Alex was so relieved, he wanted to kiss her. Instead, he settled for memorizing her face. But when her lips parted, he found himself falling forward, until their lips were pressed together.
The shot of lust was immediate and hard. Alex had to fight a groan, but he heard Merrily's little whimper. Her hands clutched at the front of his shirt, bunching the expensive material. He had no idea if this was her way of holding him to her or if she simply held on for dear life, but Alex had -- had -- to kiss her.
Somehow, he found the presence of mind to separate from her long enough to look into her eyes, to see if she was afraid or, worse, disgusted with him. He halfway expected her to slap him. Lord knew he deserved it. He was offering her a safe haven. A job. A means to save herself and her daughter and get the hell out of Dodge if she wanted. Would she think he expected the use of her body in payment?
What he saw in her eyes was such a mixture of everything it made him growl. She was definitely interested in him as a man, but she was also terrified to turn him down. "Just one more kiss, Merrily," he whispered against her lips. "I'm not taking my payment from your body, but I have to kiss you again."
"OK," she managed. Alex could feel the fine tremors going through her body. Her hands still clutched at his shirt and he was thankful. At least she wasn't rejecting him outright. He knew she'd have no idea what to make of this. Hell, he didn't either. But the need… the hunger. All for her.
Never in his life had Alex experienced such a visceral reaction to a woman. It was all he could do to keep his kiss gentle. Especially when her hands adjusted her grip. She gripped the muscles of his chest, her fingers flexing and relaxing, kneading like a little kitten. Her return kiss was tentative, but she seemed to want to explore as much as he did.
When she whimpered beneath him again, he backed her up against the wall, one hand going behind her head, the other circled her back, holding her to him tightly, giving her no way to get away from him. He deepened the kiss, slanting his mouth over hers with a little more force, letting her know how much he simply wanted to take her and damn the consequences.
Alex knew this was wrong. Knew he was taking advantage of a woman much younger and so much more inexperienced than he was in more ways than one. She would likely expect things from him after this. Truth be told, he'd give her anything she wanted if he knew he could have the free use of her body.
That thought brought back his sanity when nothing else could. Would she expect money? Luxuries? Would she expect them to be in a "relationship" now? Why did that thought not give him the anxiety he'd always felt when a woman got clingy?
Ending the kiss slowly, Alex pulled back, needing to see every expression on her face. Her eyes were still closed, a look of complete and utter bliss on her face. Her cheeks were the lightest pink, her lips kiss-swollen, giving her an adorable pouty look. When her eyes fluttered open, they sparkled like deep, clear emeralds. She didn't look like a woman who had landed the "big fish," she looked like a woman who'd completely lost herself in the moment and enjoyed it for the intensity of the pleasure she received.
As he watched, reality slowly began to take hold of her. Instead of elation or any number of other emotions, he saw shame. Humiliation.