Publisher: Melange Books
Date of publication: February 2017
There's no Heaven . like Hell.
Faced with losing Pandora Productions as well as her best friend Rebecca to the smarmy Paul, savvy film executive Debbie makes a pact with the demon Shaker, agreeing to bind herself to him as his human master in return for killing Paul and securing Pandora’s future. Yet even as Pandora gains accolades and renown, Debbie’s strong resolve begins to crumble under the weight of her actions. And the pleasure she finds in Shaker’s arms is becoming more than sex.
Is Debbie doomed to lose her heart as well as her soul to a demon who has only been waiting for the chance to claim both?
Enjoy this excerpt:
“You’re a bully and a bitch!” a shrill voice proclaimed.
Debbie swore under her breath, got up from her desk, and ran through her open office door. More yelling was coming from down the hallway.
“I told you, you’re fired! Now please leave!”
“I’m not leaving without talking to Debbie!”
Debbie entered the office. Amanda was there with Sheila and Giorgio, head of Pandora’s legal department. They were facing off against Manny, former head of distribution and marketing. The last turned gratefully to her as she appeared, opening his mouth at once.
“No,” Debbie said to Manny before he could start. “In my office. Sheila, please come too.”
The three of them trooped back to Debbie’s office, Manny and Sheila sitting down in chairs as Debbie sat down at her desk.
Manny began talking at once. “Sheila doesn’t have the right to fire me—”
“Manny,” Debbie said as patiently as she could. “We’ve been over this. Sheila is now my VP, as well as acquisitions manager for Pandora. She had authority to fire you. Furthermore, she did so on my say-so.”
“I’ve been a loyal employee for the last decade—”
“In point of fact you haven’t,” Sheila interrupted. “Which is why I fired you. Your job entails that you get us the best deal for the widest distribution at the most profit. Instead, you were giving deals to your brother’s marketing company that included exclusivity. I’d wondered why sales of Tinderbox were practically non-existent, even with all the ads I booked. He’d marked up the cost so much that only a few theaters booked runs at all.” She turned to Debbie. “Fixed now, with a little added footage into an extended version at little additional cost to us, Deb. But the ads for the last month I can’t do anything about. That money was wasted.”
“I was the one that got the lead for Tinderbox,” Manny persisted. “Saul Stevens would never have signed if it hadn’t have been for all my work—”
“You mean your bribe, which cost the company heavily,” Sheila said snidely. “Saul is not a rising star, he’s a falling one. It was Jeremy’s finding Carolina Andrun for flames and scenery that made that picture, and my own new star, Jett Black, that made Tinderbox have sex appeal. Which is why I got my promotion and why Jeremy now has your job.”
Manny turned pleading eyes to Debbie, but her face was set resolutely, and she just shook her head.
Manny stood up, fury glittering from his dark eyes. “You’ll rue this day, you bitches,” he hissed. “You’re both dykes.” He lumbered to the door and slammed it behind him.
Amanda’s voice buzzed into Debbie’s phone. “Debbie, I’ve called security. Manny headed to his office. I’ve already voided his access to our computer system, but—”
“Just keep an eye on his door until security arrives,” Debbie told her. “They shouldn’t be more than a few minutes. Tell them to make sure that Manny leaves immediately after he cleans out his desk. I do not want him admitted to the building again for any reason.” She sat down heavily in her chair, and sighed.
“It’s too much every day,” Sheila quipped tiredly. “He’s the third one I’ve had to fire. I hope you don’t regret making me VP.”
Debbie shook her head. “You’re finding out Pandora’s weaknesses, Sheila. While Paul was part of this company, a lot of his friends with less than savory reputations got hired. I’d probably have gotten rid of them eventually anyway just because I didn’t feel I could trust them. But when you’ve got concrete proof that they were and have been sandbagging us, I’m not going to hesitate to act.”
“One of the things I just adore about you,” Sheila said with a smile, then looked away quickly.
Debbie stared at her. It had never crossed her mind that Sheila could be her secret admirer because she was a woman. But there had been more than sociable affection in her friend’s tone.
“I do have good news,” Sheila said without looking up. “Giorgio found a way through that red tape problem. We can leave all the seduction scenes in Hell’s Gate uncut without losing even one of our bookings for the film.”
“Ah!” Debbie laughed with relief and excitement. “Wonderful! But are you sure even the scene with the demon and the virgin is—”
“The official film rating is still PG-13,” Sheila said confidently. “I sat with the ratings guy myself through his screening of it. While he was clearly uncomfortable with the footage, he said that the seduction is clearly not rape by the dialogue and actions of the couple, so it’s not an R-rated scene.” She smiled. “Don’t you just love these grey areas?”
Tara Fox Hall's writing credits include nonfiction, erotica, horror, suspense, action-adventure, children's stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice. All of her published children's stories to date are free reads on www.childrens-stories.net.