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 Welcome to Chapter 11~ Well, the semester's finally over, so I can concentrate on writing for awhile! Which is good, because things are about to get all plotty up in here. I call this the ~second arc~ of the story. I can't guarantee updates will come faster now (because I'm trying to finish editing Tasting Shadows and Waiting, while finishing my Victorian Gothic horror), but I'll certainly try!

Let me know what you think, and don't forget to follow my Twitter and Tumblr for news and updates!
"Hey, Kit, I have to go out for awhile. You okay on your own?"

Alarmed, I watch Felix walk past my desk toward the door. "What? But what if someone comes in?"

"Don't worry. If you get a walk-in, just get their info and I'll deal with it when I back." Felix grabs his dark green jacket from the coatrack by the door and pulls it on while shooting me a smile. "I'll try not to be gone long." He slings his worn leather bag over his shoulder and leaves the office without waiting for an answer, the door clicking shut behind him.


With a sigh, I go back to filing Ava's receipts, wondering if Felix would notice if I just locked the door while he's gone. This is the first time I've been left alone in the office, and I'm pretty sure I don't exactly fit the role of responsible private eye. Well, receptionist.

At least people usually call instead of just walking in without an appointment, and I've got a pretty good handle on the phone now.

About an hour later, the filing is done, and I've run out of things to do. I stare blankly at my computer screen until I remember the can of hot chocolate in the kitchen. Abandoning my desk, I wander into the kitchen to turn on the kettle and pull out the tin as the water boils. Felix has been steaming milk when he makes hot chocolate for me, but I can't be bothered. 

I stir as I leave the kitchen, glancing at Felix's office on my way back to my desk. He's left the door open again. I come to a stop, still slowly stirring. I wonder if he's left his desk unlocked again…

Before I can think better of it, I walk into Felix's office and set my mug on his surprisingly tidy desk. I kneel in front of the bottom drawer, but it's locked this time. Shit, I forgot about the combination lock. Sighing, I grab my hot chocolate off the desk and sit cross-legged in front of the drawer. The only way to do this is to start trying different combinations.

If Felix comes back soon, I'm gonna be in so much shit.

By the time the drawer clicks open, I'm done my hot chocolate and anxious about being caught. I pause and peek up over the desk, but the office is still quiet. Pulse raising, I go back to the drawer and start looking through the folder on top of stack inside. I don't remember seeing this last time.

The hell?

I pull out small piece of paper covered in handwritten numbers. Setting it aside, I flick through the other papers in the folder, but the only writing I see is the same. I look at the last page, ready to set the folder aside—then freeze. The last page has pictures on it, close-ups and full body photographs…of demons. The brief information typed next to each demon makes my stomach drop. Prices.

This is a list of slaves for sale.

I drop the folder and snatch up the note again, staring hard at the numbers. The numbers start low and go fairly high, but there doesn't seem to be any pattern to them. This has to be a code. The only time I've seen something like this is in detective books. 

My mouth twists. And back in Dellare. But he always used codes involving symbols, never numbers.

I look around the office, hoping for some hint, but there are only unfiled receipts and books. Frustrated, I stare back down at the random numbers. And then I remember something from a murder mystery I found in the library at home.

Pulling myself up with the desk, I cross the office to the packed bookcase, looking for the thickest one. I raise an eyebrow when I find a volume of Dellarean short stories. Taking it off the shelf, I flick through the well-worn pages. Felix knows Dellarean?

Okay, I'll worry about that later.

I carry the book back to the desk and grab a pen, thinking back to how the cipher worked in that murder mystery. The numbers in the cipher refer to page numbers, and I take the first word—no, letter?—from each of those pages to figure out the note.

I'm only one word in when I hear the main door open. Heart racing, I grab everything and shove it out of sight under the desk, then hurry out of Felix's office. But instead of Felix, a tall blonde woman stands there, her hooded eyes taking in her surroundings with disinterest. She's wearing a tailored leather jacket over a short red dress, the colour matching her lipstick. Her expression doesn't change when she sees me.

"I need to speak with a detective," she says in a throaty voice. Her eyes sweep up and down my body, conveying her doubt that I am said detective.

"Oh, uh…no one's here right now." I walk to my desk, grabbing a notepad and pen. "If you leave your information…"

She sighs, crossing her arms. "This is urgent. My wife is cheating on me with her slut of a secretary—"

"Felix will call you right away," I say quickly, really wanting her to just go away. "He had an emergency, so…" I hold out the pen and notepad, trying to smile. She finally takes them, sighing again. 

After writing out her information in neat script, she hands the stationary back and says, "Tell him to call me as soon as he gets back."

I nod, ripping off the page with her info. "He will."

She looks at me with pursed lips, before turning and leaving the office. As soon as the door shuts behind her, I rush back to Felix's office, slapping the paper on his desk and ducking underneath to get the stuff I hid there. Getting everything set up again, I take a deep breath to calm myself down and flip to page 11 of Soul Windows. I've never been that interested in literature, but I think one of the stories from this book was assigned in middle school.

Luckily, my guess about deciphering the code was right, and after a few more minutes, I have a page of letters that I quickly separate into words.

nine PM @ absinthe
nineteen yo male (zebra) = five thousand cash

Twenty-sixth? That’s today. So Felix is meeting someone tonight? But what's with the zebra part? Who is he meeting?

Closing Soul Windows, I replace it on the bookshelf and return to the drawer to put the original note away. As I do, my attention is once again caught by the list of slaves. I freeze when my eyes fall on one picture halfway done the first page. His skin is white, striped with black, and next to the photo is his basic information, including "male", "19", and "zebra".

Is…Felix buying a slave?

The thought makes me laugh out loud. Felix? No way. It's gotta be something else.

I close the folder and shove it back in the drawer, locking it before I can be tempted to keep digging. Why would Felix be buying a slave? Faolan already said they aren't interested in that kind of thing, even if it were legal. And Felix already said he was against slavery, right? Same with Sage. So what—

My heart stops when I hear the door open, and I quickly look around the room to make sure nothing's out of place. 


I hurry out of Felix's office, trying to look like I haven't been going through his stuff. He smiles when he sees me, holding up a paper bag. "Brought a snack." He glances behind me, adding, "Need something from my office?"

"Just needed more sticky notes." Before he can see through that flimsy excuse, I grab the note off my desk and hold it out. "A woman came in. Something about cheating."

Felix sighs and takes the note as he sets down the bag of—I sniff—samosas. "I know that infidelity cases are what bring in the most money, but can people stop cheating on each other for just one day?" 

I dig into the bag and pull out a samosa, leaning back against my desk and neatly biting off a corner of the crispy pastry to let the heat out. Looking at Felix, his bright green eyes, his crooked smile…I can't see him owning, let alone illegally buying a slave. He's too…gentle. But I don't really know him, do I?

"So, anyone else come in or call?"

I shake my head, afraid that my expression will give away what I'm thinking. What if he has a camera set up in his office and finds out what I was doing? Why didn't I think of that?

I blow on the samosa, watching Felix finish his without seeming to notice the heat at all, and force myself to calm down. If there's a camera, Felix would have seen me going through his desk before.

Felix pulls another samosa out of the bag, and I finally take a proper bite out of mine. Still a bit hot, but I manage not to burn my tongue. "Fuck, that's good," I mumble with a full mouth.

Licking crumbs from his lips, Felix grins. "Cheap place around the corner." Finishing off his second samosa just after I finish my first, Felix wraps an arm around my waist and presses a kiss to my cheek. "Thanks for watching the office."

I shrug, trying to keep the stupid smile off my face. "Part of my job, right?"

He hums and squeezes my hip. "Still."

I lean into him without thinking, skating a hand across his back and making him shiver. Smirking, I turn to face him, resting my hands on his hips. His cheeks are flushed, pupils wide, and I give into the urge to press our hips together. Felix's breath stutters out, and he mumbles, "You're gonna be the death of me," but he wraps his arms around me and kisses my forehead.

It's a weirdly sweet gesture. Grinning, I lean against him and nip at his jaw. "Think anyone else is gonna stop by or can we lock the door?"

"Already locked," he replies, stroking my back. He just gives me a crooked smile when I raise my eyebrow, adding, "Thought we'd close early today."

"Oh, is that why." 

Before I can get my hands down his pants, Felix catches my wrists and leads me to his office. My heart skips, but there are no signs that I was messing around in here. Felix shuts the door behind us, and then I take control, shoving down any thoughts of that note and slave list. I push Felix back until he's sitting on the edge of his desk, and then tangle my fingers in his messy red hair and catch his mouth in a deep kiss. He groans and rests his hands on the small of my back, warm through my shirt. This time, he lets me undo his jeans and free his half-hard cock, which only grows harder when I move to his neck and suck a red spot onto his flushed skin. His hands slide down to my ass, massaging and squeezing until I shove him back flat on the desk and climb up to straddle his waist. He grins up at me, green eyes even brighter.

"Stuff's in the top drawer."

I stare at him, then reach over to pull open the top drawer (don't think about the locked drawer)…and, yup, there's a packet of condoms and a tube of lube. I take them out with a surprised laugh.

"I take it you do this a lot?"

Felix runs his hands up my sides under my shirt and thumbs my nipples. I bite my lip. "Well, sometimes Sage stops by…"

"Just Sage?" I gasp when he pinches my nipples, arching toward him.

"He's the kinky one."

I snort, not really able to picture that, and rise up to undo my jeans and shove them down past my hips. Eyes hooded, Felix reaches up to stroke my growing erection, and I buck into his hand with a low moan. 

"What do you want?" Felix asks softly, stroking me again. 

I shudder and pick up the condom, tearing open the packet. "You. In me." Sliding out of his reach, I quickly roll the condom over his leaking erection and shuffle back into position. I start to lower myself, but Felix grabs my hip and squeezes.

"You're gonna hurt yourself."

When has anyone been worried about that? "I'm fine." I reach behind to grab his cock and guide it in, but he stops me again and reaches for the lube. Frustrated, I repeat, "I'm fine", but he just wiggles his freshly slicked fingers in front of my face with a slow smirk and asks, "You sure you don't want these first?" And, fuck, yes, I do.

Hand still resting on my hip, Felix reaches his other between my legs and slides the first finger into me. I gasp and clench around it, already aching for more. He's slow and gentle, spreading the lube deep with one, then two fingers, teasing my prostate until I'm panting. When he pushes in a third, I sink down on his fingers, fucking myself with them as Felix watches with glazed eyes. It's not enough, though, and after a few thrusts, I push his hand away, grab his cock, and guide it in with a whimper. Fuck. Yes.

Felix groans beneath me, hands squeezing my thighs as I rise up and sink down, taking him as deep as I can. Gods, it feels so fucking good. It's been way too long, not since the night we got married, and I don't even remember that. 

I brace my hands on Felix's clothed chest and start a steady rhythm, eyes half-shut as I ride him. He lets me choose the pace, lets me keep control, just giving encouragement in an increasingly husky voice and rocking his hips in time with mine. I don't want this to end, but I can already feel the orgasm building, and I move faster and faster—

I come with a gasp that melts into a groan, my hips still rolling as I try to make it last. Felix shudders beneath me, fingers digging into my thighs, and then he relaxes with a long, heavy sigh. He grins at me, reaching up to brush his fingers against my cheek, and murmurs, "We need to do that more often."

I snort and lean over to kiss him, shivering as his softening cock slides out of me. "I think I could handle that."

He helps me clean up and straighten my clothes while peppering me with soft kisses. This is the first time someone's treated me like I'm, well, special after sex, and I can't help but respond with kisses of my own after we've gotten off the desk. By the time we're tidied up and ready to head home, I'm sure that what I found in that locked drawer is all a misunderstanding.
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