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Called by the Dark by DEMRI Criminal Desires Book

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Called by the Dark by DEMRI Criminal Desires Book Read Online And Epub File Download


Overview: A streetsmart dancer struggles to make the best of her difficult life; her found family makes it easier. But one night, that family gets ripped from her when a gang sets out to make an example out of the nightclub owner and show him—and all of Draco City—what happens when you don’t pay your debts.

She’s left with nothing…until a mysterious man comes to her and offers her something she can’t refuse.

Revenge.

She was just supposed to avenge those she lost, but the taste of vengeance is delicious and addictive—like the kiss of the man who turned her life around.

He’s not what he seems. Indeed, he’s a dark angel sent directly from the pits of hell to tempt her toward the darkness.

She should say no. She should stop. She should fight the darkness’s call.

But it proves just too sweet a siren song to resist. 


Called by the Dark by DEMRI Criminal Desires Book Read Online Epub - Pdf File Download More Ebooks Every Category Go Ebooks Libaray Online Website.



Called by the Dark by DEMRI Criminal Desires Book Read Online Chapter One


Sazahn Hendricks


Draco City


April 2046


I step off the bridge that connects the TransitCap to the platform, shivering in the cool spring air. The TransitCap, or “transit capsule”—the “silver bullet,” as everyone calls it—was warm, almost letting me forget that the temperature hardly ever rises above fifty degrees anymore ever since the stratosphere was punctured during the Nuclear War. Before then, parts of the country could reach a hundred degrees. And the sun still shined.


Or so they say.


I scurry from the edge of the platform. It’s so high up that even though it’s made of thick concrete and steel, I always envision tumbling off the edge of the platform and plummeting to the slums below. Heights have always made me nervous.


My boots thump over the pavement as I move shoulder-to-shoulder with the lunch rush. I almost never find myself in FinSec, or the Financial Sector of Draco City—that’s a surefire way for someone like me to get myself in trouble. The wealthiest part of the city houses not only the biggest corporations and stores, but also the mayor and governor reside here. It’s the only “safe” part of the city. The general opinion is that everywhere else is a study in modern Darwinism.


They’re not wrong.


I come to a stop at a crosscalator that arcs over an intersection. Traffic passes beneath the narrow pedestrian bridge at a constant flow, and we step onto the bridge as it transports us to the other side of the street. Two women, clearly wealthy by their designer clothes and handbags, stand in front of me, chatting casually about the framed vintage painting worth millions that one of them received as a gift from the dog or whatever. Meanwhile, I take in the notables: the twenty-four-karat knot earrings on the lobes of one, peeking beneath golden hair; the platinum and diamond tennis bracelet on the wrist of the other as she lifts a hand to idly touch her throat; the diamond-encrusted ring glittering on a finely manicured finger.


It wouldn’t take much to create a diversion—a stumble followed by a rough bump. Grab the hand as she flails to regain her balance on the pretense of keeping her upright. Strip the ring and bracelet, stow them safely in the pocket of my leather jacket. Apologize profusely, take the inevitable verbal abuse about “my kind” being seen in FinSec, and walk away with a treasure trove, which I might be able to pawn for enough money to pay my rent for a couple months and afford the rare real fruit or vegetable for once.


Damn. I can almost taste the sweetness of a grape.


As the crosscalator deposits us on the other side of the street, I smirk at the building at the end of the block, which is my destination, and decide to let the two refined women keep their valuables for another day.


It’d probably be frowned upon to carry stolen goods into the Draco City Police Department headquarters, anyway.


There’s only one reason that brings me here voluntarily, and that reason happens once a year: my foster sister Cynthia’s birthday.


I head down the block toward the building, steeling myself for the wave of unease I always feel when I’m near here. Then again, someone like me isn’t supposed to feel great about being near a police department.


Headquarters is a monstrosity of steel and glass, with “DCPD” lit up in pale blue neon at the very top of the building, a beacon of safety for some and a warning of dread for the rest of us. A few of their aerial patrol passenger drones float out from the parking structure at the top of the building, ready to begin their shifts of “fighting crime”—that is, shaking down squatters in apartments in the slums, getting their palms greased by the kingpins in the city, busting sex workers only to haggle blow jobs to get out of their cuffs.


I walk in through the visitor’s entrance, and several cops descend on me, directing me to the body scanner to detect the presence of weapons or explosives and giving me the third degree about why I’m here.


“Jacket off, pockets empty,” one barks, pointing at a steel bin.


I shrug out of my black leather jacket and toss it into the bin. As I head to the body scanner, the cop grabs my jacket and goes through the pockets. He produces a small gift-wrapped box—the gift I brought for Cynthia. They threaten to throw it out until I drop Cynthia’s name. They buzz her desk, and she confirms who I am and that she’s already had my name added to the day’s list of visitors.


It’s hard not to sneer at them when she shows up, but she steers me toward the café. Cynthia’s more than a little familiar with my checkered past, which has included the occasional non-birthday-visit trip here. Besides, whenever we tell anyone we’re sisters, it inevitably invites questions about how we’re related. Apparently, you have to resemble each other for people to take you seriously, and my light olive complexion, blue-gray eyes, and wavy black hair don’t have a lot in common with her deep tan skin, dark eyes, and tight, springy caramel curls.


“I’m glad you could make it,” Cynthia says, giving me a little hug.


“Well, the idea was to take you out to lunch,” I tell her, waving a hand around the room. Soft teal lights shine from fixtures set in and around the stark white furniture. Holographic boards with the day’s food options are available, and while it’s not her favorite bistro, my mouth waters anyway. Because HQ is in FinSec, they have great food.


She smiles at me. “I know, but I really couldn’t spare the time. We’re close to a break in my case.”


Cynthia’s a homicide detective, and she’s been working the murder case of some Richie-Rich elite in FinSec for a while now. I don’t mean to sound cold, but it’s hard not to shrug at news of yet another murder when they happen in handfuls every day.


The only guilt I feel comes with realizing that I’m probably pulling her away from her work, but selfishly, I want Cynthia all to myself, even if it’s only for an hour.


We make our selections—Korean barbecue beef with a scoop of steamed rice and kimchi for me, seafood pho for her. Cynthia scans the biochip in the back of her left hand that’s connected to her police account and contains her badge number, personal information, HR file, and meal account to pay for our lunches.


“Well, that defeats the purpose of trying to take you out to lunch for your birthday,” I grumble. “Why didn’t you let me pay?”


She smiles as we move down the cafeteria line. “New policy. We can only pay for cafeteria food with our meal accounts. I’m just happy to see you, Sazahn. I feel like that’s a rare occurrence lately.”


We pick up trays with our plates and carry them to a couple of seats at a small table.


“Yeah, well.” I poke my rice with a pair of chopsticks. “I guess we’ve both been busy.”


“How’s the club treating you?” my sister asks politely, stirring her pho, the steam from the broth fogging her glasses.


But I don’t need to see her dark brown eyes to know there’s disapproval in them. Cynthia has never given me a hard time about my life, but I know she doesn’t love that I dance at Shakers, the newest “gentleman’s lounge” in the entertainment district of Draco City.


It’s not like stripping is a dream job, but I make halfway decent money doing it—more than I made as a cocktail waitress at a different bar. But there are only so many jobs available for someone like me. I’m only a denizen; I didn’t go into a service field that would have earned me citizenship, like Cynthia did. I don’t have the same rights. I became an artist, and if not for jobs like the one at Shaker’s, I’d be destitute.


Starving artist, indeed.


“Fine.” I shrug. “It’s a clean place. There are rules. There’s security, who enforce the rules.”


“No one…touches you, right?”


“No one touches me.” I note the relief on her face and refrain from telling her that no one can touch the dancers on stage, but there’s plenty of touching that happens in the upstairs lounges for the right price, and dancers can partake if they want to.


I have nothing against sex workers, but even with the promise of a significant chunk of change at the end of the night, there’s nothing about sex with a paying stranger that entices me.


“You could always come,” I add slyly. “Have a drink for your birthday. I could arrange a lap dance for you.”


Cynthia scoffs and rolls her eyes. “Right! Like I have time for fun.”


Then, as if on cue, the communicator band around her wrist lights up. With a groan, she swipes a finger upward, and a holographic smartphone appears. It’s a text message that she reads as a deep line forms between her brows.


I guess lunch is over… “Interesting news?”


“I just got an anonymous tip about my case,” she murmurs, rereading the message. Then she glances up at me, and I see the apology in her eyes. “I’m sorry, Saz, but I’ve got to—”


I’m bummed out, but I don’t want to make her feel bad. “I know, I know. It’s okay. But first…” I pull the little gift box out of my pocket and slide it across the table to her. “Open your present.”


Cynthia smiles and swipes the holographic phone down into the wristband. “You didn’t have to get me a gift.”


“It’s your birthday. Of course I did,” I insist, then smile. “Go on.”


She unwraps the box and pops the lid. Nestled inside is a gold locket. Both the chain and the pendant are delicate, which is how Cynthia prefers to wear her jewelry. The pendant is about the size of a fingernail. She carefully pops it open, and I silently recite the words I had engraved inside as she reads the tiny, precise script.


Sisters by circumstance, thicker than blood, for life.


Cynthia blinks up at me, tears filling her eyes. “Sazahn. Thank you.”


She gets up and wraps me in a hug. I squeeze back tightly, a lump forming in my throat, then help her put the necklace on when she asks.


We gather our trays and return them to the counter, then she walks me outside. We hug again.


“This is the worst birthday ever,” I joke. “A lunch you paid for. No time to hang out. Demanding work.”


“We’ll redo it,” she promises, cupping my face. “I’m sorry. It’s just that this case—”


I hold up a hand. “You don’t have to explain. I just want to spend more time with you.”


Cynthia smiles. “Me too. And we will. As soon as I wrap up this case, I’m going to take some time off. Hey, maybe we can take a little trip somewhere?”


I nod. “I’m going to hold you to that!”


“Take care of yourself,” Cynthia says, then touches the pendant and mouths, Thank you. She hurries toward the door.


The lump forms in my throat again.


“Hey, sis,” I call. When she turns toward me, I touch my fingertips to my lips, then flick them out toward her.


As always in our longstanding tradition, she smiles and lifts her hand, then clamps her fingers together, pretending to catch my kiss. Then she disappears inside, and I turn to trudge toward the silver bullet and get ready to go to work later.


I hate saying goodbye to my sister.

 



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