Dance of the Gods by Ann Mayburn

Dance of the Gods:

A Chosen by the Gods Novella

Paranormal Romance   

Heat Level: Sensual

Editor: Chrissie Henderson   Cover Artist: Christine M. Griffin

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  Locked in a demonic curse, Carmella Ramirez has lost the will to love. Once she was the star of the Ramirez Samba School and lived a charmed life. Now, thanks to  bitchery and voodoo, she's the School's seamstress and living in the ghetto. At night, a succubus overtakes Carmella's body and uses her to lure men to their death. As the  corpses pile up, those controlling Carmella plan to sacrifice her to their demonic God and blame her for all the men the succubus killed.

  Her only hope is Sean Calmus- a world famous musician and warrior of the Celtic God of Music, Maponus. Sean is in Brazil to  DJ for the Ramirez School at this year's  Carnival. Maponus orders Sean to find and rescue Carmella, who is Sean's Comhcheol- the perfect harmony to his soul's melody.  

  With Sean's help, Carmella will have to call on her strength, his magic and their love to break herself free before she becomes Brazil's most notorious serial killer.



Chapter One


Carmella Ramirez ran a hand over her red silk-covered curves, and enticed the man following her down the alley in the heat of Rio de Janeiro. Her soul slept, blissfully unaware of the murder her body was about to commit.

"Hold on, baby." The portly American tourist wiped the sweat streaming down his face out of his eyes "You gotta give me a chance to catch up to that fine Brazilian ass of yours."

The succubus using Carmella's body paused and spun on her six-inch black stiletto heel. A woman would have been immediately suspicious of anyone that could skip without a wince down a dark alley in those shoes. To the rotund tourist, it was merely a reflection of the sensuality that seemed to hang about the stunning brunette like a cloud of expensive perfume.

Her exotic voice purred from the faint lighting of the alley. "It's just a little farther." She stalked over to him and ran her slim, bronze fingers through his hair. Pressing her hips against his, she gave a thrusting wiggle that made him gasp. With a soft breath she murmured, "I can't wait to show you this club."

He panted against her and popped a mint flavored Rolaids into his mouth. "I'm not so sure about this. I don't even speak Mexican."
The succubus tried to keep from rolling her eyes. "Don't worry. I'll take good care of you." She searched the man's mind for his hidden desires and found the right words to say in order to get him to follow her. "I've never told anyone this..." She traced the man's lips with the fingertips of the borrowed body. "But I've always wanted to dress up like a pirate and be punished for my wicked deeds."

The pulse in his temple throbbed in a rapid beat, and the succubus hoped he didn't keel over right here. His soul was exactly what they needed tonight. Young and newly-married, this pitiful man repeatedly defiled his sacred covenant to his wife with whores during his business trips.

"Have you--" The man licked his lips and groped her ass like a pillow in need of fluffing. "Have you been a naughty girl?"

He went to kiss her, tongue first, and she spun away from him with a giggle. "Let's hurry. I don't want all the equipment to be gone by the time we get there."

Heels clicking against the concrete, she moved deeper into the alley and stopped below a small white neon sign hanging over a black-painted door. Two enormous garbage bins piled with boxes blocked the view to the street. His hands found her ass again as she knocked an elaborate rhythm on the door. The magical warding on the entrance repulsed her, but the lust and passion it protected made her want to tear it down with her bare hands.

The heavy, black metal door swung open and lust poured out in visible waves that the succubus bathed in with a shudder. She ignored the muffled scream of the man next to her as he was roughly jerked into the dim interior of the bar by two brawny men wearing leather masks.

Warmth and pleasure made her sigh, and she held her hands out to the doorway, absorbing the lust. She wanted to wallow in the orgy covering the floor of the bar. She wanted to throw this body to the pleasure of anyone that would have it. To drink in the lust, to suck every human inside dry of their passion. It would be enough to sustain her for months.

Anger twisted the innocent features of Carmella's body, and she began to chant in a foul language damned by the Gods of Creation. The bouncer yelled in panic over his shoulder. A tall man with dark hair and scars covering his hands pushed a blonde with the body of a porn star off his lap. Against the back wall, the fat American squealed like a trapped rabbit as he was shackled and hoisted to dangle from the ceiling. A priest of the demonic god, Guaricana, selected a black leather whip with razor blades at the tip.

The tall man grabbed his black cane from the top of the glass and metal bar, and sprinted to stand next to the bouncer as the warding shuddered and rippled beneath the succubus's curse. "I command you to stop," he growled out and held the succubus's gaze.
An angry hiss swarmed from her slender throat. The bouncer quivered in fear, but the tall man looked bored. He was her summoner, and as such, his word bound her as long as she accepted the body he offered.

A sneer lifted his lip. "The sun will be up soon. You must return the body to its bed."

She fought against the power of his command. "Please, just let me inside for a moment." The distress in her voice was real. To be denied that much lust was painful for a succubus, akin to denying a heroin addict a mixing bowl full of the drug.

The man narrowed his eyes. "Do you think I believe for a second that you won't fuck everything that touches you?"

The succubus walked backward, fighting his order every step of the way. "I need!" She tried to explain and held her hands out in a pleading gesture.

"And I need you in that body." He began to shut the door in her face. "If you do anything to lose its virginity, then you can no longer use it and our master will punish us both."

She fisted her hands and allowed the command to carry her back to the limo waiting to take this body back to its ghetto apartment. Her summoner would eventually slip up, and when he did, she would beg her true master, Guaricana, to let her be the one to devour his soul.

* * * *

Sean Calmus scrolled through his email, stopping when he saw a message from his god. Maponus, the Celtic God of Music, preferred modern technology for contacting his worshipers, and Sean appreciated that. Nothing like a magical bird singing a message to you to put a kink in your day while you were waiting in line at the grocery store. He took a gulp of his dark coffee and gave himself a mental shake. Coordinating and packing for the trip to Rio had kept him up all night. Faint traces of dawn sent runners of pink over the dark ocean beyond the bay windows of his study.

If he didn't read the email now, Maponus was known to send singing chinchilla telegrams while he was trying to have an intimate moment with a willing lass. His patron god had a weird sense of humor, one of the reasons why they got along so well.
Running his hand through his red hair, he clicked the email and began to read.

My Chosen,
I have work for you while you're in Brazil. There is a young woman who is in need of rescue, though she does not know it. You will be in a unique position to help her. She's the first flower of spring, hidden by the snow. Be careful, a High Priest of Guaricana has been using her as his stalking-horse.

After reading the letter twice, Sean did a search on the Internet for Guaricana. A Brazilian devil who is worshiped by whipping young men until the blood flows.

"Well, isn't that fantastic. Not only do I have to DJ for the carnival parade this year, I also get to lock horns with a devil fond of S&M," Sean muttered. With a sigh, he picked up the phone and called Kell, his best friend and crew chief.

"Hello, Sean," Kell said in a thick Irish rasp. "There had better be a good reason you're calling me only ... fifteen minutes after I've finally gotten to bed."

"I'm sorry, but I got a little love note from Maponus."

A light clicking on and sheets rustling came over the phone line. "What does Maponus want?" Kell asked, sounding a lot more awake now.

Leaning back into his dark leather chair, Sean looked out the window to watch the dawn breaking over the Celtic Sea. The waves crashed over the dark gray rocks of the cliff far below, throwing white plumes of foam into the chilly air. He pushed himself out of the comfortable chair and walked over to the wide bay window, gazing into the dawn tinting the dark sky with purple and gray light.
Sean's gazed followed the roll of the ocean beyond his cottage. "Well, besides bringing over a crew of fifteen musicians and dancers, coordinating with twenty-four samba clubs, doing a charity DJ event, trying to make the locals understand our heavily-accented English--"

Kell chuckled. "Don't forget romancing a few of those delicious Brazilian lasses." Kell made a harsh grunt. In the background, Sean could hear Mary, Kell's wife, giving him an earful of what would happen to him, if he so much as bumped into one of those women.

"Tell Mary I'll keep you out of trouble." Sean laughed. "So in addition to all that, I also have to find a woman who is 'the first flower of spring' and save her from some Brazilian destruction god who likes to whip young men until the blood flows."

"First flower of spring. Sounds like Maponus's usual vague description. Doesn't seem too bad, except for the demon with a whip part." Kell sighed tiredly. "Well, my friend, I suggest you get some sleep. Regardless of what our god has in store for you, we still have a twelve-hour flight from Dublin to Rio this afternoon."

"I know, I know. Thank you, Kell. Give Mary a kiss for me."

Sean tossed the phone onto his computer chair, and strode over to the floor-to-ceiling bookcase that dominated the north wall. It was filled with all kinds of books, from paperbacks to enormous leather-bound volumes. Reaching up, he pulled down a three-foot, black metal case from the top shelf. Whistling a complicated tune, he removed the protection spell from around the case and flipped it open.

Inside, a long and beautifully crafted sword shone on its bed of dark green velvet. A simple silver ring pommel adorned the blade, and the guard was a sinuous curve of gleaming metal. The sword itself was long and razor-sharp, with runes and music notes etched into its length.

Sean stood there for a long time--memories of swinging this sword as a green youth playing out in his mind. How eager he had been when the Celtic God of Music had picked him as his Chosen hand on Earth. Maponus had gifted Sean with the ability to enhance his music into magic. Sean could bring joy to any heart with a simple melody, or heal a wounded body and spirit with a song.

What he wasn't prepared for were the responsibilities that came with such power. At first, all he wanted to do was become a famous musician, have an endless supply of willing women, and travel the world using his god's gift. Instead, he found himself drawn into dangerous battles with the forces of Destruction and protecting the innocent. Oh, the fame and women had come, and the world travel, but his greatest satisfaction came from his secret work as a Chosen warrior of Creation.

Stripping off his shirt, he revealed a large and intricate tattoo covering his muscled back. It was a series of Celtic knots that looked like a random design. Only after following the path of the knots, and looking at the bigger picture, was it apparent the design was a music symbol.

Sean took the sword out of its bed of velvet and held it before him, turning the blade in the dim morning light. It begins again, he thought as he sliced through the air with a fluid motion of his wrist. Eyes on the cold ocean, he began to practice his sword forms as his mind sought the future.


Copyright Ann Mayburn 2011-2012. All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduce, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the author.