THE HOT DAMNED SERIES
“What exactly are you doing?” I asked my father. He had a deck of playing cards laid out on his massive mahogany desk and he was putting tiny dots on the backs of the aces, queens, kings and jacks.
“It’s Thursday,” he replied.
“Yes and?” I flopped down on the plush leather couch and waited.
“That bastard Hemmingway won last week. That was unacceptable,” he huffed. He put down the red pen and picked up a blue one.
“So you’re going to cheat?”
He gave me a smile that had melted the hearts of thousands of women. Literally. “But of course.”
Being the daughter of Satan had its challenges. This was only one of many. I knew that explaining to him that cheating at poker was wrong would be like running up the down escalator for eternity, so I kept my mouth shut. Furthermore, I was fairly sure that Hemingway cheated too. Poker Night in Hell usually consisted of Ernest Hemingway, Mr. Rogers, my dad and occasionally Mother Teresa. Since all of the players, my father excluded, resided in Heaven, they basically took a bi-weekly field trip to Hell for game night. For real.
He finished his deceitful art project and gave me his full attention. “So, my beautiful girl, are you ready?”
I picked at my nail polish and considered my answer. Pleading had not worked, nor had crying or throwing a tantrum. Actually the tantrum was a total bust. We ended up laughing because it was so far out of my character and I sucked at it. I suppose I could try the truth...
“Dad, being deported from Hell is not my idea of a good time. I’m not ready. I have no real power yet and I know I’ll disappoint you.”
“Dixie, the only thing that disappoints me is that you will be graduating from Demon College as the valedictorian and your obsessive need to do good,” he sighed dramatically and ran his hands through his jet black hair.
He was gorgeous. He was evil. And I loved him.
“My sisters are thousands of years old. College didn’t even exist when they were of age.”
“Point,” he agreed. “I just don’t understand why you couldn’t learn what you wanted and then flunk the tests on purpose. We have a reputation to maintain.”
“I know.” I let my head fall back and stared at the mirrored ceiling. What the…? When did he have the ceiling in his office mirrored? The reality was too much to take in. I shut my eyes and tried without success to block out what I’d just seen. I was from the most over-sexed family in history and I was a twenty one year old virgin...
“I’ve done my best to help you past that little hump. No pun intended,” Satan said innocently.
“Get out of my head, Dad,” I snapped.
He wasn’t lying and he intended every pun he made. He’d thrown the cream of the crop at me. Of course they were smarmy and way too old. The last Demon he’d set me up with had ridden on the Mayflower, had no clue who Maroon Five was and smelled funky.
“Dixie darling, all of your sisters popped their...”
“Hell to the NO,” I yelled as I slapped my hands over my ears. It was beyond unnecessary to hear about the sexual exploits of my sisters, The Seven Deadly Sins. It was bad enough that one of them was named Lust.
“Dixie, I’m just trying to help,” he pouted.
“Look, Dad…there is a guy. And, um...well.”
There actually was a guy—an amazing perfect guy, but I had no intention of telling my dad about him. He would ruin it. My dad thought it was hilarious to threaten the lives of all my sisters’ paramours. And what did it matter anyway? I was leaving. All Demon Princesses had to do their time on Earth and my number had come up. The only thing that made it bearable was that I’d get to see my cousin Astrid. She was very pregnant and furious that no one could tell her what the gestation time was for a half-Vampyre half-Demon baby. She’d apparently caused so much property damage, her mate, Ethan had everything breakable in the compound nailed down.
“Do I know him?” my father inquired casually.
My stomach clenched. Nothing my dad did was casual. “Nope.” I smiled and stood up. “And you’re not going to. I don’t like him anymore.”
“This happened in the thirty seconds since you announced his existence?”
“Yes. Yes it did.”
“Dixie, Dixie, Dixie, you are so like your mother.”
Considering no one had the testicles to tell me who my mother was, his comparison drove me to grind my teeth. “And that’s a bad thing?” I challenged, hoping for once he’d slip up and give me a clue.
He paused and watched me for a moment. “Not good. Not bad. Interesting.”
I went back to work on my nail polish and bit back a nasty retort as the tears threatened.
“Will you attend the poker game tonight?” he asked as if nothing important had passed between us.
“Sure,” I muttered.
“Bring your guy, I’d love to meet him.” With that, my frighteningly beautiful father disappeared in a blast of black glitter and smoke. He was insane if he thought I’d bring my friend—completely insane.
“How was the poker game last night?” my best friend Stella asked as we tried to find something edible in the college commissary.
“Your dad always wins.”
“He cheated,” I muttered as I grabbed a sandwich and a bag of chips.
“So? He’s Satan.”
“Does anyone have morals here?”
“Dixie, we’re Demons. We live in Hell. What do you expect?” Stella asked logically. The crabby Demon with the unibrow behind the food counter slid a nasty looking bowl of what could pass for beef stew onto my BFF's tray. Stella, never wanting to cause a scene, accepted the offending bowl and moved on.
She was correct and I didn’t quite fit in. I never had and Hell knows I tried. I slid my tray quickly past the lunch lady and avoided the rank looking stew.
"The commissary sucks," Stella lamented as she tried not to gag at the aroma rising from her tray. "I should have gone to college on Earth."
"Agree." I nodded as I made my way through the crowd to a table.
The Demon College looked more like a high school than a college—lockers and all. The commissary looked like a freakin’ high school lunchroom because up until a couple of years ago, it had been. Most Demons, if they chose to pursue a higher degree, went to Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Yale or Northwestern on Earth. From what I understood, Angels tended to prefer the party schools…Since my father decreed I wasn’t ready to go to Earth four years ago, he created The Demon College—where my old high school formerly stood. While the education was top notch, the accommodations left a lot to be desired.
“Holy Hell, you’re boyfriend is staring at you,” Stella whispered gleefully.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” I hissed.
“Does he know that?” Stella’s smile broadened as she enjoyed my discomfort.
Glancing around the commissary, I spotted the person I dreamt about on a nightly basis and I debated my next move. Did I stay or did I go? Being near my secret fantasy made me stupid. I’d far rather be mysterious than idiotic. He made me feel hot, cold and tingly at the same time and I’d barely uttered a word to him all year. Go. I would go—just put my tray down and be out of the commissary in a minute flat—or I could dematerialize…but then I could end up anywhere. I didn’t quite have the hang of dematerializing to places I was actually trying to go. Last week I tried to travel to the mall and ended up in my father’s chambers while he was getting busy with his pregnant consort, Amanda. Bleach couldn’t remove that one from my brain.
"I'm out of here," I muttered as I started walking. Speeding up my pace, I high tailed it to the tray drop praying to every deity I could think of that I didn’t run into the man of my dreams. In all of my inexperience I was libel to either drool or bodily throw myself at him.
“He’s still watching you,” Stella whispered as she followed close on my heels.
I rolled my eyes. “He’s not watching me.”
“Wrong,” she trilled happily.
“Stella, hush. Someone will hear you.” She was my best friend and if I didn’t love her so much I would take great pleasure in killing her.
“Oh please,” she waggled her eyebrows and made smooching noises. Pretending I didn’t know her was impossible and I seriously considered dematerializing, but a healthy fear of seeing my father’s naked ass stopped me.
“He is totally gone on you,” she informed anyone within hearing distance, which was everyone, as she chased me. “And you are so gone. . .Watch out,” Stella yelped.
I stopped short to avoid running into Vincent van Gogh, my art teacher. Dressed in a purple velvet cape and a frighteningly poofy hat, he was weaving his way toward the open bar. It was Hell after all, where mixing alcohol and academia was the norm. van Gogh had a very close relationship with his absinthe. When the great master died he had the choice between Heaven and Hell. . .he chose Hell much to my Uncle God’s disgust. van Gogh, while brilliant and extremely funny when he wasn’t morbidly depressed, was clearly intoxicated. Did no one notice or care about these things besides me? Much was overlooked in Hell, but drunk was drunk.
In an attempt to avoid body slamming the great artist I veered left…unfortunately Stella had the same idea. She slammed into my back, covering what used to be my brand new hot pink Juicy sweat suit in rank beef stew.
“Shit,” she moaned as she tried to remove the potatoes, carrots and meat from my hair and the inside of my hood.
I froze and closed my eyes. As a child I used to think if I couldn't see anybody, then they couldn't see me. It didn't work when I was five and I was fairly sure it wouldn't start working at twenty-one, but one could always hope. I also used to think that there were actual people in the TV...
“Hey Dixie.” An insanely sexy voice broke into my invisibility fantasy.
I pried open one eye and much to my great horror and delight stood the object of my desire in the flesh. The most beautiful man I’d ever seen, Hayden Black.
“You okay?” he asked.
My stomach flipped, my tongue became sand paper and I felt light headed. I shakily tucked my hair behind my ear in a move that I knew looked good on me and came back with a fist full of beef stew. “I’m great,” I lied. The heat crept up my neck and settled squarely on my cheeks. Holy Hell, could it get any worse?
“I’m going to skip the rest of the day and go cliff diving south of town. You want to come?” He smiled a lazy smile that made my breath hitch and all my unused lady parts tingle.
“I can’t,” I stammered, “I have a calculus exam. . .and I smell like beef stew, and I don’t have a swim suit and I. . .”
“Another time then.” Hayden grinned and my heart skipped a beat. He reached out and ran his fingertips along my jaw line and his thumb across my lips. The shock of his touch jolted through my body and my knees buckled a little. “Another time.”
He stood for a moment and stared, then turned and left the commissary. I watched his perfect butt in his loose fitted faded jeans walk away from me. I didn’t like him walking away from me—it felt wrong. What the Hell was that about? Why was I so drawn to him? I was leaving and those were the most words I’d said to him in a year...My hand automatically went to my still tingling lips, which I silently vowed to never wash again.
“Dude.” Stella bounced like a ball. “He just asked you out!”
“No, he didn't. He asked me to skip class. You know I don’t skip.”
“You need to pull the steel rod out of your ass and loosen up,” she chastised as she futilely attempted to remove the beef stew from my hair.
“I've been telling her that for years,” my sister Sloth chimed in as she appeared in a burst of sliver glitter dust.
I rolled my eyes and smiled at my beautiful lazy sister. She was by far the nicest of the Seven Deadly Sins and I adored her. “What are you doing here? Is everything okay?” She never came to the Demon College, academia gave her hives. Literally. Panic knotted in my stomach.
“Everything is fine,” she assured me. “Dad’s got his panties in a wad and he wants to see you. I've been sent to bring you to the Dark Palace.”
“But I have a calculus exam and I. . ..” I began to explain my schedule, but petered off realizing it was useless.
“And?” She raised her eyebrows as she began to itch the welts that had popped up on her arms.
“Fine.” I acquiesced quickly. As laid back as my sister was, she got really grumpy and occasionally deadly when she was itchy. Furthermore, my dad waited for no one, certainly not his youngest daughter.
“You can’t see Dad or Grandma like that,” Sloth referred to my stew splattered attire.
I paled considerably and clutched my sister for purchase. "Oh my Hell, Gigi is there?"
"Yep, and dad is in a tizzy." She grinned evilly. "Let's get the unidentifiable lunch product off of you."
“That’s my fault,” Stella offered apologetically.
“No worries,” my sister told Stella as she affectionately squeezed her cheek. Sloth raised her arms and flung them towards me. In a flash my hair was clean and my hot pink sweat suit was gone, replaced by the requisite black my Father expected us to wear.
I hugged Stella goodbye and wrapped my arms around my sister. Sloth moved her hands in a circular motion. The glitter engulfed us as my beautiful sister and I vanished in a cloud of magic.
My day was going from mortifying bad to really scary bad.
The Dark Palace, my father's main residence, was normally a gross display of wealth and questionable taste. At the moment it had been transformed into a wild garden that resembled a blooming jungle on crack as opposed to the lush manicured gardens that populated Hell.
I grasped my sister's hand in terror and peered through the vines and flowers. "Is she here?"
"I don't sense her yet, but she's definitely on her way. Her garden usually precedes her by about five minutes," Sloth mumbled as she disengaged her hand from mine. "Dixie, I love you, but I wasn't summoned by our certifiable granny. . .do you mind if I go?"
"Um. . ."
"Great! Call me later," my traitorous sister said as she disappeared in a blast of glitter. So much for counting on a Sin. The smell of jasmine and lilies permeated the air. There was no trace whatsoever of the grand ballroom which was where I knew I stood. Mother Nature, aka my Grandma Gigi, had a very bad habit of destroying my dad's homes. My guess was that he had missed his weekly visit to Nirvana to kiss her butt and she was pissed, but that didn't explain why I had to be here.
"Dad," I called out in the largest whisper I dared.
"Over here," Satan said quietly.
I made my way toward my father's voice and found him hiding behind a large ivy covered rock. My stomach dropped to my toes. The most terrifying and powerful Demon alive was hiding from his mother. This was beyond bad.
"Dixie," he hissed and pulled me behind the rock with him. "Thank sweet Hades you're here."
"Why exactly am I here?" I asked as I peeked around the rock.
"Your grandmother is the definition of unstable insanity and if I knew why she summoned us, we wouldn't be hiding behind a rock," he answered logically.
"Dad, you're my rock and this is making me very nervous."
He considered me for a long moment and stood up. He was magnificent. He stood six feet six inches tall and has long raven black hair like mine. Our eyes were gold, although they turned ruby red when we got excited or angry. My skin was more peaches and cream in comparison to my Dad’s beautiful pale mocha color.
"You're correct Dixie, I am your rock. She's so damned horrific I forget myself. Everything will be fine. I hope," he muttered.
His total lack of conviction was unsettling. I rose to my feet and waited. What the hell did she want with me? She'd shown me no attention at all in my twenty-one years in Hell.
"Don't look her in the eye and stand at least ten to twenty feet away from her," my dad instructed. "She's crazy and prone to blistering and deadly fits of rage."
"I heard that, you little shit," a glorious melodic voice shouted. "Just because you're the King on the Underworld doesn't mean I can't take you over my knee and tan your ass."
I gasped and held on to my father.
"Son of a bitchass mother humping asshats arghhhh," she screeched as she fell ungracefully from the sky. It wasn't until that moment I realized the roof of the Palace was gone. The musical voice did not match the language flying from her mouth or the otherworldly glamour she possessed.
The disheveled beauty got to her feet and glanced around impatiently. She wore a gown of sheer golden gossamer that floated around her magically. Her hair was a mass of fiery red curls and her skin was a pale porcelain, but it was her eyes. . .Her eyes were the clearest blue I'd ever seen and they sparkled. She was quite simply the most gorgeous crazy woman in the universe.
Her power filled the room. It was earthy with a dangerous sensual undertone to it. I would give anything to be back in the commissary covered in stinky beef stew. Anything.
"Satan, you little bastard," she snapped as the gentle breeze in the room shifted into a slightly menacing wind. "I know you're here. I want to see my granddaughter. Now."
"Mother," Satan bellowed joyously as he stepped out from behind the rock. "To what do I owe this pleasure?" He placed me firmly behind him and waited for her next move.
"Cut the shit. You were supposed to visit me and I made a cake," she yelled. "You didn't show up and I ate it. I ate the entire cake. Do you have any idea how many hours I had to pole dance to work off an entire cake?"
"Seven?" he guessed.
She froze, stared at him for a tense moment and then threw her head back and laughed with delight. "You're right! I always knew you were smarter than your brother. He guessed three."
My father stood even taller, clearly pleased with himself that he'd bested his brother, God. Forget about my grandma Gigi, my entire family was nuts.
"Mother, while it's alarmingly wonderful and highly destructive to see you," he said gesturing to the wrecked ballroom. "Why are you here and what do you want with Dixie?"
"I want to see her," she pouted and stamped her small foot. She was such a tiny thing, I marveled at how she'd given birth to Satan and God.
"You've not wanted to see her for twenty-one years. I don't see. . ."
"You know exactly why I've ignored her, Satan," she said in a deadly quiet voice.
My father had no reply. He bowed his head and shook it. What was going on here? Something was wonky and I'd bet my embarrassing virginity that no one was going to enlighten me.
"I know she's behind you. Dixie, come out and greet me," Gigi demanded.
My father turned to me and his golden eyes burned into mine. "It's alright. She won't harm you. Go to her."
Sucking in a huge breath, I stepped out from behind my dad and warily approached my grandmother. My fear disappeared and was replaced by curiosity. . .the kind that was deadly to cats.
"Oh my," she giggled, completely disarming me. "You are exquisite. You look like your father, but you have so very much of her in you."
She caressed my face gently. I automatically leaned into her warm and delicate hand. My maternal upbringing had been virtually nonexistent—attention from a mother figure was addicting, no matter how insane she might be.
"Do you mean my mother?" I asked tentatively, hoping she didn't remove her hand. "Do you know her?"
"Well of course I do. She's a crazy irresponsible assbuckle and the next time I see her I will. . ."
"Mother," Satan roared.
"Well she is," she shot back. "Anyhoo, I got a phone with cells. Would you like to see it?"
"Um. . ." I was hoping she would continue her tirade on my mother. It was the most information I'd ever heard.
"You mean a cell phone," my father corrected her.
"That's what I said." Her gaze narrowed dangerously and the wind in the room kicked up a few notches. Her fingers began to shoot little orange sparks and I worried for the health and welfare of my dad and his home.
"I'd love to see it," I insisted quickly before she caused a Hellquake or leveled the Dark Palace completely.
"I want you to take a selfie of me," she demanded as she handed me a jewel encrusted cell phone.
"Um, a selfie means you take it of yourself," I explained as she shoved her new toy into my hand.
"Exactly. Take a selfie of me."
Deciding further explanation of a selfie could end in violence I took several as she posed obscenely with a flowering vine.
"While it's wonderfully disturbing to watch you hump the vegetation, would you like to explain your presence?" my father asked as he partially hid himself behind a boulder.
"Yes, of course," Gigi said as she disengaged herself from the plant and planted a huge wet kiss on my cheek. Glancing at her phone she grinned. "These would go positively viral on You Tube."
"Mother," Satan warned as he stepped up next to me.
As calming as my father's presence was, I realized to my utter shock, I was not at all afraid of Mother Nature. It was clear that she loved me, which only confused me more.
"Why haven't you ever wanted me?" I asked her and she froze.
My father tensed beside me and his magic began to swirl with his mother's.
"Dear sweet child," she cooed. "It was for your safety, but now since you're leaving I needed to see you and tell you. . ."
"Enough," Satan shouted. "You know the rules. Would you put her in more danger than she's already in?"
This was unwelcome news to me. I was in danger?
"You such a douchewanker, I wouldn't say anything to harm her. I love her," Gigi shot back angrily.
"Then I think it best you leave," he said in a voice that made the hair on my neck stand up. However his mother just giggled.
"Have her powers come in?"
"No, but they will," he snapped and advanced on his mother. "You will stay out of this. Do you understand me?"
"It's not nice to backtalk Mother Nature," she hissed.
"I thought it was fool," my father replied in a bored voice.
"Whatever. I'm late for a marathon pole dancing exhibition, otherwise I'd smite your ass for being rude."
"You've done quite enough. Dixie say goodbye to your grandmother. Now."
I scurried forward and embraced my slightly unhinged grandma. She hugged me tight and whispered in my ear. "Your father is an assmonkey. Don't worry about a thing. I will see you on Earth. I promise."
With that she disappeared taking her jungle with her—almost. The roof of the palace was missing and I was quite sure that was not an accident.
"Son of a bitch," Satan yelled and stomped around throwing a fit. "It had better not rain before I can get a new roof or I will send a ten thousand giant goats to Nirvana to eat your gardens, you heinous woman."
"Yes Dixie?" he answered as he reigned in his tantrum with difficulty.
"What kind of danger am I in?"
"At this exact moment, none. But tomorrow is a new day."
"Is that supposed to help? Because it doesn't," I replied as I frantically began to pick at my woefully under-manicured fingernails.
"Dixie, look at me."
I did. He was magnetic and scary and beautiful and mine. I knew I would do anything for my father.
"I am sending you away from danger. You have a mission, but you are capable and ready. It's not for public knowledge because it fucks with my reputation, but I love you. I will kill for you and I would die for you. . .now your sisters? Not so sure, but I would not send you directly into the firing squad. You have to trust me."
Sucking in a huge breath, I nodded. "I trust you daddy and I love you too."
"Come here," he said.
I slid into his strong embrace and wished I could stay forever, but that was not how life went. If he said my powers would come, they would come. If he said I was ready. . .Hell, I just hoped he was right.
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Where does a Demon go when she gets deported from Hell?
Kentucky. Eden, Kentucky to be more specific—where nothing is exactly as it seems.
My name is Dixie. I’m a Demon—a lousy Demon. I’m a twenty-one year old virgin and I have a battery operated boyfriend. My magic is iffy at best and downright dangerous at worst. Leaving Hell to represent my race is not high on my list of things to do.
Hell was exact. Hell was simple. All I want to do is get to home base with the hotter than Hades Demon of my dreams and work on my dark side so Satan, my dad, will get off my ass.
Instead I end up in Kentucky looking for the Balance of Chaos, avoiding pole dancing classes with Mother Nature and finding out my invisible friend is a silver skinned destructive weather pattern.
And if that isn’t craptastic enough, the damn Sword of Death is missing again and who ever has it wants the King of the Underworld dead. Seriously.
With new powers emerging daily, keeping my Demon side, horniness and general disgust under wraps doesn’t make it any easier to fit in with the humans. Thankfully my priorities are in line: get laid…save world…try not to blow up kitchen appliances…and get laid again. I was ready to rumble. All I want to do is go back to Hell, but with the balance of good and evil in my hands, I’m stuck in the garden of Eden. Oh well, what the Hell. Someone has to save the world before there’s no world left to save. Might as well be me.