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Sunday Snippet: The Devil’s Advocate by Michaela Haze

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 About the Book

The Devil’s Advocate   
Author:  Michaela Haze
Publisher:   Dirty Jeans Publishing
Released:  September 28, 2017
Genre:  Urban Fantasy, Romance
Author contact links:   Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter
Purchase links:  Amazon, Goodreads

Snippet:

I lifted my painted toes out of my Louboutin heels and balanced my feet on the edge of my mahogany desk. Twirling a biro in one hand, I took a deep breath as I prepared for my next client. It was only ten a.m; was considering breaking out the Vintage Pinot Noir that had magically appeared in the corner of my office that morning.

“Welcome to Morgenstern and Clark Brokerage, Sir,” The dulcet tone of my assistant Luiz drifted into my office. “Right this way, please.”

I sighed and dropped my feet to the floor as I shifted myself into a professionally seated position. I tugged my short shirt over my thighs and pulled my comfortable office chair behind my desk. Luiz always knocked once before walking in. I had daemonic sense, which meant that I could hear everything within a hundred-metre radius if I concentrated. It seemed to disorientate the human clients though, so I tried to hide it.

I did not bother to stand up. It was a power play that I had learnt from Luc Morgenstern, my boss. I started to sift through the contracts on my desk and did not bother to look up as Luiz walked in with my newest client.

I could smell the stranger’s fear. I could taste his incredulity; he was not expecting a woman. It was all part and parcel with my day job.

“Ms Clark,” Luiz cleared his throat softly. “Your ten o’clock is here.”

I said nothing as I continued to organise my papers. I heard the frosted glass door close behind my assistant. I listened to the sounds of Luiz’s expensive Italian loafers as they padded away.

I turned to my laptop and scanned my meeting schedule for the name of my client, while said stranger hung in my doorway like an awkward houseguest.

“Please sit, Mr Parr. I cannot abide when people hover,” I said severely.

I looked up in time to see a young man, nondescript apart from a piercing on his left eyebrow. He wore flannel and did not fit with my usual standard of clientele. Parr took the empty seat in front of my desk, and I watched him with a quirked brow. No Manners.

I disliked having to speak first; it meant that I was relinquishing power.

“Ms. Clark?” Parr murmured; he refused to make eye contact.

“Yes, Mr. Parr. That is my name. How may I help you?” I turned to my laptop and readied my fingers over the keyboard, ready to strike out his name. The meeting was going to be a bust.

“I’m sorry. I expected you to have horns or something,” Parr laughed nervously.

I turned to him slowly, my lips were pursed. “I was told that you were interested in my Brokerage services, Mr Parr. If you’re here for any other reason, then I suggest that you leave.”

I’d kill Luiz if he let in another journalist. He was normally pretty good at sniffing them out.

Parr turned milk-white, and his hand began to shake. He knitted his fingers together on his lap and looked to the ground. “I’m sorry, Ms Clark, I am here for a reason.”

I nodded and turned back to my laptop. “And what reason would that be?”

“Didn’t your assistant tell you?”

I waved my manicured hand impatiently. I should have been easier on the young man, but I had lost all my patience already that morning.

“My girlfriend, she’s…” He croaked.

“I can’t bring someone back if their death has been acknowledged by anyone other than the client. It doesn’t work that way.” I cut him off, rather rudely. I couldn’t help it; I hated time wasters.

“She’s dead. But that’s not what I wanted.” Parr spluttered. “I’m being targeted. Someone thinks I killed her, and they want to kill me.”

I closed my laptop. “Intriguing.” I drawled. “How may I be of assistance?”

“I don’t know!” Parr’s forehead was clammy with sweat. I tended to have that effect on humans. I had been told that it was akin to walking into a pressure chamber. I could make a man’s ears pop simply by being in the same room. Humans were innately uncomfortable around me, and they had no idea why.

“Do you want money to be able to escape your crimes?” I asked, delicately.

Parr shook his head; his neck had flushed red in embarrassment. “My crimes? I didn’t kill her!” He exclaimed. His voice reached a high enough octave that I had to hide my flinch. Sometimes enhanced senses were not desirable. Particularly in the presence of hysterical humans.

“What do you want then?” I gestured with my hand for him to continue.

“I don’t want to die,” Parr shouted, getting irate as a response to my apathy.

I shook my head. “If you did not kill her, then you should go through the Human Court until you are proved innocent. Surely then your would-be assassin will lose interest.”

“I’ve been through the court. A jury has found me innocent of all crimes.” Parr wrung his hands nervously. “I still… there is still someone out there that wants to kill me.”

“Please do not waste my time Mr Parr.” I quirked my brow, and for the first time, I studied his eyes. I knew what he saw, the silver light of my Hell magic under my skin. It skulked under the surface, it wanted to grip onto the human and rip his sins free of his body, thread by thread. I shook my head to clear it.

“I didn’t kill her.” Parr snarled, anger lit up his eyes from within.

Finally, I was getting an honest reaction. “How did she die?”

“Heroin Overdose,” Parr said through gritted teeth.

“It’s semantics then. You gave her the drugs.” I pushed away from my desk, ready to lead the man to the door and out of my office.

“I didn’t push the needle in her arm!” Parr spat.

“This is all too human for me. Mr Parr.” I rolled my eyes. “If you can’t explicitly tell me what you want from our Brokerage firm, then I cannot help you.”

“I need you to make the person that wants to kill me disappear.” Parr held my eye contact, an impressive feat for a human.

“Disappear. Kill? Coma? You have to be more specific.”

“I want you to kill them.” He stated slowly.

My painted lips twitched into a smirk. “Finally, Mr Parr, we are getting somewhere.”

“What do you want in exchange? Money?” Parr wrung his hands together. I looked down to the cracked skin on his thumb. Skin-picking. An unfortunate and disgusting habit.

I opened the top drawer of my desk, and as expected – readily prepared – was a contract that had come from the Devil himself. It was a necessary exchange of services form. I flattened out the sheaf of A4 paper and wrote Parr’s full name on the top of the form. “Do you know who is targeting you? Their name?” I clarified.

Parr nodded and spluttered out the name of a woman. I crooked my brow but did not allow myself to ask the question. It was uncommon that a male, who was so nervous about proffering my services at all, to want to kill a female.

Parr was a bottom feeder, but he didn’t seem to be entirely destined for Hell just yet; although, the second that he signed on the dotted line, his soul would be mine.

I held my hand out for him to shake. “Pleasure doing business with you, Mr Parr.”

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