Chapter Two

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Tracking his target had been a cakewalk. Relying on the skills drilled into his soul as the FBI's foremost expert on missing persons, Grayson Wyatt had walked right into her life without raising suspicion. Or was it his new powers that'd lead him to the blonde, athletic, and far too sexy Detective Veranika Russo?

"But why her?" he asked himself. She was only one of the targets he'd been assigned. Although, he didn't understand why the Deceiver sent him after a mortal hovering over her deceased sister. Every other target had been demonic. Five in the last year, but for some reason this woman had made his list. Veranika—Nika as her former partner had called her—brought monsters to justice and didn't exemplify any real threat, least of all to the devil himself. But what did he know? He'd been given a choice and the deal had been struck.

Too bad he had to turn her in. Nothing of his new life had raised his awareness of a mortal quite like Nika had. She'd confronted him and demanded answers, determined and unafraid. Had even warned him off the case.

He liked that kind of confidence in a woman.

NYPD and their technicians buzzed around him, some so close, the scent of their shampoo overwhelmed the heavy smell of decomposition. They couldn't see him now through some miracle the Deceiver had granted him, but he saw everything.

Faced with her sister's body, Nika had shown vulnerability, but confronted by her former lieutenant, she'd shed her weakness and stood her ground. Her sweet scent had intensified to the point it'd practically filled the entire room. Lavender. Calming. Addictive. He'd barely been able to resist touching her.

She stepped into the corridor that lead toward the bank's lobby. Arousal hit him hard and he shoved his hands into his pockets to stop himself from reaching out for her. He stared after her as she rounded out of sight. All too easy to imagine grabbing a fist full of that long, blonde hair and exposing her delicate throat to his mouth. And that scent...he hadn't been able to expel it from his system yet. Almost didn't want to. But her commanding presence was what kept him at attention below the belt. It'd been a long time—too long—since a woman had pumped blood through his veins so fast. But his attraction wouldn't stop him from finishing the assignment. Not when his soul had been put up for auction. The instinct to protect her from her lieutenant had overwhelmed every nerve in his body, but Grayson forced it out of his mind. "Not your job, asshole. Just stick to the plan."

In fact, he'd been charged with the exact opposite: bring her to the Deceiver alive or dead. Maybe that explained his momentary fascination. He wanted what he couldn't have.

Like a wind funnel touching down, the atmosphere heated as a high amount of burning power swept across his skin. His stomach lurched and rolled as he searched for the only source that could give off that much energy. "Shit. To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"She's a target, Grayson. Nothing more." The lieutenant who'd threatened Nika—no, the target—circled around Grayson's shoulder from behind, irises red. As if tiny insects crawled beneath his skin, the Deceiver's forehead rippled with movement. Wrinkles disappeared, his eyes darkened and visible scars evaporated. A sharp jawline appeared, and he grew a full two inches in height. Bones popped as skin tightened to its origin and broke a cold sweat between Grayson's shoulder blades. In a process taking no longer than ten seconds, the demon who'd turned him into a monster stood mere feet away, the facade of Lieutenant Turner disappearing. Which meant something had happened to the real Lieutenant Turner. "Or have you already forgotten our deal?"

"You never said she was a cop." Dread settled low in his stomach as a surge of electricity jolted his muscles stiff. In an instant, the brush of power was gone. Maybe the rumors were true. The Deceiver might've been compromised from the battle with his former heiress and control of his power had obviously suffered.

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