White Hot KissBy: Jennifer L. Armentrout
ONE KISS COULD BE THE LAST
Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal—fit in at school, and go out on a real date with the gorgeous Zayne, whom she’s crushed on since forever. Trouble is, Zayne treats Layla like a sister—and Layla is anything but normal. She’s half demon, half gargoyle, with abilities no one else possesses. And even though Zayne is a Warden, part of the race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe, Layla’s kiss will kill anything with a soul—including him.
Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know her secrets. Though Layla knows she should stay away, it’s tough when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue. Trusting Roth could ruin her chances with Zayne—and brand her a traitor to the Warden family that raised her. But as Layla discovers she’s the sole reason for a violent demon uprising, kissing the enemy suddenly pales in comparison to the looming end of the world.
He couldn’t be here.
But he was, and I couldn’t look away. Suddenly I wished I could sketch, because my fingers itched to draw the lines of his face, to try to capture the exact slant of the bottom lip that was fuller than the top.
The demon smiled and leaned down, placing his palms on my desk, smelling of something sweet and musky. “I’ve been thinking about you all night….”
There was a demon in McDonald’s.
And it had a powerful hunger for Big Macs.
Most days, I loved my after-school job. Tagging the soulless and the damned usually gave me a mad case of the warm fuzzies. I’d even given myself a quota out of boredom, but tonight was different.
I had a paper to outline for AP English.
“Are you gonna eat those fries?” Sam asked as he grabbed a handful off my tray. His curly brown hair fell over his wire-frame glasses. “Thanks.”
“Just don’t take her sweet tea.” Stacey slapped Sam’s arm and several fries fell to the floor. “You’ll lose your entire arm.”
I stopped tapping my foot, but kept my eye on the interloper. I don’t know what it was with demons and the Golden Arches, but man, they loved the place. “Ha-ha.”
“Who do you keep staring at, Layla?” Stacey twisted in the booth, looking around the crowded fast-food joint. “Is it a hot guy? If so, you better— Oh. Wow. Who goes out in public dressed like that?”
“What?” Sam turned, too. “Aw, come on, Stacey. Who cares? Not everyone wears knockoff Prada like you.”
To them, the demon looked like a harmless middle-aged woman with really bad fashion sense. Her dull brown hair was pinned up with one of those old-school purple butterfly clips. She wore velvet green track pants paired with pink sneakers, but it was her sweater that was epic. Someone had knitted a basset hound on the front, its big, sappy eyes made of brown yarn.
But despite her drab appearance, the lady wasn’t human.
Not that I had a lot of room to talk.
She was a Poser demon. Her astronomical appetite was what gave away the breed. Posers could eat a small nation’s worth of food in one sitting.
Posers might look and act human, but I knew this one could snap the head off the person in the booth next to her with little effort. Her inhuman strength wasn’t the threat, though. It was the Poser’s teeth and infectious saliva that were the real danger.
They were biters.
One little nip and the demonic version of rabies was passed to the human. Totally incurable, and within three days, the Poser’s chew toy would resemble something straight out of a George Romero flick, cannibalistic tendencies included.
Obviously, Posers were a real problem unless you considered a zombie apocalypse fun times. Only good thing was that Posers were rare, and every time one bit somebody, its lifespan was shortened. They usually had about seven good bites in them before they went poof. Sort of like a bee and its stinger but dumber.
Posers could look like anything they wanted. Why this one was rocking an outfit like that was beyond me.
Stacey made a face as the Poser moved on to her third burger. She wasn’t aware of us watching her. Posers weren’t known for their keen powers of observation, especially when preoccupied with secret-sauce awesomeness.