Excerpt from Hell and Damnation

“Where did you say you're from?”

“I told you. I'm from Hell.”

The look on her face went from amused to irritated. “Well, unless it’s clearly marked on a map, I’ve never heard of the place,” she commented sarcastically. “Here, I pick you up in the middle of the coldest night we’ve had so far this year, and you don’t even have the decency to tell me where you live?”

He sighed. “I’m telling you the truth.”

“That you came from Hell.”

“To be precise, I got kicked out of Hell.”

“Right,” she nodded. However, her whole body language said just the opposite.

“I’m not lying to you, Gemma,” he insisted, feeding off of her rising anger. “Even though lying in Hell is considered an attribute. But this time I’m telling you the truth!”

She crossed her arms over her chest. “How does a person get kicked out of Hell? I thought people who did wrong went to Hell. Not get thrown out.”

A shudder went through him. Immediately, Gemma reached over to grab the blanket, lifting it back over his shoulders. The look of irritation turned back to concern. “I hope you’re not coming down with anything.”

None of it made sense to him. Not her comments. Not his being here. Not the fact that his body felt like it was no longer his to command. Not the fact that his dick had decided to play hide and seek without his permission. Nothing.

Suddenly, without warning, Danelius sneezed. He blinked in shock afterwards. “What was that?”

“What was what? You mean sneezing?” She reached over and placed a hand on his forehead. “You don’t feel like you’re coming down with a fever, but just in case I’ll give you some acetaminophen. Look, Dan, all kidding aside, is there someone I can call to let them know you’re here?”

He shook his head. “No. No one.”

“Well, it’s late, and the roads are getting worse by the minute. No telling what they’ll be like in the morning.” She gave him another cautious look. “If I let you sleep on the couch tonight, do you promise to be a good boy and not go wandering around the house? I have a can of mace and a baseball bat I plan to keep by my bed tonight, just to let you know.”

Although he had no idea what a can of mace or a baseball bat was, they didn’t sound like they would be pleasant to experience should he breach her confidence.

“I won’t go anywhere,” he told her.

“You promise?” As soon as she’d said the words, Gemma rolled her eyes. “Listen to me. Asking someone who says he's been kicked out of Hell if he’ll keep a promise. But...then again, maybe someone kicked out of Hell would keep a promise. Arrggh!” She shook herself. “Now you almost have me believing your malarkey! Hold on. Stay right there.”

Danelius watched as she left the room, turning to go down the hall instead of heading back into the kitchen. A minute later she reappeared with a few items.

“You can’t keep running around in your birthday suit. I don’t care who you are. Here.” She handed him a baggy t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants. “They might be a bit small on you, but they’re the best I can do in a pinch. At least they’ll help keep you from freezing your butt off. Hey, are you hungry? Would you like for me to fix you a sandwich or something?”

Danelius shrugged. “Am I hungry? I don’t know. I don’t know what hungry is.” He frowned slightly at her. “This is strange to me, being mortal. It’s confusing. And it hurts.”

“Maybe what you need is just a good night’s sleep. I’m bushed myself. Listen, the bathroom is down the hall, first door on the right. I’ll go get you a pillow and another blanket while you get dressed.”

She left, and Danelius took it as his cue to slip on the red sweats and white t-shirt while she was out of the room. When Gemma returned, she gave him an approving smile. “Nice. Not too snug, are they?”


“The waistband.” Lifting up the t-shirt, she slipped a finger inside his pants. The feel of her warm skin on his was an unexpected spark of desire that shot in two directions at the same time, tingling his toes and making his nipples perk up. His breath caught in his throat as he tried to grasp the sensation. Gemma didn’t appear to notice.

“Mmm, the elastic has plenty of give. Good thing you have a flat stomach and slender hips, or else these pants wouldn’t fit. Of course,” she giggled, “you are a tad taller than me.”

He glanced down to see what she was implying. The stretch cuffs circled his calves. He started to say something when she vanished down the hallway again, returning shortly with what looked like stockings.

          “There’s no way your feet can fit into a pair of my socks, but these leg warmers should work,” she said as she tossed them at him. “Tomorrow I’ll take you over to the police station, and we’ll let them try and figure out who you are.” She snorted, adding, “Kicked out of Hell. That’s a good one. I have to admit, I haven’t heard that one yet. Gotta hand it to you, Dan. You’re original.”