Incubus Among Us #3

Book Cover: Incubus Among Us #3

Liz Monroe’s steamy complications keep piling up as her succubus abilities reach tantalizing new heights. Her coworkers desire her, David seduces her, and all she wants is to return to her old life where getting a date was impossible. Her only hope is the witch doctor, Magnus, and his creepy dolls, but will they be enough to fend off the spell she creates, or will she have to run away to a deserted tropical island with only monkeys as company?

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Monday. The day the working masses dread. The day that begins the long march to the next weekend. Office slaves went to their cubicles and desks, and pounded away at their keyboards in return for a paycheck. That nightmare was now my dream.
I woke up on that Monday morning with a regret-hangover from the previous evening. My unintentional liaison with David was at the forefront of my thoughts as I swung my legs over the side of the bed. I ran a hand through my hair and sighed. My doll protection was gone, the time was Monday morning, and I was slowly changing into a man-attracted succubus. I frowned and stood.
“Come on, Liz,” I whispered to myself. “You just have to get through one day of work and then you can go back to that crazy witch doctor and get that guarantee taken care of.” I pounded a fist into my other hand and stiffened my upper lip. “You can do this! You just need to focus and-” My eyes fell on the time.

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I had twenty minutes until work, and it took fifteen minutes to drive there. “Crap!”
I raced through the motions, skipped a few minor details such as breakfast, and rushed out the door. Twenty minutes later found me huffing and puffing out of the elevator and onto my floor. I leaned one hand against the wall and gasped for breath.
“What happened to you?” a voice spoke up. I looked up and saw Ann walk toward me.
“Don’t. . .ask,” I huffed.
She took my lunch pale and escorted me to my cubicle. “Rough weekend?” she guessed.
“That’s. . .an understatement,” I replied. We reached the cubicle and I plopped into my chair. “You could say I had some guy trouble.”
“You mean you’ve been trying to find a guy for the winter party?” she asked me.
I leaned forward on my desk and set my chin on my arms. “I don’t think I want to talk about guys right now.”
Ann leaned against the entrance to my lair-er, cubicle. “Don’t say that. I might have found a solution to your date problem.”
I raised an eyebrow. “And what’s that?”
She gave me a sheepish grin. “A guy?” she squeaked
I raised my head and glared at her. “The last thing I need is a guy,” I argued.
“Oh, come on, Liz! A guy is just what you need, and this one’s looking for somebody just like you!”
My eyebrow raised even higher. “Just like me?”
“Just like you,” she insisted. She paused and tapped her chin. “At least, that was the impression I was getting from him. Someone a little shy but with a lot of secret spunk, and really pretty.”
“And he’s probably as ugly as a dog,” I commented.
She shook her head. “No, he’s actually really cute. Well, almost gorgeous. Frank and I-Frank’s my boyfriend-we met him at a club the other night and we really hit it off. He didn’t have a date and said he was looking for a long-term relationship. So what do you say?”
I slumped over my desk and clapped my hands over my ears. “I say no.”
“Oh, come on, Liz. I know it’s a little sudden, but we could have a double-date. Would that make you more comfortable?” she offered.
“No,” I snapped.
Something caught Ann’s eyes and she glanced to her right. A frown slipped onto her lips. “Lenin’s coming. You just think about it and get back to me later. Frank and I were going to go out this weekend so we could double up the dinner date then if you want.”
I sighed and waved her off. “I’ll think about it, now hurry before he fires us both.”
“Later, Liz.”
“Later,” I grumbled.
I sat straight and turned on my computer just as Leader Lenin arrived at my abode away from home. His eyes swept over the scene and my friend’s retreating back. He tapped on his fashionable, expensive watch. “It’s fifteen minutes past eight and you’re just turning on your computer?” he scolded me.
“Yes, sir. Ann and I were discussing printers again,” I told him.
He scowled and folded his arms across his chest. “I know you’ve been wasting company time talking. I can’t prove it, but if I catch you two again I’m writing both of you up. Understand?”
“Loud and clear, sir,” I replied.
“Good, now get to work.” He marched off to harass my comrades.
“Why can’t somebody embalm you and stick you in a box?” I muttered to myself as I got to work.
The hectic beginning to the day slowed down and for the first time I noticed something was amiss. Not with the day, though there was always more zombies on Monday than any other day, but with me. Well, not technically not with me, but with the guys around me.
It all started when Johnny came around with a stack of papers for me to work my way through. He knocked on the entrance as was his calling card.
“Good morning, Liz,” he greeted me.
I spun around in my chair and smiled at him. “Morning, Johnny. What have you got for me today?” I asked him.
He picked up a stack of documents and folders from his cart and set it on the end of my desk. “Mr. Lennon said this was for you.”
I frowned and pulled my chair closer to the stack. Piles and piles of work. It would take all day. “Lucky me,” I muttered.
I froze when I felt a nose brush against the top of my head. I whipped my head back and Johnny started away fro me. His cheeks were red and his hands fidgeted against his waist. I tilted my head to one side and lifted an eyebrow. “Did you. . .did you just sniff my hair?” I asked him.
“Um, well, I-I just thought that-well, that you smelled different,” he stuttered.
My heart skipped a beat on the sidewalk to panic. “Different how?”
He looked at the ground and shrugged. “I don’t know, just-well, different. Kind of sweet smelling and-” He blushed and mumbled something.
“And what, Johnny?” I persisted.
“And-um, and I have to be getting along or Mr. Lennon is going to be mad at me,” he commented. He slipped from my cubicle and rushed down the hall with his cart.
I frowned at the spot where he’d stood. Smelled different. That didn’t sound good. I raised one arm and sniffed myself. I didn’t smell anything different. Maybe it was just Johnny’s imagination, or maybe it was because it was Monday. Mondays did strange things to people. I got to work on the pile of documents, if only to distract myself from that strange episode.
I didn’t realize it was going to be one of many on that long, long day. Halfway through the morning I went to the water cooler for a cup. I poured myself a cup and swung around only to collide into the chest of a man who stood less than half a foot behind me. The water in the cup spilled over both of us and I stumbled back against the tank.
“What the hell?” I growled at the guy, a man named Ralph who I hadn’t spoken more than three sentences with during our two years of working together.
Ralph caught my arms, though it was a little too late to save me from hitting the tank. He grinned at me. “I’m really sorry about that. I thought there was a-um, a bug in your hair and wanted to get it out for you.”
I pulled on my hair with my free hand. The other still held the partially spilled cup. “Bug? What kind of bug?” I questioned him.
“A-um, a spider. A big one,” he told me.
“You had to stand that close to me to see a big spider?” I growled.
He sheepishly grinned and shrugged. “I have bad eyes. All these computers and stuff. Anyway, let me help you to the bathroom and we can get you cleaned up.”
There was a glisten in his eyes I didn’t like. It reminded me too much of the vacant look in the cute stranger’s eyes last night, and the lustful glance of David. “I think I’m fine,” I told him as I slipped from his grasp.
“But you’re covered in water,” he pointed out.
“It’ll dry, or I can get it off myself,” I insisted.
“But it’s all my fault. Let me make it up to you,” he persisted.
I had a feeling his way of making up for the accident involved less clothes than we now wore and a whole lot of groaning. I inched backward and smiled at him. “I-um, I think I hear my printer calling. Gotta go, bye!”
I hurried through the aisles between the cubicles back to my own lair. For the first time that day I gave some consideration to my surroundings and found there were eyes on the walls. Well, over the walls and in the doorways of the cubicles. The men watched me like I was a supermodel sporting lingerie as I walked down the catwalk. Some had their mouths agape and others leered at me from around corners.
I reached the solitary safety of my cubicle and collapsed into my chair. Panicked thoughts rushed through my mind. My new succubus powers over men were uncontrollable, they were obviously getting stronger, and I had no good excuse to get out of work except the water stain on my shirt. Lenin would never take that as a reason to go home, not without marking me down. I’d just have to avoid eye and body contact with all males until I could escape and return to Magnus’ hut for a new doll.
At the noon lunch our I decided to hunker down in my cubicle bunker and eat a granola bar I’d hidden in a desk drawer several months back. It tasted like desperation as I took a bite of its hard, dry surface. I swear sand dripped from the corners of my mouth as I mechanically chewed the hard oat gruel.
Ann slipped up to the entrance of my cubicle and cringed when she saw what I was eating. “Forget to pack a lunch?” she guessed.
“And money,” I added.
“You mean you forgot your purse?”
I actually hadn’t, but I couldn’t risk going out to eat while so many men remained in the world and I was without my dolly. “Um, yeah. Don’t tell anybody, okay?”
“Cross my heart, but you want me to take you out? My treat,” she offered.
“Maybe another time,” I told her. When I wasn’t being stalked by half the human population.
“Did you think about what I said earlier?” she asked me.
I blinked at her. “What you said? Oh, right! The guy! Listen, Ann, I really appreciate you trying to set me up with someone, but I think I’ve got enough problems with guys to last a lifetime.”
Ann glanced over the tops of the cubicles and frowned. “That’s another thing. Have you noticed that the guys have been acting really strange today? I mean, it’s almost like they’re all lovesick or mesmerized or something. I know it’s Monday, but they’re like zombies.”
“Um, yeah, I guess I have. Really weird, isn’t it?” I agreed.
“Yeah, and I swear they keep looking this way,” she added.
“Maybe it’s your clothes. Guys take longer to figure out fashion,” I suggested.
Her lips pursed and she shook her head. “I don’t think that’s it, but I don’t really know what’s wrong. It’s almost like they’re all paying attention to your cubicle waiting for something.” I choked on the last bite of my granola bar. My face turned blue and a coughing fit overtook me. “Liz! Liz, are you all right?” Ann yelled. She grabbed my arm, but I snatched the empty water cup from my desk and shoved it against her chest.
“Water,” I gasped. The dry granola was partially lodged in my throat.
She grasped the cup and furiously nodded her head. “I’ll be right back!” She rushed from my cubicle and I tried throat exercises to get the damn bit of food moving downward.
I didn’t notice the crowd of men at the entrance to my cubicle until Johnny stepped forward as representative of the dozen guys. “Are you all right? Is there something we can do?” he offered on behalf of the enraptured men.
This had gone too far. I grabbed my purse, jumped to my feet and pushed through the crowd. Ann hurried down the hall with the full cup. I snatched the cup from her, downed the contents and was glad when the granola floated loose and down my throat. Ann gawked at all the men behind me, especially as they shuffled closer like zombie moths to a flame.
“What are you guys doing here?” she asked them.
“We-um, we heard Liz coughing and thought she might need help,” Ralph spoke up.
“I’m fine,” I hoarsely replied. I shoved the empty cup into Ann’s fumbling hands and sprinted down the hall.
Lenin stepped out of his office on my left and blocked my path. His eyes widened when he noticed the crowd that followed me. “What’s going on here? Why aren’t you all at lunch?” he demanded to know.
“I have food poisoning and almost choked to death. I’m going home,” I told him. I pushed past him before he could argue and rushed to the elevator. Ann was at the head of the all-male pack as I turned inside the elevator and the doors began to close. “See you tomorrow!” I called to them as the doors shut.
I hoped.

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