Desire Unchained

A Demonica Novel


By Larissa Ione

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around March 1, 2009. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Prepare to be burned (Gena Showalter) by this sexy and suspenseful enemies-to-lovers paranormal romance in the New York Times bestselling Demonica series.

Runa Wagner never meant to fall in love with the sexy stranger who seemed to know her every deepest desire. But she couldn’t resist the unbelievable passion that burned between them, a passion that died when she discovered his betrayal and found herself forever changed. Now, determined to make Shade pay for the transformation that haunts her, Runa searches for him, only to be taken prisoner by his darkest enemy.

A Seminus Demon with a love-curse that threatens him with eternal torment, Shade hoped he’d seen the last of Runa and her irresistible charm. But when he wakes up in a dank dungeon chained next to an enraged and mysteriously powerful Runa, he realizes that her effect on him is more dangerous than ever.

As their captor casts a spell that bonds them as lifemates, Shade and Runa must fight for their lives and their hearts-or succumb to a madman’s evil plans.


The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

Copyright © 2009 by Larissa Ione Estell

Excerpt from Lethal Rider © 2012 Larissa Ione Estell. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.


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First eBook Edition: March 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-55742-9

Suddenly, Runa found herself against the wall of the building.

Both of Shade's hands were on her shoulders …

"I can smell your desire, Runa," he murmured in a coaxing, seductive tone. The man was sex on legs, an overwhelming mass of muscle, testosterone, and sensuality for which she had no defense. Nothing had prepared her for something like this. She doubted any woman could be prepared for Shade. At least not mentally.

Her heart pounded frantically against her rib cage. The situation was rapidly tumbling out of control, and as his tongue swept along her neck and his hands stroked her hips, she found she couldn't care.

A low, sensual rumble came from deep in his throat as he kissed her. Not a proper kiss, but a lick across her lips and then a deep, hot meeting of tongues that had her panting and clinging to his jacket like she would never let him go …


"Very dark, very sexy …"

—Emma Holly, USA Today bestselling author

"Dangerously erotic, wonderfully satisfying … Ione knows how to make your heart race."

—Cheyenne McCray, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Magic

"4 Stars! [Ione's] hard-edged style infuses the story with darkness while taking it to sizzling heights."

Romantic Times BOOKreviews Magazine

"I loved it. It's dark, gritty, funny, sexy, hawt as hell, with demons! This book is unique; Larissa's storytelling is compelling and raw. She is truly a gifted storyteller and you will fall madly in love with the characters and this new series."

—Jaci Burton, national bestselling author

"5 Stars! Fascinatingly innovative … full of fervent encounters and shocking disclosures … compelling scenes and dynamic characters. Never has the paranormal world been more intriguing. Pleasure Unbound will leave a lasting impact on the reader, as this unforgettable story will evoke emotions long after the last page is read."


"What a ride! Dark, sexy, and very intriguing, the book gripped me from start to finish—totally recommended."

—Nalini Singh, author of Mine to Possess

"This is a dark, sexy, and adventurous story … has everything a paranormal romance book needs, and it will have a lot of readers coming back for more."


"Fast-paced … never slows down … Romantic fantasy fans will appreciate the first Demonica tale."

Midwest Book Review

"Intense, engrossing, and titillating, Pleasure Unbound is a story not to be missed. I can't wait for the next story."


"Ione has … created a very imaginative demonic tapestry as well as rich, multilayered characterizations … a heady blend that I look forward to revisiting in her next installment."


"Ione writes a passionate tale. She is able to blend two different worlds together seamlessly."


"What a great read! Very sexy … Tayla is an incredible heroine and the conflict and sexual attraction between her and Eidolon just burns on the page."

—Joely Sue Burkhart, author of Beautiful Death

"4½ Stars! Wow, wow, wow! This is one hot demon love story! The pages are riddled with action, sex, and danger. The intensity is palpable. I was moved by this love story and will think about it for some time."


"Sexy, dark, and emotion-filled … Took me on a rip-roaring ride through every emotion I have … Go out and buy a copy today."



Pleasure Unbound

For Karen Boss, who is always willing to drop everything to give me a read, to brainstorm, and to lift my spirits. Girl, you have been there for me for years, and I don't know what I'd do without you.

For my mother-in-law, Lynn Estell, who has been a cheerleader since she read my first manuscript (which will never see the light of day).

For Karen, Warren, and Lauren Allen, who have been a big part of my life for years. Karen, you're one of the strongest people I've ever met. Warren, hey, at least I didn't kill you off in this book. Lauren, sorry about the chocolate-covered garlic.

To Robyn Thompson … we don't see each other nearly enough, but you're always in my thoughts.

For Ann Martin and Michelle Willingham, whose lunch and dinner dates have been an oasis of sanity in an otherwise insane world.

To the wonderful Writeminded Readers Yahoo group, who are always enthusiastic, fun, and supportive. Y'all rock!

And as always, to my family, who put up with my constant tapping on the keyboard, my Crock Pot cooking during deadlines, and my tight schedules. I love you.


Writing can be such a solitary process, but to make a book come together, so many people are involved.

Thank you to the wonderful art department at Grand Central Publishing—you are truly amazing.

And a huge thanks to my wonderful agent, Roberta Brown, for making this book possible, and ditto to my brilliant editor, Amy Pierpont—your guidance has been invaluable. I'm so lucky to have both of you.

I am also blessed with friends who will drop everything to give me a quick read or critique, so I need to offer my deepest thanks to Lara Adrian and Stephanie Tyler. I owe you!


The Aegis—Society of human warriors dedicated to protecting the world from evil. See: Guardians, Regent, Sigil.

Carceris—The jailers of the underworld. All demon species send representatives to serve terms in the Carceris. Carceris members are responsible for apprehending demons accused of violating demon law, and for acting as guards in the Carceris prisons.

Council—All demon species and breeds are governed by a Council that makes laws and metes out punishment for individual members of their species or breed.

Dresdiin—The demon equivalent of angels.

Guardians—Warriors for The Aegis, trained in combat techniques, weapons, magic. Upon induction into The Aegis, all Guardians are presented with an enchanted piece of jewelry bearing the Aegis shield, which, among other things, allows for night vision and the ability to see through demon invisibility enchantment.

Harrowgate—Vertical portals, invisible to humans, which demons use to travel between locations on Earth and Sheoul.

Infadre—A female of any demon species who has been impregnated by a Seminus demon.

Maleconcieo—Highest level of ruling demon boards, served by a representative from each species Council. The U.N. of the demon world.

Orgesu—A demon sex slave, often taken from breeds bred specifically for the purpose of providing sex.

Regent—Head(s) of local Aegis cells.

S'genesis—Final maturation cycle for Seminus demons. Occurs at one hundred years of age. A posts'genesis male is capable of procreation and possesses the ability to shapeshift into the male of any demon species.

Sheoul—Demon realm. Located deep in the bowels of the Earth, accessible only by Harrowgates.

Sheoulic—Universal demon language spoken by all, though many species speak their own language.

Sigil—Board of twelve humans known as Elders, who serve as the supreme leaders of The Aegis. Based in Berlin, they oversee all Aegis cells worldwide.

Ter'taceo—Demons who can pass as human, either because their species is naturally human in appearance or because they can shapeshift into human form.

Therionidryo—Term a were-beast uses for a person he or she bit and turned into another were-beast.

Therionidrysi—Any survivor of a were-beast attack. Term used to clarify the relationship between the sire and his therionidryo.

Ufelskala—A scoring system for demons, based on their degree of evil. All supernatural creatures and evil humans can be categorized into the five Tiers, with the Fifth Tier composed of the worst of the wicked.

Classification of Demons, as listed by Baradoc, Umber demon, using the demon breed Seminus as an example:

Kingdom: Animalia

Class: Demon

Family: Sexual Demon

Genus: Terrestrial

Species: Incubus

Breed: Seminus


Three Years Ago …

"He's gone. Let's call it."

Shade ignored his partner and crunched another series of compressions into the shapeshifter's chest. Beneath his palms, cracked ribs grated with each downward stroke.

One–one thousand, crunch. Two–one thousand, crunch. Shade's own heart was pounding, pumping enough blood per minute to fuel Underworld General's lava-thermal generator, but the patient's heart didn't so much as spark. Three–one thousand, crunch. Shade's thigh muscles screamed with pain, cramping after Gods knew how long kneeling in blood next to the patient. Four–one thousand, crunch. A tingle spread down the dermoire that encased his arm from his right shoulder to his hand as he used his specialized gift to force the patient's heart to beat.

"Shade. Stop." Skulk, Shade's half-sister and paramedic partner, put a dainty gray hand on his arm. "We did all we could."

Knowing Skulk was right didn't make giving up any easier, and Shade didn't have enough breath left in his lungs to curse about it. Panting, he ceased CPR and sat back on his heels on the filth-strewn floor of the abandoned brewery. His arms trembled from exertion, and his stethoscope hung heavily around his neck.

He ground his teeth as he looked into the glassy eyes of his deceased patient. The vic was just a kid. Fourteen, maybe. He'd probably only recently learned how to shift out of his human form to whatever species his family belonged to. The telltale birthmark of a true shifter, a red, star-shaped mole behind the left ear, had barely formed.

"This is bullshit," Shade muttered, standing. Nearby, the two False Angels who had called in the report to the hospital stood, their sweet, virginal appearances belied by the sinister glint in their eyes.

"You didn't see who dropped him here?" he asked.

One of the angel impostors shook her head, her golden hair swishing against her white gown. "He was just lying there. Peaceful."

"He looked peaceful with half his organs missing?"

The other False Angel smiled. "Touchy, touchy." She trailed her fingers suggestively along the low-cut neckline of the gown no true angel would wear. "How about we help you relax, incubus?"

"Yes," the other one purred. "I've always loved a man in uniform."

The first False Angel nodded. "Veragoth does so enjoy haunting police stations."

"Mmm …" The female called Veragoth twirled a strand of hair around a finger and swept her hungry gaze from Shade's face to his feet. "But I'm starting to think I should be hanging out with paramedics."

Yeah, his black, BDU-style medic uniform made all the females hot even when he wasn't casting off the fuck-me pheromones that came standard issue for Seminus demons. But for once, Shade didn't feel like getting naked with two beautiful females. He was exhausted, angry, and damned sick of the newest rash of demon mutilations. Worse, no one gave a rat's ass that someone was chopping up demons for their parts and selling them on the underworld black market. It had been going on since time began, but few cared.

Shade did.

He was the asshole who got called to scenes where he rarely made a difference in whether or not the vic died. Most were too far gone. Or dead.

Skulk holstered her radio and dug through the jump bag for a fresh pair of gloves. "Since shifters don't disintegrate aboveground, Doc E wants the body. Let's scoop it up. We're done here."

We're done here. Too many calls ended like that lately.

Cursing, Shade helped Skulk load the kid's body onto a stretcher and wheel it to the rig. The black ambulance, one of two servicing Underworld General Hospital, was protected by a spell that rendered it unnoticeable to humans, but here, the cloak wasn't needed. They were in a quiet part of New York City, a formerly industrialized area that had been abandoned during Prohibition and was only now starting to build up again as a residential neighborhood.

"Let's roll," Shade said, and slammed shut the rig's rear doors.

It was Skulk's turn to drive, so Shade climbed into the passenger seat, popped a stick of gum into his mouth, and concentrated on filling out the run sheet.

Patient's chief complaint? Deadness due to organ removal.

Patient's response to treatment? Still fucking dead.

"Sonofabitch." Shade pinged the pen at the dash. "This sucks—" He cut off, suddenly shaken by a rumble deep inside him, an earthquake in his very soul. Pain rolled up from the epicenter, spreading through his body until the tsunami of agony slammed him backward in his seat.

"Shade? What is it? Shade?" Skulk shook his shoulder, but he barely noticed. He threw open the door, thankful they hadn't taken off yet, and fell from the vehicle.

His knees hit the pavement with a crack he heard through the roar of blood in his ears. Doubled over, he wrapped his arms around his gut. Blackness engulfed his vision, his brain. One of his brothers was dead. Who? Gods, who?

He reached out with his mind to connect with Wraith, the brother who couldn't be more his opposite, but with whom Shade had a unique connection. Nothing. He couldn't feel Wraith at all. Struggling for each breath, he felt for the weaker connection with Eidolon, but again, nothing. He couldn't sense Roag, either.

In the background, he heard Skulk talking on her cell phone with Solice, the on-duty triage nurse at the hospital. "Where are Shade's brothers? I need to know. Now!"

"Skulk …" he gasped.

She knelt next to him. "Hold on." She listened into the phone for a moment. "Okay, Solice says Roag went to Brimstone. She's all mad because he wouldn't take her with him, but she's getting ready to head there now. She doesn't know where E and Wraith are. They refused to go with Roag."

Not a shock. No Seminus in his right mind would step inside a demon pub where female lust could hold you prisoner for days, or worse, send you to your death at the claw-end of a jealous male. But then, Roag had never been in his right mind.

Shade groaned, swallowed sickly. Gradually, a pinpoint of light pierced the darkness. Wraith. He could feel Wraith's life force. Thank the gods. Relief made his shoulders sag, but only for a second. He couldn't sense Eidolon. Blindly, he reached out with his hand as though he could touch his brother. Skulk caught his arm, twined her fingers through his.

"Breathe, Paleshadow," she whispered, using the childhood nickname she'd given him over eighty years ago. "We'll get through this."

Not if E was dead. Shit, he was the brother who kept them all level, who kept Roag in line and Wraith alive.

Awareness sifted through him. Eidolon. He was safe.

The pain faded, but a gnawing, aching emptiness drilled one more hole into Shade's soul. Seminus demons were connected to all their brothers, and when one died, he took a chunk of his surviving siblings with him. Thirty-seven deaths later, Shade felt like a colander.

"Who was it?" Skulk asked softly.

"Roag." He drew in a deep, shuddering breath. "It was Roag."

"I'm sorry."

"So am I," he said, but it was an automatic response. As much as he hated to admit it, the world was now a better place.


When walking through the "valley of shadows," remember, a shadow is cast by a Light.

—Austin O'Malley

It had been at least two decades since Shade had awakened on a strange floor, hung over and without a clue to his whereabouts. The heavy weight of a manacle around his wrist and the sound of a rattling chain made him smile. It had been even longer since he'd been in this situation and chained up.


Sure, he preferred the females to be the ones in chains instead of him, but he'd roll with it.


The female voice sounded familiar, but he couldn't place it through the ringing in his ears. He couldn't open his eyes, either.

"Shade. Wake up." A hand shook his shoulder, not gently, as he'd expect a female to do after a spending a night with him. Hell, she should be waking him with her mouth on his— "Shade, damn you, wake up!"

Groaning, he rolled onto his back, wincing at the dull ache pounding against the back of his skull. "I'm awake, baby. I'm awake. Climb on. I'll catch up."

"Thanks, I'll pass. But call me baby again and I'll rip your lips off."

Shade peeled his eyes open. Blinked at the blurry face peering down at him. Blinked again.


"You remember my name? Pardon me while I pass out from shock."

The sarcasm wasn't necessary, but yeah, he remembered her name. She'd been the hottest human he'd ever brought to his bed. Long, caramel brown hair that felt like the softest silk on his chest, abs, thighs, as she kissed her way down his body. Full, sensual lips that had curved into wicked smiles worthy of his wildest dreams, pale champagne eyes that complemented smooth, golden skin that had melted like brown sugar under his tongue.

But he hadn't seen her in nearly a year. Not since the night she ran away and fell off the face of the earth.

"Why are you here? Why am I here?" He squinted in the hazy darkness. "Where is here?" His first thought was that maybe The Aegis had captured him, but this place was too creepy even for those demon-slaying bastards.

"Can you sit?" Runa helped him up, too quickly, and his head swam. She pushed him back against a wall with more strength than he'd expected. He didn't resist, grateful for the cool, damp stone that eased his nausea.

"Answer my question," he said, because he now suspected that this wasn't a sexual hangover, which meant that there could be no good reason to be chained up and feeling like shit with a woman who probably wanted to cause him some damage.

Runa snorted. "You're still an arrogant ass."

"Shock, huh?"

"Not really." Her hand came down on his forehead, as though checking for fever, but as a human, she'd have no idea that his normal body temperature ran high, and he pushed her away. Besides, her touch made his temp jack up even more, something he definitely didn't need.

"Well? Where are we?" They seemed to be in some sort of cell inside a larger enclosure, maybe a dungeon. Something dripped incessantly, straw littered the floor, and candles burned in iron sconces on the stone walls.

Hell's bells, he'd been cast in a cheesy horror movie.

"I don't know where we are. We seem to have four captors … at least, four different demons have been down here to feed us. They call themselves Keepers."

Yeah, this was definitely bad. "Us?"

"I've been here a week. There are a few others in cells. The Keepers take out some and bring others in."

For the first time, Shade looked down at himself, saw the heavy chains connected to his left wrist and ankle. Runa was secured to the opposite wall with a manacle around her right ankle. She wore jeans and a tight, sleeveless sweater he'd have appreciated if it weren't for the fact that he was being held prisoner. She looked different than he remembered, too. When they'd dated—if screwing like rabbits could be called dating—she'd been shy, needy, and easy to control, which had fed his need to dominate, but had ultimately grown boring.

Beneath the conservative dresses and slacks she'd worn, she'd been a little round, soft, even. But now … holy hot. She'd put on muscle, and he swore she'd grown taller. Her well-worn jeans fit like a glove, and the black sweater stretched across breasts that were definitely smaller than they had been, perfect for his hands. His mouth.

And this line of thinking was doing nothing but making him hard in an extremely inappropriate situation.

Then again, as a Seminus demon, he was pretty much always hard.

"When was I brought in?"

"Last night."

He shook his head, trying to loosen the congestion that had jammed up his thoughts and memories. Last night … last night … what had he been doing? Wait … he was wearing his paramedic uniform. He remembered going to work, checking in with Eidolon, and getting into a scuffle with Wraith. Their newest doc, a human named Kynan, had broken it up by dousing them both with a bag of saline.

Same old, same old at the one and only medical treatment facility for demons.

Shade and Skulk had gone out on a call, an injured vamp at a New York meat packing facility. They'd entered the building, but from there, his memory took a leave of absence.

"Was anyone else brought in with me? A female?"

"The Umber demon?"

His heart thundered like a trip-hammer. "An Umber came in with me?" Runa nodded, and he didn't stop to think about how she even knew what an Umber demon was. "Where is she?"

"You sleeping with her?" Her sharp tone cracked in the dank air.

"She's my sister, and I don't have time for your jealousy."

"Seems to me you have nothing but time," Runa said, but her voice had softened. "I'm sorry. I don't know what they did with your sister. They took her away a little while ago." She shifted away from him, and he realized she was at the very end of her chain. "You don't look like her."

He didn't offer an explanation for the fact that he and his sister were different species, and she didn't ask. Instead, she watched him as he eyed the bars in the door to their cell and wondered how sturdy they were. Then again, they could be paper for all it mattered if he couldn't break the chains that tethered him to the wall.

"Our best chance to escape won't happen until they come for us," she said.

"You said they feed you."


On Sale
Mar 1, 2009
Page Count
416 pages

Larissa Ione

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author and Air Force veteran Larissa Ione traded in a career in meteorology to pursue her passion of writing. She has since published dozens of books. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge . . . just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her retired U.S. Coast Guard husband, her son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhounds, a King Shepherd named Hexe and a Belgian Malinois named Duvel.

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