Dec 11 2015

A Review of All’s Fae in Love and War by Natalie Severine and Eric Severine

All's Fae in Love and War by Natalie Severine and Eric Severine

All’s Fae in Love and War by Natalie Severine and Eric Severine

The second review of the ongoing series called Lily Quinn written by Natalie and Eric Severine. I reviewed the first work in the series last month on the Tale and you can find that review here. At the time of that review I noted that I wanted to know more about Lily, her past, her life even if it meant toning down the erotica to a point. I felt like there was a lot to tell about her and I wanted that to unfold going forwards in the series.

There’s more to being a Succubus than just having a body that everyone wants. Yes, the sex is part of you, yes there will be those moments when all there is, for that moment, is the pleasures given and taken. But along the way its always good to remember who you are, where you came from, and some of the people that got you where you are.

It tells the story of:

My name is Lily Quinn. I’m a half-succubus bounty hunter. I work for the College, a secret cabal of wizards who pay me well to deal with monsters. You wouldn’t believe my résumé – or my little black book.

But speaking of books, some kind of ancient tome has gone missing from the College’s library. I’m not sure why this book is so important, but the wizards are offering a huge reward of alchemically transmuted gold to have it returned, along with the thief who stole it. So now I’ve got a lead on an Unseelie fairy who likes leather and a challenge. What a coincidence. So do I.

I’m going to have a great time questioning this thief about where to find the book… but I have to catch him first.

Lily finds herself in a new challenge. A book is missing and finding out who stole it, and why, will mean using all of her sources of information. And if there is some fun along the way, there’s nothing wrong with that is there? But eventually the fun and games turn very serious and Lily discovers that sometimes the things in the shadows aren’t the things you need to worry about… they’re just the warning.

I expected more from this work as Lily’s persona was established in the first work in the series. There needed to be more about Lily herself, more than just her casual and, at times, flippant thoughts about herself. I wanted to know more about Lily’s past, who her parents were, who taught her, how she came to be where she is now in her life. I expected that there would be quite a lot of erotica tied into the story and otherwise. As a whole, some of those things were accomplished here, but there are a few things missing.

The first point, about Lily herself, came mainly from some moments in her day at home, which I admit I laughed over at several points, especially about a comment she made about her computer. There’s also a neat little touch about a certain pair of slippers she owned that I adored so much. These little things about Lily’s personality, her quirks, added quite a lot to her as a whole and made her a more fleshed out character than she was in the first work in the series.

Lily’s past was told, but fleetingly. However, the appearance of a new character who means a great deal to Lily and who she is in the here and now, I felt worked extremely well, even if she’s a bit of a mystery. I hope she returns at some point because the two characters together simply click, and not just in the erotic hot flash that develops between them. Lily’s reflections upon her situation, how the College sees her, and so on, were quite serious when compared to some of the lighter moments in the work and that worked well.

A second character, who is smitten with Lily, though he can’t admit it, was fun, but there was a strange undercurrent of desire chained to duty that give the moment an odd feeling. That scene with Lily using her knowledge of him, and giving him something he’s always desired, was very hot and had the barest touch of succubus mind control, but that didn’t feel out of place. I rather hope there’s something more to be seen in that relationship, even if it is a problem for both of them.

Lily’s target in this work, Kalen, is in a lot of ways a kind of mirror for Lily and seeing her fall, in a way, but he as well, fall, is a rather unique set of scenes that play out and come to a climax which Lily wanted, but didn’t expect the outcome of. It put Lily on her heels, making her think, and I liked that because it showed that she was more than she appeared to be. That’s important because the erotica otherwise in this work made well over half of the story, over three flashes, and it might have been too much. But having that interspersed with some serious moments, and a little humour, made this work better overall.

The writing is as strong as the first work, Lily’s internal monologue is really well done and focused, and I liked that. The storytelling is very good, every character speaks with a clear voice, a different perspective and that was good to see continued. While the work does clearly say that there is a lot of erotica in the series, I just felt as if there was too much for how long the story was. It wasn’t so much that it was out of place however. More story between the erotica I think would have been nice to see and make this more that it turned out to be.

I’ll give this work three and a half out of five pitchforks.

I liked that there was more of Lily’s past being told, the people that matter in her life coming out, even that there were little moments of Lily’s “normal” day that made me smile. The erotica was a bit over the top, even for Lily as a Succubus at some points, and I felt that hurt the overall story and plot arcs to an extent. There is so much in Lily’s character, personality, and all of her that isn’t focused on having intimate moments with everyone she encounters that it needs to be more present overall I feel.

A body made for sex isn’t as interesting as the mind behind it. Telling more of that story is something I would like to see. The next work in this series, The Beast Within, will be released at the end of December. I hope that what seems to be a series plot arc becomes more prevalent in the next work and going forwards… We’ll see.



Dec 11 2015

A Review of Lilith by Fran Heckrotte

Lilith by Fran Heckrotte

Lilith by Fran Heckrotte

A little while ago I reviewed the work Warrior Demoness by Fran Heckrotte which you can find here on the Tale. The work was part of a series released a very long time ago which had within it the appearance of many myths and legends, telling the story of some of the more well known, but also stories about others around them. The sad part was that to find any copies of this series is really very difficult. In reading the work, there was a character named Lilith in it and I went on a search for the book bearing her name that was part of the series.

After a long search I found a paperback copy and so, finally, I am going to review that work as well here on the Tale.

It is, as a whole, always best to learn stories of the past from the ones that had experienced it. You can find, many times, their truth is more interesting than the fiction.

  • Title: Lilith
  • Author: Fran Heckrotte
  • Length: 356 Pages
  • ISBN-10: 1934889547
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934889541
  • Publishing Date: February 1, 2008
  • This work at

It tells the story of:

Yemaya, the Illusionist, and her journalist partner Dakota, find themselves embroiled in a search for the person responsible for the rape and torture of a young Carpi woman, attending a university in the States. When they decide to visit a local nightclub for women only, they find the owner and her employees unusual. Dakota feels mysteriously attracted to one of the clientele while Yemaya recognizes a kindred spirit-in Lilith, the club’s owner. Spiritual ancestors, missing whores, a sadistic exporter and new acquaintances lead the two lovers into an adventure of biblical proportion.

Lilith, She was a demoness, as old as humanity itself. Now the owner of a women’s only nightclub and part owner of the Sisterhood, a small group of whores who have banned together to create a better life for themselves, it was her job to protect those women who were putting so much trust in her. When a local pimp, decides to eliminate his competition Lilith and her two demon partners want revenge– and no one knows better how to exact it than demons. This is a revelation of the past, the present and the events that forever changed the course of human history.

There is a bar called Lilith’s where the people you meet aren’t exactly what you think they are. There is a group called the Sisterhood who do and are more than anyone can expect them to be. In the midst of all of this is Lilith and she is not, at all, what she is expected to be.

This work is actually two distinct works in one. But while that is true, they also both turn about Lilith, her past and her present, and in doing so creates a mythology around her in this universe that is, as a whole, so much more interesting than many that I have seen about her.

The Lilith of this work isn’t, most importantly, written in the stereotypical ways that most authors use to express who she is. While she is Lilith, and most of her story is what is well known, it takes several interesting branches away from that main story and creates a new mythology around her and it is one that I personally think tells so much more and is so much better than the myth of today.

Beyond Lilith herself, there are other Succubus-like and Cambion characters that appear who, again, are not written in a way that they are transparently there in the story to be filler. They have their own stories to tell, to share, and lives and loves to encounter. They are all amazing characters and as the story continues they grow in many unexpected ways that I liked.

While this is part of an overall series, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on any of the main character stories and in doing so the work didn’t feel like it was losing its way or that I needed to have an understanding of something that had come before in the series. It is a full, self-contained story, strongly written, and quite enjoyable.

There is a bit of erotica mixed into the story, but it is there to provide some character development and isn’t out of place. It is a very long work, and does drift away from the core story on occasion, but that has to be expected as there are some points which set up future works in the series.

But the one thing that held me was just how Lilith’s story was told. More than that, there is a revelation that fits into her story well, makes sense, and turns the work in an unexpected direction, Lilith’s character, as complex as it is, and as much as she has been through, still has purpose and meaning in spite of how long she has been in existence. There were moments that I couldn’t help but smile over, others that brought tears to my eyes and in that, this Lilith is one of the best that I have ever seen.

I wish that there had been a better placing of Lilith’s story in the work however. It reads very much like two stories that are connected together by the thread of the main characters being involved in two different problems. The former story focused most of its attention on the main characters, and in the latter Lilith and her story and Lilith in the current time, take up the focus with the main series characters only appearing sparingly. It isn’t a huge problem, but somehow I think that the two stories might have been connected together better or interwoven more.

Four out of five pitchforks.

An amazing story in many ways but one that I am sad to say is extremely difficult to find. That is the largest shame and one that I really think shouldn’t be so. Possibly the most interesting characterization of Lilith that I have ever read and I am very pleased that I did.



Dec 10 2015

Succubi Image of the Week 412

What I think is an interesting Succubus character today on the Tale for the Succubi of the Week. Overall I like her quite a lot, though her tail and feet are a bit odd at least from my point of view… But then, beyond that, there’s quite a lot about her that catches my attention…

Succubus by Sauriv

Succubus by Sauriv

This work is titled simply as Succubus and is by the artist Sauriv on DeviantArt. You can find the original page with this art here on DeviantArt and this artist’s page can be found here.

She has the most amazing expression really, somewhere between bored and indifferent that I think looks amazing. Lovely hair, really suits her quite well I think. She has a nice body shape and her pose draws attention to that as a whole along with her clothing which is perfect really.

I’m not exactly sure about her feet, which look odd, but then I suppose it’s a little touch, along with her wings and horns and tail, that give her a slightly devilish look. I would have liked her more with hooves, though really I’d rather have her in heels by far and a spaded tail, if for no other reason than to suit my sensibility over Succubi…

She represents someone that has a story to tell and I wonder about it…



Dec 09 2015

Just because the costume is shiny doesn’t make it Succubish

Slick Black Devil CostumeI have said, many times, that I like latex or shiny/wet looking costumes. I’m not quite sure that it is a fetish of mine, but nonetheless I do like that particular style and look. I came across two costumes that try, in a lot of ways, to be almost what I would like, but don’t quite manage. Still, they do give me thoughts and in that might come something for my Eternal when he least expects…

This is called the Slick Black Devil Costume and it comes with the leather jumpsuit and gloves. The horns the model is wearing are not included, nor are the shoes and the costume sells for $40 US.

Now, I have a hard time believing that the costume is made of leather.. faux leather I will accept, but real leather I just do not see being what would be used for how little this costume sells for.

I will say that the model really makes this costume work for her, she has quite the expression and pose and she looks really lovely wearing the costume too. As a Domme Devil Girl I think it works, but as a whole, and for me at least, it leaves quite a lot to be desired.

The ties that are used bother me a bit, mostly that they make the outfit look a bit odd and that always bothers me. It also brings me to think that something like this would be better in something like latex, for the cling and tight fit. I’m not sure that this, being faux leather, would fit right and as such it’s unlikely that it could be adjusted to make the right fit.

But it is an interesting look, and something to ponder. But it doesn’t appeal to me as much as it should which is a shame…

Two and a half out of five pitchforks.

We’ll see what the next costume brings…



Dec 08 2015

A Review of The Descendants of Lilith series by Rhozwyn Darius

Lily: The Descendants of Lilith by Rhozwyn Darius

Lily: The Descendants of Lilith by Rhozwyn Darius

The most difficult thing to manage is a work of fiction that is based on a past time which, as a whole, is so very different than the world of today. Being so, there comes moments in the story which, from our perspective, are confusing, strange, and even at times it’s hard to understand the structure of classes in that time.

Mix into such a story succubi and incubi, who survive through sexual relationships, and force them to exist in a world where such things are never talked about, al least in private company, and there is no end of problems to overcome.

A review today of a series that manages this tightrope extremely well and in doing so brings about all sorts of questions about what might have been.

The work tells the story of:

At the height of the long, endless winter of 1816, Peter Oldham rushes his dying widowed sister to the one place in London, perhaps in all of England, where she might be saved. Suffering from a condition peculiar to Lilith’s Children, Lily Oldham Montville, is Dousing—dying from the lack of sex. She’s fortunate, indeed, that an old friend, Jack Howard and his lover, Hal Lockwood, are available for a long night and day of sex, revelation, and truth. Ignorance is dangerous for humans, but an order of magnitude more dangerous for the Children of Lilith. Gifts have prices and the Children all live on the knife’s edge of pleasure and danger.

In a timeline just a heartbeat or two away from ours, Lilith’s Children are the descendents of the goddess Lilith and the giants of old. In 1816, as a minority population, they have interbred with the Children of Adam and Eve until they are more hybrid than pure. However, the recent influx of French aristocrats running from the terror of the French Revolution and marrying into upper class British families have created a new generation of incubi and succubi who carry more of Lilith’s genes than any Children have in many generations.

The second work in the series I am listing here, before the actual review of the series for a reason.

Alistair: The Descendants of Lilith by Rhozwyn Darius

Alistair: The Descendants of Lilith by Rhozwyn Darius

I’m doing so because the connection between the two works is very strong, really they can be considered two halves of a larger novel as a whole. There is a lot of crossover between the first book and the second, for one, and the themes are similar in a lot of ways.

A society of succubi and incubi making their way in a world where their own needs can be their undoing in more ways than they can imagine makes for some fascinating storytelling.

The work tells the story of:

It’s the winter of 1816 and London is frozen over. Kenelm Sutton has gotten word that a young lady of quality, rumored to be a Daughter of Lilith, a succubus/ human hybrid, will be going up for auction at a high-end brothel. Kenelm and his lover, Alistair Temple, the Earl of Ravenwood, decide to investigate.

Harriet Stanville has been betrayed by her stepfather. She’s not surprised because he’s been drugging and molesting her since her mother’s death. She is shocked to find that her evil stepfather has apparently given her up for private sale. Purchased by the infamous Earl of Ravenwood at the behest of his paramour, Kenelm Sutton, Harriet is reasonably sure that her situation has taken a turn for the better. Besides, she’s a practical soul and being the kept woman of the most well-known rake of the Ton, and his handsome paramour, isn’t the worst thing that could happen to a woman in her situation.

However, all was not as it seemed at her auction. Evil is on the move and she and her new lovers are the targets of long-held obsessions.

In a time where sexual needs were not spoken of in proper company, alongside humanity that sees, but at the same time does not, succubi and incubi exist. Within their own society, they attempt to find themselves, their way in the larger world, and discover how to deal with their own natures. The path is not an easy one, there are so many chances to fall to the side, to be taken, bent, abused. But within all of the terrors there are joys to be found, given a chance, a hope, and the will to make them true.

The series’ historical setting is used quite well to set out several plots and themes that run throughout. There’s a clear class structure, as there was in that time, there is a distinct attitude about sexuality, again which fits well and adds to the difficulties that the succubi and incubi characters encounter. What’s more telling about that is how the class structure, how women were seen in that time, what it meant with regards to their own sexual needs, has a strong influence on the story of all of the succubi characters, and to an extent the same can be said about the incubi as well.

While there are quite a number of erotic hot flashes in the work, and they are of several different types and kinds of relationships, that overriding historical viewpoint tends to place restrictions upon all of the characters. This leads to some difficult moments, including the near death of one of the main characters, which is quite telling in how that came to be and why.

The description and explanation of a society of succubi and incubi living, mainly surviving at times, in a societal structure that frowned upon open sexuality, whatever the focus, is a complex thing and it is present throughout the works. Listening to the characters, all of them, not just the succubi and incubi, but those connected to them, dancing around the concepts and ideas of sexuality without actually coming out and speaking if it seems odd from our current perspective. But this is how that time was.

The characters themselves, especially the main ones in each work, are complex and have their own faults, wants, and desires. But they have no little opportunity to reveal them, to express them and to needfully act upon them that there is a palatable tension in each and every one of them. When the moments are offered to release that tension, to sate their needs and fulfill themselves, then they become more alive in the work. There’s a clear distinction between those with no joy, love or life, and those that come to see there are other means to that need than what the overarching society will allow.

The works are complex, not just in the plot, but in the language. The words spoken and thought are odd to a modern mind, but when taken in the context of the work’s setting, they fit, they are true and add a needed anchor for the series to proceed from. At times the story is a bit plodding as a result, but this happens only occasionally. The last of a modern context give that little bit added depth to a work that otherwise could have easily slipped into a mis-mash of modern thought and past history.

I’ll give both works in the series four out of five pitchforks.

As a historical work of erotica I found the characters worked well, the story made sense and the events didn’t seem out of place for the time. The class distinctions told the larger story, and in some ways I would have liked to see more about that. Many of the supporting characters had just as interesting pasts as the main ones, but as the series focused mainly upon all of the succubi and incubi, they weren’t quite used to their fullest which might have made for more depth. Nonetheless, a recommended pair of works for those interested in historical erotica with a wonderfully complex succubi and incubi society.



Dec 08 2015

A Review of The Succulus by Lacey Maudlin

The Succulus by Lacey Maudlin

The Succulus by Lacey Maudlin

One of the things that happens in stories with Succubi in them, is that there is, as a whole, some sort of mind control aspect to the story. Many times that aspect isn’t used to its potential, which is a shame, because it can put the characters into all kinds of deliciously erotic situations.

Sometimes the Succubus herself doesn’t really appear, instead she is felt, on the edges of the story, and guides things to her advantage. The heat that comes in that manipulation of memories, actions, and feelings can take on a life of its own. When it does so, then the Succubus herself can finally appear.

  • Title: The Succulus
  • Author: Lacey Maudlin
  • Length: 25 Pages
  • ASIN: B00S78OL5W
  • Publishing Date: January 13, 2015
  • This work at

The work tells of:

What was once lost, now is found.

At the Amorous Adult Antique Boutique, Gillian has finally tracked down and rediscovered the haunted sex toy that she vowed revenge upon seven long years ago. Now 25, she’s enlisted the reluctant help of Brandon, the former boy-next-door, to destroy the object for good. Can Gillian and Brandon destroy it before it has its wicked, wicked way with them?

Gillian’s past involves an item called a Succulus. A mysterious item that made her do things she cannot explain to herself, or to anyone else. Finding it again, she asks Brandon to help her finally end its existence. But the Succulus has other ideas.

Simply an amazing piece of writing in many ways and in being so, it tells a very involved and detailed story that mixes very hot erotica with a strong story that holds you from beginning to end. There are a lot of questions, mystery and events that revolve around the Succulus and the author is very careful to tell the story in a way where it isn’t quite clear what, or who, is in control until the very last few pages.

Being that the the item, the Succulus, is described in the way it is, and I won’t spoil that here, what it actually represents, what it contains, and what its power is turns into both a fantasy but also a twisting of reality around Gillian and Brandon as well as the others in the story. Part of that power is obviously sexual in nature, but there is also a wonderfully hot theme of mind control as well in the story which serves to make the events, as they are told, even hotter.

The story travels through time a bit, telling of the past, but then the events of the present pass by in the most interesting tones and descriptions which, when the truth is revealed, makes quite a lot of the story questionable in whether it happened as Gillian remembers, or it is how she has been told to remember it… as long as she can that is.

The Succubus of the work, and there is one, isn’t quite what you might expect her to be and the way her powers work in the story is an amazingly original idea that I really enjoyed. How she is discovered, as well, is quite the moment and as that unfolds, it leaves open so many questions about the Succubus’ past, why she is where she is, and what the possible future of the characters might be.

The erotica is, as I have mentioned, very hot, actually a bit more than a hot flash in it’s nature and I really enjoyed how the experience was told by Gillian and the other characters in the work. The reasons behind what happens, and how, are kept at bay as long as possible, but when they are revealed and the story is thought back on, the events make perfect sense and the heat is a bit stronger too.

A strongly written work, very well centred characters in the midst of a mystery they are trying to unravel and when things are changed, twisted, the moments are so subtle at times that it is almost invisible until the ending which leaves the work at a lovely heated pitch.

As much as I loved the work, I would have liked to know more about the Succubus, to have her speak, to hear the words in her voice that the other characters hear. The truth about the Succulus itself isn’t told, though it couldn’t be because the answer to the questions never really comes even if the characters do instead.

Four and a half out of five pitchforks.

A very hot and erotic story that has a unique mix of mind control and Succubus power appearing within it. I’d love to see what happens next, though really it need not be for how the work ends. But after leaving so many interesting paths to take, one hope the author will do so.



Dec 07 2015

Snoops – Part Three By TeraS

Getting back to the story about the Snoops this week on the Tale. You can read the previous parts of Snoops here on the Tale. Things don’t go quite as one might expect a lot of the time. Sometimes that’s your past getting in the way, sometimes it’s your present. When both collide head on, then you need to make a choice, and someone is always disappointed … somehow.


Part Three
By TeraS


Farah was a slave driver. At least that’s what Nadia thought about the rather domineering red-tail, who was hovering over Snoops like it was her own personal store and not Nadia’s and Deirdre’s. Worse still was that Deirdre seemed to be pleased with everything that Farah did and kept bruising off all of Nadia’s concerns and questions about what was going on.

On the other hand, Nadia couldn’t really argue with Farah’s insistence that all of the succubi that were on the sales floor dressed up like femme fatales, and that the incubi looked like a certain fictional secret agent from some other realm with whom she wasn’t familiar. But why was it that every single incubi was to call himself ‘James’ and every succubi ‘Jane’? Marketing wasn’t one of Nadia’s strong suits, after all.

Nor could she really fault Farah’s choices when the sales reports were looked over, the order books checked. She did, however, have a problem with Farah putting her tail into the other part of what Snoops was from time to time, even if the red-tail wasn’t aware that she was doing so.
That was, after all, what this was all about, even if Farah wasn’t supposed to know it.

For all intents and purposes, the store was two levels now, the lower one the showcase of their wares, the upper, partly office space, partly where fittings were done for their clients. The basement wasn’t store but stockroom, with various succubi and incubi rushing in and out to stock shelves and to get items that their customers wanted.

At least that was the basement until a certain box was moved from a certain wall, the tip of a tail was slid into a lock, and a secret doorway was opened. Nadia meant to ask Deirdre why she kept talking about someone named ‘Max,’ but never really got to.

One particular afternoon, Nadia was sitting at her desk and had just interviewed a green-tail that had the correct password when she came into the store, meaning that Tera sent her along to join the Snoops … assuming that Nadia and Deirdre thought she would work out, of course. Nadia found that being dressed up as a femme fatale didn’t work for her, so, ever at her best, she just looked professionally aloof during the interview as she spoke with the applicant, trying to figure out what she would look like as a femme fatale, on the one hand, and if she was quick enough on her tail to be one of the Snoops that the Realm needed. The blonde was doodling on a note pad when she heard the clicking of heels coming towards her.

Deirdre stepped into view soon after, doing her best to look as ‘fatale’ as possible. Nadia did like the look, even if Farah had been completely responsible for it. Deirdre always did manage to make a purple cocktail dress look amazing. The wide-brimmed fedora added that little touch—though it was a shame that Farah had insisted on that.

“So? What do you think?”

Nadia arched an eyebrow: “If you mean your outfit, I think you look very mysterious.”

“Farah thinks so.”

The snapping of the pencil in Nadia’s hand was very loud in the office, she looking at the broken pieces before picking them off her desk and dropping them into the waste basket beside her. “Wonderful. I’m so glad.”

Her purple-tailed partner nibbled the inside of her cheek before blowing out a breath and closing the gap between them. The blonde Asian succubi didn’t say anything, only watching as Deirdre approached and then put her shapely rear on top of Nadia’s desk, sitting there, legs crossed, beside her.

“We need to talk.”

“No, we don’t.”

“So this miffed attitude you’ve been carrying around since Farah appeared is nothing to worry about?”

“Of course not. She’s looking after the store. Our cover is good. What’s there not to like about her?” There was a telling pause, then she continued: “Other than you two being …”

Deirdre’s hand moved to touch her partner’s sleeve: “No, we’re not. That’s over.”

Nadia closed her eyes: “Okay … Sure.”

“No, Love, you aren’t going to mope around without knowing the entire story, whether you want to or not.”

“I don’t need to know. Let’s move on; there’s other things to talk about.”

“No, first things first: Farah was my mentor, I loved her dearly, and still do, for everything she taught me. But I wasn’t the one she really loved. Farah only loves herself. She is self-centered, demanding, can be the most bossy succubi you’ve ever met. But she’s not stupid. Hiding things from her is a mistake. She’ll start rooting around to figure out what’s going on if you don’t tell her.”

“What we do is none of her business.”

“Alright, we’ll keep things a secret as long as we can. But someone is going to slip up, and she’s going to find out about us.”

Nadia’s sigh was a long one: “She knows about you and me, and she’s …”

“… she’s not doing anything except getting on your nerves, making you crazy for knowing that she was once with me. You need to accept that we need her here, get over your problems with her. I’ve had enough nights at home.”

The green-tail didn’t look at her lover: “I’ve seen the looks she’s been giving you.”

“Then you’ve been seeing something that I haven’t. When you introduced yourself as my lover—which, by the way, you never said to me—that ended things for her.”

“I thought it was obvious.”

Deirdre tapped one of Nadia’s horns: “It’s obvious, you dummy, but I still would like to hear it.”

“No, it’s obvious she’s spending a lot of time with you.”

“Of course she is. She’s running the store. We’re both her bosses, but you don’t want to deal with her, so you’re spending most of your time here getting things up and running, and so I have to play interference.”

“Someone has to. Tera wants us to do something, and we’re not ready.”

“When did she tell you that?”

“Doesn’t matter. Nobody’s ready, so … I’m going.”

If the snapping of the pencil was loud, the cry of “What?” was even louder.

The Asian pushed herself away from the desk and looked at her chocolate-skinned partner: “I’m the only one that has learned enough to go out there. I’ll be fine. I don’t have to look like you, or Farah. I just have to blend in, get what we need to know, and then get out. The ‘girl next door’ look will do just fine.”

“No! Absolutely not! You aren’t going anywhere. I don’t care what Tera says, you aren’t going to risk your tail.”

“I’ll be leaving before you know it and I’ll be back before anyone’s the wiser. Trust me, there won’t be a problem.”

The argument went on well into the night, neither succubi giving an inch on what she thought about the entire situation. It was past midnight when they left their hidden lair, the night shift working the store as they walked out the doors together …

… and right into the waiting stare of Farah: “Where have the two of you been? I have things to discuss. We need to change some of the displays, and I need a decision.”

Nadia pointed at Deirdre: “Talk to her. I’m going home; it’s been a long day.”

As Farah started to point out what she saw to be issues that needed to be addressed, Deirdre could only watch Nadia walk away and then disappear around a corner.

The following morning, Nadia didn’t return to Snoops … nor the next day. What came next was her purple-tailed partner prowling the store night and day waiting for her to return, at one point telling Farah to leave her alone in a way that made the red-tail take two steps back from her.

After a week with not a word, Deirdre decided to see Tera. Or at least she intended to when the Queen walked into Snoops. Her expression was troubled, which was worrying, but more so when she took the painter by the arm and pulled her upstairs and into Nadia’s office.

“Where is she, Tera?”

Tera was looking out the office windows to the floor of Snoops below: “Something’s happened. We need to go find her.”

Something snapped in Deirdre and what she said next she instantly regretted: “This is all your fault! If something’s happened to her, I’ll never forgive you!”

The monarch turned and sighed: “You don’t think that I feel the same way? I told the both of you that if anything happened to any of you I would never forgive myself.”

The next voice wasn’t Deirdre’s; Farah stood in the doorway: “Where’s Nadia, and what the hell’s happened to her?”

Tera glanced in the other red-tail’s direction, then to Deirdre: “You both have something to talk about. Don’t let me get in the way.”

The explanation about the SNOOPS didn’t take long, Tera nodding here and there as the story unfolded. Farah’s expression didn’t change from anger, though her tail started to move slowly behind her as the story was told. When it was over, her answer was simple as she looked at Tera: “Then we go get her.”

“It’s been a long time since you’ve been out there, Farah. Don’t overestimate yourself.”

Deirdre looked from her Queen to her past Mentor: “What do you mean?”

The green-eyed brunette pointed her tail at Farah: “Ever hear of Mata Hari?”

“You have got to be kidding.”

The retired spy smiled: “I’ll have to teach Nadia the fan dance when we get her home.”

“You mean if.”

“No. I mean when.”