New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author

SHIMMER-A Charley Davidson Short Story




1. If you have not read Fifth Grave Past the Light,

there is a spoiler in here.

2. Explicit content! This is for 18 and over only! 

Thanks and enjoy! 



A Charley Davidson Christmas Story

by Darynda Jones


Reyes Farrow, the rascal from next door, looked away from the flames curling around the blackened logs in the fireplace and leveled his powerful gaze on me. “A reporter?” he asked.

I blinked at the cynicism in his voice. It hurt. Okay, not really, but it did leave me flummoxed. And I wasn’t easily flummoxed.

Ye of little faith.

“No,” I said, shaking my head. “I don’t want to be just a reporter. I want to be an investigative reporter.”

He fought a sexy grin that made his eyes crinkle at the corners. “So, being a private investigator, the owner of an apartment complex, part owner of a bar and grill, a consultant for the Albuquerque Police Department, part-time bartender, and the only grim reaper this side of the universe isn’t enough?”

Ah. Suddenly, I understood his doubts. His misgivings. I put down my pen and notebook, placing them carefully on his slate coffee table, and turned back to him. This would take some explaining. Some finesse. And some more coffee because my cup was almost empty.

“That’s my professional life. Professional. This is my personal life. I’ve decided to become a reporter more as a hobby. Because, you know, how hard can it be?”

He cleared his throat. “You do realize you just offended every reporter alive. And probably many who aren’t.”  

Finesse. Right. I forgot the finesse part. “You have a point, but seriously, I know people.” I leaned toward him. “Think about it. I could interview famous people no one else can get to. You know, the dead ones. Imagine the assignments I could get. I mean, did Abraham Lincoln really talk smack when he was a champion wrestler? What was it like for Jane Austen when she was a senior officer in a women’s battalion for the King’s Royal Hussars? Was Hitler really the father of meth and thus directly responsible for one of my favorite shows on the planet: Breaking Bad? The possibilities are endless!”

When I finished my pitch, Reyes leaned back into the corner of his thick sofa and stretched out his legs. He held a glass half-full of an amber liqueur. Long fingers balanced the goblet loosely on a jean-clad thigh. The other set of long fingers rested against his temple in thought. With his elbow braced against the arm of the sofa, his shirt had tugged open, straining the top button over the expanse of his chest, allowing a delicious glimpse of exposed skin underneath.

I fought the urge to crawl on top of him, to bury my fingers in his thick, dark hair and my tongue in his sensual mouth. But I had a job to do—no, wait, a hobby—and no amount of sexiness was going to divert me from my mission. I was, after all, vying for the interview of the century. The one where the son of Satan tells all for no one’s benefit but my own.

I wanted so much to know more about him, about his pasts, the ones on both Earth and in hell. So I came up with an utterly ingenious, if I did say so myself, plan that involved me writing an article about him for the New York Times. And/or the National Enquirer. It could go either way.

He cast a sparkling gaze from underneath his lashes. Placed an index finger across the seam of his mouth. Slowed his heartbeat and studied me like a predator studies its prey. “If you keep looking at me like that, this is going to be a very short interview.”

His intent, his hypnotic allure, mesmerized me. It took a long moment before I could tear my gaze off him. “Right,” I said, clearing my throat and reaching for my pen and notepad again. “Right. So, does this mean I can ask you some questions?”

“You can ask me anything.”

Of course, I could. Didn’t mean he’d answer. “Let me rephrase,” I said, tapping the pen against my chin. “Does this mean you will answer my questions?”

After a thoughtful moment, he said, “I’ll answer anything you ask.”

No way. A giddy, whimsical kind of happiness raced up my spine and over my nerve endings. He felt it, too, and smiled from behind his hand.

“Fire away,” he added.

Suh-weet. This evening was so much more awesome than yesterday’s in which I found myself running from a knife-wielding naked lady screaming, “Death to all paupers!”

Seriously, how bad could paupers be?

“Okay,” I said, propping my elbows on my knees, “what was it like growing up in hell?”


I nodded and wrote down his answer, not wanting to misquote a single word, a single syllable. Reporters could get in big trouble for that crap. “Great. Okay, on that note, what was it like having the first fallen angel as your father?”


I bent my head to write again.

“Mm-hm, and what is your aversion, exactly, to Christmas?”

“Whole wheat.”

I kept writing, my hopes diminishing entirely. It was my own fault really. He did say he would answer anything I asked. He didn’t say he’d answer honestly or sincerely. One day I would learn.

Deciding to play along, I looked back up at him, peered into his eyes, and said, “That was deep. I’m touched.”

One corner of his mouth tilted seductively. “I can touch you much deeper than that if you’ll let me.”

My heart fibrillated in my chest. Just in case, I scanned his apartment for a defibrillator.

His lids narrowed. “This wouldn’t happen to have anything to do with a certain box I found outside my door this morning.”

“What?” I said aghast, selling it, baby. Selling it. “What box?” Appalled, I tossed my pen onto my notepad. “I’ve never seen a box in my life.”

He blindsided me with this gorgeous deadpan thing. I hadn’t expected it.

I sat stunned a moment before snapping back. “Okay, fine, let’s say, for argument’s sake, there was a box of indeterminate size and shape seen in the general vicinity of your threshold. Did you open it?”

“I thought we agreed.”

“We did. I swear.” I did the Boy Scouts sign, because nothing screamed honesty better than the Boy Scouts sign. “But it’s not fair that you can get me something for Christmas and I can’t get you anything.”

He lifted an unconcerned shoulder. “But we agreed.”

I rolled my eyes. “We only agreed because a naked lady with a knife mistook me for a pauper, and I needed backup. That chick was like a triathlete.”

“Doesn’t matter. A deal’s a deal.”

“Ugh.” I threw myself back onto the empty space on his sofa. “Reyes, why? The true joy of Christmas is in the giving. If you don’t let me give you a gift, you’re sucking all the joy out of the whole season like a fuel-injected, twin turbo Hoover.”

He laughed softly. “Not my problem.”

He had a point. And I understood why he didn’t do Christmas. I really did. His childhood was the stuff of nightmares. He was raised by a monster, and I was fairly certain his Christmases were just like every other day of his year: Horrific. But I wanted him to experience the joy of Christmas. The pleasure of opening a gift from someone who loved him more than life. Not that my gift really screamed that, but still. It was the thought that counted.

“Fine,” he said, an acquiescent quality in his voice, and I bound up off the sofa, hope welling inside me. “I may have opened the box.”

I clasped my hands together. “And?”

“And . . .” He took a moment to come up with the right words. “And, you’ll have to see for yourself.”

My gaze darted to his crotch so fast it almost gave me whiplash. “Really? Like, right now?”

His lips parted slightly in anticipation. “No time like the present.”

One elbow was still propped on the arm of the sofa. He took his other arm and draped it over the back, his drink dangling from his hand. And there he sat, like a supermodel at a photo shoot. The image was so powerfully male, so raw and electrifying, it caused a cauldron of heat to pool in my abdomen.

Taking a deep, calming breath, I fought the urge to tear into him. To rip off his clothes and shred them with a rototiller. I gathered my composure. Focused. And with the grace and dignity of a diplomat, I reached forward to unbutton his jeans. Only a diplomat probably wouldn’t do that.

Unable to keep the trembling that had started in my knees from traveling to my hands, I unfastened the button. He kept his gaze trained on me, allowing me my leisure as I slowly led the zipper down. It didn’t matter how many times I touched him, the visceral thrill that spiked in my core every time my skin brushed across his leapt inside me. Especially when that skin was so intimately placed.

The outline of his erection was unmistakable beneath his boxers. The gift I’d bought him long forgotten, I crawled onto his lap, leaned forward until our mouths almost touched, until the scent of liqueur mingled with my breath, then reached beneath his waistband and encircled his marble hard erection with my fingers, their tips not quite able to touch.

I heard the glass slip from his grasp. It dropped onto the thick carpet with a thud as I released him from the confines of his jeans, lowered myself to the floor, and took him into my mouth. He sucked in a soft breath, his muscles jerking as he took a handful of my hair to slow my attack, to control my rhythm. I felt a rush of his blood across my tongue as he hardened even further. Ignoring his iron grip, I swallowed every inch of him, pulled back, waited an agonizing heartbeat, then swallowed him again.

He threw back his head, his hips coming off the sofa as I worked. “Dutch,” he said through clenched teeth, as though in warning. As though in anguish.

But the heat in my abdomen had burst into flames. His touch alone could bring me to the brink of orgasm. I felt the same rush of pleasure that he did. The same nuclear heat wave. He plunged his other hand into my hair, pushed me off his erection, then roughly pulled me up until I was laying against his chest. I thought he would take a moment to recuperate, but he ripped at the fasteners on my jeans and pushed them down over my ass. I felt goose bumps erupt as cool air hit my exposed skin.

In a move as smooth as glass, he peeled my jeans and panties off completely, braced a hand on either side of my hips, and lifted me into a straddling position, allowing his mouth access to the most sensitive area on my body.

The moment his tongue brushed across my clit, I sucked in a sharp breath. A wildfire ignited between my legs, causing a liquid heat to spread through every molecule in my body. I braced my hands on the sofa for balance, though I hardly needed to. He was holding me over him, suspending my weight as though it were nothing, dipping me closer when he wanted to suck harder, easing me back when he wanted to feather soft strokes over my swollen flesh. Every brush of his tongue whipped the molten lava inside me, churned it until it reached a fever pitch.

I was about to come. I felt it rocketing toward me, but I wanted him inside me when I did. I wanted his own orgasm to crest with mine. But he had zero intention of letting me go. I had to fight my way off him, clawing at his wrists, pulling at his fingers. Once I was straddling his chest, I leaned over and grabbed handfuls of his hair. With my mouth at his ear, I whispered, “I want you to bury your cock inside me. I want to feel the earth quake when you come.”  

He groaned and obeyed without hesitation. He pulled me into his arms and rolled us over until he was on top. In one, quick movement he plunged inside me. I was more than wet enough to make his entrance easy, and the instant spike in pleasure with the pressure of his erection made me gasp aloud.

He held his position, buried to the hilt, but only for a moment, only long enough to give me time to adjust to his size before he pulled back and plunged in again. I cried out, but he didn’t offer me quarter a second time. His thrusts grew increasingly quicker, increasingly harder as he milked me closer and closer to the edge. I clawed at his back, the sharp bite of arousal roiling and swelling inside me like a tidal wave of shimmering light until it exploded in one final surge of hot energy.

It burst inside me like a million stars crashing against my bones. My teeth welded together, my lungs seized, and I rode the wave of ecstasy to the very edge of the universe as Reyes’s thrusts quickened, grew more desperate, siphoning spasms of delight again and again. Then he clasped me to him so tight I could hardly breathe. A low growl escaped him as he writhed in the clutches of his own climax, as he shuddered with the pleasure spilling through him. And the earth shifted beneath us. Our energies, colliding and fusing, created a powerful fissure in the space-time continuum, and the earth rumbled in protest until the atoms inside us calmed, until the excitement ebbed.

We lay breathless in the aftermath, still half-clothed, limbs entangled. The skin that was exposed shimmered in the firelight. Somehow we’d ended up on the rug. The coffee table had been pushed aside—very far aside—and a side table had somehow been upended. No idea.

I couldn’t help but cop a feel as Reyes lay on top of me. I ran my fingertips underneath his shirt, down his spine, and over his steely buttocks. He nestled his face farther in the crook of my neck in response.

“What did you think of the gift you gave me?” he asked.

Only then did I remember the Christmas present I’d bought him. I looked at the clothes tossed haphazardly across his living room floor and grinned. “I think those boxers probably look better on the ground than on you.”

He leaned back so he could look at me. “Are you dissing my Jingle Bells boxers?”

“Not at all,” I said, rushing to reassure him. “It’s just, you look better in the buff.”

He relaxed against me again. “I’m wearing them every day for the rest of my life.”

I laughed out loud. “You wouldn’t dare.”

“Watch me.”

“I’ll burn them.”

“Then you’ll have to burn me, too. I’m never taking them off again.”

I sank my teeth into his shoulder, his thin shirt offering little protection. He grabbed my head, held it to him a long moment. Then he lifted up again and gazed down at me, making butterflies appear in my stomach. Kamikaze butterflies that dive-bombed my internal organs without regard to their own wellbeing. After a minute, I said, “Speaking of presents, what did you get me?”

His brows shot up. “That wasn’t enough?”

I couldn’t help an undignified bark of laughter. “That little tryst we just had? No way are you getting off that easy.”

His gaze strayed to a drawer in the coffee table. The one that had been pushed very far aside. I lunged forward and struggled to reach it as he looked on, completely unwilling to help. Unwilling to ease his weight off me. After an eternity of flailing, I finally opened the drawer and felt around the inside blindly until I grabbed hold of something. I pulled out a present. It had been wrapped in gold foil and a red bow.

“Is this mine?” I asked, excited.

His brows arched. “I’ve never seen that box in my life.”

I lay back on the carpet and chuckled. “It’s a simple yes/no question.”

“My thoughts exactly.”

“Ah,” I said, understanding. He was referring to the question he’d asked—or, more appropriately, popped—rather recently. I had yet to answer him. “Can I open it?”

“It’s all yours.” His eyes literally danced with mischief as he lowered himself to my side and propped up his head to watch.

I tore off the wrapping and felt my lids widen as I took out a blue velvet box. I glanced back at him, unable to believe how the allure of a diamond—at least the prospect of one—turned me into a giddy, quivering jellyfish girl. After pulling my bottom lip between my teeth, I lifted the lid. Two rolls of cushioned velvet sat inside. The slit that those cushions made should have held a ring, but it didn’t.

I gaped at him, completely gypped. “What is this?” I asked, appalled.

“It’s a simple yes/no question,” he said, his voice as rich and smooth as butterscotch. He lay back, crossing his arms behind his head. “When I get an answer, you get the rest of your gift.”

“That’s blackmail.”

“That’s good business. It doesn’t make sense for me to give you a ring if you say no. I’d be out a lot of time and money. This all hinges on one tiny English word.”

I snuggled against his side, staring into the box as though it held a sparkling diamond the size of China. “What if I answered you in pig Latin instead? Would I get the ring then?”


“But you know pig Latin as well as I do.”

“If you can’t say yes or no in simple English, the deal’s off.”

I popped onto an elbow. “Yes or no in simple English!” God, I was clever.

“It’s too bad, really,” he said, failing to fall prey to my ploy. “The cut is exquisite.”

I sighed and rested my head on his shoulder, making sure to let handfuls of the tangled mess on my head fall across his face. He blew a lock out of his mouth. Other than that, he didn’t seem to mind. Dang it.

“It’s not going to work,” I said, still gazing at the box. “You can’t blackmail me into marrying you.”

He took my chin between his fingers and lifted my face to his. “Honey, I’m the son of Satan. I could blackmail you into giving your first born to a traveling circus if I wanted to.”

He had a point. A point that was quickly forgotten under the pressure of his mouth on mine, but a point nonetheless. Still, the agony I was currently putting him through by withholding my answer was far more fun than any ring, diamond or otherwise, I could get. I’d have to hold out just a bit longer. Make him squirm. Kind of like he did me when his thigh parted my legs and his fingers parted the folds between them. That kind of squirm.