Monday, October 12, 2020

Who Let the Demon Out? By Naomi Bellina

Who Let the Demon Out?
Badass Demon Bounty Hunters 
Book One
Naomi Bellina

Genre:  Darkly Funny Urban Fantasy,
Comedy, Humor, UF
Date of Publication:  8/21/2020
Number of pages: 156
Word Count:  43,443
Cover Artist: Chris Kridler   

Tagline:  How hard can it be to send an escaped demon back to hell?

Book Description:

Not only is her suicide attempt thwarted by a stranger, but when she comes back from the dead, Sable is tasked by Lucifer to find and return to hell a demon she let loose. If she doesn't, she'll be sent to the darkest level of the afterlife when she dies.

The woman Jack pulled from a running car is obviously disturbed and her story about Lucifer and demons is bullshit. But she has the name of a dead man written on her arm and Jack wants to know why.

Since it's Jack's fault she's in this mess and his skills from a background in the security business are useful, Sable recruits him for her find-the-demon mission, which turns out to be all kinds of difficult. Not only can demons inhabit human bodies, they have other nasty tricks up their sleeves, like incinerating objects and people who get in their way.

It also turns out the inhabitants of hell lie and that things on Earth are not what they appear. Nor are things in her own world, Sable discovers, as she battles to complete her mission before time runs out and it's impossible to send the demon back.

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One minute I was surrounded by white light and the scent of lavender. The next minute I was on my back in the dirt with a guy straddling me and pounding my chest.

“You awake? You alive? Shit.”

Hard to see much in the dark, but the full moon shining through the oak trees showed me his brown eyes, open wide and filled with fear.

“You’re alive. Jeez, woman.” He took his hands away and leaned back on his heels.

He smelled like garlic and motor oil, and he needed to get the hell off of me because a violent churning in my stomach meant ...

“Move.” I shoved him and rolled to my side.

He did, fast enough to get out of the way while I hurled the contents of my stomach onto the ground. I made my way to my hands and knees and retched a little more.

“Here.” The guy tapped my shoulder. “Water.”

I took the bottle he offered, rinsed and spit, then drank. A chunk of something went down my throat and I almost puked again. Rinse, spit, rinse, spit. Hope he didn’t want the bottle back.

A loud pop like a gunshot and a flash of light to my left made me swivel my head and instantly regret the move as my gut reacted by gurgling another warning.

The man looked in that direction too. “What was that? Are you alone out here?” he asked.

“As far as I know. Did you see something?”

“I don’t know.” He assumed a fighting stance, legs slightly spread, hands curled in fists at his side, then turned in a slow circle, studying the woods around us.

We both stayed silent for a moment as he continued to scan the area. I pulled in deep breaths, trying to convince my gut to settle down.

“An animal,” the man said and turned back to me. “Are you all right?”

No. Duh. He’d just pulled me out of a running car filled with carbon monoxide.

“Why the hell did you do that?” I asked.

“Do what?”

“Stick your nose in my business.” I stood, wobbled a little, but I could stay upright and possibly walk.

“You about died. I saved you,” he said.

“I about died because I wanted to.” I moved toward my car. “Pretty damn obvious, dude. What are you doing out here in these woods anyway?”

I’d chosen this parking area that accessed a hiking trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina because no one came here at night. No one was supposed to, anyway.

It would have been easier to fill up a garage with carbon monoxide, but I lived in an apartment and didn’t have one. I thought about using a friend’s place or renting a storage unit, but that meant someone would be in for a super-crappy day when they found my dead body in the morning. I didn’t want to be the cause of someone having a super-crappy day.

“I come here between calls,” he said. “You need to get medical attention.”

I walked back to my car, and he didn’t follow, which was good because I was likely to punch him. It’d taken every ounce of courage I could muster to set this up, and he’d ruined it. Now my car had holes in the exhaust system and floor, my stomach was about to turn inside out and my head hurt like a son of a bitch.

And I was still alive.

“Get the hell out of here and leave me alone.” I reached my car and leaned on it. He’d turned off the ignition and left the door open, but it still stank like poison.

“I’ll take you to the hospital. Come on.” He gestured with his hand.

I reached into the glove box, pulled out the Glock 19 I’d stolen/borrowed from my dad in case I needed a plan B (Dad had a buttload of firearms; he’d never miss this one), and pointed it at the guy. My arm shook, but I held it steady enough. “I said get out of here. Now.”

He raised his hands. “Okay. Take it easy. I’m going. You can keep the water.”

His hands remained in the air as he backed up slowly. Good. He wasn’t an idiot hero type. Just a knight in a stained T-shirt instead of shining armor, trying to rescue the girl. Except this girl didn’t need rescuing.

I didn’t lower the gun until the red glow of his truck taillights disappeared. When I did let my arm fall, it shook. I sat back down in the car. Okay, no biggie. Shut the doors, crank it up, finish the job. I could do it. That was the only way. Who was I kidding? There was no plan B. I totally couldn’t put a gun in my mouth. The knight wouldn’t come back again and stop me. Would he?

An owl hooted, and the wind blew a scent of wet leaves my way, the smell of strolls with Jasper, the world’s weirdest cat, who liked to go for walks on a leash in the woods.

“Step out of the car, would you please?”

Holy crap! I about broke my neck swiveling toward a voice that came from the entrance to the parking area. A man stood far enough away I couldn’t see him clearly, just an outline. I slid all the way inside, shut my car door and locked it. He stepped closer.

Not the same dude that screwed up my plan. This guy was tall, blond, wearing tight black jeans and a long-sleeve black shirt. I didn’t see another vehicle. Where the hell did he come from?

“Get away. I’m calling the police,” I yelled through the closed window. I reached for my phone. Oh yeah. I didn’t have a phone. Since I’d planned to die that night, I’d canceled my contract and told my carrier to stick their overpriced rates up their butts.

One of the best moments I’d had while preparing for my death.


About the Author:

Naomi Bellina lives in sunny Florida with the love of her life and the world's chattiest cat. Her interests include dancing, motorcycle riding, drumming and eavesdropping on strangers’ conversations for plot ideas. She used to worry about the battles between her cheery disposition and her dark imagination, but now they’re best friends and drink coffee and write books together. Her motto: Never pass up the opportunity to have an adventure!

Interview with Naomi Bellina

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

Hello Teresa, thank you for having me here today. I am in total control of my stories! Okay, I have to admit, sometimes my characters do things I didn’t plan. I try to stick to my outline as far as the basic story plot goes, but as I get to know my characters better and as the book progresses, they sometimes veer from the direction I originally intended. Which is excellent, because it means they are evolving.

Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.

Who Let the Demon Out combines intriguing, quirky characters you will love with a plot that will keep you awake turning pages. AND, very important for this crazy, stressful year, my book gives you the treat of subtle humor. I call it a darkly funny Urban Fantasy. We all need a place to escape and to laugh after 2020, right?

Have you written any other books that are not published?

I have, thank you for asking. I recently dug into the vault (really, it’s my older computer files; I WISH I had a vault.) and took a look at a few of them. A publisher I’ve worked with in the past approached me with a fun proposition but I don’t think I’m supposed to talk about it yet. That got me thinking and digging around in my old files. A few stories have been published once and then I got the rights back, and there’s one story that has never been published and I think it would do very well. The problem is time. I don’t seem to have enough! With the day job and a busy personal and family life, the hours go by way too fast. I’m reading an excellent book now on time management and hope to find a way to do all the awesome Things I want to do in the near future.

Pen or type writer or computer?

My computer for most of the writing. While I’m at the day job and out and about I scrawl notes or even whole sections on paper. I’m a tactile person and love the feel of a good pen scratching over paper. Hint about my age: I’ve used a typewriter and remember taking typing classes in high school. That class was big fun to me!

Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

A big *mwah* and thank you for reading. I know many of us have had a super-tough year. I was out of work for two months, I’ve lost many of my clients, and I’ve had to restructure my business and parts of my life. I wasn’t able to visit my mother-in-law at her assisted living facility for the last months of her life. My heart ached at every one of these experiences, but not only do I use the pain to draw on to write my books, I try my best to turn lemons into lemonade and find the good in all things. I know many of you have suffered far worse than me and I hope my books provide a bit of relief and that you will also come out of this crap-tastic time with your spirit intact and hope for the future. 

Thank you again for hosting me, Teresa. Stay badass always!

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