Demon by Laura DeLuca
Demon, Book Two in the Dark Musicals Trilogy, inspired by Sweeney Todd is available now in both PRINT and eBook!
When Justyn and Rebecca set off for the New York School of Performing Arts, they think their dreams are about to come true. To their dismay, they aren’t in high school anymore, and the competition is steep. Rebecca must compete against accomplished singers for a role in the production of Demon Barber, including a stunning Gothic diva with her sights set on Justyn.
It doesn’t help that things keep disappearing from their apartment or that Rebecca’s father refuses to accept that Justyn is an essential part of her life. Yet, all this seems minimal in comparison to the serial rapist terrorizing the campus.
Consumed by fear and obsessed with revenge, Rebecca and Justyn start living the story of Sweeney Todd—both on and off the stage.
Rebecca unwound the silver ribbon. When she lifted the lid, she found two matching pendants, each laced to a long hemp chain. They were shaped sort of like seashells, with an endless spiral pattern that looped out from the center as the chambers grew larger. They were dark brown in color with a few hints of tan along the edges. The stones had been polished and smoothed on both sides, but when she lifted them, she could see that the two pieces fit together perfectly. She swore the halves fought to snap together, like magnets in her hand. There was an energy pulsing and vibrating within the stones that even a novice witch like Rebecca could feel.
“They’re beautiful,” Rebecca whispered as she ran her hand along the intricate grooves.
“It’s an ammonite.” Justyn lifted one of the pendants, brushed her hair to the side, and hooked the clasp around her neck. His breath tickled her skin as his hands moved with graceful dexterity, giving her goose bumps despite the humid August night. “They’re actually fossils that are millions of years old, named after Ammon, an ancient Egyptian deity. When they’re divided in half, they’re perfect mirrors of one another. Some cultures believe that if the two halves are given to lovers, it will bind them together forever. When made into necklaces, they’re often called soul mate pendants.”
“Wo-wow,” Rebecca stuttered. As usual, the sentiment behind Justyn’s gift was even more beautiful than the gift itself. It left her a little flustered. “That’s amazing. How do you know all this stuff?”
“You don’t spend eighteen years living with Darlene without learning a thing or two.”
Rebecca laughed. Justyn’s mother Darlene was definitely something special. EMT, exotic belly dancer, and Wiccan High Priestess were only a few of the titles she claimed. Rebecca knew she was a fountain of earth-based knowledge after years of studying the Craft. As Darlene’s new apprentice, Rebecca greedily dipped into that knowledge herself as often as possible.
“It’s beautiful,” Rebecca repeated, too overcome with emotion to think of anything more eloquent to say. “You certainly know how to make things interesting.”
“Like I told you on our first date, I try not to be boring.” He winked at her. “So … are you going to put mine on for me?”
“Oh yeah … sorry.”
Rebecca giggled as she lifted the hemp chain. She wasn’t nearly as graceful as Justyn. She almost dropped the necklace in the sand three times before she managed to get the clasp locked. When she finally had it secured, he placed his hand over her heart, where the ammonite lay. He did the same with her hands, lifting them to his chest. His dark eyes had lost all glimmer of humor. He met her gaze with a stare filled with genuine emotion. Beneath her fingers, she could feel the gentle, steady rhythm of his heart beating in perfect tune with her own.
“Our love will span both space and time. In this life and the next, you shall be mine. All eternity I will be by your side. For a love so strong cannot be denied. Spirit and flesh merged into one. So mote it be, for all days to come.”
When he was done with the recitation, he kissed her. Not just a gentle brush, but a deep, passionate embrace that left her throat tight and her heart pounding with a familiar yearning.
“I’ve never heard that poem before,” she said once she’d caught her breath. “Who are you quoting?”
Even in the moonlight, she could see him blush. “I guess I was quoting myself. It was really more of an incantation than a poem though. These necklaces are meant to be a symbol of our love, and it seemed a little spell work could only add to the power of the stones. There is power in words, Becca. Just like there is power in nature.”
“You mean, you wrote that?”
He nodded, but his eyes twinkled, and the playfulness was back in his voice. “Well, actually, I just made it up as I went along.”
“Wow. Actor, singer, and now an improv poet slash chant writer. Is there anything you can’t do, Lord Justyn?”
He smiled and tilted her chin so he could look into her eyes. “I can’t stop loving you.”
For anyone who doesn’t know, this author is a South Jersey girl through and through. Though I was born in Philadelphia, my family moved to our summer home in Wildwood, New Jersey before I started kindergarten. Today I live about fifteen minutes inland but our family business is still located in Wildwood Crest. When I started writing Phantom, I decided to set the story a little closer to Atlantic City because it corresponded better with the storyline, but in Demon, a few of the main characters visit my hometown in the first and last chapter of the book. Now you can see and hear a few of the sites Justyn and Becca would have enjoyed on their day trip to Wildwood.
Wildwood is a little island in South Jersey known for its endless miles of free beaches and it’s amazing boardwalk complete with dozens of rides. It hasn’t changed much since my own teenage years when I would spend the whole day hanging out with friends. In high school I even worked on the boardwalk, first at an arcade and later at an ice cream parlor. Here you can ride the Giant Ferris Wheel, feel the heart pound on the Sea Serpent roller coaster, or make a splash on the log flume. Just a few my old favorites, those these days I prefer the beach to the rides.
Wildwood has always been a popular tourist destination. Back in the sixties, a singer called Bobbie Rydell even wrote a song called Wildwood Days. If you come visit in the summer, you’ll hear this song blasting through the speakers on the boardwalk at least once an hour.
In the summer months, the beach is dotted with colorful umbrellas, but like Lord Justyn, I prefer the seashore in the off season. It might be a little too chilly to go swimming, but there’s nothing more amazing than finding yourself staring out into the vastness of the ocean when you are the only person around.
Of course, since I had favorite characters heading to Wildwood, I had to have them stop by and say hello to my family. Our restaurant, Duffy’s on the Lake, makes a little cameo appearance in Demon.
“They drove the forty-five minutes to a little tourist town called Wildwood, a resort known for its free beaches and spectacular amusement parks. They spent the day sunbathing, exploring the boardwalk, and stopped for dinner at a little restaurant called Duffy’s on the Lake. Finally, they headed back to the beach to watch the sun set on the nearly deserted shoreline.”
The scenes in Wildwood take place at the beginning and end of Demon. The majority of the book is set on the college campus, but these two scenes are a few of my favorites. I enjoyed them so much, I decided to set the third book in the Dark Musicals Trilogy in another local tourist town. Stay tuned for Hyde when Justyn and Becca will come home for the summer and land a job at a dinner theater in Victorian Cape May. Watch as a new play comes to life both on and off the stage in the thrilling finale to the Dark Musicals Trilogy.
You can also add Demon to your shelf on goodreads.
Phantom, Dark Musicals Book #1
If you haven’t read the first book in the series, now is a great time to get your copy. To celebrate the release of Demon, Phantom is now on sale for only $1.99 exclusively on Amazon!
The “Phantom” was a musical phenomenon that Rebecca had always found enchanting. She had no idea that her life was about to mirror the play that was her obsession. When her high school drama club chooses “Phantom” as their annual production, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker who uses the lines from the play as their calling card.
Rebecca lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva, and like her character, she is torn between her two co-stars—Tom the surfer and basketball star who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured artist.
Almost immediately after casting, strange things start to happen both on and off the stage. Curtains fall. Mirrors are shattered. People are hurt in true phantom style. They all seem like accidents until Rebecca receives notes and phone calls that hint at something more sinister. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the phantom? Or in real life are the roles of the hero and the villain reversed? Rebecca doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she’s running out of time as she gets closer and closer to opening night. Only when the mask is stripped away, will the twenty first century phantom finally be revealed.
Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young at heart. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the editor of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years. Her current works include Destiny, Destiny Unveiled, Phantom, Morrigan, Player, and Demon.
Laura is giving away a Demon prize pack includes which includes a signed copy of Phantom, gothic key chain, incense gift set, mini Buddha figurine, lavender purification bath salts, geode, crystal point, natural stone pendant, and sage smudge stick with abalone shell.
This giveaway is open to US Residents only.