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Authors: Gail Koger

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BOOK: Catching Dragos
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last of the candy. “I’ve never fought a hell demon before, have you?”

“Together we can defeat him.” Fabian sliced his palm and rubbed his blood into

my cut. “
Dominus suis vel de alia
.”

The world spun dizzily as our blood united.

“You bastard!” I punched him.

Pinning me against his chest, Fabian chanted, “
Vel de alia solus novem
.”

I struggled to break his grip. Oh, God. I could feel the spell building, engulfing me

in magic.

Brilliant streaks of incandescent silver twirled around us.

Fabian shouted, “
Alia solus novem miraculum
.”

Snap! Crack!
The silver light engulfed us.

I let out a scream as an electrified heat shot through my head. A kaleidoscope of

Fabian’s memories whirled through my consciousness—the hunter battling demons,

prowling the runways, helping himself to other people’s jewelry, and fucking about a

zillion women.

I fought the bond. “No. I’m Vizzini. Not Dragos.”


Succinte transferam
.” Fabian’s mind crashed into my awareness, creating a link

that only death could break.

My knees buckled from the sensory overload. Only the hunter’s hold kept me

upright.

CATCHING DRAGOS | 61

Fabian’s lips crushed mine, and he thoroughly ravaged my mouth. His tongue

was hot, wicked, and spicy.
“You’re mine now.”

Wait a fucking minute! That tongue had been stuck down Heather’s throat! I

pushed Fabian away and frantically rubbed my mouth. “If you’ve given me demon

cooties, you’re so dead.”

“Demon cooties?”

“You tongue-fucked Heather. Remember?”

If looks could kill, I’d be six feet under. “Sergei, free the Vizzini hunters,” Fabian

commanded.

An evil-looking knife appeared in Sergei’s hand. He bounded up the bleachers

and quickly cut the ropes binding our hunters.

The earth ruptured and tore open. A thick hissing stream of noxious green gas

spewed out.

A great, clawed foot hooked over the edge of the fissure.

“It’s not a snake.” A hysterical laugh broke from me. “It’s not Asmoday.”

Fabian shot me a glare and hollered, “Fall back!”

Everyone ran for their lives.

Antonio carried my grandmother out of the tent, still wrapped in chains.

I backed away and watched in horror as the demon crawled out. Its scaly armor

bristled with needle-sharp spines. The fucker was the size of a T. rex.

The demon’s glowing red orbs fixed on me. Drool oozed from its horrific jaws,

and a shredded micromini evening dress hung from its neck.

“Oh, my God. Is that Heather?”

“Yes,”
Grams confirmed.

With a sibilant hiss, Heather said, “I’ve come to take you to hell, slayer. Asmoday

needs you for a virgin sacrifice.”

“You’re a virgin?” The utter disbelief on Fabian’s face was almost comical.

62
|
GAIL KOGER

“I’m not a virgin.”

Heather sniffed. “You smell like a virgin.”

“Well, I’m not.”

Heather’s forked tongue slimed me. “You taste like a virgin.”

“I’ve had sex before!” I yelled, wiping the demon gunk off my face. Only that one

time in college, but it counted. Right?

“You
are
a virgin. Lying will not save you.”

“Okay.” I held up my hands and slowly edged away. “You got me. I’m a love-

starved virgin.”

Every inch a hunter, Fabian circled the demon, looking for an opening to attack it.

“There are three ways to kill a demon. Magic, a silver sword in the heart, and

decapitation,”
Grams informed us.

Even I knew that.
“Yes, ma’am.”

“Dragos hunters are properly schooled in the techniques of killing monsters. I don’t need

your instructions or help,”
Fabian replied sharply.

Oh yippee, the slayer bond gave Mr. Cranky 24-7 access to my mind. “
Well, golly

gee. What do you need me for?”

“To fuck, and I don’t have demon cooties,”
Fabian shot back.

“Who said romance was dead?”

Grams cried,
“Run!”

I was a second too slow. A spiny tail whipped out, cracking me across the

shoulders and throwing me into the bleachers. Stars exploded in my vision. Pain tore

through my body, and I could feel blood trickling down my back. I struggled to get my

feet under me.

Fabian nimbly darted up Heather’s back and hacked at her neck. “You fucking

bitch, your just signed your death warrant.”

Bellowing in fury, the demon batted him off her back.

CATCHING DRAGOS | 63

The hunter crashed into the side of the tent and slid down.

“Get up!”
Grams shouted.

I shook my head to clear it. Was she talking to me or Fabian?

Grams gave me a mental slap.
“Do you want to die?”

“No, ma’am.”
I pulled myself upright and got knocked down again. Before I could

recover, the tail wrapped around my right foot and dragged me toward Heather.

Letting out a fierce battle cry, Fabian charged the demon and cut off her tail.

I flinched as hot yellow-green blood sprayed over me. The tail holding me

vanished, leaving an icky black ooze coating my foot.

The demon whipped around, and a grotesque parody of a smile pulled at her

mouth. “I never got to fuck the famous supermodel, but I can eat him.”

Like some crazy kamikaze ninja, Fabian somersaulted away from the demon’s

raking claws.

Now I knew where he got his dance moves from.

Grams’s roar reverberated around my skull.
“Kill it!”

“Yes, ma’am.”
My mouth went dry. How hard could it be to slay a two-ton demon?

I yanked a yellow bottle out of a pocket and hurled it at Heather. At the same time, I

chanted, “
Quod mox ut
.”

It burst, spraying Heather with holy water. Her skin began to bubble and blacken.

Yay! It had worked.

With a furious screech, Heather charged me.

“Oh hell!” Fear sent a rush of adrenaline through me as I ducked and dodged her

snapping teeth. “I thought Asmoday needed me alive?”

“As long as you’re still breathing when I deliver you, I can chew on you all I

want.”

Oh, goody.

64
|
GAIL KOGER

Fabian jabbed the demon in the side. “You hideous old hag. You make my skin

crawl. I wanted to puke every time I touched you.”

Heather whacked him with her new tail, sending him flying.

Shit! Demon parts could instantaneously grow back? I threw another bottle of holy

water at her. “
Quod mox ut
.”

Heather’s skin began to liquefy and drip off her in a gooey ooze. “I’m melting!

Why am I melting?”

“’Cause it’s holy water, you dumb bitch.”

The dumb bitch chased me around and around the grandstands.

Fabian’s terse voice sounded in my head.
“Do you have any chocolate left?”

“Yes.”

“It’s poison to demons. If you can get Heather to eat some, it’ll slow her down enough that

I can kill her.”

“The mighty demon hunter actually needs my help? I thought I was only good for

fucking?”

Fabian’s tone was one of pure exasperation.
“You’re an untrained slayer who I’m

trying to keep alive. My cousin Zelda has killed several demons with chocolate.”

He had a point. I was untrained.
“One death by chocolate coming up.”

Crash!
Heather hit the metal bleacher I was standing on, slamming me to the

ground.

Her daggerlike teeth inches from my face, she growled, “Do you know what

Asmoday will do to me if I fail to bring him a virgin?”

“Aw, sounds like your boss is a prick, but I have something that will make it all

better.” I frantically dug out a piece of Cerreta’s dark chocolate candy and tossed it

down her throat.

The demon automatically swallowed it.

CATCHING DRAGOS | 65

Fabian rolled under Heather’s belly and thrust his sword into her unprotected

flesh.

Heather did her best to smash him like a bug.

How Fabian managed to avoid the demon’s stomping feet, I’ll never know.

A loud gurgle sounded from the demon’s belly as the chocolate kicked in. Her

stomach expanded rapidly.

“Shit! She’s gonna blow.” Scrambling backward, I grabbed my sword and got

painfully to my feet. That bitch’s claws had done a number on my back. “May you rot

in hell.”

“I can’t die. He said I would live for an eternity!” Heather, the puffer fish,

shrieked.

God, she was beyond stupid. “Asmoday lied to you, you dumb bitch.”

“Arrivederci,” Fabian called.

Her body exploded into a zillion pieces.

Slimy yellow ooze coated me from head to toe. “Oh, yuck!” One look at Fabian,

and I started laughing. “You’ve got an eyeball on your head.”

He knocked it off. “Glad you think it’s funny, but I’m not the one wearing

Heather’s guts.”

“What?”

Without warning, the ground opened beneath us and we were falling.

Down.

Down.

Down.

66
|
GAIL KOGER

Chapter Ten

“Wake up, Mariah. Dammit, you’ve got to wake up. Now!”

I frowned. Why was it so friggin’ hot? Had the air-conditioning broke? And what

was up with that awful wailing? It sounded like someone was strangling a bunch of

cats.

“Focus,”
the voice demanded.

“Grams?”

“Yes. How badly are you injured?”

“My back’s messed up.”
Very carefully, I moved my arms and legs.
“But my parts are

working.”

“Is Fabian with you?”

That was when I realized I was sprawled across a warm, masculine chest. I rubbed

my cheek against Fabian’s firm muscles. Yum. What a great way to wake up.

“Mariah!”

“Stop shouting. I’ve got the headache from hell.”

“You’re in the Ninth Hell,”
Grams shot back testily.

“No way.”
I pried open my eyes and gaped in horror.

An immense cavern lit by flaming torches stretched out before me. Strange

contorted rocks reared up from the floor. The humanlike stones seemed to writhe in

nameless agony while others clawed at the air as if to escape some unspeakable horror.

I rubbed my aching head.
“How did we get here?”

“Asmoday opened a portal.”

“Man, he must really need a virgin.”

CATCHING DRAGOS | 67

Grams snorted.
“You’re not a virgin.”

“I know that, and you know that, but try telling the demons that.”
I took another look

around.
“This wouldn’t happen to be the infamous Cavern of the Damned, would it?”

“It is.”

We were so absofuckinglutely screwed.

Fabian moaned.

I crawled off him. He had a nasty cut on his forehead, and his left arm looked kind

of bent. If we were going to have any hope of surviving, I needed him in fighting shape.

Patting my pockets, I found the bottle of healing potion and hugged it to my chest.

Thank God it hadn’t broken. Our luck might be changing. I opened the bottle and took

a long swallow. A sigh of relief broke from me as my pain vanished.

A thunderous roar shook the cavern.

And just like that, Lady Luck, the fickle bitch, fled.

Eerie voices wailed, “He comes. He comes. Asmoday comes for you. He will take

your virgin’s heart.”

I shouted, “Goddammit, I’m not a virgin!”

Asmoday bellowed back, “Then I find another, and you will serve me as my

necromancer. The Zoroastrian prophecy will be fulfilled. The dead will walk the earth,

and I will reign for a thousand years.”

My blood turned to ice. “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and

at the hour of our deaths.”

“Your father didn’t raise a quitter. Heal your man and fight,”
Grams spat.

“Yes, ma’am, but it doesn’t hurt to pray.”
I pried open Fabian’s mouth.

“Hot.” He shifted restlessly, jostling the bottle.

Shit! I managed to keep from spilling any of the precious liquid. I had a feeling we

were going to need it again and again.

68
|
GAIL KOGER

Sweat dripped into my eyes. I wiped it away. God, the cavern had to be at least a

hundred and twenty degrees. Without water, we wouldn’t last long. Which wouldn’t be

an issue once the demon king got his claws on us.

The hunter’s big hand grabbed my thigh. “Hurt?”

“Easy, big guy. I’m okay. You? Not so much. If you take your medicine like a good

boy, I’ll give you a big kiss.”

“Promise?”

“Yep, cross my heart. I need you to drink this. Can you do that for me, sweetie?”

Obediently, Fabian opened his mouth, and I poured in a couple of ounces.

My internal radar went on red alert. Asmoday? Or something else?

A rotting corpse shambled into the light.

I froze for a second. Since half of the creature’s face was gone it was difficult to tell

if it was male or female.
“Fuck. What is it?”

“Hungry,”
Grams answered.
“Kill it.”

Its right eye popped out and rolled across the ground.

Oh, ick.
“It sure looks like a zombie.”

“Does it really matter? It can and will eat you,”
Grams snipped.


Dicitur pretiosa materia mox
.” Presto! My sword appeared in my hand.
“Do you

have any idea on how to kill it?”

BOOK: Catching Dragos
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