Authors: Jessica Coulter Smith
moved closer, sniffing at the speck, hoping it would give him a clue as to who
had his mate. When he realized it was
he wanted to howl in outrage. Whoever had her had hurt her. And that was
unforgiveable. He would find them, and he would make them pay.
With their lives, if necessary.
much as he wanted to charge out the door and tear the city apart looking for
her, he forced himself to take his time looking for clues. In the kitchen, he
found a knife with black blood on the blade. His worst fears were confirmed—a
. While it could be any demon, Cade
had a feeling he knew who had her.
demon had asked for his help months ago, needing a spell to help him move up
the ranks in Hell, but Cade had refused. He hadn’t wanted to get in the middle
of the demon’s war, but it looked like he was part of it now whether he wanted
to be or not. He had no doubt
for the spell.
As much as he hated to give in to the
monster, he didn’t see that he had many options.
glanced around one last time, looking to see if he missed anything. Satisfied
that he’d found everything necessary, he closed the door and headed home,
wand tucked safely inside his shirt. He was
surprised the demon hadn’t taken off with it. Maybe the wand had managed to
escape before the demon had a chance to locate it.
Cade got home, there was a message tacked to his door. The parchment was old
and faded. The writing looked like it was dried blood. He had little doubt that
it was from
without even reading it. He
scanned the lines quickly, his anger mounting as he read the demon’s demands.
It seemed that because he’d refused to help before,
was now demanding more than just the spell to release
He wanted Cade’s servitude, or his life.
forfeit his life long before he’d serve the demon, but he hoped it didn’t come
down to that. No, he had to think of another way to best
He paced his living room,
wand clutched in
his hand. Cade hoped the spirit imbuing the wood would give him some sort of
inspiration, give him some clue as to how to go about saving his mate. So far,
it wasn’t working. He continued to pace, the motion calming his racing heart
and helping clear his mind. As his emotions came under control and his mind
became less clouded, he had an idea. He wasn’t sure it would work, but it was
worth a try.
For the second time that afternoon, he jumped
on his bike and hit the streets. His destination wasn’t far. At least, his
first destination wasn’t. His plan would take a good portion of the day. He only
hoped he had that long. Cade doubted
wait long for his response. The demon would probably visit him soon, or worse,
summon him. He’d been to Hell once or twice and couldn’t say he was anxious to
visit again anytime soon.
pulled his bike down the short drive of a white clapboard house on the other
side of the jungle, killing the engine as he came to a stop. He didn’t even
make it to the porch before the door swung open. The alpha was looking at him
with a bit of hesitation and a healthy dose of fear. He knew there were few
things the alpha was afraid of. He just hoped demons weren’t one of them.
he said by way of greeting.
can I do for you, Cade?”
need to talk. I need a favor.”
nodded and moved back, allowing Cade into his home. Cade looked around, noting
that the place was rather tidy, with just a beer bottle on the end table and a
plate of pizza beside it. Apparently, he’d interrupted either a late lunch or
an early dinner.
so important that it warrants a visit from our resident
mate has been taken.”
brows lifted. “I didn’t realize you’d taken a mate.”
new. Her name is
. She’s a—”
Micah interrupted. “I’m familiar with her.”
of your pups were harassing her the other night. It worked out in my favor, I
think. She’s a little upset with me at the moment, and now that she’s been
taken, I’m sure she’s even more perturbed.”
right, she’s probably downright pissed at me.”
who has her?” Micah asked.
He asked me for
a spell a few months ago and I refused. Now that I’ve taken a mate, he’s
decided to use her as leverage. He wants a spell and my servitude. The spell I
could do, as much as I would hate to, but the other is out of the question. It
would be bowing down to him and giving whatever he wanted whenever he wanted.
Nothing good could come of it.”
what do you need from me?”
was hoping the pack might back me when I decide to go against him. The only way
to get her back without giving up too much of myself is to fight. But I won’t
win against him alone. The pack, however, would distract him long enough for me
to work my magick. I’ll come prepared with some spells and potions, but I’ll
need a window of opportunity.”
gave him an incredulous look. “And you think the pack will be strong enough to
go up against a demon? We’ll be slaughtered!”
give you protection charms, it’s the least I can do. I know they won’t be foolproof,
need to think it over. You’re asking a lot.”
isn’t time! I know he’s going to ask for my answer soon. I need to know if the
pack will back me.”
it helps, I’m going to the warlocks next.”
ask you to swear to keep the pack safe, but I know you can’t do that. Will you
at least promise me that the warlocks will aid us, watch over my
get them to swear to it,” Cade promised. “It’s the least I can do.”
you have our assistance,” Micah vowed. “I don’t like the idea of that sweet
witch in the hands of the demon. Hell is no place for her.”
wondered just how well the alpha knew
thought it best not to ask. If his mate had been intimate with Micah, he wasn’t
sure he wanted to know. Obviously, there were men in her past, and he judged
her age to be at least fifty or so, which meant there were probably more than
he’d like. If there was one thing he’d learned during his long life, it was
that you didn’t ask a woman her age, not even a paranormal one.
himself from the alpha’s house, he made his way to the head warlock’s house. It
would take forever to meet them one at a time, and time was something he didn’t
have. Not if he wanted to save
, and his own neck
as well. He arrived at Jared’s and wasn’t surprised to find the warlock waiting
for him. He knew Jared was not the man’s original name, but his name had been
lost centuries ago. Only those closest to him knew who he really was, and Cade
was fine with that.
your little witch is in trouble,” Jared said as Cade slung his leg over his
ask how you know, but you seem to know everything.”
smiled. “It’s my job. And you’ve come to ask for my help.”
The wolves have already agreed to help, but they wanted my assurance that the
warlocks would watch over them. I already promised to make them charms.”
one of ours, in a way, so of course we’ll help. I can’t guarantee that all of
the warlocks in the area will come, but I know of four that will for certain.
And, of course, I’ll be there. Just tell me what you need us to do.”
over the wolves, help battle whatever back-up
brings with him. I’m taking on the big demon by myself. I’ll make sure I’m
prepared, but I need a distraction. If someone can keep the other demons
occupied, I’d be grateful.”
if there aren’t other demons?” Jared asked.
try to keep
busy. It will make things go
smoother and a whole lot faster.”
nodded. “Consider it done. When do you want to attack?”
expecting a summons either today or tomorrow. Is there any way you can cast a
spell that will encompass the warlocks and wolves, bringing them to my side
when it happens?”
tipped his head to the side. “I can do that. It will take a bit of magick, but
it’s nothing I can’t handle.”
doesn’t come by morning, I’ll summon him. I’d
rather fight this battle here than in Hell. I think it would give us the
home and make the charms, create your spells and potions, and when you’re ready
I’ll know. I’ll translocate all of us to the field on the outskirts of town. If
there’s going to be a battle, I want it to be far away from innocent
you, Jared. I won’t forget this.”
rode back to his house, deep in thought. While he had his people in place,
there was still much to do. He only hoped he was prepared enough to save his
witch, and not get everyone killed. He doubted the alpha and head warlock would
thank him for putting their people in danger. They obviously knew it wasn’t
going to be a walk in the park, but he hoped he could pull it off without
wiped the blood
from her lip and winced as pain racked her body. She’d taken quite a beating
from the demon
now held her in his possession.
, she’d heard him called. She just didn’t understand
what he wanted with her. She’d never had any dealings with demons in the past,
so why had he attacked her in her home? Her wand had been in another room when
the demon had appeared and she’d been nearly defenseless against him.
had fought as best she could, but in the end, it
hadn’t been enough.
huddled in the corner, of the cell he’d thrown her in, wrinkling her nose in
distaste at the wretched smell.
was heavy in
the air, but there was an underlying scent of death and decay. It was enough to
make her nauseated, and she fought to keep down what little lunch she’d managed
to eat before he’d popped up in her home.
demon stood before a cauldron of sorts, a hag beside him. Not a hag in the
sense that she was an ugly woman, but a hag in the sense that she was an
ancient witch who had obviously been dealing in the dark arts for a long time.
Her eyes had blackened, as if the pupils had expanded to fill her entire eye,
and her hair fairly crackled with magick. She hoped the witch wasn’t around
when Cade came for her, and she had little doubt that he would. That was, if he
could figure out who had her and where she was.
watched as they poured ingredients into the large, black cast iron bowl. The
flames beneath it danced and swayed, as if responding to some ancient tune.
couldn’t hear what they said, but she knew it was an
incantation of some sort. It had to be, considering the ingredients that had
gone into the spell. If she had to guess, she’d say they were preparing to spy
on Cade, or possibly bring him to Hell. Whatever they were up to, she hoped he
she had her wand, she’d be of some help to him. Not much, given her current
state, but she could do something. Cast a spell to slow down the demon, or
maybe take on the witch. She doubted she’d last long against the woman, but she
could help in some small way. Maybe distract her long enough for Cade to take
her down, assuming the demon didn’t keep him too busy. She didn’t know much
other than they were feared in the
paranormal community because of their dual nature. She knew he was powerful,
but was he powerful enough to take down a demon?
she hadn’t caused so much trouble during her life, perhaps she’d have a coven
that would step in and help, but she’d been ostracized by her kind. Most
witches turned their noses up when she walked by, so asking for help wasn’t a
good idea. They’d probably think she deserved her current predicament. Hell,
they may even help the evil witch and demon, especially those who practiced the
wasn’t one of them, though. She used her magick for good, when it worked the
way it was supposed to. She admitted that she had more accidents than most, but
it wasn’t like she didn’t try.
witch and demon stopped their incantation, but they didn’t look happy. Maybe it
hadn’t worked? She’d like to think Cade had anticipated such a move and had
blocked them, but for all she knew, their spell was just missing something. She
hadn’t seen every ingredient they’d used. It was possible they’d left something
out. Pressing further into the corner, she tried to make herself inconspicuous,
hoping they would forget about her.