Full Blooded

Page 11

“It only lasts a day or two at most, so we’ll have to have her come round again.” Danny grinned. “You’re looking very well, by the way. I have no idea why there’s a big uproar about your safety, since no one’s bloody told me anything, but don’t worry your little head about security. Tyler arrived in the wee hours of this morning and we’re all on top of it. Nothing but the very best protection for you. We will make sure you stay safe from whatever it is that’s plaguing you.” If Danny hadn’t figured it out from the beacon, maybe there was hope it had gone unnoticed after all. He knew me and my voice.

“Thanks, Danny. I appreciate that. I hope the whole thing will be short-lived and we can go back to normal as soon as possible.”

“Ah, but then I won’t get any more chances to see your gorgeous face. Best for us to keep vigilant so we have ample opportunity to keep our clandestine parking lot visits ongoing. This will likely be the highlight of my very long, very boring day.”

I chuckled. “How is it possible you never change, Danny Walker? At least you didn’t comment about my ass this time.”

“What’s wrong with your bum, then? Eating too many biscuits?”

“No.” I laughed. “I haven’t been eating biscuits, but that does sound damn good. And my ass is just fine.” I grabbed on to my door handle. “I hate to break up our reunion, but we should end this illicit meeting before it gets noticed. It was good to see you, Danny. I mean that. Thanks for the backup. I appreciate it.”

“It’s my pleasure.” He gave me a mock three-finger salute. “Hope our paths cross again soon.” He turned and left like the professional he was. But not before he snuck a glance over his shoulder to check out my ass.

I got into my car, smiling as I slammed the door. Once I was on the road my stomach gave a deep, disgruntled grumble. I’d eaten myself out of food last night and I needed coffee, but it would have to wait. I was already late. My small, nondescript office building wasn’t far from my apartment, by design, and I made it in under five minutes.

I pulled into the side lot, closest to the door. The low concrete complex hosted a variety of other businesses—dental, insurance, and chiropractic. Very unnoticeable. Our offices were on the main floor.

I swung open the opaque glass door, marked with the white stenciled lettering “Hannon & Michaels Investigations,” and walked in.

Marcy pushed back her chair and stood. “Well, well, well, look who the cat finally dragged in.” She mocked checking the big clock on the wall.

“I know, I’m late,” I said. “My cell phone died sometime during the night. I need a new charger; my old one is one of the many casualties of my ransacked apartment. No alarm. But I bet you knew that already. How many times did you try to call?”

“Contrary to what you think, O blessed taskmaster, I thought it best to let you sleep. I’m only your keeper part of the time. My other starring roles include—but are not limited to—the fun-loving gal pal, the beautiful chirpy sidekick, and your brilliant bookie. And I can be all those things because I’m so unbelievably gifted.” Marcy walked around to the front of her desk.

“I haven’t gambled a day in my life.” I chuckled. “And to think, all this time I thought you were all work and no play.”

“Nope, that, my friend, would make me a very dull girl.” She wrapped her arms around me for a brief second, and then held me out at arm’s length, her bony fingertips digging into my shoulders. “And if you ever scare me half to death like that again I will quit this job. I swear. Forever.” She shook me. “As in never coming back. Got it?” Then she dropped her grasp and headed back around her desk.

“Marcy,” I chided. “Your deep concern about my safety and well-being makes me all tingly inside.”

“I don’t care. It just seems like I do. But scaring people isn’t funny. I almost had a heart attack. You’re putting my health at risk if you do something like that again.” She sat down and pulled her chic glasses out of her rich red curls—hair I could only dream about—and drew a sheet of paper off the stack in front of her, back to the day’s agenda. “You have some calls to make about the Craig case. The one you finished last week. The warlock wants some sort of compensation for his broken nose.” She ran through the details. “Oh, yes, and the new potential client, the one I talked to you about yesterday, his name is Colin Rourke. Sounds like a solid case, plus he sounded totally cute.” She shuffled through a stack of notes marked “Molly.” “And tonight you and Nick are slated for another Drake surveillance run. While you were gone, Nick hired Gary to watch him. The report is waiting on your desk. Oh, and Nick wanted me to tell you, and I quote, ‘when she gets her ass out of bed tell her I will be out of the office all day trying to figure out that mess with the paint store owner and the graffiti,’ end quote.” She handed me the stack. “That about covers it.”

“You’re a goddess like no other.” I grabbed the notes and quickly flipped though them. “This looks like it will keep me in my office all day, which is a good thing, because I’m supposed to lay low.”

“Yes indeed. No going outside for you.”

I started for my office. “Oh, and by the way.” I turned. “I need an enormous amount of food delivered here as soon as possible—and I mean anything and everything you can get your hands on: burgers, fries, shakes, Chinese, whatever. And while you’re at it, let’s relocate the coffeepot closer to my desk. Like on top of it.”

Marcy didn’t even blink. “Got it.”

“Oh, and Marcy?” She snapped her head up from the pile of food menus she’d already plucked from her filing drawer. “I’m upping your pay by thirty percent, effective last Friday. I wouldn’t want to lose the best-kept secret in town because I’m too cheap to notice the value of your extensive talents. And that includes the favor you did for us last night. Good technique with the smell thing, by the way. It totally worked.” Witches charged exorbitantly for their crafting services. There were no freebies. And we both knew it. “You can file it under ‘saving the boss’s ass’ or ‘awesome spell casting under extreme pressure,’ whichever works best for you.” I chuckled as I walked down the hallway.

“Just doing my job,” she muttered after me.

“I can hear you.”

“Stupid werewolf hearing.”

I was still smiling when I entered my office. Marcy would take my secret to the grave, and after what she did for me and my apartment, there was no sense trying to pretend it didn’t happen. I felt a small pang, because by knowing my new secret she was involved in this whether she wanted to be or not. But knowing her, she wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. In fact, she’d probably choke the life out of me if she found out I’d been keeping such a thing from her. We didn’t have to have a conversation about it; she was smart and knew the stakes.

My office was small and decorated with standard-issue furniture from the previous tenants. There was a conference room down the hall with a bigger table to accommodate larger groups, but on the whole, we usually met with our clients in a convenient spot of their choosing. The biggest selling point of this particular space, other than its nondescript nature, had been the big windows.

I plucked a thick folder off my desk as I sat down. I shoved my purse by my feet and set Marcy’s notes to the side to go over later. Getting back to work was a godsend. Making sure my mind stayed off everything was the key to keeping myself sane.

I opened the case file. The imp we’d been tracking the night of my change, Drake Jensen, was a forty-seven-year-old lowlife slimeball, and it looked like he’d been busy these last few nights.

I scanned Drake’s background in the file. It was the first time I’d seen any of this, because he was a new target and the report had taken time to generate. An imp was the lowest demon on the totem pole, which meant he was stronger than a human, but not impossible to catch. By nature, an imp was half demon, half human, his demon side usually inherited from his father. Male demons were known to have the occasional fling with a human counterpart. Female demons were rare and reclusive.

Drake, it seemed, got his rocks off on sex and fear, which was not unusual for certain kinds of imps of the sex demon variety. It fed them the way food feeds the rest of us. But instead of consenting adults, his chosen targets had been young innocents, which made him worse than slime.

He’d recently been released from a human jail for soliciting underage sex and he was already back to his old filthy habits.

We actually had quite a few files on imps because they typically caused the most trouble. They were one of the few super-natural Sects who didn’t care if they got caught. An imp usually had a specialized skill, depending on its parent demonic origin. But they all typically had weak magic, because demon magic was born of the blood, and human blood was extremely diluted. Like pouring a shot of vodka in a gallon of water. Hard to get yourself drunk.

Drake’s abilities were still unknown. It was a shame birth certificates weren’t more helpful, indicating things like “great-grandfather was a fire demon” or “child may have lingering perverse sexual tendencies, from twice-removed sex demon uncle.” Because of the sex fixation, we were fairly sure he’d come from an incubus, which meant he most likely possessed the power of sexual persuasion, a dangerous skill to have.

I glanced through the last pages. Drake was on the move. He’d gone to the same movie theater parking lot the past three nights in a row and had been agitated last night in particular. He’d actually left his car, but hadn’t physically approached anyone.

I set the folder down on my desk.

If Drake had left his vehicle, his sexual need was coming to a head. Literally. Most incubi had to have sex once every few weeks to fuel their life force. If Drake was still targeting innocents, I was looking forward to catching him and making him pay for his crimes.

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