Her weak grasp on emotions and the human "living" realm makes for endearing qualities and great laughs. It's a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, not to mention turn arounds as Charm juggles meeting her monthly soul collection quota with interactions with her father, the devil, her estranged mother, Fiona, her friends, human witch turned vanity demon, Tabitha, dominatrix succubus, Layla, fallen genie, Amelia, her new quirky genie friend, Faris, her selfish sister, Lovely, demanding brother, Jasper, and her smoking hot angel, Zachariah.
If that's not enough insanity to drive her to Crazy Town, her father promotes her to leader of the furies and Mundane City just as a revolt is rising up against the Soul Factory from a charismatic silver tongued evangelist who has stolen her father's hell hounds.
Her newest discovery and chance to become human has forced her to dig deeper than surface emotions and a major emotion she comes face to face with is her guilt over collecting souls. Mix all these awesome ingredients together and you find a delightful read.
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I watched, invisible to human eyes, while the authorities gathered what little evidence they could, questioned Ericka, the witness, and transported the victim’s body to the medical examiner’s office. I knew they wouldn’t find anything. This was a supernatural crime, not a human one. The case would remain cold and then filed away in a dusty room in the basement of the police department. The victim was one of their own. They would do all they could to find his murderer. I knew it wouldn’t be for lack of trying, but the weapon was a fire sword so nothing they understood would be a match to the blade that cut Leo’s throat. There would be no real forensic evidence, it all drained down the street. It would be like searching for a needle in a haystack and then the challenge would be to separate what they did find from items not associated with the crime.
The only justice Ericka would find for her fiancé’s death would be what I could dole out. The question will be how much my father will allow me to dish out. For this woman’s soul, I wanted a smorgasbord.
When the coast was clear I rematerialized to the living realm and began touching surfaces for any clues I might find. My gift of psychometry or psychoscopy came in handy for these types of injustices.
“Do you really plan to take that poor human’s soul?” His voice was deep and warm like whiskey over my skin. It was also unrecognizable. I turned to find out where it came from, preparing for anything that could result in the interaction by pulling out the dagger from the sheath on my hip.
His voice may not have been recognizable, but his image was one I’d seen a lot of in the last few hours. He was the man the redheaded demon had fought earlier. The dark skinned, muscled man was favoring his side, the injury delivered from the fire sword was not healing quickly. It looked to be a mortal wound. Something he’d probably not recover from.
“My name is Zachariah, and you are?”
“In better shape than you are,” I told him. “What are you? Can’t you heal?”
He grunted. “I can, usually. Unfortunately, your friend used poison on his blade and engraved a slow healing rune in my chest.”
“He’s not my friend.” I raised my chin defiantly. Very few demons were.
“You’re a vengeance demon, aren’t you?”
“I prefer justice, but yes.”
“So is he.” His face looked pain and I found myself taking pity on the man.
I reached out, inches from his wound, he cringed. “May I?”
“Going to finish your friend’s job?” He snapped bitterly.
“I was going to try and help, but if you prefer to suffer, then so be it,” I turned and headed to another wall.
“I’m sorry. I’ve just never met a vengeance demon who wanted to help those like me.”
I turned and examined him. “What are you?”
He smiled a crooked grin that popped a dimple on his cheek. “Help me and I’ll tell you.”
I grunted, “Sure you will,” as I headed to his side and touched his wound.
I closed my eyes as a vision flooded my mind and body. I felt the demon’s evil, his hatred for the man he was preparing to kill. A room, which looked like an attic built up around him, brick by brick. The only light in the room filtered through the shaded window. A priest was bound to a chair, gagged with a filthy rag, his face bloodied and crushed.
The redheaded demon plucked red and black colored peas, rosary breads from a potted plant. He placed them in a stone bowl and crushed them with a pestle. He forced the poisonous mixture under the priest’s nose. The aging father shook his head. The ginger demon pushed the priest’s face inches from the stone bowl as he pressed a dagger against the old man’s aging throat. The brutalized man relented and began speaking over the crimson liquid laced with black specks.
When he was done, the demon slit the fleshy part of his own hand and squeezed blackened blood into the bowl, then he poured the liquid on the unlit sword. It was all I needed. I pulled my hand away and the false world diminished around me. I was in the alley with the devastatingly handsome stranger again.
“I think I know what he poisoned you with.” I stepped back, stumbling slightly. The poison could kill many creatures, but mixed with the blessing and demon blood meant he was one thing. Nephilim.
There were good and bad Nephilim just like every other race. The bad were usually friends to demons, the good were mortal enemies.
“Out with it, girl,” the man groaned in pain.
“Are you friend or foe?”
“Depends,” he grunted.
“Do you really plan to take that girl’s soul?”
“I have no choice.” I stood up and began pacing the otherwise abandoned alley.
“We always have a choice.”
“Not everyone. Sometimes people are stuck in the roles they were born into.”
The man seemed to grow in size, his broad chest puffed up. “And you were born to steal souls of emotionally destroyed people.”
“That’s not… look, my father…” I shook my head, his assessment of my job was accurate. There was no point in denying it. I didn’t like what I did, wished I could change my fate, wanted desperately to live a human life, but that was never going to happen. “Yes, I’m a justice demon. I get justice for those that can’t get it for themselves.” I raised my chin a notch.
“You must be so proud.” He snarled and started to stagger away.
I watched him for a moment, knew it wasn’t smart to help him, but couldn’t stop my feet from following. “Where are you going?”
“To get help.”
This was such a bad idea, my inner voice chided, but I couldn’t stop. “He poisoned you with rosary peas that a priest had blessed.”
The man stopped. I put on the brakes to avoid slamming into his granite back. The man had muscles that you couldn’t help but want to touch.
“That’s not good.” He didn’t turn to look at me. He knew his fate was sealed. The demon had planned to kill him, not only kill, but torture.
“Why does he want you dead?”
“Why do all demons want Nephilim dead?”
“The same can be said of the opposite.” I shot back. The man wasn’t in any shape to have a verbal volley. I knew this. I just couldn’t keep the words from popping out of my mouth like that Rice Krispie cereal. It was the demon. She wasn’t a very nice entity. The man started walking again. I followed, like a child chasing a puppy. “I’m sorry.”
“It doesn’t matter. I’d like to be alone for a while.”
I watched as Zachariah continued to walk away. He was slowly dying, but wouldn’t give up. The pain had to be excruciating. I turned and started back toward the crime scene. I didn’t need to get mixed up in the mess between the demon and angel, the ginger killer was probably one of my father’s assassins. The angel deserved to die, right?
The ebony skinned man fell against the brick wall, the commotion made me turn in his direction. He was fading quickly and undoubtedly suffering immensely. There was probably very little I could do for him. I was a justice demon. Despite the price, I find justice for people. Does that include angels? Was an injustice done to him?
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. The beast that shared my soul warned me to stay out of it. I knew I should listen. I bit my lower lip as his raspy breaths fell on my supernatural ears. “Oh, hell.” I sighed as my feet started moving in his direction. I needed to know what happened, I told myself. It would help me get vengeance for my client.
The withering angel slid down the brick wall at the opening of the alley. I stood a foot or two in front of him and held out my hand.
“Go away and let me die in peace,” he hissed.
“Sorry, I can’t. You might have information I need.” I reached down, cautiously. I didn’t want him to feel threatened. I’d seen cornered, wild animals with nothing to lose. They were vicious. This man was on the verge of reaching that point.
“I may know someone who can help.” I stepped back, but kept my hand out toward him. “Please let me help you.”
“Demons don’t help Nephilim.” The chuckle that tumbled from his lips sounded ugly.
“No, we usually don’t.” If it was any of my co-workers, they’d leave him. I knew it. He knew it. What I was doing was highly irregular, but I was not the usual demon. I’m not saying I have a code or anything, I mean, that would be laughable, but I had a mission and I was an out-of-the-box thinker. Somehow, I’d convinced myself this angel could help me. At the very least, he might know the name of the demon that murdered my client’s fiancé.
Sure, I could torture him for the intel, but where’s the justice in that? And if father didn’t allow me to take out the demon then the angel might be the sword needed to exact revenge for my client. A person could convince themselves of anything if they really wanted to, and I’d convinced myself that this angel hybrid needed to live. Right or wrong, it was my belief.The angel was on the verge of passing out from the pain. His head lolled down from his neck like a drooping flower. It was now or never. I knelt down. “I’m sorry.” I placed my hands on his arm and closed my eyes.
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