Curse of Shadows and Light (Demonblood Book 3)

By: Penelope King



“How are you doing this?”

She laughs, and even I know how utterly stupid my question is. Contrary to popular belief, many human witches are more powerful than most demons, as their powers are wide-ranging and always growing. Demons on the other hand, are born with a limited, specific set of abilities. The only real difference between a human witch and a demon is the witch is a mortal being, while the demon is not. But the disadvantage ends there. In a cage match between a witch and a demon, my money would go on the witch every time.

“I can barely move, yet you expect us to live here?”

“I will reduce the charm. I had to turn it to maximum efficiency until I knew exactly what I was dealing with. And I still need to check out your partner, although he concerns me less.”

“Why?”

“Because he is a regular demion. He is always who he is, a blend of human and demon. But with your curse, you become more potent. You gather all your demon qualities at once, and that makes you highly volatile and unpredictable… and unusual.”

Just what I need, this freak telling me I’m a freak. “Tat said there are Energy Sources nearby,” I say, trying to change the subject.

“Yes, there are a few. The Demon Bar you need is accessible through a portal tunnel down on the beach. I’ll show you where it is later. It will provide you and your partner with safe passage and keep you off the magical radar. In the meanwhile, I have a small batch of Synthetic Energy that will tide you over until you can venture out. I know how weak you become without it, especially in your condition.”

She narrows her eyes and focuses on my midsection. “The demion in the car, is he the father?”

I lower my gaze and place my hand on my stomach as it flutters with the now-familiar warmth. “No. The father is… dead.” I barely whisper the last word, but to my ears it sounds like a deafening scream.

Anastasia nods. “Well that’s good, I suppose. We don’t need any more complications now. I promised my sister that if you panned out I would help you. You are formally granted sanctuary here. Unless you disobey me or otherwise cause me undo problems, you may stay until it is time for you to deliver. And if I can help you in other ways, I will.”

“What about my curse?”

She shakes her head. “I don’t know about that… not now, at least. For now, we must get you settled and establish the rules. Rule number one: You are forbidden to enter my home. And that goes for your boyfriend, as well.”

“But—”

“You will live in the guest house over there.” She points to a well-lit cottage a few hundred yards away, at the end of a long cobblestone path. “You and your companions are welcome to stay there. But you are never to come to the main house. Liora may, and I will tell her so. Your human girlfriend may also enter. But not you, and not the male demion. In fact, you are not to come within fifty feet of this very spot.”

“Fine.”

“Second rule: No one can know you are here. When you go out, as I know you must, you only use the secret access points I show you. You are to stay out of sight of any neighbors. The beach below the house is fine, but otherwise you stay in the shadows. You are here, but you are not here. The same goes for your boyfriend. Follow my rules and we shouldn’t have a problem. Even the slightest deviation and you are all out of here. And believe me, the gates won’t open next time.”

I stare at this woman, trying to decide what to do. I wish I could tell her to take her snotty rules and dive into the shark-infested ocean waters. But really, I have no choice. And she knows it. The only way we’ll survive is to remain invisible. And being under the veil of her oppressive protection spell actually makes me feel better about Liora. I can take care of myself… obviously. But Liora is always so weak. The witch’s enchantments might be the only way to save all of us.

I nod slowly. “I agree to your terms. Thank you for taking us in.”

She purses her lips and stands up, clasping her hands together. “Get your things. The valet will be around later to park the car, but you and your friends may go to the guest house and get settled. I’ll be along shortly.”

“You won’t even know I’m here,” I mutter, glancing out toward the churning sea. Despite her invitation, I know she doesn’t really want us here. Not that I can really blame her.

“Believe me, I won’t be able to forget it for a second.” She turns on her heels and stalks off toward her mansion.

I stand there a moment longer watching her before I go back to the car. When I get there I see Kieron with his head back on the seat, snoring softly. Corrine stares at me with an annoying expression that reminds me of a balloon that needs to be popped. Of all the humans Liora could’ve picked to tag along with us, she had to pick this neurotic basket case?

But I’m more concerned by the fact that Kieron is seemingly passed out cold. As a Latros demon, he doesn’t sleep like a normal demion; he’s awake for long stretches at a time, and then sleeps for a few days straight. And now is not his hibernation cycle.

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