Hell Bent

Broken Magic - 1


Devon Monk

For my family


This book might never have seen the light of day if readers hadn’t asked me to share Shame and Terric’s story with them. Yes, I’m looking at you, John DeBudge. Thank you all for wanting to spend a little more time with these troublemakers.

Deepest thanks also to my agent, Miriam Kriss, and my editor, Anne Sowards, who has an amazing knack for making each book better. A huge thank-you also to the wonderful artist, Mike Heath, and to the many people within Penguin who have gone above and beyond to make this baby shine.

To my first readers extraordinaire, Dean Woods and Dejsha Knight: your unflagging enthusiasm, support, and red-eye reads are things of legend. Thank you. I could not have done this without you. A big, big thanks to my family, one and all, for being there for me, offering encouragement, and sharing in the joy. To my husband, Russ, and sons, Kameron and Konner: thanks for all your love and support. You are the very best part of my life and I love you.

So here we are, dear readers. Thank you for the chance to share these people, this world, and this journey with you.

Chapter 1

I’m the kind of guy who, given the chance, can break anything: hearts, dreams, lives, and yes, magic. Death magic user here. Everything I touch dies.

It’s not as much fun as it sounds.

Ever since the magical apocalypse that those of us in the great city of Portland, Oregon, like to call “just another Thursday” slapped the crap out of our city and made balloon animals out of the rules of magic, my life has gone from handbasket to hell.

And today wasn’t looking up.

“Don’t make me throw water over your head, Shamus Flynn,” Terric Conley said from where he’d settled down on the crappy chair next to my bed.

I don’t like Terric. This is a problem because Terric and I not only have to work the same damn office job together, but are also tied by the only magic I can’t break.

Ironic, right?

About an hour ago, I’d stumbled into my room here at my mum’s inn and managed to unbutton my pants and belt and throw my jacket somewhere on the floor. From the sweaty weight on my feet, I hadn’t gotten my boots off yet.

About fifteen minutes ago Terric had shown up, cheerfully yelling over the top of my hangover and pulling back curtains to let the light in.

Daylight, for shit’s sake.

“Get out of my room,” I mumbled into the pillow on top of my face.

“It’s Wednesday.”


“You said you’d come to work today, Shame. The meeting’s today. No option. Not this time.”

“No option?” I pushed the pillow off my face. Oh God, the light. It was blinding, even through my eyelids. “I’m the boss—remember, mate? I work when I say I work.”

“No, we are the boss. We, Shame, not you. Not you alone. Which is good because you haven’t worked for a year and a half.”

Gut punch. Not that he was wrong. I’d put in a solid year of civic-mindedness before deciding I am not a people person and am more suited for darkness, destruction, and the slow madness of trying not to give a damn.

Plus, there was the whole death-touch thing, the constant hunger to kill, to consume, that made me count the pulse beat of every living thing around me. After a year, that had gotten so bad I salivated whenever I was in a closed room with people, plants, or combustibles.

I needed life. Needed to drink it down, lap it up. Food helped, so did smoking, drinking, and other unsavory recreations. But none of it pushed the hunger away for long. I needed life, to consume it, burn it out, extinguish it.

Grim-damn-Reaper style.

So of course someone thought it would be funny to put me in charge of a city full of angry magic users. A desk job, people. Customer service. Paperwork and complaints about every magical glitch that happened in the entire damn city.

A lot of people were alive right now because I’d had the brains to stop punching the time clock. Not that I’d told Terric about it. Not that I had to. He knew me better than almost anyone. That came from half our lives spent together growing up in the Authority, which used to be the, well, authority on magic, chasing down illegal magic and deadly creatures like it was all one big game.

Until I almost killed him. And he repaid the favor.

We have what is known as a difficult relationship.

“Shame.” This time he shook the bed with his foot.

“Have I said fuck off yet?”

“I’ll drag you out of here.”

I huffed out a laugh. Terric had spent the better part of a year going out of his way to keep his hands to himself. Well, to himself and his boyfriend of the month.

“I’d like to see you tr—”

Terric was up out of that chair, his hands around my ankles so quick I didn’t even hear him move. He yanked on my boots and dragged me half down my bed before I could finish insulting him.

Eyes snapped open: Jesus, the light! Every damn window poured full-watt sunlight into the room. It was daymageddon in here.

I glared up at him.

Terric was nearly my opposite. I had dark hair, eyes that were sometimes black and sometimes dark green, rarely bothered to shave, and lately, I’d been running a good twenty pounds under my fighting weight.

Terric was taller than me, which I hated, and built like a guy who might need to jump on a jet and hit the catwalk at any moment. His hair was white-silver even though he was on one side or the other of thirty and his eyes were blue and set in a face that could knock Hollywood’s leading man off the marquee. We used to be best friends before I’d almost destroyed his ability to use magic.

After that he’d moved to Seattle and become a graphic designer and gay, although he insisted he’d actually always been into both those things, I just never noticed.

“Shame,” he said, almost gently. His hands were at his sides, fingers stretched out wide as if he’d just touched something filthy. “You can’t keep doing this. Not this way.”

“What? Get some sleep? No, apparently I can’t. Because you won’t leave me the hell alone.”

I knew what he really meant. With that one small contact, he’d realized I was starving for life. The Death

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