“That’s r-right,” Eden said, her voice shaky. “Listen to the nice policeman. He wants to help you and so do I. Nobody has to get hurt here.”

“No, not the cop, the demon. He wants me to let you go.”

Okay. “Well, then listen to the nice d-demon. I can help you. I am psychic. Very powerful. That’s me. I’ll be able to talk to your demon and convince him to leave your body and go back to — to Hell… and then everything will be fine.”

“You don’t believe me. I can hear it in your voice.”

Her stomach clenched with fear. “No, I do. I totally believe.”

“The world is full of strange things and strange beings. They’re among us. Walking around, eating, drinking, living side by side with humans. I couldn’t see them before but now I can. They’re everywhere. Do you see them, too?”

“Of course I do.” It sounded like a lie. Mostly because it was. She could be this bastard’s next murder victim. Her life might be crappy at the moment, but that didn’t mean she wanted it to end. Her legs weakened, and if he hadn’t been holding her tightly she would have fallen straight down to the beige-carpeted floor.

She gasped as the knife pressed closer.

“Maybe if I slit your throat the demon will leave,” the killer growled into her ear. “He’ll see that he doesn’t have any power over me.”

Eden met Ben’s steady but worried gaze. He had his gun aimed at the serial killer’s chest, but at the moment she was blocking the way.

“This is your last warning,” Ben snapped. “I will shoot you.” Suddenly the killer let go of Eden and she spun around to see that he looked extremely upset.

“Shut up!” he yelled, and brought his hands up to his head. “I’m not listening to you, demon. I’ll kill her.”

His gaze tracked to where Eden stood, his eyes wide and crazed. He raised his knife and lunged at her.

She screamed, staggered back, and tripped over the edge of the carpet, landing hard on her butt.

A shot rang out, then another, and the serial killer crumpled to the ground.

He didn’t move again.

“Eden, are you okay?” Ben asked sharply.

Okay? she thought, feeling stunned and shivery. Hell no, she wasn’t okay. But at least she was still breathing.

“I’ll be fine.” Her hands shook so she clasped them in front of her. She decided to stay seated on the floor since she was sure her legs were too shaky to stand on. A line of perspiration sped down her spine. “You wanted me to help find the s-serial killer—” She took a shuddery breath. “Mission accomplished.”

Her stomach churned and she was afraid she would be sick right then and there. She tried to focus on something, anything until she could calm down. Her gaze moved cautiously toward the prone body of the dead man she knew she’d have nightmares about for weeks — possibly years—to come.

She frowned. “Hey, do you see that?”

“See what?”

“That.” She pointed at what looked like a thin, dark shadow emerging from the serial killer’s gaping mouth and trailing along the floor like a black scarf.

That is definitely not normal, she thought.

Ben shook his head. “All I see is a dead body. It’s okay now, Eden. You’re safe.”

The shadow paused as it moved across the floor between her and Ben. Then, before she could do anything else or figure out what on earth it was, it shifted direction and, in a split second, flew through the air toward her. She shrieked and instinctively put her hands up to block whatever it was, but the moment the shadow touched her… it disappeared.

She looked at her hands.

What the hell just happened?

Had it only been her imagination?

Ben held out a hand to help her back up to her feet. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

She swallowed hard. “I will be — you know — eventually.”

He squeezed her hand in his. “Good.”

She definitely needed a drink. A big one. Straight up.

She knew she should have stopped for some lunch earlier. A piece of toast and a glass of juice nine hours ago was not enough for proper mental alertness. She shook away the strange feeling and tried to relax while Ben got on his phone and called for backup.

Constable Santos ran in and swept the room with one look. “Eden! Damn, you sure work fast! You found the killer!”

That she did. And now the killer was killed.

But she still felt like she wanted to hurl. Missing dogs were much easier to deal with than serial killers. That was the lesson of the day.

At least it’s over, she thought wearily. She’d be very happy to go back to her regular life now.

No more traumatic experiences for her, thank you very much.


Ben was too busy for that dinner date after all. In fact, other than a few concerned looks cast in Eden’s general direction, he mostly ignored her once the rest of the cops got there.

He asked Constable Santos to give Eden a ride home, but she had him take her to her day job instead. Fifteen minutes later she arrived at Triple-A Investigations, a small, low-end detective agency.

Why Eden currently worked there was very simple.

Her mother, may she rest in peace, loved to play poker. And drink. And neglect her only daughter whenever possible, but that was another story. Recently, she’d won half the agency in a poker game with the owner, Andy McCoy. When she died last month she’d left her share of it to Eden, along with a pair of small diamond-stud earrings.

At least the earrings had some value.

When news reached Eden that half was hers, she’d just lost her job at Psychic Connexions — which meant she was officially looking for work again. She’d gone into Triple-A hoping what was behind the glass front door had more potential than the name of the place.

What she’d found was two desks. Overflowing garbage cans. Peeling wallpaper. The stench of cigar smoke permeated the air. All of this luxury was next door to a coffee bar, also owned by Andy, called Hot Stuff.

Andy wanted to buy Eden out, which was fine with her, but he didn’t have any money, which wasn’t fine by her. So, despite her gut instinct to walk away from the business completely, she moved to the city, rented a small apartment, and started to work there. She didn’t have a PI license and had no intention of getting one, so she instead helped out with paperwork, filing, typing, and answering the phone. She’d tried to get the smell of cigars out of the air and walls; however, Febreze could only do so much.

She waited for Andy to get enough money together to pay for her half of the agency.

It had been almost a month. She was still waiting.

In the meantime, Andy did give her reasonable biweekly paychecks to help make ends meet. He wasn’t a total tightwad.

“Eden,” Andy greeted her when she walked through the glass front door. “I’m glad you’re back.”

“Trust me, after the day I’ve had, I’m glad to be back.”

Andy was a man who’d definitely had the potential of being attractive and charming at one time, but life and circumstances had gotten in the way to make him pinched and squinty. An FBI agent until fifteen years ago, he was pushing fifty, still solidly built, pale blond hair and eyebrows, and warm and friendly green eyes.

“How did the thing go?” he asked. “With the cop?”

Well, he did ask. “I was attacked by a serial killer who said he was possessed by a demon. I almost died. A gorgeous cop who’s a dead ringer for Brad Pitt asked me out for dinner but then reneged and I’m not sure if I should call him. Do you think that would make me look like a stalker?” She sighed. “I may actually throw up at any moment. Just a warning.”

He stared at her. “Are you serious about the serial killer?”

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