Eden bit her bottom lip and waited for Darrak to respond to that, but all was quiet for the moment, other than the warm presence that let her know he was fully conscious and listening in.

Okay, so she was still possessed by an archdemon and former incubus. She’d been turned into a black witch who had to keep a rein on the magic now at her very fingertips for fear of losing her soul completely. The private investigation agency she owned 49 percent of had been inundated with supernatural clientele.

Was Darrak’s newfound humanity a permanent change? Or would the fiery, horned archdemon return in all his nasty, evil glory someday when she least expected it? And would they find a way to break the curse before it killed her in a year?

Would they be able to control their passion for each other, regrettable or not, so she didn’t lose another piece of her soul?

And… when he said he loved her, had he really meant it? “One problem at a time, okay?” Eden said, a bit shakily, after a long moment passed.

“Yes,” Darrak replied from inside of her. “One problem at a time.”


“This is all the information I have on her.” Ben pushed the folder marked “Eden Riley” he’d taken from the precinct across the table.

“Thank you. Are you ready?”

Yes, he was. He was more ready than he’d ever been for anything in his life. He rolled up his sleeve and placed his arm down on the table, palm up.

A moment later the brand was pressed into his skin.

Scratch that. He wasn’t ready. Nobody could be ready for pain like this without any anesthetic. But he gritted his teeth and didn’t cry out. That wouldn’t have made a very good impression, would it?

He smelled something burning and he knew it was his own flesh. Instead of trying to push the pain away he embraced it. This was his christening into a new world — a world he’d never even imagined before today. He felt the power enter him along with the pain, imbuing him with the ability to sense the Otherworldly.

He’d seen a demon with his own eyes. It wasn’t something he’d ever forget. That demon had taken someone he cared about. He thought he might be able to love Eden. Despite his past and the troubles he’d had, he was willing to open his heart to her.

She was in danger. It was obvious. And he’d do anything it took to save her from that… monster.

He wasn’t able to save his fiancee — a woman he’d loved more than life itself. This would help to finally make up for that failure.

The brand was pulled away. He looked down at his charred flesh to see the circle enclosing the fleur-de- lis.

“Welcome to the Malleus,” the white-haired man across the table said. “We welcome you as a brother. All that we have is yours. And all that you have is ours. We together will defeat the evil that permeates this world, protecting the citizens who don’t realize what lurks in the shadows. Do you agree to this?”

“Yes,” Ben said firmly. He was concerned with protecting this world and the people who lived in it. Of course he was. But he was mostly concerned with Eden. He feared for her safety. For her very soul. “You told me that you had information about Eden, other than what’s in my files.”

“Yes. Eden shows signs of psychic ability, correct?”

He nodded. “I dismissed it originally, but I think it might be very real. And after what I’ve seen I know it’s possible.”

“It is. She gets that from her father.”

“Her father.” His arm hurt so much it made it hard to think. “She doesn’t know anything about her father. There’s nothing about him in her file.”

“No, there wouldn’t be. Her mother never told her anything. As far as Caroline Riley was concerned he was a brief fling. A man with no past or future.”

“Who is he?”

The white-haired man studied him as if gauging how ready Ben was to hear the truth. He was ready. No matter what it was.

“He’s an angel.”

Okay. He’d been wrong. He hadn’t been ready for that.

“An… an angel? Eden’s father is an angel? You’ve got to be kidding, right?”

The Malleus elder shook his head. “Eden Riley’s psychic abilities and her closeness to the magical world are due entirely to the fact that she is half human and half angel, making her what is termed a nephilim. It’s very rare, but not unheard of.”

“A… nephilim?”

“This is the power Eden has deep inside of her — mostly dormant until now — from which the demon draws his energy. It’s the reason he’s able to take corporeal form.”

Ben was stunned. “This is hard to believe.”

“But do you?”

He nodded firmly and brushed his fingers against the gold cross he wore around his neck. “Yes, I do. I believe.”

“Her involvement with this archdemon is very dangerous.”

Ben clutched the side of the table, the pain from his fresh brand forgotten. “I need to save her.”

“You will. But in the meantime, it won’t be long before the news of his daughter’s current situation will likely reach her father’s ears. And to know that she has been corrupted by an archdemon… well…”

“Well what?” Ben asked.

The Malleus elder smiled thinly. “There is going to be serious hell to pay.”

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