Page 29 of The Demon in Him

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“And you had a vision of… Tate, is it? And now he knows about Jacob?” Frank knew how it worked.


“So why would he come after Jacob?”

“Tate is… unstable.” At Frank’s arched eyebrow, I flexed my hands nervously. This isn’t something I had ever planned on admitting to Frank or anyone. “Once we bonded, he got dark, and he enjoyed his newfound strength a little bit too much. He was hurting people and loving it.”

“Jesus, Mike. Didn’t you have any idea of what he was like before you bonded?”

“I didn’t think he was that bad.”

Frank scoffed. “Bullshit. Bonding with a demon doesn’t make you evil. If he turned into a monster, then he was already one before you bonded.”

While I didn’t say anything, I shook my head. I wasn’t about to have this argument because I’d already had it a thousand times within my mind. No matter how smitten I was with Tate, how new I was to Earth when we got together, or how much he charmed me, I simply couldn’t find it within myself to accept that I hadn’t seen what sort of person he was before we bonded. The only explanation that made sense to me was that I created him, turned him into the monster, and it was my fault and mine alone.

And now, Jacob was in danger. I could feel it.

“So, you hired these two to track him down?” He waved a hand at Ilsa and Ray. “Why not just ask me?”

“I didn’t want to get you involved.”

“Too late. I’m involved. Now let me help.”

There was a moment where we stared at each other, each of us equally stubborn and fully aware the other wasn’t going to bend on the issue. There was a part of me that was touched that Frank wanted to help, but this was my mess, and I didn’t expect him to put himself out helping me sort out shit that should never have happened in the first place.

Fuck, I was too old for this shit. I should’ve known better.

Was I so desperate to leave my demonic influence behind that I fell for the first human who showed me attention and love? At least, what I thought was love.

“Where’s Jacob now?” Ilsa asked.

“At mine. He’s safe… for now.”

“Did you tell him what was going on?”

“That my crazy ex had found out about us and might be coming after him?” I sighed. “Unfortunately, I had no choice. He was supportive, but I hate that this is happening at all.” Hate was barely a strong enough word because self-loathing was fueling me right now.

It turns out self-loathing is good at keeping control of your demon.Noted.

“Do you have a photo of Tate?” Ray spoke up.

Nodding, I opened my desk drawer. I had searched my apartment before leaving this morning, and while photographs of us together were almost non-existent, I was sure I had at least one. Locating it, I slid the picture across the desk, and Frank reached for it, scowling when Ray snatched it out from under his hand. She stared at the image for a beat, taking in the white-blond spiked hair and his smile that did not travel to his eyes. When Ray and Ilsa shared a significant look, I spoke up.

“What is it?”

“Someone else has a price on his head.”


The women exchanged another look. “Emrick. We didn’t know it was the same Tate. We don’t kill.”

“I’m not asking you to.”

“But from what we’ve heard, this one…” Ilsa tapped the photograph, “… might not leave us with a choice. We can play security guard for you, but he might force our hand.”

I didn’t want Tate to hurt Jacob, but would I be willing to kill him to stop it? He was still only a human, and a demon killing a human was a one-way ticket back to Hell with no hope of being allowed on the surface again. My mark was already destroyed, and my chest throbbed in memory, so they wouldn’t need to take it from me. But if Tate managed to kill me, I wouldn’t go back to Hell. I would simply cease to exist.

I had been in control for so long, but the second I saw his face in my mind, everything began to unravel, including my thoughts. Did I still love him somewhere deep inside? Perhaps. But I simply hadn’t considered that killing Tate might be the only way to stop him. Having the protection of Ray and Ilsa would be helpful for the short term, but they couldn’t spend the rest of their lives watching my apartment, and I couldn’t keep Jacob locked up indefinitely, although the idea was tempting.