Page 46 of The Demon in Him

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Roaring in frustration, I turned and sprinted toward Emrick’s van.

Emrick and the women followed, muttering obscenities.

“I’m going to get Evie somewhere safe, and then I’ll keep looking,” Zaqiel called at our retreating backs.

But he’d failed me once, and I no longer trusted him with Jacob’s safety and life.

If the angel couldn’t save him, then the demon would.

Earl lived in a rundown townhouse and opened the door slowly, casually, as though there wasn’t a group of beings on his doorstep after his head. The top of his shaved scalp scraped the doorway as he moved forward to assess us, his arms too long for his body draped lazily down his sides, and one hand sat purposefully on the doorknob.

“May I help you?” Earl drawled.

I’d had enough, everything was unraveling around me, and the part of me that wanted to maintain my humanity was dripping away steadily. Slowly, I was returning to who I was, my demon in control and seeking only vengeance. Shoving Earl in his chest, he stumbled backward, his look of indifference morphing into one of rage before settling into amusement.

“You’re older than you appear,” he muttered, smirking.

“Where is he?” I demanded.

Earl gazed over my shoulder as Ilsa closed the door behind her, the sound of Emrick checking the bullets in his gun drawing Earl’s attention. Emrick was no fool. Bullets wouldn’t kill this demon, but at least if they were silver, they would inflict a hell of a lot of pain if the shot sites were chosen carefully—perhaps in the back of the neck or through the shoulder or jaw.

“Emrick, so good to see you again. Have you come to rehire me?” His voice remained calm, a deep monotone as though this were any other day. But he didn’t bother hiding the dual tones created when demonic power seeped through the vocal cords, almost sounding like static.

“Fuck off, Earl. Where is Tate?”

“I was meant to tell you where he was.” Earl’s gaze dragged back to mine, every movement he made was slow and purposeful, and a muscle in my jaw twitched. My instinct was to attack him, but a part of me whispered inside my head—run.

“So, tell me,” I said.

“I was meant to tell you, not your entire entourage.” He sighed heavily, dropping his shoulders. “But Tate didn’t say I wasn’t supposed to betray him after I helped him with his tasks, so I don’t really care.”

“Why are you doing this?” Ray asked.

His gaze moved to her, the same slow movement through the hall, stopping and lingering on each of us in turn. “I’m loyal to no one.”

“Where. Is. He?” I pushed the words through gritted teeth.

“You asked that question very much like Cade did.”

“Cade? What did you do to him?” If I had to tell Frank something had happened to his baby brother…

“Nothing.” Earl scowled. “He got the upper hand on me and took a knife to my chest. I told him what he wanted to know before he destroyed my mark.”

“Holy shit.” Emrick sounded impressed. “He’s a bold son of a bitch. I should’ve hired him years ago.”

Earl’s eyes narrowed at Emrick, then he turned back to me. “I did what Tate asked. I took the girl, then he needed help, so I took the boy as well.”

“What girl?” Ilsa asked, panic edging her voice, unsuccessfully hidden behind her tone.

“That would be Nikki, Cade’s partner.” I turned back to Earl. “For fuck’s sake, get to the point. Where is Tate, and what has he done with Jacob?”

“As far as I know, he hasn’t done anything with the boy…” when he smiled, my skin crawled, “… yet. I believe that’s a show he’s waiting for you to witness.”

“Where the fuck is he?”If I had to unleash my demon, I would, and to hell with the consequences.

Earl ran his tongue around the inside of his lips. “Darkside.”

Emrick hissed an animal sound that had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. He was beyond a fallen angel now, he was pure darkness. The sounds he made to express his anger and discontent were more animal, more demon than angel. Hearing those sounds from an angel, fallen or otherwise, was disturbing.