Page 55 of The Demon in Him

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His eyes pleaded with me, and the ache in my chest grew. When the muscles on my back spasmed, I sat upright. I was going to lose control again.

“I can’t love you,” I said, standing. “It’s better for you if I’m not around.”

“But youdolove me,” Jacob whispered.

I wanted to touch his face, brush his arm with my fingertips, and take him in my arms and embrace his beautiful body in mine. I wanted to tell him that everything would be okay and we could be together, but the best I could offer was to watch him from a distance. Foolishly, I had started a bond with him, my scent was in his blood, and other demons would be able to smell that. Maybe I did owe Emrick a favor, after all, as I would need someone with the pull and manpower to make sure Jacob was watched over if I couldn’t be there to protect him.

My breath hitched, and I hated the sign of weakness.

But I was a coward, after all.

“Yes, I do love you,” I whispered, stepping away, “But I simply can’t.”

Staggering out of Jacob’s hospital room, I fell against Frank. When Jacob called out my name, I let out a wail and stumbled again, moving toward the door. Frank was on my heels, ushering me out of the building as my shoulders popped and my eyes glowed.

This time, there would be no going back.

Frank grabbed my elbow. “Come with me.”


“Don’t ask stupid questions. We need to get this out of your system. We’re going to fight it out.”

“I can control it,” I said, even as I stumbled again, my leg jerking from under me with another spasm.

“Bullshit, you’re too far gone. You were too far gone before, and now you’rebeyondthat.” Frank sounded pissed, and I didn’t blame him. Once again, I pulled him away from his bonded partner to deal with my bullshit. How is it that I was viewed as the mature one, the boss, the controlled one, when more than once Frank had come to save my ass? I was no good at being a demon or a human.

People relied on me, my business was flourishing, and I needed to keep that going for them. If all I could do was enjoy the luxuries on Earth and provide a better future for those who worked under me, then so be it. Although I don’t know if any level of good deeds would be enough to cover the damage I had done. But it didn’t matter. I had no mark anymore, and when I died on Earth, it would be for good.

Frank yanked me into an abandoned warehouse, and I was struggling too much simply to keep myself together to notice if this was or wasn’t where the fight clubs were usually held. It was dark out, and I had no idea what time it was, not that it mattered. We were alone, and Frank wouldn’t let me hurt anyone.

I could trust him, but the fear was real.

“Frank,” I pushed the word through gritted teeth. “What if I try to…”

Frank was rolling up his sleeves. “I’m not going to let you fuck me, Mike.”

How was he not afraid of the monster?

I guess because he was never ashamed of his.

Gritting my teeth against the roar threatening to escape, the transformation took over. My limbs and fingers elongated, my skin blackened until I was almost part of the shadows that surrounded us, save for the yellow of my eyes and the glowing red etching of demonic power that worked its way across my skin, crisscrossing with the scars from my severed bond—a lifetime reminder of Tate and what he had done, what I had created in him.

What I couldn’t risk creating in Jacob.

The wind was knocked from my lungs as Frank launched himself head-first at me, and my feet slid across the concrete as he slammed me backward. Gripping his shoulders, I slowed his momentum until we were locked together. Frank had a great deal more fighting experience than I did, but he was in his human form, and I in my demon, and I had much greater strength than he this way.

In the handful of times I had attended the fight club under Frank’s insistence following the incident at the drug lab, even then, I wasn’t fully letting go of control. I think Frank knew that, but he knew better than to push his luck when it came to bossing me around. I wasatthe club, and that was a feat within itself. But this time, there was no control, not an ounce of me left inside telling me I needed to keep control because what was I keeping control for? I had lost Tate long ago, and then against my will, my heart had opened itself to Jacob. But I shut that door, and now he probably hated me.

It was for the best.

With another roar, this one I didn’t attempt to muffle, I swiped my foot around Frank’s leg, misbalancing, and crashed him to his back. As he went to stand, I leaned over him and began swiping, my claws in their full form sliced into his skin, and when I caught Frank across the face, he bellowed at me, “Not the fucking face!” But there wasn’t anything in me to be amused by his obsession with his appearance, even at a time like this.

Frank’s shirt was in shreds, his chest bleeding as he launched at me again. I fell under his weight and force, and he wrapped his fingers around my throat, using the hold to pummel my head against the concrete, each one drawing an angered growl from me.

The longer we fought, the less control I had, and my last sane thought before I became animal, consumed by rage, guilt, and self-loathing, was that I hoped Frank knew what he was doing because he was the only one in control now.