Demon's Vengeance The Complete - Jocelynn Drake

Part 1



I looked like a fucking banker. The shirt and jacket were confining and the tie was threatening to choke me. I tugged at the French cuffs with the onyx cuff links for the fiftieth time as we walked down the empty sidewalk, fighting the urge to break something just to let off some steam. This had to be why the guardians slaughtered people on sight. Not to protect the sanctity of the Towers. They did it because the uniform sucked ass.

“Stop fidgeting,” Gideon said as he walked beside me. The black-haired warlock had always dressed in these tailored suits, and he actually looked comfortable in them. Of course, it was rare for Gideon to show any kind of emotion beyond mild irritation. The bastard was polished black ice.

“You can’t tell me you like wearing these monkey suits,” I grumbled, feeling even more like an idiot as I walked beside him. Next to the warlock, I was a phony, a fraud, and it showed for all the world to see when we were together.

With my hands shoved into my pockets, I glared at the ground. I didn’t want to see my surroundings as the setting sun cast everything in a rosy glow. I had no idea where we were, but that didn’t matter. The handful of people who stuck their heads out knew who we were. You could tell by the terror twisting their faces seconds before they darted in the opposite direction. The Towers had come to town.

Not that I could blame them for their fear and hatred. The Ivory Towers had wiped Indianapolis off the map just a few short months ago with no warning and no known reason. Some small part of me died to be counted as a warlock.

“The suits are tailor-made to fit you perfectly and are embedded with charmed threads that help increase protection against glamour and various forms of attack,” my companion recited, sounding like he was reading from a freaking manual.

“Yes, but do you like wearing them?”

“I don’t see what that has to do with anything,” Gideon snapped, coming to a stop in front of a three-story apartment building. “You’re here to do a job—one that you agreed to do for the council. If you stop bitching, this might prove to be less painful for everyone involved.”

I frowned, swallowing my next complaint. He was right. I made a deal with the Ivory Towers council to work as a guardian in an effort to help protect the Towers as well as protect the rest of the world from the Towers. But becoming a guardian meant going back to the Towers, leaving the acidic taste of bile burning in the back of the throat. I had fought and nearly died to escape. Ten years later, I’m right back where I started, feeling as if I’ve lost everything.

Gideon would be the first to remind me that I was still alive and I had a better chance of secretly helping people than I had before. But standing in that damn suit while the rest of the world cowered and despised the sight of me made it hard to remember those little victories.

Shoving aside my disgust, I lifted my head to survey the region again. The sooner we got this task completed, the sooner I could return to Low Town. “What’s the job?”

“Something . . . different.”

I motioned for Gideon to continue as he stared up at the plain white apartment building. The narrow, worn street we stood on was lined with old buildings sagging in the fading light. A trickle of sweat ran down my spine while more gathered at my temple. It was way too hot for early December, but the palm trees that stirred in the faint breeze led me to believe we were likely in South Florida.

Several of the apartment windows were open to let in an evening breeze, causing curtains to flutter and dirty plastic blinds to flap. No one looked down at us. “I’m guessing that ‘different’ doesn’t come up too often,” I continued when he remained stubbornly silent.

“No, it doesn’t.” His thin lips were pressed into a hard line and his silver eyes were unfocused. He wasn’t staring at the building any longer, but lost in some strange thought that sent a wave of dread through me.

Gideon blinked twice, snapping back from wherever his mind had wandered and glared at me. “Are there any protection spells? Any defensive wards?”

I directed my attention at the building and started to close