That Old Black Magic - By Michelle Rowen


“Ready to hear your ultimate fate?”

Eden glanced warily at the shirtless demon sitting at the tiny dinette table in her tiny apartment with the daily newspaper’s Horoscope section in front of him. Seemed harmless enough, and yet a chill ran down her spine. Something about Darrak’s statement felt like an omen. A bad one.

Maybe she was just being paranoid. Nothing new there.

She pushed back against the unpleasant vibe. “Sure.”

Darrak absently raked his messy dark hair back from his forehead. “You’re a Gemini, right?”

“Present and accounted for.”

“Be prepared for a blast from the past as an old acquaintance, one whose destiny is irreversibly intertwined with yours, wants to reconnect. Also, buy more crunchy peanut butter as soon as possible.”

She nodded. “Let me take a wild guess here . . . you added the last bit yourself.”

“Doesn’t make it any less true. We’re out. And I love it.”

“I’ll put it on my grocery list.”

“Life is good.” He studied her for a moment longer before his grin began to fade at the edges. “What’s wrong?”

“Wrong?” Eden crossed her arms. “Nothing’s wrong. Nothing at all. Everything’s wonderful. Fabulous, in fact.”

“Overcompensating in your reply only leads me to believe that something’s seriously wrong.” When he stood the Horoscope page fluttered to the carpeted floor at his feet. His brows drew together. “What is it?”

It was surprising how quickly Darrak could switch from amusement over a horoscope and a craving for crunchy peanut butter to deep concern for her well-being.

He wanted to know what was bothering her. That was a very dangerous question these days.

Ever since Eden woke this morning, she’d felt the unrequested tingle of magic moving down her arms and sparking off her fingertips. She didn’t allow herself to tap into her recently acquired powers despite it being a constant itch for her. Magic—at least her magic—came with nasty consequences.

She could control it, she kept telling herself. She could.

Sometimes she even believed it.

“You need to get dressed,” she said instead of answering his question. Her gaze moved over his very bare and very distracting chest. “We have to leave for the office in five minutes.”

Black jersey material immediately flowed over Darrak’s skin. Since he’d come into Eden’s life a month ago, she’d wanted to take him shopping at a mall, but other than a leather coat he occasionally wore—short sleeves in Toronto in chilly mid-November might be a tip-off that he wasn’t exactly human—he magically conjured his own clothing, which seemed to solely consist of black jeans and black T-shirts.

She slid her hands into the pockets of her navy blue pants and turned away from him.

Darrak caught her arm. “It’s your magic, isn’t it?”

The peanut-butter-loving demon could be very insightful. “My magic?”

“I can feel it, you know. Right now. It’s coming off you in waves.”

“I’m fine. Don’t worry about it.”

She grabbed her purse, which was hanging off the back of one of the dinette chairs, to fish in it for her new BlackBerry. Andy McCoy, her partner at the investigation agency they co-owned, insisted they become more technically savvy now that their caseload had increased, so he’d bought them both brand-new phones. Triple-A Investigations had been on the brink of bankruptcy only a month ago, but now they were busy with new cases.

The sudden surge in business was directly related to Darrak coming into Eden’s life. While working as an occasional psychic consultant for the police, she’d been possessed by the cursed demon after the death of his previous host, a serial killer gunned down right in front of her.

Darrak was able to take solid human form during daylight hours, but when the sun set, he became incorporeal and had to possess her body. She’d recently had the chance to end the possession once and for all, but that would have destroyed him completely. Her privacy was a great motivator to find a solution to their problem, but not at such a high price.

After all . . . she’d come to care a great deal for the demon since they’d first met.

Unfortunately, all roads in their search for mutually beneficial separation had led to dead ends. Some deader than others.

She finally tore her gaze away from the screen of her phone to look at him and cringed when she noticed the searching look in his ice blue eyes. “I said nothing’s wrong. Please, Darrak, don’t worry.”

“Your phone is on fire.”

He was right. A spark from her magic had ignited her BlackBerry. She shrieked and threw it before it burned her. It skittered across the breakfast