Try As I Smite (Brimstone Inc #4) - Abigail Owen Page 0,1

exactly right, the cord missing one of the thing’s arms. Not that it mattered. The creature screamed with agony as the holy bondage that Alasdair had summoned from his childhood home where it had been hidden for ages set the demon’s skin sizzling everywhere the rope touched.

Still, the demon wasn’t going down without a fight. Agnes’s neatly manicured nails turned to onyx claws, and it slashed at him, even as it fell to the ground, held secure by his bonds.

Alasdair wasn’t quite fast enough to get out of its way. Jagged pain burned through his skin as dark red patches bloomed slick and wet against the pristine white of his button-down shirt.

He disregarded the wounds, following the demon to the ground. The rope was ancient and would hold it for only so long.

Bringing all his weight to bear, he knelt on the demon’s free arm and placed a hand to its forehead, positioned to avoid now-razor-sharp, snapping teeth. Closing his eyes, Alasdair whispered the words that would bind the demon physically as well as making sure it didn’t escape to another body.

Agnes would hate being trapped inside her own hell, her magic trapped with her, and he didn’t blame her for that. But until Alasdair could summon one of the mages who specialized in demon extraction, he had no choice.

With the last uttered incantation, the possessed creature went still and quiet, arms and legs straight out, face frozen in a grotesque grimace, as though petrified. Slowly, Alasdair rose to his feet. Keeping careful watch on the thing, he moved behind his desk and picked up the phone.

“Help me.”

Every muscle in his body tensed to the point of cramping at the sound of Agnes’s true voice. The black void of her eyes turned brown and human again. “Help me,” she croaked.

Mother goddess.

Anyone with a heart would be tempted to go to her, but what he knew of demons held him still.

“He’s going to kill me.” She sounded so desperate, helpless.

The tension in him eased a fraction. Nope. Not Agnes. She would know better, and she would never beg. The real her would be swearing a blue streak about now, and probably even shock the doomed soul inhabiting her body.

Ignoring the creature, he dialed the number that would get him what he needed. Within moments, a team of witches and warlocks trained for battle, trained to protect, invaded his office. As soon as he knew they had Agnes and her current parasitic invader in hand, Alasdair snatched his phone from a drawer and strode from the room.

Suddenly all the reports of inexplicable crazed bouts among his people made sense. They weren’t crazed…they were fucking possessed.

If anyone had a reason to fear demon possession, he did. But the world, most of whom didn’t know magic truly did exist, would come to live in terror of them if they took over enough mages.

“Don’t leave me with him inside me!” Agnes screamed, her pleading voice following him out of the room.

Leashing a flinch, he stopped at the elevator where the leader of the team, Micah Aluron, joined him, sharp eye taking in the scene with unsmiling purpose. “Orders, sir?”

“Hold that thing until I get back. Gag her if you have to.”

“Get back?” Micah asked. “Aren’t you supposed to be having dinner with your sister tonight?”

Dammit, he’d forgotten all about Hestia and Christmas Eve. “I can’t. This needs to be addressed immediately.”

Micah gave a quick nod. “Where are you going?”

Had this been anyone other than his old friend, Alasdair wouldn’t have bothered to answer. Only, this was Micah, a man who’d saved his ass on at least three different occasions. The time in Barcelona didn’t count, of course. Alasdair had returned the favor even more times than that. A situation that meant they trusted each other. Implicitly.

“We have a demon problem,” he said, and couldn’t control the fury that turned his voice dark. “This isn’t a singular incident. It’s one of many.”

“Shit.” Even Micah turned ashy at that. “You think all the other reports are possessions?”

Alastair nodded.

Micah seemed to be of the same mind. “It takes a hell of a lot of magic to exorcise a single demon.”

And they were looking at more than one. A horde maybe, hopefully not a legion. Alasdair’s own power didn’t stretch that far, and even the entire Syndicate working together might not be enough. He refused to kill those afflicted unless he had to.

“Magic may not be able to fix this, but I know a…person who might be able to