Curse of Shadows and Light (Demonblood Book 3)

By: Penelope King

Despite my melancholy, I can’t help but chuckle. Her easy acceptance of Kieron’s and my true nature had shocked me to some extent. But somehow, deep down, I must’ve known she’d be okay with it. Of course she’d been taken aback at first, and even frightened for a moment. But she soon started nodding and saying how it all made sense now. She was convinced several of her mom’s awful boyfriends had been of the demonic variety, including the one who’d assaulted her right before our escape from Dove Creek. I didn’t have the heart to set her straight— to tell her that some humans can behave just as terribly as any demon I’ve ever known, if not worse.

“Do you really think she’ll be able to heal you, though?” Corrine asks, softly now. “Make you and Lucky one again?”

With a sigh, I absently tap the window with my fingertip. “I don’t know… maybe. Tattie thought maybe there was a chance. But I don’t see how—”

“Look, this is it. We’re here,” Kieron says as we come to the turnoff for Crystal Cove Estates. We drive a few more moments before arriving at a small guard shack in front of some monstrous black iron gates. “How do you want to do this?”

I shrug. “I assume we’re expected, but I have no idea. If there are any problems you’ll have to take care of them.” I note the sun hovering on the horizon. “Lucky won’t be here for several more minutes, but we need to hurry.” I’d thought it best we meet my ‘aunt’ in my human form, as apparently she’s not too fond of demons, and obviously Lucky can’t be trusted to behave.

“May I help you?” the rotund guard asks as he approaches the driver’s side window. His eyes narrow as he peeks inside and sizes us up.

Kieron flashes his movie star smile and turns on the charm. “Yes sir, good afternoon. We’re here as guests of Miss Anastasia Havish.”

The guard frowns and stares at us like he’s already decided we don’t belong here and are all up to no good.

“Miss Havish hasn’t called in any visitors’ names today,” he says. “I’m going to need to see some identification.” He takes out a small pad and starts writing down the car’s license plate number.

Kieron and I exchange a glance. “Ugh. Do it. Hurry,” I mutter.

“You don’t need to see my ID,” Kieron calls out the window. “And you don’t need to write down my license plate number. In fact, go ahead and rip up that paper right now.”

Immediately the guard stops his scribbling and looks at us, a blank look on his pudgy pink face. Then, without blinking, he tears the paper into tiny pieces and throws them on the ground.

“Hey, he didn’t have to litter,” Corrine grumbles.

“Now you will write down exactly where Miss Havish lives and give us the directions. You will open the gates and let us in, and forget that you ever saw us. Understood?” Kieron’s voice is firm, but not unkind.

The guard nods and starts scribbling again. “Yes sir, just straight on through…follow the road around there then take that last turn. It’s the last house; you can’t miss it. Biggest one in here.” He gestures over his crude map and hands it to Kieron. Then he rushes back to his little hut and a moment later the mammoth gates part, permitting our passage.

The guard waves at us happily, and Corrine wiggles her fingers at him as we pass by. “You don’t need to see his identification… These are not the droids you are looking for… Move along,” she says in a funny voice. Kieron and I both turn to look at her, and she bursts out laughing. “What, you never saw Star Wars? You just totally Jedi mind-tricked that guy!”

I chuckle at Corrine’s amusement and give Kieron a pleading glance. “Help us, Obi-Wan Kenobi… You’re our only hope.”

Kieron makes a face at us. “Yeah, yeah, yuck it up. Wonder why our hostess didn’t put us on the list?” He glances down at the paper and makes another left turn.

“Hopefully it was just a misunderstanding. Maybe she thinks we’re coming tomorrow, not tonight. Or maybe Tattie just didn’t have a chance to call her yet.”

Still, I can’t help but feel uneasy about this whole situation.

“Okay, this is it,” Kieron says a few minutes later as the car comes to a stop at the end of the street. He isn’t smiling. “Don’t exactly see myself Jedi mind-tricking our way through that.”

The narrow drive is blocked by a high, black gate, and a fence that seems to go on forever. There are no handles, no call box, no guard, no nothing.

“What do we do now?” Corrine whispers.

We sit there in silence for several long moments, while Corrine fidgets nervously in the back seat. I can feel Kieron silently questioning me as he glances around us, but I don’t say anything. I just sit there, perfectly still.

She is watching us.

I had felt her eyes on us from the moment we pulled up to the guard shack. She is watching, and feeling. And I’m pretty sure she can even hear us right now. If I’ve learned anything from being raised by Tatiana it is never to underestimate the extraordinary, and often unexpected, powers of a witch.

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