Curse of Shadows and Light (Demonblood Book 3)

By: Penelope King

Damn, that witch is strong.

I glance back at Corrine who is staring at me all bug-eyed. “What?” I snap. She has this irritating way of looking at me like a lunatic until I tell her to speak. Not that I want her getting too comfortable around me, but I wish she’d just be more normal.

“I’m freaking out!” she whispers loudly. “You were gone for so long. And what happened to him? One moment he’s talking to me about wanting to take surfing lessons and the next he’s out like a light! Practically mid-sentence!”

“He’s just sleepy. Long trip. Get your crap, we’re moving in.”

I just hope the witch lowers her defensive shield soon, or we won’t even have the strength to carry our bags the distance to the guest house… a distance I could normally cover in a few seconds if I wanted. Now I wonder if I’ll be able to do it without having to stop and take a break.

“Babe… babe… wake up.” I jostle Kieron and lean over him to grab a bag. He stirs and I shake him again. “Come on…We gotta go.”

Finally his blue eyes flutter open and he glances around, disoriented. “What happened?”

I shake my head. The penetrating effects of the magical shield seem to have lessened somewhat, and I can already feel some of my strength returning.

“Nothing. I’ll tell you later. Come on, let’s get our things… we’re staying in that guest house back over there.” I point behind us and happen to catch a brief look of disappointment on Corrine’s face. Obviously she’d been looking forward to living in the palatial castle, not the miniaturized version.

But as for me, I couldn’t be more relieved. I want to be as far away from that witch as possible.

Chapter 4. Lucky

Corrine’s initial disappointment vanishes the second we open the front door, and she gives a delighted squeal. Me, I’m not one for fancy surroundings; as long as I have a roof over my head, I’m fine. And truthfully, even that isn’t necessarily a requirement. But I know it’s in Liora’s best interest to have certain comforts, and this place will provide her with more than she’s ever had before.

“Wow, it’s amazing!” Corrine sighs dramatically. “How is this a guest house? Like, someone has so much, they just have this extra house just sitting around that’s bigger and more beautiful than most peoples’ first houses!”

Kieron looks around quietly. He seems pretty subdued… probably from the witch’s spell and the long drive. But there’s something else I can’t really put my finger on. And he doesn’t seem to want to look me in the eye.

He wanders down the hallway on one side of the house, while I look around the family room area and Corrine investigates the kitchen. A moment later he reappears.

“There are two bedrooms back there,” he announces. “One master and a smaller one next to it.” He crosses the house and disappears down another hallway, only to reappear again a moment later. “Yup, same over here. I think I’ll take one of the rooms on the south side of the house, and you girls can take the two on the north.”

I stop and slowly turn to look at him. “You want your own room?” For some reason I’d just assumed he’d want to share with me. Not that we do a whole lot of sleeping, but sharing a bed would be a welcome change from the places we normally get cozy in. A girl can only put up with so many grass stains. Ya know?

“Probably for the best,” he replies evenly. “Miss Havish is doing us a solid taking us in and offering us protection. Don’t want to offend any sensibilities she may have. After all, we’re all still technically in high school. Or we’re supposed to be.”

Corrine chuckles as she examines the pantry. “Yeah, because that’s the biggest problem we have right now—worrying about some demons having premarital sex. Wouldn’t want any demon babies popping out, would we. Or maybe MTV could make up a new show: Teen Demon Mom. It’d be a hit.”

Between Anastasia’s cruel welcome and Kieron’s sudden indifference, I finally reach the end of my patience. “Do you ever shut up?!” I snap at Corrine. “God, could Liora have picked a more ANNOYING sidekick?!”

I grab my things and storm off. If Kieron wants to be by himself, fine. So be it. I pick the larger of the two rooms on the north side and slam the door shut, throwing my bags on the floor. I flop myself down on the bed and stare up at the ceiling, and try to regain some composure. But even the sound of the ocean crashing along the shore below does little to soothe my frayed nerves. Everyone has their breaking point, and I fear mine is getting dangerously close.

I ponder my circumstances and realize I have absolutely no idea what to do next, or even where to go. Normally at this time I’d be discussing with Tatiana my plans for the evening, whether it be demon hunting, toll collecting, or finding humans that deserved my services as a Justice Demon. Then I’d dress accordingly, find Diablo, go to Dryndara where I’d see Bones, and more recently Kieron, and go about my night. That had been my life and my routine for years.

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