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“At least you weren’t in it,” Tracy said with a rueful smile. “Then you’d have to go through the joy of a piss test as well.”

“Yeah, small favors.” I sighed, tugging my gloves out of my pockets and onto my hands. “I guess I shouldn’t be whining about the car when there’s a chance that woman might not make it.”

Tracy shrugged, then looked back at the sound of approaching footsteps. I followed his gaze to see the barista, David, trotting up with a cup in his hand. He gave me a smile, then held the cup out to me. “I saw that you’d dropped yours and made up a new one.”

“Oh my god,” I said as I nearly snatched the cup from him. I took a big, scalding gulp and sighed in relief. “You are the perfect man!”

David laughed. “And you’re quite easily impressed!” He gave me a wink and then headed back across the street to the coffee shop.

Tracy smiled. “The perfect man is one who brings you coffee? Makes me wonder how the men in your life usually treat you.”

Men? Or demonic lords? I tried to cover my reaction by taking another sip, but he took note of my sudden reticence and grimaced.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “That’s none of my business, and it was a dumb thing to say.”

“No, no!” I hurried to reassure him. “It’s all right.” I made myself chuckle. “I’m not really the ‘shower with gifts’ kind of chick, and that’s fine with me.”

“Well, it looks like I get to write the report for this nonsense.” He lifted his chin toward the two vehicles.

I peered into the open door of the woman’s car. It looked like she’d recently had it detailed. There were vacuum marks on the passenger side carpet, and the dashboard had a slight sheen of Armor All. An air freshener wafer tucked into the console sent the scent of chemical pineapple through the vehicle.

I spied a dark red Coach handbag on the floorboard, wedged under the dash. “Her purse is here.” I set my coffee on the roof of the car, and snagged it out. “Least I can do is help you inventory all this.”

“Appreciated,” he said.

After this I’d need to make some phone calls to my rank to see if I could score another car. I scowled as I dug through the woman’s purse. Would I even be able to get a new one issued on a Sunday? I was most likely screwed until Monday.

I found the woman’s wallet and removed the drivers license. “Her name is Evelyn Stark, and her address is.…” I trailed off. Son of a bitch.

“Kara?” I glanced up to see Tracy with his pen poised above his notepad and a frown on his face. I passed the driver’s license over to him, fighting hard to maintain something resembling composure.

“Sorry,” I managed “I know her. Knew her. I mean…I knew who she was.”

His brow furrowed in concern. “Friend of yours?”

I shook my head, chilled to the bone despite my coat. “No.” I took an unsteady breath. “No. Not at all. She’s the drunk driver who killed my dad.”

Chapter 4

I headed back over to the coffee shop after Tracy assured me he could handle the rest of the report just fine. I made a token protest, but he must have seen how dazed I felt and gently told me to get the fuck off his scene. The sun was making another valiant effort to break through the clouds, and the wind had died down a bit. Traffic had picked up some, and I paused at the street, waiting for a break. A silent ambulance went by. I knew it probably wasn’t the same one that had taken Evelyn Stark away, but I watched it continue on down the street.

Would I have given her CPR if I’d known who she was?

No. I let out a shaking breath. I’m not that good a person. I couldn’t get back at the ovarian cancer that had taken my mother from me when I was only eight, but I could sure as hell focus plenty of rage and grief on the woman who’d taken my dad three years later. When I first began learning about demons, I’d asked Aunt Tessa to send a demon after Evelyn Stark. Tessa utterly refused to aid me—not saying that such a desire was wrong but, instead, explaining how that sort of arrangement with a demon would be fraught with all sorts of peril because of their complex code of honor. Besides, she pointed out, the woman was serving a prison sentence, and it would be quite a tricky matter for a demon to get to her.

But the simple fact that my aunt had understood my pain and not dismissed my desire for revenge as petty or wrong had endeared her to me more than anything else ever could have. And by the time I became a summoner in my own right, and could potentially carry through with such a desire, my lust for that sort of revenge had faded.

But, no, I wouldn’t have given Evelyn Stark CPR and gotten my hands all bloody.

The ambulance turned the corner. I shook myself out of the grim memories and made myself face the other thought clanging around in my head. Barry Landrieu and Evelyn Stark died on the same day, both with nosebleeds. I knew there was a connection between them, but I had no idea why anyone besides me would want to kill them. Hell, even I hadn’t wanted them dead. Not anymore, at least.

I started to turn back toward the street, but movement on the roof of the PD building pulled my attention. Had the shadow of the AC unit moved? I held my breath, watching the shadow as my pulse thudded unsteadily. That was the graa’s leaping-off perch this morning. Could there be another?

After a few seconds I let my breath out. No. Just my eyes playing tricks, and my paranoia working double-time. The sun was losing its battle again; the moving shadow had probably been a cloud.

A chill walked down my back, and I forced myself to look away. Too much weird shit in one day was making me jumpy as hell. I glanced back to see if Tracy was looking at me, but he was peering through the windshield of the Camry in an effort to get the VIN. Quickly shifting into othersight, I extended my senses as far as possible, but nothing untoward leaped out at me. No sign of any demon. No whisper of arcane power. Only the unfinished chain of sigils snaking around the PD building.

Letting out an unsteady breath, I hurried across the street and into the coffee shop. A table near the window gave me a good view of the PD and the parking lot. The coffee in my cup was still plenty warm, and I took a good long slug as I scanned the area. Nothing seemed out of place—other than the car that had attempted to intersect mine.

Still unsettled, I pulled out my phone and commenced with the various calls I needed to make. First was to my sergeant, Cory Crawford, to let him know that I was—again—in need of a new vehicle, though at least there was a possibility that my current one was fixable. My last car had gone into the Kreeger River when I’d been shoved off a bridge by a soul-stealing psychopath. My life was seldom dull.

I was getting ready to call Eilahn when I saw her pull in front of the coffee shop on her motorcycle. It was actually my aunt’s bike, but she hadn’t ridden it in months and was quite willing to allow Eilahn to use it—a relief to me since Tessa didn’t have a motorcycle endorsement on her license. Neither did Eilahn, for that matter, but since all of the demon’s identification were forgeries, it was a bit of a moot point. Besides, since Eilahn was in human form, she needed a way to get around, and the motorcycle gave her the most flexibility.

Eilahn parked the bike, pulled off her helmet and shook her hair out in a perfect imitation of a shampoo commercial. Sometimes I wondered if she did the drop-dead gorgeous thing just to annoy me. The level of conversation in the café dipped briefly as she strode in—wearing leather jacket and boots and holding a motorcycle helmet in her hand. Because, y’know, she didn’t look like enough of a hot chick already.

She dropped smoothly into the chair across from me and set the helmet on the floor by her feet. “Something’s wrong,” I said, then glanced around to make sure there was no one close enough to hear what we were saying. Eilahn gave a slight smile, then traced a small glyph in the center of the table. Curious, I took a quick peek in othersight. It held a dull glow, but it didn’t seem to be doing anything. It certainly wasn’t a protective ward—at least not any kind that I’d seen before.