The Witch's Desire
Harlequin Nocturne Cravings
Demons, darkness and desire…
The only time Demi Chattox, a witch, gets to see her lover, special agent Cal Black, is when they're chasing down demons. When they're tasked with escorting a VIP—a Very Important Paranormal—to a summit meeting in New York, it seems like the perfect assignment. A few days away from the job…in a Manhattan hotel…just the two of them…
But there's a storm ravaging New York, and a vampire who doesn't want this particular VIP to make it to the summit. As Demi and Cal race to complete their assignment, they're driven by their sense of duty—and by their desperate need to find some time alone.
"Fire on the rooftop, two o'clock!" Demi Chattox called into the radio headset.
"Got it," her sister Gina answered. A puff of a rain cloud appeared over the roof, dousing the flame that had just sprung up. "The little bastards are heading your way."
"Whatever you do, gang, don't let them see you," Cal Black said, his rich tone crackling over the radio into Demi's ears, sending ripples of hunger throughout her body. How did he do that? No matter where he was, what he was doing, she wanted him. And, lately, she wasn't getting enough of him.
Work, work, work. Did he ever stop?
"We can't let them get away from us this time." Demi spoke quietly, glancing across at her sister Selena as she held the other end of the fire-retardant netting. The tiny dragon flies had wreaked havoc on Chicago for the past two days, starting fires all over the city. The firemen were worn out and people were complaining the police force wasn't doing enough to stop the arson rampage terrorizing the city. What they didn’t understand was that they were creatures, not people, starting all the fires.
"Everyone in place?"
"Building up some heat as we speak," her sister Brigid responded from her position several yards in front of them.
With the chief of the Chicago Police Special Investigations Division's permission, Demi, a special agent on the team, had called in the assistance of her sisters to help corral the pests and put an end to the fear of having another great Chicago fire like that of 1871.
As witches, the five sisters each possessed a magical power they only used in dire circumstances, like rescuing one of their own from an evil chimera or protecting innocents from the machinations of a mind-freezing Medusa. The only two witches employed on the team, Demi and her sister Brigid, worked for the police department as consultants, cleaning up renegade paranorms in order to keep the city streets safe for humans and paranorms alike.
Sometimes Demi called on her sisters when they needed the full power of all five points of their pentagram to stop evil.
"I sense someone else," Selena whispered.
"Nearby." Holding her end of the net, she closed her eyes. "In the shadows on a corner. He's pushing the dragon flies."
"Pushing them?" Demi asked. "You mean they're not working on their own?"
Selena opened her eyes and smiled. "They aren't smart enough to target anything. I think it's a demon manipulating them."
"I sense anger over something that happened in his past."
"Cal and I noticed a pattern. All the residences he's targeted belonged to executives of Chicago Bank and Trust. And the bank suffered a fire in their mailroom last week."
"Dissatisfied customer?" Selena offered.
Demi tapped the talk button on her headset. "Cal, check out the street corners as Gina and Aurai work the dragon flies our way.”
"What am I looking for?" he responded.
Demi smiled. Cal was one confident, cocky human, unafraid of the paranormal creatures who could kick his ass in a heartbeat.
"Yes," Selena answered.
"Any idea what one looks like?" Cal asked.
"Like a regular person," Brigid said, her tone flat. "Unless, of course, he's a shifter."
"Thanks." Cal's voice dripped with sarcasm. "That narrows it down."
"I see the dragon flies," Brigid called out excitedly.
"Passing the open fire hydrant now," Gina said. "Wall of water is up!" Gina’s talent as a witch included manipulating water. She could create a rain cloud on a sunny day and a tidal wave using the gushing water from an open hydrant. She made a wave tall enough to discourage the dragon flies from retreating in the opposite direction and make them a little nervous. The threat of a deluge of water would help her herd them toward the alley where Demi and Selena waited with the nets to capture them.
"They're moving fast," Aurai huffed as if she was running.
"Give them a nudge with the wind," Demi said.
"Nudging." Aurai was supposed to stay within sight of the dragon flies. Her skills with wind would help direct the tiny creatures.
A strong breeze pushed through the walls of the alley where Demi and Selena waited, net ready.
"They're turning into the alley!" Aurai exclaimed.
"Raising the water wall to discourage a retreat," Gina said. "I'm right on their tails. You should see the wall...now."
"Now, Brigid!" Demi called out as soon as she saw the wall of water.
"Fire in the hole." Fire erupted in front of Demi, blocking her view of the flying dragons and the dragons’ views of her and Selena waiting to capture them.
"They're going for the fire," Aurai said.
"Get ready," Brigid said into the headset. "They're through!"
Demi and Selena pulled the ropes and the net fell over the dragons, trapping them, dropping them to the ground.
They fought and blasted out bursts of flames, but the net held.
"Want me to douse them?" Gina asked, the wall of water hovering.
Selena held up a hand. "No. They aren't malevolent. Just malleable."
"You mean they're friendly?" Brigid stepped closer and one of the dragons shot a stream of flame at her. She caught it in her palm and laughed. "Feisty little bugger, aren't you?"
"What do we do with them now?" Aurai asked.
"You guys figure it out." Demi tapped her headset mic. "Black, how's it going with the demon?"
Cal didn't respond.
"We shouldn't have sent him off to handle a demon on his own."
"He's a big boy." Brigid leaned closer to the tiny dragons. "He can handle it."
"I'm going to check on him." Demi took off at a jog.
"I'm with you." Aurai fell in step beside her. "I saw him a block away when we passed with the dragon flies."
"We'd better hurry. I'm not familiar with demon powers."
“I understand they’re as varied as witches’ powers.”
“Great. No telling what he’s up against.”
As a human, he had only a gun and his sharp mind to work with. Sometimes that wasn’t enough.
Demi heard the ruckus before she saw the demon and Cal duking it out in an alley a block away. Or rather, the demon was kicking Cal's butt, and Cal was doing his best to survive.
"Can you whip up a distraction?" Demi asked.
Aurai raised her hands and debris rose from the pavement. Slats from old pallets, rocks, nails, garbage whirled in a funnel, barreling toward the demon who held Cal up by the throat and then flung him against a wall.
Cal hit with a thud and slid down, shaking his head. "Nice move, but I can do better," he muttered, dragging himself to his feet.
The demon laughed. "Give up, human. You're no match for me."
"Hey, dirtbag!" Demi yelled before the demon could lift Cal off his feet and throw him again.
The demon spun to face the two women.
Demi stood with her hands fisted on her hips. "What he lacks in superhuman strength, he makes up for in intelligence and backup." She channeled her inner connection with the earth and shook the ground the demon stood on; at the same time she sensed a stray vine poking out of the pavement and gave it a burst of energy.