Home > Demon Hunting with a Sexy Ex (Demon Hunting #5)

Demon Hunting with a Sexy Ex (Demon Hunting #5)
Author: Lexi George

Chapter One

It was time.

Duncan watched the cottage across the river for signs of movement, his skin fevered with anticipation. She was beyond those walls. He was certain of it, for her presence was a throbbing pulse in his veins. Soon, the door would open and she would appear, the Witch of Devil River.

“Witch” was an imprecise term—Cassandra Ferguson McKenna was more sorceress than witch, able to channel the power inherent in earth and stone, in the elements and living things. She was a demonoid, the immortal daughter of a fiend-possessed human, and Duncan was Dalvahni, a warrior sworn to the pursuit of rogue demons, or “djegrali,” as they were also known.

And therein lay the problem.

His and Cassandra’s very natures set them at odds, but the heart counted not the cost. Thus, he lingered near his sweet torment day after day, hoping for a glimpse of her, a starving man scrabbling for crumbs tossed from her table.

Cassandra did not return his regard. She was prickly, his lady, and not one easily to forgive. He had hurt her most cruelly in the past. The knowledge was a wound Duncan had carried lo these many years. It would take time and patience to reclaim her, but he, too, was immortal.

Time, he had aplenty.

He caught a fleeting glimpse of her through the glass panes of the door, and his blood quickened. It was ever thus with Cassandra, this almost painful heightening of the senses, the feeling of being fully alive, a heady mixture of excitement, longing, regret, and desire. Her house was fashioned of clapboards and crowned by a pitched metal roof. Behind the cottage, a grove of heavy-limbed oaks stood sentinel. Situated on a bend in the river, the dwelling afforded a pleasing prospect, and Cassandra could often be found on the porch breathing in the damp perfume of early morning or listening to the bugs singing at twilight.

Duncan’s heart gave an eager jerk as the door swung open and Cassandra stepped out of the house carrying a wooden bread bowl. The air hissed, unnoticed, from his lungs and he drank in the sight of her, absorbing every detail with his enhanced vision. Gods, she was lovely, a beguiling mixture of feminine beauty and strength. The air was thick with humidity, and she wore her fair locks in a casual knot on top of her head for comfort. Wisps of the blond silk had come undone and curled at the nape of her neck. She was clad in shorts and a thin cotton T-shirt that molded to the plump curves of her breasts. Her feet were bare. She was ever wont to run around without shoes, he recalled, swallowing at the sight of her bare legs. He wanted to drag his tongue from the bottoms of her feet to her earlobes, and everywhere in between. Her skin would be soft and smooth, and she would smell of roses and summer rain.

She strode purposefully across the porch and took a seat in one of the chairs. Determined and resolute in all she did, his Cassandra. Plopping the bowl in her lap, she began to shell the garden peas in the container, a slight crease between her elegant brows. Vexing vegetables, to cause his lady to frown. The young woman he remembered had bubbled with laughter, but this Cassandra rarely smiled. She had, in fact, become something of a recluse. The blame for that lay at his door, Duncan knew. ’Twould be his pleasure—nay, his duty—to coax her from the doldrums.

He strode out of the woods to the riverbank.

“I bid you a good e’en, Cassandra.” A magical push sent his voice across the broad expanse of water. “And I wish you joy.”

At the sound of his voice she jumped from her chair, scattering the pea pods across her feet.

“You again,” she said in accents of deepest loathing. Tossing the bowl aside, she stomped off the porch and down the sloped lawn to the water’s edge. “I told you to stay off my property. Don’t make me get my gun.”

Duncan opened his arms wide. “Fire away, milady, an it please you.” He pulled off his T-shirt and tossed it aside. “Aim your weapon here,” he suggested, patting his chest with one hand, “and put me out of my misery, for I can bear your disfavor no longer.”

“I wouldn’t waste the ammunition on you.” She propped her hands on her hips. “Get out of here, Duncan. How many times do I have to tell you to leave me alone?”

“As many as you like, sweetheart.”

“Meaning you have no intention of leaving.”

“Meaning I am going for a swim. Care to join me?”

“Not in this lifetime.”

“Suit yourself,” he said.

Removing the jeans and the undergarment humans called “boxer briefs,” he dived into the water. The river was deep and chilly, even after the long Alabama summer, and he swam to the bottom to explore. The floor was sandy and strewn with brown and white rocks. Gardens of green frothy plants waved in the current. A turtle swam past, rolling a yellow eye at him in surprise. An olive-colored fish with a jutting jaw glared at his intrusion and darted away with an indignant swish of its tail.

Surfacing near the bank on Cassandra’s side of the river, he found her crouched on her hands and knees, her anxious gaze on the water.

“Worried about me, sweet?” Treading water, he gave her a slow grin. “No need. I can hold my breath a long time.”

She scrambled to her feet with an indignant huff. “I don’t doubt it, you big blowhard. Go away, Duncan. I mean it.”

“Alas, I cannot. I fear I have developed a cramp.”

“Bullshit.” She made a circular motion with her hand. “Turn around, mister, before I call the sheriff and report you for trespassing.”

“You do not own the river.”

“No, but you so much as set a toe on my land, and there’ll be hell to pay.”

Duncan heaved a wounded sigh. “That is no way to treat a neighbor.”

Her elegant brows drew together in a scowl. “Neighbor? What are you babbling about?”

“I bought the parcel across the river from you. The owner—er—former owner and I signed the papers a sennight ago.”

“Liar. Lucinda Hall’s tight as tree bark. She wouldn’t sell you squat.”

“Your attack on my verity pains me. A Dalvahni warrior does not lie. However, I will admit that your assessment of the lady’s character is not unjust. Be that as it may, we have reached an agreement.”

“Oh, yeah? How much?”

Duncan gave her a look of reproach. “That is a private matter between me and Madam Hall. I am surprised at you, Cassandra. You were not wont to be so mercenary.”

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