[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.And I’d rather Brian take my life in both his hands instead of just one.Hot-blooded though he was, Brian didn’t have a death wish, so he kept his eyes on the road and his hands on the wheel until we’d gotten all the way past the Main Line and were on our way out to the suburbs.Then the banter and suggestive comments started again.And yes, he coaxed me into showing him my invisible panties.We’re lucky he didn’t slam into a tree while he inspected them.By the time we reached my street, my jeans were distinctly damp, his khaki trousers were about ready to explode, and I was seriously considering jumping his bones in the car.Until we pulled into my driveway, that is, and I saw a very familiar, very unwelcome car parked there.I muttered about twenty-three curses under my breath.Brian’s shoulders slumped, and he groaned in frustration.Nothing could kill the mood better than a visit from my big brother, Andrew.Andrew got out of his car and leaned against the driver-side door, waiting.Brian shook his head.“I guess this means I’m not getting laid tonight, huh?”“Apparently not.”“Bummer.”He startled a laugh out of me and I turned toward him as I undid my seat belt.I reached out and touched his face.“Thanks for coming to meet me,” I said.It was a bad precedent to thank him for doing something I’d specifically asked him not to do, but I couldn’t deny I felt better now than when I’d gotten off the plane.“You’re welcome,” he murmured, turning his head to plant a kiss on my palm.His kiss seemed to burn, and I realized I would need a cold, cold shower tonight before going to bed.I reluctantly lowered my hand from his face and reached for the door.He touched my arm, and I raised my eyebrow.“Your zipper,” he reminded me with an evil grin.I mumbled a curse and zipped up.“I love you,” Brian said as I slipped out.“Love you, too,” I replied automatically, then dragged my luggage out of the backseat.“Drive safe.”“Your place or mine tomorrow night? We have unfinished business.” He leered at me, and I probably leered back.“Mine,” I told him, and he nodded agreement.I took a slow, steadying breath as he pulled out of my driveway.Then I turned and headed for my front door without sparing a glance for Andrew.I felt him following me, but I didn’t turn around until I’d unlocked my front door and turned the lights on.“Wait here,” I said over my shoulder, then closed the door in his face.I dropped my bags by the front door, then retrieved my Taser from the coat closet.I don’t carry it very often—by the time I’m called in to deal with an illegal demon, it’s already in custody and contained.But sometimes it’s comforting to own the one weapon that can bring a demon to his knees.I checked the battery—good to go—and turned off the safety.When I opened the door again, I pointed the Taser smack-dab at Andrew’s chest.Now, you might think this is a strange way to greet my own brother, but the last time he’d paid a visit, we’d gotten in one hell of a fight, and the bastard had punched me.Knocked me out cold.When I came to, I’d seriously considered filing assault charges against him.In the end, it hadn’t been worth the hassle, and I knew nothing would come of it.Yes, technically assault was a violent crime, and the state could throw the book at him.But though he’d knocked me out, he’d hit me with only human strength.If he’d hit me with his full strength, I’d be dead.Oh, did I forget to mention my brother is a demon host? Ever since he turned twenty-one, the legal age of consent.I’ve never forgiven him.We were pretty close as kids.Well, as close as a brother and sister can be when only three years separate them.Up until I was about ten, I practically worshiped him.But when he hit puberty, the Spirit Society’s brainwashing started him seriously thinking about becoming a demon host, and he changed.He’d always been more into the Society than me—no doubt a large reason why he was the family favorite—but when he started thinking about hosting, he became almost a fanatic.My parents were so proud of him, but I knew it meant I’d lose my big brother someday soon, and I hated it.Andrew looked at the Taser and raised his eyebrows.“Are you planning self-defense, or revenge?” he asked, his voice mild.I thought about that a moment.I didn’t think he was going to hit me again.I’d had to work really hard to get him that angry last time.Now that I knew he had a temper under his usually calm exterior, I wasn’t anxious to bring it to the surface.“Revenge, I guess,” I said, then shot him.The probes latched onto his leather jacket, and fifty thousand volts slammed into him.He gratifyingly collapsed into himself, landing on the doorstep in fetal position, screaming.When I got my Taser license, one of the requirements was to take a shot yourself, just so you’d have a real clear understanding of the power you hold in your hands.I’d seen two-hundred-pound macho men scream like little girls.I wish I could say I’d taken it in stoic silence, but I’d screamed as loud as anyone.Never felt anything like it.Never want to again.“Sorry, Andy,” I said softly, talking to my real brother, the one who was imprisoned somewhere in that body.I wasn’t clear if the host could feel the demon’s pain or not, but just in case it could, I felt the need to apologize.It took the demon more time to recover from the shot than it would have taken a human.The electricity really fucks up their control of the nervous system.He lay in a panting heap for a while, then uncurled and pushed himself to his knees, looking up at me from behind a lock of reddish blond hair that had fallen over his eyes.“Should I bother getting up,” he asked, “or am I in for some more fun?”He was still so infuriatingly calm it made me want to zap him again.But he’d only hit me once.Fair’s fair.That didn’t mean I was putting the Taser away, but I ejected the cartridge and let him pluck the probes out of his jacket.“Remember,” I warned him, “I can still use this like a stun gun without reloading.”He laughed and pushed his hair out of his eyes, then stood up slowly, keeping a close watch on the Taser.“I’ll keep that in mind.”“So, what, the pain doesn’t even bother you? You just laugh at it?”He shrugged.“It bothers me.But I deal with pain all the time on the job.If I fell to pieces every time something hurt, I’d be useless.”Andrew is a firefighter.Almost all of the legal demons make themselves into ultra-useful members of society, using their powers for good, justice, etc.They know they have to do a lot of good deeds to make up for their occasional bad eggs, like the one I’d encountered in Topeka.Because demons can heal the bodies of their human hosts, they often take on really dangerous jobs.Andrew is always rescuing people from burning buildings.He’s a fucking hero.Okay, so maybe it’s not fair to be mad at him for being a hero.But, see, I’m not a hero, and I never will be.Sometimes that makes me feel small and selfish in comparison.I’m all for doing good deeds.Just not at the price Andy paid.“What do you want, Andrew? I’ve had a really shitty couple of days, and I so don’t want any family drama right now [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]