Demon Heart (The Darkworld Series Book 3)By: Emma L. Adams
“A fiend like thee might bear my soul to hell.”
Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
shlyn Temple! You spent the night in a haunted house and never told me?”
I winced as Cara’s voice turned static, and she leant so far towards the webcam that I half expected her head to come out of my laptop screen.
“And you have a boyfriend? You have some explaining to do.”
I should have seen this coming a mile off, but the truth was, things had been so mad lately that I’d forgotten to keep my best friend up to date on developments. Trying to stop a crazed underground organisation of sorcerers from arresting me had been higher on my priority list than informing everyone about the change in my romantic status.
Now I was paying the price.
Cara leaned away from the screen, brushing back her short-cropped hair with one hand. She’d dyed it jet black since I’d last seen her, and it suited her. She pulled off the Goth look far better than I did, her eyes shadowed and outlined in liquid black. Of course, when I looked like I hadn’t slept for a week, it was usually true.
“I’m coming to visit,” Cara informed me, folding her legs underneath her. Like me, she sat on her bed, except hers looked like a makeup explosion had taken place on top of it. “Next weekend. No excuses. And I’m meeting Leroy.”
“Leo,” I corrected her. “And one of us will have to sleep on my crappy camp bed.”
“I’ll sleep on the floor if I have to. But I’m meeting Mr. Prince Charming. Did you say he took you to a ball on Valentine’s Day?”
“Nope, we spent that night scaring the crap out of the Literature Society at that haunted house. But he did take me to see a film last night.”
“Fair enough.” Cara rearranged her legs, knocking what looked like half the contents of a Boots makeup display over in the process. “Did he pay?”
“Uh, yeah.” I felt kind of guilty about that, but it wasn’t as though Leo didn’t have money. His dad worked for the Venantium, and they hardly paid their employees a pittance, unsurprising as they supposedly risked their lives on a daily basis. Leo had hardly seen his father in years; like many people who joined the organisation in charge of maintaining the magical Barrier that kept demons from invading our world, Mr. Blake had sacrificed responsibility for his children in favour of trying to get into the highest ranks of the organisation. But he still gave Leo, and his brother, Cyrus, a pretty decent allowance.
“Was it really romantic?”
“We watched a zombie sci-fi film with lots of explosions.”
Admittedly, I couldn’t remember most of the film. I’d never felt self-conscious around Leo before, but knowing we were on a date suddenly made me hyperaware of everything from what I wore to whether I breathed too loudly. It was ridiculous, but I supposed this was what it felt like to be a normal teenage girl. Watching that film had been the first time we’d spent any time alone together in an ordinary situation―in other words, not sneaking around underground tunnels or haunted houses. Not ideal first date spots, however much fun it had been to hide in the cellar of the supposedly haunted old house on Tombstone Hill and scare the living daylights out of the Literature Society members who’d decided to stage their postponed Halloween Sleepover there. I wasn’t entirely sure Alex and Sarah, who’d also been there, had entirely forgiven me for that.
Of course, Cara really wanted to know if we’d kissed. I said, yes, we had―omitting to mention, of course, that our first kiss had been in a crypt, near an open grave I’d almost died in. Yeah, normal dating didn’t exactly seem to be my thing. The truth was rather more complicated. The crazed sorcerer, Jude, had been convinced I’d witnessed him murdering vampires, not realising that instead of me, he’d actually seen my doppelganger, the lost spirit of a dead half demon who’d sneaked under the Venantium’s radar. The leaders of an organisation well-known for its paranoia about magic-users certainly seemed to have missed a few issues with its members.
If it hadn’t been for Leo and the others, I’d have died that night. I’d originally gone along with Leo to help find out why his guardian, Mr. Melmoth had been murdered, and what connection that had to the murderous ghoul who’d been walking around pretending to be me. Instead we found ourselves in the middle of Jude’s plot to fight demons by seeking the advice of a lunatic sorcerer hiding in the Darkworld. Instead, a higher demon had intervened and killed the doppelganger.