Ruby Shadows

By: Evangeline Anderson

Prologue





When you’re dealing with demons, nothing is for free.

Believe me—I found that out the hard way. My name is Gwendolyn LaRoux and I’m a witch. Not a green-skinned cackling old hag with a hump on her nose and a skinny black cat kind of witch, though. I’m actually quite modern, thank you very much—a typical twenty-something just trying to make her way in the world.

Well, except for one minor detail—I’m still a virgin.

But lest you go thinking it’s because I’m a prude, let me set the record straight. Witches need to keep themselves intact until they find someone to form a love bond with. No love bond equals no sex. That’s because casual encounters and one night stands without love involved will half a witch’s power and greatly diminish her potency, which leaves her vulnerable to attacks by rivals and other supernatural creatures who might wish her harm.

This particular rule doesn’t apply to warlocks—male witches—though. It’s just those of us with girly parts that have to keep our legs crossed. Not fair, right? No, not a damn bit but that’s the way it is and, as my Grams keeps reminding me, I have to stay pure to stay powerful. Though she doesn’t say it, I know what else she’s thinking—stay pure to stay protected. She always worries about me so much and I can’t say I blame her. The women in our family aren’t known for being able to stay out of trouble.

Take my mom, for instance. She got on the wrong side of a fire demon back when my sister Keisha and I were just little girls. Grams always says she went too far toward the darkness and just couldn’t come back. Unfortunately, it ended up killing her, which left Grams to raise us.

After that, I promised Grams I would stay pure. Keisha did the same but unfortunately, she couldn’t resist a certain boy in high school who promised he would love her forever. She gave in and lost half her power along with her virginity—no surprise since he was a player who never really cared for her in the first place. It takes two to form a love bond and unfortunately, Keisha judged unwisely. After that her life just got worse until… well, I’d rather not say any more about her.

As for me, I’ve had my share of ups and downs—not that I would let my Grams know. Well, she does know I used my power to form a soul eater for a local vampire by the name of Corbin—but that was for a good cause. And he offered me his blood in payment, which I happened to need for a spell.

What Grams doesn’t know is that I called on a minor demon for help in forming the soul eater. I promised her I’d only use my powers for light and stay away from the darkness that ate my mother, but I had to make one little compromise—just one.

Unfortunately, that one little compromise came back to bite me in the ass. The demon I called goes by the name of Laish and ever since he helped me, he’s been all up in my business. It’s incredibly irritating—especially considering that he’s ridiculously good looking with coal black hair, a big, muscular body to die for and these weirdly attractive ruby-red eyes.

I’ve never dated outside my race before—to be honest, I’ve never dated much at all—but Laish would tempt me to give it a try. If he wasn’t a demon, that is.

I don’t know how Grams would feel about me dating a white guy but I do know how she’d feel about me dating a demon. Especially one so sinfully attractive he makes me feel hot and cold all over every time we’re in the same room together.

Laish has this deep, smoky voice and when he looks at me with those ruby eyes I feel like I’m naked. He’s always calling me annoying little French nicknames—mon chatte, and mon ange—which I’m sure is a dig at my Creole heritage. Naturally I don’t give him the time of day. Demons don’t have souls so you can’t bond with them—not that I would trust Laish to form a bond with me. He just wants to get under my skin and into my pants and take whatever he can get—that’s his demonic nature.

I shouldn’t even be telling you about him anyway. After my last little adventure where I rescued a vampire friend from the depths of the Abyss, Laish showed up after the fact and yelled at me. His point was that it’s strictly forbidden to snatch a soul from Heaven or Hell and dangerous to enter the Abyss, even in spirit form, which was what I had done. He further reminded me that if I’d left the door I opened into the afterlife’s darkest pit cracked, even the tiniest bit, there would literally be Hell to pay.

At that point I told him to leave me alone and never come back. I know my business. I know I closed that door.

I’m pretty sure, anyway.

To make a long story short, (I know, too late), I got rid of Laish forever. It’s now been several weeks since I gave him the heave-ho and he’s stopped popping up everywhere, asking if I need help and calling me by those irritating little French nicknames that drive me crazy.

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