Demons of Desire (Half-Breed Series Book 1)(6)

By: Debra Dunbar


Darci’s eyes bored into mine. “I’ve seen you bring back a wilted gardenia with some water and TLC, but I’ve never seen you do that before. There was light everywhere, then the tree just turned green, and all the black spots went away. Seriously, Amber — what the heck was that all about?”

I swallowed hard. “I’m part elf. I have this thing with plants — a kind of magic.”

“Elf?”

I nodded, and Darci let out a whoosh of breath, shaking her head toward the ceiling. “You’re joking me, right? People aren’t elves, they’re … people. How long have you been an elf? Did this occur after some sort of head trauma? Have you suddenly taken to hallucinogenic drugs since I came back south?”

“Elf. I was born this way. And no, I haven’t turned into a druggie or suffered a concussion.”

Darci stared at me, her expressive face disbelieving as she tried to make sense of what sounded ridiculously impossible. “So where are the pointy ears and the toy–making skills? You’re not the Keebler kind of elf, are you? Last time I checked, you were struggling to boil water.”

“No cookies. No toys. No pointy ears.” I did have the pointy ears, but my demon half worked to ensure I blended in with the human world. I’d been told it was some kind of self–preservation genetic thingie.

“This sounds like total bullshit, but I can’t think of any rational explanation for what I saw you do to that tree.” She still looked like she didn’t believe me.

“I swear I’m telling you the truth.”

Darci drained her pint in one long pull then slammed the empty glass onto the table. “Plants are it then? You’re not going to surprise me with any rings of invisibility that an evil sorcerer misplaced? You’re not escorting any hobbits and dwarves on a quest?”

“Plants.” I squirmed on the hard wooden bench, hoping the waitress would hurry with more drinks. “But I’m only half elf. The other half is demon.”

“Demon.” There wasn’t even a questioning note at the end of the word. “So, should I be researching exorcists? This is New Orleans. We could probably find someone to help you with the demon possession. I don’t know about the elf thing, though.”

I wish someone could help me with the demon thing. The elf, I was okay with.

“It’s not a possession; it’s just part of who I am. One of my parents was an elf, and the other was a demon.”

Darci looked about the room. “Where is that woman with more drinks? I need another drink. I really need another drink.”

“Me too,” I muttered.

We sat in uncomfortable silence, Darci refusing to meet my eyes. I was on the verge of tears. She was my best friend. If she couldn’t accept who I was, then no one could. I saw a lonely future before me, one full of lies and shallow friendships. My succubus self would forever deny me the joy of love, but the loss of hope for any sort of friendship hurt even worse. Was this life really worth living?

“Why does your supposedly best friend not know these things?” She finally burst out, her voice full of hurt and anger. “I lived with you for a year. I know that you pick out all the orange jelly beans, that your first boyfriend was Jeff Henrick in Kindergarten, and you got in trouble for kissing him in the coatroom. I know that you spent most of your childhood in therapy after your father died before your eyes when you were five, that you were convinced you’d killed him.”

I had killed him. No one believed me. Five–year–old children don’t get angry and shoot a lethal stream of electricity into their father. At least, five–year–old human children didn’t. I’d begun to think I’d imagined it, that the therapists were right, until the skill returned this past spring.

Darci took a deep breath. “I know all these things, and more, yet I don’t know that my best friend, the one I tell everything to, is a half–elf/ half–demon.”

“I didn’t know either!” I dashed the back of my hand across my eyes to wipe away the tears. “Darci, I swear I didn’t know until a few months ago. I wanted to tell you — I was desperate to tell you. Can you imagine how I felt finding this out? But how could I share it with anyone, even you? Would you have believed me, telling you this sort of thing over the phone? Heck, you hardly believe me now, and you saw what I did to that tree.”

The waitress arrived with another round of drinks, and Darci sipped the beer, staring intently at her bowl of red beans. I waited for her to speak, dreading what she might say.

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