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Part 1

Paranormal Apprehension Agency

October 15th: Mattie stole my fucking sword!

The thing about living in a house with a succubus and her children, is that her kids are always stealing my shit. Always. I managed to procure myself a new sword Friday night, snatching it from a hokney demon who was using it to threaten a human girl in the back alley behind Lester’s Nightclub. I only had it for two damn days. Just two days before that little…

A loud knock at the door interrupted me as I furiously scribbled in my journal. The writing down of my thoughts was a new concept—suggested by my therapist. He was of the opinion that I bottled up my anger too much, which resulted in some very intense rage blackouts. Something that was not advisable when you were part-demon, part-witch, and always dealing with scum bags. I had to remain in control at all times.

Chesca, my succubus roommate, was of the opinion that all I really needed was to get laid regularly. Of course that was her answer to most of life’s problems, so I generally ignored her advice. And considering the last guy I’d had sex with had tried to kill me … I was pretty much swearing off men for the foreseeable future. Okay, it might have been a small amount my own fault. He had been my bounty—I was supposed to drop him at the underground headquarters for the PAA- Paranormal Apprehension Agency. Instead I’d taken one look at his too handsome face and … pretty much lost my knickers.

Never trust a warlock. They were sneaky, attempted-murdering, gorgeous-faced bastards.

Thankfully I had more than a little magic of my own, and he’d been the one to lose his head—something that was still giving me nightmares. Hence the need for a therapist. The PAA was big into keeping their bounty hunters and officers at peak mental condition. I really needed my job, so I didn’t bother to tell them that a hundred therapists were not going to fix me. My DNA was the messed up part.

The knock sounded again, louder this time, and with a short huff of air I tossed my journal aside and pulled myself up off the bed, striding across to the door. “What?” I snarled, slamming the door open. A tiny blond demon stared up at me, her eyes filled with tears. I leaned against the doorjamb. “Mattie,” I said slowly. “What brings you to my door?”

We lived in a big old house right on the beach, Mermaid Beach to be exact. We could literally step out our front door to the sand, which more than made up for fact that it was half falling down and almost nothing inside worked. Including the hot water system. It had four bedrooms, but Chesca had at least a dozen damn kids, so the place was always overflowing.

Because of all the kids, I had one rule. Don’t enter my room without my permission. I might have even put up a few basic wards—drawn runes on each corner of the small space, and a few under the carpet, to make sure that this was followed through with. Which meant the Mattie had something serious to tell me, otherwise she wouldn’t be standing this close, braving the buzz from the wards.

“Ma said,” she started slowly, her voice wobbling. She was only five, and had the cute thing down pat. “I have to give your sword back.”

Her face twisted, more tears streaking down her cheeks. In this moment she looked as devastated as when her brother, Jordo, accidentally killed her favourite snake. I let out a sigh. “It’s okay, Mattie, you can keep the sword.”

Add it to the rest of your collection, you little Klepto. Mattie took everything which was not nailed down.

“It’s really my own fault,” I reluctantly admitted. “I left it out on the front hallstand. You wouldn’t have known not to touch it.”

My room was off limits, but Chesca’s walking-advertisements-for-birth-control ran the rest of the house.

Mattie’s tears dried instantly, and there was not even an ounce of evidence on her face that she’d even been crying. Ruby red eyes, bright smile, pointy little teeth. Chesca’s children all had different fathers … Mattie’s was definitely something of the bitey variety—probably an imp—and she had to wear a glamour when she left the house. Which was no issue, since they were easily placed in lockets and hairpieces these days. These advances in magic really made it easy for demon-kind to exist in the human world, that was for sure.

“Tanks, Lolo,” she said, before she turned and rushed away.

I’d given up trying to get her to stop calling me Lolo. Apparently Livra was a little beyond her current vocab. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why she didn’t just call me Liv, like everyone else. Lolo sounded like a damn pool toy.

 With a sigh, I turned to close my door again. I only had an hour until I had to be out on the streets again, and I really needed to get all of my pissed off out before then. So back to the journal it was.

Maybe I should just kill my therapist, surely that would help with the bottled-up emotions.

Just as I picked up my pen again, there was another knock. This time more distant. For fuck’s sake… It was the front door.

Chesca wasn’t home, she was on a “date” with another one of her marks. Just like me, she worked for the PAA, but unlike me, she enjoyed losing her knickers to each scumbag mark that she had to bring in. Double score with depriving them of energy and the PAA of their bounty money.

Chesca’s children were not allowed to answer the door, so that left me to deal with whoever was pounding on it. As I strode from my room, I glanced down at the sports bra and tights I was in—after my earlier workout—and briefly wondered if I should change. Then I decided I really didn’t care. Not like I cared if my curves scared whomever was at the door. 

The knocking was heavier for the third time, and I passed a few sets of wide-eyed demon children as I rushed along the hallway toward the front entrance.

“Into your rooms,” I murmured as I focused my attention on the door. I had no idea if it was human or other out there, and none of Chesca’s kids had their glamours on right now.

They listened to me the first time, which was a miracle, and by the time I slammed my second door open in ten minutes, there were no children in sight.

“What’s your damn problem?” I snarled.

I was really nailing this rage blackouts thing, my therapist should be proud. The man on the other side straightened to his full height—he’d clearly been leaning forward to knock for a fourth bloody time—and I followed the long lines of his body until I reached his face. I was five foot five, he stood at least a foot above me, his broad shoulders blocking out the entire street behind him.

“Livra Altissimo?” he queried, tilting his head to the side as his gaze ran across my face.

I took a moment to examine him then, too, because it was odd that anyone knew my full name. I went by Liv Altisse, to make my name more human. There were only a few select demons that knew my family name. None of whom were ones I wanted to see on my doorstep.

This guy was definitely not someone I’d ever seen before. I would have remembered him… He was ten leagues hotter than the last douche, and taller. I had this thing for tall men.

Really not important, Livra. 

There was something about his energy though … I couldn’t get a read on it. It was almost like he was human, but the piercing deep turquoise of his eyes was not a colour I’d ever seen on a human before. Which meant … he was shielding his energy. Somehow. I’d never heard of anyone except the most powerful of demons and paranormals doing that before. Not from me. I was a weird messed up combo of demon and witch, and I could see through glamours and feel energy. It was one of my gifts.

“Livra Altissimo?” he asked again, this time with more force. His eyes were now narrowed, and I was pretty sure he thought me mentally deficient.

“Who wants to know?” I finally managed to answer.

Only the minutest of jaw clenches gave away his frustration. “My name is Austin Archer.”

The world ground to a halt. The car sounds from the street behind faded away. And I was left staring in shock at him. Then my sense of self-preservation kicked in and I whirled on the spot, slamming the door shut with a crash. Before my brain could even catch up with what was happening, I had my chalk out and a rune etched across the door sealing us in.

Not that it mattered. If the infamous Archer wanted to enter my home, there was nothing I or anyone else could do to stop him.

Part One of Paranormal Apprehension Agency. This is unedited and copyright of Jaymin Eve Publishing.