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Humans are dying in San Francisco. The most shunned angel on Earth may very well hold the key as to why...

When Cassius Black moves to San Francisco for a fresh start, the angel's hopes of staying below the radar of the supernatural organizations that oversee the otherworldly and magic users in the city are dashed when he stumbles across a dead body in the sewers. His grim discovery soon puts him in the sights of the Argonaut Agency and the bureau director who knows his darkest secrets.

Morgan King and his team of Argonaut agents have been on the hunt all summer for the culprits behind a series of gruesome killings that have rocked the city. Killings that bear sinister hallmarks of human sacrificial rituals where the victims’ souls have been stolen. When Fate puts Cassius in Morgan’s path, he realizes the angel everyone likes to call The Devil may very well be the only person who can help them track down the murderers.

Morgan and Cassius soon find themselves chasing down a sect of black-magic sorcerers and crossing paths with a mysterious warlock whose actions evoke disturbing echoes of an incident from Cassius's past. As rumors of a potential plot to tear open the Nether reach their ears, Cassius and Morgan must work together to defeat their common enemy and save the city from destruction, all while fighting their growing attraction for one another.


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Cassius Black frowned at the dark waters soaking the hemline of his brand-new jeans.

If I’d known I’d be going down the sewers today, I would have worn something different.

The faint smell of rotten eggs wafted toward him as he gazed along the tunnel he’d entered. He stepped out of the beam of moonlight that had followed him down the manhole and the fifty-foot ladder he’d just descended and headed north, the sound of the night-time traffic on 3rd Street fading in the distance above him.

I should have charged more for this gig.

The face of his latest client rose before his eyes at that churlish thought, bringing with it a pang of guilt. He hadn’t had the courage to tell Joyce Almeda that the cat she’d hired him to find was, in fact, a demonic spirit. Cassius had detected the sulfurous taint that characterized its kind the second he’d entered the old lady’s house on a run-down street in Mission District two hours ago.

That Joyce Almeda was still alive and well and had yet to realize that the stray she’d picked up outside her home six weeks ago was a supernatural entity told Cassius the demon cat was injured in some way. It was the only plausible reason as to why the creature’s presence hadn’t drained the old lady’s life force and made her ill. A wound would also explain why the cat was leaking demonic scent.

Whatever state Cassius found it in, he couldn’t return it to his client. Demonic animals and humans were never a great match even at the best of times, not least because the creatures didn’t possess the ability to stop their powers from using up the vitality of their masters. Unless there was an animal shelter in San Francisco that took in demonic pets, and depending how badly the creature was injured, he would have to either put the cat down himself or release it into the wild and hope it stayed away from the city.

The sewer gradually widened and dropped, the floor sloping gently downward. Cassius reached an intersection and paused. He took a shallow breath and filtered out the stench of human waste, stagnant water, and hydrogen sulfide filling the labyrinthine spaces stretching out around him. The trace of the demon spirit came from his right, a trail of intangible red energy dancing in the air.

Cassius turned, his footsteps raising faint splashes in the darkness. He didn’t need a flashlight to see what lay in his path. His unearthly eyes were more than enough to pierce the shadows around him.

The cat’s scent grew stronger.

Cassius slowed.

There was something else. Something that had just teased his nostrils and stirred his supernatural senses. His hand rose to the Colt strapped to his waist.

There was another demon in the sewers up ahead. One who was giving off a distinctive whiff of human flesh and blood.


Cassius frowned. Part of him wanted to turn around and retrace his steps. He could tell Joyce Almeda her cat was dead and he’d disposed of the body to spare her feelings; something told him the creature had left her for a good reason and was unlikely to return. The other part of him, the part that always landed him in trouble, urged him to forge on ahead.

Cassius hesitated.

He’d only been in San Francisco for a couple of weeks. He couldn’t afford to get in the crosshairs of the agencies that oversaw the supernatural beings in the city so soon. Unfortunately, as he’d found out to his detriment over the years, life had a way of screwing up his best-laid plans.

Cassius sighed and removed his gun from its holster.

Besides, I’ve always been a bad liar. The old lady would see through me in a heartbeat.

The coppery smell of blood grew stronger as he navigated the tunnel, the odor made more pungent by the warm, August weather. So did the scent of the demon he could sense up ahead.

Cassius’s pulse quickened.

Please don’t let it be what I think it is.

The darkness started to abate. Pale light framed the end of the sewer pipe in the distance. Cassius carefully approached the tunnel exit and paused on the threshold of a cavernous space.

Moonlight streamed through a narrow grating high above him. The pale beams swirled with dust motes as they arrowed down to the center of the confluence chamber framed by a narrow, circular, concrete walkway and three weir gates.

Cassius’s stomach twisted.

Damn it! It’s a Lucifugous!

The monstrous shape crouched in the middle of the shallow basin before him seemed oblivious to his presence as it feasted on the lower half of a man’s naked body, its stone club lying at its feet.

Movement to the right drew Cassius’s gaze.

A small, slender, black form slinked toward him, vertical pupils glowing a vivid yellow in the gloom and tail swinging lazily as it approached.

Cassius grimaced.

Of course you’re here, you stupid cat.

If the feline read his mind, it gave no indication of it. It stopped a short distance from Cassius, sat on its haunches, and observed him with an expression that seemed to say, So, what are you going to do about this shitty situation we currently find ourselves in, pal?

Cassius noticed it was favoring its left foreleg. He clenched his jaw when he detected the thin bolt of magic that had pierced the demon cat’s limb. Invisible to human eyes, it was the weapon of choice when it came to incapacitating supernatural creatures.

From the rumors he’d heard before he left London, hunting demonic animals was a hobby wealthy humans on the West Coast liked to indulge in. Not that they would ever dare go after a supernatural creature without some backup. Cassius scowled.

Damn elitist magic users.

Despite their supercilious attitude toward demons, some humans born with magic soul cores liked nothing more than making money from their non-magic-wielding counterparts – people they loved to hate, looking down on them as an inferior race. Killing a few weak demonic spirits in the process only added to their sick thrill.

A grunt echoed around the concrete chamber.

The Lucifugous had finally noticed him.

Cassius slowly re-holstered his gun, his pulse racing as he held the creature’s boorish gaze. Though he could easily injure or kill the demon with the Rain Silver bullets in his Colt, he saw no need to shed blood tonight.

“Look here, big guy. I don’t want any trouble.” His gaze flitted to the dead man behind the Lucifugous. “I can tell it wasn’t you who murdered that human. Why don’t you step away and—”

Darkness swirled around Cassius. He cursed, the cat’s startled hiss reaching him dimly through the wall of inky blackness closing in around him before all sound faded. Cassius’s breaths sounded loud in his ears as he cast out a weak pulse of his energy.


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