A Cursed Moon Page 10

His comment to hurt Celia, combined with her terrified screams and growls, set off my wolf like a rabid beast. I roared, tensing my muscles and busting through the noose around my neck. There was no grace, no strategy, or any such bullshit; there was simply my drive to kill those who threatened us and to protect my friend.

My fangs shredded that dress like cornhusks. The cloth wailed in torment as my teeth dug in, the cries weakening and falling silent when the small pieces of fabric flung from my mouth and dropped at my feet.

Celia yanked off the few ribbons enveloping her with her claws and stomped the last little voice asking to suckle blood from her boob. She stood drenched and we were both panting, but the destruction of the dress was not enough to send La Llorona back to hell. She’d reached Mrs. Mancuso’s window and was clawing on the glass while a couple of roaches spilled from her severed neck. Okay, maybe she wasn’t that hot after all.

“I’ll get more water,” Celia whispered tightly before disappearing into the house.

I rushed forward and catapulted in the air, piercing La Llorona’s thigh with my fangs. Roaches seeped from the base of her neck like lava and scuttled down her leg and onto my nose. I held tight, using my weight to bring her down. She smacked and pounded on the side of the house and window, trying to keep from falling. I yanked harder, ignoring the storm of bugs raining down. Slowly, I towed her toward the ground, her nails digging into the siding. It sucked, and she tasted like rotting meat. My only relief came from the sound of Celia and her sloshing bucket.

I released her roughly between the first and second floor. Celia flung the holy water against La Llorona, burning through the walking dead like acid. La Llorna shrieked, melting into gray slime that smelled like man ass . . . just as Mrs. Mancuso flung open her window.

I bolted under Celia’s deck. Mrs. M stuck out her curler-ridden head, glancing from the giant smear of evil oozing down her brown siding to Celia and her bucket. “Celia Wird! Did you just throw paint on my house?”

Celia was many things: smart, funny, kind, and beautiful. “Smooth” was sadly not on this gal’s list of assets. “Um . . . no?” she said.

I raced around the other side of the house and went in through the front door, laughing my ass off as Mrs. M ripped Celia a new one. As fast as I could I yanked on a pair of sweats Gemini had left in Taran’s room and hurried outside, trying my best to put my poker face forward. I grabbed the hose the girls kept out back and tugged it toward Mrs. M’s house. Damn, she was a woman possessed, yelling at the top of her lungs with one angry stiff middle finger fully extended. “You and your harlot sisters are nothing but trouble. I’m going to sue. So help me Jesus, I’m going to sue!”

I held out a hand. “It’s okay, Mrs. Mancuso. Celia’s just upset I made her memorize Corinthian 629.” I really didn’t know what the hell I was talking about, but that shit sounded good enough. I nudged Celia back toward her property and started to spray the leftover ghost slime off the house. “Go on, Celia. Go back inside and ask God for forgiveness. And while you’re at it, say a couple of Hail Marys and make me a sandwich.” I winked at Mrs. Mancuso. “Don’t worry, Mrs. M. I’m going to wash the sin off of Celia just like the paint off your house.”

“I don’t know whether to thank you or smack you,” Celia muttered when I strutted back inside.

She stood by her black and tan granite counter, adding a few more slices of cheese to her turkey sandwich. I said “her” because she growled when I tried to snatch it out her hands. “Make your own damn sandwich.”

I chuckled and reached for the plate and the fresh loaf of bread she’d left me. “Relax, Ceel, the important thing is we sent evil back to hell and Mrs. M. promised me she wouldn’t sue.” I sliced more turkey meat from the leftover Thanksgiving bird and glanced around. “Any pickles?”

She pointed to the row of condiments she’d gathered and finished swallowing. “You know, I thought I was getting better at seeing dark forces at play—considering everything I’ve been through these past few months. But that crap was just plain freaky.” She shuddered. “Did you hear what that little bastard mouth said to me before I crushed it with my boot?”

“About wanting to suckle the blood from your body through your nipple? Yeah. That was some creepy shit right there.”

She grimaced and dug into her food. Like me, food was Celia’s Zoloft, not to mention we needed to replenish the calories we lost during the brawl. “I hate feeling scared.”

I grabbed a couple of beers out of the fridge and set one by Celia’s plate. “Then why are you involved, Ceel? You don’t have to be a part of this war we’re in. Go back to being a nurse. Go back to normal, and hell, find some other guy to give you the damn attention you deserve.”

Her lips curved into a sad smile. “You know I can’t do that . . . so I use my fear to drive me to kill the things that scare me.” She shrugged. “Maybe in helping rid the world of the darkness, someday I won’t be so afraid. Besides, it’s the right thing to do.”

I reached for a handful of chips. “What about the other part?”

She wiped her mouth with a napkin. “Hmmm?”

“Hooking up with someone you can eventually settle down with. Don’t look at me like that,” I said when her green eyes glimmered with sadness. “Aric can’t be with you. You can’t be with him. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be with someone else. It doesn’t have to be true love, Ceel. Most humans do just fine with true like.”

Celia worked on making us more sandwiches, though it lacked her usual food prep enthusiasm. “You don’t understand. I can’t picture my life with anyone else. And what if it’s true, what if I really am his mate? I know I don’t fit into any category of preternatural or human, but doesn’t that mean he’s my mate, too?”

I stuffed the last bit of my bread in my mouth and reached for the plate she passed me. “Matehood is not all it’s cracked up to be, Ceel. My parents were mates. It wasn’t enough to save either of them when my father tried to turn my mother were.” I wrapped my knuckles against the cool counter. “Sometimes that love shit is dangerous. Makes you do things you shouldn’t.”

“So you don’t want it—to find a mate, I mean?”

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