He blinked, and some of that otherworldliness faded.

“And that, Georgina,” he informed me, bitterness in his voice, “is why so many demons have completely given themselves over. When you lose what we’ve lost, when your hope is gone…well, for most of us, there’s no point in trying to reconcile our old selves with our new selves. It’s too late.”

“But not you. Not entirely.”

“Hmm…I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s anything good in me anymore.”

“But you want to see this trial conducted fairly,” I pointed out.

His smile returned. “Wanting to know the truth isn’t necessarily being good. Maybe it’s just curiosity.”

I didn’t believe that. I liked to think there was some glimmer of that angelic nature left in Luis. We used to be angels too. Clyde had proven that they still burned with the power of life. But maybe I was just being naive.

“And some of us,” Luis continued, “seek the truth simply for vengeance.”

He inclined his head over to a table set with food. There, Noelle and Margo conferred about something. From the grim look on the demoness’ face, I could only presume it was about the murder.

“Don’t be fooled by her alleged concern for a fair trial,” Luis murmured in my ear. “And don’t be fooled by her pretty face. She’s dying to punish someone, dying to rip someone’s head off with her own hands. Destroying one of her demons is an insult—and whatever other fancies you want to believe about us, never doubt for a moment that we’re controlled by pride. Hers has been slighted, and she wants someone to pay.”

“But does she want the right person to pay?”

“She’d certainly like that, less because of fairness and more because she hates the thought that whoever did this to her might walk away unpunished. But if we can’t figure out who did it…well, she probably wouldn’t be too picky so long as she got to watch someone suffer.” He paused. “Plus, I think she…‘liked’ Anthony. If you catch what I’m saying.”

“Ah.” Noelle’s anger suddenly took on a whole new meaning for me.

He nodded. “That’s also why she didn’t ask to simply look inside them, I think.”

He was referring to the same “soul reading” that Seth had asked about. If Noelle, who had brought this case to court, really pushed, she could have maybe convinced the authorities to force readings on the suspects. It might be taboo, but sometimes Hell resorted to it.

“She claimed something about how they didn’t need to go those extremes and how the jury would decide in an efficient way,” he added. “It sounded quite noble. But I think that’s bullshit.”

I thought about it. “Because if it turned out none of the suspects had done it and there were no other leads, she wouldn’t get to take her revenge out on someone.”


Wow. He wasn’t kidding. She really was out for blood.

I spent the rest of the party socializing with Luis and others, smiling and flirting in a way that came second nature to me. I had become something of a novelty—the only lesser immortal on a demonic jury—and a lot of people wanted to talk to me.

I also received a fair number of solicitations, but that was pretty common for a succubus. We were viewed as the call girls of the immortal world. Fortunately, none of tonight’s offers involved peanut butter.

After the party, I found Seth in a diner a few blocks away, a place I never would have suspected of having wi-fi. He sat in a corner, focused entirely on the laptop in his usual way. His devotion to his work was infuriating at times, but it was adorable too. Watching him, I felt a sudden desire to run my fingers through his hair and make it messier still.

He hadn’t noticed me entering, and when I had almost reached him, one of the waitresses stepped up to the table. She was young, lower twenties, with her blond hair pulled up into a high ponytail. Underneath the blah uniform, I could see a perfect hourglass figure. She had the good looks of a struggling actress, but I half-suspected she wasn’t anorexic enough to meet today’s starlet standards.

“You want more?” she asked, holding up a pot of coffee. The orange rim signaled decaf. Typical of Seth.

I waited for him to ignore her, but to my surprise, he looked up right away. He smiled at her. It was the cute half-smile that always made me melt.


She filled the cup, leaning over to do so. And then—I swear it—Seth’s eyes hovered briefly on her cle**age before looking away. Impossible. Seth almost never checked women out. I stiffened.

“What chapter are you on now?” she asked.


“Thirteen? Are you taking speed with that decaf? You were on eleven last time I checked.”

His smile twitched. “The muse is in a good mood tonight.”

“Well, send her to my place. I’ve got a ten-page paper due tomorrow.”

“Is that the history one?”

What kind of question was that? Had he learned her life story after only a few hours?

She shook her head, ponytail swaying. “English. Gotta analyze Dracula.”

“Ah, yeah.” Seth considered. “Vampire stories. Slavic dualistic concept of life and death, light and darkness. Harkening back to pre-Christian myths of solar deities.”

Both the waitress and I stared. Seth looked embarrassed.

“Well. Not that Stoker used much of that.”

“I wish you could write this for me,” she said. “You could do it in five minutes. I can’t believe you wrote all that. Where do you get all those ideas?” She grimaced. “That’s probably a stupid question, huh?”

“Nah. Someone I know thinks that, but honestly, it’s a good question. I just don’t have a good answer, I’m afraid.”

That “someone” he referred to was me, and I didn’t really appreciate being delegated to a non-specific pronoun. The appropriate designation would have been, “My stunningly brilliant and beautiful girlfriend whom I adore beyond all reason…”

She laughed. “Well, if you figure out the answer, let me know. And let me know if you need anything else.”

I swear, there was a subtle inflection in her voice when she said that, like she was offering more than just coffee. And Seth, amazingly, was still smiling at her, even regarding her admiringly. He’d also been almost comfortable in chatting with her. Usually his shyness took over with new people, and you could barely get two words out of him—and even those came with a heavy dose of stuttering.

I swallowed back my jealousy. Seth and I had our arrangement. He was perfectly entitled to go after cheap waitresses if he wanted. Besides, I was above such petty insecurities.

The waitress passed me on her way back to the kitchen. Beth, her nametag read. Alliterative with bitch.

Okay. Maybe I had a little pettiness.

I strolled over and sat down across from Seth.

“Hey, Thetis,” he said. He smiled at me, but it was a leftover smile from Beth.

“Hey,” I returned. “Think you can drag yourself away?”

“Let me finish this page, and I can. Cady’s about to figure out who the culprit is.”

“Too bad she can’t help me with this trial.”

He looked up from the screen. “No insights at your party?”

“Someone tried to bribe me.” No need to get into specifics. “And Luis concurs that the whole thing is corrupt.” I smiled. “You going to come back tomorrow to see more antics?”

He typed a few words. “No…if it’s all right. That whole thing freaked me out. And I’m kind of on a roll here. This place has a good vibe.”

“Yeah,” I said carefully. “That waitress seems pretty nice.”

“She is,” he agreed, eyes still on the screen. “She reminds me of you.”

I kept smiling, but I wasn’t entirely sure if I should feel complimented or not.

Chapter Six

Whatever resentment I held toward Seth and the waitress faded pretty quickly when we got back to our room. He held me as securely as ever, kisses light on my skin and affection radiating around him like an immortal signature.

I let him sleep in the next morning as I blearily dressed and headed downstairs for day two of the trial. To my surprise, there were a lot less spectators than the previous day.

Tags: Richelle Mead Georgina Kincaid Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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