EXCERPT: Demonology 101 by Kiernan Kelly

Demonology 101 by Kiernan Kelly appears in the WICKED GOOD M/M Angels & Demons Anthology, edited by EM Lynley.

Roger is a Hunter, raised from birth to hate all demons. His mission in life is to seek and destroy them, but Xyle, a gorgeous, BBQ-loving demon, threatens Roger’s entire belief system and teaches Roger a lesson about tolerance and love he’ll never forget.

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Roger felt like a magician trying to escape a straight jacket as he struggled to free the Demonkiller from his shoulder holster. The damnable demon had pushed his seat back, effectively pinning Roger between the front and rear seats. There was precious little room left for maneuvering, particularly when he didn’t want to give away his presence to the demon.

His plan had worked perfectly so far. He’d listened from under the blanket as the demon returned to the car (Roger heard the crinkle of paper, and smelled barbeque sauce—probably a bagful of take-out to use as bait to attract more humans) and slid his tall frame into the driver’s seat. All that remained for Roger to do was pull out his gun and shoot the bastard in the back of the head.

A bullet to the brain or heart, providing the caliber was large enough, was one of the few things known to kill a demon. It had always worked that way when he’d hunted with his father, although there were never any bodies to examine since dispatched demons disappeared. Of course, that meant there was no messy cleanup afterwards, which was a good thing in Roger’s book.

Freeing his gun proved to be a problem though. He wiggled carefully, trying to remain silent. Sweat beaded on his brow, running into his eyes, and stinging. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t seem to wriggle his hand close enough to grab the butt of his gun.
Note to self, he thought. Next time, get the gun out first.

He forgot all about trying to get to his gun when a sudden, violent feeling of vertigo struck him with the force of a sledgehammer upside the head. The interior of the car spun in a nauseating way, making his stomach lurch. There was a flash of bright light so intense he had to squeeze his eyes shut against its brilliance, and a noise reminiscent of a tornado thundered in his ears.
Then, just as suddenly, everything went completely still.

Roger’s head was still spinning when the driver’s door opened, and the front seat tilted forward. A large hand reached into the back of the car, grabbed hold of the blanket and pulled it off, then strong fingers twisted in the collar of Roger’s shirt. Dragged out of the car, held dangling in the air like a pup by the scruff of the neck, he found himself looking into the stormy black eyes of the demon.

His legs kicked uselessly in the air as his hands flew to his holster, only to find it empty. Demonkiller was gone. He frantically began feeling for his back-up weapons, but came up empty. No .22 secreted in his ankle holster, no knife in the sheath strapped to his thigh, even the Taser he’d stuck in the waistband of his pants, and the can of mace in his pocket were gone. All he could find was a single, linty stick of Juicy Fruit gum and his wallet.

The demon laughed. “What’s wrong? No weapons, oh, mighty Hunter?”

Roger swallowed hard, fighting a surge of panic, heart pounding, every horror story his grandfather and father had ever told him replaying in his memory. Demons held no pity, especially for Hunters. Demons would kill you slowly because pain marinated human meat, making it especially tender. Demons ate you while you were still alive and kicking, usually one piece at a time. Demons ate your soul along with your body, precluding any hope of peace after death.

“Why is it that Hunters always assume we demons are stupid? I smelled you the minute I got into my car. Did you think I’d miss the scent of your …” The demon paused, leaning in to sniff at Roger’s neck. “High Karate cologne?” He wrinkled his nose. “I didn’t think they still made that crap.”

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