Home > Sin & Chocolate (Demigod of San Francisco #1)(13)

Sin & Chocolate (Demigod of San Francisco #1)(13)
Author: K.F. Breene

He sucked in a breath, and I could barely hear the word “witch” escape his colorless lips. I was sure that if we lived in the days of witch trials, he would be one of the shortsighted, puritanical hypocrites spearheading my stoning.

I wasn’t a witch. I’d give my left arm for that kind of magic. But ignorant guys like Jason Bertram—the quintessential Chester—assumed anyone with magic was a witch, didn’t want to hear differently, and would tell anyone who’d listen that fire was the best way to rid the world of us.

Try telling that to a fire elemental. They’d laugh and laugh.

My last paycheck would be ready in twenty-four hours. That was the law in this zone, regardless of what happened here today.

When I pushed through the door of my house, I ran to my wards’ bedroom. A limp Mordecai was lying on his bed with red-tinged drool leaking out of his mouth. I knew Daisy was right. He was dying.

“Frank, how long has Daisy been gone?” I asked as I jogged back to the door, belatedly seeing a note left on the kitchen table. I wasn’t sure if she’d left immediately after talking with me, or if she’d tried to bring Mordecai around first.

“That foul-mouthed, doll-faced girl took off about fifteen minutes ago,” he answered. “She ran down the street. You know, it’s against the law to keep minors out of school. They are delinquent—”

“I got it. Now get off my lawn.” I slammed the door and hurried to the kitchen table to read the note scribbled in Daisy’s careless hand.

Out of time. I took your stash. I’ll be back with meds and change.

My stash—she meant every cent I had to my name. I kept it in a hiding place the kids knew about for just such a situation.

Back with Mordecai, I propped him up in my lap, made sure his airways were open and the steam was reaching him, and did the only thing I could.

I waited.



After what felt like forever, I heard my front door crash open. A glance at the alarm clock on the bedside table said I’d only been home a half-hour. That wasn’t nearly enough time for Daisy to have done all she needed to.

Footsteps stalled in the entryway before heading right, to the kitchen. Rustling, followed by a small thunk, coincided with the crashing of my heart against my ribcage. Who the hell had just entered my house?

The footsteps pounded the floor toward the bedroom, and the door flew open, swinging so hard it slammed off the wall and left an imprint.

Daisy stood in the frame, her sheet of dark hair falling around her set expression. An object I couldn’t see was wrapped in her bloodied fingers. “I lost that job opportunity.”

“What?” I croaked out.

“Turns out the bastard knew the drugs were fake. He just wanted to spend time with me. He doesn’t even have any money. So I punched him in the face, then searched his whole room.” She stopped at the bedside table and gently set down the item in her hand.

My heart surged. It was the anti-morphing serum!

“How’d you get that?” I breathed out, relief and dread taking turns running through my body.

She dug into her pocket and pulled out a wad of money. “How is he?”

“His pulse feels weak, but he’s hanging on. How did you get that?” I repeated.

“I stole it, that’s how.”

“But… Your hand…” I was having a hard time piecing this one together, and was a little concerned that whatever she’d brought home would turn out like that faulty can of mace.

With quick economy, she left the room and stepped into the bathroom down the hall. I heard a drawer roll open.

“During the shake-down, I found a stash of nude magazines in that lying bastard’s room,” she called. The drawer rolled again, and she stepped back into the hall. “In that stash was a gay one. The shock on his face when I found it said it likely wasn’t his, and whatever friend he got the stash from, some guy named Martin, has a secret. But anyway, his dad is super uptight. He would not like to find out his son has a gay porn magazine, because then he’d think his son is gay. See where I’m going with this?”

“So you blackmailed him? But you said he didn’t have any money.”

She set a syringe next to the serum. “He didn’t. But it gave me an idea. Here, we need to switch places. I hate needles.”

I carefully slid out from behind Mordecai. “Gay porn gave you an idea?”

“No. Well, yeah. His reaction to the gay porn gave me an idea. I told him that I wouldn’t rat him out if he distracted his dad long enough that I could get in and steal something from the vet office.”

“But…why would a vet have anti-morphing serum?”

“A dual-society vet.” Her smile declared her brilliance. “He keeps this stuff to sell on the side. Like a black market for magical people who don’t want to be in the system. They can pay a premium and get their drugs, no questions asked. He had all sorts of stuff—the serum for vampires to walk in the sun, the lotion to keep fairies from shedding pixie dust everywhere, and…”

My smile came up from my toes. “The serum to block the moon’s call.”

Her eyes glittered. “Exactly. That stuff is legit. And yes, I took out the surveillance camera, used a cloth so I didn’t leave prints, and stole a bunch of stuff to make it seem like I wasn’t just after the one thing. I did leave behind a little blood—I put too much weight behind breaking the window and fell forward—but it should be fine. I’m not magical and this was a small job. It’s not worth a detective’s time, and certainly not worth the expense to do blood work. If I keep this a one-time situation, I’m good.”

I paused in picking up the syringe. I wouldn’t have thought of any of that.

How the hell was someone eleven years my junior so much better at this stuff?

My thoughts must’ve come through on my face, because she rolled her eyes while delicately situating Mordecai so that his arm was easy to access. “I grew up in the foster system, in case you’d forgotten. What I did back there would’ve been deemed saint-like compared to the antics of some of the other kids. One was trying to start up a prostitution ring, just to give you an idea. Thankfully, I left before that panned out, because you’ve seen these goods and they would have been a hot commodity. I’m sure he ended up getting his ass beaten anyway.”

“I had to quit my job,” I blurted as I tore the syringe out of the plastic, trying to slow down so I didn’t mess up. “That miserable bastard wouldn’t let me take an early lunch, so I took a long, permanent walk instead.”

I heard her release of breath. “Shit.”

“We’re going to be all right.” My hands were shaking. I took a couple of deep breaths. Mordecai would be fine, just as long as I got this serum into his arm. “Look at what you did this morning. You saved the day!”

“Well, I got three other bottles of that stuff. So we’re good on his medicine for a while.” She rubbed his hand, also taking deep breaths. “And I got that other crap. Once we figure out what it is, we can sell it off to keep us going until you find another job.”

I put the normal dose into the syringe, afraid to do more in case it would give him a bad reaction. Despite having done this for years, I wasn’t a doctor. Or a vet. The bottle wobbling in my hands proved it.

I closed my eyes, stilling. I had to calm down. He was going to be okay. Now that we had the serum, he’d bounce back. He’d done it before.

He had to bounce back.

“Maybe you earn money with your magic?” Daisy said, her eyes tight as she watched my movements. She shivered. “Gross.”

I huffed, not able to laugh just yet. My ability to see spirits creeped her out. She hated the thought that the dead walked amongst us. So did most people. It was why I was seen as a weirdo, even in the magical community.

I held up the syringe to check the level of the serum, my shaking a little more under control. Adrenaline still coursed through me, but it was manageable. “It pays shit, you know that. Unless you are the absolute best, and have a good track record, there aren’t any jobs for people like me. But I’ll put in as many nights at the freak show as I can until I find something else. Okay?”

One more deep breath, and I gingerly sat on the bed next to them. Nice and easy. Taking Mordecai’s arm, I prepared to give him the dose.

“You should’ve gone to college,” Daisy whispered, holding as still as she was probably able. The bed still trembled under them.

He’d bounce back. He would.

“I did. In a way.” I took a deep breath, held it, and jabbed the needle into the muscle on Mordecai’s upper arm. With my thumb, I pushed the dispenser, forcing the serum into his arm.

“Reading a bunch of books from the library is not college,” Daisy said.

“You’d be surprised. My mother went to college. She guided me on what to learn.”

“A college certificate would make it easier for you to get a better job.”

The clear liquid emptied into Mordecai’s arm. I pulled the needle out and rose, allowing myself a small bit of laughter at what she’d said. “No, it wouldn’t. I’d need magical blood…or some actual power to go with my magical blood. Or a type of magic people actually want to use—”

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