Home > Sin & Chocolate (Demigod of San Francisco #1)(14)

Sin & Chocolate (Demigod of San Francisco #1)(14)
Author: K.F. Breene

“I get it, I get it.” Daisy rubbed Mordecai’s hand again, looking down at him.

After ten minutes of silence, waiting with bated breath, I checked Mordecai’s pulse.

I forced down a sob. “He’ll be okay,” I said, back to shaking. Tears filled my eyes. “His pulse is already stronger. He’ll bounce back.”

A hard exhale deflated Daisy’s chest. “Thank God.”

It never ceased to amaze me. The serum worked almost immediately. Already his pulse had resumed beating, strong and sure. In a moment, I knew his breathing would even out as well. A shifter had to change for the fastest healing, but that didn’t mean a shifter’s body wasn’t resilient in human form. Now that his human side wasn’t warring with his magic, his shifter side would fight for health.

“Do you ever wish for a better life?” Daisy asked quietly.

“Sometimes. You?”

She rested her cheek against Mordecai’s head. “I used to. All the time. And then you found me. Now I have a better life. My prayers have been answered. And soon, yours will be, too. I can feel it; we’re on the brink of change.”



I took a deep breath with my hand resting against the worn wooden door of the local Irish pub. The green paint was peeling away, revealing the faded brown beneath. Night cloaked the damp streets, and thick fog blocked out any hint of the moon or the stars. My mind still spun from all that had happened earlier that day, and my body ached with fatigue and the press of worry.

Even without shifting, Mordecai was healing at an impressive speed. Faster than he ever had before. It was a testimony to how much magical power he truly had. What an absolute shame his pack leader wanted him dead, and I didn’t have magical medical, because if he could get healthy, he’d be unstoppable.

Curing him was too big of a dream. At least for right now.

Dream small.

He had medicine for three months. Or, worst case, two, if he kept needing it like he had this month.

Small miracle number one.

Daisy was positive Denny wouldn’t buckle and tell his dad on her. In fact, when she’d called him with the intent to deliver a few post-theft threats, he’d fallen over himself to apologize for how he’d treated her. He’d begged to still be friends.

He’d apparently told his father that he’d heard of some out-of-town thugs blowing through San Francisco to get magical supplies to take back to Los Angeles and sell at a premium. Since Los Angeles was trying to eradicate all its magical people, and many of the poorer magical people didn’t have the funds to get out, they were desperate for the medicine to which they’d grown accustomed.

Maybe Denny wasn’t so dumb after all.

Daisy was in the clear.

Small miracle number two.

I now had extra money, since I didn’t have to buy Mordecai’s medicine.

Of course, I was minus a job.

That miracle was a wash.

Last miracle: the kids had ganged up on me and forced me out of the house. They were basically sending me out to get roaring drunk so I could forget all my woes for a few hours.

In times like this, they were more like roommates than wards, and I loved them dearly for it, because I could definitely use a reprieve from the constant anxiety of thinking about the future. Of the job I had to get. Of what would happen when that medicine ran out again. Of how I might offload the stolen goods from that vet without getting in trouble with the authorities, or winding up in a drug ring with a bunch of power players who had deadlier weapons than an aluminum bat and a non-working bottle of mace.

Yeah. I needed to forget for a few hours.

Daisy had even forced some of my money on me in case the bar had suddenly decided to stop giving me freebies.

I snorted as I willed myself to pull open the door.

There was no way in cold hell Miles, the bar owner and my ex, would stop giving me free beer. He, a non-Irishman who owned a filthy “Irish” pub, thought only someone sliding along rock bottom would accept such blatant pity. He was fascinated and smug that I clearly had not one ounce of pride left. Boy what a loss, dumping him, he surely thought. And now look at me, needing his condescension to keep on going.

I chuckled.

I had plenty of pride. And plenty of street smarts. My mother’s racket had earned me more than a free phone.

Feel bad for my scrawny arms and skinny frame and want to sneak me in the back of a gym?

Yes, please.

Want to build karma points by letting a street urchin like me hang around for free martial arts lessons?


Need to fill a quota of underprivileged kids in your dance studio?

I’m game.

I’d learned more things than a rich kid, all because I looked a mess and didn’t say no when someone offered a freebie. If people wanted to help me out, I would absolutely let them.

I glanced at the cracked sidewalk and scraggly bushes lining the walkway up to the bar. A few cars sat in the parking lot off to the side, and various beat-up automobiles lined the street. A heavyset man slouched as he made his way past on the sidewalk.

This wasn’t a good part of town, even though it was backed up against the wall of the magical zone. Maybe because it was backed up against the wall, though still in the neglected dual-society portion of the city. We could see the lovely weather on the other side of the six-foot-high wall, reminding us that Valens cared about his territory, and blessed them with his magical weather-changing abilities. The clear skies, which sometimes pushed away some of our fog, rubbing our faces in how pristine and well-tended the houses were over there. Those who lived there had money (mostly) and quality food (probably). They had good jobs (I assumed) and access to all the finest things (the bastards).

All we had were surly dispositions and not much of anything.

Then again, we also had loose rules with overworked and underperforming law enforcement. We had the cover of anonymity. We weren’t watched, or forced to keep our stuff in excellent condition. We could live our lives in peace, even if it was with cracked concrete and crappy weather.

Yeah, they could keep their nice houses. Loose rules worked just fine for me, thank you very much.

“Quit stalling, Alexis, and get your drink on,” I muttered to myself.

For a medium-sized miracle, this outing sure seemed like a chore. I was starting to think the kids had forced me out so they could have the house to themselves without my tight-jawed fretting, the little bastards.

I grabbed the handle and yanked the door open before propelling myself into the dimly lit interior. Wood beams lined the ceiling overhead, closing down the space. Picture frames covered the walls, crowded together and often crooked. Empty tables with chairs tucked beneath them were backed up to the far wall, leaving ample space for me to walk through to the back room. On one side, a few guys loitered around a threadbare pool table, and a dance floor pushed up against the electronic jukebox with outrageous prices; on the other, the bar curved in a slight semicircle lined with high-backed chairs, mostly filled.

At six in the evening, these were likely all regulars, watching the TV or staring at nothing, content to keep their own company. It was still too early for the party crowd that would eventually wander in, consisting of magical and non-magical kinds alike, all looking for a last drink in their neighborhood bar before heading home.

A broken-down, leaning wooden chair sat in place of my usual sturdy, magically protected seat. I paused, glancing next to it at Mick, the biggest asshole in the bar, who sat next to the wall so as to cut down on the number of people who tried to talk to him. He was partly the reason why my seat was always vacant, and the vacancy was why it had become my seat in the first place.

“What happened here?” I asked in a collection of grunts. It was the language Mick responded to best.

He glanced at the chair with absolutely gorgeous pale blue eyes. It was his best and only noteworthy feature. His ruddy, sun-damaged face stayed perfectly flat. “Some fat coont took yer chair,” he said in a thick Irish brogue.

“Aww. You called it mine. You must be used to me now.”

I laughed and glanced down the bar. I’d gotten awfully used to the C-word from hanging around him. I also knew that he never used that word to describe women unless he was falling-down drunk and spoiling for a fight. A fight that the women at this bar would happily give him. Typically, though, he reserved the term for men and non-living objects. Which meant a large, heavyset, or stocky man had my chair.

Familiar faces lined the bar—some of the regulars seemingly never left this place. It wasn’t until my gaze neared the other end that fireworks blasted through my middle and my stomach flipped over and threatened to come up through my mouth.

Stormy blue eyes surveyed me quietly from within a shockingly handsome face that seemed much too familiar, given that I’d only seen it briefly the day before. The man’s muscular arms rested on the edge of the bar, stretching his button-up shirt across the expanse of his broad shoulders. A large hand curved around a half-finished pint of Guinness, the perfect rings of creamy foam lining the sides of the glass.

“Crap,” I said softly, my feet rooted to the floor and my whole body tightening up to flee. Daisy had been right. He’d found me again.

The two chairs flanking the stranger were pushed away to give him ample space. Though they were filled, he was clearly there by himself.

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