BLACK MAGIC SANCTION
Rachel Morgan Series, Book 8
To the guy in the leather jacket
I'd like to thank Richard Curtis, my agent, and Diana Gill, my editor. The more I know, the more I appreciate them and what they do.
Tucking my hair back, I squinted at the parchment, trying to form the strange angular letters as smoothly as I could. The ink glistened wetly, but it wasn't red ink, it was blood—my blood—which might account for the slight tremble as I copied the awkward-looking name scripted in characters that weren't English. Beside me was a pile of rejects. If I didn't get it perfect this time, I'd be bleeding yet again. God help me, I was doing a black curse. In a demon's kitchen. On the weekend. How in hell had I gotten here?
Algaliarept stood poised between the slate table and the smaller hearth, his white-gloved hands behind his back. He looked like a stuffy Brit in a murder mystery, and when he shifted impatiently, my tension spiked. "That isn't helping," I said dryly, and his red, goat-slitted eyes widened in mocking surprise, peering at me over his smoked spectacles. He didn't need them for reading. From his crushed green velvet frock to his lace cuffs and proper English accent, the demon was all about show.
"It has to be exact, Rachel, or it won't capture the aura," he said, his attention sliding to the small green bottle on the table. "Trust me, you don't want that floating around unbound."
I sat up and felt my back crack. As I touched the quill tip to my throbbing finger, my unease grew. I was a white witch, damn it, not black. But I wasn't going to write off demon magic just because of a label. I'd read the recipe; I'd interpreted the invocation. Nothing died to provide the ingredients, and the only person who'd suffer would be me. I'd come away from this with a new layer of demon smut on my soul, but I'd also have protection against banshees. After one had nearly killed me last New Year's Eve, I'd willingly entertain a little smut to be safe. Besides, this might lead to a way to save Ivy's soul when she died her first death. For that, I'd risk a lot.