Call him exorcist. Call him master of the dark arts. Call him dime-store magician. Most names don't matter, not when Hell knows yours…
CHARM CITY (The Demon Whisperer #1)The darkness is rising and one man stands against it: the exorcist mage Simon Alliant. But in Baltimore, he finally meets his match...a part-mortal divinity with the power to whisper away demons. Simon Alliant is an exorcist who battles demons, whether he wants to or not. Sometimes it's not so bad...he gets to play with magic, after all. But for Simon, magic represents a demon of another kind. He's addicted to magic and it takes more than a handful of charms to keep that particular demon at bay. Chiara is part Light, part Dark, and stubbornly mortal. The woman has a way with words: she literally talks demons into abandoning their human hosts. Simon thinks that's not the only trick she has up her sleeve-and that's pretty high praise coming from a mage like him. As intriguing as that may be, Simon has too many reasons to distrust her...one of them being his more-or-less partner, an angelic Watcher. Amidst all the celestial warnings of the rising dark comes a new prophesy that makes him wonder: is Chiara a threat to him and all of mankind? Or will she be his salvation?
"...this isn't a story about waving wands and doing fancy tricks—it's going to be a tough, dark story that is going to get raw..." --Amazon reviews
CHARM CITY: The Demon Whisperer, Book One
He caught the whispered sound of his real name and tilted his head toward it.
His real name was nearly an unknown thing these days, especially after having played the role of Kevin Murphy, career mental case and junkie from Boston's darker side. He'd created the alias so long ago that he'd nearly forgotten the details of Kevin's manufactured life.
If only his time as Kevin allowed him to forget his life as Simon.
Looking around, he spotted a tall, pale man wearing a tunic and loose pants, leaning against a tree. Sandy brown hair fell in soft curls to his shoulders, framing a sculpted face that seemed unbeguiling.
So out of place in modern Boston. If the dude wasn't careful, he'd get mugged. Good thing he was more or less invisible to ordinary people.
The tall man straightened himself and walked toward him. A vague mist hung about his shoulders, trailing behind him like a shadowy fog.
It would have seemed unnatural if Simon didn't spend so much time hanging about on the wrong side of nature. Odd mists weren't enough to put him off. They weren't even enough for him to mention.
"Mack." Simon looked him up and down. Sandals. Another reason to mug him. He really needed to get with the times. "Long time, no see. What, you couldn't visit even once? Not even on Tuesdays? We had Taco Tuesdays, buddy. You really missed out."
"You were trying to regain your sanity, Simon." The man's voice was smooth and melodious, a mild accent that couldn't be pinned down to any one region. Or millennium, for that matter. "I doubt visions of an angel would have helped."
"Shoot, sanity. It was good old R and R."
"Was it, now?" Mack pursed his lips, eyes brows raised. He had a very human-like quality to his features, if one ignored the ghost of his wings. "I thought it was…antidepressants and group therapy."
"Well, the first week or two. But then nothing but spa days from there on out."
"Mmm." The angel smiled, a gentle radiance that elevated his already-beautiful features. "A solid month of being magic-free? How did it feel?"
Simon ruffled his hair. He couldn't lie, not to the one entity that had never lied to him. Magic and free never belonged in the same sentence. "Feels like I can use a smoke. Shall I buy my ciggies now or after we land?"
"After. We need to get your boots on the ground right away."
"I just got out of the looney bin, pal. Give me a moment to acclimate."
Mack slowly shook his head. "There was a gathering at the Ladder today. Simon…the darkness is rising."
"Why not?" Simon hung his head, defeated. "Can we just skip the Metatron light show and just have the down and dirty? They held my afternoon Valium and my head is splitting."
"But you lose the surety—"
"I've never gotten anything but the straight shit from you, Mack. So let's have it."
"There is a…traitor."
He rolled his eyes. Half of Mack's heavenly announcements began with those same words. "There's always a traitor. Why does this one get divine attention?"
"Because it's an internal concern. A child of the Light has one foot in the darkness. It needs to be handled…delicately."
"And you need good old Simon Alliant to be the heavy. Figures. Nobody else willing to get their wings dirty." He cracked his neck and spared a forlorn glance at the newsstand down the street. "Where, this time?"
Simon groaned. The original Charm City. He'd taken a great deal of ribbing from an old master about previous sojourns there. A man who used amulets for a living had no business in a city with so trite a nickname. "I hate being that close to D.C."
"You can complain afterwards." The angel stepped behind Simon and wrapped his arms around his chest, emitting a soft glow that began to encompass them both.
"I usually do." Simon closed his eyes, waiting for the pull and the drop.
The power hit swiftly like freefall, pulling his breath out in a gush.
For a moment, his essence was caught between two places, his molecules stretched apart, his spirit suspended in a void. Memory couldn't reach him here. His past couldn't catch up to him here. It was a perfect singularity, this being in the now.
True freedom, the shortest lived of its kind. Yet the perfection of the moment was tainted. Tainted with a dread he couldn't outrun.
He dreaded the inevitable instant this tiny reprieve would end.
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