Authors: Angie Fox
Tags: #Paranormal Romance
MY BIG FAT DEMON SLAYER WEDDING
BY ANGIE FOX
Copyright Angie Fox 2013
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or store in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented without the express written permission of Angie Fox.
Special thanks to Alexx Miller and Sherrie Hill for early reads.
My biker witch grandma shut down her Harley and pulled off her helmet, letting loose a tangle of long, gray hair. “You need help, Lizzie Brown,” she said, as if I were the one sporting a flaming skull do-rag, rhinestone-studded riding glasses, and a brand new
Ride It Like You Stole It
I snorted. “I’m not the one making us late.” I pried off my riding gloves as she blithely hitched her leg over her motorcycle. Shaking my head, I watched her amble toward a bohemian farmers market set up on the side of a country road. It was as if it sprang from the earth between two California strawberry fields.
There was nothing to the place—a stretch of sandy soil in front of a half-dozen or so colorful tents. A mishmash of tables held everything from broccoli to kiwi, mixed in with dozens of kinds of jams, a healthy display of pottery, and a few more specialized booths.
“This better be important,” I said, finding my sunglasses in my back pocket.
Not that I objected to the woman selling erotic redwood carvings or the guy peddling bongs made from hollowed-out pineapples and carrots, but we had a bridal tea party in about an hour, and seeing that I was the bride, I’d rather not be late.
Grandma waited for me to catch up, her eyes narrowing. “This is vital resource gathering,” she said, which had been her excuse for leaving the main road in the first place. “And if you want to know why we stopped here, take a look at your necklace.”
I glanced down. When we’d first met, my fiancé had given me an emerald pendant that held ancient protective magic. Only it had been cold and unresponsive ever since our run in with the Earl of Hell. Now the large, teardrop shaped stone glowed against my bare skin. “Why?” I asked, touching it, feeling the warmth radiate from it.
Grandma shook her head. “Impossible to say. I’ll feel better after I grab some goodies to juice my protective wards.”
This entire stop made me nervous. “Let’s make it quick,” I said, heading for the market.
Grandma snorted as she fell in next to me.
Yes, well, we’d just sent twenty-four biker witches, plus my dog, to my mother’s party before us.
Maybe I was glad I wouldn’t be around for that part.
I hadn’t even seen my mother since I’d become a demon slayer. And now, in true Hillary Brown style, she’d flown in from Atlanta, rented a historic house, and was throwing a week’s worth of parties before my wedding. I’d run into many fearsome creatures, but nothing like my mom in full hostess mode.
I sighed as Grandma shook the road dust from her fringed black leather pants.
The two sides had to meet sooner or later. Still,
Better Homes & Gardens
was my mom’s bible, and the biker witches only knew the difference between lilac and mint because they used both in the spell jars they liked to hurl at people who wanted to kill us.
“What are we looking for?” I asked, as she headed for the fruit stand.
“Kiwis, apples, and grave dirt,” she said, nodding to the guy behind the table. “The fresher the better.”
I shrugged. “At least with the fruit.”
She merely rolled her eyes.
Grandma didn’t like staying in new places without casting a spell to see what was already in the neighborhood. I was all for it, in theory, but in this case, I wished we could have skipped it.
I leaned up against a tent pole while she struck up a lively conversation with the vendor about male versus female fruit.
Because that makes a difference in spell casting.
Hells bells, it probably did.
Meanwhile the too-skinny, hippie-looking bong seller kept trying to make eye contact with me. Please. I’d tried real cigarettes only once. On a dare. After a particularly strong amaretto sour. I hadn’t been much of a risk taker before I’d learned I was a demon slayer and hooked up with the biker witches. I was still getting used to it.
I gazed out over the strawberry fields.
Wouldn’t you know it—there was a small family graveyard near the edge, partially shaded by a copse of trees. It was old, with an iron gate that leaned drunkenly to one side.
Nothing like one stop shopping.
I was half way there when the emerald at my neck began to hum. I stopped.
This was the necklace that had morphed into body armor when I needed it, tied me to a tree when I didn’t, and fainted dead away at the sight of the Earl of Hell. I supposed everything had its limits.
I held my breath as the bronze chain went liquid, reforming into a heavier looped chain. The warm metal poured over and around the emerald. It hardened around the stone, transforming the pendant into an ornate bronze locket with the emerald at the center.
Okay. I had to think about this one.
I’d never had my jewelry transform into…jewelry.
A change in the necklace usually meant I was about to face a confrontation, or that I needed protection. In this case, I had a stylish accessory.
I blew out a breath. The more I learned about demon slaying, the more I needed to figure out.
Grandma was busy inspecting an apple as if she could see through it. No help there. I didn’t feel as if I were in immediate danger. Of course, that usually meant I was about to get ambushed.
The new pendant felt heavy around my neck, ominous. I approached the cemetery a little slower than before. Beyond it lay the ruins of an old Victorian farmhouse. No telling how long ago the family had abandoned this place, and their dead.
A warm breeze blew in from the south as I pushed open the gate. It creaked from time and neglect. There were only three graves that I could see. Scraggly grass and weeds clung to the sandy soil around them.
Two of the graves were marked with standard, rounded headstones. The last one, on the far right, was shaped like an obelisk. It must have been grand at one time. It had softened at the edges with age and black discoloration had washed over the stone. The battered inscription read: Elizabeth 1893.
I bent in front of it and gathered a palm full of dirt. Where I was going to put it was another question.
“Help me,” a voice whispered.
I spun and drew a switch star from my belt. Switch stars were the weapon of the slayers. It was round-shaped like a Chinese throwing star, only with jagged edges that twirled like saw blades when I threw it.
But there was no one behind me to fight. I turned in a small circle. A trickle of sweat slicked the back of my neck. I could have sworn I heard a voice. It was urgent, desperate.
“Hello?” I asked, fingers digging into the grips on the star.
A breeze rustled through the trees.
“Who are you?” I demanded.
There was no response.
I waited, opening up my demon slayer senses and searching for anything, good or evil, that could have made that request.
There was nothing.
Grandma ambled up from the market, a produce bag in hand.
“What are you doing?” She eased through the gate I’d left half open. “You say you’re in a hurry and I catch you farting around in the cemetery.”
I sheathed my switch star. “I heard a voice,” I said, scanning the cemetery, half expecting to hear it again.
She stood next to me, listening, her hands on her hips, the bag dangling from her left wrist. After a little while, she shrugged. “I doubt it’s anybody we know. You get the dirt?”
“I’m working on it.” I’d been a little distracted.
She pulled a Ziploc from her pocket and bent to grab some from the grave at my feet. The one where I’d heard…something.
“Take it from the middle one instead,” I told her.
She shrugged and did as I asked.
I touched my necklace, which was now a locket.
Now or never.
Maybe I hadn’t even heard a voice, but I was pretty sure that I had. I couldn’t get it out of my head.
There was no telling who it belonged to, or why it had spoken to me. But it didn’t feel threatening or evil.
I couldn’t walk away, not without trying to make a difference.
Besides, my necklace had always looked out for me in the past, protected me. And it had given me a way to take some of the grave dirt with me.
I bent and pinched two fingers full from the base of the obelisk. Grandma raised her brows, but didn’t say anything as I opened my locket and stashed it inside.
We gunned our engines and made it back to the Pacific Coast Highway in record speed. It was a gorgeous, cliff-hugging thrill ride.
I felt good.
Yes, my biker witch family was about to meet my society family. And yes, we were also going to be adding my fiancé’s Greek relatives into the mix. But I was also about to marry the most gorgeous, sexy, strong, and wonderful man on the planet.
End of story. I hoped.
It was pretty remote this far south of Monterey. We passed Hearst Castle, with its spires jutting out to the impossibly blue sky. There was almost no shoulder on the right of the road, only a sharp drop to the ocean. To the left were hills lush with spiky wild grasses and dotted with blue oaks, their knotted trunks twisted like bohemian art.
I could see why turn-of-the-century timber barons and railroad tycoons built their getaways out here among the cliffs and the wilderness. It felt like another world, one where I could easily lose myself.
In fact, I almost missed the turn off, a lonely paved road mostly hidden by a large cypress. An iron spike jutted from the ground near the tree, and it had white and silver balloons tied around it. My wedding colors.
My front tire skidded sideways as I turned a little too fast. Grandma was right behind; but her rubber burn was deliberate.
“You should have gone with black and silver,” she hollered over the noise of the engines.
“So you don’t have to buy a new outfit? I don’t like you that much,” I said, noticing the mini champagne glasses dangling from the balloon ties. Leave it to my mother.
Grandma let out a guffaw as I gunned my engine past the gate and up the drive. Frankly, I’d get married in a garden shed if it meant saying ‘yes’ to Dimitri. We’d been through so much together, and there had been times when I wondered if my life,
if being with me
, was too much for him. Not everyone is cut out to marry a demon slayer.
He loved me. He really did. And I would never take that for granted.
The drive wound up a hill, with cypress planted in neat rows on either side, interspersed with—I slowed my bike to get a better look—stone gargoyles. I was used to seeing them on buildings, not as yard art. Someone had interesting taste.