Hexes & Flames (The Dark Files #3) - Kim Richardson

CHAPTER 1

“What do you mean Faris is my familiar!” I cried incredulously, my temper rising with the heat of my face. “Poe’s my familiar. I can’t have two familiars. That’s crazy. It’s not how it works.”

My grandfather leaned against the kitchen island and crossed his arms over his chest, his bushy white eyebrows high on his forehead. He’d ditched his blue bathrobe for a pair of khaki pants and a navy-blue sweater. He could have pulled off the old professor look if it weren’t for his tousled mess of white hair that gave him a mad scientist flair.

“You said to do whatever it took,” he said, his voice a little higher than usual. “And that’s exactly what I did.”

“Whoa— Wait a second!” I exclaimed, my blood pressure soaring. “I never asked to make him my familiar. I have enough problems trying to control Poe, who’s still disappearing on me. I don’t want to be responsible for two familiars.” Oh, God, what did he do?

My grandfather stood in the kitchen, now with his hands on his hips and anger growing on his face. He looked just like me. “How did you expect him to stay in our world without the familiar bond? By Krazy Gluing his ass to a chair? That’s not how magic works, Samantha. You know this. Making him your familiar was the only way. The only safe way.”

My eyes found the mid-demon sitting at the kitchen island. I didn’t like the casual look he gave me. “You knew about this, didn't you?”

Faris’s dark eyes met mine, his gaze calculating as he tilted his head to one side. “Of course I did.”

Faris wore the same black pants and matching shirt from yesterday, though wrinkle free and clean with what I expected was some demon magic. He had a faint, glistening aura about him, and I felt it glide over my skin like a soft, cool breeze. It felt different than the energy that had surrounded the mid-demon before. I knew what it was. I recognized it as the energy emanating from a familiar bond. Mine and his.

Tension pulled me straight. “And you’re okay with it?”

Faris took a gulp of his drink, and his short black hair glimmered in the kitchen light like oil. “Better this than having my innards pulled out from my mouth.”

Yikes. Okay. He had a point. Still…

I was a mess. I could barely take care of myself, let alone two familiars. Scratch that. Two familiars with giant egos.

Stress stiffened my shoulders, and I shook my head. “There has to be another way. We just have to look harder.”

“There isn’t.” My grandfather sighed through his nose as he pointed a finger at me. “And don’t even think about going to see that aunt of yours.”

I gripped the edge of the kitchen island and leaned forward. “Is that a challenge?”

“No,” answered my grandfather, his blue eyes pinched. “You’ll just be wasting your time. She’ll tell you the exact same thing. Making him your familiar is the only way to keep him on this side of the planes.”

I pursed my lips. “We’ll see about that.” I was going to ask her. He knew it, and I knew it.

My grandfather’s bushy white eyebrows lowered to a frown. “I never thought I’d see the day when a demon stayed in my house—a bloody demon—and I don’t know anything about him.”

“I’m sitting right here,” mumbled Faris.

My grandfather took a hesitant breath before he continued. “You wanted to save him. Put your big-girl pants on and deal with it!”

“I don’t have time to babysit two familiars,” I cried, gesturing wildly and not caring what