Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom

Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner

Book: Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner Read Free Book Online
Authors: Julie Kenner
squinted at him then, my comment spurring another thought. “Are you really a judge? Stuart’s going to have a fit if it turns out you can’t really endorse him.”
    He laughed. “I assure you, my place among the judiciary is quite secure.”
    “So, what? You moonlight for the Vatican?”
    I was being sarcastic, but he nodded. “Something like that.”
    “No kidding?” Back in my day, Hunters and alimentatores were full-time, full-fledged Forza employees. Outside employment wasn’t even an option.
    “I was twelve years out of law school when I contacted Father Corletti about training as an alimentatore ,” Larson told me.
    “Really?” I couldn’t help the incredulous tone in my voice. Forza is supersecret. I’d never heard of anyone contacting the organization out of the blue.
    “Father thought it was unusual, too,” he said. “But I’d been doing some reading on my own about demons and the infiltration of the Black Arts into mainstream society, and I ran across a vague reference to the group in an ancient text. I was intrigued, and the more I poked around, the more determined I was to find out if the organization was real or a product of someone’s imagination.”
    “I’m impressed.”
    “It took five years, but I managed.” His mouth turned up into a wry grin. “Interesting years, those. Amazing the characters you run across if you’re searching for an elite group of Demon Hunters.”
    “So Father brought you on board and the rest is history?”
    “Something like that. I worked out of Rome until the new policy went into effect about ten years ago. Once we were permitted to hold a second job in addition to our Forza duties, I returned to Los Angeles and took up my law practice.”
    Eric and I had made the same transition, retiring first to Los Angeles after our wedding, then moving up the coast to San Diablo when we found out I was pregnant. “And then you became a judge?”
    “Exactly. Three years later I was appointed to a superior court seat.” We were on my street now, and he pulled into my driveway, put the car in park, then turned to me. “As you can imagine, my new position was quite useful to Forza . The criminal justice system provides a fascinating snapshot of demon activity.”
    “I’ll bet,” I said. His tone had been matter-of-fact—like a meteorologist discussing the weather, or a doctor relaying lab results. Just the general trappings of his workaday world, but I felt a knot in my stomach. It wasn’t workaday to me. It hadn’t been for a long, long time.
    And yet here I was. The man next to me was in the business of tracking demon activity and studying methods of defeating them. I was back in the business of killing them.
    I felt suddenly cold and overcome with the urge to hear my kids’ voices. Goose bumps rose on my arms as I rummaged in my purse for my phone. As Larson watched, I punched in Stuart’s cell number. One ring, two, and then his voice: “Please tell me you’re coming to rescue me.”
    I was instantly on alert. “Why? What’s wrong?”
    Larson turned to me, alarm coloring his features as well, and my hand closed around the door handle, releasing the latch.
    Stuart laughed. “Nothing’s wrong. Sorry to scare you. Were you afraid I’d lost the kids somewhere between the parking lot and the food court?”
    “Something like that,” I said. “Can I talk to them?”
    “Sure, if you want to get Tim all worked up. He’s on the carousel right now with Allie. He’s doing great, but if he hears Mommy’s voice . . .”
    “Right. Never mind.” I hardly needed for Timmy to throw a fit and for Stuart to schlep everybody home. “So what’s your ETA back home?”
    “Not sure. Right now Timmy’s happy, so I’m willing to stick it out for as long as Allie wants.”
    I felt my brow lift in surprise. “You are?”
    “Sure. Why not? I already told Allie we’d do a late lunch at Bennigan’s.”
    “Really?” Stuart’s not a chain-restaurant kind of guy,

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