Every Demon Has His Dayby Cara Lockwood
Whipping up prize-winning chicken fried steak...fighting demonic forces...East Texas gals can do it all!
In her wildest dreams, Constance Plyd never thought she'd see dead people. Then again, she never thought she'd be hit on by her ex-husband at his own funeral...or be the prime suspect in his murder. Fortunately for Constance, irresistibly sexy/i>… See more details below
Whipping up prize-winning chicken fried steak...fighting demonic forces...East Texas gals can do it all!
In her wildest dreams, Constance Plyd never thought she'd see dead people. Then again, she never thought she'd be hit on by her ex-husband at his own funeral...or be the prime suspect in his murder. Fortunately for Constance, irresistibly sexy sheriff Nathan Garrett wants to believe her explanation -- that a card-carrying demon in a black suit killed Jimmy in the garage -- or maybe he wants something more. Either way, all signs are leading to a showdown of hellish proportions, with Constance at the heart of the battle, when the Devil and would-be mother of the Antichrist (a pop princess wannabe) descends on Crockett County. Sure, she'd rather be cooking up a storm for the next state fair, but if she's going to be the Chosen One, at least Constance can give a few demons a Texas-style butt kicking....
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Every Demon Has His Day
By Cara Lockwood
Pocket StarCopyright © 2010 Cara Lockwood
All right reserved.
The day Constance Plyd discovered her destiny, she was knee-deepin suds and bubbles, a mess of her soon-to-be-ex-husband Jimmy's making. Jimmy knew every last player who ever put on a Dallas Cowboy uniform, but seemed incapable of remembering routine household information, like the fact that you don't put Tide in the dishwasher, even if the Cascade is running low.
Constance couldn't believe on the day he was supposed to sign the divorce papers he'd made a mess. Jimmy, who'd never done a dish the whole time they were married, suddenly found the urge to run the dishwasher, mere minutes from the end of their marriage. And now her kitchen was covered in suds.
But she shouldn't be surprised. Jimmy was in an elite club of eejits. Just last year when he tried to change Constance's motor oil, he ended up draining out all her transmission fluid instead. In fact, there was no problem Jimmy couldn't make worse. He was the kind of man who broke most everything he touched, including but not limited to lawn mowers, generators, refrigerators, tractors, trailers, trucks, cars, and even, once, a spoon. Their neighbors scattered any time Jimmy came out on the porch, in case he was looking to borrow something, because if he remembered to bring it back at all, it would be in pieces.
The only thing Jimmy had ever managedto do right was inherit a modest income from his childless uncle, who accidentally struck oil when he was digging a well in his backyard in 1962. It wasn't Rockefeller money, or even Beverly Hillbillies money, but it was just enough to ensure Jimmy never had to work a day in his life.
Constance never thought she'd end up with Jimmy and his ever-dwindlingfortune. But falling for him was a temporary lapse in judgment that Constance blamed squarely on Nathan Garrett.
Nathan Garrett, you see, was the youngest of the Garrett brothers, notorious throughout Dogwood County for their good looks and their fast hands. In high school, the brothers -- a set of twins and the youngest, Nathan -- pretty much were responsible for relieving the greater Dogwood County female population of their virginity between the years 1991 and 2000. After that, the Garretts moved on -- the twins to Houston and Nathan to Dallas.
While on Christmas break from college nearly ten years ago, Nathan took Constance Hicks on a date, which, like nearly all of his dates, ended with her half naked in the backseat of his '88 red Mustang. Constance didn't mind at the time. It was only when he barreled out of town the very next day without bothering to call that she started to get resentful.
As time went on, that resentment grew and bubbled into something much more like hate when she heard through the grapevine from his former best friend that he kept a list of all the virgins he'd plucked, and she was known simply as Number Twenty-two. To add insult to injury, she ran into him at the Jiffy Lube on Route 9 three months later, and he didn't even give her a second glance or so much as a how-do-you-do.
It was after the Jiffy Lube incident that Jimmy Plyd happened to ask Constance out on a date, and she said yes out of spite, figuring that going out with the opposite of Nathan Garrett could only do her good. Jimmy had been so nice and kind then, and didn't manage to destroy anything on their subsequent first date, and Constance started to feel a little better about being left by Nathan. Jimmy, she could tell right away, was not the kind of man who left. He was the kind of man who stayed. He might burn down your garage, but he wouldn't up and disappear on you after.
He didn't blink an eye when she vented about Nathan Garrett. He just kept coming by every Friday night with flowers and a half-gallon tub of Rocky Road ice cream, wearing down her defenses until Constance got used to him being around. A year after that, he offered Constance her very own restaurant in the town square as an engagement gift, and while she wasn't sure she loved him, she definitely loved the restaurant, so she said yes.
She really believed she would grow to love Jimmy in time, but after nine years of flat tires, collapsing shelves, loose door hinges, cracked toilets, a shattered bathroom mirror, and one exploding washing machine, Constance had had enough.
Of course, her friends had been telling her for years she ought to divorce him, especially since most of them didn't know why she married him in the first place, but Constance didn't make that decision lightly. She'd carried around divorce papers in her Camry for nearly a year before finally giving them to Jimmy three months ago.
Now, as the suds piled even higher in the kitchen, nearly reaching the kitchen counter, and ruining any chance she had of making her state fair blue-ribbon-winning chicken-fried steak for the ladies of the First Protestant Church Bible Study class (who met every Thursday night), Constance felt, not for the first time, that if she ever ran into Nathan Garrett again, she would have some choice words to say to him. Because somehow, despite the fact that Jimmy was her own personal disaster, Constance still liked to blame Nathan. It just felt right.
She'd heard he was back in town, and she had a speech planned in her head, should she happen to bump into him. In fact, she had several speeches, all of which she'd honed after years of lying awake at night, wondering what he was up to, and specifically, whose life he might be ruining at that moment.
Constance grabbed a few tea towels from the counter to try to sop up the water, but it was no use. There was simply too much of it. She didn't have time for this. She was supposed to drop off the chicken-fried steaks on her way to the Magnolia Café -- her pride and joy -- and the only gift Jimmy gave her that he didn't later break.
Cooking was the one thing Constance could do well. Romance and relationships, not so much, but get her within spitting distance of a saucepan and a stove, and she could whip up food good enough to make your mouth water for days. Jimmy had either ruined her kitchen out of spite or because he was hoping to put off signing those divorce papers -- again. He'd been stalling for the better part of three months now, and Constance had had enough. She didn't really understand the procrastinating. Constance had signed a prenup (on his mother's insistence). Except for the Magnolia Café, which was deeded in her name, she'd get none of Jimmy's money. And frankly, she didn't want it. She just wanted Jimmy out of her life. At this point, she'd be willing to pay him to leave.
Besides, she was twenty-eight, and they didn't have children. Now was the time to go, when, as her mother said, her tires still had some tread left.
"Jimmy!" Constance shouted toward the back door. He was supposed to be in their attached garage, packing up the last of his "tools" -- the ones he hadn't yet managed to break.
She listened, but heard nothing. Not that she actually wanted Jimmy to come help. His idea of helping would probably be to throw gasoline on the suds and then light them on fire.
As Constance tried to figure out whether she wanted to shout at Jimmy more than she wanted to try to save her new linoleum floor, she heard a loud whoosh of air, which slammed against the back door and rattled the windows. And then she was struck, suddenly, by the strong smell of something foul -- a cross between burnt popcorn and Jimmy's gym socks. Her first thought was that Jimmy had started a fire in the garage -- again -- but there wasn't smoke, and this smell was worse than a fire. And there wasn't any cursing, either, which was a sure sign this wasn't a Jimmy-related calamity, since they all came with a chorus of cussing. In fact, the only sound coming from the garage was a thump, like a sack of potatoes being dropped to the ground.
And in that second, she knew it was something bad. Something really bad. Something worse than Jimmy.
She didn't want to open the back door because she somehow knew what she would find before she found it, but she steeled herself and did anyway. She stepped into the garage and the first thing she saw was a man in a black suit, with a double-breasted suit jacket along with a black baseball cap. He was standing over the body of her soon-to-be-ex husband, who was lying facedown next to his pickup truck, a screwdriver handle sticking out of his back. At first, Constance thought it must be some kind of joke. Then she saw the tiny trickle of blood that was running down from the screwdriver and pooling on the garage floor.
Jimmy was dead.
The man who had clearly just killed him turned and flashed her an unnaturally white smile. He tipped his black baseball cap in her direction, then, gingerly stepping over the blood puddle, handed her a business card with red letters. It read:
Demon at Large
Murder and mayhem since 550 bc
In her hands, the card disintegrated as she read it, burning from the edges until it was nothing but a pile of ash in her palm. When she looked up again, the man in black was gone.
Copyright © 2009 by Cara Lockwood
Excerpted from Every Demon Has His Day by Cara Lockwood Copyright © 2010 by Cara Lockwood. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Cara Lockwood is also the author of I Do (But I Don't), which was made into a Lifetime movie, as well as Pink Slip Party and Dixieland Sushi, and Every Demon Has His Day, all available from Downtown Press. She was born in Dallas, Texas, and earned a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked as a journalist in Austin, and is now married and living in Chicago. Her husband is not a rock star, but he does play the guitar -- poorly.
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