Personal Demon (Women of the Otherworld Series #8)

Personal Demon (Women of the Otherworld Series #8)

by Kelley Armstrong

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553588200
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/30/2008
Series: Women of the Otherworld Series , #8
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 503,791
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Kelley Armstrong is the New York Times bestselling author of the Women of the Otherworld series. She has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers’ dismay. All efforts to make her produce “normal” stories failed. Today she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves while safely locked in her basement writing-dungeon. To read more about the Darkest Powers trilogy, visit www.ChloeSaunders.com.

Read an Excerpt

Hope


Lucifer's Daughter


There was a time in my life when the prospect of watching a man die would have filled me with horror. Now, as I shivered beside the cenotaph, knowing death was coming, what I felt was very different.

Only knowing it was too late to stop what was about to happen kept me from screaming a warning as I clutched the cold marble.

"Did you bring the money?" the first man asked, his voice tight with an anxiety that strummed through the air. He wore dress slacks an inch too long, hems pooling around scuffed department store loafers. His old leather jacket was done up against the bitter March night, but misbuttoned. I could picture his fingers trembling as he'd hurried out to this midnight meeting.

The other man was a decade older, his jogging suit hood pulled tight around his red-cheeked face. Beside him, a Chow panted, the chuff-chuff filling the silence, black tongue lolling as the dog strained the confines of its short leash.

"Did you bring the money?" the younger man asked again as he glanced around the park, his anxiety sharp against the cold rage blowing off the other man.

"Did you really think I'd pay?"

The older man lunged. A blast of fear, so intense my eyelids quivered. Then a gasp, rich with shock and pain. Chaos rolled over me and moonlight sparked red against the knife blade. The stink of voided bowels filled the air as the younger man staggered back into a spindly maple. He tottered for a moment, propped against it, then slumped at its base.

The killer pulled his dog closer. The Chow danced, its chaos fluttering past me, confusion warring with hunger. The man shoved its head to the wound, steaming blood pumping. The dog took a tentative lick, then-

The vision broke and I reeled, grabbing the cenotaph. A moment's pause, eyes squeezed shut. Then I straightened and blinked against the bright morning sun.

At the foot of the cenotaph, a shrine had started, with plucked daffodils and scraps of paper scrawled with "We'll Miss You, Brian" and "Rest in Peace, Ryan." Anyone who knew Bryan Mills well enough to spell his name was still at home, in shock. The people hugging and sobbing around the shrine were only hoping to catch the eye of a roving TV camera, say a few words about what a great guy "Ryan" had been.

As I circled the crime scene tape, I passed the fake mourners, and their sobbing rose . . . until they noticed I wasn't carrying a camera, and fell back to sipping steaming coffees and huddling against the icy morning.

They might not have made me for a reporter, but the closest cop guarding the scene did, his glower telling me not to bother asking for a statement. I'm sure "Hey, I know what happened to your dead guy" would have been a guaranteed conversation opener. But then what would I say?

"How do I know? Um, I had a vision. Psychic? No. I can only see the past-a talent I inherited from my father. More of a curse, really, though I'm sure he thinks otherwise. Maybe you've heard of him? Lucifer? No, not Satan-that's a whole different guy. I'm what they call a half-demon, a human fathered by a demon. Most of us get a special power, like fire, telekinesis or teleportation, without a demon's need for chaos. But that chaos hunger is all I get, plus a few special powers to help me find it. Like visions of past trauma, which is why I know how your victim died. And I can read chaotic thoughts, like the one going through your head right now, Officer. You're wondering whether you should quietly call for the ambulance or pin me to the ground first, in case my psychotic break turns violent."

So I stuck to my job: reporting the news, not becoming it. I found a likely target-the youngest officer, buttons gleaming, gaze following the news cameras, shoulders straightening each time one promised to swing his way, then slumping when it moved elsewhere.

As I approached, his gaze traveled over me and his chin lifted to showcase a square jaw. A smile tweaked his lips. When I took out my notebook, the smile ignited, and he stepped forward to intercept me, lest I change my mind.

"Hello, there," he said. "I haven't seen you before. New at the Gazette?"

I shook my head. "I'm national."

His eyes glittered, envisioning his name in Time or USA Today. I always felt a little bad about that. True News was a national publication, though . . . a national supermarket tabloid.

"Hope Adams," I said, thrusting out my hand.

"Adams?"

"That's right."

A flush bloomed on his cheeks. "Sorry, I, uh, wasn't sure I heard that right."

Apparently, I didn't look like this officer's idea of a "Hope Adams." My mother had been a student from India when she met my dad at college. Will Adams, though, was not my biological father, and half-demons inherit their appearance from their maternal DNA.

As I chatted him up, a man lurched from behind the cenotaph. He peered around, his eyes wild behind green-lensed glasses. Spying us, he strode over, one black-nailed finger jabbing.

"You took him, didn't you?"

The officer's hand slid to his belt. "Sir, you need to step back-"

"Or what?" The man stopped inches from the officer, swaying. "You'll shoot me? Like you shot him? Take me away too? Study me? Dissect me? Then deny everything?"

"If you mean the victim-"

"I meant the werewolf."

The officer cleared his throat. "There, uh, was no werewolf, sir. The victim was-"

"Eaten!" The man leaned forward, spittle flying. "Torn apart and eaten! Tracks everywhere. You can't cover it up this time."

"A werewolf?" said a woman, sidling over as she passed. "I heard that too."

The officer slid a small "can you believe this?" smile my way. I struggled to return it. I could believe that people thought this was a werewolf; that's why True News had sent their "weird tales girl" to cover the story. As for werewolves themselves, I certainly believed in them-though even before the vision I'd known this wasn't one of their kills.

"Sorry about that," the officer said when he'd finally moved the conspiracy theorist on.
"Werewolves? Dare I even ask where that rumor came from?"

"The kids who found the body got all freaked out, seeing dog tracks around it, and they started posting online about werewolves. I have no idea how the dog got involved."

I was already mentally writing my story. "When asked about the werewolf rumors, an officer on the site admitted he couldn't explain the combined signs of canine and human." That's the trick of writing for a tabloid. You take the facts and massage them, hinting, implying, suggesting . . . As long as no one is humiliated unfairly, and no sources are named, I don't have a problem giving readers the entertainment they want.

Karl would have found it entertaining too. If I'd been assigned this story a couple of months ago, I'd have been waiting for his next call, so I could say, "Hey, I got a werewolf story. Can I get a statement?" He'd make some sardonic comment, and I'd curl up, settling in for a long talk, telling myself it was just friendship, that I'd never be fool enough to fall for Karl Marsten. Kidding myself, of course. The moment I let him cross that line past friendship, I got burned . . . and it was just as bad as I'd always feared.

I pushed memories of Karl aside and concentrated on the story. The officer had just let slip a lead on the kids who'd found the body-two girls who worked at the 7-Eleven on the corner-when clouds suddenly darkened the day to twilight. Thunder boomed, and I dropped my pen. As the officer bent to grab it, I snuck a glance around. No one was looking at the sky or running for cover. They were all carrying on as they had been.

The officer kept talking, but I could barely hear him through the thunderclaps. I gritted my teeth and waited for the vision to end. A storm moving in? Possible, if it promised enough destruction to qualify as chaotic. But I suspected the source was a Tempestras-a "storm" half-demon. One offshoot of my "gift" was the ability to sense other supernaturals through their chaotic powers.

I cast another surreptitious glance around. My gaze settled instead on the one person I hadn't noticed before. A dark-haired man, at least six foot three, with a linebacker's body ill-concealed by a custom-tailored suit.

He seemed to be looking my way, but with his dark sunglasses it was impossible to tell. Then he lowered them, pale blue eyes meeting mine, chin dipping in greeting. He walked over.

"Ms. Adams? A word please?"

Hope


Godfather


I checked for chaos vibes and felt nothing. Still, any time a hulking half-demon stranger sought me out hundreds of miles from my home, I had reason to be alarmed.

"Let's head over there."

He nodded to a quiet corner under an elm. When we stopped, he shivered and looked up into the dense branches.

"Not the warmest spot," he said. "I guess that's why it's the one empty corner in the park. No sunshine."

"But you could fix that."

I braced myself for a denial. Instead I got a grin that thawed his ice-blue eyes.

"Now that's a handy talent. I could use that in my line of work."

"And that would be?"

"Troy Morgan," he said, as if in answer. "My boss would like to talk to you."

The name clicked-Benicio Cortez's personal bodyguard.

I followed Troy's gaze to a vehicle idling fifty feet away. A white SUV with Cadillac emblems on the wheels. Beside it stood a dark-haired man who could pass for Troy's twin. If both of Benicio Cortez's bodyguards were here, there was no doubt who sat behind those tinted windows.

My hastily eaten breakfast sank into the pit of my stomach.

"If it's about this-" I waved at the crime scene, "-you can tell Mr. Cortez it wasn't a werewolf, so . . ." I trailed off, seeing his expression. "It isn't about the werewolf rumor, is it?"

Troy shook his head. Why else would Benicio Cortez fly from Miami to speak to a half-demon nobody? Because I owed him. The bagel turned to lead.

"Okay," I said, lifting my notebook. "I'm in the middle of a story right now, but I could meet him in an hour, say . . ." I scanned the street for a coffee shop.

"He needs to talk to you now."

Troy's voice was soft, gentle even, but a steel edge in his tone told me I didn't have a choice. Benicio Cortez wanted to talk to me, and it was Troy's job to make that happen.

I glanced at the crime scene. "Can I just get a few more minutes? If I can talk to one more witness, I'll have enough for a story-"

"Mr. Cortez will look after that."

He touched my elbow, gaze settling on mine, sympathetic but firm. When I still resisted, he leaned down, voice lowering. "He'd like to speak to you in the car, but if you'd be more comfortable in a public place, I can arrange it."

I shook my head, shoved my notebook into my pocket and motioned for him to lead the way.

As I moved toward the curb, a passing car hit a patch of melting snow, throwing up a sheet of slush. I scampered back, but it caught my legs, dappling my skirt and nylons, the icy pellets sliding down and coming to rest in my shoes. So much for looking presentable.

I rubbed my arms and told myself the goose bumps were from the ice, not trepidation over meeting Benicio Cortez. I'm a society girl-meeting a CEO shouldn't be any cause for nerves. But Cortez Corporation was no ordinary Fortune 500 company.

A Cabal looked like a regular multinational corporation, but it was owned and staffed by supernaturals, and the unique abilities of its employees gave it a massive advantage over its competitors. It used that edge for everything from the legitimate (sorcerer spells to protect their vaults) to the unethical (astral-projecting shamans conducting corporate espionage) to the despicable (a teleporting half-demon assassin murdering a business rival).

I'd spent two years working for the Cortez Cabal. Unintentionally. Hired by Tristan Robard, who I thought was a representative of the interracial council, I'd been placed with True News to keep an eye on supernatural stories, suppressing or downplaying the real ones and alerting the council to potential trouble. My job soon expanded to helping them locate rogue supernaturals.

It had been the perfect way to guiltlessly indulge my hunger for chaos. The phrase "too good to be true" comes to mind, but I'd been in such a dark place-depressed, angry, confused. When you're that far down and someone offers you a hand back up, you grab it and you don't ask questions.
Then came my toughest assignment. Capturing a werewolf jewel thief during a museum gala. I'd been so pleased with myself . . . until that werewolf-Karl Marsten-ripped the rose-colored glasses from my eyes and proved that I was really working for the Cortez Cabal. When we escaped that mess, cleaning services came from an unexpected quarter: Benicio. My employment had been a secret operation of Tristan's, and his attack on Karl a personal matter, so in apology, Benicio had disposed of the bodies and provided medical assistance for Karl.

In return, we owed him. Until now, I'd never worried about that because I had a codebtor. Karl was a professional thief-capable of guiding me through whatever underworld task Benicio set us.
But now Benicio had come to collect, and Karl wasn't around to do anything about it.

My skirt gave an obscene squeak as I slid onto the SUV's leather seat. If the man within noticed, he gave no sign, just put out a hand to help me.

As the door closed, the roar of morning traffic vanished, replaced by the murmur of calypso jazz, so soft I had to strain to recognize it. Gone too were the exhaust fumes, making way for the stench of stale smoke.

"Cigar," the man said, catching my nose wrinkling. "Cuban, though the expense doesn't make the smell any better. I requested a nonsmoking vehicle, but with high-end rentals, people think if they pay enough, they can do as they please."

Benicio Cortez. He bore little resemblance to the one Cortez I knew-his youngest son, Lucas. Benicio was at least sixty, probably no more than five eight, broad-faced and stocky. Only his eyes reminded me of his son-nice eyes, big and dark. The kind of guy you'd let hold your purse or take your son into the bathroom. Bet that came in handy when he was telling you he understood why you didn't want to sell your three-generation family business . . . while text-messaging a fire half-demon to torch the place before you got back from lunch.


From the Hardcover edition.

What People are Saying About This

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"Armstrong excels in depicting Hope's transformations." —-Publishers Weekly

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Personal Demon (Women of the Otherworld Series #8) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 254 reviews.
soltari More than 1 year ago
The other world series keeps getting better and better. It's nice to hear stories from the not so dominant characters while Still including the ones we love. I couldn't put this book done and was very pleased at the end.
Lisa_RR_H More than 1 year ago
I enjoy Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series and snatch them up as they appear. Part of what makes this series different is that the books are from different perspectives--almost always female and written in first person. Earlier installments featured a female werewolf, a witch, an angel, and a necromancer. Now in this book we have Hope Adams, a half-demon. I think of all of Armstrong's heroines, Adams is in the most precarious situation as she struggles with that demonic part of her, to use it without letting it use her. That lends a very palpable tension to the books featuring her, both "Personal Demon" and the next book in the series, "Living With the Dead." This book is a fun and engrossing read for those that like urban fantasy.
harstan More than 1 year ago
She works for a tabloid writing articles about the supernatural a subject Hope Adams personally knows very well since she is a half-demon as her father is Lucifer, who for those who don¿t know is not Satan. She inherited from her dark side a thirst for Chaos so when Cabal chieftain Benicio Cortez, who once helped her out of a mess, asks her to do him a favor in Southern Florida, she accepts besides it is not healthy to refuse an offer from the supernatural mob leader. He wants her to infiltrate a teen gang who are rebelling from Cabal life. --- Hope passes the initiation and goes out on a job to steal from the rich. Karl the werewolf who dumped her is livid that Benico contacted her without consulting with him. He rushes back to the States to help her. While undercover Hope meets low level magician Jasper who makes it obvious that he desires her. When Jaz and his best friend Sonny disappear, she fears the Cabal got them. Karl promises her he will help her find them, but at Cabal Headquarters someone has penetrated security endangering the Cortez family. Hope and Karl work to assist both sides unaware of the peril to their lives. --- Kelley Armstrong has written spellbinding Women of the Otherworld tale that has the audience so engrossed in the plot, time vanishes until the one sitting read is finished. Hope and Karl are a magical couple whose love grows although neither has faith in that emotion because each is a loner. Fans will appreciate the spins involving the gang warfare including the murders of higher echelon members of the Cortez family as this comes together in a fascinating fantasy crime caper filled with shockers especially who is behind the mayhem. --- Harriet Klausner
MonicaLynn on LibraryThing 11 hours ago
I loved this book as much as I loved the others. Twists and turns and excitement. Keep up the good work Kelley looking forward to the next one in the series.
saramllr on LibraryThing 11 hours ago
Not my favorite of the series so far. For some reason I just don't really care for Hope that much.
jthorburn on LibraryThing 11 hours ago
I'm a huge Kelley Armstrong fan but I was a little underwhelmed by this book. It has nothing to do with plot or writing style and everything to do with the fact that there are two narrators in this story - Hope and Lucas. Even though split narration is a fairly common device, I found it somewhat jarring in this context, perhaps because the series is titled "Women of the Otherworld" and Lucas' narration goes against that. I just didn't enjoy his sections as much. It's still a good book, though, and many of my friends love it so it's still worth your time.
ca.bookwyrm on LibraryThing 11 hours ago
This is the 8th book in the `Women of the Otherworld¿ series, and is a blast. I greatly enjoyed reading it. Unlike some series, where the author tries to throw a little bit of each of the previous characters into every book, this one doesn¿t have unneeded mention of characters that aren¿t involved. Yes, there are nods to previous books and prior characters make an appearance when it makes sense. But it does make sense.This particular book is the first in the series that has two narrators. Every previous book has been told from the first-person point-of-view from the female protagonist. This one also has a male first-person POV (and not the gal¿s love interest) that was included because there were some elements to the story that can¿t be told from her eyes. She would have no way of seeing some of the things that happen; instead of telling them second-hand, or fabricating a reason for her to be present, Kelley used dual-narration. I really like it. I think the narrating style works well. The story told by Hope (the gal) is truly only half the story; adding Lucas¿ half really makes the book.I don¿t know that I would call this book my favorite in the series. Hope is not my favorite of the characters (though not my least favorite either) and so the book¿s not quite the same as the books where I really connect with the narrators. Lucas, however, is a favorite, and so I love his sections. Even without this being my favorite, however, Personal Demon does make the short list of my favorite books from the past couple of years.
BookWhisperer on LibraryThing 11 hours ago
Hope Adams, has to return her favors recieved. Benetio Cortez, does not let favors go unreturned. Although, the to return this favor may be her undoing. Little does Hope know she will not be returning this favor alone, but will she be able to accept her partner.
TheDivineOomba on LibraryThing 11 hours ago
I had a really hard time getting into this book. I found the main character to not be very likable. The books pacing seemed to be slow. The background characters all blended into each other, I kept forgetting which character was what. I couldn't finish the book, and finally gave it away. I don't know if I will continue reading this author unless she rights another werewolf store.
maughta on LibraryThing 11 hours ago
Important to remember that Hope is a chaos demon and that chaos basically means high emotional states in humans. This started a little slowly as I tried to remember the characters from a previous book but ended so strongly that the star rating went shooting up. I always look forward to new Kelley Armstrong books. It'd definitely a prereq to have read her other books.
shelleyraec on LibraryThing 11 hours ago
The first of this series I didn't care much for. I didn't really much like Hope, I found her self pity annoying and her motivations were off. I did like Lucas's role however and how he was forced to deal with his father and brothers - it will be interesting to see how that develops in future novels.
reannon on LibraryThing 12 hours ago
Eighth in Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series. The main character in this book is Hope Adams. Adams is a debutante with the exotic looks of her Indian mother. She learns as a young woman that she is a half-demon, and her power is detecting and feeding off of chaos (strong emotions). Not knowing how she was reading strong thoughts and being drawn to them earned her some time in a mental institution. Now she feeds the chaos as a tabloid reporter chasing down alien abduction stories and working for the interracial council of the supernatural races. She accepts an assignment that takes her to Miami to go undercover into a gang that wants to challenge the cabals. She is greatly attracted to one of the young gang members, Jaz, while still trying to deal with her strong feelings for the werewolf Karl.After reading so many books in this terrific series, I've decided Armstrong should take as her motto, "Writing rationally about the irrational". Her plots are well thought out, and so are her characters, who mostly behave like, well, rational adults. They plan things out, yet act when they must, using all their intelligence, talents, and more. The supernatural characters all have powers, and there are consequences to those powers that are often difficult to deal with, and that shape the characters and their destinies. The purpose of all creative writing, in my mind, is to define what it means to be human and explore its limits and strengths. Armstrong does this well in her series by showing the limits of power, and the choices that power forces on us. And along the way she is darned entertaining. Highly recommended.
Unreachableshelf on LibraryThing 12 hours ago
An exciting addition to the Women of the Otherworld series with plot twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. The dual first person narrators, a new technique for Armstrong, work well in order to keep the suspense going. I also can't complain about the fact that my favorite character got to share the narration.
RavenswoodPublishing on LibraryThing 12 hours ago
Kelley Armstrong is a progeny when it comes to supernatural writing. Her books leave you breathless with their racy romances, the constant struggles, and the exciting stories. She does all of this effortlessly and you have no choice but to plummet without stumbling straight into her world. She has created such a strong presence in all of her characters that everything about them makes them seem real! You get so caught up in their stories that you feel you are a part of them. I cannot say enough good things about Kelley!
Katymelrose on LibraryThing 12 hours ago
This is actually my favorite book in the series. I can certainly understand some of the other reviewers distaste for the Hope and Karl relationship, but that's part of the reason why I love it. They certainly aren't the kind of pairing that generally permeates paranormal romance and that adds a layer of complexity that I really appreciate. As the title suggests, Hope brings in a level of internal conflict that had been missing since Bitten. I didn't even realize it was missing until reading Personal Demon, but when I found it, I knew exactly what it was. That internal conflict along with the action, intelligence and sexually charged scenes (wow!) made putting the book down nearly unbearable.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing 12 hours ago
I enjoy Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series and snatch them up as they appear. Part of what makes this series different is that the books are from different perspectives--almost always female and written in first person. This is the first to change that formula, bringing in a second point of view--a male one, Lucas, one of my favorite Armstrong characters who appeared in Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic. (Which means that Paige is featured here, which always is going to kick up these books a notch for me.)Earlier books featured a female werewolf, a witch, an angel, and a necromancer. Now in this book we have as protagonist and main point of view character, Hope Adams, a half-demon. I think of all of Armstrong's heroines, Adams is in the most precarious situation as she struggles with that demonic part of her, to use it without letting it use her. That lends a very palpable tension to the books featuring her, both Personal Demon and the next book in the series, Living With the Dead. This book is a fun and engrossing read for those that like urban fantasy, especially laced with mystery, suspense, and romance.
AngelLocke on LibraryThing 12 hours ago
This one was just o.k. I usually read books again if they are really good but this one is not on that list.
teharhynn on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I'm glad to see that the new character is just as amazing as the others. I couldn't put it down and I look forward to seeing Hope again in the next book.
shadiphoenix on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Man, this series keeps getting better and better. This book focuses on Hope, the half-demon, but gives a first person view from Lucas, as well. Harrison is definitely opening the horizons and possibilities for this world even more. At first it was disconcerting to transition from one point of view to another, from chapter to chapter, especially as I thought this book would be Hope's book exclusively. But in the end, it really works in creating the story and moving the plot along. And knowing Lucas' motives and thoughts makes for a more personal view of Cabal life. Be ready for change and be ready to have a great ride!
Capfox on LibraryThing 3 months ago
It's not a secret that I'm a Kelley Armstrong fan, so it's perhaps not a surprise that I picked this up and read it as soon as I could when it came out. I was pretty happy with the results, but it's not perfect.Here, we have two narrators: Hope, a half-demon who's got a hunger for chaos, and also Lucas, the sorceror first in Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic. The latter definitely has his own voice, and it shows in his narration. The former, unfortunately, I felt seems pretty close to some of the previous narrators in the series. She's definitely different in terms of her power set, so it's not like a direct overlap, but it does feel not as far off as I'd like.Still, I like the writing style on the whole, you get some characters you like back, and some new ones. And the plot is very solid: twisty, but in ways that work well and tie into the rest of the series. Hope infiltrates a gang that might have pretentions to taking on a Cabal, and both the parts with the gang and the fallout once all the schemes are working goes quite well. It was engrossing; I tore through the book in a couple of days, basically.I'm mostly dinging it for the character similiarities, but everything else here is good, and I like it better than the previous book in the series, which is a good sign. If you like her, you'll like this one, too.
Anonymous 6 months ago
This was fun, story a good mystery, but the constantly switching pov's confused me. The book as a result was not as good as I had expected. Too fragmented.
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