Kerilyn is nearly the last of her demon-hunter family, her parents and siblings killed by the creatures they resolved to destroy. Alone on Halloween, the one night spirits and demons escape the Netherworld to wreak havoc on the mortal world, Kerilyn tries to stay safe at home, protected by spells and weapons. But one spirit is waiting for her right outside her gate: Arawn, Lord of the Spirits.
Arawn has visited her every year, determined to seduce her. Though Kerilyn tries to resist her forbidden attraction to him, he vows to win her by dawn and draws her into a sensual dream world that tempts her to drop her barriers and indulge in his touch.
But Kerilyn still believes Arawn is her enemyespecially when his brother, the Lord of the Demons, kidnaps her niece. To get her back, Kerilyn will have to risk abandoning her defenses and trust Arawn completely
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"Trick or treat, give me something good to eat."
Kerilyn jerked toward the singing children skipping past her gate. They laughed as they hurried home, no doubt eager to change into their colorful costumes. They'd never know the danger they courted with their song.
But she did.
With a sigh she continued with her ritual, stepping backward around her home.
"Three times around the house," she whispered to herself. "Counter clockwise. Always walk backward." It was a simple protection ritual, one she'd cast over the house every year since she was old enough to understand why it was necessary.
Tonight was All Hallow's Eve, the one night when the dead walked the earth. And the spirits had never been particularly fond of her family.
Completing her third rotation around the home, she glanced up at the setting sun. Time was running out. Grabbing her lighter, she quickly lit the eight jack-o'-lanterns lining her front gate. Several others ringed her house, already lit. Most people set out jack-o'-lanterns for the fun of Halloween. They'd long since forgotten the lore of glowing pumpkins warding off evil spirits. Kerilyn, however, had been raised to remember all the tricks of Halloween. She was well aware of the power within the flickering candlelight.
Every year she waited for this night with a mixed sense of terror and anticipation. From the time she was born, she'd been kept safely indoors every Halloween while her parents and older siblings guarded the house against the beings who always tried to get in.
Kerilyn wasn't an average woman, after all. She came from a very long line of demon hunters. Every year her family and others like them did their best to rid the world of the things that go bump in the night. And every year on Halloween, those things crept back from the Netherworld to take their vengeance.
Wiping a hand across her brow, she studied her front gate. The superstitions were simple but the magic inherent in them had kept her family safe for generations. Of course, times changed. She walked to the corner of the fence and knelt. A small but powerful laser sensor ran the perimeter of her property. She adjusted the invisible beam before slipping the touch screen interface from her pocket.
Kerilyn waved her hand in front of the laser, breaking the beam, and saw the alarm system leap into action around her house. On the screen she saw the computer run through her designated protections. Automatic locks clicked into place on every door and window. Electrical current flowed into every outside doorknob, ready to temporarily incapacitate an enemy foolish enough to touch the metal. If she were inside, she'd hear the whistling alarm warning her trouble was coming. Glancing at her windows, she saw the lights flare on in the house. The brightness would hinder a demon. Once the system was set up for real and not a test run, flood lights would switch on to illuminate the yard. Nowhere for demons to hide.
As she tapped the interface, images from video feeds jumped onscreen. Every angle of the house was monitored with small cameras. Another tap and the images changed to heat sensors set to detect the low temperature of the creatures hunting her.
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