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.”“Tali, if I blame every dead animal in the county on the presence of witchcraft or black magic, I’d be out of a job faster than a duck on a June bug.” He jumped when his pager beeped.I laughed.He checked the number, dialed, and listened, conversing in monosyllables before he hung up.“Gotta go.Talk to you later.” He stood up.I jumped out of the chair.“Where are you going? Can I go along? Is it something about the murders?” Damn.I sounded like a kid wanting to go on a fun house ride.“I’m going on a domestic call and you don’t want to get involved, especially when you know the people concerned.”I could see from his face that he’d said more than he meant to.“If it’s someone I know, maybe I can help defuse the situation.I’m not as threatening as the sheriff’s department.”He shook his head.“It could get us both killed, you know, but come on.”I ran for the door.“Let’s take my car.They won’t be instantly on guard when we drive up.”“Go out past the Rayburn house to that little frame house right off the highway.I can’t believe I’m letting you do this.”“What if I stay in the car and you go up to the house and do what you do.If it’s appropriate, you tell me to come up.Would that make you feel better?”He frowned.“Not really but it will have to do.”“Why are you being so pissy about my riding along? My God, you didn’t have to let me come.Besides, you let volunteers come all the time.”“They have training and you’re driving, not riding.Plus if you get hurt, my ass is grass for bringing you at all.”“Well, pardon me for living.Whose house are we going to, anyway?”“It’s one of Choice Bergan’s rental houses.A gal and her two kids, moved here recently.She says she has a protection order against her ex and he’s here and won’t leave.She was with you at the contest.”“Lyn? I hope she’s all right.No wonder she was bitchy at the contest, if her ex-husband was harassing her.”We wheeled into the short gravel driveway next to the beat-up green Civic parked there.Lyn stood in front of her front door, the girls looking out from behind her.Her eyes blazed and her hands clenched into fists on her hips.Her expression was so angry, she could probably shoot out dragon fire.Wind whipped her hair around her head like Medusa’s snakes.“Don’t you dare call me that! You’re a coward, afraid of what I can do.You know the one thing keeping me from hurting you is the girls.Just because I can do things you can’t, that frighten you, my gifts don’t give you the right to threaten me.”JT got out and walked toward them.The muscular man planted in the middle of the scrabble yard had a medium build and was about the same age as JT, if you went by looks.As angry as Lyn, the veins in his neck bulged and his face turned red.He spit out words in a rumbling bass.“I don’t know what you think you are doing, but these girls shouldn’t be around you and your magic stuff.I want them with me and my mama in Dallas.They shouldn’t be exposed to all this.Pretty soon you’ll have them lighting candles and chanting and such.It’s the devil’s work and you know it.” His words and dress were at odds.Colorful, grim tattoos circled his arms.He wore a black leather vest and pants that belonged astride a motorcycle.His long hair was tied into a ponytail.At that point I leaped out of the car and ran up to stand by Lyn.It was as if I was back in my own front yard, hearing the same hurtful words out of Brian’s mouth as he kicked me out of my home, put me and my son on the street, literally escorted out of town.Now it was happening to someone else.I didn’t care if Lyn had real magical gifts or not.She was in the same situation I’d been in and no one had stood up for me.“You leave her alone and her girls.She lives here now and in Love, Texas, we stand up for our own.”Lyn stood looking at me with her mouth open, silent for once.Her ex-husband was livid.“If you accept her as one of your own, you’re as bad as she is.I’ve heard things about this town.The devil lives here and God’s wrath will rain down upon you, all of you.”He marched to his car but then turned around.“This isn’t over.I’ll be back with help.I will not leave my children in this devil’s den of evil.You mark my words, you Satan’s whore.”JT stepped up to the car.“If you’re smart, you’ll stay away from my county unless you go through the courts and take legal action.No more threatening defenseless women.”Lyn’s ex-husband laughed.“She’s about as defenseless as a rattler.” He got into his car and spun gravel on his way out of the driveway.Lyn whirled on me.“Now you’ve done it.He’s gone.I could have handled it but now he’ll be back again.What the hell are you doing here, butting your nose into my business?”I stepped back from the fury in her expression.“I was—I wanted to help,” I stammered.“I’ve been in the same position—”She interrupted me.“I don’t care.You leave me and mine alone.And about all that stuff you asked me to do for you, you take care of it yourself.I have better things to do than look after you.”The girls had edged out the door and come to stand by their mother.Lyn whipped her head around and shot a glance at the girls that sent them running back into the house.JT looked stormy himself.“We came because you or one of the girls called for help.If you don’t need help, that’s fine.You have the right to come to the courthouse and file a complaint.If you don’t feel as if you’re in danger, we’ll leave.”“Fine.You leave.I’ll take care of my own problems.I always have.”I stood with my mouth open, staring after Lyn as she slammed her way into her house.Now I was sure of it.Two people lived in that body, the one who called for help and this hellion.I felt bad.I was thinking of her in the same way her husband talked to her.I moved to follow her, ask for an explanation, when I ran into a barrier at the porch.Something I couldn’t see stopped me cold [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]