Kris Starr’s never been happier. He’s back on tour, making music, and married to the love of his life, adorable half-demon Justin Moore. But an accident at a show leaves Justin injured and unable to use magic ... until his demon family offers him a terrible and tempting choice.
Justin loves his life, his husband, and rock and roll. But losing his magic leaves him feeling like only half himself, hollow and empty -- until he’s offered the chance to have it all back. The catch? If he agrees, he’ll give up his human half forever ... along with his life with Kris.
Justin’s aunt touched his hand; sparks seared, birthed themselves, traced lines into skin. Kris had worn Justin’s demon-mark, the claiming-mark, for so long that he rarely thought about it; Justin’s fingerprints settled easily in smoke and scarlet over his forearm. Protection from anyone else, Justin had said once, and a promise: Kris could touch the mark, press his own fingers into it, and call his demon-husband to his side.
The back of his hand glimmered in ruby sunfire, now. Mara said, “It’ll last for a week, more or less, that one. I won’t renew it unless you ask. If you need us ...”
“I’ll call you.” Kris wiggled fingers. “I promise.”
“Good,” she said, and touched Justin’s shoulder again. “Pet? We’re going. We’ll come back if you ask.”
Justin blinked, yawned, winced, managed the pencil-sketch of a smile. “Thank you.”
“Oh, don’t thank us,” Mara said, “you’re going to be human for a while, and we’re very sorry,”
“I am human.” Justin’s smile grew a fraction. “And Kris will take care of me.”
“He’d better,” said his aunt, and all three demons vanished, because they knew a good exit line; the air tasted of smoke and hot coals and wild flowers, after.
Night fell like wings around them: amber light, sofa cushions, New York twinkling companionably through wide windows. Stars and lights craned their necks; Justin curled himself further under the blanket.
Kris tucked knitted stripes more closely around him. “Are you cold, love?”
“A little. Mostly it’s just that everything hurts ...” Justin snuck a hand up; Kris took it and kept it and guarded it ferociously. “I’ve pushed myself before, but this feels worse.”
“D’you want coffee? Tea? Our bed?” He rubbed a thumb over the back of Justin’s hand, marveling: Justin was real and alive and loved him. “Anything.”
“You’re trying to do something,” Justin said. “To do something, make something, fix something ...”
“Please let me?”
“It’s not fixable,” Justin said. “You heard them.”
“They said rest. And stay calm, and quiet.” He lifted Justin’s hand, dropped a kiss there. “I’m here for all of that.”
“You love me.”
“I do. Married you, didn’t I?”
This got a laugh, though small; he’d guessed it would. “Kris Starr,” Justin said. “Rock god. Married. To me.”