Speak of the Devil

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  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 7/28/2009
  • Publisher: Dell

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With anonymous death threats piling up and her enemy closing in, exorcist Morgan Kinsley stands to lose everything she holds dear: her reputation, her boyfriend, her freedom, and maybe even her life. Original.

Author Biography

Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she's an "experience junkie." She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University. Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like 80% of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating. Concluding that this discovery was her life's work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation.


Chapter One

"I don't need a lawyer," I told Brian once again.

He looked more mulish each time I said it. "Yes, you do!" His voice had risen a tad, but he was still calmer than I was. I suspected I was red in the face by now.

Arguing with Brian is almost always a losing battle, but that never stops me from trying. "This case is bullshit. People have tried to sue exorcists before and gotten laughed out of court."

That was a bit of an exaggeration, but still... The general public doesn't know why most hosts are catatonic after their demons have been exorcized, or why a small percentage are actually brain-dead. And there was absolutely zero evidence that the exorcist's performance had anything to do with it. But that hadn't deterred Jordan Maguire Sr. from filing suit against me when my exorcism on his son didn't go quite the way he'd have liked.

"I don't think you understand lawyers," Brian said with a sardonic grin. "The fact that no one's been successful in a suit so far is more of a plus than a minus for some of them. If they happen to succeed where everyone else has failed, they make a big splash. If the suit fizzles, there's no harm done—but it'll still be a major pain in the ass for you."

"Yes, but—"

"It's not just going to go away, Morgan."

I think I was beginning to believe that, but that didn't stop me from hoping. I had more than enough problems in my life without dealing with a lawsuit. I felt a whopper of a headache coming on. "Why can't you just defend me yourself?" I'm afraid I sounded a little whiny, but I couldn't help it. What's the good of dating a lawyer if he can't defend you when some asshole decides to sue?

"Because you need a tort defense attorney, not a corporate attorney."

I plopped down on Brian's couch and rested my head against the back, staring at the ceiling. If Maguire's goal was to make me miserable, he'd succeeded. But there was a reason I was violently opposed to hiring a lawyer, and it wasn't anything I'd said out loud—yet. See, a couple of months ago, my house and all my worldly possessions had burned to the ground. It was going to take me approximately forever and a day to recover from the financial devastation, even when the insurance company finally coughed up every cent they owed me. There was no question it was arson, and the official investigation had ruled that I was not the guilty party. However, since the fire had been started inside my house while I was still in it, the insurance company had launched its own investigation. My theory was that they were looking for excuses to delay paying me, but it turned out that mentioning this to the insurance investigator wasn't the way to win friends and influence people.

Add to that the fact that the U.S. Exorcism Board had suspended me when the lawsuit was filed, and I was already on a strict diet of ramen noodles and peanut butter sandwiches. I didn't want to think about how much I'd have to pay a lawyer to defend this suit.

"Look," I said, "I know this isn't your area of expertise, but I'd feel a hell of a lot more comfortable with you defending me than some stranger."

Brian sighed as he took a seat on the couch beside me. "You wouldn't find it so comfortable if I bungled the case."

"You wouldn't!" I protested, raising my head to give him an indignant look. Brian is competence personified, and I'm not just saying that because I'm in love with him.

He frowned at me. "Yeah, I would. Not because I'm an idiot, but because I'm not an expert. Believe me, this thing could get ugly fast, and I'd be out of my league."


"What percentage of hosts end up catatonic after an exorcism?"

It was my turn to frown. "I don't know, about

Excerpted from Speak of the Devil by Jenna Black
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