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Coverewwbd

Cover of Every Which Way But Dead

In this book, Rachel prepares for her meeting with the demon Algaliarept.She made a deal to become his familiar in exchange for him testifying against the undead vampire Piscary for the ley line witch murders he had committed and the attempted murders of Trent Kalamack and Rachel herself. Al fufilled his end of the bargain, so Rachel must become his familiar or lose her immortal soul. She does not tell Jenks & Ivy about her deal, but leaves hoping a small point of her contract will keep her safe from the demon, who is undoubtably planning to drag her into the Ever After.

She meets with Al in a small area of blasphemed ground surrounded by the sanctified churchground, hoping to make a quick escape onto holy ground once the meeting is over. Al appears and summons his current familiar, an elf woman named Ceri. It is immediately clear to Rachel that Ceri has no will, Al has had her soul for 1000 years. As such Ceri cannot decide anything for herself and Al laments that she cannot even understand him anymore if he doesn't speak her name first. Rachel becomes increasingly angry during the ritual to make her the new familiar as Al reminices about how Ceri used to cry and sob when he first stole her, saying that she learned to "put out" quickly enough, suggesting that he and perhaps other demons have both physically and mentally abused her for the entire duration of her familiarhood.

Finally Rachel cannot take it anymore and demands that Al return Ceri's soul to her and free her, as he has no more use of her now that he has Rachel. Al laughs and agrees, saying that it will not matter as he is going to kill her anyway. Al restores Ceri's soul, and she gradually becomes more aware of what is happening around her. Once Rachel has completed the portion of the familar ritual that she is required to complete, she grabs Ceri and leaps onto the sanctified ground. Al says that she is in violation of the agreement and he will have her soul as forfeit, but Rachel pulls her trump card - in her original agreement with Al, she demanded that she be allowed to keep her soul even though she was to become a familiar. As a result, though she has completed the ritual and is indeed Al's familiar, she still has her own will, and can do as she pleases - including say no when he tells her to do something. As such he has no claim on her soul whatsoever since he already agreed she could keep her soul (and thus her will) and cannot say that she has broken her end of the bargain. She reminds him that she is covered with his filthy aura and it is clear as day that she has completed the familiar ritual, so he has no legal recourse against her.

Al howls in rage and informs her that she cannot hide on holy ground forever - eventually he will find her off her guard and drag her through a ley line into the Ever After. Rachel & Ceri enter the church, where they are greeted by Ivy & Jenks, who are both stunned that she has already met with the demon and come away unscathed. The crew invite Keasley over, who agrees to take in Ceri as she can use some sort of spell which eases his horrible arthritis pain.

Rachel takes Jenks and goes out shopping for clothes for Ceri, as she doesn't have anything normal to wear. While shopping she runs into Takata, a famous musician, who is looking for security for his show that is coming to town. Takata says that Kisten Felps recommended he speak to her, and explains that he cannot afford to pay both Piscary's protection fees and Stanley Saladan's and that he needs Rachel to help him get Stanley's men to back off. Rachel agrees to help in what way she can, but isn't sure how she will. Rachel goes to Nick's apartment but finds his bags packed. Nick breaks up with Rachel.

When Rachel comes back to the house, Kisten is there with Ivy. Kisten immediately puts the moves on Rachel, and tries to get her to go out with him. At first she says no, but when Kisten pushes her on how long it's been since she had a good time on a date, she decides to try it on the condition that Kisten strictly observes her "no biting" rule.

Later, Kisten picks out an outfit for Rachel and they go to the club Kisten runs for Piscary. Because it has lost it's MPL, Rachel is unsure about going inside, but Kisten assures her everything will be fine. When they enter the club, Rachel starts to act as if she is drunk and gets random fits of clinginess and giggles. Kisten realizes that because of the large number of vampires giving off relaxed pheremones in the club, Rachel has become blood sugared. He quickly gets her out of the club so she can sleep off the pheremones in the car, then takes her to a gambling boat for what he claims will be the second part of the date.

More to come!

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