When a demon deals drugs, there are no repeat customers.
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A club drug that makes ecstasy look like caffeine, Euphoria, is an instant hit, but it turns addicts into killers. Each victim brings ancient Mayan demon Grohah closer to physical life.
Liverpool Detective Finn Caffrey has orders to kill the man who created it.
Finn infiltrates the operation of drug lord Marchant, dirtying his hands and his conscience. He didn’t expect the added distraction of Lysa Warner, a doctor who increasingly sees the effects of Euphoria in the emergency room. When her drug-addicted teenage brother goes missing, she needs Finn’s help.
A large shipment of Marchant’s heroin is due, forcing Finn to strike a dangerous balance between his deepening feelings for Lysa and loyalty to his operation. Working undercover just isn’t like the movies.
Finn and Lysa realise they have more than a drug dealer to contend with when they discover the truth behind Euphoria is Mayan demon Grohah. To fulfil the prophecy of a new world in 2012, many must die in order for Grohah to walk the earth again.
When Marchant captures Lysa, Finn has to make a choice. Stop Marchant, and save the woman he loves from torture and death, or stop a demon bent on sending as many people to hell as it can.
Ordinary people are faced with extraordinary choices. Which is worse, the evil we can see, or the evil we can’t?
1 - THE PERFECT PLACE
It was the perfect place to wait for a death.
Swathed in night shadows, the Corinthian pillars of St. Georges Hall concealed the man who would spill blood onto the streets of Liverpool.
Across the street, a car horn blasted at a group of drunken girls as they stumbled out in front of the headlights, staggering from one bar to the next.
He returned his attention to the flashing glass fruit above the doorway of ‘The Dancing Lime’. A stupid name, suited to the idiot people who went there.
She was inside. Her impending death prickled his bones, worked its way through muscles and tissues to sting his skin, urging him to cross the street, go inside the nightclub, find her.
Wait. His heavy clothes and fedora were not suited to clubbing.
He surrendered to the wave that surged through his body to break into whispers in his ears. Close now. He could almost taste the sweetness; feel the flow of life energy leaving her.
A door crashed open.
She dashed out, tearing at her face and mouth, pulling out clusters of black and pink hair. She vomited on the concrete and kept running. Two young men ran out after her, shouting, calling her back.
She stopped and turned, clawing at her face. Fingers dug into her eyes and poured blood down pale skin.
He reached out from his mind to grab hold of her panic, too see the demons she hallucinated, to feed from her terror. Finally, the mix was right, the success he’d been waiting for. Grohah would be pleased.
Rosy eyes dangled like cherries on her cheeks. Ribbons of skin draped a veil of flesh over her neck. Vital seconds to savor her pain before her shattered mind surrendered her life. Her mouth widened over ruby teeth. From her throat, a scream like a thousand burning rats tore open the night.
Ripples of bliss electrified his nerves. Every sound, all the energy he could pull from the people, the buildings, the vehicles, all blended to the perfect pitch of elation that blazed his body with a heat that did not burn.
Abruptly, his mind cleared. She lay on the ground. Dead.
Wailing sirens approached, jerking the throng out of their daze. Howls and sobs saturated the summer air.
The Baker slid out of the shadows and inhaled the stench of vomit and blood. Power and immortality would soon be his.
The era of Grohah had begun.
2 - AVOIDANCE
“Why the fuck did Jake have to go pull a stunt like that?” Big Don threw his cigarette butt out of the open car window into the warm summer night. “Marchant will kill him for this, and it won’t be quick or painless.”
It wasn’t hard for Finn to figure out that Jake wanted a new life with Kelly before she discovered what he did for a living. When you worked for a gangster, your life expectancy wasn’t always that long. A familiar ache nagged in his chest, memories of the life he’d shared with Amy. A future stolen. Can’t get sucked down into what could have been when trying to stay in character undercover. Finn concentrated on traffic as he made the left turn into Speke Boulevard towards Liverpool’s John Lennon airport.
“Damned if I know,’ Finn lied, “but if we don’t find him, and the coke, we’re in the shit too.”
“Tell me something I don’t fucking know Sherlock.”
I’m going to put you and your piece of shit boss in jail, was what Finn wanted to say, but instead replied, “The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backwards.”
Big Don’s forehead wrinkles dug deep into his skin as he screwed up his eyes. “What the fuck? Are you some kind of bleedin’ bird expert?”
“Nope. Read it on the back of a cereal packet.”
“Freak. Fuckin’ freak you are.”
Finn turned slightly and grinned at his sidekick. “Yeah, because if I was normal, I’d be working in a bank instead of hunting down runaway drug dealers.”
Don folded his lips into a thin line and nodded. “Point taken.”
The retail park was lit up as though everywhere was open for business, but only night crews watched the deserted stores. Turning left into Speke Hall Road, the airport came into view. Anxiety started at his feet and worked its way up to his stomach, where it sat like a firmly fixed sea urchin, quivering, with no intention of moving. He didn’t want to go to the airport; in fact, he didn’t want to find Jake at all. He hoped he’d gone already, off to some safe place where Marchant couldn’t hurt him. Plus, if they did find Jake, Marchant would want them to kill him, and as a cop, Finn didn’t want to have to test his loyalty to that degree. Two people had met a bullet from his gun in his career, and both times a part of him died with them.
Don was silent while Finn found a place to park the car. When Big Don went quiet, he was at his most dangerous. Shit. Walking towards the bright lights of the airport entrance, Finn straightened his back and mentally counted to six on each inhale and exhale. They reached the middle of the three entrances. “I don’t think he’s here.” Finn shook his head, pushing open the glass door.
“Quickest way out of the country,” Big Don replied while scanning the airport and people. “This place isn’t very big, shouldn’t take us long to check out.”
Finn was inspecting the layout. Trying to buy time for Jake he said, “I’ll take the check-in desks on the right, you take the arrivals.”
“Why the fuck would he be in the arrivals section?”
“I don’t know, hiding maybe? If we don’t check everywhere Marchant will be pissed.”
Big Don rubbed his neck, twisted his lips to the left and chewed the corner of his mouth, something he did when he was in reluctant agreement. Finn wondered if he ever thought about shaving his hands. If it wasn’t for the heavy yellow gold rings he wore, he’d look as though he was wearing fur gloves.
“Fine,” Don replied, “But make sure you check out the toilets.”
A few people glanced at Big Don as he walked by them, but quickly looked away. Don looked intimidating when he was in a good mood, but now, with simmering anger seeping out of his pores, he oozed poison.
Finn reluctantly turned his attention to the check-in area. Don’t turn up here Jake. I don’t want to kill you.