“Are you all right, little witch?”

She wasn’t. A demon stood so close to her she could feel the unnatural heat baking off his skin, coming off him in waves. Her muscles had tensed up so much she didn’t think she could move, even to defend herself. Of course, any spells she’d memorized had flown right out of her head anyway. They wouldn’t do her any good.

He picked her up before she could fall again and retrieved the jar from her limp grasp. He set it back on the shelf.

“Clumsy little witch.”

She gasped as he slung her over his back, steadying her with a hand on her rump. He took the stairs two at a time, and she bumped along with his unsteady gait, her view obstructed by his back.

They passed through the kitchen and into her bedroom. Dried potpourri filled the air with the scent of lilacs, an aroma she favored. He unslung her and after a short ride through the air, she landed on a soft surface. Her bed. She grabbed handfuls of the yellow comforter, sure it would soon be splattered red.

His face appeared in her view at the side of the bed, his forehead wrinkled. “You okay?”

She scrambled backwards, rumpling the sheets and comforter into a ball around her feet. Her head banged against the wall. “Ow!”

Rubbing the back of her head and trying to hold back a sob, she stared at the demon. His image doubled in her vision as tears threatened.

“Why don’t you just kill me and get it over with?” she choked out.

He cocked an eyebrow. “What makes you think I’m going to kill you?”

She thought that should be obvious, but maybe he needed clarification. “You’re a demon.”

He sighed and shook his head. “I’m not that kind of demon. Tell me something, little witch. Why did you summon me?”

The question caught her off-guard. She sniffled. “What?”

“It’s a simple question. Demons are usually summoned because the summoner wants something. What. Do. You. Want?” He enunciated each word, as if speaking to a half-wit.

“I didn’t mean to summon you.”

“Oh. I see.” He sat on the bed with his legs folded underneath him. Then he smirked. “Then you shouldn’t have drawn my symbol within the circle.”

“I didn’t—” she began, but he cut her off.

“I’ve been summoned by many witches. But never accidentally.” He gave her a sly, sidelong glance, his eyes smoldering.

The temperature in the room rose about ten degrees. He got off the bed so he could execute a sharp bow. “If I’m an accident, allow me to introduce myself. I am Alecandros. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

After giving her sore head one more rub, she folded her arms.

“Do you even know what you’ve summoned, little witch?”

“It doesn’t matter. As soon as I figure out how to send you back to wherever you came from, I will.” The brave words lost some of their edge when her voice wavered.

“And why would you want to do that?” he asked in a dangerous tone.

She sounded uncertain even to herself. “You’re a demon. You belong in another dimension.”

“I do?” He spread his arms. “Do I look like a demon to you?”

She stared at him. He looked a few years older than she did, and his blue eyes had adopted a more innocent look. No, he didn’t look much like a demon now. Until his eyes flashed to black and back again.

“Let me show you what witches usually use me for,” he whispered, sliding closer. His hand on her ankle made her jump.

“Stop it.” Her voice sounded strangled, even to her.

His hand slid higher, bringing her skirt with it as he leaned over her. “Why? I promise you’ll enjoy it.”