Tied Bond (Holly Woods Files, #4)

By: Emma Hart


“Kellie! You put-a that-a devil-a down!”

“It’s not a devil, Liliana. It’s a demon. One that will find its way into your bedroom if you don’t get. Off. Of. It!”

I fold my arms across my chest and lean against the front door. Have you ever seen an elderly Italian woman and a fifty-something-year-old woman playing tug-of-war with a decorative demon? No?

Lucky you.

“I do not-a care! It is-a not-a going on-a my-a house-a!”

“It’s my house!” Mom yells. “You haven’t paid rent for ten years!”

My eyes widen. Oh boy. Here we go.

“I no need-a pay-a rent! I cook-a, I clean-a! That-a is-a my rent!”

“You clean the kitchen, you crazy old lady!”

Nonna gasps, her hand flying to her chest in dramatic horror. “I am-a not-a crazy!”

“You’re so crazy you’re lucky you’re not in a home!”

“Noella!” Nonna spins, pointing a wrinkled finger in my direction. “Am-a I crazy?”

Way to put a girl on the spot, Nonna. “Well…” I say slowly. “Crazy is a strong word…”

“Aha!”

“But, then again, so is normal.”

“Noella!”

“What? You asked, I answered.”

She sniffs and pulls her light wrap around her shoulders. “Why-a you-a here? Don’t you-a have-a to feed-a your man?”

“No. He’s working.”

“Aha! I will-a call-a Drake and report this… This-a merda!”

Mom staggers back, her jaw open. “Liliana! That language is not appropriate!”

“Neither is-a your-a demons!” Nonna finally manages to wrench the demon away from Mom and waves it enthusiastically. “Pah!”

Then, to Mom’s undisguised horror, she throws it onto the ground. My eyebrows shoot up, and I step to the side as Nonna storms toward me. Well, as quickly as an old woman with a cane can storm, that is.

“Liliana! You pick that up right now!”

“No! I call-a the police-a!” Nonna frowns and waves her cane in Mom’s direction. “You-a disturb-a the peace!” She turns and shuffles into the house.

“She’s not actually going to… Never mind,” I say, hearing her yell down the phone. Yep, she’s actually calling the police station.

That’s a new one, even for the Bonds.

“She’s crazy!” Mom’s face is bright red as she bends forward to pick up the demon Nonna defiled with dirt. “She needs to be put in a home!”

“You’d need to get her sedated before you tried that.” I straighten a pumpkin Nonna apparently knocked over. “Just put the demons somewhere she can’t see them and then the problem is solved.”

“Oh yes?” Mom raises her eyebrows then pulls out a giant cloaked figure. “What do I do with Lucifer?”

I stare at the five-foot-tall devil decoration that usually spends the holiday hanging on the tree at the bottom of the yard. Its motion-sensor makes it moan every time someone walks past it, and the long robes are forever getting caught on the bush beneath the tree.

“Mom, you might give her a heart attack if you hang him this year.”

“Good,” she mutters. “I might get some peace, then.”

I’d gasp in shock if I didn’t see the truth in her words. Or agree to an extent. Every year, it’s the same. Mom tries to decorate and Nonna kicks up a fuss. Last year, right after the demons had been hung up, Nonna went straight to see Father Luiz, claiming with her usual dramatic flair that Mom had been possessed by the devil.

Mom found herself having a shower in holy water at two a.m. that night.

Yeah. I can’t imagine what will happen this year if the crazy old bat is already losing her shit and all Mom’s done is open a few boxes.