I first read this book December , I reread it January , I really enjoyed this story! It was delightfully creepy. The humans were dumb but strong.
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But our mixed-blood heritage short-circuits our talents at all the wrong times. My sister Camille is a wicked-good witch whose magic is as unpredictable as the weather.
My sister Delilah transforms into a tabby cat at the worst possible times. And me? First, Iris and I unearth a diary from one of the bartenders at the Wayfarer who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. I took over, finishing the job. A wash of warm summer air filtered through the open window along with the sounds of horns honking, blaring music, and laughter from a gang of street kids who were smoking weed in the back alley behind the Wayfarer.
The air had a happy-go-lucky feel to it, a stir of excitement, like a street party about to spontaneously erupt. His name was Chester, but he went by Chit, and he and his buddies had become a fixture around the bar over the past few months. In fact, they kept some of the less desirable elements away from hanging out in the alleys. Chit waved back. And though I was only half-Fae, and a vampire to boot, he treated me like I was just another one of the locals.
Since I now owned the entire building the Wayfarer Bar and Grill resided in, I decided it was time to clear out some of the rooms over the bar and turn them into a paying resource. My sisters and I could furnish them, rent them out to Otherworld visitors, and make a nice chunk of change. Especially since we were paying Tim Winthrop for his computer work he was doing for the Supe Community. And it looked like all of them had remained untouched for years.
Piles of junk and thick layers of dust permeated the entire story. I stretched, arching my back, and shook my head. Unfortunately the diminutive giant had met an untimely end at the hand of Bad Ass Luke, a demon from the Subterranean Realms. At least not yet. I recognized the weave on a couple of tunics. Iris snorted. Shaken out of my reverie, I lifted the trunk with one hand and effortlessly carried it to the center of the room.
Being a vampire had its perks and extraordinary strength was one of them. I thought they were going to help. Iris was wearing a pair of denim shorts and a red and white gingham sleeveless blouse, with the ends tied together under her breasts. A pair of blue Keds completed her country-maid ensemble. I grinned.
She knew where I was, and she was my best waitress. Tavah, as usual, was guarding the portal in the basement. She had good teeth, that was for sure. Probably dead mice, with our luck.
She leaned over and deftly inserted a bobby pin into the oversized hole, then whispered a soft chant. Within seconds, the latch clicked. I gave her a long look and she shrugged. Simple locks I can pop. Deadbolts, not so much. As it softly creaked, the faint odor of cedar rose to fill the air. Mingled with the fragrance of tobacco and frankincense, the scent was dusty, like an old library thick with leather and heavy oak furniture. It reminded me of our parlor, back home in Otherworld.
Iris peeked over the edge. No dead mice. No gems or jewels, either, but there were clothes and several books, and what looked like a music box. I slowly lifted the box out of the soft cushion of dresses in which it had been nestled. The wood was definitely harvested from Otherworld. Wood from an Arnikcah tree was hard, dark, and rich, with a natural luster that shimmered when polished.
Easy to spot by its rich burgundy tones, the color rested somewhere between mahogany and cherry. The box was fastened by a silver hinge, and I flipped it open, gently raising the lid.
A small peridot cabochon, inset on the underside of the lid, flashed as the sound of tinkling notes fluttered out. Not pan-pipes, but a silver flute, sounding the song of woodland birds at the close of sunset. Iris closed her eyes, listening to the melody. After a moment, it stopped and she bit her lip. Father gave it to her. Camille would know if anybody does. A deep plum, the cloth had absorbed the scent of the Arnikcah wood.
I shuddered, finding myself unaccountably sad as I touched the glowing gem fastened to the underside of the lid. Once more, the melody began to play, lightly trilling through the dusty room. I closed my eyes, transported back to the long summer nights of my youth when I would dance in meadow as Camille sang her spells to the moon, and Delilah chased fireflies in her kitten form.
Iris peered into the box. Silver, embossed with a scrollwork of roses and vines, the heart sprang open as I touched the hinge, revealing a picture and a lock of hair. The photo was definitely Earthside in nature, and was of an elf. A man. The lock of hair was so pale it was platinum. No dye had ever touched these tresses. I held it out to Iris. She closed her fist around the hair and squinted. What a pretty pendent. I wonder who it belongs to?
The clothing had belonged to a woman. A tunic, several pair of leggings, a belt and jacket, a brassiere. I held up the undergarment. Whoever owned this had small breasts. The cloth was elf-weave, that much I recognized. Beneath the clothes, in the bottom of the trunk, we found a journal.
I opened it to the first page. The inscription read "Sabele," written in a scrolling hand. I could recognize it, but not read it. But Camille could. Want to make a bet this was a bedroom; perhaps for whoever owned this locket and diary?
Just haul it into the next room for now. As usual, she was dressed to impress, in a black velvet skirt, a plum bustier, and stilettos. Morio was right behind her, carrying five pizza boxes, and behind him-Smoky towered over everybody, looking bemused but not entirely thrilled to be tagging along.
Iris jumped up and wiped her hands on her shorts. He might look like six-foot-four feet of man flesh with silver hair down to his ankles, but when he transformed, he was all dragon under that snow-white veneer. He ate horses, cows, and the occasional goat.
On the hoof. He joked about eating humans, too, but none of us took him seriously, although I suspected there might be the occasional missing person we might attribute to him. One of her husbands. Morio, a Japanese youkai-kitsune-fox demon, loosely translated-was her other husband. Camille had a third lover. Trillian, a Svartan, had been missing too long for comfort and I knew she was worried about him.
He indulged behaviors in her that would earn most people a one-way ticket to crispy critter land. I frowned at the pizzas. Or anything, actually. All salt, no sweets. Kind of like generic beer. It did the trick but in no way or form could you call it haute cuisine. I cocked my head. Instead it smelled like