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White Witch, Black Curse
White Witch, Black Curse

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White Witch, Black Curse

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018
Добавлена: 27.12.2018
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And usually did, I thought as the first hot sip of coffee slipped down and I closed my eyes in bliss. “Like what I’m doing now, is that safe?” I said as my eyes opened. “Jeez, Robbie, I’m twenty-six. I can take care of myself. I’m not the puny ninety-pound nothing I was when you left.” It might have been a tad harsh, but the resentment of his trying to stop me from going into the I.S. remained.

“All I meant was that the people who run it are liars and corrupt vamps,” he cajoled. “It wasn’t just the danger. You would never have been taken seriously there, Rachel. Witches never are. You hit that glass ceiling, and there you sit for the rest of your life.”

I would have gotten mad, but looking in hindsight at the last year I spent at the I.S., I knew he was right. “Dad didn’t do too bad,” I said.

“He could have done a lot more.”

Actually, he had done a lot more. Robbie didn’t know it, but our dad had probably been a mole in the I.S., passing information and warnings to Trent’s dad. Crap, I thought in sudden realization. Just like Francis. No, not like Francis. Francis had done it for money. Dad must have done it for the greater good. Which begged the question of what he’d seen in the elves to risk his life helping them stay out of extinction. It hadn’t been in return for the illegal medicine to save my life. They had been friends even before I was born.


I took another sip of my coffee, scanning the busy terminal for Jenks. A sense of unease was growing in me, and I almost choked on my drink when I spotted the security guard looking at us from across the hall, just standing there, watching. This keeps getting better and better.

“Earth to Rachel…Come in, Rachel…”

I gave myself a mental shake and pulled my gaze from the air cop. “Sorry. What?”

He looked me up and down. “You got quiet all of a sudden.”

I forced my eyes to stay off the armed guard. Another one had joined him. “Just thinking,” I hedged.

Robbie looked into his coffee. “That’s a switch,” he needled. But there were three rent-a-cops now. Two I could handle, but three was iffy. Where are you, Jenks? I wanted to get out of here, and I pretended to accidentally knock my coffee over.

“Whoops!” I exclaimed brightly, and while Robbie jumped up to avoid getting soaked, I scurried for the napkins to get a better look at the terminal police. Two Weres, I thought, and a witch. They had joined forces and were making their slow way over here. Shit.

“Think you can walk and drink at the same time?” I muttered to Robbie when I returned and started mopping up the mess. “We need to find Jenks and get out of here.”

“The cops?” he said, and my eyes jerked to his in surprise. “You didn’t have to waste good coffee like that to get me to move.”

“You know?” I said, and he grimaced, his green eyes showing more than a hint of anger.

“They’ve been dogging me since I got to the airport,” he said, his lips barely moving as he put the lid on his cup and hoisted his bag. “I was all but strip-searched at security, and I swear the air marshal was sitting beside me on the plane. What did you do, little sister?”

“Me?” I almost hissed, peeved that his first thought was that they were after me. I wasn’t the one who played in Brimstone-laced dives and went on season-long tours, moving to a new city every night. No, I just stayed in little old Cincinnati, bumping into city leaders the way most people run into their neighbors at the grocery store.

“Can we just get out of here?” I said, thinking this might explain why I’d been searched on the way in.

Robbie made a noise of agreement, and as I shouldered one of his bags and picked up his instrument, he handed me his coffee and took his guitar back. “You break things,” he said in explanation, and the strap slipped from my grip.

The cops swaggered behind us as we headed to the luggage claim, and it gave me the creeps. Robbie was silent until we hit one of the moving sidewalks, and in the soft hum of it, he pulled me close and whispered, “Are you sure the I.S. isn’t still after you for quitting?”

“Positive,” I insisted, but I was starting to wonder. I was working on a twin murder involving a banshee and a human. Edden said they didn’t care about Mia, but what if they were covering something up? Not again, I thought dismally. But they would have sent Denon to threaten me by now. Maybe he’d gotten a promotion instead. The last time I’d seen the ghoul, he’d looked better.

We were nearing the end of the sidewalk, and Robbie hoisted his bag higher in such a way that he could glance at the armed men behind us. The twenty feet had become fifteen, and I was getting edgy. Jenks’s distinctive wing chirp pulled my attention to a flower cart, and seeing him busy, I pointed to the baggage claim, then jerked my head behind me. He made a burst of light in acknowledgment, which delighted the woman with him, and we continued on.

“Jenks?” Robbie said softly. “That’s your backup, right?”

“Yes.” I frowned as I shifted Robbie’s bag to a more comfortable position. “You’ll like him. He’s getting something for his wife. I don’t know why those guys are following us.”

“You’re not trying to get out of dinner tonight, are you?” Robbie said loudly as we got off the walk, and I forced a laugh.

“Maybe,” I said, willing to play along. “I have a few things I have to do. I’ve got a library book to return, and a sick friend in the hospital I want to visit tonight.”

“Don’t you dare,” Robbie said for the benefit of security as we slowed to funnel through a small hallway by the security gates. “I need you there as a buffer in case Mom gets the photo albums out.”

I smirked, knowing exactly what he meant. “Mmmm, you should have brought Cindy with you. I’m bringing someone tonight.”

“Not fair,” he exclaimed as we passed into the unsecured part of the airport, and I glanced behind us to see that our escort had dropped to one. Thank God it’s the witch. One witch I can handle, even without Jenks.

“Yes fair,” I said as I pointed to the hallway we had to take. “His name is Marshal, and he works at the university as a swim coach. He helped me once on a run, and he’s the first guy I’ve ever hung with who isn’t trying to get a little something, so be nice.”

Robbie eyed me as we got on the escalator. “He’s not…”

I looked over at his hesitation to see him holding the moving railing with his pinkie delicately extended, and I smiled with half my mouth. “No, he’s straight. I can be with a straight guy who’s single and not sleep with him. God!”

“Well, I’ve never seen it,” Robbie said, and I shoved him, burning off a little of the adrenaline from the three security guys. “Hey!” he exclaimed good-naturedly, catching himself in time to handle the end of the escalator with no problem.

We were silent as we scanned the monitors for his flight number and carousel, then slowly joined the growing group of people angling for a good spot. Any day, Jenks.

“You still living in that church?”

My blood pressure spiked, and I dropped his bag with a thump. “With that vampire, yes.” How does he hit my buttons so fast?

His gaze on the bags spilling out one by one, Robbie made a noise deep in his throat. “What does Mom think?”

“I’m sure you’ll hear all about it tonight,” I said, tired already. Actually, my mom was pretty cool about it. And with Marshal there, she might not bring it up at all.

“There it is,” Robbie blurted out, saving me from further conversation, and then his expression became concerned. “I think it’s mine,” he added, and I dropped back when he wedged himself between two shorter women to lug the rolling suitcase off the belt.

The clatter of pixy wings and the soft sound of cooing people told me Jenks was around, and I wound my scarf around my neck to give him a place to warm up. The lights had been bright around the flower cart, but it was drafty here by the doors.

“Hi, Rache,” Jenks said as he landed on my shoulder with the scent of cheap fertilizer.

“Get what you want?” I asked as Robbie lugged his rolling suitcase off the belt.

“No,” he said, and I could hear the annoyance in his voice. “Everything had a waxy preservative on it. Why, by Tink’s little red shoes, are three cops following you?”

“I have no idea.” Robbie trundled his suitcase to us, his head down and looking annoyed. “Hey, Robbie, I want you to meet Jenks, my business partner,” I said as my brother halted before us, disgust clear in the way he yanked the pull lever up.

“Someone broke the lock on my suitcase,” he said, then forced the irritation from his face when Jenks flew down to look at it.

“Yep,” the pixy said, hovering before it with his hands on his hips, then darting up, making Robbie’s head snap back. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you,” Jenks said.

“You’re the one keeping my sister out of trouble?” Robbie said as he offered Jenks a hand to light upon, his smile honest and full. “Thanks. I owe you big.”

“Naahh.” Jenks’s wings turned a delicate shade of red even as they hummed to life. “She’s not that hard to watch. It’s my kids who run me ragged.”

Robbie sent his eyes to me, then back to Jenks. “You’ve got kids? You don’t look old enough.”
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