Read an Excerpt
Six weeks ago I made a promise to a dying man. I kept my word, even though he had no right to ask anything of me. Anton Ionescu cursed my mother, forced my infant brother into exile, and hired a hitman to go after me and everyone I love. Most folks would argue that I didn’t owe the man a blessed thing.
They’d be wrong.
Earlier that summer, thanks to an irresponsible bit of magic, I raised Anton’s daughter and niece from their graves — as vampires. Anton died thinking they’d been freed from that curse. I thought the same thing until the next night at the Halloween carnival when they came strolling by my table on the courthouse lawn.
That appearance in itself created an obvious problem, but there’s more. The two girls were arm in arm with a Creavit wizard named Irenaeus Chesterfield who has been working against my family for thirty years.
At the time, all I saw was a man in white tie and tails and two women dressed as Victorian hookers. I thought they were going for a kind of Jack the Ripper/Phantom of the Opera costume vibe.
Then my costume had a violent reaction to the sighting.
It may not have been the most creative decision, but I went to the carnival as a witch. My Barbie-sized friend, Glory Green, came with me the only way she could without being obvious — plastered flat on the crown of my pointy hat. That, and the ability to fly on her broom, are Glory’s only real powers.
So, to be perfectly accurate, Glory was the one who reacted violently. She began to shake so hard I had to put my hand on the hat to keep it from tumbling to the ground.
Chesterfield cursed Glory to live a miniature existence as a stereotypical green-faced witch. Then he sent her into the store I run with my best friend, Tori Andrews, to act as a spy. Glory is on our side now, but she lives in constant terror that Chesterfield will capture and punish her.
That night, however, the wizard and the two women with him didn’t threaten Glory or me in any way. They were already past us when Glory told me the man was Chesterfield.
As I watched, the trio crossed the street and paused long enough to look at me and remove their masks. That’s when I recognized Seraphina and Ioana. Before I could do much more than stare, the three of them disappeared into thin air.
Speaking in a low, soothing tone, I said, “They’re gone, Glory. He’s not going to hurt us.”
“Not now,” she croaked, “but he’ll be back.”
“Yes,” I said, behind my hand. “He will.”
For the record, if people catch you talking to your hat in public, they tend to believe you’ve lost your mind.
“But after everything that happened yesterday, don’t you think we can let the others enjoy the rest of the carnival? Don’t we owe them that?”
Who are “the others?”
That’s quite a shopping list — my parents, Tori’s mother, a couple of agents with the Division for Grid Integrity, my ex-boyfriend/werecat protector, his father, a mostly solid ghost, a brownie, and a rat. Just stick with me here. If you don’t know them already, you’ll meet them pretty soon.
As Glory considered my words, the witch’s hat grew still. “I owe you all everything,” Glory said in a calmer voice. “I’m okay now.”