“Let that idiot throw it away. He should’ve done it in the first place.”
“Daisy—” I shook my head and returned to the call. I did not have the patience. “This was…about four weeks ago now,” I told the detective. “I was paid to send the ghosts across the Line—honestly, it doesn’t matter. You’ll just think I’m weird. Bottom line, Jim really wanted someone to get that message to you. Eight-seven-seven in terminal three. He didn’t elaborate and I didn’t ask. I’m just passing it on. My conscience is clear.” I leaned back with a farewell on my lips.
“How is it you know Romano?” the man asked before I could get away.
Daisy opened the refrigerator, leaned against the door, and stared into its depths.
“Daisy, you’re wasting electricity,” I admonished her. “Get in and get out.” I returned to the call. “Sorry, we’ve gotten some charity in the last few weeks and it has resulted in more than enough food to go around. It’s causing all sorts of unforeseen problems. Anyway, I don’t know Romano. He showed up at my booth at what they call a magical showcase, asking that I banish a few ghosts. Before I banish an entity, I let them speak for five minutes. Jim gave me that message to pass on. Eight-seven-seven—”
“How did Jim die?”
“I don’t know. I ignored him for most of his five minutes.”
Silence stretched across the line.
“I know how that sounds,” I rushed to say. “But I’m not in the habit of listening to descriptions of grisly violence. I try to tune that sort of thing out. But as I said, he got my attention at the end of his five minutes and made sure I heard that message and who to give it to. After that, Jim-the-spirit was okay to leave.”
“Jeez, whoever you’re talking to sounds dense,” Daisy muttered.
“To leave?” the detective asked.
“To go across the Line. To rest in peace.”
“I see.” The man’s tone suggested he thought I was hiding something. “You’re magical, did you say?”
“Yes. So anyway, good luck. Hope you get your man. Bye.” I pulled the phone away from my head, ignoring the detective’s “Wait—”, and tapped the button to end the call. He seemed like the type who would call me in for questioning. That was not something I wanted any part of.
“Did he believe you?” Daisy asked as she pulled out a carton of milk.
“He was too busy being suspicious to believe me. He probably thinks it’s a trap, or maybe that I’m a criminal snitch, or…who knows.” I stood from the table and swiped my hands together. “No longer my problem. I did what I promised. End of story.”
She shook her head slowly. “You should’ve used that letterhead I stole from Denny’s dad. It couldn’t come back to bite you, that way.”
Denny was a guy Daisy had kept on the hook for a while—even after she stole shifter medicine from his dad’s vet shop and blackmailed him to stay silent about it. Mordecai and I had nagged her until she stopped seeing him.
“I didn’t leave my name,” I said. “How could they possibly find me?”
She rolled her eyes at me as she pulled a box of cereal out of the pantry. “You used your cell phone, dummy. They could trace it.”
“They don’t trace every call, give me a break. And besides, Kieran prepaid the phone service for a year. Given what I know about his obsessive need to control every situation, it’s probably in his name. If there’s a problem, they’ll go straight to him. Still not my problem.”
“Unless you two fall out. Then he could just turn you over to the cops.”
“He’s a Demigod, Daisy. A Demigod of Poseidon’s line—one of the Power Three.” She looked at me with a blank face. It occurred to me that she had some gaping holes in her education. “The Power Three gods are the original brothers. Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. Many believe they are the most powerful of the gods. Demigods of their line often have more power, though how much more, I couldn’t say.” She continued to stare at me with a blank expression, and I realized that it wasn’t a lack of knowledge, it was a lack of interest. “Right. Anyway, he might not be in charge of a specific territory yet, but he’s one of the most powerful people on the entire planet. If he wants me dead, he’ll kill me himself. He won’t even need to hide the body. The man could literally just say ‘oops’ and walk away. I’m a nobody living in the cracks between the magical and non-magical societies. No one would be bothered.”
“And you took a job working for him?” She clucked her tongue. “Suicide.”
I let my mouth drop open as I stared at her incredulously. “Have hormones clouded your brain, or something? You helped me set up that job. You got him to buy me a Burberry, and you negotiated a higher salary. You’re just as much at fault as I am.”
“I’m a good business manager. I don’t advocate which jobs my client should and should not take. That would be unethical.” The cereal pinged off the sides of the bowl.
I threw up my hands. “You’re talking gibberish. Look. He’s not going to kill me. We both know that. Not unless I piss him off or something—”
“He’s a ticking time bomb.”
“Besides, the cops aren’t going to come after me over this. It was a hazy message delivered by a magical lunatic. Chances are they’ll probably ignore it like people have ignored most of my other warnings. But if they do manage to decipher it, and then actually find something… Well, I doubt they’ll want to seek me out and share the glory. It’s over. My job as a Ghost Whisperer is behind me. Onward to bigger and better things.”
“Now who’s talking gibberish? You’re just about to start working for a possessive Demigod with daddy issues.”
I hated losing arguments to hormonal teenagers who thought they knew everything. But she did have a point.
“Touché,” I ground out. “Now go get Mordecai up. Your training starts in an hour. If you guys eat too late, you’ll throw up your breakfast again.”
“I’m not his mother,” she replied, adding milk to her bowl.
“I’m his mother…ish. And yours…kinda. And I’m telling you to go get him up.”
“Ugh!” She gestured at her bowl. “Why didn’t you tell me to do that before I filled my bowl? Now it’s going to be soggy.”
“Then give him that bowl as a punishment for getting up late, and make yourself a new one.”
She cocked her head at my bad parenting. Then nodded with a determined expression. “He deserves it.” She stalked off down the hall.
“And someone throw away that empty ice cream carton,” I hollered.
I eyed the clock. I had a few hours before my first real business meeting. More time than I’d ever taken to get ready for anything. But it felt important to create an impression today—something to set the tone for my business relationship with Kieran. I needed to look business savvy and experienced, as well as competent and confident. Most of all, I needed to look independent and aloof.
I didn’t need him for anything. I could survive on my own. I’d been doing it since my mother had died six years ago. And I certainly wasn’t hung up on his core tightening appearance, his incredible charm, and his awe-inspiring strength and power. I would show him that none of those things fazed me, and I was in it for the job. End of story.
A firm rap sounded at the door and butterflies exploded in my stomach.
“It’s that tough guy who won’t fight,” yelled Frank, my miserable excuse for security. He was great at watching and reporting what went on outside my door—even though he either didn’t know, or refused to use, names—but given that he was a ghost, and couldn’t do anything, physically, about trespassers, he wasn’t ideal for protection.
“He means Zorn,” I mumbled to myself. Zorn was one of Kieran’s Six, a group of guys who had given some sort of blood oath to protect Kieran.
I gave myself a once over in the mirror, straightening my second-hand suit top before sliding my palms down the badly ironed fabric over my thighs. With the pad of my middle finger, I corralled a loose strand of blonde hair back into the bun at the back of my head. I’d debated wearing my hair long, but for a professional and, dare I say, uptight look, a bun felt more appropriate.
I took a deep breath, checking my nearly nonexistent eye makeup and extremely light coat of pink lip gloss, when the front door burst open. I startled and stuck my head out of the bathroom.
Daisy trudged through the front door with a red face dripping with sweat. Mordecai followed, his dark skin shining and his expression pulled down with fatigue.
I grinned and strode down the hall. “Hard workout today?”
“Wuh—water,” Daisy managed.
Mordecai nodded grimly, tripping on nothing and staggering into the kitchen.
“Why is Zorn here already?” I heard Daisy ask Mordecai. Then: “Get off,” followed by a grunt. She’d likely elbowed him.
Zorn filled the doorway. Over six feet tall and with a solid frame, his grim face and muscular body would give pause even to the battle-hardened. Neither the perfectly tailored, pristine suit he wore nor the expensive watch wrapped around his wrist did anything to detract from the murder and violence that raged in his stare. One look made a person’s spine turn to jelly.
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