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Aiden started talking to Gemma, asking her what that was all about, but Gemma ignored him. He’d been standing back up on the stage, so he hadn’t been able to hear everything, but he’d heard enough to know something was up.

The sirens were looking to replace her, and they were probably going to do it soon. If Gemma didn’t break the curse, she was as good as dead. And the only clue Lexi had given her was that the hiding place had something to do with Penn’s dead father.



“Pearl’s?” Harper asked with a raised eyebrow as she slid into the booth across from Daniel. “This counts as a proper date?”

“I never used the term ‘proper date.’” Daniel held up his hands defensively. “I said that we needed to get out more.”

Pearl’s didn’t have an oceanic theme like most of the tourist traps in Capri, aside from one painting hung behind the counter. It depicted a mermaid sitting on an open clamshell holding a huge pearl, and Harper avoided looking at it when they sat down.

When Daniel had said that he wanted to go out tonight, Harper thought he meant something a bit more special, even though it was only a Thursday, and she’d tried to get dolled up. She wore a light summer dress and kept pulling it down to make sure the hem fell below the scar on her thigh.

Pearl, the owner and namesake of the diner, made her way over to their booth. The diner had other waitresses, but every time Harper came with Daniel, Pearl made a special point of waiting on them. That was probably because Daniel was always helping Pearl out, and she wanted to make sure he was treated well.

In her early fifties, Pearl was a somewhat heavyset woman. She looked a little gruff, but Harper knew that she was as sweet as her blueberry pie. Which, incidentally, matched her hair. Harper assumed that Pearl attempted to cover up her gray with some type of at-home dye kit, and it left her with bluish curls that she pinned back.

“Don’t you both look nice?” Pearl commented when she reached their table and looked from Harper to Daniel. “Celebrating something special?”

Although Daniel managed to look foxy no matter what he did, Harper wouldn’t classify him as looking particularly nice tonight. He wore a Led Zeppelin T-shirt with Icarus on it, and he still had the perpetual stubble on his face.

Though Harper had come to prefer his scruff to his clean-shaven look. When he’d shaved once a few weeks ago, his kisses felt different and a little alien.

“No, just hitting the town for the night,” Daniel said, grinning up at Pearl. “What do you have on special tonight?”

“I have meatloaf with homemade gravy, and a chicken salad sandwich,” Pearl said. “The chicken salad comes with fries. But if there’s anything you want, I can make it up for you. And it’s on the house tonight.”

Pearl’s didn’t have menus. She had a few specials written on a chalkboard hanging behind the counter, but with everything else, customers were just supposed to know what she served.

“Thank you, Pearl,” Daniel said. “We’d like a few minutes to think it over.”

“Take your time.” Pearl winked at him. “I’ll check on you in a bit.”

“Thanks, Pearl,” Harper said, then turned her attention back to Daniel.

“What?” Daniel asked once Pearl had walked away.

“She paid you in food again, didn’t she?” Harper asked.

He leaned on the table and offered her a sheepish smile. “I did fix her overhead fan, and offers of food were made, yes.”

“Daniel.” Harper smiled and shook her head. “You have to stop letting people pay you in food.”

He shrugged. “It doesn’t happen that often. I have plenty of jobs that pay me in cash.”

“Really?” She was skeptical and crossed her arms over her chest. “’Cause it seems like you get paid in food or gently used sofas or a box of bootleg VHS tapes.”

“That was one time.” Daniel held up a finger. “And it had an entire season of the original Adam West Batman in it.”

“You don’t have a VCR!” Harper countered.

“I’ll get one,” he insisted.

“Well, if you wait long enough, you’ll probably get paid with one.”

“Haha,” he said dryly, but he was still smiling.

Harper relented a bit, uncrossing her arms and leaning forward on the table. “I’m just saying. You have bills to pay, and I don’t think my dad would let you pay him rent in food or videotapes.”

“Don’t worry. I have it covered.” He waved off her concern. “The Paramount job is paying pretty well.”

“How is that going, by the way?”

“Good. It’s coming together, slowly but surely.”

“Good. Glad to hear it.” Harper rubbed at a spot on the table and, as nonchalantly as possible, she went on. “I thought something might have happened. Gemma came home last night acting kind of strange, but when I pressed her about it, she kept insisting that nothing was wrong. She just spent the whole night reading up on the mythology books I brought home from the library.”

Daniel shook his head. “I had to leave early because I was helping Pearl, but everything seemed fine when I was there.”

“Good.” Harper smiled at him.

Pearl came back to take their orders. Harper hadn’t really been thinking about it, so she just got the meatloaf and a cherry malt. Daniel apparently liked the sound of that, because he ordered the same.