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Cross a lawyer with a tale-spinning thief and throw in three meddling fairy godmothers. Result? Magical mayhem, hidden evils and dangerous desire!
Demons of Dunmore, Book 3
Snapdragon, Pansy, and Rose have their hands full as Allard Dunmore meets the woman of his dreamsâ€”or rather nightmaresâ€”in the impish thief, Jo. When her father goes missing, she enlists Allardâ€™s aid to find him. And she wonâ€™t take no for an answer.
Sparks fly and love sizzles when Jo kidnaps Allard and attempts to force him to help her. Despite his best intentions, Allard is drawn into the web of dark secrets and heretical writings that revolve around the renegade Jo and her mysterious missing father.
As ancient evils chase them, and even allies become enemies, the couple must learn to rely on each other to find the hidden truth. When Jo herself goes missing, Allardâ€™s worst fears are realized. How can he face losing the lawless beauty he has come to love? Is he finally willing to put his doubts aside and believe in her at last?
Rose frowned at the image in the water. â€œI have never seen a man more determined to be miserable.â€
Snapdragon snorted. â€œYouâ€™ve got that right. And stolid. Heâ€™s not a bit of fun at all.â€
Pansy poured herself another glass of wine when the other two werenâ€™t looking. â€œIf he keeps this up, Iâ€™ll have to write a new bookâ€¦Five hundred-and-sixty-seven Ways to Get Your Clients Ready for Love.â€
Snapdragon smiled evilly. She had been waiting for this. â€œSection ninety-one, paragraph eleven of the Charter states â€˜no single fairy shall be allowed to submit more than one manuscript per decade for council approvalâ€™. Youâ€™ve already passed your limit.â€
Pansy jumped to her feet. â€œYou made that up. There is no such ruling!â€ Nevertheless, a thick book appeared next to her hands. She thumbed through the pages quickly before giving Snapdragon a murderous look. â€œVery funny.â€
When Snapdragon laughed so hard she could barely breathe, even Rose lifted her head from the basin long enough to giggle.
Pansy turned her back on them both and slugged a third glass of wine, hiding her own wicked grin. She already had plans to pay Snapdragon back with an itching spell she had just developed.
Suddenly, Rose smacked the side of the basin. â€œWhatâ€™s the matter with this blasted thing?â€
Snapdragon shrugged. â€œItâ€™s over four hundred years old. Probably time to get a new one.â€
â€œThey donâ€™t make these anymore. And a new one would cost us at least twenty yearsâ€™ worth of work.â€ Rose looked completely stunned.
Pansy moved to squint into the pool. â€œIf you want, I can call scry-support. But donâ€™t get your hopes up. Last time they were backed up for months.â€
Snapdragon puffed out her chest. â€œWhoâ€™s in charge of that? We should write the council, have them draft a rule that all support requests be answered immediately.â€
Pansyâ€™s face grew ecstatic. â€œWhat an absolutely marvelous idea! Iâ€™ll get on it right away.â€
Rose continued to peer into the water for several more minutes before she heaved a long sigh of relief. â€œOh, good, itâ€™s finally time to get to work.â€
A fine mist spewed up from Diamond Falls, covering Allard Dunmore with sparkling droplets of water as he stood on the Blue River Bridge above. The bridge had been made of the same unique stone that gave the river its name, and was considered one of the greatest architectural feats in all of Westmyre.
It rose impossibly high from its delicate base on either side of the riverâ€™s edge, and a span that was wide enough to hold three wagons hung suspended from seven ice-thin spires of metal. The bridge had been designed and built by Allardâ€™s lifelong friend Lord Wynn Seville.
Yeah, his good buddy Wynn who was now abysmally happily married to the only woman Allard had ever asked to be his wife.
Dry leaves skittered across the bridge. Allard wrapped his cloak tighter against the mid-autumn chill as he tossed another bit of stone over the railing, bending to watch it disappear into the raging water below.
â€œIf you are planning to jump,â€ interrupted a too-perky female voice from behind, â€œI suggest you aim for the left side. The waterâ€™s deeper thereâ€”less chance of you rising to the surface and actually surviving the fall.â€
Allard turned bleak blue eyes to the impertinent woman who leaned over the rail beside him. â€œI donâ€™t recall asking for your expert opinion.â€ He used his best courtroom voice, doing his utmost to stare the chit down.
â€œHell and damnation,â€ she laughed back. â€œIâ€™ve seen happier faces beneath the churchyard!â€ Long spiky lashes blinked water out of a pair of the most unusual eyes Allard had ever seen. They were the color of lavender smoke, tilted too high at the corners and lit by a true impishness he had rarely seen before.
He frowned, turned his face back toward the water, and lobbed another rock in.
â€œAh, so â€™tis to be the silent treatment,â€ she teased, twisting her head to stare at his features once more. She was so close he could smell her breath, peppermint candy from the booth at the far end of the bridge.
â€œHave you got another piece?â€ He deliberately positioned his face a bare few inches from hers.
She smiled and pulled a stick from the pouch hanging on her belt. â€œMy personal favorite,â€ she assured him, even more upbeat than beforeâ€”if that were at all possible.
Allard found his lips twitching despite his best efforts to stop them, and he quickly bit off a piece of the candy and sucked it in his mouth. He let his lids drop in his most practiced assessing glare.
Her eyes narrowed in return as she leaned negligently against the railing. â€œI know you. Second Dunmore bastard, thought to be the most brilliant lawyer in all of Westmyre, and rumored to be in line for a judgeâ€™s position. You would be the youngest man ever appointed to the Kingâ€™s Bench.â€
Allard considered her anew, even more intrigued. â€œYou seem to know quite a bit about me. Too bad I cannot say the same of you.â€
He held out his hand. She did not offer hers in return, but continued to appraise him through those most unusual eyes. Allard could see they had lost their earlier openness, and now held a sharp intellect that surprised him coming from such an obviously peasant-class girl.
Her hair was pulled back harshly from her face and disappeared under the hood of a threadbare grey cloak that covered her from head to foot. When she moved he got a glimpse of the faded grey shirt and breeches she wore beneath, no womanly curves to her figureâ€”flat as a board in frontâ€”or any femininity at all that he could see. She was as sleek as a thoroughbred mare, coiled tight despite the languid pose, edgy, wired, ready to pounce at a momentâ€™s notice.
She waited until he was done with his appraisal, a knowing grin tugging up a corner of her mouth. â€œI have need of you.â€
Allard raised one brow, raked his eyes over her again, and crossed both arms over his chest. His smile grew feral in return. â€œIndeed? Then I hope we can come to an arrangement that will be to our mutualâ€¦satisfaction.â€ He let his words drip innuendo, pleased to see her raise an unwilling hand to her throat. So there was a chink in her armor after all.
A muscle jumped at the corner of her jaw. Allard reached out a lazy hand and brushed his finger over the spot. She shivered beneath his touch and her eyes darkened to the purple of the sky at twilight.
Allard chuckled. â€œLost that pretty tongue of yours?â€ He shrugged. â€œâ€™Tis a shame, I could have found any number of excellent uses for it.â€