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Burning down the house...
Things are not going well at the offices of Private Eye. Jinx is having demon problems, the city is overrun with pyromaniacal imps, and Ivy's wisp powers are burning out of control, attracting the attention of both the Seelie and Unseelie courts.
Along came a faerie queen... It's the worst possible time for the Green Lady to call in a favor, but Ivy's bound by her deal with the glaistig. Too bad there's no wiggle room in faerie bargains.
Ivy must rid the city of imps, keep Jinx from murdering her one solid link to Hell, and fulfill her bargain with the Green Lady--with sidhe assassins hot on her tail.
Just another day's work for Ivy Granger, psychic detective.
Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy
My first impression of Emain Ablach was that it was wet. Very, very wet. But I didn’t have
much time to think about that fact. I was too busy drowning.
I struggled to swim to the surface—wherever the hell that was—the weight of my clothes, leather
jacket, and weapons weighing me down. My lungs burned and my brain screamed at me to find
a way out of this wet torment. I needed air, badly.
I forced my eyes open, salt and whatever else was in the water burning like acid, but being able
to see my surroundings didn’t help matters. It did, however, make me glad for quick reflexes
and muscle memory.
At the first sign of my assassin stalkers, back in a Harborsmouth alley, I’d grabbed one of my
throwing knives. I may not be able to throw it now, not in this water, but the pressure of the
blade in my gloved hand made it easier to face the grinning corpses smiling back at me.
There were hundreds of them.
Bloated bodies in every state of decomposition drifted at the ends of seaweed infested chains that
rose up from the ocean floor. I would have assumed that the people on the ends of those chains
were dead, a warning to anyone foolish enough to trespass here, except for the hands reaching
outward and the curve of their rotting lips.
Grins like frightened, blue worms curled up toward vacant eyes. The eyes, or what was left
of them, were coated in a white film and looked as though they’d been nibbled on by grazing
fish. The chained corpses may not be able to see, but I had no doubt that they could sense
my presence. Their hands clawed at the water and their faces were all turned in my direction.
Perhaps they could scent me, like sharks on a blood trail.
Now that was a cheery thought.
I kicked away, trying to put more distance between myself and the grasping dead. I recoiled
as my boot hit something squishy. Mab’s bones, I didn’t realize there was a chained corpse
that close to where I swam. I did not want to touch these things or the chains that bound them.
Those were visions I’d never survive.
The delay alone would kill me.
Heart pounding, I propelled myself upward, but I had a nagging suspicion that I wasn’t going to
make it. I’d sunk too deep into this watery hell. Already my lungs burned and dizziness sent my
head spinning like a ride on an otherworldly merry go round. My limbs were cold and heavy and
I could barely feel the knife in my hand.
How ironic would it be to die here, within spitting distance of a tree that grew magical apples
capable of reviving the dead?
Air bubbles sprung from my nose and I fought not to breathe. Inhaling water would mean my
death. I made one more sluggish stroke through the water and felt strong hands grip my waist
and haul me upward. I was sailing through the water, away from greedy hands and the hundreds
of faces that grinned hungrily after me.
My rescuer was a strong swimmer and I doubted Torn would have gone to so much trouble to
save me. I felt a tingle of energy zing through my system, helping me to hold onto the slippery
tendrils of consciousness. Ceff, it had to be Ceff.
I gasped as my head broke the surface of the water, gulping air and choking on a mouthful of
water. I coughed up phlegm and who knows what else—with those corpses steeping down
below, I didn’t want to think about it—and pushed wet, bedraggled hair from my face. I was
alive, but it wasn’t pretty.
I grimaced and pushed the floating evidence of my humiliating coughing fit away. Ceff had a
grip on my jacket, still helping to keep my head above the water’s surface.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
With his wet hair slicked back from large, dark green eyes and his chiseled jaw, he looked
gorgeous. He was completely in his element here, unlike his half-drowned girlfriend.
“I just swallowed a gallon of salty corpse tea and sea monkeys,” I said, a rueful grin on my face.
“I’ve been better.”
About E.J. Stevens:
E.J. Stevens is the author of the Spirit Guide young adult series, the Hunter's Guild urban fantasy series, and the bestselling Ivy Granger urban fantasy series. When E.J. isn't at her writing desk she enjoys dancing along seaside cliffs, singing in graveyards, and sleeping in faerie circles. E.J. currently resides in a magical forest on the coast of Maine where she finds daily inspiration for her writing.
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