Home > How to Survive an Undead Honeymoon (The Beginner's Guide to Necromancy #8)

How to Survive an Undead Honeymoon (The Beginner's Guide to Necromancy #8)
Author: Hailey Edwards


“Mr. and Mrs. Woolworth,” an elderly man warbled at us with a dentured smile. “Our honeymooners.”

Linus never failed to surprise me, and his choice of post-wedding destination did not disappoint.

The cozy bed-and-breakfast smack-dab in the middle of nowhere Delaware was adorable. I could picture us cuddling in bed, reading in bed, eating in bed, and other activities best suffixed with in bed. But what I couldn’t imagine was how Linus had selected this pinprick on a map for our quickie romantic getaway.

Curiosity sharpened my gaze while I searched for what, exactly, about the remote inn had intrigued him.

“We’ve been expecting you,” the man continued, wiry glasses slipping down his bulbous nose before catching on the wide flare of his nostrils. “I’m so pleased you chose us to take these first steps with you as man and wife.”

About to thank him for his hospitality, I opened my mouth and coughed when brimstone hit the back of my throat. The potent fragrance of dark magic rolled over my skin a moment later, and I shivered, easing closer to Linus.

“The inn is lovely.” He wrapped a proprietary arm around my waist. “We’re looking forward to our stay.”

The old man preened at the compliment and adjusted his glasses with a practiced nudge from his pinky.

“Kyle will show you to your room.” Mr. Oliphant rang a bell behind the counter, and a teen sporting a faux hawk braided tight against his skull emerged with a scowl pulling at his bottom lip piercing. Dressed head to toe in more shades of pink than a flamingo, I envied that flare for color coordination. I couldn’t have gotten it right without help from Neely. “Escort the Woolworths to their room.”

“It’s Kylie, Gramps.” He—no, she—crossed her arms over her chest. “We talked about this.”

“I had a Kyle for sixteen years.” He waved a gnarled hand. “Give me longer than a week to get used to having a Kylie.” He snapped his fingers then pointed one at her. “I’ll remember next time.”

“Sure, you will.” She snorted. “And Grams will remember where she put her reading glasses the next time she loses them.” Tall and lean, Kylie vaulted over the counter with the ease of someone who had performed the move a million times and landed in front of Linus. “Where are your bags?”

“In the car.” Linus held up a key fob Kylie was quick to snatch. “In the trunk.”

Kylie grumbled under her breath about having better things to do and heaved a put-upon sigh.

The cool stare Linus gave her, what I thought of as his Scion Lawson mask, put starch in the kid’s spine.

Southern manners being ingrained in Georgia girls from birth, I almost stepped into the breach to smooth things over when it hit me.

That wasn’t his Scion Lawson mask.

It was his Scion Woolworth mask now.

Giddiness bubbled up in me, and I couldn’t stop my smile from spreading until my cheeks hurt. Mr. Oliphant answered my grin with one of his own as he palmed the key to our room.

“You’re welcome to go on up,” he said with a conspiratorial wink. “I would take you, but my knees aren’t what they used to be. Stairs are for the young.”

“That would be great.” I accepted the key, which was attached to a thin wooden disc with a hand-carved room number. “We’re tired after our flight. I wouldn’t mind grabbing a nap before dinner.”

And I wouldn’t mind stealing a word with Mr. Woolworth about our accommodations.

Mr. Woolworth.


That silly thrill returned, swelling my heart until it had trouble fitting in my chest.

Linus shot me a questioning glance, but I kept my head down to minimize how ridiculous I felt basking in the glow of overwhelming happiness whenever I thought of him as mine. With the rings to prove it.

We hit the wide staircase together, and the sense of wrongness increased as we climbed higher. The magic was…odd. Brittle and sharp. Jagged edges that scraped along my senses. And phew boy. It was check-the-bottom-of-your-shoes foul.

Our suite resembled my bedroom back at Woolworth House, with its polished oak floors and handmade quilts piled high on the queen mattress. Once inside, I used the pocketknife I had stolen from Linus forever ago to prick my finger and draw a sigil on the doorframe to seal us in.

Turning to face him, I cocked an eyebrow, ready to hear this. “You have interesting ideas about romantic getaways.”

The ring on his finger had inspired new confidence in him, and he backed me against the door, pinning my hips there with his. “I had limited options.”


More like unlimited options.

Unable to resist touching him, I traced the faint twitch in his cool lips. “How did you say that with a straight face?”

“I’ve been practicing,” he confessed. “I wanted to get this right.”

“You worry too much.” I tapped his chin. “You have yet to disappoint me.” I winked just to watch heat warm his cheeks. “In any way.”

“Money makes you anxious.” He trailed chilly fingers along my collarbone. “You don’t like to spend it, and you’re uncomfortable when I do. That eliminated our more exotic options.”

There was nothing I could say to that except, “Go on.”

“One of your great passions is haunted history,” he said with the authority of a man who had purchased an entire building for me so that I could start my own ghost tour company. “Oliphant House was built in 1665 and converted into a boarding house after the owner’s death. It served as one of the earliest inns in the northeast. It has an interesting history and a thoroughly documented haunting. Those two things led me to believe this location might be the ideal combination of thrift and amusement.”

“You know me so well.” I melted into the teasing caress of his fingertips. “Do go on.”

The touching and the talking, in no particular order.

“Chandler Oliphant built his home over an energy nexus, what he called in his journals a gateway to biblical Hell. He meant its design to trap any evil spirits or demons who might emerge in a subterranean maze of halls that lead nowhere, windows painted shut, and doors that open onto sealed walls.”

“Okay.” I hooked my fingers in his belt loops. “You officially have my attention.”

In more ways than one.

“He lived here the rest of his life and raised a family without seeing a single beast or hearing even one inexplicable noise. He went to his grave content that he had done his Christian duty and that whatever great evil lurked beneath his home was trapped within his construct. Or so the story goes.”

Tugging on the back of his shirt, I untucked it from his pants. “Well that’s disappointing.”

“However, on the thirtieth anniversary of Chandler Oliphant’s death,” he continued, a slight hitch in his breath when I skimmed his spine, “several guests were attacked by unseen forces.” Black flickered in his eyes, darkening the navy hue. “Victims reported scratches that might have come from—”

“A demon in desperate need of a manicure?”

“How did you guess?” The corners of his eyes crinkled. “Since then, every thirty years to the day, at least one guest per cycle is harmed by The Hell Demon of Oliphant House.”

“I heard those italics, mister.” Fingers gone still, I gazed up at him. “Does it make me a bad person that I’m interested again?”

“Not even a little bit.” He kissed the tip of my nose. “Would you like to hear the rest?”

“You missed your calling.” I unbuttoned the shirt then smoothed my hands across his chest, all lean muscle and glimmering ink, his skin pebbling under my fingers. “You should be a guide for my ghost tours.”

“There’s another reason why I thought this place’s history might appeal to you.”

“Let me guess.” I pushed the shirt off his shoulders. “This week is the anniversary?”


“I was joking.” Eyes widening, I gaped up at him. “Are you serious?”

“This was the trip I had in mind when I asked that the wedding date be shifted accordingly, yes.”

“Wow.” I forgot what I was doing for a minute. “Are we the only guests?”

“Yes.” The hint of smugness looked good on him. “I booked the entire inn for our stay.”

“You get that if we’re the only guests, we’re the only targets, right?”

He slid his hands behind me and stroked my skin in cool sweeps of his thumbs. “That was the idea.”

“You booked us into a violently haunted house on the anniversary of its founder’s death to be one half of a pair of sacrificial lambs,” I said in summation. “For our honeymoon.”

A beat of hesitation, a crinkle of his brow, gave away his worry. “Yes?”

“You really know how to show a girl a good time.” I linked my arms around his neck. “How did I get so lucky?”

“I can’t tell if you’re teasing me,” he admitted, searching my face for clues. “Did I disappoint you?”

“This is nothing I could have imagined,” I confessed. “It’s so much better.” I grinned at him. “Mystery. Food. Mauling.” The drive in from the airport had given us a short tour of the nearest town, and its total lack of takeout, dining, and entertainment options. “There is food, right?”

“Yes.” He leaned down, his breath fanning my cheeks. “I had groceries delivered yesterday.”

“You’re going to cook for me?” I raked my fingers through his dark-auburn hair. “Are you sure? This is your honeymoon too. I don’t want you to work so hard you can’t enjoy it.”

“I have plenty of time for it that won’t interfere with our activities.”

The few hours Linus slept each week left him with twice as much time on his hands as the rest of us. Lately, he dozed off and on if he stayed in bed with me, but he required little REM to function.

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