Home > Dark Dancer (Rosie O'Grady's Paranormal Bar and Grill #3)(25)

Dark Dancer (Rosie O'Grady's Paranormal Bar and Grill #3)(25)
Author: B.R. Kingsolver

As I suspected, Edmundson gave everyone the slip. I figured he had a getaway car, and probably a driver, waiting for him outside the hospital.

Frankie gave me a ride to Rosie’s so I could tell Sam I couldn’t work that evening. I could have called him, but then I would be stuck at home with hardly any food in the house. Sam fixed me up with food for a couple of days and some potions to take with me, and then Frankie drove me home. She carried the food up to my apartment, for which I was grateful. The leg hurt like crazy by the time I finished climbing three flights of stairs.

“I wonder how many Hunters we have in Westport,” Frankie said as she put the food in my refrigerator.

“Too damned many,” I replied. “If they were rats, I’d call it an infestation.”

She sighed. “This is beyond the capabilities of the Paranormal Crime Unit to contain.”

I had thought that for months, but I didn’t tell her so.

“How much money do you have?” I asked. “You need to start recruiting. Mages, witches, healers, a necromancer. If it was me, I’d make sure to hire some vampires and shifters as well. And then you need to train them. That human cop didn’t have a chance of stopping Edmundson. He’s lucky the bastard didn’t kill him.”

Frankie nodded. “You’re right. I’m just not sure where to start.”

“Start with the money to pay them, and expect that they’re going to want a lot more than a beat cop. Then talk to Sam, the alphas of the werewolf packs, and the leaders of the local covens.”

“We’ve tried to hire people before.”

“What was the first thing I said?”

Most magic users could make pretty good money using their talents. They also understood how violent and dangerous the Otherworld could be. They weren’t going to take up police work for a minimal paycheck.

Chapter 19

Lizzy and Jolene showed up in the morning. Thankfully, they waited until after the crack of dawn, which I usually defined as ten o’clock. They brought food, a six-pack of beer, and more potions.

“What’s wrong?” Jo asked when I opened the door and stood there staring at them. “Is the leg really hurting? I brought something for that.”

It took me a moment to swallow the lump in my throat. “No, I’m fine. Come on in.”

The problem was with my eyes. They kept blurring. I couldn’t believe how incredibly lucky I was to have friends. I had lived in comparative luxury with the Illuminati, but my life in Westport was so much richer.

I had already eaten some yogurt and a piece of banana bread, but they had brought me a hot breakfast from Rosie’s, so I ate again. Jo insisted on examining my wound, then she cleaned it and added a magical cream to it before putting a fresh bandage on it. She gave me another jar of cream and told me it would keep the wound dry when I showered.

While Jo was doing that, Lizzy wandered around and cleaned my apartment. Of course, she never picked up a mop or a broom. In the kitchen, she just waved her hand at the dishes, then put them away, then waved her hand again, and the whole room sparkled. Talk about useful magic.

After they left, I called Blair.

“I can’t make it down there for a couple of days,” I told him, “but I figured a couple of cripples can probably entertain each other for a while.”

“Glad you called. Remember the conversation we had about Hunters and pistols? Ballistics says the Glock that Edmundson dropped yesterday was the one that landed me here. And by the way, thanks for saving my life again.”

“You need to learn to dodge better,” I said. “Too bad he got away.”

“Yeah, but we’re onto him now, and we have several pictures of his face from the hospital security cameras. Frankie and Mackle questioned Feldman at his lab yesterday, and Bailey served a search warrant on his house at the same time. Looks like someone is using the guest bedroom, but we didn’t find anything to tell us who.”

“Can you hold Feldman on anything?” I asked.

“Not yet, but Frankie delivered a message.”

“Yeah. The Hunters have been delivering messages all over town. Jordan, I hope that your people are keeping Feldman under tight surveillance, or he won’t live out the week. The Hunters will see him as a weak link.”

“Yeah, we’re watching him and James Winter, the other professor in Harland Hall, but I’ll pass along your warning. I haven’t considered that the Hunters might want to take out their sponsors to cover their tracks.”

“Mercenaries aren’t very loyal, and they’re already spooked a bit. They obviously think that you’re a kink in their plans. Any bright ideas about how to protect you from another try?”

“Frankie hired Josh Carpenter and a couple of other mages on a temporary basis this morning to guard my room. I’ve also been moved, and my location is secret. So if you had come today, you wouldn’t have found me.”

That was good. Since Edmundson had screwed up the assassination twice, I assumed the Hunters would send someone more competent the third time.

After talking with Blair, I sat around and read all day, warmed up one of the dinners I’d brought home from Rosie’s, and took a shower. I finished my book around ten o’clock and got ready for bed, although I wasn’t particularly sleepy. Working at night meant I was more comfortable with vampire hours.

I turned out the lights and was crawling into bed when I heard noises outside. Noises that I shouldn’t have been hearing in a third-floor apartment.

Peeking out the window, I saw a Hunter clinging to the outside of my balcony. He was obviously trying to get in, but my ward included the balcony, and he couldn’t get over the railing. Grabbing my phone, I snuck into the living room.

I inched the phone through the curtains and snapped a picture. The flash startled him, and he let go, dropping out of sight. I figured he hadn’t fallen all the way to the ground. He probably grabbed the balcony railing below. That would still give his shoulders a good jerk.

I watched for a while, and about ten minutes later, I saw a dark shadow move on the ground below my apartment and disappear around the corner of the building.

The photo I took showed the man’s face clearly, but I didn’t know him. It wasn’t Edmundson or Schottner, so we now knew what three of the Hunters looked like.

The thought occurred to me that maybe I shouldn’t have discouraged David Cunningham from stalking me. He was a lot less dangerous and less intimidating than a Hunter, and having someone who didn’t want to kill me watch my place might help against those who did want to kill me.

I called Shawna, got her voice mail, and asked her to call me back. I hadn’t gotten a clear look at the Hunter at Willard’s Green, but I didn’t think it was Edmundson. Maybe she would recognize my intruder.

She called back and woke me up about two-thirty in the morning. “Hey, what’s up?”

“I had a visitor tonight. Very photogenic. I wondered if you might recognize him from Willard’s Green.”

“Dunno. I can stop by your place on my way home.”

“And I’m just supposed to invite you to cross my threshold?” I teased.

She laughed. “See you in about half an hour.”

True to her word, she buzzed me thirty minutes later. Vampires were always very punctual.

“Sorry I can’t offer you much,” I said when I let her into my apartment. “Whiskey, red wine, or water.”

“I’ll take a glass of wine.”

I poured a glass for myself as well, and then showed her the picture.

“Yeah, that’s the guy from Willard’s Green,” she said. “He tried to break in? That’s not good.”

With the help of magical potions and creams, I was back at work after a couple of days. My leg was still stiff and sore, and I limped a bit, but Jolene said it had healed enough I wasn’t going to open the wound.

Liam had been working the day shift, and Sheila showed up to take him home about the same time I came to work. Sam’s office door was closed, and the bar was about half-full at dinnertime.

So I was surprised when Sam’s door opened and Frankie Jones emerged. She waved to me and came over to sit at the bar.

“Menu?” I asked.

“Yes, please, and a glass of red wine.”

After she ordered, she told me, “I’ve been working on the money. City Council gave me another million for personnel this year, and I have commitments from twenty-two prominent citizens to fund additional police officers. Want to be a cop?”

She caught me by surprise, and I laughed, but her expression stayed serious, and that sobered me.

“Not really.”

“You know, Erin, you’ll probably live two or three hundred years. Do you really love tending bar that much?”

I shook my head. “I’m not sure being a cop is the secret to a long and happy life.” I shrugged. “I like working here, but it’s not what I want to do forever. I’m going to apply at the community college in the fall.”

“And study what?”

Images of gothic cathedrals and fantastical skyscrapers in the Middle East flashed through my mind. I had seen the plans for Michaela’s dhampir apartment building, and they were disappointingly unimaginative.

I sighed. “Hospitality management, probably. I’d like to travel someday. I looked at their other offerings, but accounting sounds boring, and I’m definitely not cut out to be a nurse. I like working with computers, but programming them or fixing them doesn’t sound very exciting, either.”

“Why the community college? Why not the university? You’re smart. I know you’d do well at anything that interested you.”

I chuckled. “I’m still waiting for the letter telling me my rich uncle I never knew about left me his estate. I can afford the community college.”

“Well, if you know someone who wants an opportunity, I’m hiring investigators for my office and additional officers for Blair. All paranormal and supernatural abilities considered.”

Hot Series
» The Sinner (Black Dagger Brotherhood #18) read online
» Uprooted read online
» Secrets Never Die (Morgan Dane #5) read online
» 99 Percent Mine read online
» Lake Silence (The Others #6) read online
» The Thief (Black Dagger Brotherhood #16) read online
» Without Merit read online
» Blade Bound (Chicagoland Vampires #13) read online
» Racer (Real #7) read online
» Womanizer (Manwhore #4) read online
» Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10) read online
» Etched in Bone (The Others #5) read online
Most Popular
» Archangel's Sun (Guild Hunter #13)
» Archangel's War (Guild Hunter #12)
» Alpha Night (Psy-Changeling Trinity #4)
» Wolf Rain (Psy-Changeling Trinity #3)
» Ocean Light (Psy-Changeling Trinity #2)
» Archangel's Prophecy (Guild Hunter #11)
» Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter #8)
» Archangel's Shadows (Guild Hunter #7)
» Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6)
» Silver Silence (Psy-Changeling Trinity #1)
» Shards of Hope (Psy-Changeling #14)
» Shield of Winter (Psy-Changeling #13)