Book five of The Witches' Rede series
A broken marriage, a failing business, and an optimist losing home.
Change is inevitable and comes at a price.
The Preternatural Activity Consultants haven’t had much luck in making their company name known—until, that is, a reporter covers Maeve Forino’s failed attempt at un-haunting San Diego’s ill-planned streetcar line.
She soon finds herself making a last-ditch effort to repair her family company’s reputation, assisting with an investigation at the Hotel del Coronado by communing with the deceased, herself, in hopes of solving a murder mystery and alleviating the hotel of its problematic guest.
Creative problem-solving soon launches the PAC to renown and the requests for aid come pouring in from around the state. A job promising an unbelievable payout sends the coven and their human friends on a journey to picturesque Northern California, where the desperate plea for help becomes a fight for survival and proves to one member of the PAC that a dream come true may actually be a nightmare.
Enjoy an excerpt:
"Maeve, the One True Medium!” Aria called.
The One True Medium swallowed a groan; she was already beyond sick of the moniker.
Aria hustled over from several yards down deck. “Just the woman I was looking for! Come, come, let’s talk. I’ve been meaning to catch up with you for months now.” She snagged Maeve by the crook of her elbow, tugging her from Rafaele.
Maeve glanced at him helplessly.
“See you at dinner?” he hollered after them with a helpless shrug.
Aria waved over her shoulder, guiding Maeve around a corner. Between her pace and their height difference, Maeve struggled to keep up and maybe, a little bit, she was trying to postpone this conversation. Aria obviously had something on her mind; the longer she remained quiet as she dragged Maeve toward the stern of the ship, the more Maeve worried. Is she thinkin’ of throwin’ me overboard? She clenched her jaw. Would tha’ be so bad?
Her voice low, Aria said, “How are you?”
“Oh—I’m—OK—” Maeve faltered.
Aria stopped midstride and glanced at her, stone-faced. “You think I can’t spot a lie, Sunshine?”
“I think—” Maeve glanced over the Whitefeather’s railing. “—tha’ people don’t wanna hear the truth. They don’t wanna be made uncomfortable.” She steadied herself with the slight bobbing of the vessel, not much unlike a boat in dock, attempting to dismiss it as just that: a ship riding ocean waves. “Nobody cares.”
“Certainly you know by now that I’m not ‘people.’ "
In any other circumstance, Maeve might’ve laughed at such a statement. Instead, she inhaled deeply. “Everything is positively dreadful.”
“Now that’s the truth. I know it seems impossible but I promise you: it gets better.”
“Oh what do ye know about it?” Maeve grumbled, turning to the dirigi‐ ble’s railing and gripping its smooth, highly polished wood.
“I know grief. I lost my beloved husband, remember? I know what it’s like to have friends shy away for lack of anything helpful to say. I know how it feels when the grief is so deep that it’s like the darkest void has settled in your soul.”
She squeezed her eyes shut; a tear fell anyway. Damn her!
“You grieved the loss of your parents, I’m sure.”
Maeve couldn’t help but give a half-hearted shrug.
“But how much does that sorrow consume you anymore?”
Aria had an obnoxious point but letting go of her grief would simply make Maeve feel worse for having done so. She didn’t expect Aria to understand.
Although to the best of Maeve’s knowledge—excepting Rafaele—Aria hadn’t shown any interest in another man since Calvin.
“I’ll wager you didn’t believe your financial situation would improve, yet here you are off on a job with a compensation package that makes a woman like me envious. You need to grant yourself relief from your mourning.” Aria slid her hand along Maeve’s black sleeve, ending the action with a gentle tug.
I need do no such thing. God, her eyes stung.
“How’s the marriage bed?” Aria said, leaning with her back to the railing, cocking her head toward Maeve.
By now, Maeve couldn’t even feign surprise over such conversation. She was, however, surprised by her response: “Cold. It’s cold.”
“Oh.” Aria’s eyebrows darted skyward. “How long has … it … been?”
“Not as though it’s any of yer business but … twelve months, give or take a week. Right before Fia fell ill.”
Aria gasped. “A year! I haven’t even gone so long since Cal’s death!”
Well. There goes me opinion of ye. Maeve replied defensively, “We almost did last week.”
“‘Almost.’ That had to satisfy you both.”
“We’d had some alcohol ‘n’—”
“Honey.” Aria rested her hand on Maeve’s shoulder. “If you don’t find some way to fix this—soon—his whang will find another cunny to warm it. If, that is, it hasn’t already.”