Warning: Spoiler unless you’ve read the blurb.
When killing people is your job, there’s no such thing as a vacation. Then again, how often does an assassin live long enough to enjoy her retirement? In this line of work, you either get lucky or you get dead. And since I destroyed my nemesis Mab Monroe a few weeks ago, all of Ashland’s lowlifes are gunning to make a name for themselves by taking out the lethal Spider—me, Gin Blanco. So I’m leaving behind my beloved barbecue joint and heading south with my baby sister, Bria, to cool my heels in a swanky beach town. Call it a weekend of fun in the sun. But when a powerful vampire with deadly elemental magic threatens an old friend of Bria’s, it looks like I’ll have to dig my silverstone knives out of my suitcase after all. Complicating matters further is the reappearance of Detective Donovan Caine, my old lover. But Donovan is the least of my problems. Because this time, the danger is hot on my trail, and not even my elemental Ice and Stone magic may be enough to save me from getting buried in the sand—permanently.
Excerpt (posted with permission)
“Why didn’t you tell me about all of this?” Bria asked. “I could have helped you before it got this far.”
Callie shrugged. “Whenever I’ve called lately, you’ve always sounded busy, distracted, worried. It seemed like you were having enough problems of your own in Ashland, and I didn’t want to bother you with mine.”
Bria’s gaze cut to me, and I knew what she was thinking. That maybe if she hadn’t been so busy looking for her long-lost big sister, Genevieve Snow, looking for the Spider, looking for me, maybe Callie would have told her about Dekes. Then maybe Bria could have figured out a way to help her friend before now—and maybe even saved an old man from being murdered. Bria didn’t say anything, but I could see the guilt glimmering in her eyes—along with that anger again.
Anger at me and the fact that I hadn’t come straight out and told Bria who I really was when she’d come back to Ashland. Anger that I’d let Mab capture her. Anger that the Fire elemental had tortured her, despite my promises to keep that from ever happening. I didn’t think Bria was wrong to blame me. I’d failed to protect her when it mattered most, something that would always haunt me.
Mab Monroe might be dead, but I wondered if things would ever really be right between me and my sister. If the Fire elemental and the two divergent paths that she had put me and Bria on, the things that she’d done to us, would ever really be forgotten—or forgiven.
But that was a worry for another day. Right now, the question was what to do about Randall Dekes. Was taking down Dekes the smart thing to do? I had few doubts it was the right thing, given everything that Callie had said and what I’d witnessed here in the restaurant tonight.
But I’d come to Blue Marsh to get away from my troubles as the Spider, not throw myself knives-first into someone else’s problem, especially someone that I didn’t have any real connection to. Callie was Bria’s friend, not mine. But that was the catch—Bria loved Callie like a sister, and I loved Bria. I’d do anything for my sister, including protect her friend the best way that I knew how.
I hadn’t known Stu Alexander, but I could keep Callie from ending up like him. I could keep Bria from crying over her best friend’s grave like she had her parents’ earlier today. I could do at least that much for my sister. I didn’t know if it would make up for everything she’d suffered because of me, but all I could do was keep trying—and hope that it counted for something with Bria in the end.
“What if I told you that I could help you with Dekes?” I asked Callie. “That I could get him to leave you alone—for good?”
Bria sighed, knowing what was coming next. “Gin …”
She didn’t get to finish her thought. The screen door creaked open, and quick footsteps sounded, hurrying across the wooden floor.
“Callie!” a worried voice called out. “Are you okay?”
This time, I was the one who froze—shocked into absolute stillness just like everyone else had been earlier. I couldn’t have been more surprised, more stunned, than if the ground had opened up at my feet and Mab had crawled out of her grave right in front of me.
I’d never thought I’d hear the light, quick tread of his footsteps again. I’d never thought I’d hear that low, sexy, slightly raspy voice again. I’d never thought I’d see him again, not after everything that had happened, not after the bitter way that things had ended between us.
Not after he’d walked away from me without so much as a backward glance.
For a moment, I sat there, still frozen, wondering if I was just imagining things, if my mind was playing tricks on me—cruel, cruel tricks.
“Callie?” he asked again, drawing closer. “Why aren’t there any customers? Where’s the rest of the staff? And who are these women?”
I breathed in, and his familiar scent filled my nose—that sharp, clean scent that always made me think of soap. And I knew that I wasn’t wrong or mistaken or just imagining things.
I drew in a breath and slowly swiveled around on my stool.
Detective Donovan Caine stood behind me.
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