from J.F. Posthumus just in time for the necromance lover on your Holiday list!
In her younger years, Catherine Woulfe was known as the Lady of Death…but those days are long past. Now, at over 300 years old, she is older, wiser…and painfully dull. Instead of using her necromancy skills for things like killing people and taking over governments, she now works as a private investigator, helping people find their lost treasures.
But when a charismatic stranger walks through her door, searching for one of the most powerful artifacts ever created, she is drawn into a case where she must use all of her old powers—including several forbidden ones—if she is to find the missing amulet. When the last person to see the amulet goes missing, she realizes it’s time for the Lady of Death to summon her minions and go on the warpath.
Angels and demons are searching for the amulet, as is a mysterious dark elf about whom little is known. Everyone is stalking her, waiting for her to find it so they can grab it for their own; meanwhile, her client has awoken feelings long suppressed, which is proving to be…distracting. Can Catherine find the trail of the thief and recover the amulet before the thief uses it to summon a deity that will destroy the Earth? More importantly, if she gets it, will she give it back?
A knock on the door pulled my attention away from the emails I was sorting through for the day. I lifted my brows in surprise at the visitor standing in my doorway. Dark eyes met mine, and it took every bit of willpower to keep from admiring the way his designer clothing fit his body. He wore the perfectly tailored three-piece suit with the same ease most wore jeans and a t-shirt. His face was elegant and had aristocratic features, which fit his six-foot-three-inch frame perfectly.
Thankfully, unlike most people, I wasn’t intimidated by his height, stature, or handsomeness. Or his reputation.
“The Consigliere,” I said. “To what do I owe this dubious pleasure?”
“Dubious?” The Consigliere’s honey smooth baritone carried across the room. “You wound me, Lady Catherine. I am here on good business.”
“That’s Miss Woulfe to you. Good for whom?” I said through gritted teeth I hoped looked like a smile.
“For all parties concerned, naturally.”
I drew in a breath and let it out slowly as he entered my office, allowing the door to shut with a soft whisper behind him.
The man was handsome and immaculate from his brown hair to his loafered feet.
He could have been a model for Men’s Fitness or a Chippendale’s dancer. There was sensuality in his movements, and he exuded confidence. We moved in similar circles, and his reputation preceded him wherever he went. While I was spoken about in cautious whispers, he was spoken about in awe, if not longing.
And the bleeding sod refused to take his twinkling brown eyes off me.
His gaze made me want to check my snug, professional-looking chignon to make sure no stray, black strands were flying loose. At least I didn’t have to worry about my long-lasting lipstick.
I paused a moment and glanced away as though I were pondering his unspoken request. When I met his eyes again, I replied in a flat, cold tone, “No. Whatever it is you’re trying to sell, you can take elsewhere. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
“You don’t know what my business is; nor do you know who besides you could benefit…yet you dismiss it.” He was still looking at me, smiling, while his words poured from between his yummy lips. “Is my reputation that sullied in the circles in which you walk that you won’t even listen, or is there another reason for your behavior?”
I snorted. “Not hardly, and you know it. There are few reasons you, of all people, would desire my services, and it isn’t for the appraisal of any occult item.”
“Are you as wrong in your appraisals as you are in your presumptions?” Fergus Sterling taunted before continuing, “Your reputation must have been paid for.”
He held out a photograph.
My impulse was to cursorily glance at the picture, but my eyes locked on it once I saw the item captured on the paper. Ancient workmanship surrounded a jeweled eye of blue. The amulet was legend, myth, and history.
“Ilygad Amon,” I said, realizing a moment later I had said the words under my breath instead of speaking properly.
Sterling’s voice was smug. “So, you do know some of what is reputed.”
Ignoring his attempt to rile me, I took the picture and looked closer at it.
“The captured eye of the Christian demon, Amon,” I explained, “transmogrified into a jewel by ancient fae Magick—some claim by traveling gypsy witches, others give credit to followers of Anubis—and locked into a box made of equal parts gold and lead. It’s ancient and used only in the darkest Magick.”
“Would you be willing to help track down this piece, verify its authenticity, and turn it over to parties who wish it to remain unused or, at least, contained from further use?” Sterling asked. I could hear the smile in his voice as he waited to see how I would react.
“How do you know I won’t try to keep it for myself? I am, after all, a practitioner of the Dark Arts, or to be more precise, a necromancer of considerable talents.” I offered him a placating smile. “Or is that why you came to me? You could easily authenticate this piece, unless my parents were incorrect when they said you’ve been alive since the middle ages.”
“How sweet of them to make me younger than I am,” he replied jovially. “I could do the job, but my age and reputation are considered disadvantages to the interested parties. They want someone who has less experience with such powerful objects.”
“Then they obviously aren’t aware of half the items I possess,” I replied. “Who are the ‘interested parties?’ I don’t go into anything blind.”
“You know my reputation, so you know I don’t give out my clients’ identities.” Sterling countered. “They were referred to me by Zeus and Merlyn.”
I wasn’t going to touch that one with a fifty-foot pole. Instead, I rolled my eyes and leaned back in my chair.
“Have a seat, and let us discuss fees.”
Once Sterling was seated in the plush, antique chair opposite my oak desk, I nodded. The Eye of Amon was an artifact I’d only heard about growing up. Finding it and verifying that it was more than myth would certainly add to my resume. The job would have to take precedence over any opinion I had of the arrogant, but delectable, male in my office. “My standard fee for such a task is $250,000, plus expenses.”
“A quarter million?” he retorted. “That’s all?”
It really annoyed me that I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic or incredulous.
“You have a problem with my fee?” My voice was sharp, like a whip’s crack.
“Had I known you charged bargain prices, I would have sought you out sooner, for other clients.” He smiled cattily. “Of course, I’d only do so if you deliver what’s being asked for.”
I knew I was leaning toward him, narrowing my eyes and smiling tightly. I didn’t care, though. “Of course. And, of course, you won’t have a problem signing a contract. Correct?”
Turning slightly, I opened the drawer to my left and removed one of the contracts I kept there for such occasions. I had two types of contracts: one for mundane, normal people and another for anyone of a Magickal, supernatural, or preternatural persuasion. The latter contract was binding in multiple ways.
It took less than five minutes for me to fill it out, then I slid the papers across the desk to Sterling.
“You know how this works: read, sign, and date. No blood is required for this particular contract.”
When J.F. came up with the idea of a body being found at a local building, it was only natural to create a necromancer for the job. From there, Catherine’s story unfolded, complete with monsters, magic, and a little bit of romance…
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