The Blood Curse
The complete SPELL WEAVER Trilogy:
They came to the door of the ladies’ club and Ash reached for the handle. Before he could touch it, the door flew open and Lyre fell out, still dressed in the white waiter “uniform” and his arms full of his clothes and weapons. Shouts burst from the building’s interior.
“There you are!” Lyre blurted, wild-eyed. “Time to go.”
“What happened?” Ash barked.
Clio was still gawking when Lyre launched down the alley, leaving her and Ash to rush after him.
“Some women react poorly to rejection,” Lyre explained breathlessly. “Especially when they’ve paid a lot of money to not be rejected.”
“You blew your cover by rejecting her?” Ash snapped. They fled down several alleys before Lyre skidded to a stop and whirled on Ash, still clutching his belongings.
“I’ll dress up in stupid costumes,” the incubus snarled with unexpected temper, “and I’ll pretend to be a paid whore, and I’ll even let a crucial informant pinch and paw at me.” He thrust an accusatory finger at Ash. “But I will not allow that nasty old hag’s tongue anywhere near me, not even to save the damn world!”
Ash blinked. Scowling blackly, Lyre shoved his armload at Ash, then pulled a dagger from the pile and cut his leather-
strap top off. “Next time, you can do the nasty stuff and I’ll kill people.”
Ash blinked again, seemingly at a loss for words. Lyre continued to mutter angrily as he dragged the pants off and redressed in his black outfit. Clio stood a few steps away, her hand pressed over her mouth to hide her smile. Even with most of his face covered, Ash looked off-balance for the first time she could remember, a wrinkle between his dark eyebrows.
“Was she that disgusting?” he ventured, sounding a lot less like a hardened mercenary than usual. He normally seemed years older than Clio, but she was pretty sure he was actually a little younger.
“Worse,” Lyre growled. “Whatever you’re imagining as ‘disgusting,’ make it about ten times more revolting.”
The draconian winced as though he had pictured it, and the mental image had hurt. “I never saw her myself.”
Lyre slung his quiver over his shoulder and buckled it. “Be glad you didn’t.” His anger faded and he smirked. “It’s fine, Ash. Hardly the most scarring thing I’ve ever done. And”—his smile sharpened predatorily—“the banshee was a goldmine of information.”
“Good.” Ash straightened, all business again. “Then it’s time for phase two of the plan.”