Read Kick The Candle (Knight Games) Online

Authors: Genevieve Jack

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Kick The Candle (Knight Games) (9 page)

BOOK: Kick The Candle (Knight Games)
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“I’m here to see Logan Valentine,” I said.

The old man frowned. “It’s after hours. Can’t call up.” His liver spotted jowls flapped with his objection.

“Uh, it’s kind of an emergency.”

With an adjustment of his bifocals, the guard looked me up and down. He gave a low, throaty laugh. “What kind of emergency brings a girl like you to a man’s house in the middle of the night?”

“Hey! I don’t appreciate the conjecture.” I poked the tip of one finger into the desk in front of him. “We’re
friends
, practically family!”

“Family, eh?” The man rubbed his stubbled cheek. “What’s your name?”

“Grateful Knight.”

The guard started typing, the glow of a computer screen coming to life beyond the counter. I couldn’t see what he was doing because the monitor was the type sunk into the desk, but the expression on the man’s face told me I was one bug he’d like to squash. I pulled out my phone. “If you won’t call up, I will,” I said.

“Hold your horses, missy. Your booty call has been approved.”

“Booty call? Wha—” The door to the foyer opened automatically with a soft buzz.

“Don’t make me change my mind.” The guard’s bushy eyebrows descended and then he let out a deep laugh.

I scurried through and into the elevator, chin up and ego bruised. When I reached the top floor, the doors opened. Logan stood waiting for me with his phone in hand—all bed head and wrinkled t-shirt.

“Sorry,” I said. “Didn’t mean to wake you.”

“What’s happened? Are you okay?” His voice sounded frantic.

“Uh, yeah. I just need to talk…if you are available…to do the talking thing.”

He gaped at me. “When the doorman called, I thought you were engaged in some night-time battle with the undead and needed my help.”

“What, you thought I was like injured or something?”

“Yeah, like maybe bleeding from an artery? I’ve left instructions with the front desk to let you in any time, day or night, just in case you can’t make it back to your house.”

“Oh, really? Just for the record, your doorman is a complete asshat.” This was my first time here, and Logan had never offered his home as a safehouse to me before. Sweet gesture but that info would have saved me some face downstairs. I guess he just assumed I would know I could count on him if I needed to.

“Yeah. Sorry about that. Fred is good at what he does but he can be a little rough around the edges.”

“He thought I was your booty call.”

Logan raised eyebrows and whistled.

“I’m not.”

He ran a hand through his hair and wiped his eyes with his fingers. “Well now that we’ve cleared that up, come on in. You want something to drink? Hot cocoa?”

I remembered the comfort Logan’s hot cocoa had given me when I was deciding if I should accept my role as the witch. I’d spent weeks detoxing from my addiction to his hot cocoa. I couldn’t go back there. “Tea would be fine.”

He nodded sleepily and led the way across the hall, into the foyer of an enormous apartment. The open floor plan showcased a wall of windows overlooking Carlton City. A balcony extended behind the sliding glass doors. Logan’s furniture was neutral leather, the floors mahogany, and the décor, craftsman. Clean lines, warm wood tones, and splashes of red, yellow, and purple reminded me of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs. It was masculine but comfortable, unmistakably Logan.

“You have an eye for decorating,” I said.

He glanced at me over the granite countertop of the kitchen island as he filled a copper kettle with water. “Actually, I had it decorated. I didn’t do it myself.”

“Someone in town?”

“Not anymore. An ex-girlfriend.”

“Oh.” I was beginning to melt inside my arctic outerwear, so I did the cold weather striptease. I shed hat, gloves, coat, boots and snowpants, piling the outerwear on the back of his sofa, and took a seat on the barstool in front of the island. “At least something good came of the relationship.” I shrugged.

“Said like a jaded lover.”

“Maybe. Speaking of, I saw Gary tonight.”

Logan almost dropped the canister he was holding. “Gary, as in your missing ex-boyfriend, Gary?”

“The one and only. Didn’t I tell you? He’s a vampire now.”

Logan set down the canister and opened a cabinet across the kitchen. “You’re going to need something stronger than tea.” He pulled out a bottle of my favorite Shiraz and popped the cork. A moment later, I had a full glass in front of me.

“Did you have to kill him?” Logan asked softly.

“Oddly, no. He paid me back. All the money he owed me plus interest. Just showed up at my door with a big leather bag full of cash.”

“What’s he want?” Logan narrowed his eyes and pressed his lips into a flat line.

“He said he didn’t want anything, that it was in the coven’s best interest to keep me happy and Julius insisted.”

With a long swig of wine, he drank that explanation in and rolled it in his mouth. “I smell bullshit.”

“I know, but then he told me something else…”

“The reason you’re here?”

I nodded. “Turns out Rick has been following me around my whole life. He knew about Gary and me. The night Gary was turned, Rick allowed it to happen. He was there.”

“What the hell?”

“Yeah, he admitted it. Said Gary consented so the vampire wasn’t breaking any rules. But he knew, Logan. He knew it would break my heart, and he allowed it to happen because he wanted me for himself.”

“Are you sure it’s true?”

I took a sip of liquid courage. “He admitted it.”

“Whoa.”

“That’s not even the worst part. Julius says that Rick manipulated me into thinking that I needed him to become the witch, when really I could’ve done it myself. Gary said that I bound myself to him needlessly.
I
would have become the witch anyway, but Rick might not have been my caretaker. The ceremony was for
his
sake, not mine.”

Logan drained the rest of his glass and poured another. He lifted it to his mouth, but paused and gestured in my direction. “That last part has to be a lie. Prudence backed Rick up. She told both of us it had to be sex and blood. She said he was the vessel; you had to drink from the vessel.”

“Yeah. Rick denies it, and I know in my heart that it’s a lie, but it’s under my skin. It’s like, my intuition is telling me that Rick is hiding something, and it’s fucking with my head.”

“I wonder where Prudence got her information?” Logan asked.

I became inordinately interested in my empty glass. “Me. In my last life, I’d shared what I was and given her the power to care for my seat of magic in my absence.”

He cupped my face and rubbed my cheek with his thumb. “There you have it, hon. You wouldn’t lie to you. Julius is lying. As much as I hate the gravedigger, I think Rick was telling you the truth.”

“But what about this feeling I have?”

The remains of the bottle of Shiraz were emptied into my glass. “We’re friends, right?”

“Right.”

“Friends can be honest with each other.”

“Of course.”

“I think this feeling you have has more to do with you than with Rick.”

I swung my hand through the air like the mere thought was ridiculous.

“You’re afraid of commitment, Grateful. You told me as much when I was living in your attic. Rick represents the first permanent thing in your life besides your dad, and it terrifies you.”

“Why are you standing up for Rick? I thought you hated—”

Logan’s wine glass slipped from his hand, shattering on the counter. Shards of glass skimmed along the granite. His face turned hospital sheet white, and he stared, open mouthed over my shoulder into the living room. I followed his line of sight, thinking I’d see an ax murderer approaching from that direction, but there was nothing there.

“What’s going on Logan?”

“Sh-she says you have to find it.”

“She? She who?”

He pointed to a spot over my shoulder, but there was still no one there. “She says you can’t see her because her soul has already crossed over to the other side. You need to find the book before they do, or the entire human race is in great danger.”

“What book?” I shook my head. I could tell Logan was really shook up but maybe he was hallucinating or something.


The Book of Flesh and Bone
.”

“Flesh and Bone?” I raised my eyebrows as I remembered where I’d heard that title before. Rick told me Reverend Monk had used
the Book of Flesh and Bone
to bind my spirit to my human body before he burned me alive—well, the first me. But the
grimoire
exacted a high price; Monk and all of his parishioners were struck dead. What happened to the book after that? Rick never said and who else could know?

“Who are you talking to, Logan?” I asked, softly.

He swallowed hard and turned to face me. Like a fish out of water, his mouth opened and closed, but nothing came out. I placed a hand on his and shook a little. “Who?” I repeated.

“My mother. Only, she’s been dead for ten years.”

Chapter 9
Medium

“Y
ou saw your mother’s ghost?” I looked toward the empty space where he’d been staring but couldn’t sense anything. Even when I focused with the part of me that was the witch, the living room was empty. “I don’t see anything. Is she still there?”

His breath caught, and I noticed his fingers whiten as he caught himself on the countertop, fingers narrowly missing the shards of broken glass. Red wine dripped off the edge of the granite, but he didn’t seem to notice. “No. She’s gone. She just dissipated.” Closing his lids, he released a shaky exhale.

I squinted in the direction of his sofa. “Are you sure it wasn’t the wine?” When he didn’t answer me, I glanced back in his direction.

He winced and shook his head. “I’m sure. I just saw the ghost of my dead mother, Grateful. This isn’t a case of the spins.”

I spread my hands. “I’m a goddess of the dead. If an apparition of your dead mother was really here, shouldn’t I be able to sense her in some way?”

“You sort souls. She said hers was already sorted. Maybe you can only see those people who haven’t moved on.”

“I guess, it’s possible, but—”

“What’s the
Book of Flesh and Bone
?” With his elbows replacing his hands on the granite, he bent at the waist until his forehead rested on his fists. He seemed too exhausted to hold his head up, let alone clean up the broken glass.

I sighed. Why had I unloaded this burden on Logan? And at this hour of the night? He should have been free of all this. Now I owed him an answer. “The first witch was a woman named Isabella Lockhart. In 1698, Reverend Monk and his Puritan parishioners used a spell from the
Book of Flesh and Bone
, a
grimoire
or book of magic given to him by a demon in the woods behind Rick’s house. The spell bound Isabella to her body and allowed Monk to burn her at the stake. Her soul survived only because she stored it inside a living host, her caretaker, Rick. But Reverend Monk and every person who had chanted the spell from the book died instantly from using the dark magic. Their blood became a forced sacrifice to Beelzebub and opened the hellmouth in Monk’s Hill Cemetery.”

“So, it’s the devil’s own grimoire with recipes to control the living and the dead, flesh and bone. Nice. Definitely dangerous in the wrong hands.”

“For sure.”

“So where is it now?”

“I have no idea. As far as I know, it hasn’t been seen since the day Monk used it on me.”

Logan shivered. “You’d better find it Grateful. What if that’s what Julius wants? Based on your story about Isabella, the book contains some powerful magic. Maybe he wants to control you with it.”

“But why would Julius give me the money tonight if he intended to hurt me?” I shook my head, folding my hands.

Logan straightened. “Maybe he thinks you know where the book is. Maybe he thinks if he gets close enough to you, you will lead him to it.” He bent down to dig under his sink, emerging with a dustpan and hand broom.

I thought about that. “Why would he think I would know where it was? If anyone would know where
the Book of Flesh and Bone
was today, it would be Rick. He was there the day I died and lived to tell the tale.”

Positioning the dustpan, Logan methodically swept glass and spilled wine with the far away expression of someone deep in thought. For a moment, I allowed my brain to blank, absorbed in watching his domestic task. I bounced down from the stool and grabbed a rag from the sink, crouching to wipe the spilled red liquid from the floor.

“Grateful, why am I seeing my dead mother?” Logan stopped sweeping and glared at me with the beginnings of dark circles under his eyes.

“What? She’s back?”

“No. Not at the moment. But, before?”

I shrugged. The rag was saturated so I stood and wrung it out in the sink. The red swirled the stainless steel drain like blood in my silver bowl, and an answer popped into my head from somewhere deep inside. “There’s something of the ghost left in you. Your soul was as close to dead as anyone gets and lives to talk about. You’ve glimpsed the other side of the veil. It remains thin for you.”

BOOK: Kick The Candle (Knight Games)
11.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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