THE MIRROR OF ASHES
Forgotten Relics #3
Glittering snow, twinkling lights, carols in the air—Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.
Or it would be if Cora Riley wasn’t neck-deep in magical crime and double shifts at the Supernatural Cases Division.
Two weeks after losing the Sword of Souls, her friends deployed across the nation on top-level missions, Cora finds herself walking the beat alone in DC, wondering if she’s the hero of this story after all. Loneliness, exhaustion, and a perplexing romance threaten to drive her back into the darkness she fought so hard to escape.
But the pity-party comes to an abrupt end when Cora makes a horrific discovery at headquarters that sends her racing to New York City. There, Jack Alexander’s assignment to the Japanese ambassador clicks with Manny Boxer’s spontaneous combustion case to reveal a new facet of Eris’ plot: an ancient artifact the local vampires are literally dying to get their hands on.
The hunt is on to find the Mirror of Ashes. But who is hunting whom?
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This series is one of the best combinations of mythology and urban fantasy […] There are gods, mythological artifacts, and tons of supernatural creatures. In short, get on this series!
Brianna, reviewer at Always Books
Excerpt: Schmoozing at the Met
“Do you think anything’ll happen tonight?” Cora says. “Anything bad, I mean.”
Manny shrugs. “Doubt it. There’s security all over the building, plus the three of us. Somebody’d have to be really stupid to try anything.”
She nods again and reaches over a plate of white fudge to a savory dish. “It’d sort of be a shame, though, us being here without any action.” She selects a skewer from the tray and offers it to him with a smile. “We could get lucky.”
The innuendo hangs in the air, buoyed by the melody of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Cora’s eyes go wide, but Manny laughs it off. He’d have to be blind and deaf to miss the vibes passing between her and Jack; whatever weird romantic crap they’re dealing with, he’s happy to watch from the sidelines. He holds up the blob on a stick she’s given him and examines it. While he considers himself a foodie, the socialite palette is unfamiliar to him. Everything’s too petite and fancy and expensive for his tastes. Give him a giant, stale bun full of mystery meat from a street cart any day.
“What is it?” he asks.
“No idea, but it’s delicious.” She pops another one in her mouth. “Bacon and some kind of cheese.”
“It’s smoked Gouda and applewood bacon wrapped in phyllo and sprinkled with pink sea salt. Considered quite good, if you enjoy cow lactation and shaved pig.”
Both agents look up to see a pale bald man walking towards them. Manny smiles broadly as he recognizes Finn. He almost didn’t without the security guard uniform; the tailored navy blue suit and faint sparkle to his skin enhance his angular features, making him look like an haute-couture model. Cora releases Manny’s arm as he extends a hand to the vampire. They shake, but Finn’s eyes aren’t on him.
“Are you going to introduce me to your lovely companion, Forty-Two?” he says with a salacious grin.
There’s something about the way he says it that gives Manny the creeps, but he makes the introduction anyway. “Agent Six, this is Finnegan Callaghan of the Founder clan,” he says, waving the bacon ball casually but keeping his voice low to avoid mundanes eavesdropping. “My favorite vampire. He’s the one who gave us the info about what the Dracs are up to.”
Cora wipes her greasy fingers on a napkin and extends a hand to Finn. Instead of shaking, though, he presses his lips delicately to the back of it. Cora half-laughs with an nervous smile. They lock eyes for a moment, and her ears turn pink.
Warning bells to go off in Manny’s head. He glances sharply over to where 97 stands behind the ambassador as she receives guests at the center of the room. Jack’s staring right at them. Even from this distance, Manny can read the senior agent’s displeasure. Not good. He looks back to the flirtation happening in front of him and suddenly wants to intervene. So this is what it’s like to want to beat up a guy for hitting on your sister, he thinks.
There’s a break in the music as the tracks change, and he does the first thing that comes to mind.
“Would you do me the honor, Agent Six?” Manny says, smoothly taking possession of the hand Finn’s caressing.
The vampire blinks and Cora starts to protest, but he doesn’t wait for either of them to refuse. He gently but insistently leads her towards the dance floor at the center of the room as Frank Sinatra starts singing “The Christmas Waltz.” Other couples filter from the sidelines to join them, emboldened by their example, effectively separating the predator from his prey. As the dancers close around them, Manny sees Finn grin, then bow gracefully to him before dissolving into the crowd.