From 101 Ways to Die:
Captain Hugh Frankson of the NYPD stormed to my desk and slapped a file down on the ever-growing stack of misdemeanors I needed to register in our database before I could leave. Any other day, I would have indulged in an anxiety attack over the man’s unexpected appearance.
Whenever the captain showed up at my desk, hell came chasing on the heels of high water, as he went out of his way in his idiotic attempt to prove women had no business being on the force.
Today, however, the hell and the high water had already come calling in the form of the Chief Quinns, who haunted the station somewhere, doing whatever it was chiefs did when checking in on precincts they were responsible for. In addition to dodging jabs over my gender, I’d likely escape from being ribbed over my mixed heritage thanks to their presence. Aware the captain would lose his shit if he believed I wasn’t taking him seriously, I set aside the case I’d been working on and picked up the folder.
Before I had a chance to flip it open and behold the terrors within, the captain announced, “You’re being transferred.” His declaration carried through the open room, loud enough everyone could hear—even the cops busy on the phone. A still quiet fell over the cubicle farm, except for the cops forced to continue their conversations. “I’ll take your cruiser keys now. You’ll have a ride to your new place of employment.”
Well, screw me sideways with a baton while lighting me on fire. With a little luck, the poor bastard saddled with my cruiser would survive the experience; it had needed to retire years ago, but I kept the damned thing running through investing a few hours every week at home convincing the engine to keep trucking along. I opened my drawer, grabbed my keys, unclipped the dying vehicle’s keys, and handed them over. “Effective immediately, sir?”
Captain Frankson snatched the keys out of my hand. “Yes.”
Before I could say another word, he blew through the cubicle farm in the direction of his office and turned the corner. A moment later, a door slammed.
“Damn, McMarin. What did you do?”
From Heart Stings:
“We’re getting married—again!”
Mallory Parker, my grandmother, made that pronouncement in a loud, proud voice and followed it up with a wide, beaming smile. Me? I held back a groan and downed some water from my crystal goblet to hide the grimace twisting my face.
Stuart Mosley, Mallory’s husband, must have noticed my lack of enthusiasm, because he leaned forward and looked at me. “Don’t worry, Lorelei. We’re not actually getting married again. We’ve already been through that whole shebang once, which was plenty for me.”
Mallory’s blue eyes narrowed, and every single part of her body bristled, including the wrinkles that lined her face. She sat up to her full height and somehow managed to peer down her nose at Mosley, despite the fact that they were both dwarves and only around five feet tall. “I wasn’t aware that one of the happiest days of my life was a shebang.”
Mosley reached over and squeezed her hand, his hazel eyes gleaming in his tan, wrinkled face. “You know what I mean. All the fuss around planning the wedding. Picking out suits and dresses and flowers and ten different desserts for the reception. Now, that was most definitely a shebang. And for the record, it was one of the happiest days of my life too. And every day since then has only made me happier.”
A pleased, pink blush swept across Mallory’s pale cheeks. She curled her hand into his, and the massive diamond ring on her finger sparkled like a star. The two elderly dwarves stared into each other’s eyes, completely focused on the love they saw reflected in each other’s soft, adoring gaze.
They were a striking, distinguished couple. With her teased, cloudlike coif of snow-white hair, powder-blue cocktail dress, and perfect posture, Mallory looked as regal as a queen. Mosley’s wavy silver hair was expertly cut and styled, and his navy suit was impeccable, although his hooked, slightly crooked nose made him look more like a retired boxer than the president of First Trust bank and one of the most powerful businessmen in Ashland.
I cleared my throat, interrupting their lovey-dovey staring contest. “So, if you’re not going through the whole shebang again, then what are you doing?”
Mallory pulled her gaze away from Mosley and focused on me again. “We’re simply hosting a second reception, because…” Her voice trailed off. “Well, you know what happened at our first wedding reception.”
Everyone in Ashland knew what had happened at Mallory and Mosley’s reception, which had been the grand finale to their Valentine’s Day wedding last month. For the most part, things had gone off without a hitch. The actual wedding ceremony had been a beautiful affair, held in a ballroom at the Five Oaks Country Club and attended by friends and family from both near and far. The following reception had featured scrumptious food, lovely decorations, and upbeat music, and everyone had been talking, laughing, dancing, and having a terrific time.
Until Emery Slater had crashed the party.
The female giant had stormed into the ballroom and taken everyone hostage. Emery and her fellow giants had threatened to start shooting people unless Gin Blanco, the assassin known as the Spider, had agreed to leave with them. And in true Gin-being-Gin fashion, she had sacrificed herself and gone with the giants to protect the innocent guests, who had included her own friends and family.
“I told you that asking Gin to be a bridesmaid was risky,” I said. “Especially since she was hot on the trail of Mason Mitchell at the time.”
From Oak and Ink:
The Crossroads wasn’t exactly a sentient building, but all the magic stored in it had somehow merged together to create a joined spirit.
The old house was my friend, and I was its guardian and the keeper of its magic.
Even if that magic was dangerous.
Especially when it was dangerous.
In return, the Crossroads did its best to help me. Lately, I’d been having the same dream on repeat, which I knew the Crossroads had something to do with.
I was floating in tropical water, the taste of sugar on my lips. A handsome man, a familiar man, with green, green eyes placed a flower in my hair, his fingers drawing down the curve of my cheek. “I’ve missed you, Ricks.”
That’s where the dream always ended, because that’s always when I’d recognized the man.
Cardamom Oak. That dryad-wizard fink.
I’d dismissed the dream every day for a week, but the Crossroads just kept putting it in my brain.
I knew it was an omen.
Trouble was coming.
And that trouble was somehow connected to my jerk ex-lover.