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Ambition Can Have Terrible Consequences: Diva Delaney Mysteries, #10

Ambition Can Have Terrible Consequences: Diva Delaney Mysteries, #10

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Ambition Can Have Terrible Consequences: Diva Delaney Mysteries, #10

Länge:
237 Seiten
3 Stunden
Freigegeben:
Nov 16, 2019
ISBN:
9781393620655
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

Diva Delaney's grandmother is determined to find her a warlock to settle down with and she isn't going to let anything stand in her way. Forced to date strange conjurers she's never met before, Diva isn't happy about the situation at all, but standing up to Lilla could be hazardous to her health.

Zoila, dressmaker extraordinaire and self-proclaimed fairy godmother, has a mission for Diva. The strange witch was robbed a decade ago and she wants her belongings back. Diva's reputation as a psychic medium has grown. Zoila is convinced she is the key to finding her beloved property. Unfortunately, Diva will have to team up with Haydn Creighton to pull this mission off.

Speaking of Haydn, Diva's feelings for the sinfully handsome warlock haven't changed. But now that the curse has been broken, he's free to start dating blonde bimbos again. Seeing him with other women pushes her to the edge and her broken heart makes her do something that could very well come back to haunt her badly.

Freigegeben:
Nov 16, 2019
ISBN:
9781393620655
Format:
Buch

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Ambition Can Have Terrible Consequences - Anni Jayde

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Chapter One

LOST IN A DARK DREAM that I was going to grow old and die alone because I was in love with a warlock who was my enemy, I felt a strange disturbance and snapped awake. Sitting up, I looked around wildly, but I couldn’t see anything threatening. My alarm clock told me it was thirteen minutes past midnight.

Jess drifted through my door when I switched the light on. The mere sight of the gorgeous lamp that Haydn had bought for me was enough to bring my depression back. My dream hadn’t been a nightmare. Instead, it was in fact my reality. What’s wrong? my bestie asked in concern.

I’m not sure, I replied, rubbing my forehead and trying to shake off the sensation that something strange had just happened. I felt something weird and it woke me up.

Did it come through your link to Haydn? she asked tentatively.

A few weeks had passed since we’d destroyed Yvonne’s remains and had broken the curse. Unfortunately, my magical bond to Haydn remained intact. I scowled and my cabochon ring turned gray to reflect my gloomy mood. No, it was something else.

Everything is quiet in here and in the mansion, Jess reported. You should try to get back to sleep. You don’t want to have bags under your eyes for your big date tonight.

She snickered at me when my scowl deepened. The last thing I wanted to do was to have dinner with a strange warlock, but Grandma had insisted that I start dating. Once Lilla Delaney had made up her mind about something, she wouldn’t be denied. She’d accepted an invitation to dinner in Boston on my behalf and had informed me that I would be going.

Flicking the light off, I lay back down. The warlocks who were attempting to woo me had changed their tactics. They’d realized that making an appointment to see me with false claims that they needed my help just annoyed me. Instead, they were now sending invitations via my grandmother. She was the matriarch of our coven and they’d turned to old school methods to attempt to get a date with me.

Eve and Courtney were already involved in relationships and they were both being spared from the attention. I was the only one who was single and I’d become a target. As the most powerful witch in the Delaney Coven, I was apparently a good catch. Becoming allies with us would give other covens a boost, but marrying into our family would also gain them prestige.

My scowl remained in place as I tried to get back to sleep. I didn’t care about a man’s pedigree. I just wanted someone who would care about me and who would be there when I needed him the most. Grandma couldn’t seem to understand that I would never marry someone unless I loved him. It was long-standing tradition to arrange marriages between eligible witches and warlocks, but I wasn’t going to let anyone dictate my life for me. Yet here she was manipulating me into doing what she wanted, hence my dinner date tonight.

An excited babble of voices came from my living room a couple of minutes later. They drew closer to my door and I flicked the lamp on again. The Three Stooges swept inside with Jess right behind them. What’s going on? I asked in trepidation. Their expressions were a mixture of excitement and dread.

It’s Pumpkin! Reggie blurted before Fran could speak. She’s just given birth to a litter of kittens! He clapped his hands over his mouth to stifle nervous giggles. In his twenties, he wore his black hair slicked back from his thin face. His slim, weaselly body was clad in a purple satin shirt with paisley patterns and tight black pants. A gold necklace with a gaudy peace medallion nestled against his hairless chest.

How long ago did she have them? I asked as a sense of doom settled over me.

She had the last one a few minutes ago, chicky, Maryanne told me in her husky smoker’s voice. The platinum blonde wig that was perched on her head sat slightly askew. Her bright red lipstick was uneven and so were her saggy boobs. Her white Marilyn Monroe style dress almost glowed in the dim light of the lamp.

How many kittens did she have? Jess asked.

Fran gulped before responding. She had thirteen and the last one was born at thirteen minutes past midnight. She said that as if it was a dire portent. It’s Friday the thirteenth today, she added when neither of us reacted.

I felt the color drain out of my face at that reminder. We’d all known that Satan mating with Pumpkin could only be a bad thing. We’d all assumed it would herald the beginning of the apocalypse. Are the kittens...normal? I asked.

Well, twelve of them seem to be, Maryanne hedged, then hiked her boobs up. They immediately settled back into their usual positions when she let them go. The thirteenth one looks different from the rest.

It’s only a few minutes old, Fran said as if she was trying to convince herself. I’m sure it’s not as ominous as it looks. Overweight and possessing several chins, she was forever doomed to wear a blue dress with white polka dots. For reasons unknown, she wore a matching bow in her curly red hair. She was the most sensible one of the trio, which wasn’t saying a lot since they were all flighty and excitable.

The end has come, Jess said to me solemnly. The thirteenth offspring of two hell spawn has been born on Friday the thirteenth. You need to notify the authorities that the world is about to be destroyed.

We all snickered, but I couldn’t shake my unease. What’s wrong with the thirteenth kitten? I asked.

The other twelve are either black or orange like their parents, Fran replied. The thirteenth one is a weird mixture of both colors.

I’m sure there are lots of cats with orange and black fur, Jess said with a frown.

Not like this one, Reginald argued. It’s orange on one side and black on the other. There’s no overlap of color and it almost looks like it was done by magic.

Its face is what freaked us out, though, Maryanne said with a shudder. It’s mostly black, but has these big orange patches around its eyes. It looks like a death mask or something.

Thankfully, it’s the runt of the litter and it’s a lot smaller than the others, Fran added. It’ll probably die overnight.

A pang went through me that the ugly little runt wouldn’t even get a chance at life. It had been dealt a bum hand through no fault of its own. Do you have any other gossip? I asked.

Nope, that was it, Reggie said. We just wanted to pass on the message that Armageddon is here.

Message received, Jess said dryly. We should let Diva get back to sleep.

She has a hot date tonight, Fran said with a sly grin. She’ll need to get her beauty sleep.

I rolled my eyes, then switched the lamp off. Jess would no doubt tell our spectral friends that I’d woken up just when the thirteenth kitten was being born. I didn’t even want to contemplate why I’d been roused from my slumber at that precise moment. Despite all our joking, it was ridiculous to think that cats could be a portent of doom or the harbingers of the end of the world. Yet I couldn’t shake the sense that things had just changed in some strange way.

I tossed and turned for the rest of the night, then dragged myself out of bed when my alarm went off. By the time I’d showered, had eaten breakfast and downed my first mug of coffee, I felt more awake.

Fran and her entourage arrived just as I was heading for the door. We have news, she said, shooting a glare at Reginald when he opened his mouth to blurt it out.

Is it about the hell kittens? Jess guessed.

The thirteenth offspring of Satan and his evil consort made it through the night, Maryanne said, then smirked at Fran for beating her to the punch.

A small part of me was glad the kitten had survived its first night. Sure, its parents both hated me with a passion and probably wished I was dead, but the poor little thing deserved a chance. I just hoped it wouldn’t be the death of me like my friends all seemed to think.

Chapter Two

WHEN I GOT TO WORK, I unlocked the door and flipped my sign over to signify that I was open. I then opened my blinds just enough for me to see out. Haydn’s black car was parked out the front of his bookstore, which meant he was at work. Bartholomew Creighton hovered in his favorite spot in the window, glaring at the living and dead alike, but Haydn was nowhere to be seen. When we’d been cursed, he’d been as drawn to me as I’d been to him. Now that the spell had been broken, he avoided me like I had the plague. I hadn’t had any contact with him since the night we’d destroyed the last of Yvonne Creighton’s remains.

Don’t torture yourself, Diva, Jess said. She manifested enough to put her hand on my shoulder and to turn me away from the window. You need to let go of Haydn and move on.

Maybe it’s a good thing your grandmother is forcing you to start dating, sweetie, Reggie mused. Thanks to the two curses that tied you to Haydn, you’ve never really had a chance to find the right man.

I thought Drew McTavish was the right man, I reminded him as I headed for my coffee machine. I’d had to restock my coffee beans after they’d run out and new ones hadn’t arrived. Haydn had stopped supplying me with them. I’d become used to the expensive brand even though it was another reminder of what I’d lost.

Drew is hot, but he’s just a normal, Maryanne said. It would never have worked out between you and the Sheriff.

You’re a Delaney witch, Fran added. Not just that, you’re also the strongest conjurer we’ve ever seen. You need a powerful warlock to be your husband. Someone who can help you manage your power if you lose control of it.

Why would I need a husband to help me keep control when I’ve got this? I said wryly and held the cabochon ring up. The stone had turned dark blue from my constant sorrow. My family knew I was down in the dumps, but they didn’t realize I was still in love with Haydn. The ghosts were the only ones who were aware of my dilemma. For once, they hadn’t spread that gossip throughout the deceased community. Their restraint showed me just how much they cared about me.

The new councilmembers will be assessing you soon, Fran said. Maybe they’ll allow you to take the ring off after they’ve tested you.

That triggered memories of the last time I’d been tested by the Council of Conjurers. I hastily put my mug on my desk, then dropped down onto my chair and put my head on the wooden surface. Images of being tortured by horrific spells assailed me. Even with Haydn’s ring on my finger, the lights flickered wildly. I’d gained enough control to be able to cast stronger spells now, but I still sometimes had surges like this.

There, there, Reginald said and patted me on the back with a cool, spectral hand. Everything is fine, he crooned. You’re safe and no one is going to hurt you.

I almost snorted out a laugh as the white spots stopped dancing in front of my eyes. They’d taken to attempting to soothe me whenever I became overwhelmed. I was pretty sure they were trying to step up and be my protectors. Thanks, Reggie, I said gratefully. He was the least manly guy I’d ever met, but I appreciated his effort. I’m glad you guys are my friends.

You’d be lost without us, Maryanne said with a phlegmy cackle.

Let’s go check out the gossip at Khloe’s Kuts, Fran suggested. My hairdresser was using her original surname of Norton now. Khloe had returned to Hollowood Grove after Ferdinand Danzoni and the rest of his coven had been arrested. I hadn’t heard whether the Danzonis had been executed for the murders they’d committed yet. Frankly, I didn’t want to think about it.

Since Khloe was now safe from her stalker, she’d decided to remain in our town. Her family had disowned her after they’d found out she’d been involved with a married warlock who was also a mobster. The witch was all alone, so the conjurers of our town had taken her under their wings. She was one of us now and we would all protect her like she was our family.

A few things had changed after Minerva Kensington and her cronies had been ousted from the Council. Toby Jenkins had been temporarily placed in charge until five new leaders had been chosen. The process had taken a month and they’d only been in their positions for a couple of weeks now. They’d kept Toby on since he’d proven to be an effective interim leader. He had a position of importance within the Council now, although I wasn’t exactly sure what his job was.

The Pentland Coven and Westmore brothers had been rewarded well for their participation in the trap to take the corrupt councilmembers and the Danzoni Coven down. My family and I had also been compensated handsomely for our involvement. Best of all, we’d all received a boost in prestige. The only downside was that the attention I was receiving from single warlocks had increased even more.

Since Haydn had also been involved in our covert operation, the Creighton Coven’s reputation had changed slightly. They’d been well known as being devious and ruthless. Now they were also seen as clever and inventive in spellcasting. Another reason for the change in public perception was a major alteration that had happened to their mansion. Once Yvonne’s spell had been broken, the house had changed from black to dark gray overnight.

Most people thought they’d given their mansion a makeover to soften their image. In reality, it turned out they’d never painted their house black at all. Yvonne’s curse had seeped into the very fabric of the building after she’d died. Instead of looking ominous, their house now looked stately. I’d driven past it after the terrible trio had heard the rumors of the makeover and we’d gone to investigate. The Creightons had tried to paint their house numerous times over the centuries, but it had never stuck and the black had always returned. Dark gray had been the last color they’d tried and it suited the old building.

Nina Rivers had heard that Georgina Creighton hadn’t been happy that her ancestor’s bones had been destroyed, but their coven was glad the curse was gone. Everyone who had known about it was aware that the spell had been broken. The rumors of an affair between Haydn and me had died down. Our brief time together was now a distant memory to everyone except me.

You have to stop thinking about Haydn, Jess said, reading me accurately. Pining for him isn’t healthy.

I know, I agreed with a sigh. Maybe it is a good idea for me to start dating. I forced some enthusiasm into my voice even though I knew deep down that I’d never meet another man who would affect me like Haydn did.

That’s the spirit! my bestie said with a relieved grin. It had to be a drag for her to be around me when I was constantly moping. I would have to make an effort to enjoy myself tonight for her benefit since she would be coming along as well. What are you going to wear on your date? she asked.

One of the dresses Haydn bought for me probably, I replied, ignoring the stab of pain that hit me in the heart.

Wear the bronze one, she suggested.

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