Home > Midlife Magic Hunter (Forty Proof #7)

Midlife Magic Hunter (Forty Proof #7)
Author: Shannon Mayer






Put a finger down if you’ve ever gone out to lunch with a gorgeous French fae man at a cafe in London, only to be interrupted when your ex-husband shows up in a borrowed—and decomposing—body with a note from a voodoo priestess. Just me? Well, okay then.

The note was not an invitation to a party either. Or at least, not the kind of party anyone would want anything to do with. It didn’t help that Alan stood swaying beside us, further adding to the stench, but at least he wasn’t talking. For once, he was keeping his mouth shut.

Remy reached across the table and curled his fingers around my wrist, rubbing his thumb up and down my forearm. “What is it, ma chérie? I am assuming nothing good.” One side of his mouth tipped up. “Not that trouble is a surprise with you.”

I sighed and rolled my eyes. “That would be correct, it’s never good news when a mostly dead man shows up with a delivery from his boss.”

Remy and I had been through a lot together, searching for the first witch—a woman who held the power to be part of a major spell that would bring an army of vampires to life. And not a vampire like Roderick, who seemed to have good control over himself. No, this would be an army of ravenous beasts, unleashed on the world and killing at random.

Remy had been hunting for the first witch for a different reason.

She was his mother, and yet he’d seemed unbothered by her death.

That was a discussion we needed to have, for sure. I mean, mommy issues were not something I’d dealt with before with a man, and I didn’t want to start.

His fingers worked across my tense muscles. “Are you going to tell me what is in that piece of paper that has you so upset, or is it from another secret lover?”

That had me laughing. “Jaysus, no thank you! If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that I can’t handle more than one man at a time. Lawd in heaven knows I surely don’t need to do that again.” I looked at the note a second time and shook my head.

The message was hastily scrawled but legible: The siren is next. It could only mean that Corb was next on the Dark Council’s hit list now that they’d killed the first witch. Maybe that was why he’d been so willing to go hunting for her. Maybe he’d hoped the Dark Council would leave him alone if they got hung up on a different spell item.

So, yes the note was about another man, but although Corb had kissed me a few times, we most definitely weren’t a thing. Especially since he’d betrayed me on more than one occasion, most recently leaving me to die in a flooding underground cavern.

“Men are trouble,” I said finally, and folded the piece of paper into a tiny square and laid it on the table. I found my hand spinning the bracelet on my opposite wrist, the blue stones catching the light. “This is a decision is all. A rather poopy one if I’m being honest.”

Remy’s dark eyebrows rose in tandem, and his mouth quirked. “Poopy?” He caught my hand, stilling me from spinning the bracelet.

“I’m trying to be good with my language, we’re on a damn date.” I tapped the corner of the paper against the table. Paper that held a warning that my friend—strike that, ex-friend—was next on the Dark Council’s hit list. In other words, he was in deep, deep . . .poopy.

And this note was supposed to send me chasing after him. Send me in the direction that the council—or at least the voodoo queen, Marge—wanted me to go. Her signature was clear as a day at the bottom of the paper.

Although she seemed like the kind of woman who followed her own council and no one else’s rules, I knew that she’d worked with the Dark Council before. Given they were the ones who wanted to bring about the whole vampire nightmare scenario, she was bad news—even if she was the kind of person who’d go wherever the money took her.

“It is a date, though I wouldn’t call it a damn one.” Remy smiled and sipped his wine. “What does this piece of paper say?”

Beside me, Alan swayed slightly. “God in heaven, Bree, can you just not be difficult for once? Marge is trying to help!”

Remy barely glanced at him. “You really have a knack for working with the dead, don’t you? He quite likes you, I think. He seems unable to look away.” The space between his eyebrows narrowed a little, but the dancing twinkle in his eyes spoke louder than his voice.

“That’s an understatement,” I muttered. “I can’t get rid of him, not by divorce or death. Lucky me.”

Remy lifted a glass of wine and tipped it toward Alan. “Care for a drink?”

Alan glared at him. “I can’t drink, I’m dead. Can’t you see that I’m dead? Are you stupid as well as ugly?”

A smile flitted across Remy’s lips. “Tres mal,” And then he lifted his glass and took a sip, never looking away from Alan. “This is the very finest wine, cool and crisp. Just the thing to quench a thirst on a warm summer day.”

Yup, Remy was teasing a now-scowling Alan. It made me like the French fae even more. Hell, it was a damn turn on.

Alan, who was still swaying slightly to my right in the borrowed body, put his fists on his hips. “You really like these ugly brutes, don’t you?”

His swaying reminded me of Robert.

A pang pierced my heart at the thought of my other friend, once again trapped in his skeletal form. He’d been free of it for a few short days, only to lose his connection to his living self once more.

I closed my eyes and found myself reaching for my hip bag. Robert was in there—close and yet so very far away.

Then my mind got around to processing what Alan had said.

I tipped my head and looked up at him. “Wait, does Remy look ugly to you?”

Alan snorted. “A toad would be better looking than this one.”

So Remy used the same trick as . . . someone else . . . someone whose name I wasn’t going to think of. This other person, he also showed men an ugly version of himself—and women a beautiful version. A type of glamor. As if to confirm that truth, our waitress showed up, unable to speak around her blushing and stammering as she stared at Remy, her eyes wide and her lips parted. She was so entranced with him she barely glanced at Alan. Would she see Alan, really see him, or just figure he was down on his luck and had forgotten to shower for a few . . .weeks?

Remy winked at her. “A moment, si vous plait.”

Her blush deepened, her chest lifted in a few deep gulps, and she stumbled away without getting a single word out. Yup, he was definitely pulling the same trick as that other person whose name I wouldn’t think. Or speak.

Leaning across the table, Remy put his hand on mine, pinning it down and stopping the drumming of my fingers. “Bree, your face has gone dark with your thoughts. What is the matter? Tell me what is in the note, so that I can help.”

I picked up my drink and took a sip of the chilled wine to wash the thoughts away. Not as good as a strong whiskey, but I’d take it in that moment. Setting the dainty glass back on the table, I slid my hand out from under his and then passed him the note. “Here, see for yourself.”

He unfolded the paper. “The siren? He is in trouble now?”

I nodded. “Corb is next on the Dark Council’s list. That’s what this means. And that puts me in a bind, seeing as I pretty much told him to duck off and never darken my doorstep again the last time we spoke.”

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