QSFer Liv Rancourt has a new MM Paranormal book out, Soulmates book 2: Tested.
There’s no easy way to come back from the dead…
…and Connor MacPherson is living with the consequences. He may be back in Trajan’s life – and in his bed – but the trust they once shared is gone.
Some days it feels like David is the only thing holding their threesome together.
When Trajan and David stumble over a murdered kitsune, Connor is drawn into the investigation. He uses that murder to cover a second inquiry, one he’s bound by his oath to the Elites to keep secret – specifically from Trajan.
Then David uncovers his covert search, and if Connor’s own internal conflict is painful, seeing how it hurts David makes it even worse.
But they don’t know the secret Trajan’s keeping, a command that could destroy everything. Trajan’s maker has ordered him to kill, and if they don’t rebuild their damaged trust, this time death will be permanent.
An marbhdhraoi. A necromancer. That’s what the guy needs, and I’m not one. I say it with conviction, under my breath, staring at the pile of rags wrapped around a clay pot. The pot holds an oversized rosemary shrub, the plant’s scent dominating but not entirely concealing the smell of death.
“Sorry, Mr. Goldsmith, I’ve never tried to get rid of a revenant before.” A couple of poltergeists, sure, and one case of demon possession that almost started a gang war, but never a simple revenant.
Mr. Goldsmith, a lanky seventy if he’s a day, frowns at the pile.
I nudge the wrinkled fabric with my toe. “Your best bet is to burn this stuff.”
“But don’t you want to take fingerprints or something? How else are you going to figure out who did this?”
This is a skeletal revenant who’s made a habit of appearing shortly after sunset and upsetting Tippy and Top, Mr. Goldsmith’s matching pair of apricot Pekinese. His house, deep in the Laurel Canyon, is surrounded by sage scrub and eucalyptus that do little to protect against supernatural practical jokes.
Assuming this is a joke.
I’m formulating a response when the ground lights surrounding the patio buzz on. The sun’s kissing the western horizon, which means Trajan is about to rise, if he hasn’t already. “I’m a private investigator, not a cop, and not a warlock. The best I can do is make some phone calls and make sure this is some kind of a prank and not something more serious.”
Revenants are more annoying than anything else. Frightening, given to popping up when you don’t expect them, and apparently distressing to pampered canines. If someone wanted to cause real trouble for Mr. Goldsmith and his pups, they’d have sprung for a full-price, brain-eating zombie. Between his description and the lack of the residual aura a zombie would leave, I’m confident it’ll be an easy fix.
Borrowing a pair of extra-long barbecue tongs, I pick up each piece of fabric and carry them to the patio’s central fire pit. Mr. Goldsmith grumbles more than he helps, but it’s a small job and easily accomplished. One quick squirt of lighter fluid and the flick of a match and the bespelled clothing goes up with a bright, clean flame.
Another success for Connor MacPherson, Private Eye.
I promise I’ll follow up and Mr. Goldsmith hands me a check, his lips pinched. “If that thing comes back, I want a refund.”
“Mr. Goldsmith, if that thing comes back, I’ll hire a necromancer to remove it for good.” A city as big as LA has to have more than one necromancer. Tray’ll know one, or his friend Stone. I pocket the check and head for the Prius, my mind shifting from work to anticipation.
I’ll be home with my men as soon as LA traffic allows.
My men. Mo shíorghrá and mo mhuirnin.
The idea still makes my mind spin. I’d returned to LA absolutely certain I’d never again be with Trajan Gall, but in less than six months, I’d been proven wrong. Not only do I have Trajan in my arms and my bed and my heart, but I share those spaces with David Collins, too. The werewolf brings a lightness to our relationship. Trajan and I had been strong on our own – until I’d gone and fucked things up – but David makes us laugh as well as love.
Trajan is back to calling me amore mio. David just calls me pookie, despite my protests.
I’m not a phouka, not that there’s anything wrong with them. Anyone who lives with a werewolf is careful about putting down four-legged shifters of all types.
The traffic on Laurel Canyon Boulevard is surprisingly light. The unincorporated areas of
LA don’t have streetlights, and the heavy blanket of darkness weighs on me. “It’s only eight o’clock, guys,” I murmur, both hands on the steering wheel. “Where is everybody?”
A car cruises up behind me going much faster than the thirty mile an hour speed limit. The driver pulls into the lane next to me but drops back before I can get a good look. The driver is male and the vehicle is a luxury SUV.
And there’s something about the driver’s aura that feels familiar, although he’s gone so quickly I can’t say why. Maybe I’m just making stuff up; leaving the protection of the Elites has me feeling twitchy. I can’t call up Dante and ask for whatever toys I need. The wizard’s a grumpy fuck but he was the closest thing I had to a partner and sometimes I miss that.
Then David says something outrageous and Trajan smiles and it’s worth it.
I’m still musing about my lovers when the SUV’s headlights crawl right up my tailpipe. He’s so close I can’t see the lights anymore, just the vehicle’s broad black hood filling my rear view mirror.
A phalanx of cars come at us from the opposite direction and I use the glow of their headlights to get a better look at the vehicle behind me. There’s another flicker of familiarity, but it’s not enough for me to connect it to anything.
The SUV drifts back, then floods my mirror with his high beams. I duck, squinting against the glare. My grip on the steering wheel tightens. Most roads in the Laurel Canyon are steep and winding, and whoever is behind me is making it impossible to see.
He cuts the lights, or rather, he scoots up close to me again, close enough I can no longer see his headlights.
And then he taps my rear bumper, hard enough to make me jump. The hell with the speed limit. I give the Prius some more gas and switch lanes to get away from him.
He follows. What the hell?
Liv Rancourt writes romance of all kinds. Because love is love, even with fangs.
Liv is a huge fan of paranormal romance and urban fantasy and loves history just as much, so her stories often feature vampires or magic or they’re set in the past…or all of the above. When Liv isn’t writing she takes care of tiny premature babies in the NICU. Her husband is a soul of patience, her kids are her pride and joy, and her dogs – Trash Panda and The Boy Genius – are endlessly entertaining.