dog-mom, horse servant and cat-slave,
Lover of solitude
and the company of good friends,
New places, new ideas
and old wisdom.
I love the idea of vicariously wearing stiletto
heels because that is the only way that will ever happen! What Rose Brighton discovers, however, is
they might very well be good for something else.
witch of House of Rose. She’s received an invitation to dinner from a
devastatingly handsome man, a warlock of another House of Iron. All she knows
is that someone from his House has been trying to kill her and wipe out her
So, of course, she goes—
dinner club atop Red Mountain overlooking the city. Very posh. I wear my black
dress and a pair of heels I bought, which are killing me. How do women walk in
these things? I let the valet park the car, because I don’t think I could make
it all the way across the parking lot.
in my head protesting how dangerous it is to meet Jason Blackwell anywhere. I
wonder if any of my family members were prone to do dangerous or impulsive
things. If so, I inherited it, and it’s not my fault, right? Besides, I’ve got
to have info, and I’m not going to get any sitting on my butt.
Iron, which I know nothing about, I am practically standing on my toes trying
not to fall on my face. My sympathies to the Chinese girls whose feet were
bound in ancient times to keep them small for the aesthetic taste of Chinese
men. Thinking about that horrid practice makes me angry. Why am I torturing
myself on these stilts for the pleasure of men?
Jason Blackwell greets me, rising from his chair at a table by the expansive
window. “You are beautiful even when you look ready to eat the first person in
table. I’ve seen setups like this in movies, but this is way out of my comfort
zone. Jason gestures at the wine. “I took the liberty of ordering. It’s a fine
year. Would you like to try it?”
our table and opens the bottle, pouring a small amount in Jason’s glass. It
would be nice to have a touch of James Bond sophistication with wine at this
point, but I can see it’s a French white from the label, and that’s about the
extent of my wine knowledge. Fortunately, Jason seems at home with the
requirements and takes a sip, savoring it on his tongue for a moment before
nodding assent at the waiter, who pours my glass first, then his. I watch all
this with fascination, and because I am afraid to look at my date. He almost
hurts the eyes.
turning his attention to me.
This man, I remind myself, may have lived a lot longer than I, despite his
saw each other.”
know that. He missed, I assume.”
know that. It was a chauvinistic guess.”
folds back the white linen to reveal the warm breads inside. “You must try an
orange roll, house specialty.”
finds the bits of crystalized sugar on my lips.
watch you eat.”
lamb stalked by a wolf and wonder if I used enough deodorant to last through
the valley. “It is a beautiful view, isn’t it?” Below us, the lights gleam like
on this from my bedroom window.”
bit of intimacy meant to make himself appear more human, a little bait thrown
out to gain my sympathy.
as long as I know there is a hook beneath the bait . . . right?
nightmares are about.
flitting around. “I have a question.”
the lines smooth and he considers me.
takes my hand and lightly rubs a thumb down the inside of my wrist. My pulse
jumps. ‘Jump’ is the wrong word, more like catapults.
my chest. “Are we going to have an honest discussion?”
amused again, which is irritating.
you are telling me.”
it could be someone in my House, but I’ve no proof of any kind. Most of my
youth was spent in Italy where my father had a villa and a mistress. After his
death, I remained there. It is still my primary residence.”
family is involved. If I ever have, I will tell you. I find I have a desire to
keep you alive. Frutti proibiti sono i più dolci.”
talk about you.”
though forbidden fruit.”
the lines of prejudice, and my jaw tightens. “Them” and “us” exist even among
the witches and warlocks.
presented, with a small sprig of cilantro and a lemon wedge cut artfully in a
spiral design, and I realize I’m starving. While he talks, I eat, feeling his
eyes on me again. I want to believe he had nothing to do with my family’s
murder. I can’t explain why. I just do. Maybe because his eyes are so blue.
table to powder my nose and wobble my way down the hall. “If I ever try to wear
heels again, just shoot me,” I mumble aloud.
an odd glance. I smile and point to my ear. She sniffs in disapproval of the
concept of people talking on invisible phones in public and walks on with her
nose in the air.
on the toilet seat and rub my arches. I linger just long enough to give my feet
a reprieve, wash my hands, and reapply lip gloss. Lipstick requires far too
much aim and control. My hair is curling wildly from the moisture outside, but there’s
not much I can do about that. I wash my hands and dry them in the curls, a
temporary taming technique. Reluctantly, I slip the heels back on.
carefully around the corner, balancing a tray of glasses. Unbeckoned, a surge
of living-green sweeps into me. The girl freezes, and a shadow girl steps ahead
of her, slightly out of focus, moving in my direction. I am seeing the future,
moments from now.
the women’s room where I stand, and bumps into the girl, spilling her tray. He
turns on her, angry and wobbly, probably drunk. I can’t hear anything he says
to her, but it isn’t necessary. The slump of her shoulders reflects his abuse.
The whole thing fades, and the girl in my universe or time-line resumes walking
against the door. Someone on the other side pushes to get out, but I set my
weight into it.
and it bursts open. The man staggers out like carbonated foam pent up in a can.
At that moment, the headache that seems associated with seeing into the future
hits me, and I just happen to step on his foot with my heel. “Oh, I am so
sorry,” I say and leave him cursing and limping in a circle.