Key of Light Page 15

“Working on it.”

“Hey, Moe!” Dana shouted. “Cookie!”

That did the trick. Moe leaped over the crate, nipped the cookie out of the hand Dana held in the air, then landed. It might have been a graceful landing if he hadn’t skidded several feet over the uncarpeted floor.

“Works like a charm.” Dana lifted her arm. Moe loped back, the cookie already history, and insinuated his bulk under it.

“Wow. He’s really a big dog.” Zoe eased over, held out a hand, then grinned when Moe licked it lavishly. “Friendly.”

“Pathologically friendly.” Malory brushed at the dog hair that had transferred itself to her once pristine linen shirt. “That’s the second time today he’s landed on me.”

“He likes girls.” Flynn took off his sunglasses, tossed them on the crate. “You never told me your name.”

“Oh, so you’re the idiot and his dog. Should’ve known. This is Malory Price,” Dana said. “And Zoe McCourt. My brother, Flynn.”

“Are you Michael Flynn Hennessy?” Zoe crouched to stroke Moe’s ear, looked up at Flynn under her bangs. “M. F. Hennessy, with the Valley Dispatch?”

“Guilty.”

“I’ve read a lot of your articles, and I never miss your column. I liked the one last week on the proposed ski lift up on Lone Ridge and the environmental impact.”

“Thanks.” He reached down for a cookie. “Is this a book club meeting, and will there be cake?”

“No. But if you’ve got a minute, maybe you could sit down.” Dana patted the floor. “We’ll tell you what it is.”

“Sure.” But he sat on the couch. “Malory Price? The Gallery, right?”

“Not anymore,” she grimaced.

“I’ve been in a couple times, must’ve missed you. I don’t cover arts and entertainment. I see the error of my ways.”

His eyes, she noted, were the same color as the walls. That lazy-river green. “I doubt we have anything to offer that could complement your decor.”

“You hate the couch, right?”

“ ‘Hate’ is much too mild a word.”

“It’s very comfortable.”

He glanced over at Zoe’s comment and smiled. “It’s a napping couch. You nap, your eyes are closed, so you don’t care what it looks like. Celtic Mythology,” he read, angling his head to read the titles on the books scattered over the crate. “Myths and Legends of the Celts.” He picked one up, turned it in his hands as he studied his sister. “What gives?”

“I told you I was going to that cocktail party at Warrior’s Peak?”

His face went hard the instant the affable smile faded. “I thought you weren’t going because I said there had to be something off about that since nobody I talked to got an invitation.”

Dana picked up her Coke can, gave him a mildly interested look. “Do you actually think I listen to you?”

“No.”

“Okay, then. Here’s what happened.”

She’d barely begun when he turned away from her and those green eyes sharpened on Malory’s face. “You got an invitation?”

“Yes.”

“And you.” He nodded at Zoe. “What do you do, Zoe?”

“Right now I’m an unemployed hairdresser, but—”

“Married?”

“No.”

“Neither are you,” he said as he looked at Malory again. “No ring. No ‘I’m married’ vibe. How long have the three of you known each other?”

“Flynn, stop doing a damn interview. Just let me tell you what happened.”

Dana started again, and this time he boosted a hip off the couch, took a notebook out of his back pocket. Doing her best to appear as if she wasn’t the least bit interested in what he was doing, Malory slid her gaze to the left and down.

He used shorthand, she realized. And real shorthand, not any sort of bastardized version, as she did.

She tried to decipher it as Dana spoke, but it made her a little dizzy.

“ ‘The Daughters of Glass,’ ” Flynn muttered and kept scribbling.

“What?” Without thinking, Malory reached over and clamped her fingers on his wrist. “You know this story?”

“A version of it, anyway.” Since he had her attention, he shifted toward her. His knee bumped hers. “My Irish granny told me lots of stories.”

“Why didn’t you recognize it?” Malory asked Dana.

“She didn’t have my Irish granny.”

“Actually, we’re steps,” Dana explained. “My father married his mother when I was eight.”

“Or my mother married her father when I was eleven. It’s all point of view.” He reached up to toy with the ends of Malory’s hair, grinned easily when she batted his fingers aside. “Sorry. There’s just so much of it, it’s irresistible. Anyway, my granny liked to tell stories, so I heard plenty of them. This one sounds like ‘The Daughters of Glass.’ Which doesn’t explain why the three of you were invited up to the Peak to listen to a faerie tale.”

“We’re supposed to find the keys,” Zoe put in, and snuck a peek at her watch.

“You’re supposed to find the keys to unlock their souls? Cool.” He stretched out to prop his feet on the crate, crossed his ankles. “Now it’s my duty to ask how, when, and why.”

“If you’d shut up for five minutes, I’d tell you.” Dana reached for her Coke and drained it. “Malory goes first. She has twenty-eight days, starting today, to find the first key. When she does, either Zoe or I goes next. Same drill. Then the last of us gets her shot.”

“Where’s the box? The Box of Souls?”

Dana frowned as Moe deserted her to sniff Malory’s toes. “I don’t know. They must have it. Pitte and Rowena. If they don’t the keys won’t do them any good.”

“You’re telling me you’re buying this? Miss Steeped-in-Reality? And you’re going to spend the next few weeks looking for keys that open a magic glass box that holds the souls of three goddesses.”

“Demigoddesses.” Malory nudged Moe with her foot to discourage him. “And it isn’t a matter of what we believe. It’s a business deal.”

Prev Next