Chapter 3

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ChapterThree

Getting home took a little longer than normal since I wasn’t feeling up to hoofing it anywhere, which meant dealing with traffic. I caught a cab and used the time to inconspicuously—because the cabbie was starting to give me a weird look—reassure Val that I wasn’t dead, currently dying, or going to die anytime soon.

That I knew of.

“I have bad news,” I told her as we neared the Garden District.

Val snorted. “Other than getting shot by some punk?”

I decided to tell her it was some random jerk on the street that shot me, which didn’t take a leap of faith to believe. The fae weren’t the only dangerous things on the streets of New Orleans. The cabbie had hit the break at that point, and I thought he was going to kick me out of the car or something. “Yeah, besides that. I can’t work Saturday night. David pulled me.”

“Honey, the moment you told me you were shot, I expected that. And honestly, that’s the last thing you need to worry about.”

“Thanks,” I murmured, glancing out the window then doing a double take. A guy was riding a . . . unicycle on the side of the road, wearing a . . . blue cape. What the hell?

Only in New Orleans.

“Do you want me to swing by before I head out tonight?” she asked.

I glanced at the driver. “Nah. I’m just going to clean up and sleep.”

“Call me if you need anything. Promise.”

The urge to tell her what really happened last night was hard to resist. Not because I wanted to gossip, but because I wanted to warn her to be on the lookout. Sighing, I gripped my cell tightly. “Promise, but hey, be careful. Please?” The very moment that left my mouth, icy fear wriggled into my chest. Losing Val, the only real friend I’d made since moving here wasn’t something I wanted to even consider. “You promise me that, okay?”

Val’s laugh was airy. “I’m always careful.”

Hanging up the phone after saying goodbye, I realized we were on Coliseum Street and edging to a stop against the curb shaded by thick oak trees. I dug into my bag and handed over some cash before climbing out.

The cabbie looked happy to be getting the hell out of there.

I was lucky with the place the Order had helped me find upon arriving in the city. While most of the Order lived closer to the Quarter, I was thrilled to be in the absolutely stunning Garden District, with its tapestry of trees, rich history, and old homes.

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