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       Burning Bright (Ivy Granger), p.1

           E.J. Stevens
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Burning Bright (Ivy Granger)

  Burning Bright

  By E.J. Stevens

  Burning Bright

  E.J. Stevens

  Published by Sacred Oaks Press

  Copyright 2014 E.J. Stevens

  All rights reserved

  Publisher’s Note

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

  Kindle Edition, License Notes

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  Table of Contents

  Pronunciation Guide


  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43

  Chapter 44

  Chapter 45

  Chapter 46

  Chapter 47

  Chapter 48

  Chapter 49

  Chapter 50

  Chapter 51

  Chapter 52

  Chapter 53

  Chapter 54

  Chapter 55

  Chapter 56

  Chapter 57

  Chapter 58

  Chapter 59


  Pronunciation Guide

  Pronunciations are given phonetically for names and races found in the Ivy Granger series. Alternate names and nicknames have been provided in parentheses. In some cases, the original folklore has been changed to suit the city of Harborsmouth and its environs.

  Ailinn: ah-lynn

  Aleya: uh-LEE-yuh

  Arachne: uh-RAK-nee

  Athame: ah-thaw-may

  Banshee: ban-shee (Bean Sidhe, Bean Sìth)

  Barguest: BAR-guyst (Bargheist, Black Dog)

  Bean Tighe: ban tig

  Béchuille: beh-huh-IL (Bé Chuille)

  Bema: BEE-muh

  Bheur: ver (like air)

  Blaosc: BLEE-usk

  Bogey: BOH-gee

  Boggart: BOG-ert

  Boitata: boy-TAH-ta

  Brollachan: broll-ach-HAWN

  Brownie: BROW-nee (Bwca, Urisk, Hearth Faerie, Domestic Hobgoblin)

  Bugbear: BUG-bayr (Bug-a-boo, Boggle-bo)

  Bwca: BOO-kuh (see Brownie)

  The Cailleach: kall-ahk (The Blue Hag, Cailleach Bheur, Queen of Winter, Crone, Veiled One, Winter Hag)

  Cat Sidhe: KAT shee or kayth shee (Faerie Cat, Cait Shith, Cait Sith)

  Ceffyl Dŵr: keff-EEL dore (Kelpie King, Ceff)

  Chir batti: CHEER bhut-TEA

  Clurichaun: kloor-ih-kon (clobhair)

  Cu Sith: KOO shee

  Daeva: DAY-va

  Demon: DEE-mun

  Djinn: JIN

  Draugr: DROW-ger

  Duergar: doER-gar

  Each Uisge: erk OOSH-kuh (Water Horse)

  Elphame: EL-faym

  Emain Ablach: EH-van ah-BLAH

  Faerie: FAIR-ee (Fairy, Sidhe, Fane, Wee Folk, The Gentry, People of Peace, Themselves, Sidhe, Fae, Fay, Good Folk)

  Fear Dearg: far DAR-rig (The Red Man)

  Fionn mac Cumhaill: FIN mac COO-will

  Forneus: FOR-nee-us (Demon, Great Marquis of Hell)

  Fragarach: FRAG ah roch

  Fuath: FOO-ah

  Gaius Aurelius: GUY-us aw-REE-lee-us

  Galliel: GAL-ee-el (Unicorn)

  Ghoul: GOOL (Revenant)

  Glaistig: GLASS-tig (The Green Lady)

  Gnome: NOHM

  Goblin: GOB-lin

  Griffin: GRIF-fin (Gryphon, Griffon)

  Grindylow: GRIN-dee-loh

  Gwarwyn-a-throt: GWAR-win-uh-THROT

  Hamadryad: ha-ma-DRY-ad (Tree Nymph)

  Harborsmouth: HAR-bers-MOUTH

  Henkie: HEN-kee

  Hippocampus: hip-po-CAM-pus

  Hob-o-Waggle HOB-oh-WAG-gul (Brownie, son of Wag-at-the-Wa)

  Hy Brasil: HY bra-ZIL

  Ignus fatuus: IG-nus FATCH-you-us

  Inari: i-NAH-ree

  Jenny Greenteeth: JEN-nee GREEN-teeth (Water Hag)

  Kelpie: KEL-pee (Water Horse, Nyaggle)

  Lamia: LAY-me-uh

  Leanansídhe: lan-awn-shee (Lhiannan Sidhe, Leanhaun Shee, Leannan Sìth, Fairy Mistress)

  Leprechaun: le-pre-khan (leipreachán)

  Loup garou: LOOP guh-ROO

  Mab: MAB (Unseelie Queen)

  Manannán mac Lir: MAH-nah-nahn mac leer

  Mauthe doog: MOW-thee DOO

  Melusine: MEL-oo-seen

  Mermaid: MER-mayd (male Merman)

  Merry Dancer: MER-ree DAN-ser (Fir Chlis)

  Murúch: mer-ook (Merrow, Moruadh, Murúghach)

  Nixie: NIX-ee

  Nuckelavees: NOOK-uh-LAY-veez

  Oberon: OH-ber-on (Seelie King)

  Peg Powler: PEG POW-ler (Peg Powler of the Trees, Water Hag)

  Peri: PER-ee

  Pixie: PIK-see (Pisgie)

  Pooka: POO-kuh (Phooka, Pouka, Púca, Pwca)

  Redcap: RED-kap (red cap)

  Roca Barraidh: ROH-ka BAR-rah

  Saytr: SAY-ter

  Selkie: SEL-kee

  Shellycoat: SHEL-lee-cote

  Sidhe: SHEE (see Faerie)

  Succubus: SUK-you-bus (male Incubus)

  Tech Duinn: tek DOON

  Tezcatlipocan: tehs-cah-tlee-poh-cahn

  Tir na nOg: TEER na NOHG

  Tir Tairngire: TEER TEARN-geer

  Titania: ti-TAY-nee-uh (Seelie Queen)

  Troll: TROHL

  Tuatha Dé Danann: tootha DAY da-NAN

  Tylwyth Teg: TILL-with TEEG (Seelie Court)

  Unicorn: YOU-ni-korn

  Unseelie: un-SEE-lee

  Vampire: VAM-pyr (Undead)

  Will-o’-the-Wisp: WIL-oh-tha-wisp (Gyl Burnt Tayle, Jack o’ Lantern, Wisp, Ghost Light, Friar’s Lantern, Corpse Candle, Hobbledy, Aleya, Hobby Lantern, Chir Batti, Faerie Fire, Spunkies, Min Min Light, Luz Mala, Pinket, Ellylldan, Spook Light, Ignus Gatuus, Orbs, Boitatá, and Hinkypunk)

; Ynis Afallon: un-NIS AH-fuhl-on

  Yue Fei: yweh-fay

  Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

  In the forests of the night,

  What immortal hand or eye

  Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

  In what distant deeps or skies

  Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

  On what wings dare he aspire?

  What the hand dare seize the fire?

  -William Blake, The Tyger

  Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger's jaws,

  And burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood;

  -Shakespeare, Sonnet XIX


  Welcome to Harborsmouth, where monsters walk the streets unseen by humans…except those with second sight.

  Whether visiting our modern business district or exploring the cobblestone lanes of the Old Port quarter, please enjoy your stay. When you return home, do tell your friends about our wonderful city—just leave out any supernatural details.

  Don’t worry—most of our guests never experience anything unusual. Otherworlders, such as faeries, vampires, and ghouls, are quite adept at hiding within the shadows. Many are also skilled at erasing memories. You may wake in the night screaming, but you won’t recall why. Be glad that you don’t remember—you are one of the fortunate ones.

  If you do encounter something unnatural, we recommend the services of Ivy Granger, Psychic Detective. Co-founder of Private Eye detective agency, Ivy Granger is a relatively new member of our small business community. Her offices can be found on Water Street, in the heart of the Old Port.

  Miss Granger has a remarkable ability to receive visions by the act of touching an object. This skill is useful in her detective work, especially when locating lost items. Whether you are looking for a lost brooch or missing persons, no job is too small for Ivy Granger—and she could certainly use the business.

  We can also provide, upon request, a list of highly skilled undertakers. If you are in need of their services, then we also kindly direct you to Harborsmouth Cemetery Realty. It’s never too early to contact them, since we have a booming “housing” market. Demand is quite high for a local plot—there are always people dying for a place to stay.

  Chapter 1

  Ever play whack-a-mole with a jincan? No? Well, then aren’t you the fortunate one. Not only do jincan look like overgrown caterpillars with pointy teeth, but they also breed like bunnies and have a knack for undermining integral weight-bearing structures, leaving piles of rubble in their wake. Oh, and they smell like rotten eggs when squished—just my luck.

  I scanned the cratered parking lot and sighed. Ever since Jenna was shipped off to Europe on some top-secret Hunters’ Guild mission, Harborsmouth’s supernatural pest problem had grown out of control. Jenna was one of the youngest members in the Harborsmouth Guild office and, as such, was responsible for the less desirable hunting jobs—like taking care of a nest of jincan. Now that she was gone, that job fell to the private sector.

  I tightened my grip on the iron hammer and scowled. With Jenna gone, and the Guild in no hurry to find a replacement, jobs had come rolling in. I guess I should have been happy for the work, but no amount of money would make this feel like a real case. These jobs were just trumped up pest control. I’d much rather be working a case that required more than whacking some creature over the head. Better yet, I wanted more time to focus on the search for my father.

  I’d recently learned that I was half-fae and that my deadbeat dad was Will-o’-the-Wisp, or Willem as my human mom knew him, King of the Wisps. Most of my life I’d spent feeling abandoned by the guy, which pissed me off. My psychic abilities had labeled me as a freak and an outcast, relegating me to the sidelines where I watched other people live their safe, happy, normal lives. Even my mother and step-father had distanced themselves from their freak daughter. To say I had abandonment issues was an understatement.

  Imagine my surprise when I discovered, in a search for answers about my awakening wisp abilities, that my dad had been a victim too. He’d been tricked by a demon, possibly Lucifer himself, to carry a cursed lantern that brought disasters wherever he walked the earth. In an attempt to keep me and my mom safe, Will-o’-the-Wisp had left Harborsmouth. Now I not only needed to find my father, I desperately wanted to.

  But time was running out. As if my psychic gift and second sight weren’t bad enough, I was growing into a whole new set of wisp abilities that I had no idea how to control. And fae who can’t keep their supernatural side hidden from humans don’t have a long lifespan—even for immortals. If I don’t find my father soon, I’ll be facing a fae firing squad. In fact, I could already feel the chill of fae assassins breathing down my neck.

  Yeah, sorting out my family issues and finding a way to control my wisp powers should have been my one and only task, but information doesn’t come cheap. It takes money to grease those kinds of gears, hence my jumping at the chance to fill the void that Jenna had left in her wake. Jobs like these paid in cash and favors, both of which were in short supply since beginning my search for answers.

  As it was, I was accruing debt with the wrong people. Take, for example, my debt to the vampire master of Harborsmouth. I’d promised to work one case of that pompous, old dust bag’s choosing. Yeah, that was bound to go well. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I’d made not one, but two faerie bargains with The Green Lady. I just knew the glaistig would be calling in her favors soon. I’d caught her guards watching me more than once. I knew she was keeping tabs on her investment and that scared me worse than the threat of faerie assassins.

  Unfortunately, the vamp and the glaistig weren’t the only ones I’d made bargains with over the past few months. Their bargains were just the most likely to result in death or insanity. By comparison, my alliance with Sir Torn and the local cat sidhe was a walk in the park. And that was saying a whole lot about just how potentially deadly my bargains with The Green Lady and the vampire master of the city really were. Torn was a shadowy, feline, pain in my ass who obviously thought my roommate and business partner was catnip—like I didn’t have enough to worry about.

  One of the caterpillar creatures burst up through a pile of rubble to my left and, with a blur of writhing golden fur, ducked inside the ruins of a video store. Damn, these things were fast. I ran toward the alley at the back of the store, hoping to corner the jincan before it escaped back into the ground or into the multi-level parking garage. Chasing the jincan around in that warren of concrete and steel was something I’d like to avoid. There were fae who liked to inhabit those shadows and I’d rather not come toe to toe with any of them.

  I gulped air as I came around the back of the building, scanning the area around the dumpster and metal exit door for signs of the jincan. No eight foot caterpillar here. Maybe I’d been wrong to think it would come this way. Heck, it could be tunneling through the shop floor this very moment. In fact, I could hear a rhythmic thud coming from inside. Crap, I wouldn’t collect my fee if I let this critter slip away.

  I spun on my heel, ready to sprint back down the alley when a furry steam-train came barreling through the cinderblock wall. The owner of the strip-mall wasn’t going to be happy. There was hardly anything left of the place. Too bad I had more to worry about than pissing off my clients.

  I needed to stay alive.

  A chunk of concrete whizzed past my head and I ducked into a crouch. I blinked away the dust and debris that filled the air and honed in on the creature’s location. There, it was halfway through the wall, its head already dipping into the parking garage.

  “Oh no, you don’t,” I said. “Hey, Goldy, over here!”

  The jincan raised its head and gnashed its large, brown teeth. Oh yeah, that’s attractive. These critters could use some serious dental care.

  With a bellowing cry it lunged toward me. I jinked to the right, avoiding those nasty teeth with a few feet to spare. As the creature’s momentum carried it forward, I lifted the hammer, bringing it down at the base of it
s skull. Do caterpillars even have skulls? Whatever, the blow stopped the deafening chomp of its teeth—too bad it also squished the thing’s head like a water balloon.

  Smelly jincan goo hit me square in the face, on bare skin. I froze, hammer locked in unmoving gloved fingers, as a vision held me rigid in its icy grip. I tried to calm my breathing and ride it out. It wouldn’t do me any good to fight it, and I needed to get this over with. If another jincan came along while I was imprisoned by the goo-induced vision, I’d be getting an up close and personal look at those rotting, pointy teeth.

  I’d be caterpillar food for sure.

  In fact, it looked like I’d be fed to this guy’s queen if he had any say in the matter. Oh, goody.

  Psychometry is a funny thing. If a strong psychic imprint is made on an object, then someone with my rare gift can read the information that’s left behind. In this case, the caterpillar goo was giving me a vision whammy that made my stomach churn. This jincan had three images playing on a compulsive loop and the message of what drove the beast was clear. He wanted to kill, eat, and mate—not necessarily in that order.

  And, oh boy, the gal he wanted to impress was a golden-skinned, furless grub the size of a semi truck. Protect the Queen, feed the Queen, and mate with the Queen. Oberon’s eyes, I needed brain bleach.

  Oh yeah, this vision was no joyride—they never were—but visions of jincan males lining up to hump their gelatinous queen? That was sure to give me nightmares. Damn that shit was nasty.

  I gagged and shook off the last of the vision. Psychometry is a bitch of a psychic gift, but the thing is, sometimes it comes in handy. Now I knew how to stop these creatures from destroying another city block, even if it was out here in the suburbs. I just needed to squash their hive leader, and I knew right where to find her.

  Aware of the gathering gloom, I sprinted into the parking garage. For the second time today, I wished that Jenna hadn’t pissed off the Guild and got herself shipped off to Europe. This was one job where I could use some backup. The obese hive leader didn’t seem like much of a threat—heck, she looked like a pulsating marshmallow—but I was pretty sure the masses of horny jincan males I’d seen in my vision weren’t about to welcome me with open arms, even if they did have about twenty extra sets of the damn things.

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