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Suburban Detroit was a truly odd place.
Ric Thornhill's vintage Jaguar convertible roared down Woodward Avenue, a wide car-clogged boulevard lined with all manner of businesses from elegant boutiques to seedy liquor stores. To his right loomed an enormous stone church that could have been in medieval Europe. On the left was a strip mall with a Chinese restaurant, a nail salon and a paycheck advance center.
Find Emery of Rose's long-lost daughter before the next Seelie Council meeting, or live out a miserable human lifespan as a powerless mortal. That was the geas that his boss, the elven queen, had cast on Ric. In other words, find the girl or die. His death sentence would simply take forty or fifty years to be carried out. The geas was a result of telling Her Majesty off the last time she'd sent him on a fool's errand. One would think he'd have learned by now to keep his mouth shut. The sad part was that on this job, he'd have done his best anyway. The fate of both realms could hang in the balance if he didn't.
In over eight centuries of existence, he'd been in plenty of sticky situations, but none as bad as this. He'd started the search in New York, where Emery had died. No luck there. He'd also tried Windsor, Ontario, the hometown of Emery's human wife. Nothing. Two other agents of the queen had mysteriously disappeared or been killed and now Ric was the only one left. And he was here in Detroit on nothing more than a hunch held by one of Emery's cousins. Aidan Greene believed his missing relative was somewhere nearby. Now Ric only had five days remaining and he'd gotten nowhere but here, which wasn't good.
The place was dismal and depressinghot, gray and muggy on this August afternoon and the five-o'clock Friday traffic royally sucked. Ric had spent the last week checking out every new-age shop, so-called psychic and alternative club in the areaevery place he could think of that a half-Fae would be drawn to. If his mediocre scrying skills hadn't led him to the right place this time, he was probably toast. He was supposed to be at a certain corner in Royal Oak at a certain time. Yeah, he had lots of info to go on.
He accelerated through a yellow light, cranked up the volume on his stereo and settled his black Ray-Ban sunglasses on his nose despite the overcast day. What the hell, might as well go down in style.