Spiral Huntby Margaret Ronald
Some people have the Sight. Genevieve Scelan has the Scent.
They call her "Hound," and with her unique supernatural sense Evie can track nearly anything—lost keys, vanished family heirlooms . . . even missing people. And though she knows to stay out of the magical undercurrent that runs beneath Boston's historic streets, a/blockquote>… See more details below
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Some people have the Sight. Genevieve Scelan has the Scent.
They call her "Hound," and with her unique supernatural sense Evie can track nearly anything—lost keys, vanished family heirlooms . . . even missing people. And though she knows to stay out of the magical undercurrent that runs beneath Boston's historic streets, a midnight phone call from a long-vanished lover will destroy the careful boundaries she has drawn. Now, to pay a years-old debt, Evie must venture into the shadowy world that lies between myth and reality, where she will find betrayal, conspiracies, and revelations that will shatter all she believes about herself and the city she claims as home.
When the Hunt is on, the Hound must run . . .
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By Margaret Ronald
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009
All right reserved.
No one ever calls in the middle of the night if they have good news. You'd think I'd remember that and not answer the phone after, say, midnight. But I'm as trained as any of Pavlov's dogs, and so when the phone shrilled I picked it up before coming fully awake. "This is Scelan," I mumbled into the receiver.
"Evie?" That woke me up. Since high school, only close friends have called me Evie. The man on the other end of the phone cleared his throat. "This is— Okay, you remember Castle Island? I kept branches in my car. Green ones, still living. Organic matter. Right?"
"I don't know what you're—" I stopped, memories of an ill-spent summer in South Boston flooding back around me like smoke from a bonfire. "Jesus. Frank?"
"Don't say it! Christ, I forgot how stupid you could be about some things."
Definitely Frank. Jerk. "Thanks very much. What the hell happened to you, Frank? I thought you were—" Not dead, I thought; but as good as, when it came to this town.
He didn't even hear the question. "I haven't— I'm pretty sure this line is okay, but I can't say the same for yours, and I know they'll be watching; they didn't expect me to get away."
"Frank. Slow down." I reached for the light, flailed a moment, then sat up. My legshad gotten tangled up in a big knot of sheets. "Why are you calling me?" I asked.
"I've got good reason—" The phone line squealed as a booming voice interrupted him, laughing and shouting guttural words that definitely weren't English. I held the phone away from my ear until Frank's voice returned. "Shut up! Look, Evie, I know we didn't part on the best of terms—"
"You called me a stupid bitch and said I deserved whatever they had for me. And then you disappeared."
"Yeah, well, I know what I did wrong last time. I'm not staying around here—it's gone too far for that, and I can't . . ." He paused, and the booming voice muttered again, incomprehensibly. "Shut up! I'm getting out. Really getting out this time."
"Yeah. Sure." When half of your business contacts are addicts, it gives you a certain perspective on anyone who says he's quit. Frank had quit before, sure, but he'd been a lot younger and less steeped in the undercurrent of Boston. And I'd helped to bring that crashing down, naive as I was. "Look, Frank, if you're calling me in hopes of a quick screw for old time's sake, forget it. I can't help you get out of the city other than the mundane ways, and you know those are watched."
"I know. Danu's tits, I know." He fell silent, and memory dredged forth an image so strong I could see what he must be doing: rubbing one hand over his face as if to clear the slate of his emotions. Of course, he'd be older now, but the gesture was one I unwillingly knew well. "Look, Evie, I know you probably hate me."
"I don't hate you, Frank." It was more complicated than that, and everything had happened so long ago that it didn't matter now. Which made me wonder why I still mattered to him. "I just didn't expect to hear from you again."
He hesitated. "Yeah. Well. I don't need help or anything, but I had to let you know that I was going. I can make it out this time."
"Don't boast about it. Just get out." I tugged the sheets back into some semblance of order, then sighed, remembering bonfires and the smell of crushed greenery. "Good luck."
"Luck has no part in this."
I nearly dropped the phone. It was the booming voice again—but now that I was a little more awake, I recognized it. It was Frank's voice: the same slight lisp from a broken tooth, the same timbre, only pushed down to the bottom of his range—but somehow I knew it was no longer Frank speaking.
"He speaks to you to say farewell. I speak to you to warn you, for I may have damned you with my words." The phone felt unnaturally warm, warmer than my hands could make it. For a second I smelled a trace of something like dust and dry stone, there and gone so fast it left only the memory of recognition.
Impossible. Even I couldn't catch a scent over the tenuous connection a phone provided. But the hairs on the back of my neck tingled, and my breath quickened, as it did when I got the scent before a hunt.
The speaker took a deep, ragged breath. "But even if I have, I own no shame, for you are needed and by one greater than I."
"Frank?" I said.
"Hound," said the voice, and ice ran down my back. Frank had never known I was called that. "Hound, watch for a collar. The hunt comes . . ."
Nothing more. I held on to the phone long after the dial tone of a broken connection crooned in my ear.
"Frank, you son of a bitch," I said at last. "Couldn't you have stayed dead?"
Excerpted from Spiral Hunt by Margaret Ronald Copyright © 2009 by Margaret Ronald. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Margaret Ronald learned to read on a blend of The Adventures of Tintin, Greek mythology, and Bloom County compilations. Her vocabulary never quite recovered. The author of two previous Evie Scelan novels, Spiral Hunt and Wild Hunt, Margaret has also written stories for Realms of Fantasy, Strange Horizons, Baen's Universe, and Fantasy Magazine.
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