Cold-blooded kidnappers. Long-lost magic. When things get serious, she goes full Sherlock.
Ashira Cohen takes pride in being the only female private investigator in Vancouver. With her skills, her missing persons case should be a piece of cake.
She wasn’t counting on getting bashed in the skull, revealing a hidden tattoo and supernatural powers she shouldn’t possess.
Or the bitter icing on top: a spree of abductions and terrifying ghostly creatures on a deadly bender.
And don’t even get her started on the golems.
Reluctantly partnered with her long-time nemesis Levi, the infuriating leader of the magic community, Ash resolves to keep her focus on the clue trail and off their sexual tension because WTF is up with that?
But with a mastermind organization pulling strings from the shadows and Levi’s arrogance driving her to pick out his body bag, can Ash rescue the captives and uncover the truth or will the next blood spilled be her own?
Blood & Ash is the epic first novel in The Jezebel Files. If you like headstrong heroines, complex mysteries, and a dash of red-hot romance, you’ll love Deborah Wilde’s laugh out loud tale.
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About the Book
Blood & Ash
by Deborah Wilde
January 14, 2020
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There was nothing like sitting in a shitty car with a broken heater covertly filming a teenager for cash to make me question my life choices.
My target, Charlotte Rose Scott, had taffy blonde hair, big blue eyes, and a manic enthusiasm that made me want to slip her an Ambien.
Not that I’d waste one on a child.
Her can-do spirit was currently being applied to a bit of breaking and entering. The sixteen-year-old had tried every point of entry on the ground floor of this weathered Craftsman house that was thirty-two blocks and worlds away from her own home. She’d graduated from tugging on the windows’ security bars to wobbling her way up a bare trellis to the second-story balcony.
Good to know all those gymnastics and dance classes of hers had a practical application. It was so hard to make it in the arts, but crime was always a growth industry.
I slapped another memory card into my Handycam, absently rubbing my right thigh. I’d been sitting out here in the damp cold for too long, exacerbating the dull ache from the rods holding my femur together, so I grabbed the Costco-sized bottle of Tylenol that I’d tossed on the passenger seat and dry-swallowed a couple of pills.
She wrenched on the sliding door handle and I winced. Leave a few more fingerprints, why don’t you? If it wouldn’t completely compromise my case, I’d show her how to break in myself and put us both out of our misery.
I zoomed in, ready to capture C.R. living her best truth. Or better yet, get some answers. Come on, you little adolescent fiend. Why the uncharacteristic foray into robbery? You’d even blown off piano lessons for this and you thrived in your overscheduled teenage existence.
What was I missing?
Denied entry, she shimmied back down the trellis to run at the solid back door. When she bounced off it with a yelp, only one of us was surprised.
Spare me from amateurs.
I dug my buzzing phone out of my hip pocket. My best friend and part-time employee, Priya Khatri, had come through with the land title search on this property. I frowned at the text, trying to place the homeowner’s name. Oh, fuck balls. I wasn’t being paid to save Charlotte Rose from making a really stupid mistake.
This was not my problem.
Charlotte Rose rubbed her elbow, red from where she’d smacked into the door, and bit her lip, eyes watery.
Grumbling, I turned off the camera and got out of Moriarty, also known as my car, using both hands to swing my poor stiff leg onto the concrete. Tucking my fingers into the armpits of my battered leather jacket, my breath misting the air, I limped over to the tiny backyard of the crime spree in progress.
“Yo, Cat Burglar Barbie,” I called out. “The jig is up!”
She froze for a second and then vanished into thin air.
I blinked, gaping at the empty space. “Charlotte Rose Scott, you get your butt back here this second and explain yourself, because you are not supposed to have magic!”
I’d done my due diligence before taking this case. Verified that she was a Mundane. No powers. Zero. Nada.
Except, apparently, she wasn’t. And now, thanks to this unpleasant and unforeseen magical development, I was about to get royally fucked by House Pacifica.
Charlotte Rose flickered back into view, just a fist with her middle finger extended. I mean, impressive control on invisibility magic, but what a little shit.
“Leave her alone!” Another girl about the same age, who spoke with a light musical accent, raced into the backyard. Her worn denim jacket had “Fuck the patriarchy” written in thick silver marker across the back and her dyed black hair showed the ragged edges of someone who’d cut it herself.
Interesting choice for a co-conspirator.
When Victoria Scott had hired me to spy on her kid who’d been “acting cagey” and therefore obviously had some drug habit, she’d casually sported a linen dress that cost more than my much-needed car repairs. We’d spent a grand total of twenty minutes together, all of them in her vanilla-scented Williams Sonoma kitchen with its neatly shelved cookbooks–written by obscure foodies–whose spines weren’t even cracked.
I’d bet anything that this wrong-side-of-the-tracks friend was not part of Victoria’s bourgie starter-pack vision of the good life.
“Stand down,” I told the new girl. “And if you know what’s good for you, you’ll tell Charlotte Rose to show herself.”
The newcomer called up a gust of wind and flung it at me.
I flew backwards, stumbling over a plastic Adirondack chair, and cracked my skull on the corner of the house so hard that I saw stars. My leg buckled briefly as I bounced off the wooden siding and staggered forward, choking on a hot rush of bile. Gritting my teeth, I touched a finger to the back of my head and came away with a wet, red smear.
Awesome. A pissy air elemental. Just what my day needed.
I found the tiny box stashed in my jacket pocket and pushed its single button. It produced a high-frequency sound barely within hearing range that made the newbie double over and caused Charlotte Rose to become visible once more, clapping her hands over her ears and moaning in pain.
I braced a hand against the bricks to combat my own dizziness. This admittedly illegal sonic weapon should not have affected me this way because I’d built up a tolerance.
Why, hel-lo concussion. On the upside, however lackluster the case had been to solve intellectually, I had solved it so at least I’d get paid. With C.R.’s true nature revealed, billable hours took a back seat to getting this kid home safely before she ended up with a juvie record, so I powered through the nausea and slapped a pair of cuffs on these criminal toddlers before they could regroup.
I dialed a number on my phone.
“It’s Ashira Cohen,” I said, when Victoria answered. “Tell your daughter she has permission to get in my car.”
Victoria stuttered out protests that she had no idea who I was or what I was talking about, but I cut her off with an exasperated huff. Not this again. Everyone thought they were so clever denying they’d hired a P.I. when things got tough. It didn’t work that way.
“Enough bullshit. If you want help getting out of the mess you’ve landed in with your unregistered Nefesh kid, then give the all-clear for me to drive her home.”
Victoria answered with a meek “okay.” Damn straight, you better comply.
Nowadays, most people preferred to hire private investigators who had magic, wanting the extra abilities that Nefesh brought to the table. I was the only female P.I. in town, very much outside the boys’ club of this industry, and a Mundane to boot. I’d worked my ass off to carve out a niche for myself and Victoria wasn’t going to jeopardize that.
I passed the phone to Charlotte Rose, who listened to her mother without comment, glaring at me the entire time. I held that gaze and raised her glower with an arched eyebrow. Snotty teens were the worst. I’d know.
C.R. handed me the cell and linked hands with her friend, the two of them edging closer together.
“I have rights,” the second girl howled, shaking the cuffs as if trying to blow them off.
“Nope,” I said. “You lost them under Statue 7.5, ‘demonstrating exceeding stupidity.’ And save your energy. Those puppies suppress magic.”
“You’re not a cop,” she countered. “You’d have identified yourself. And if you had magic you’d have used it. That means, you’re not Nefesh and you’re not allowed to have shit like this. Or use it on me.”
It’s true, the cuffs were totally a “fell off the back of a van” purchase, but a woman did what she had to. Just because I wasn’t allowed to work magic cases, that didn’t preclude supposedly Mundane ones from going sideways–like this one had. “Yeah? How would you know?”
“Television,” the girl said. “So what are you?”
I flashed her my P.I. license. “A real-life detective who knows what equipment she’s allowed to have far better than you.”
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About the Author
Award-winning author DEBORAH WILDE jumped from a twelve year screenwriting career to writing YA romantic comedies under the name Tellulah Darling because her first kiss sucked and she’s compensating. Both a hopeless romantic and a total cynic with a broken edit button, she branched out into adult urban fantasy as Deborah Wilde to satisfy her love of smexy romances and tales of chicks who kick ass. She is all about the happily-ever-after, with a huge dose of hilarity along the way.
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