The next morning Elise took the long way around town, making it a point to walk by the new bed and breakfast. From the outside it looked innocent enough. Fall mums made the wrap around porch look cheery and welcoming planted in front of the evergreen bushes.
It was the kind of place she would like to stay, if she ever traveled. She couldn’t though, leaving Apple Hill would leave it vulnerable to even more trespassers … trespassers like Cage Martin.
Elise heard the wooden door open and hurried behind a tree. She had no idea who was coming out of the bed and breakfast, but she was sure she didn’t want to explain why she was just staring at the place. As the screen door slammed shut, she peeked around the tree trunk to see if anyone was coming down the walk, but saw no one. Maybe whomever was going to come out had to go back in for something, regardless it was the perfect opportunity for her to sneak away.
She started down the street before a strong baritone voice called out her name.
“Well, good morning Elise,” said Cage. “Anything I can help you with this morning?”
Elise sighed and turned to see Cage standing on that gorgeous wrap around porch watering the mums. She also couldn’t help but noticed the large smile he had on his face.
“No,” said Elise, brandishing her own smile. “I was just taking a walk.”
“Seems a bit out of your way,” said Cage.
“Is there an ‘out of the way’ when you’re just taking a walk?” asked Elise, folding her arms.
Cage walked over and turned off the hose, then wiping his hands on his jeans, came down the steps and over to Elise. “I think it’s more than that.”
“Then you flatter yourself,” said Elise.
“Oh no, I’m not flattered,” said Cage. “You see, I had a very interesting conversation with Mayor Garver yesterday and he told me that you don’t seem to like my business very much.”
“I just don’t like strangers in general,” stated Elise and it wasn’t a lie. She didn’t.
“That seems very closed minded, especially for a librarian,” said Cage. “You introduce strangers every day to people in the covers of your books, yet in real life, you don’t like them.”
“I know the difference between reality and fantasy,” said Elise. “The reality is most strangers are dangerous. Are you dangerous Cage Martin?”
Cage laughed. “I’m opening a bed and breakfast, what do you think I’m going to do, murder my patrons and hide them under the floor boards?”
Elise laughed with them, but there was nothing funny about her chuckle. “Are you dangerous to me?”
“Well now,” said Cage, his laugh turning into a smirk, “seems like we’re getting to the root of things.”
“You didn’t answer my question.” Elise could feel Roark shaking with rage in her pocket and patted it ever so slightly to calm him. She could handle Cage Martin. She delicately twirled her finger beside her pocket and whispered. “You need to answer what you’ve been asked, or be sent on a perilous task. No harm needs to come to you, just do what you’ve been told to do.”
She felt the spell flow through her fingers and hit their target straight in the chest of Cage. He wiped at his shirt as if a bug had landed on him and cocked his head at her. “Did you say something?”
Elise bit back her gasp. Her spell hadn’t worked on him, just like the spelled bell above the library door hadn’t jingled when he entered the library. He had paranormal blood, either as a hunter or some other kind of creature. It was time to put all the cards on the table.
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