New York Times bestselling author Lilith Saintcrow returns to dark fantasy with a new series where the faery world inhabits diners, dive bars and trailer parks. Sequel to Trailer Park Fae, Roadside Magic is a slice of supernatural Americana perfect for fans of Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series or Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files.
CHAPTER ONE: VENGEANCE
She waited, perched next to a stone gargoyle’s leering, watching the rubies of brakelights, the diamonds of headlights. Smelling exhaust and cold iron, a breath of damp from the river. A hint of crackling ozone lightning about to strike. The faint good aroma of a soft spring rain approaching.
He did not keep her waiting long.
“Oh, my darling. What fine merriment we have had.” Goodfellow melded out of the darkness, his boyface alight with glee. “You are the best of children, delighting your sire’s heart so ful—”
The song hit him squarely, fueled by Robin’s calm, controlled breathing, and knocked the Fatherless to the ground. She was on her feet in an instant, the stolen crowbar burning in her palms as she lifted, brought it down with a convulsive crunch. Iron smoked on sidhe flesh, and by the time she ran out of breath and the song died, thick blue blood spattered the rooftop, smoking and sizzling.
“You,” she hissed between her teeth. “You killed her. You pixie-led her car. You killed Sean. You did it.”
Amazingly, Puck Goodfellow began to laugh. “Aye!” he shouted, spitting broken teeth. They gleamed, sharp ivory, chiming against the roof. “Robin, Robin Ragged, I will kill all those close to thy heart, I will have thy voice!” He slashed upward with his venomtip dagger, but Robin was ready and skipped aside.
Not today. She didn’t say it. She’d finished her inhale, and the song burst out again, given free rein.
Smoke, blood, iron, the crowbar stamping time as the razor-edged music descended on the Fatherless. Some whispered that he was the oldest of the sidhe, some said he remembered what had caused the Sundering. Others sometimes hinted he was the cause of the division in the Children of Danu, the Little Folk, the Blessed.
When the song faded, Robin dropped the crowbar. It clattered on the roof.
The thing lying before her was no longer sidhe. Full-Twisted and misshapen it writhed; its piping little cries struck the ear foully.
She bent, swiftly, and her quick fingers had the pipes and the dagger, Puck Goodfellow’s treasures. The Twisted thing with its hornlike turtle-shell swiped at her with a clawed, malformed hand, and its voice was now a growl, warning.
Her breath came high and hard, her ribs flickering. The dagger went into her pocket, its sheath of supple leaf-stamped leather blackened and too finely grained to be animal hide. The pipes—she almost shuddered with revulsion as she poked a finger in each one, and near the bottom, where they were thicker, she touched glass thrice.
Three glass ampoules, like the ones she had bargained MacDonnell’s kin into making. Decoys within decoys, but these held a sludge that moved grudgingly against its chantment-sealed container. A true cure. Like her, he had decided the only safe place to hide such a thing was in his own pocket.
The Twisted, back-broken thing that had been Puck Goodfellow struggled to rise. Morning would probably find it here, too malformed to speak or walk. It might starve to death, it might cripple out the rest of its existence like Parsifleur Pidge, though she had Twisted it far past that poor woodwight’s ill-luck. Robin looked down at it, tucking the pipes in her other pocket.
They were powerful, and there was no better time to learn their use.
“For Daisy,” she said quietly, “and for Sean.”
The thing writhed again, trying to rise, the thick shell of bone on its corkscrewed back scraping the roof. Robin turned away. Full night was falling, and she had only one thought now.
I must find a place to hide.