Dark Secrets (Shadow Guild: The Rebel #3) by Linsey Hall

1





Carrow



I stepped back and looked up, admiring the sign we’d just hung.

Carrow Burton: Supernatural Sleuth

“I don’t know.” Mac crossed her arms and frowned up at the sign. “I think maybe we should have gone with ‘Supernatural Scooby.’”

I laughed. “I didn’t know you were a father.”

“What?”

“That was a total dad joke.”

Mac shrugged. “He’s really got a nose for crimes.”

I turned back to admire the placard hanging over the green door that led up to our flats. The black and white wooden sign was a gift from my friends Mac, Eve, and Quinn. It was my first day as a real live magical mystery solver in Guild City. Exciting.

A faint breeze blew my hair back, and the sun struggled to peep out from behind the clouds. It was another rainy day in London, which meant that Guild City was getting damp, too. Our hidden town experienced all the same weather as London, and the day was miserable.

“Thanks for the sign,” I said, smiling at Mac.

“When will you register with the Council?” she asked.

The Council of Guilds was the official government of my new city. As a new business, I’d need to register with them.

“I don’t know.”

I wasn’t yet a member of a guild, and the Council did not like that. My new enterprise should be protected under the umbrella of one of the dozen guilds in the city. Unfortunately, none of them would have me because no one really knew what species I was, including me.

Hence the somewhat ambiguous designation Supernatural Sleuth on the sign, since I wasn’t technically a witch or a seer.

Maybe I shouldn’t open my new business without the protection of a guild, a move that was bound to gain the eye of the Council, but I needed money to pay the rent, so…

It was a risk I was willing to take.

“Hello?” A tremulous voice sounded from behind me. “Are you open for business?”

A potential customer!

Pleasure shot through me.

I turned and spotted a beautiful woman standing about ten feet away. She was clutching a book, and her gaze went from the sign to me. She had long dark hair and brilliant green eyes, and though she appeared scared out of her wits, she radiated strength. It was in the straightness of her spine and the intensity of her gaze.

“I am.” I didn’t reach my hand out to shake hers, since my power might allow me to read information about her. I preferred to do that only with permission. “I’m Carrow Burton.”



“Seraphia.” She gave a little wave. I spotted a flash of pale light against her wrist, the luminous tattoo of a leaf or vine, then it was gone.

“How can I help you?” I asked.

She held up the book, a battered leather volume that pulsed with magic. “I work at the library, and I need help with this book.”

“Oh, aren’t you the upstairs librarian?” Mac said.

“Yes, precisely.”

“Not my area, but it’s cool up there.” Mac shot me a look. “I’m more of a murder mystery kind of girl, but Seraphia here works in the history section of the library.”

“History of where?” I asked, interest piqued. “Guild City?”

“A bit, yes,” said Seraphia. “But also history of the magical communities throughout the world. So my department includes spell books and hexanaries, things like that.”

“Hexanaries?”

“Like dictionaries of hexes.”

“Ah.” Thunder rumbled in the distance, and I shot a look at the sky. Roiling black clouds crept toward us. “We’d better get inside.” I grimaced. “You can tell me more about your problem once we’re out of this weather.”

Seraphia nodded. “Thank you.”

The first fat raindrops fell, one of them splashing right on my forehead. Mac, who was closest to the entrance, darted inside.

I gestured for Seraphia to follow. “Go on, Mac will lead you up.”

She hurried through the green door. I gave my new sign one last admiring look, then entered the building and shut the door behind us. Mac took the stairs two at a time toward my top-floor flat with Seraphia in the rear. I climbed the steps after them, passing Mac’s door. It was ajar. Through the opening, I spied my raccoon familiar, Cordelia, digging through Mac’s kitchen cupboards.

“No!” I pointed at her. “Inside manners.”