Thursday, November 1, 2012

Knight of Wands by Theo Fenraven

Blurb: Gray Vecello and Cooper Key are back in the exciting sequel to Three of Swords. Graham’s treasure is only the tip of the iceberg as a thief helps himself to a hidden stash of cash, Jolly Roger makes another appearance, and the guys finally meet others with special abilities when an emergency meeting of the group is called.

Accompanying them on this new adventure is Gray’s cousin, Harper, who’s having problems of her own. Peace and quiet will have to wait as they take another trip downriver on their houseboat, The Constant Companion, before flying to New York City to beard a lion in his den and meet the SOS. 

Smashwords link: (extended excerpt available for download)
Excerpt: When my grandfather, Graham, was killed, I inherited a houseboat, Cooper, the young man living on it, and a mystery that led to a treasure hunt. A posthumous letter from Graham sent us downriver on a quest. What we found was murder, more letters, keys, and the astral plane.
Cooper and I were in our berth on The Constant Companion, which was anchored in Lynxville, Wisconsin, instead of at our home marina in Red Wing, Minnesota. Following directions from Graham regarding a hidden safe, we knelt on the floor by the wall outlet. Crystal, our calico kitten, sleepily watched from the bed. Duplicating Graham's actions in the "movie" we'd seen on the astral plane, I slipped the key into the screw, turned it, and pulled the mini-safe open. Cooper and I leaned forward to see what was in it.
That's when my cell rang.
Cooper frowned. "Are you kidding me?"
I sat back on my heels. "Might be important." As my cell hardly never rang, almost every call had some importance. Stretching to grab my jeans off the floor, I dug in the back pocket and retrieved my phone. "Yeah?"
"It's me, Harper."
"Hey, how are you?" I grinned at Cooper, who was pointedly not digging through the small safe behind the outlet. It had to be driving him crazy, waiting on me. I put a finger over the speaker so Harper wouldn't hear. "It's my cousin. She sounds upset. We've waited this long, five more minutes can't hurt."
He nodded, looking forlorn. I watched his eyes flick to the safe and fought laughter. I knew how he felt, I really did, but Harper was going on about.... "What?" I interrupted her. "Hon, start again. I missed the first part of that."
"I said Sian is knocked up. She slept with some guy and now she's pregnant."
I blinked. "Wow. Um, thought you guys were exclusively, you know, lesbian."
"That's what I thought." Her voice sounded teary. "A few months back, we talked about having kids one day. I figured we would use artificial insemination or adopt even, but without discussing it with me first, she fucked someone and now she's 'with child.' Jesus. She did it while I was in Red Wing for the funeral. I don't know if I'm ready for this, Gray. I just accepted that new job. You know, the one I told you about?"
"I remember." Harper and I had talked briefly at my parents' house after Graham Vecello's funeral. "How can I help?"
"I need to get away. I've talked to my new employer, told him there's a family emergency, and they've agreed to let me delay my start date. Okay if I stay with you a while?"
I looked at Cooper, who gazed back at me almost patiently. "Graham left me his boat, remember? I gave up the apartment. But there's a couch here with your name on it."
"You're not in St. Paul anymore? What about your job?"
"Quit." Cooper smiled at me. Explaining him would wait until she was here. "Via a letter he left on the boat, Graham sent me on a journey downriver, told me to talk to some people." I paused, wondering how to tell her what had happened to me since we last saw each other. "Graham was murdered."
"I know. Someone shot him outside a pharmacy. It's why there was a funeral. Gray, are you all right?"
"I've been better. His letter sent me to a woman who was subsequently killed. She was a fortune teller who could really see the future." As could I, the few times I let myself go there.
There was a long silence, and then she said cautiously, "Gray, sweetie... you sure you're okay?"
I bit back slightly hysterical laughter. "There was a second letter. Graham was involved in something before he was killed, and I'm trying to find out what it is. I'll tell you more when you get here.  Long story short, Graham left something for me besides the houseboat. You called just as I was finding out what."
"Bad timing on my part," she said dryly  "I'm catching a plane out of here tomorrow afternoon. Where can I find you?"
 I told her. "But we won't be there until day after tomorrow. Stay with your folks until I'm back, okay? We're traveling upriver from south of La Crosse. Looking forward to seeing you."
"Looking forward to seeing you, too."
We said goodbye and I ended the call.
"Now?" Cooper said.
I leaned forward and gave him a kiss. "Now."
Our attention returned to the outlet safe. We craned our necks to look inside.
First, we saw money. A banded stack of bills turned out to be five thousand bucks. After counting it, we set it aside and felt around for what remained.
As we'd seen on the astral plane, there was a key, and accompanying that was a note.

This key opens a safe deposit box at the bank. Everything in it now belongs to you. I'm hoping Cooper is still with you and you'll share; his ability as a psionic ally, which he remained unaware of while in my company, protected me on more than one occasion.
Your first question is going to be: are they real? To the best of my knowledge, they are, but get that confirmed. Try Christie's Auction House. Then you're going to wonder if you should sell them.
Take care of yourself, and take care of Cooper.

There was no point in discussing it, but we did so anyway, wrapped in each other's arms, talking long into the night.
"How did Graham know you were a psionic ally when you didn't?" I asked sleepily.
"In the letter, he said you weren't aware of your ability."
"Oh." He shifted against me. "I bet Beth told him, like she told us."
"Yeah, that makes sense. But why not bring you into the group then?"
We both thought about that a while and then Cooper said, "Graham suspected someone in the group was a spy. Maybe he didn't want to expose me to them."
We talked softly until we couldn't keep our eyes open any longer. Crystal eventually tired of chasing varmints, hopefully imaginary, and jumped into bed to curl up against Cooper, her favorite.

Released 7/11: Phoenix Rising
Released 6/20: The Blue Paradise
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