Table of Contents
“Make sure they don’t win.”
‘October? October, are you there? October, this is Evening.” There was a long pause. I heard her take a wavering, unsteady breath. “Oh, root and branch . . . October, please pick up your phone. I need you to answer your phone
.” It was like she thought she could order me to be home. There was no telling how much time had passed between messages, but it had been enough for the worry to stop hiding and come out to the surface of her voice, obvious and raw. The only other time I’d heard that much emotion in her voice was when her sister died. This wasn’t sorrow. This was sheer and simple terror.
“Please, please, October, pick up the phone, please, I’m running out of time . . .” The message cut off abruptly, but not abruptly enough to hide the sound of her crying.
“Oak and yarrow, Eve,” I whispered. “What did you get yourself into?”
I thought I wanted an answer. And I was wrong, because the last message answered me more completely than I could have dreamed.
The speakers crackled, once, before her voice began to speak for the final time.
“October Daye, I wish to hire you.” The fear was still there, but the command and power that was her nature shone clearly through it, brilliant and terrible. She was looking at the end of everything, and it was enough to remind her of who she really was. “By my word and at my command, you will investigate a murder, and you will force justice back into this kingdom. You
do this thing.” There was a long pause. I was starting to think the message had ended when she continued, softly, “Find out who did it, Toby, please. Make sure they don’t win. If you were ever my friend, Toby, please. . . ”
DAW Books Presents Seanan McGuire’s October Daye Novels:
ROSEMARY AND RUE A LOCAL HABITATION (
Available March 2010
) AN ARTIFICIAL NIGHT (
Available September 2010
Copyright © 2009 by Seanan McGuire.
All Rights Reserved.
DAW Book Collectors No. 1487.
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DAW TRADEMARK REGISTERED U.S. PAT. AND TM. OFF. AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES —MARCA REGISTRADA HECHO EN U.S.A.
eISBN : 978-1-101-14010-9
For my mother, Mary Mickaleen McGuire, who never made me stop reading.
There were a lot of people involved in making this book come together. Huge, huge thanks to my crack team of machete-wielding proofreaders, whose tireless efforts took care of a lot of bad grammar and more than a few misplaced commas; without them, I would make a lot less sense. My agent, Diana Fox, knew exactly what to ask for, and my editor, Sheila Gilbert, knew exactly how to make me answer. Here at home, Chris Mangum and Tara O’Shea organized my Web site, while Kate Secor and Michelle Dockrey organized everything else.
Finally, thanks to Rebecca Newman and Amanda Weinstein for logging countless telephone hours dealing with the details, and to Tanya Huff, for assistance above and beyond the call of duty. The errors in this book are mine. There would be a lot more of them without all the people who helped me get it done.
. Plural is Bannicks.
. Plural is Banshees.
. Plural is Cait Sidhe.
. Plural is Candela.
. Plural is Coblynau.
. Plural is Daoine Sidhe, diminutive is Daoine.
. Plural is Djinn.
. Plural is Glastigs.
. Plural is Gwargen.
. Plural is Kelpies.
. Plural is Kitsune.
. Plural is Lamia.
. No plural exists.
. Plural is Manticores.
. Plural is Nixen.
. Plural is Peri.
. Plural is Piskies.
. Plural is Pixies.
. Plural is Pucas.
. Plural is Roane.
. Plural is Selkies.
. Plural is Silene.
Tuatha de Dannan:
tootha day danan.
Plural is Tuatha de Dannan, diminutive is Tuatha.
. Plural is Tylwyth Teg, diminutive is Tylwyth.
. Plural is Undine.
Will o’ Wisp:
. Plural is Will o’ Wisps.
June 9, 1995
THE PHONE WAS RINGING. Again. I turned my attention from the rearview mirror and glared at the cellular phone that lay jangling in my passenger seat next to a bag of Fritos and one of Gilly’s coloring books. It had been less than ten minutes since the last time it rang, and since there were only three people who had the number, I was pretty sure I knew who it was. I’d only had the damn thing for a month, and it was already complicating my life.
“These things will never catch on,” I muttered, hitting the flashing call button. “Toby Daye Investigations, Toby Daye speaking, what is it now, Cliff?”
There was a long, embarrassed pause before my live-in fiancé asked, “How did you know it was me?”
“Because the only other people who use this number are Uncle Sylvester and Ms. Winters, and they know I’m on a stakeout, which means they’re not calling.” I’ve never been good at being mad at Cliff; the words might be irritated, but the tone was purely affectionate. Call me a sucker for a man with a great ass who knows how to bake a macaroni casserole and can tolerate six hours of
a day. Shifting the phone to my left hand, I reached up and adjusted the mirror to keep the front of the restaurant in view. “What is it this time?”