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Authors: Jenn Bennett

Kindling the Moon

BOOK: Kindling the Moon
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“Wasn't it the Luxe group who blew the whistle on them?” Lon asked.

“Yep. Their leader led the police to the murder weapon. When my parents' fingerprints were found on it, support from the occult community began to wane. It didn't look good. Then the warrant for my parents' arrest was issued. At that point, they were facing serious charges from the law and even bigger threats from Luxe. There was no way out—they had to run.”

“You too.”

“Me too,” I agreed, remembering the panic and fear … the sudden loss of my family. “I don't know how Luxe got their fingerprints, but it was rigged evidence. It was a demon, not a knife, that did the dirty work.”

“The albino demon?”

I nodded.

“But they didn't summon it?”

“No. We think it was either someone from the Luxe group who was trying to sabotage our order, or a rogue magician trying to take over all the orders. If I can find the demon, I can force it to tell me who did it. My parents can be exonerated, the person who summoned the demon and killed three people can go to jail, and the Luxe Order will leave me the hell alone.”

“You need me to find it fast because the police will be looking for your parents?”

“Well, that doesn't help matters, but it's more because the Luxe Order has given my organization a mandate to turn over my parents—or me—in two weeks.”

His eyebrows shot up. “What would they do if you turned yourself in to them?”

“Kill me,” I said very seriously.

Turn the page for rave reviews of
Kindling the Moon
. …

Praise for Jenn Bennett and
Kindling the Moon

“Jenn Bennett has written a great off-beat debut novel with a likeable heroine and a fun, original storyline. … I thoroughly enjoyed it and am eagerly awaiting a sequel—hopefully to come out soon!”

—Karen Chance,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Death's Mistress


Kindling the Moon
engaged me from page one. I loved it! I immediately adored the heroine, Arcadia Bell. This book is packed from cover to cover with unpredictable twists, heart-pounding action, and heated sexual tension. … Jenn Bennett has definitely made my ‘To Buy' list, and I'm looking forward to the next book in this series.”

—Anya Bast,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Cruel Enchantment


Kindling the Moon
rocks like AC/DC on Saturday night. This book has it all: great writing, action, romance, a strong heroine, a unique hero, and the best teenager ever. I can't wait for the next one.”

—Ann Aguirre, national bestselling author of
Shady Lady

“Debut author Jenn Bennett takes the familiar ideas of magic, demons, and mythology, and she gives us something sexy, fun, and genuinely unique in
Kindling the Moon
. Arcadia Bell is a sassy, whip-smart addition to the growing pantheon of urban fantasy heroines, and Bennett an author to watch!”

—Kelly Meding, author of
Three Days to Dead

“Fantastic magic, nonstop action, and hot romance make
Kindling the Moon
a not-to-be-missed debut. Arcadia Bell is a tenacious and savvy heroine who had me hooked from the start.”

—Linda Robertson, author of
Arcane Circle

“Delicious characters, fun twists, and fiendish risks. … This smart, stylish debut really delivers. Loved, loved, loved it!”

—Carolyn Crane, author of
Double Cross

This title is also available as an eBook

Pocket Books
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
www.SimonandSchuster.com

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2011 by Jenn Bennett

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Pocket Books Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

First Pocket Books paperback edition July 2011

POCKET and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event. For more information or to book an event contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at
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.

Designed by esther Paradelo

Cover design by Tony Mauro

Manufactured in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

ISBN 978-1-4516-2052-8

ISBN 978-1-4516-2054-2 (ebook)

For my mother, who first suggested that I write a book, and my father, who later urged me to write another one.

Content

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Acknowledgments

1

I knew better than to be preoccupied when Tambuku Tiki Lounge was overcapacity. Crowds are ugly; it doesn't matter if they're human or demon.

Our bar held a maximum of sixty-five people per California fire code. My business partner treated this rule as more of a suggestion on Thursday nights, when
Paranormal Patrol
made us a midtown hot spot. Easy for her; all she had to do was sweet-talk the county inspector out of a citation. She wasn't the one being expected to break up drunken, demonic brawls.

“Hey!” My eyes zeroed in on a college kid stealing a drink off the bar. “Did you pay for that? No, you didn't. Get your grubby paws off.”

“That woman left it,” he argued. “Possession's two-thirds of the law.”

“Nine-tenths, jackass,” I corrected, snatching the ceramic Suffering Bastard mug out of his hand. An anguished face was molded into the side of the classic black tiki mug, half filled with a potent cocktail bearing the same name. When I dumped the contents in a small bar sink, the kid acted like I'd just thrown gold in the trash. He glared at me before stomping across the room to rejoin his broke buddies.

If I were a bartender in any other small bar in the city, I might be encouraged on occasion to double as a bouncer. As the only trained magician on staff at Tambuku, I didn't have a choice; it was my responsibility. After two years of sweeping up broken glass and trying to avoid projectile vomit, I'd seen enough demons-gone-wild behavior that would make a boring, corporate desk job appear attractive to any normal person. Good thing I wasn't normal.

“Arcadia? Cady? Hello?”

Amanda leaned across an empty bar stool, waving her hand in front of my face.

“Sorry, what?”

“I said that I need another Scorpion Bowl for booth three. Jeez, you're distracted tonight,” she complained, unloading two empty wooden snack dishes from her tray before circling around the L-shaped bar top to join me.

“How wasted are they?” I craned my neck to see the booth while scooping up Japanese rice crackers from a large bin.

“They've passed over the halfway mark, but they aren't there yet. No singing or fighting.” She wiped sweat from her forehead with a dirty bar towel. Amanda was one of three full-time waitresses we employed at Tambuku. Tall, blond, tan, and permanently outfitted with a stack of worn, braided hemp bracelets circling her wrist, she looked like the stereotypical California girl.

Her family had lived on the central coast for several generations in La Sirena, a small beach community thirty minutes away from the city; it captured its bewitching namesake with photo-worthy vistas of the rocky coastline and the blue Pacific that bordered it. Her parents had a ceramics studio there, and we'd commissioned them to make most of our tiki mugs and
bowls, which now sat in neat rows on bamboo shelves behind the bar.

“I'm more concerned about the couple at hightop three.” Amanda peered into the cracked mirror over the cash register that allowed me to watch the bar when I had my back turned; she poked a few stray wisps of hair back into her braid.

Keeping our specialized clientele happy without sending them into a drunken frenzy was difficult at times. I strained to get a look at Amanda's hightop couple, two women who were red-faced with laughter. One of them had dropped something under the table and, after retrieving it, was having trouble getting her ass back up onto her chair. They were verging on sloppy drunk, so I made a mental note to cut them off. Still, my money was on the obnoxiously loud group at booth three.

Amanda waited while I constructed the four-person Scorpion Bowl from brandy, two kinds of rum, and fresh juices. When no one was looking, I smuggled in a few drops of a tincture derived from damiana leaf, one of my medicinals that I kept stashed away in a hidden compartment behind the bar. Most of these were brewed from basic folk recipes, steeped herbs and macerated roots. They soothed nerves, calmed anger, or sobered the mind. Nothing earth-shattering. Well, mostly …

A few were intensified with magick. Spells in liquid form, I guess you might say. Just as perfume smells different in the bottle than on a person's skin, magical medicinals react with body chemistry and produce unique results; the same medicinal that creates a mildly lethargic feeling in one person might put someone else in deep sleep. Sometimes I had to experiment to find the right one for the job. The one I was using now, the damianatha, has a calming effect that usually wears off pretty fast; I often use it to quell potential bar fights.

BOOK: Kindling the Moon
3.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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