Title: Damning the Dead
Author: Kerry Blaisdell
Genre: Supernatural Suspense / Urban Fantasy
Hyacinth Finch’s life-after-death just got more complicated. High on her to-do list: Stop Satan from stealing any more of Archangel Michael’s powerful relics, marshal her Dead Army of two thousand souls, and recapture dozens of escaped Hell Demons, to prevent six thousand dead Nazis from wreaking havoc in the world. And on top of all that, her onetime ghost boyfriend has hijacked the body of a former German militant, which has its ups and downs for their relationship.
Then, just when things seem to be under control, her nephew Geordi’s powers start leaking out, and Hyacinth’s own begin to change. She must discover where their abilities originated. But as she digs deeper, will the truths she uncovers do more harm than good? And more importantly—can she figure it out, before Satan escapes from Hell and takes Geordi for himself?
We piled into the rental car and I drove in the direction Paolo indicated. Lily’s apartment was in Paris’ über-swanky Seventh Arrondissement, but Jason lived in the Thirteenth, a lower-middle class area filled with students and younger working professionals. After discovering how reprehensibly he deceived me, I’d questioned everything about him, even the most innocuous details. Discovering he likely still shopped the same inexpensive markets as me, and didn’t have a fleet of pricey cars in his building’s top-security garage, made me feel inexplicably better.
In fact, the apartments we pulled up to didn’t appear to have a garage at all, as I saw my bright green Peapod parked down the block, in plain sight. Maybe along with Geordi, I could also finally get my car back, and we could ditch the stolen Mercedes. Which we should have ditched already, except I’d forgotten until now that we stole it. Oops.
Beside me, Paolo had gotten increasingly twitchy. He drummed his fingers on his leg, tapped his foot incessantly, and refused to look at me.
Even Liam picked up on it. “What’s your problem, mate?”
Paolo shook his head and said to me, “Nothing. It’s just, this won’t be easy. For you. Just try to remember—Jason’s a good guy. But…he’s been a Dioguardi his whole life. He has…loyalties. From before he met you. They could…complicate things.”
I heard every last one of his ellipses. What the hell had he left out? Was he suggesting Jason would argue for the Dioguardis keeping Geordi permanently? That was already on my radar, so he needn’t have bothered.
“I’m getting Geordi back. Period.”
“I know that’s your goal. But—”
“But nothing. If you don’t want to help—or watch me throttle Jason—then tell me which apartment is his and I’ll go by myself.” I scowled at Liam in the mirror. “Figuratively speaking. I know you’re still coming.”
“Hey,” Paolo said. “Untwist your panties. I’ll come up. I just wanted to remind you that he had a life before he met you. I did, too, but I think you care less about that.”
A hint of something flickered in his eyes—sadness? regret?—and then he winked, a return of the flirtatious Italian I’d come to know over the last few days.
I shook my head and got out. They followed, and we headed into the lobby, then waited for the ancient birdcage-style elevator to creak up from the basement. I feared it wouldn’t hold all three of us, but I clanged the cage door into place, then pushed the rheostat handle forward. Some of my clients have antique elevators in their homes, so I counted the floors, preparing to slow the car and stop on five. Even so, I missed it, and we had to step up six inches to exit.
We moved down a dim hall, its musty carpet muffling our progress and lending an eerie, dead quality to the sounds leaking from the apartments we passed. It was early, a little before eight, and the sun was barely up. Jason might even still be in bed. Oh well—too late now.
Paolo stopped one door from the end, set his mouth in a grim line, and knocked. Even with his previous warning—even with the clenched jaw now—I still wasn’t prepared for the woman in nothing but a lacy black bra and panties, who opened the door, gave me the once over, and smirked.
“You’re Hyacinth? Jeez. Guess I don’t have anything to worry about after all.
Her hair was black, her eyes blue, so I assumed Dioguardi blood ran in her veins. And this being Jason’s apartment, with her dressed—or undressed—like this, I could also assume…
I rounded on Paolo. “He has a girlfriend? You couldn’t just tell me?”
“Not exactly. I wanted to tell you, but he—”
From behind the woman, Jason’s voice said, “Who is it?” and she moved aside.
The mild curiosity in his expression was replaced first by surprise, then ironic acknowledgment, and finally, sadness. His black hair curled damply around his face, like he’d just stepped out of the shower, and he was barefoot, wearing a black t-shirt and jeans that emphasized his tall, athletic frame.
A whole mess of unwanted and largely unpleasant emotions washed through me. It had only been a day since I’d seen him last, heading off to keep Geordi safe—at my behest. Which detail didn’t make me feel any better. But our reunion this time felt bittersweet, like we’d finally crossed some invisible line, and could never go back.
His gaze traveled over me, flicked to Paolo on my left side, then landed on Liam to my right. His eyes narrowed. “Who’s your friend?”
He had the grace to redden. “Bala, this is Geordi’s aunt, Hyacinth.”
That’s all I got? Geordi’s aunt? I mean, Jason and I were never officially together, even before Eric, but I’d thought… I don’t know what, exactly. We’d been friends—close ones.
Maybe that was a lie, too.
No. The raw need in Jason’s voice when we’d clung together in the Burkes’ cellar was real. I hadn’t imagined it, and he couldn’t have faked it.
And yet, some part of me, the one that recalled bouncing around foster care for a dozen years, sent pernicious mistrust to shred those very convictions into jagged little pieces.
What did I know of romantic love, anyway? Lily and Nick? We all know how that turned out. Whatever Jason and I had shared, it obviously meant nothing to him, and should mean nothing to me. So why did the sight of this nearly-naked woman standing possessively close to him make me want to cut and run?
Get him, then do all the running I could.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
What makes your featured book a must-read?
Hyacinth Finch has got one foot in the grave, the other kicking ass. With a combination of Indiana Jones’s bravado and Stephanie Plum’s figure-it-out-as-you-go ingenuity, Hyacinth will fight to the death — literally — to keep her family and friends safe, from demons, Hell, and even Satan himself. But can she protect her heart, from the two men – one dead, the other a demon – fighting to destroy the hard-won walls she’s built, to keep herself safe?
Enter to win a $16 Amazon gift card:
Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.
Runs October 26 – November 3, 2021.
Winner will be drawn on November 4, 2021.
Kerry Blaisdell is the author of the bestselling DEBRIEFING THE DEAD—2019 RPLA Gold Medal for Best Fantasy, 2020 Readers Favorite Bronze Medal for Best Urban Fantasy, and 2019 Romance Writers of America RITA® Award finalist—and its sequel, WAKING THE DEAD, winner of the 2020 RPLA Gold Medal for Best Fantasy, which InD’tale Magazine recommends for fans of “shows like ‘Constantine’ or ‘Supernatural.’” She also writes award-winning Romantic Suspense (PUBLISH OR PERISH, a Publishers Weekly BookLife Prize Quarterfinalist) and Historical Mystery. She has a BA from U.C. Berkeley in Comparative Literature, and a Master’s in Teaching from University of Portland. Kerry lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family, assorted animals, and more hot pepper plants than anyone could reasonably consume. Connect with Kerry online at http://kerryblaisdell.com, where you can find her on social media or sign up for her Very Occasional Mailing List.
Social Media Links: