Title: MARKED RAVEN
Author: J.B. Dane
Genre: Urban fantasy PI mystery comedy
Valentine’s Day. The most dangerous day of the year. And not just because there is a new killing curse called Heart Burn on the streets of Detroit!
The dinger donged a third time before I got to the door. Beelz’s teeth were visible and perhaps a bit longer than regular dachshund dentures. His growl had passed WARNING and was revved for IMMINENT ATTACK.
“No going savage Great Dane, hmm?” I said. “Low profile for both of us around the norms. Got it?”
Beelzebub stayed alert rather than give me his usual nod of compliance.
I was not going to like what was waiting on the opposite side of the door, but there was no way around it. I had to open the damn thing and just hope it wasn’t someone interested in making a financial killing by killing me.
Just to play it safe, I planted a sturdy shield wall between us and whomever was on the other side of the door.
A blast of arctic wind swept in—and so did a woman in a long red dress and a furry white coat. I let the shield fall the moment I recognized our caller. Oh, she was dangerous, but not in an assassin-ish way.
“I need your investigative skills to find my great-grandson, Raven,” she said without preamble.
Considering the latest female to come visiting was a vampire, the day was just getting better and better, wasn’t it?
Timing-wise, she couldn’t have hit a worse one. Not that having a vampire drop by ever made it to my wish list. I could understand Beelz’s attitude now. The last time he’d seen Miss Sweden 1934, he’d turned her into a chew toy.
She got better.
Now she needed me to dust off my P.I. kit?
“Not exactly available to chat this minute, Ingrid,” I told her.
“Wendy,” she corrected. “Is it possible for you to meet me at The Red Dragon after midnight?”
“As long as I’m not what you’re drinking,” I said.
She ignored that quip and simply tugged the collar of the fur coat up to cover dangly diamond earrings and her own luscious neck. “I’ll see you then,” she murmured and turned back to where a cab waited in the driveway.
Once the taillights had vanished and our most recent visitor was on her way back to town, I shut the door. “Weird, huh?” I mumbled.
The dog sitting on my foot yipped in agreement.
I hunkered down to give his coat a rough-up and delivered a scratch under his muzzle. “You won’t be able to go into the dragon’s club, you know. The city has that pet discrimination law that’s tough to get around, but if you want to come along, there’s a nasty alley to hang out in. I barbecued a couple vamps in it, but I can’t guarantee that level of fun tonight. Still, you’re welcome to join me.”
He gave a double yip which I knew meant he was up to the challenge and looking forward to shaking down either rats or cats lingering near the dumpster behind The Red Dragon.
In the media room, I could hear Muldoon asking Naomie how she’d landed her job of Bram-wrangler.
My chirpy secretary was bubbling over with enthusiasm. “He even wrote me into the new book,” she gushed.
Sounded like she would award me a halo and polish it brightly. She was a major player in Beelz’s and my life now. We’d grown accustomed to her perk.
And everything else about her, too. We were keeping her, even if it meant lying like crazy to keep our secret life hidden from her. For her own good, of course. We were killers, after all.
There had been some rearranging of the seating during my absence. Naomie had stolen my spot and seemed to be painting me as her Galahad for rescuing her from food service. She didn’t mention that I also paid her extravagantly for what amounted to very little work. The fact that I’d wanted to rescue her within minutes of meeting her last fall had nothing to do with anything.
I was still new to this world. I needed to take things slow where Nomes was concerned. At least, that was my current mantra, even if it was a rather long one. I needed to do that extra Internet research about romance, after all.
Beelz hopped back onto his own place on the sofa and rested his muzzle on Naomie’s thigh, though he kept his eyes on Muldoon.
Oddly enough, she hadn’t asked what was wrong with his eyes. She couldn’t know he was a hellhound. Heck, even Naomie bought the gene pool disparity story and she’d recently typed an entire manuscript where he was identified as a hellhound. But then, it was just a story to her, right?
Muldoon shifted her attention to me. “I don’t know what your schedule is like, Bram, but will you have a few hours tomorrow to answer questions and possibly toss about some ideas for the junior series?”
“Morning, afternoon or evening?” I asked.
“Whichever is most convenient.”
It would mean sharing my breakfast pastries, but doing the Q&A in the morning would free me up to begin investigating after lunch and not need to worry about delaying follow-through on a lead if I got one.
“Naomie gets in around nine. Would that work?”
“Absolutely. I’ll just need directions on how to get here. I haven’t rented a car yet,” Muldoon said.
“No problem.” I took my wallet out and set a business card free. “We have Burt for situations like this.”
Burt knew hundreds of places to eat in Detroit. It was his purpose in life to introduce my stomach to every single one, too. I not only had Burt’s number on speed dial, I knew it by heart. I didn’t need his card.
“Just give him a call and he’ll swing by with his cab. I’ll give him a heads-up, so he knows you’ll be in touch.”
“Great. Thank you,” she said and reached for the card— Which is when the house exploded.
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MARKED RAVEN is the 2nd novel in The Raven Tales urban fantasy mystery comedy series. It’s funny (and I’m not the only one who thinks so, reviewers do, too!). It’s action-packed, has paranormal/legendary beings, is suspenseful, gives our PI hero a couple mysteries to solve, mixes in a touch of romance, and has lots of magic. It also has cars blowing up and a hellhound that looks like a dachshund! It is, however, missing a kitchen sink. Just an oversight on my part. Reading MARKED RAVEN also primes you for the release of the 3rd novel in March 2022!
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J.B. DANE is a pseudonym of a multi-published, multi-genre novelist who goes by many names. Not because she is in Witness Protection. Really not in Witness Protection. Really. She may start hiding from citizens of Detroit since her Raven Tales urban fantasy comedic mysteries have populated their fair city with neighbors who might be supernatural, paranormal or legendary beasts…or not so beasts…but probably ARE beasts. They could be hungry, too. She has also tampered with the lore of the Claus family, you know the one at the North Pole, and hopes this does not land her on the Naughty List, even if Nick Claus has landed on it frequently himself. She might be found at www.4TaleTellers.com , but leave a message to be picked up by a disguised courier and delivered to a secret location.
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