“I’ll take that.” With her gun-free hand, Zoe took the book from the counter. She almost looked military in her olive bomber jacket, her pelt of thick, short hair. “Join the sheriff.” She waggled the gun at me.
Slowly, I walked around the counter. A wraithlike face blurred its shiny surface. I looked away, a chill rippling my skin.
We weren’t alone.
But a ghost wouldn’t stop Zoe. I would.
“Did you bomb my station?” the sheriff asked.
Zoe’s angular face set with fury. “Tom. The fool could have ruined the book. He won’t bother you again.”
Because he’s dead.
Beneath my chair, Bailey perked up his ears, his doggy expression worried.
My heart pinched. I’d borrowed Bailey because Zoe was afraid of dogs. But I couldn’t risk him.
Bailey had his own ideas. Growling, he bounded from behind the counter.
Zoe gasped and stumbled backward. Sheriff McCourt dove, jamming one elbow into the woman’s gut, pulling her heel out from under her, driving her to the ground.
“Don’t!” On her back, Zoe aimed the gun at McCourt.
The sheriff grimaced and stepped away.
“Control that dog,” Zoe snarled. “Or I’ll shoot it.”
I knelt, hugging the beagle to me. “That’s why you left the book on Harry’s body. The coyotes scared you off.”
“By the time I found my way back, the cops were all over the place.”
“For a magic book?” The sheriff barked a laugh.
“The book.” Zoe rose and snatched the book from the floor.
“It’s fake.” My voice cracked. “Lovecraft’s signature was forged.”
“It’s not. We’ve used it. It worked. Scared the hell out of Harry, that’s why he came running to you.”
I swayed, dizzy. And if she did open the gate— “Why me?”
“Your sisters were indiscreet. We knew someone opened the gate here in Doyle. You’re an occult bookseller. We’d discussed you before. I knew Harry’d run to you for answers.”
Others knew about us? Occultists like Zoe? This was not good. “My name—”
“Tom wrote that.” She growled and batted the book against her well-muscled thigh. “But the book still works. Now, I can open any gate.”
“And do what?” the sheriff asked. “Rob a bank?”
“A bank?” She quirked a brow. “Try the world.”
Next in Episode 15: Lenore faces her fears.
Photo (top) by Thomas Hetzler on Unsplash. Photo below by Daniil Kuzelev on Unsplash.