Intoxicating Magic:Crescent City Fae 03

By: Deanna Chase

Acknowledgments

Thank you to my team: Anne Victory, Red Adept, and Lisa Liddy. You make me look good. Also my Shih Tzu Duncan Donut would like to give a huge shout-out to the readers of the Crescent City Fae series for all of your kind comments about Link. If you weren’t already aware, Duncan Donut is the inspiration for Link, and the two are more similar than you might think…right down to the inner wolf. Whatever you do, don’t get between the Shih Tzu and his mistress.





Chapter 1



“A strip club?” I shot Phoebe a sidelong glance as we stopped outside the front door of Mecca on Bourbon Street. “Seriously?”

Her black eyes danced with something close to giddy anticipation. “This is where he works. Besides, this isn’t a strip club. It’s a burlesque show.”

“My mistake,” I said, amused. Either way, the dancers took most of their clothes off.

I glanced at Link, who was sitting right in front of my feet. Smart dog, considering all the drunken spring-breakers stumbling around us. Flaring my wings, I bent to pick him up. If I pretended he was a purse puppy, they weren’t likely to oust us. I could flash my Arcane badge and they’d be forced to let him in, but announcing to everyone who we were wasn’t going to help Phoebe catch a rogue vampire. But I’d do it if I had to. I wasn’t going anywhere near an unknown vamp without Link around.

“You can leave as soon as you sense him.” Phoebe fished some bills out of her skirt pocket. “I just need to know if he’s here tonight.”

“No. Link and I will stay. What if the vamp has backup? The report doesn’t say anything except that there’ve been attacks. You don’t even know if the vamp’s a male.”

I was gifted in sensing vampires. Phoebe could drop them with one flash of her sun agate, but since vamps had mastered the art of blending in, it was damned hard to pick them out in a crowd. Especially after they’d fed.

“True enough. There could be another Clea stalking about.” Phoebe shrugged, referencing a female vamp who’d tried and failed to take us both down not too long ago. “Either way, I can always use the backup. Thanks.”

We both knew she could handle herself, but the vampire we were after was said to be particularly evasive and vicious. A deadly combination. I wouldn’t leave her alone knowing I could do something to help. Besides, I was still her partner and an agent of the Void—the ghost branch of the Arcane, the government agency that oversees all supernatural activity.

Link snuggled into the crook of my arm as Phoebe paid our way into the club. The tall, oversized bouncer eyed Link, raising his eyebrows curiously. I smiled and scratched Link behind the ears, wishing I’d thought to put a cute doggie vest on him or something. Of course, he’d only tear it to shreds the first time he shifted, but it would’ve helped sell his purse-puppy persona.

“If he gets loose or distracts from the show in any way, you’ll have to remove him from the premises,” the bouncer said.

“Sure. Yeah. No problem. He’s always well behaved.” Except when he was stealing Phoebe’s shoes or ripping a vampire to shreds. But then that was part of his charm.

Phoebe snorted her disbelief and took off for a table near the back, one where we’d have full view of the club. I gave the bouncer one last smile and followed her. Depositing Link on the table, I slid into a seat next to her.

“You’re kidding me, right?” She curled her lip as she eyed Link. “Wouldn’t the floor be a better option?”

“No. He can’t see anything down there in his puppy form. It’ll only make him agitated. Besides, it’s not like we’re eating or anything.” Link was part of our team. When was she going to acknowledge that? He’d saved her ass more than a couple of times.

“He’s just obvious, that’s all.” She turned her attention to the club, no doubt taking in every possible entrance and exit.

“Really?” I jerked my head to the side, indicating a tall man who’d just emerged from a door marked Employees Only. “As obvious as that?”

Her gaze shifted, and her scowl transformed into a shocked O. She gave a tiny shake of her head as she closed her mouth. “You might have a point.”

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