Home > The Brimstone Deception (SPI Files #3)(3)

The Brimstone Deception (SPI Files #3)(3)
Author: Lisa Shearin

The hysterically babbling man didn’t notice.

I noticed his right hand was clenching a steak knife.

“He can see them,” I whispered quickly to Ian.

Ian didn’t answer. He didn’t need to. He knew what I meant.

The man spun, taking in the supernaturals all around him, both diners and restaurant staff.

Then he spotted the one closest to him.


Oh no.

Before Ian could stop me, I sprinted the short distance back to our table, stopping in front of Rake, trying to block the man’s view. Fat lot of good that did since the goblin was now on his feet, ready to defend himself if necessary. Rake was a head taller than me, and other than the gray skin visible on his hands, from the neck up was everything that said “goblin” to anyone who could see past Rake’s human glamour. To me, and any other supernatural or enlightened human with a pulse who could see past that glamour, Rake was gorgeous. But I could see where silvery skin, pointed ears, and fangs could be disconcerting.

The man’s eyes widened in disbelief. “What . . . what are you?”

Ian stepped up like the former cop he was, his voice low and calm. “Sir, I need you to put down the knife.”

The man quickly turned and saw the reassuringly human Ian.

“Do you see them?” His words came in a rush. “Can—”

“I see that you have a weapon, and you need to put it on the table next to you and step away.”

Kylie was on her phone, no doubt calling headquarters.

The man spotted a couple sitting at the table behind us. Kelpies. Everyone else saw a nice, middle-age couple. He saw vaguely human creatures with green skin, gills, and a mouthful of sharp teeth.

“Monsters!” he shrieked.

He staggered back, stumbling and catching himself on a bananas Foster serving cart. He stayed upright, the cart didn’t. Flames ignited the closest tablecloth, and were fed by the spilled rum.

People screamed, shouted, and ran for the exits as the sprinkler system went off.

I heard a siren outside. Someone must have already called the police. Now we needed the fire department, too.

Rake stepped up close behind me, his lips at my ear. “I promised you’d never be bored on a date with me.”

“This wasn’t what I had in mind.”

All signs of playfulness were gone. “Neither did I.”

With his hand at the small of my back, Rake steered me toward the restaurant’s kitchen, away from the fire and the crowd surging toward the front doors. In a panic, people tended to go with the obvious, even if it wasn’t the closest or safest. Leave it to Rake to know the back way out of a building he’d never been in before.

Ian and Kylie were right behind us.

I turned my head toward Ian. “Where—”

“He dropped the knife and ran out the front,” Ian told me. “First one out. Right into the waiting arms of my former brothers in blue.”

“In addition to his freedom,” Kylie said, “I think it’s safe to say he just lost his clients and the account.”


GOBLINS, elves, vampires, werewolves, fairies, trolls, dwarves, and anything else you’ve read about in fairy tales or your favorite fantasy novel series.

They’re all real.

It used to be known, confirmed, and accepted fact that all of those and more existed. Then humans went and got themselves civilized and educated. The smarter humans thought they were, and the more they thought they knew, the less they believed in things that went bump in the night.

Their disbelief didn’t make any of those things any less real—or deadly.

In a world where supernaturals lived alongside humans, what you couldn’t see could kill you. Some of them could even bring you back from the dead and kill you again.

Magic exists, monsters are real, and fighting the forces of evil is a full-time job. At least there’s hazard pay.

Humans, being human, merely thought up more explanations for what monsters were, and excuses for what they couldn’t possibly be.

To tell you the truth, our job was a lot easier when John and Suzie Q. Public didn’t know they were lucky to make it to the office every morning without getting pecked to pieces. Though that was only during the Werepigeon Infestation of 2003. Before my time, but definitely one for the agency history books.

New Yorkers pride themselves on not even batting an eye when they walk past the weird, the wacky, and the otherworldly.

I’ve got news; if they saw someone change into a werewolf right in front of them, their blasé would go bye-bye, probably along with the contents of their bladder. Heck, the sound effects alone—bones popping, sinews stretching, muzzle elongating and sprouting fangs—would be enough to send them screaming into the night.

We battle the creatures of the night and keep humans in the dark.

We’re the agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations. SPI is a worldwide organization, but New York is home to the U.S. and world headquarters.

There are two New Yorks. As if there isn’t enough traffic in one.

There’s the New York that millions of people see, hear, touch, smell, and in the summer when the wind’s right and the garbage barges are ripe, taste. Then there’s the New York that’s home to the world’s largest concentration of supernatural beings—unseen, unheard, unknown. And it’s SPI’s job to keep it that way.

I was one of the agency’s five seers. Since the beginning of crime, some bad guys—human or otherwise—have depended on disguises to elude capture. While humans were limited to wigs, makeup, and the ever popular but terribly ineffective sunglasses, supernaturals could tap into their magic or buy an amulet that would enable them to alter their appearance, or even hide their entire body with a cloaking spell.

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