Home > The Brimstone Deception (SPI Files #3)(4)

The Brimstone Deception (SPI Files #3)(4)
Author: Lisa Shearin

It didn’t matter what they used, or how good it was, I could see right through any and all of it.

So seers were downright handy in an organization like SPI.

I pointed out the bad guys, and our agents or commando teams brought them in.

Ian was our top agent.

Kylie was our director of media and public relations.

And Rake pretty much had a permanent spot on our suspects list.

Right now the four of us were sharing a booth in a coffee shop around the corner from the restaurant. The police had taken it as their interviewing room since Café Mina was presently a smoke-filled ruin. One of the cops had recognized Ian from their time together in the NYPD, and one of the staff had told them that Ian had tried to disarm the hallucinating crazy guy. Since the three of us were with him, they wanted our statements as well.

Lucky us.

Ian and Rake had declared an unspoken temporary truce. I knew it wasn’t due to any newfound camaraderie, but rather that it wouldn’t go over well to beat the crap out of each other in front of the cops. For the moment, they could pretend to make nice.

The officer who’d taken our statements was an elf. He knew who we were and who we worked for—or at least he knew who Ian and Kylie were, and everyone knew who Rake was. The elf couldn’t see through Rake’s glamour, but he knew what Rake’s human glamour looked like. The elf didn’t know me from Adam’s house cat, and I was fine with that. It’s never been a goal of mine to be recognized on sight by the police force of any city.

From what the guy had been screaming while being taken into custody, it was apparent that he could see the supernaturals in the restaurant with him for what they really were. The young elven officer knew that but he couldn’t exactly put that in his report. I felt bad for him, but in a place like New York, with its huge supernatural population, being able to work a case while keeping the city’s biggest secret was a required talent. If he couldn’t juggle, he’d better learn fast.

“The gentleman began behaving strangely after coming out of the men’s room,” Rake said. “While you were arguing,” he added with an amiable smile, looking right at Ian, “I was observing.”

“Arguing?” the elf cop asked Ian.

“A personal matter, Officer.”

Ian’s face was a perfect mask of neutrality; however, from Rake’s pained hiss, Ian had just introduced the heel of his boot to the top of Rake’s foot. Then Ian grunted as Kylie did the same to him, except with a stiletto heel.

I rolled my eyes.

“So you’re implying that he may have taken a drug?” the officer asked.

“Well, he wasn’t screaming about monsters before he went to the head,” drawled a familiar voice from behind me.

Our day was finally looking up.

Lieutenant Frederick Ash was a detective with the NYPD’s drug enforcement unit and, like the elven officer, was clued in to SPI and the supernatural community. Unlike the young elf, Fred was an elf/human hybrid. While he had enough elven blood running through his veins to use minor magic, his physical appearance lacked the jewel-tone eyes, pale skin, and pointed ears that marked the elven race, so no glamour was needed.

Fred was plainspoken and said it like he saw it.

I liked him.

I liked it even better that he was here.

Ian liked it enough that he and Fred did the bro-hug thing. Though they’d worked closely together during Ian’s time with the NYPD, his leaving the force to come work for SPI hadn’t weakened that bond. Not to mention, it helped us to have people inside the NYPD, and the reverse was true for them. A lot of crime in the city crossed the human/supernatural barrier, which sometimes wasn’t so much a barrier as a chalk outline on a sidewalk, an outline drawn around human and supernatural alike.

Kylie’s eyes went to the street outside. I turned to look.

Oh crap.

Two news trucks complete with satellite dishes. For now it was probably to cover the destruction of the city’s newest trendy restaurant, but all it would take would be talking to any of the patrons, most of whom would love to be on TV, to root out the cause of the fire. A previously upstanding businessman suddenly seeing monsters, who was probably cooling his heels in a padded observation room by now, would spark the sensation and ratings seeker that was in the heart of every TV journalist.

“Officer, do you have any more questions for me?” Kylie asked.

“No, ma’am.”

She nodded in the direction of the news trucks. “Then if you all would excuse me, it’s time I went to work.”

She scooted out of the booth and headed for the door, heels clicking on the tile with sharp purpose.

Media and Public Relations is SPI’s largest and sometimes most critical department. Kylie and her team were hands-down the best at what they did—neutralizing a supernatural exposure problem before it became a publicly visible crisis. In addition, Kylie’s “secret identity” was a world-renowned debunker of the supernatural, and the ultimate mistress of misinformation. She put herself front and center on TV and radio talk shows, and was accepted by respected journalists as an expert on the exposé.

Kylie was the best at spinning a supernatural news story the way she—and SPI—needed it to go.

Fred jerked his head in the direction of a back table. “A word with you, Ian?”

“Sure.”

The boys went off to chat, leaving me and Rake alone.

An immaculately groomed man with a microphone and cameraman in tow met Kylie at the door. Though “met” was a little mild. “Ambushed” was a more accurate description.

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