Sequel to Heart's Triumph
Blackstone Manor is complete, and what better way to celebrate than a Halloween party? At least, that’s how Io sees it. He’s already splurged on candy and decorations. Cinder isn’t entirely on board, however, hating the look of disappointment on Io’s face when he nixes the idea.
Yet somehow Io gets his way, and the party goes ahead as planned. It can’t be all that bad, right? But throw in couples’ costumes, Daisy acting weird, real ghosts, and the secret Cinder has been harboring from Io, and it's sure to be a night none of them forget.
She tapped a finger against her lips, averting her gaze as she mentally trolled through the files. Then without word she stalked off into the labyrinth of shelving. Cinder toyed with the idea of following her, figured it might be for the best. More than once she’d been sent to retrieve something only to get lost in the discovery, or perhaps rediscovery of an entirely different piece of history. Making his way down the center aisle he heard her muttering, smiling faintly as she chattered away to herself. The basement smelled of old books and worn leather with a trace of dust. Heavenly to someone like Daisy and somewhere within the many volumes were recordings of his long life. He made sure she kept them private.
At some point he realized Daisy had grown quiet. “Daisy, dear?” He found her around the next corner, her back to him, something he could not see drawing her attention. She stood ridged, still as a statue. “Daisy?”
She whirled on him, eyes wide, a thick book clutched to her chest. For a moment it was as though she failed to recognize him, her gaze questioning, accusing, unfocused. Concern flooded Cinder. However, her daze passed before he reached her, an almost unsettling calmness embracing Daisy.
“Are you okay? You seemed ... almost lost, like you went off somewhere else.”
“Oh?” Daisy shrugged it off. “I think I’ve been hearing the scampering of mice. I shall have to see if I can nip the problem in the bud, so to speak.” She passed him, heading for a podium in the midst of the aisle. She lay the book atop it, holding the front cover as she scanned the first page. “Ah, here we are, just as I suspected.”
He strolled up behind her, hands clasped loosely behind his back. “What does it say?”
By now she flipped to the entry, her finger sliding along the page as she deciphered the chicken scratch. “Apparently, it used to be tradition to mark the passing of October 31st by the customs of the old pagan ways.”
“Hm.” Daisy tapped the page. “However, it felt out of favor around the time of the witch trials for fear one of us would be tried a witch and our true natures discovered.”
“Makes perfect sense.”
“Quite.” She closed the tome, turning to him. “Anything else I can help you with, sir?”
He did have one more thing on his mind. Normally Cinder knew he could trust Daisy to keep mum about the business they conducted, her loyalty to him just as deep as it was with her role as librarian. However, anyone could see plain as day how thick as thieves she happened to be with Io. Just thinking of his beloved filled him with warmth and unpleasant twinge of guilt. Perhaps as morning drew closer he would remind Io that he did indeed love him, even if other matters got in the way.
“You must swear to me, Daisy, you will not breathe a word of this to Io. Am I understood?”
Being alpha certainly had its privileges. “Have you ever come across a point in our long existence when two gargoyles joined together in union?”
“Yes,” she answered instantly. When faced with his perplexed reaction she explained. “After Io told me of you two planning to exchange nuptials I admit my curiosity got the best of me. In all these records,” she gestured with her hands, “I found only one such previous engagement.”
“And how did it fair?”
“You could always ask the man involved, get a personal take,” suggested Daisy. “After all, you know him.”