Ashira Cohen takes pride in being the only female private investigator in Vancouver. With her skills, her missing persons case should be a piece of cake.
She wasn’t counting on getting bashed in the skull, revealing a hidden tattoo and supernatural powers she shouldn’t possess.
Or the bitter icing on top: a spree of abductions and terrifying ghostly creatures on a deadly bender.
And don’t even get her started on the golems.
Reluctantly partnered with her long-time nemesis Levi, the infuriating leader of the magic community, Ash resolves to keep her focus on the clue trail and off their sexual tension because WTF is up with that?
But with a mastermind organization pulling strings from the shadows and Levi’s arrogance driving her to pick out his body bag, can Ash rescue the captives and uncover the truth or will the next blood spilled be her own?
Blood & Ash is the epic first novel in The Jezebel Files. If you like headstrong heroines, complex mysteries, and a dash of red-hot romance, you’ll love Deborah Wilde’s laugh out loud tale.
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About the Book
Blood & Ash
by Deborah Wilde
January 14, 2020
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“A woman with a back that would make a goddess weep and a taste for whiskey untainted by Coke. A rare dichotomy.” The low smoky voice curled through me, all illicit decadence.
I grinned evilly, turning to the speaker with my glass extended. “If you start right now, you might be able to blame the fact that you hit on me on you ‘drinking your boozy heart out.’”
The gobsmacked look on Levi Montefiore’s face was priceless.
“Why are you wearing that dress?” He waved his hand at it.
Even with the shoes that raised me a couple inches above my five-eight height, he towered over me by a good four inches and a skyscraper’s worth of arrogance.
“I left my sackcloth and ashes at home. Sorry to disappoint. You drinking yourself out of total humiliation? No?” I shrugged and finished the whiskey before thrusting the glass into his hands. “Do a woman a mitzvah and take this away while you troll for the night’s entertainment elsewhere.”
Levi handed the glass off to someone else. Not even a waiter. Just some random person perfectly happy to do his bidding. That was the way of the world for the Head of House Pacifica.
To be fair, he played to his strengths. His black hair was cut slightly longer on top than the sides, swept away from his face in a classic side part that emphasized the slash of his cheekbones and a jawline sharp enough to cut. Much like the words that came out of his unfairly full and sensuous lips.
Odes had been written to his ice-blue eyes and of their unknowable depths that changed from the deepest navy to a mercurial storm. Granted those odes were inked on bathroom stalls in glittery pen, but exist they did. I liked to add disclaimers to them in thick marker and ground those flights of fancy in cold, hard truth.
I was one of the few breathing humans who didn’t go into a dead faint at his proximity, though I did often wish for someone to kill me when I was around him.
Combined with the gunmetal suit that hugged his long, leanly muscled frame to perfection and made me reconsider my stance on Josh’s tailoring, Levi exuded effortless power–and ego. It didn’t hurt that he’d invented some virtual reality tech when he was in his early twenties and sold his company for a sum that would have made even an ogre reasonably attractive in the eyes of many.
People had been waiting to see what the boy wonder would do next, but no one could have predicted he’d challenge the previous Head of House Pacifica for its leadership.
Or that he’d win.
Pursing those lips that rumor had it were almost as talented as his fingers, Levi regarded me with a suspicion usually reserved for small unattended packages in airports. “Are you undercover?”
“In a floor-length ‘come fuck me’ red dress with no visible panty line?”
His eyes flicked to my ass, then away dismissively.
I counted to ten in my head, visualizing pushing him into the jellies and watching them sting him to death. “If I was, would you declare this gala Nefesh territory and mess up my case?”
“If you didn’t have the right to work it, then yeah. In a heartbeat.”
There it was. Levi’s absolute refusal to recognize that not everything was as black-and-white as House rules made it out to be, and the reason I hoped Charlotte Rose’s Rogue status didn’t end up penalizing me in addition to her.
“The husband was Nefesh,” I said, “but his wife, my client, who he was cheating on, was Mundane. I had every right to get proof of his infidelity.” It was pointless to fight Levi, but that job last month could have opened the door to better gigs for me had I not been sidelined.
He refused a honey goat cheese and raspberry phyllo cup from a polite server. “It’s too dangerous for Mundanes to go after Nefesh.”
Having never met a goat cheese appy I didn’t like, I accepted one. “Mundanes are dangerous, too. We have these things called guns. They kill people. No magic required.” Hot damn, these puppies were good. I licked goat cheese off my lip. “And here’s another revelation. While we were both assholes when we were younger, the difference is that I grew out of it.”
Levi’s eyes darkened, the corners tightening, but when a couple called out a greeting, he had his charismatic smile in place. He dropped it as soon as they moved on. “No, the difference is, I became responsible for an entire community while you kept thinking you should be allowed to do whatever you want.”
Whatever I want? I couldn’t remember the last time I hadn’t conducted myself according to someone else’s rules, fighting to be taken seriously, fighting to make a name for myself when it felt some days like the entire deck was stacked against me.
Anger rose up hot and thick enough to taste, wiping away all leftover raspberry sweetness. The room swam, the perfume and cologne cloying in this packed space. My heart pounded in my ears but I choked down my retort. Were our respective statuses represented via totem pole carving, I would be the poor schmuck on the bottom just trying to hang on, while Levi, as House Head, would be the capricious god up top plotting how to complicate my life yet again.
I stomped off, zigzagging to try and get through the press of people, but he followed. “Go away, Levi. I’m not in the mood for your insults.”
“You’re flushed and clearly dizzy. Maybe rethink your plan to become a functioning alcoholic,” he said wryly. He grasped my elbow, propelling me through the crowd to the exit.
They parted like the Red Sea for Moses. Just once I’d like to see this guy break a sweat.
The cold night air brought everything into a sharp clarity, but I remained lightheaded and goosebumps dotted my skin. Colored lanterns cast warm, inviting pools of light in the darkness but they did nothing for the actual freezing temperature.
The chatter back in the aquarium faded to a dull buzz, since all the sane people had opted to stay inside. Holding the skirt of my dress with one hand, I lurched over to the viewing platform high above the dolphin pool, keeping to the shadows.
Levi strolled behind me, heat rolling off him.
Head bowed, I stopped in the middle of the platform, gripped the cold metal railing, and flinched because I’d caught a jagged part of the railing’s seams. I tried to speak, tried to move, but I was paralyzed. My insides twisted, radiating a stabbing pain that built and built and then burst like a supernova, hot and sharp.
Fire blazed through my body, a searing agony that lit up every nerve ending. Had I not been clutching the railing, I’d have fallen because my legs had turned to Jell-O. There was a mild tug and then a punch that felt like a multi-armed giant was bashing its way out from inside my skull.
Violent shudders wracked me from head to toe and I screamed, but no sound came out.
A tiny drop of blood beaded on my finger. I sucked down a harsh breath, mesmerized by that drop that was so red and earthy.
“Ash.” Levi’s irises were no longer merely blue but the electric wild skies after a storm. They practically glowed and, between them and the glare of the moon, I had to look away. The overpowering smell of the saltwater from the dolphin pool below made me gag, but was tempered by the mild musky sandalwood scent of Levi’s cologne.
“You’re not having a seizure, are you?” he said.
Why did he have to be such a dick?
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About the Author
Award-winning author DEBORAH WILDE jumped from a twelve year screenwriting career to writing YA romantic comedies under the name Tellulah Darling because her first kiss sucked and she’s compensating. Both a hopeless romantic and a total cynic with a broken edit button, she branched out into adult urban fantasy as Deborah Wilde to satisfy her love of smexy romances and tales of chicks who kick ass. She is all about the happily-ever-after, with a huge dose of hilarity along the way.