Excerpt from Essence And Bone

Meet Rowan Kaimi Félidés, lord Memoraie and his personal friend, Patton:

He hitched his backpack higher and tried to calculate how long it would take to get home on foot. Why, oh why had he chosen to live thirty miles from the school? Why had his brother sent him to school in the first place? The questions chased themselves like squirrels in his mind, and he rubbed his forehead.

He was new to the family and had only learned three intimate rules. Don’t look at Tristan’s Wynny, don’t talk to Tristan’s Wynny, and don’t touch Tristan’s Wynny.

A month had not been enough time to adjust to having six siblings and a niece. Ross had just checked out on the whole scene, leaving Ro to deal alone.

Rowan had a degree in accounting and music, but no one had asked a month ago. Shiloh registered him for classes, so he went. Anything was better than sitting at home and staring at the walls until the majick summoned him to save somebody.

A car would have been a brilliant birthday gift along with the classes, but Ross got the wheels, and he got school. Ross, who didn’t have the degree and had never been to college. Ross, who’d wrecked Ro’s Roadster, leaving him walking.

Getting lost in the busy hadn’t been a new concept. Ross was louder, demanding, and a lot like Tristan, without the look that slew men, women, and Miss Callie, who ran the Gemini Hotel in custom-made four-inch heels, and a sexy, gravelly “Hey, honey, how are you?” complete with fluttering lashes. If she hadn’t been in love with someone else, he would ask her out. But he respected her feelings, and she never knew he found her attractive.

Ro reached the gate and saluted the majick shimmering in green over the whole school. A burst of yellow sparks responded, and he laughed softly before pulling his cell out of his back pocket.

Gravel crunched beneath his boots on the long walk to the end of the private drive, and he paused the music before scrolling through his contacts.

Patton landed in front of him and did a little step to show off his new sneakers, causing Ro to laugh.

Patton was the youngest of twelve Toads, and they all worked for, took care of, members of the Deiux. Technically, everyone took care of Patton, and Ro’s fathers would ask where Pat was if they hadn’t seen him.

Ro was just Ro. Reaper, with the talent of finding trouble around every corner. No one asked if they hadn’t seen him. No one ever sent anyone to find him.

Ro stayed to himself and found an unlikely friend in Patton, who’d gotten his head stuck between the balusters of the stairs during Shiloh’s wedding dinner. Rowan freed the Toad from the spelled titanium, and Patton had become his shadow.

Pat fell in step with him, and they continued towards the road. “I packed up your things. I even took the pool table and the light you designed yourself. All the stained glass is gone as well. Good luck to the asshats in finding windows tonight. I do believe it’s going to rain.”

Ro’s lips quirked up, but the smile didn’t quite form. “Where did you stash my stuff?”

“The barn,” Patton shrugged. “In the blue bedroom. No one uses that one. My lady Callie has rooms for us tonight, and I paid her through the month.”

“We could have camped on the beach, Pat. Sand is soft.”

“As I said, my lord, it is supposed to rain. At the beach house.”

Ro cut his eyes at his companion. “Specifically?”

“Specifically.” Patton looked behind him and then up, wrinkling his hairless brow.

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