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The Reckoners
The Reckoners
Click to enlarge
Author(s): Durgin, Doranna
ISBN No.: 9780765361646
Pages: 400
Year: 201003
Format: UK- A Format Paperback
Price: £6.99
Dispatch delay: Dispatched between 7 to 15 days
Status: Available From Our Suppliers (Active record)

1 Underestimate an angry spirit only if you want to become one. - Rhonda Rose Here, little ghosties . - Lisa McGarrity Lisa McGarrity eased into the brand-spankin'' -new patio home in northern Albuquerque. The ultimate in desert chic, still unfurnished and unoccupied . she could almost hear her breath echo. It also steam. Albuquerque summer night''s heat, and her breath steamed. Never a good sign.

From within the house, something went plop. There was a gooey quality to that sound. Not a sound the average person should be familiar with. And since when have you ever been average? Never. Not since Rhonda Rose found her. Not since she''d realized she had an inside track on things dead and things dying and things that shouldn''t have been there at all. Or that she had the responsibility to protect not only the living, but much of the once-living and even the never-living. Once upon a time, Rhonda Rose had opened the door to her power .

and taken away her innocence, all in one fell swoop. Once upon a time. And now .' "I''m getting out," she said over her shoulder. Behind her, Lucia Reyes quite sensibly stood just outside the entry of the fancy new home, her flashlight bouncing off the high ceiling. In this business, unexpected problems often came from above, and Lucia had been on Lisa McGarrity''s team long enough to learn that lesson well. Lucia was slender and leggy and gifted with exquisite angles beneath Hispanic features, a tidy J-Lo ass, and the generous budget to clothe, adorn, and otherwise showcase her attributes. She said, "If you''re getting out, you''re going in the wrong direction.

" She tossed back her hair, a naturally haughty gesture, as she glanced meaningfully at the doorway. Lisa-Garrie to her reckoner team-raised a self-conscious hand to her own hair: dark nut brown streaked with electric blue, short and spiky. Not bad, actually, if only those spikes had come from styling instead of her lamentable habit of clutching her hair. Inside the house, something else went plop. It sounded larger than the first. Lucia said, "Still the wrong direction for getting out." "After this." Garrie shot her a quick scowl, extending her awareness into the empty house along with her flashlight beam.

Penny-ante reckoner work-new haunting on new construction. Didn''t mean they could take it for granted. "Don''t tell me you didn''t see it coming. This is the most exciting gig we''ve had for weeks, and that''s just because we''ve got our spooky flashlights." "Well," Lucia murmured, glancing around the spacious house, "it''s got the actual ghostie vibes going on. That''s a big step above knocking water pipes." "Right. Exactly why I''m getting out.

" Never mind the twinge of guilt as she said it, or the familiar, starch voice of Rhonda Rose reminding her This is what you were born to do. But I''m not doing it, Rhonda Rose. I''m not doing it. Not really. Lucia was scary-good sometimes. Her tone dry with self-awareness, she asked, "And what are you going to do, walk away from yourself?" None of them could exactly walk away from their unusual skills, Garrie most of all. "Hey, chicas, c''mon." Drew Ely shadowed the doorway just behind Lucia, hopelessly geeky in spite of-or perhaps because of-his attempts to be oh-so-hip.

Lank hair of an indeterminate color, eyes to match, complexion just getting over the whole becoming-a-man thing. Of late he''d been experimenting with the one-day stubble look, and it really wasn''t working for him. But he was a real wizard at reading the history of any given space. And he''d just saved Garrie from mustering a response to Lucia, so points for that. Cautiously, Garrie moved into the house, making room for Drew to enter with Quinn Rossiter on his heels. Garrie, head reckoner: trained by her own personal invisible friend from childhood to communicate and influence spirits all of natures. Lucia, their spiritual empath. Drew, their historian.

And Quinn, their memory-gifted researcher, tall and broad-shouldered, eyes a deep clear blue, hair a crisp blond that always fell naturally into whatever style he''d chosen. The three of them were the support team to Garrie''s reckoner muscle, giving her the information she needed to work fast and clean. Or not so clean. From out of thin air, a glob of sticky, stinky ghost poop landed on Garrie''s cheek. "Gah," she said, and swiped it off, flinging it away with the casual skill of long practice. Since her midteens, she''d been doing this. And with Rhonda Rose at her side, most of it had been a lot more exciting than . Ghost poop.

"Someone''s mad," Lucia said. "Please don''t tell me you had to use your superpowers to figure that out." Garrie moved cautiously into the great room-beamed ceiling far above, corner fireplace way down there somewhere, arching rounded doorways to bedrooms, open into the kitchen. If there was ghost poop, there was anger. "This place is phat," Drew decided, just behind the curve in cool factor as usual. "I bet you could get a deal on it after we clear it." Garrie didn''t answer. She had her own perfectly good condo, smack in the middle of the city''s university area.

Everything she could possibly want within walking distance and plenty of eccentric, benign spirits to keep her company. "You guys pulling in any clues?" "The whole angry thing," Lucia offered. Drew shook his head. "The history is muddled to the max." Garrie could understand that. "All this new construction material, pulled in from all over the place." She took a deep breath, inhaling that peculiar scent of disgruntled spirits that only she could perceive. "I know you''re here," she said out loud, words to focus the unspoken communication she broadcast to the house.

"Get real, everyone knows you''re here. Quit throwing spit-balls and let''s talk." The straightforward approach. Rarely successful, but always worth a try. This time it netted her a faint but definite spiritual glower, as though impotent pieces of power had mustered righteous offense. No more effective than being hit with pats of soft spiritual butter. "Ooh," she muttered. "Eeek.

" Quinn moved into the room, circling around and squinting at the walls-visualizing the structure, running his mind over all the possible connections and influences. "It''s not all new," he murmured, touching the textured wall paint. Somewhere in the house a door opened. The reckoners, as one, turned to look at Garrie. She shrugged. "Just supposed to be us." She thought this particular batch of spirits had thrown their drama quota into the ectoplasmic yuck, so that left something more earthly. But .

"There''s way more than one," she realized out loud, distracted from the noise of the door. She felt it plainly enough, now that she''d puzzled it out-the weird fractured pieces, a kaleidoscope of personalities. All of them annoyed, but none of them truly powerful. Not dark-side entities, just disturbed echoes of those who had once lived in the flesh. They needed her help as much as the man who''d hired her. Down the hall, shadows in shadow . something moved. Yet a deeper layer of shadow, flashing along the wall.

Quinn said, "I think-" and then stopped short at the screeching yowl that cut the night. Drew jumped, whirling, his flashlight painting wild, bobbing patterns of light across the walls and archways. "Shee-it!" "Toucheee," Lucia murmured to Garrie. She could afford to be complacent. She was the one who always walked away without a single splot of ghost poop on her person. The only one. Garrie slanted her a silent cut the kid a break and reached down the hall, pushing out her bubble of awareness. Nothing.

"Cat," Quinn said, matter-of-fact and preoccupied with his walls. And there it was. Loitering at the end of the hall, tail held high and undulating smugly enough that even Garrie, the noncat person, could see its self-satisfaction. "Who let it in?" Silence from her team. Loud silence. Until a voice not at all familiar to any of them said, "I did." They all startled. Ghosts didn''t vocalize.

The occasional whispery noise, the faintest of moans . not deep, strong voices. And they didn''t appear at the end of the hallway, solid and tall in the shadows. The cat ran to the new arrival, wound briefly between his ankles, and faded away into a corner. Garrie didn''t hesitate-she lifted her flashlight so the beam shone directly on the man''s face. He can''t be for real. Not with a black leather duster over a shirt with leather panels and crisscrossed lacings, pants with front panel styling that might have been stylish a hundred years ago, calf-high boots much scuffed and secured by a row of outside buckles. But he was also far too solid to have come with this particular house.

And far too reactive to the flashlight-a pained squint, a futile effort to fend off the light with one hand. Of course he had half-finger gloves to complete the picture. Of course he had thick straight hair past his shoulders, shorter front strands.

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