Dead and Buried
(Grave Talker, #7)
Publication date: February 28th 2023
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Darby Adler is done.
Done with the Council. Done with ancient evils popping up every five seconds. And especially done with her ex-boyfriend, Bishop. On the hunt for the slippery mage, she has teamed up with an unlikely ally in a Prince of Hell. The same prince that invades her thoughts, her space, and maybe her heart.
But when the dreaded ex starts targeting those closest to Darby, all deals–demon or otherwise–are off.
Darby’s going to bury Bishop La Roux… one way or another.
I should have taken the trip to the Underworld.
That thought had plagued me since I agreed to this damn adventure. Mainly because I was not a good flyer.
There were too many people in the airport and what if you didn’t get there in time and what if they searched your luggage and decided to confiscate everything. There were far too many variables when it came to air travel, and I was in charge of none of them.
Not. A. Fan.
But when we arrived at the airport, it was not on the super commercial side. When the smoke from Aemon’s power faded, we were outside a giant hangar with a few people milling about like little worker bees. An airplane sat just off the tarmac with a red carpet leading to the boarding stairs.
“Umm…” I said nervously, staring at a suit-clad flight attendant who just seemed to notice us standing there.
I had never flown private in my life, but it seemed that streak was about to end.
“Did you honestly think I was going to make you fly commercial?” Aemon scoffed, shaking his head as he pulled his hands away from my hips. “After the Orlando trip? Never.”
He was referring to my senior trip when my plane nearly went down after an electrical disturbance. I hadn’t flown since, and I was pretty sure I would need pharmaceuticals to do it this time. But there was only one way Aemon knew about my flying trauma because Jay and I refused to talk about it ever.
It was the same reason he knew every other corner of my brain. Because he had seen it in my memories when he invaded my mind during his possession.
“What are the odds that flight attendant has Xanax in his pocket?” I asked, choosing to ignore the reminder of Aemon’s possession completely.
He seemed to consider my question as he ushered us forward. “I’d say pretty good, but I wouldn’t take them. He’d likely confuse them for the Molly in his other pocket and then you’d really be in trouble.
My feet nearly stuttered to a stop as my tongue felt heavy in my mouth and a sweat broke out all over my skin. I did not want to get into that plane. Not at all.
“Come on, Flower. I’ll hold your hand the whole time.”
Now I was hot, but it was due to anger rather than anything else. “I’m not a child. I don’t need you to hold anything for me.”
Choking down my fear, I marched to the plane, handed off my suitcase, and made it up the steps before the fear took root again.
“You can sit anywhere. Would you like something to drink?” The attendant was my height with a shock of ginger hair and a jaw you could sharpen blades on.
The hum of the engine started, and it took everything in me not to climb out of my skin, holding onto the chaos magic like it was my job. I chose a seat and waved him off.
“I’m fine.” I was not fine, but I would grit my teeth and make it so. Closing my eyes, I let my head fall back to the cushion.
Eight hours. Just eight tiny hours and you will be there. You’ll get answers. This is fine.
“You’re such a little liar,” Aemon whispered in my ear, his approach completely undetected.
I cracked an eyelid, cutting my gaze to him with a glare that should have roasted him on the spot.
“You couldn’t be less fine if you tried. Now, I can help calm you down, or you can sit there and pray you don’t blow this plane up mid-flight. Your choice, Flower.”
Aemon had a habit of making me sleep when I needed it. There had been a few instances where I had gone days without even so much as a wink of it until he took the decision out of my hands.
Him actually asking this time was new.
“I could have sworn I had a name, and it wasn’t anything even remotely resembling ‘Flower’ or anything close to it.”
Aemon’s petulant sigh practically rattled my bones. “Ms. Darby Adler, will you pretty please with sugar on top hold my hand so I may calm you down on this very treacherous flight over an ocean of salt that will surely kill me dead should you explode this plane and dunk me in it?”
That had my breath hitching in my chest as acid churned in my gut. Exploding this plane had been a real concern, but now? Now I was holding onto the armrests for dear life, and we hadn’t left the tarmac yet.
Aemon’s face got right in mine so all I could see were those pretty blue eyes and too-full lips.
“You’d better answer me, Flower, or I’ll have to think of other ways to distract you.”
Annie Anderson is a military wife and United States Air Force veteran. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she is a southern girl at heart, but has lived all over the US and abroad. As soon as the military stops moving her family around, she’ll settle on a state, but for now she enjoys being a nomad with her husband, two daughters, an old man of a dog, and a young pup that makes life… interesting.