Rosemary and Rue - By Seanan McGuire Page 0,1

ointment off the seat beside me and smeared it around my eyes until it started running down my cheeks. The car reappeared ahead of me in a hazy outline, like I was seeing it through water. “Won’t be losing you again, you asshole,” I muttered and pressed down on the gas.

Don’t-look-here spells are trickier than true invisibility; Simon’s car was still there, and the drivers around him avoided it automatically, making him safer from traffic accidents than he would have been without the enchantment. People—mortal people—saw him; they just didn’t acknowledge it. At the same time, anyone with a drop of fae blood couldn’t see him without outside assistance. It was a nice piece of work. I might have admired it, if it hadn’t been interfering with my job.

It was almost unfair. My own abilities barely extend to a few charms and parlor tricks, while the man in front of me was causing an entire city of humans to act like he wasn’t even there. That’s Faerie’s genetic lottery for you. If you’re a pureblood, you get it all, but if you’re a changeling, well, I hope you have good luck with that.

Simon turned the wrong way down a one-way street, taking advantage of the semi-invisibility I didn’t share. Swearing again, I hauled my own car into a hard left, beginning a pacing maneuver along the next block. As long as I didn’t hit any traffic lights, I’d be able to catch him at the other end. I wasn’t going to let my liege down. Not today, not ever. I’m not that girl.

Luck was with me, along with a working knowledge of the San Francisco streets. Simon’s car shot back into view a quarter block up ahead. I eased off the gas, dropping back several cars to keep from rousing his suspicions. I needed Simon as relaxed as possible. There might be lives riding on it. Two lives, to be specific: the wife and the daughter of my liege lord, Duke Sylvester Torquill, twin brother of the man I was following. They had vanished without a trace three days ago, from the middle of Sylvester’s lands, where the security was so tight that nothing could have touched them. But something had, and all signs pointed to Simon.

Even if Sylvester hadn’t been my liege, I would’ve taken the case because of the people involved. Duchess Luna was one of the sweetest, most egalitarian women I’d ever known. And then there was their daughter: Rayseline Acantha Torquill, also known as Raysel. As the presumptive heir to one of the largest Duchies in the Kingdom of the Mists, she could easily have grown up more spoiled than any human princess. Instead, she grew into the sort of little girl who’s always up a tree or down a hole, a magnet for mud, queen of worms and frogs and crawling things. She laughed like she’d just invented laughter. She had her father’s signal-fire red hair. And damn it, she had the right to grow up.

Simon sped up. I did the same.

As far as Cliff knew, I was working a standard abduction case, just another deadbeat dad who took off with the kid when he got the wrong end of the stick during divorce proceedings. My work for the Courts had been dwindling since Gilly was born, but it was still there, and I’d had a lot of practice hiding it. Maintaining a business as a private investigator made it easier. I could explain almost anything by saying that I had to work, and a lot of the time, it was the truth. It’s just that sometimes my cases were more Brothers Grimm than Magnum PI.

You don’t get knighted for nothing; it’s a title you earn, either through long service or by having a set of skills that someone really wants to have at their disposal. I’ve always had a talent for finding what I need to know, and when that came to Sylvester’s attention, he grabbed me, saying there were worse things than having a detective on the payroll. I go out, I find out what’s going on, and I let the knights who earned their titles in battle take over. I’m not stupid; I don’t engage. What I am is good at what I do.

One trace turned into two turned into two dozen, all pointing straight to Simon Torquill. He was renting a room in downtown San Francisco, paying cash on a daily basis. It was located on the Queen’s land, even, with

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