Woman King - By Evette Davis

PROLOGUE

Most of you are probably familiar with the fact that San Francisco is a foggy city. What few people know is the real reason for the fog. San Francisco’s weather, despite what the nightly news might say, is controlled by a powerful spell. This spell conjures up the cool, wet fog to keep people from seeing what is really going on around them. The fog tumbles across the hills and mountains like a great grey-white wave, pressing inward until it erases San Francisco from view. On those days and nights, when most people can barely see more than the hand in front of their face, the city’s Others—fairies, witches, vampires and werewolves—can meet and attend to their business. In the darkness of night, the light muted, the air damp, it can be difficult to know if what you are seeing is real.

For the Others, there can be no trace of them or their activities left behind. The fog is their eraser, a privacy screen cast up to shield humans from an unsettling truth: They are not alone in this world, and they are not in control.

Besides its reputation for fog, San Francisco is also known for its colorful population. It’s no accident that so many outlandish people live there. The city is home to an enormous population of Others, alive and undead. That the Beat poets, the free-speech movement, the Summer of Love, the sexual revolution, and the gay rights movement originated in San Francisco is no coincidence. Amidst the tattooed, pierced and corseted, the Others are free to live their lives. In San Francisco, it is easy to hide in plain sight

****

CHAPTER 1

“Listen,” he said. “You’re not going to like what I have to say.”

He paused to give me time to prepare.

“The board has decided we need someone more, well…powerful. I’m afraid we’re going to have to let you go. We want to win this contract without having to compete for it.”

“That’s ridiculous,” I said, my voice rising in indignation. “As I’ve mentioned to you before, this agency requires the contract be put out to bid. You’re firing me because you don’t like the way the rules work?”

For a moment, I thought I’d saved my job by presenting the truth of the situation.

“It’s finished, Olivia. The board has made its decision,” he said. “We certainly appreciate your efforts, but we need someone more dynamic, because this contract is very important to us.”

In the days that passed, I worked hard to put that unfortunate call behind me. Olivia Shepherd Consulting had a full roster of clients. As a private consultant to individuals and companies with specific political problems, I had a number of other projects already on my plate.

In fact, before I could dwell too much on what had happened, I received a call asking me to interview for an opportunity to represent a large foundation based in San Francisco. The organization had an endowment in the billions and supported most of the arts and cultural institutions in the region. Anyone turning on a public broadcasting station has seen the foundation’s name roll past with heartfelt thanks for their generosity. The committee planned to interview several candidates, and assigned me a thirty-minute slot to present my credentials.

Truthfully, I felt somewhat annoyed at not being asked outright to represent the group. I’d done work for a number of the beneficiaries of their grants, and felt that the foundation should have known immediately that I was the right person for the job. Still, I spent the requisite time reviewing the organization, its structure, priorities and board of directors.

When the day of my interview arrived, I was prepared, a binder of information and a list of questions to ask tucked into my briefcase. Nevertheless, the weather that day seemed to conspire against me. Rain fell ceaselessly, and by the time I left for the appointment in the afternoon, the streets were flooded. A fierce wind was blowing, rendering my umbrella useless. It was not long before my leather pumps were drenched down to the soles of my feet. The pant legs of my navy suit, which I had picked up from the cleaners the day before, were soaked, weighing down my steps.

As I trudged toward the foundation’s door, the appointment was beginning to feel more like an obligation than an opportunity. Yet, despite my misgivings, I managed to get through the first round of interviews, feeling good about my rapport with the committee.

On the day of my second interview, I walked out of the

readonlinefreenovel.com Copyright 2016 - 2021