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I needed to stay on task. I needed to plan our attack on Murphy, or at the very least, protect us from his next one. I couldn’t do it unprepared. I needed more intel, and part of that meant finding out who Toby was interrogating. Somehow that tied in.

I decided to check out a shifter bar in Brooklyn that tended to attract the clientele I was looking for. I threw on a blazer and walked into the Hairy Turn. The bar hadn’t changed at all since I’d last visited a year or so earlier. The bouncer didn’t recognize me, but he let me in without an argument. Sometimes a steely glare can convey everything.

“Are there nymphs around?” I asked the large shifter.

He grinned. “Looking for some action, huh?”

“Not action.” I stuffed my hands in my pockets. This was embarrassing, but I didn’t want to admit I was there on official Society business.

“If you say so. There’re a few in tonight.”

“Thanks.” I nodded and headed inside. I stopped by the bar and grabbed a beer.

I hadn’t made it far when a manicured hand wrapped around my bicep. “Nice to see you again, Jared.”

I stared down at a pair of brown eyes and dark hair. “Hi, Nelly.”

“What are you doing in New York?” She turned her head to the side slightly.

“I’m here for work.” I needed to shake her.

“You’re at the Hairy Turn for work?” She cooed.

“Yes. And if you’ll excuse me…” I shrugged off her hand and took a few steps. Nelly reminded me of Toby, who reminded me of Casey. Not the direction I needed my thoughts to go in.

“He’s an asshole.”

“Excuse me?” I turned back to her.

“Toby. You know he’s with her.”

“With who?” I feigned confusion even though her words hit my gut like a ten pound brick. So much for her just returning to him for help.

“Casey. I don’t see why you guys think she’s special anyway.” She said Casey’s name with distaste. That bothered me more than it should have.

“She’s special. That’s all you need to know.” I had no interest in explaining my interest in a girl I couldn’t have.

A smile spread across Nelly’s face. “Oh. Maybe the reason you think she’s special has to do with the interrogation I helped Toby with.”

Maybe Nelly was going to be more help than I thought. “Would you like to sit down?”

“Yes. I’d really like that.” She sauntered over to a darkened booth. I followed, acutely aware of just how many pairs of eyes were on us.

I sat down next to her, careful to keep my distance. “Tell me about the interrogation.”

“Why would you want to know about such a little old thing?” She tapped her nails on the tabletop.

“Because you’re right. Toby’s an asshole.”

She laughed. “I’d be breaking an oath of silence to Toby. Are you going to make this worth my while?”

I groaned. If she wanted sex, I’d be better off with the nymphs. “In what way?”

“I want an invite to the wedding.” She scooted closer to me.

“To what wedding?” I sipped my beer.

“The wedding. What other one would I be talking about?”

“Why would you want to go?”

She put a hand to her chest as though she was surprised. “Why? The king and queen are getting married, and you wonder why I want to go?”

“They’re already bound. It’s just a formality.” A pointless and possibly dangerous one. If I were on better terms with Levi, I’d have tried harder to change his mind.

“I want to go.”

Spill her secrets for a wedding invite? I’d take it. “Fine. Give me info I can use, and you’ll get your invitation.”

“You could thank me, you know.” She flipped some hair off her shoulder.

“For?”

“For sending Casey to you.” She smiled. Her eyes begged me to touch her. That wasn’t happening.

“How’d you do that?”

She pushed out her chest. “I may have persuaded her.”

“What? How?” I stopped my beer a few inches from my lips.

“She was in my way. I merely made her see things differently.” Her lips twisted into an evil smile.

“You used magic on her?” That was impossible. It was illegal for a witch to use magic against a Pteron, but even if they did, it wouldn’t have made a Pteron change her mind.

“More than I planned to. That girl’s head is hard to mess with.”

“Because she’s a Pteron. A Royal Pteron. Do you realize what crime you committed?”

She paled. “I thought she was human. I didn’t break any laws.”

“Forget the wedding invite, you’re lucky if I don’t turn you in.”

“Then you don’t want your info?” She leaned closer to me. “Don’t you want to make Levi proud?”

I pushed her away. “Talk.”

“Toby brought in the cousin.”

“The one Casey lives with?”

“Lived with.”

“What? What do you mean?” Had she moved in with Toby already?

“It’s not what you’re thinking.” She laughed. “She got her own place.”

“Oh.” I relaxed. Surprisingly, it wasn’t jealousy motivating me as much as concern. Casey needed to be careful who she trusted. She had so much to learn. “What did the cousin say?”

“I don’t know. Toby kept me out of the room, but he seemed pretty upset afterward.”

“Where’s the cousin now?”

“I’m not sure. I wiped his memories before he left.”

“Why wouldn’t Toby have told Levi this?”

“He’s trying to protect her. At least that’s what I think.”

“Thanks for the info.” I got up.

“When can I expect the invitation?” She watched me.

“Soon.” At the moment, I had more important things to do. I needed to find the cousin and figure out what Toby was hiding. I also had to tell Levi I changed my mind. Personal feelings aside, Casey needed protection. If Toby was worried about her, I needed to be too. Something about what Nelly said didn’t sit right. Did she really think she influenced Casey’s mind? How was that possible? No matter what, Casey needed training, and I was the best one to do that job.

Chapter Nineteen

Casey

We drank the bottle of wine curled up under one of my new throw blankets on the couch. We weren’t cold, but the blanket was cozy especially since neither of us were wearing any clothes.