Hoarfrost (Whyborne & Griffin Book 6)

Hoarfrost (Whyborne & Griffin Book 6) by Jordan L. Hawk Read Free Book Online

Book: Hoarfrost (Whyborne & Griffin Book 6) by Jordan L. Hawk Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jordan L. Hawk
with orders to
make our way to Alaska and secure the find as quickly as possible.
    Furious
activity filled the next two weeks. Iskander left within a few days, bound for
St. Michael to meet Jack and secure whatever we’d need to survive a winter in
Alaska. Most of the supplies would be shipped immediately from St. Michael to
Hoarfrost, before the Yukon River froze in mid November. Although far more
expensive than purchasing supplies in the states and bringing them with us to
the territory, it would allow us to travel light when we arrived.
    The
director might have rethought his permission given the expense, but a quiet
note to Father ensured Whyborne Railroad and Industries helped underwrite the
expedition. What he’d want from me in exchange for the favor I didn’t wish to
contemplate. At least I wouldn’t have to worry about it until we returned a few
months hence.
    On the
final day prior to our departure, I left my office a bit before closing. Miss
Parkhurst rose to her feet on seeing me. “You’re leaving, Dr. Whyborne?”
    “I’m
afraid so,” I said glumly. I disliked travel of any sort, and this trip
promised to be even more taxing than our journey to Egypt. How was poor
Iskander faring in St. Michael? Had the cold been a terrible shock to him,
after spending his life in England and Egypt?
    “I’ll—I
mean, we’ll—miss you.” A light flush spread across her cheeks.
    I
winced. “I’m sorry you have to return to the general secretarial pool while I’m
gone. With any luck I’ll be back by spring.”
    “Oh, no,
it’s not…never mind.” Her color deepened. “I-I have something for you.” She
opened a drawer. “The papers all say it’s terribly cold in Alaska, and I
thought you’d need a scarf.”
    Now
truly crimson, she thrust out what was possibly the ugliest scarf I’d ever
seen. Its color could only be described as puce, and it appeared to have been
knitted by a drunken spider.
    “Er,
thank you?” I took it from her, trying to look as though I enjoyed the ghastly
color.
    “Do you
like it?” she asked anxiously. “I made it myself. For luck.”
    “It’s
lovely,” I said, although I meant the gesture rather than the scarf. I pulled
off the much more somber scarf I wore and replaced it with the puce. A light
floral scent rose from the folds, and I recognized it as the perfume she
ordinarily wore. Had she accidentally spilled some while knitting? “Thank you,
Miss Parkhurst. You’ve always been very kind to me, and…well. I appreciate it.”
    A
tremulous smile touched her mouth. “I’m glad you like it. Safe travels, Dr.
Whyborne. I’ll…I’ll be here waiting when you get back.”
    It seemed
an odd thing to say. Had one of my colleagues, dissatisfied with his secretary,
tried to steal away mine? Just the thought of having to work with a stranger, perhaps
one less agreeable than Miss Parkhurst, put my nerves on edge. “Thank you,” I
said fervently. “Your loyalty means a great deal to me.”
    I left
the museum, pausing on the bottom of the steps leading down to the sidewalk.
The sounds and sights of Widdershins spread out around me: rushing hansoms, the
occasional motor car, the newly installed electric trolley making its way
toward River Street. I breathed deep, smelling the scent of fish and salt permeating
every corner of the town.
    Instead
of making straight for home, I wandered. My feet took me almost of their own
accord to the Front Street Bridge over the Cranch River. The eye of the
maelstrom.
    The
bridge had been rebuilt last summer. I paced to the center of the span,
standing against the low railing while traffic of every sort clattered behind
me. Beneath my feet turned the magical vortex that gave Widdershins its name. Lines
of arcane energy poured down from the land and spiraled up from the sea to meet
here, in a single point of titanic power.
    I’d
touched that power last year. It had filled me, burning through my blood,
leaking through the scars on my arm until my

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