Maelstrom

Maelstrom by Jordan L. Hawk Read Free Book Online

Book: Maelstrom by Jordan L. Hawk Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jordan L. Hawk
Tags: Historical, Fantasy, Horror, Lovecraft, Victorian, mm, whybourne, widdershins
from the safe where I’d locked it away the night
before. The cryptic letters of the first few pages seemed to mock
me. Still, the very fact someone else was interested in the tome
suggested the writing could be deciphered, if one only had the
correct key.
    Would someone from the Cabal know anything
about the book? My only contact with them had been through Revered
Scarrow in Alaska, who claimed them a loose confederacy of
sorcerers opposed to the Endicotts. Which didn’t necessarily make
their intentions good ones, but Scarrow had saved Griffin and
Iskander’s lives. I was willing to give his organization the
benefit of the doubt.
    I skipped forward a few pages in my
inspection, only to be stopped by a brilliant splash of color. A
drawing of a plant filled most of a page—some sort of cycad,
perhaps, although I was no botanist. I paged through slowly and
found more illustrations, plants and animals alike, all of them
beautifully rendered and most of them rather fantastical. I paused
at the hideous illustration of a monstrous hybrid that looked like
a rat with a human face. The artist had certainly possessed a
horrible imagination.
    The door to my office burst open
unceremoniously. “What the devil, Whyborne!” Christine exclaimed as
she stormed in. Miss Parkhurst hovered behind her, looking
apologetic. “Kander told me what happened last night, after I’d
left to go home. Why on earth didn’t you call on me?”
    Miss Parkhurst cast me an uncertain look.
“Would you care for some coffee, doctors?”
    “No, I think Dr. Putnam has already had a
bit too much,” I replied. Miss Parkhurst retreated hurriedly,
closing the door behind her. “We hardly knew someone was going to
try to steal the codex, Christine.”
    Christine dropped into the chair across from
me. “Is that the codex? Why did someone want to steal it?”
    “I’ve no idea.” I eyed the rattish horror so
carefully inscribed on the page. “Given the craftsmanship and age,
it has a certain value. In other circumstances I might have thought
a collector wanted to make off with it before we had a chance to
have it properly cataloged. But the witch hunter’s dagger suggests
otherwise.”
    “Not if the collector belongs to one of the
old families,” she countered. “Or someone else who knows you’re a
sorcerer.”
    “Then why not wait until I left for the
day?”
    “I imagine they thought you had. Kander said
you’d walked away from your office for a moment,” she pointed out.
“Speaking of which, how did the fellow know it was in your office
instead of the library?”
    “Yet another question I don’t have an answer
for.” I rubbed my eyes tiredly. “I assume he was watching the
library...watching me...somehow.”
    “How unsettling.” She reached out and turned
the codex around to examine the picture. “Almost as unsettling as
that thing.”
    “Quite.” I hesitated, but there was nothing
gained by delaying. “How are the wedding arrangements coming?”
    She frowned slightly. I had to admit, it
wasn’t the sort of question I would normally ask. I tried to look
innocently curious. “Fine,” she said.
    “Oh good.” I nodded. “So you’ve made
arrangements with the florist?”
    “Not yet,” she said. “Why?”
    I bit back a sigh. Christine’s family might
not have ranked with the Vanderbilts or the Whybornes, but they’d
had enough money to move in society. She really ought to know
better.
    “The ballroom and dining room at Whyborne
House are quite large,” I said. “A considerable quantity of flowers
will be required. It isn’t fair to the florist to wait until the
last minute and then expect miracles.”
    Christine scowled. “I don’t expect miracles,
Whyborne. I...oh.” Her expression cleared. “Of course. I’m sorry,
old fellow.”
    “Er...” Should I question whatever
misapprehension had led to her agreement, or take advantage of it?
“It’s quite all right.”
    “I’ll make an appointment for us to visit
the

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