Home > Harvest Web (Moonshadow Bay #4)(3)

Harvest Web (Moonshadow Bay #4)(3)
Author: Yasmine Galenorn

“I can do one better—how about this afternoon? My last appointment is at two. And you and I don’t have any clients right now.”

Ari—short for Arianrhod—was my best friend from my youth. She was a hairdresser, and we had opened a side business of reading tarot cards and doing psychic house cleanings. We weren’t getting many calls, but then again, it was a side gig for both of us and that was perfectly fine.

“Once I get settled back in the house, we can start drumming up clients again.” I paused as a text message came in. When I saw who it was from, I let out a groan. “Fucking hell. Ellison just texted me.”

“What does the prick want now?” Ari hated Ellison. During my marriage, she and I had still hung out together when we could, but the fact that I lived in Seattle—a good ninety-minute drive away—and the fact that Ellison had disliked her—made it hard to keep the friendship going. I chalked his disdain up to the facts that she was a witch like me, and she was also gay.

I skimmed the massive text. “Why can’t he figure out how to use email? I swear…”

The text ran on and on, finally concluding: january, you need to help me out. i can’t stand living with my parents and you have that big house going to waste there with just you in it. let me come stay with you. i think we made a mistake. i’d like to try again. i know we could make things work out this time, and i’ll help you lose some of that blubber and you can help me start up the business again. i’m so broke i can’t even buy a decent bottle of wine.

“Oh for fuck’s sake. The man’s so narcissistic he can’t utter anything except the words ‘me me me’…he’s begging me to take him back, and he’ll help me lose some of my ‘blubber.’ ” I wanted to throw my phone at the wall but stopped myself. I had done that last month and broken a brand-new phone. I couldn’t afford to keep throwing tantrums every time I had to deal with Ellison.

Ari paused—I could hear the hesitation without her saying a word.

“What is it?”

“I’m not sure whether to tell you.”

“Quit gnawing on the inside of your cheek—I know you’re doing that, you always do and then you complain about sores. If you know something, spill it. You know how I hate secrets.”

She inhaled sharply. “All right, but I’d rather tell you in person.”

“Just rip off the bandage.”

“Ellison tried to hit on me. It was about ten years ago, at a Christmas party you threw?” Ari sighed. “I told you I wasn’t sure whether I should tell you or not.”

I froze. I had never known about this.

Ari continued. “That’s the reason I stopped coming to visit.”

“What the hell?” I caught a sharp breath, wincing at the unexpected pain in my heart. Even though I was over him, it still hurt to hear that he was cheating on me—or at least trying to—long before we broke up.

“I told him to fuck off, that I’m gay and I’d brain him if he touched me. Then I told him I’d kick him in the balls if he hurt you.”

I could easily imagine Ari not only threatening him, but acting on those threats if she needed to. “What did he say?”

“He warned me to quit coming around so much. I didn’t want him to take his anger at me out on you. I decided he was probably just drunk and acting like an idiot.”

I thought back to that party. I knew the exact one she was talking about. We had spent every spare dollar on the shindig to impress his friends—or rather, the people he wanted to be friends with. Ellison had always been a social climber, but he didn’t have much luck. He wasn’t charming, his sarcasm always won out, and only the size of our bank account caught the attention of the women he pursued, I found out much too late. Over the years, we—mostly me—had built the magazine into a thriving concern in the Seattle arts community and eventually it began to make fairly decent money, thanks to my management.

“That was the night you insisted on driving home during the snowstorm, wasn’t it? I remember being so worried you’d have an accident.”

“Yeah, that’s the one. But I didn’t know what else to do. Ellison was really pushy and he grabbed my ass and tried to feel up my boobs. Until I told him I was gay, he kept muttering how he wanted to fuck me up the ass. My whole point in telling you this now is: do not take that man back again, regardless of what sob story he plays on you. Don’t feel sorry for him. He’s a fucked-up nutjob and I’d hate to see him hurt you again.”

I let out a sigh. “Thank you for telling me. That’s the point when things really started to decline, though I have to admit, they were never really good between us. But something shifted that night and I never could figure out what.” I paused, then added, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry that jackass put the make on you.”

“It’s not your place to apologize. But I just never want you to be swayed by him again.”

I shifted, rolling over on my back. “Trust me, it’s not going to happen. I still have the restraining order from when he tried to hit me. I thought Killian was going to kill him.” I paused, then said, “Let’s change the subject. I picked the last of the tomatoes and cucumbers this morning. You want some cukes to take home?” I could eat tomatoes by the bushel, but cucumbers were fine as an addition to meals, not as the main course.

“If you don’t want them. Meagan loves them.” Meagan was Ari’s fiancée. They had planned for a summer wedding, but that got shot to hell.

“I’ll save several for you. I’ll see you around two-thirty?”

“I’ll be there, with gloves and weight belt on,” Ari said, laughing. “Meanwhile, tell Ellison to go stuff himself in the toilet.”

I snorted as I ended the call. Ari was five-two, barely a size 2, and one of the scariest bad-asses I’d ever met. She had no problem telling people just what they could do with themselves and their bigoted ideas.

I stared at Ellison’s text for a moment, then feeling Ari’s spirit urging me on, texted back the only thing I could think of. your dick’s too small and you’re always going to be a leech. go find another sugar mama to mooch off of, you loser. And with that, I blocked him—again—and decided to get in a short nap before it was time to move.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

 

Ari and I had managed to bring in about half the boxes by the time Killian got home. We didn’t try to tackle the big furniture. Killian had promised to bring some extra muscle for that, but we managed to unpack a number of the boxes I’d had to store during renovations.

I showed her the door in the library. “I need to check my parents’ key rings. I can’t remember what it was used for, to be honest. I do remember them telling me to leave it alone—that I could hurt myself playing in there. I guess I never gave it much thought after that. I think I still remembered it when I was in high school, so they had to have closed it up after I left home.”

Ari frowned. “Is it a closet?”

“I don’t know, to be honest. I assume so. But I don’t remember ever being allowed in there, and my parents kept the door locked.” I tried to remember back to any time when I had entered whatever space lay beyond the door, but no such memory cropped up.

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