Brown River Queen (The Markhat Files)
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The Markhat Files, Book 7
Take a simple, three-day cruise on a lavish steamboat casino, they said. Just keep an eye out for trouble while the Regent rolls the dice, they said.
Markhat should have known the maiden voyage of Avalante’s vampire-crewed Brown River Queen would be anything but a finder’s dream job. Especially when he charges a ridiculous fee—and gets it without a peep of protest.
Then a pair of identical murderous maidens attack him and his lady love, and it doesn’t take a banshee’s howl to confirm his sinking suspicion he’s about to earn his fee the hard way.
As the heavily guarded steamboat casts off, Markhat is forced to navigate shoals of old enemies, treacherous political undercurrents, and rogue waves of assassins. All to keep the walking dead from turning the Brown River Queen’s decks red with blood.
Warning: This is a work of fiction. Please stop trying to apply it as a cream directly to your forehead. The characters depicted herein are quite real despite this disclaimer and will be deeply hurt if you peek ahead to the ending. This prose is certified gluten-free. Not intended as an emergency substitute Flight Manual, no matter what the nerds at Popular Mechanics claim.
as far as mine. The room itself was just a room. Stone walls. Same for the floor and the ceiling. There used to be a magelamp on a chain suspended from the center of the ceiling. Now the chains hung empty and were fused together in a lump. But against the far wall, magic wheeled and spun. Stay where you are, warned Stitches.Š Take a wheel. Make it three stories tall. Taller. Then fill it with spokes made of moonlight. Set entire worlds in the spaces between spokes. Give the whole works a
the ante, either, which meant his bosses had instructed him that money was no object. 舠An even thousand crowns,舡 I said aloud. Darla would be thrilled. We could put a fancy slate roof on our new place on Middling Lane. Hell, we could tear the house down to the last timber and build it back again with twice as many rooms and still have money left over. If, that is, a fellow lived long enough to collect his shiny gold coins. I pushed the thought aside, gathered up the empty bottles, and
sure he didn舗t remember me and the other chattered to Evis about reach rods and doctor pumps. Evis raised a gloved hand. 舠Thank you, Mr. Blevins. Tell the bridge crew I舗ll join them in the wheelhouse in a moment.舡 舠The whistle, sir?舡 Evis hadn舗t been listening either. 舠The Captain wants to know if we can sound her whistles, sir.舡 Evis slumped even further. 舠Certainly,舡 he said. 舠Blow it long and blow it loud. Our secret is out. Blow the damned thing until it explodes.舡 舠Sir?舡 舠I believe
discovered Carris舗s room by recognizing the patina on his doorknob as only a man his height would make. But the truth is I was guessing, and I opened every door that wasn舗t locked, and his was the third one I tried. Tamar舗s picture, painted by someone with talent, hung on his wall. There was a pile of fabrics and fake silk flowers heaped on his dresser. Beside the pile was a notepad, just like the ones I use, and on it were scribbled notes. Red fireflowers for grooms, read one entry. Yellow for
Big plain doors. The Corpsemaster didn舗t decorate to impress.舡 Were you able to pass freely over thresholds? Did you see any evidence of protective magics? I shrugged. 舠Bodies opened the doors for me, once I was inside. I don舗t remember entering or leaving. I don舗t recall any glowing objects, any walls of fire, any lakes of scorpions, if that舗s what you mean.舡 The hood bobbed in a nod.Š My experience was similar. 舠You舗ve been in the old spook舗s舒that is, the Corpsemaster舗s home?舡 The hood