Charlie’s life is perfect. She has everything her heart desires. Until it all goes horribly wrong.
Charlie and Lincoln return to London to find two supernaturals have been murdered, and Charlie might be next. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the man who adopted her has escaped from prison, and the committee members have just learned some news that infuriates them. Now there’s talk of sending Charlie away again. Far away.
But the worst is yet to come. Charlie is kidnapped and forced to summon one of the murder victims – but she’s unable to send him back. With an angry dead supernatural on the loose and the committee determined to get rid of her, Charlie’s time with the Ministry of Curiosities, and Lincoln, is in grave danger of coming to an end.
The Ministry of Curiosities, Tome 4 : Grave Expectations
I barely had time to register his presence before he lifted me out of the chair and drew me into a fierce hug. He buried one hand in my hair, holding my head against his chest. The rapid, erratic beat of his heart drowned out everything else, so that I didn't hear Seth leave. When Lincoln set me down again, we were alone with the door closed.
He held me at arm's length and checked me over. His stormy gaze settled on the bruises at my throat then lifted to my face, questioning.
"It's the only injury," I told him. "And it's not too sore."
He nodded. Swallowed. I was acutely aware that he hadn't yet spoken.
His thumb stroked my jaw and he angled his head to kiss me. What began as a chaste kiss quickly turned into one of longing that told me how worried he'd been. There was no need for words between us. All the built-up fear and his immense relief poured out of him in that kiss.
I circled my arms around his neck and held him as tightly as he held me. I wanted to comfort him as much as his presence comforted me, and for several minutes we simply cherished one another's company.
And then, as if he'd doused that part of himself, he drew away and regarded me through eyes that were as black and bleak as a deep lake in winter. "What happened?"
"What has Gus already told you?" I asked.
"Nothing. I saw he was back and he said you were up here. I came immediately. Who was the woman calling herself Mrs. Webb and where did she take you? Why?"
"Mrs. Webb was in fact Mrs. Drinkwater."
A muscle in his jaw pulsed. "I didn't consider the victims. She wanted you to raise her husband?"
"So he could get revenge on his killer, although I think she simply missed him. She is somewhat dependent on her husband's good opinion of her. I think she felt lost after his death, alone."
"She forced you to raise his spirit by threatening Gus?"
It was some time before he spoke again, and I feared he was warring with himself about whether to tell me I should have sacrificed Gus.
"I raised Drinkwater's spirit and was then gagged so I couldn't send him back. He re-entered his body and killed his murderer before returning to the house."
He stroked his thumb across my lower lip. His steely façade slipped, revealing a flicker of raw emotion before schooling it again. "He knew his killer?"
"He'd never seen him before, but the fellow mentioned going to The Feathers to celebrate a successful commission, so Drinkwater waited for him there. He must have been a hired gunman, but he didn't divulge who he worked for before Drinkwater killed him."
Most people wouldn't have noticed the effect this news had on Lincoln, but I spotted the telltale tightening of his lips.
"His wife wanted to send him back to his afterlife again," I went on, "but he decided to stay. There was a fight, and while he was distracted, I spoke the words to return his spirit. Mrs. Drinkwater took care of his body."
"You overpowered him alone or did Gus help?"
"Gus was locked in the storeroom at the time, and I'll never have enough training to teach me to overpower a reanimated body. We had help from Gordon Thackery."
His brows shot up.
"I summoned him as soon as I woke up in the cellar. He found himself a body and returned to assist us in that guise."
He gave a firm nod. "Thackery was a good choice."
It was as much praise as I would get. It was enough.
"Lincoln, she knew so much about me. Somebody must have helped her. I suspected Doyle, since he knew we needed a housekeeper, but it couldn't have been him. He isn't aware of my necromancy. Or is he?"
"Seth wouldn't have told him."
"I hate to say this, but it must be someone on the committee."
He dragged his hand through his hair and stared at the fireplace. After a moment, he stoked the coals. Each thrust of the fire iron was more vigorous than the last until I stopped him by placing my hand over his.
"Sit with me by the fire," I said gently.
"I can't." He returned the iron to the stand. "I have to go out."
"But it's late." After midnight, according to the clock on the mantel.
"Go to bed, Charlie."
"I'd rather sit by the hearth and fall asleep in your arms."
He pecked the top of my head. "Goodnight."
"Goodnight!" I threw my hands in the air. "How is it a good night when you're going out and I'll probably have night terrors."
"I'll look in on you when I return if I hear you."
I thrust my hands on my hips. I'd been looking forward to sitting with him, being held and comforted by him, and he was heading out again! "Are you going to question the committee members?"
He turned and strode to the door. I raced past him and stood in front of it.
"Do not shut me out, Lincoln. Tell me where you're going."
"You won't approve."
He mustn't be going to see the committee members then. "Mrs. Drinkwater?"
His gaze shifted away.
"Lincoln! Don't harm her. She isn't the villain here."
"I beg to differ."
"You should speak to her to find out who helped her, granted, but do it gently, and in daylight. I'm sure she'll tell you if you ask nicely."
"I have to do this now," he ground out through a clenched jaw. "And I certainly can't be nice."
"You need to calm down first."
"I need to do this now." He stretched out his fingers then bunched them into fists. "Move aside."
I folded my arms. "The Drinkwaters are victims. The poor woman just lost her husband."
"She kidnapped you and held you captive for hours, and you feel sympathy for her?"
"She didn't hurt me, or Gus, and she could have." I wasn't sure when my feelings toward her changed from anger to sympathy. Perhaps when I realized she'd only tried to bring back the man she loved and had never planned to kill anyone. Perhaps I would have acted just as irrationally in her position.
He thumped his palms flat on the door, either side of my head. He leaned in, but I was under no illusion that he would kiss me. His temper was written in every hard plane of his face. "She is the reason I was sick with worry all day. I don't like worrying. It prevents me from thinking clearly, and that makes me useless." He stepped back. "Move."
I lifted my chin.
He grasped my arms, picked me up and set me down again, out of the way. He jerked the door open.
"Don't kill her!" I called after him.
"I'll do as I see fit."
I watched him stride along the corridor to the stairs and listened until I could no longer hear his light steps. He wouldn't kill her. He simply wanted answers.
If I repeated that over and over perhaps I might eventually convince myself.
Ce roman avait un début si idyllique, j'étais aux anges !!! On s'arrête sur un cliffhanger et je suis impatiente de lire le tome suivant. VITE!!!!
Fantastique! je ne peux pas croire que ce livre soit encore mieux que les trois premiers.
Ce livre m'a fait vivre toutes sortes d'émotions. Et la fin, oh la fin, elle m'a fait pleurer... mais je vous laisse découvrir pourquoi.
Des enquêtes, de l'amour et des dénouements imprévisibles.
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