“What brings you to Casa Blanc?” McCabe said, adjusting the white tie on the white shirt beneath the jacket of his white suit. Why bother? I couldn’t help but think. Ties fell into the accessory category and the very definition of accessorizing was accenting or enhancing by artful arrangement of color, texture, and style. Hello—had anyone heard the word “color” in there? He might just as well have painted himself white.
Barrons shrugged. “Nice night for a drive.”
“Almost a full moon, Barrons. Things can get dangerous out there.”
“Things can get dangerous anywhere, McCabe.”
McCabe laughed, showing movie-star white teeth. He looked me over. “Into something a little different, Barrons? Who’s the little girl?”
Don’t speak, Barrons had told me on the way there, no matter what anyone says. I don’t care how pissed off you might get. Swallow it. His derisive “little girl” ringing in my ears, I bit down hard and didn’t say a word.
“Just the latest piece of ass, McCabe.”
I no longer had to bite down. I was speechless.
McCabe laughed. “She talk?”
“Not unless I tell her to. Her mouth’s usually too full.”
I could feel my cheeks burning.
McCabe laughed again. “When she grows up, pass her my way, will you?” He looked me over thoroughly, ice-blue eyes lingering on my bosom and bottom, and by the time he was done, I felt as if he’d not only seen me nude but somehow knew I had a tiny heart-shaped mole on the left cheek of my behind, and another on my right breast, just east of my nipple. His expression changed, his nostrils widened, his eyes narrowed. “On second thought,” he murmured, “don’t let her grow up too much. What would you take for her now?”
Barrons flashed a mocking smile. “There’s a book I might be interested in.”
McCabe snorted, brought the tip of his index finger to his thumb, and flicked an imaginary speck of lint from his sleeve. “No bitch is that good. There are women and there’s power—and only one of those holds its value.” His expression changed again, his lips thinned out and his eyes went chillingly empty.
Just like that, McCabe lost interest in me, and I had the startling realization that, to him, I wasn’t even human. I was more like . . . well, a condom . . . something he’d use, then toss the soiled remains away from his person—and if we happened to be in a speeding car on the autobahn, or a jet crossing the Atlantic at the time, so what?
Had Alina been in this world? Had she known this obsessive-compulsive man in white? I could certainly see him killing her, or killing anyone for that matter. But could I see Alina believing herself in love with a man like him? Granted, he was rich, worldly, and attractive in a brutish, powerful way. But the inspector and the two girls I’d spoken with had been absolutely certain Alina’s boyfriend wasn’t native to the Emerald Isle, and McCabe—despite his enormous pretensions—was salt-of-the-earth Irish, through and through.
“Heard anything about it?” Barrons lost interest in me, too, and moved on to a new subject. Simply two men going about their business, with walking, talking—or rather mute—sex-on-heels nearby in case anyone wanted any, just a convenient platter of oyster on the half shell.
“No,” McCabe said flatly. “You?”
“No,” Barrons replied just as flatly.
McCabe nodded. “Well, then. Leave her and go. Or just leave.” It was obvious he couldn’t have cared less which option Barrons chose to exercise. In fact, if I’d gotten left, I wasn’t sure McCabe would even notice me again for several days.
The King of White had dismissed us.
Glamour: illusion cast by the Fae to camouflage their true appearance. The more powerful the Fae, the more difficult it is to penetrate its disguise. The average human sees only what the Fae wants them to see, and is subtly repelled from bumping into or brushing against it by a small perimeter of spatial distortion that is part of the Fae glamour.
And that was why the monster in the alley with mule-size genitals and leechlike sucking mouths had instantly known what I was—I’d been unable to avoid crashing into it.
Any other person would have been repelled the instant they’d rounded the corner, and stumbled clumsily, careening off nothing they could see. You know all those times you say, “Geez, I don’t know what’s wrong with me—I must have tripped over my own feet?” Think again.
According to Barrons, McCabe had no idea his “bodyguards” were Unseelie who’d addressed each other as Ob and Yrg when they’d escorted us from the Throne Room in guttural tones Barrons and I had pretended not to hear. McCabe’s usual staff of bodyguards had disappeared three months ago and been replaced by the Rhino-boys, a type of Unseelie Barrons believed were low-to-mid-level caste thugs dispatched primarily as watchdogs for the highest-ranking Fae.