After his meeting with Morgan, Sebastian headed to a local bar called Superstitions. It was the most popular bar that catered to the supernatural sect, which made it a great place to network and meet contacts. Humans “in the know” mingled with demons, vampires, and other creatures of the night, and Sebastian often met clients there during the course of a job.
It wasn’t crowded when Sebastian arrived. He went to the bar, took an empty stool, and ordered his usual, a Scotch, neat. He had to feed later in order to break it down.
He’d only been there a few minutes before Rob, the owner, appeared.
“Hey, Seb, how ya doing?” He leaned against the bar next to Sebastian.
Sebastian swallowed the sip he’d taken. “Good. In the market.”
“Ancient weapons? Books? Talismans?” He blinked his red-orange eyes, slitted pupils elongating, showing his interest.
“A book. The Magic of Music. It’s supposedly very old and rare.”
“Who’s the client?”
“His name is Tristan Clearwater. He says he overheard his father talking about it when he was younger and is interested in finding it.”
Rob pursed his lips and leaned against the bar. He scratched a horn nearly hidden by bleached blond hair. “I know an elf that deals with magic books. His name’s Uni. Reclusive, though, doesn’t like new people.”
“How does he stay in business, then?”
Rob shook his head. “He barely scrapes by.”
“Can you pass on my information?” Sebastian asked.
“Sure. You could also try Raquel. She’s mostly talismans, but it wouldn’t hurt to check her out.”
Sebastian nodded. “I thought about her. And Abrax. He got me a book once a few years ago. I was going to call him tomorrow.”
Rob raised an eyebrow. “And, of course, there’s always Jezbeth. They’re pricey, but…”
He made a face. “No. I’m not entirely comfortable with their practices. The last time I worked with them, they stole my client and got them addicted to demon blood. Client eventually died. Only got half my fee, too.”
“Spreading lies about my company again?” a new voice said.
Sebastian sighed and turned.
Ash Hartley was standing there, his usual smirk in place.
“It’s not a lie if it happened,” Sebastian said.
“It is when your information is wrong. Alex got addicted to dragon scales, not demon blood. And it was hardly our fault.”
“You took Alex to the party!”
“And they chose to try the dragon scales!”
“With your partner’s encouragement.”
“It was still their choice.” Ash shrugged. “My partner told Alex how addictive it was, but they wanted to try anyway. Not our fault.”
Sebastian lifted his drink to his mouth. “Still stole my client.”
Ash came to the bar, body close. Closer than necessary, in Sebastian’s opinion. The human smelled like soap and expensive cologne. It made Sebastian’s stomach tighten. While Ash wasn’t as breathtakingly beautiful as Tristan Clearwater, he was still unfairly handsome with big green eyes, long dark lashes, and sandy blond hair that had a slight curl. He was an itch that Sebastian refused to scratch, and the little bastard knew it. Hence the standing just a bit closer than he needed to.
“Well,” Ash said, “that’s just business. What are you looking for now.”
“Like I’d tell you.” Even if he wasn’t afraid of his client being stolen, he felt reluctant to expose Tristan to Jezbeth Incorporated. If Tristan was as powerful as he seemed to be, the company would find a way to exploit it. Exploit him. Sebastian didn’t want that on his conscience.”
“Ah, come on.” Ash smiled innocently. Well, as innocently as someone like him could. “You seal in blood now. We can’t steal your client.”
“You’d find a way, I’m sure.”
He flashed his dimples. “Your confidence in me is flattering.”
Sebastian snorted darkly.
“Fine. But I bet I could find what you’re looking for. I’ve got an extensive network and resources you could only dream of. You have no idea how vast our network is.”
“I have some.” He downed his Scotch and turned to Rob. “Please pass my name to Uni. And if you hear anything…”
“I’ll let you know.” Rob nodded.“Thanks. See you.” He tossed his money on the bar and left.