Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy #3.5)- Ilona Andrews
All families have odd moments. Our family just has them more often than others.
I sat at our family kitchen table and stuffed my face with pancakes.
Arabella, my youngest sister, peered at me from across the table. “Why are you here? You don’t even live here anymore, Nevada.”
I had officially moved out yesterday. I’d spent the last nine years of my life in the second-floor suite of the warehouse that served as both our home and our business. Given that I now spent most of my time with Connor, otherwise known as Mad Rogan, and we recently became officially engaged, I decided to move out. There was surprisingly little fanfare. I hadn’t accumulated much, and it took me less than a day to pack my belongings into boxes. Rogan’s people got them last night and delivered them to his house, on the outskirts of Houston. Grandma Frida cried a little bit and Mom made a lot of grumpy noises, so I’d stayed the night in Rogan’s HQ across the street just in case they decided to have a nervous breakdown about it.
I shouldn’t have worried.
“Leave her alone,” Mom told Arabella. “That’s her third pancake.”
“So?” Arabella glanced at me.
I stuck my tongue out at her and cut another piece of pancake with my fork.
“She’s stress eating,” Grandma Frida volunteered. “Rogan’s picking her up in five minutes. She’s scared to meet his mother.”
Thank you, Grandma. I choked on my pancake and gulped my coffee. “I’m not scared.”
I was totally scared. He’d wanted to take me to see her right after the trials, but I begged off for three days. There was no escape now. I had to meet my future mother-in-law.
Arabella squinted at me. Grandma Frida was past seventy and Arabella was still fifteen, but in that moment, they looked remarkably alike: both blue eyed, both pale haired—although Grandma Frida’s curls were white because of her age—and both wearing identical sly expressions.
“You’re wearing a pair of new jeans and your favorite green blouse,” Arabella said.
My sister dipped her blond head under the table. “And pretty, strappy sandals. And your toenails have polish.”
“I can have polish on my toenails.” Usually I wore sneakers because I occasionally needed to run in the course of my job, but I owned three pairs of sandals too.
“You better brush your teeth,” Grandma Frida said. “You don’t want coffee breath.”
My toothbrush was at Rogan’s HQ. Damn it.
“Stop it, the two of you,” Mom growled and turned to me. “You’ll be fine.”
After Dad died, Mom became an unmovable rock in our turbulent sea. No matter what happened, she would be there, fixing it. It took me a long time to learn to look past that armor. The last year made that especially clear. But today I needed that rock and so I grabbed on to it.
“Mom says I’ll be fine,” I told them. “You’ve met her, Arabella. You could just tell me what she’s like.”
Arabella smiled. “I like watching you squirm.”
My phone chimed. A text from Rogan. “You’re missing the show.”
I really wanted to run upstairs to my old room and lock the door. I couldn’t do that for two reasons. One, I was an adult, and two, my other sister, Catalina, moved into my room, so it wasn’t technically mine anymore.
It was absurd. I was a trained private investigator with almost ten years of experience. Baylor Investigative Agency existed today because I took it over when Dad got sick and made it successful against all odds. Not only that, but I was a Prime, the highest level of magic user one could reach. My paternal grandmother had the same talent, and people cringed when they heard her name. I had stood up to her and to a dozen other Primes. In the past year I’ve been shot at, hit with a car, burned, teleported, and frozen nearly to death. I had a bus almost dropped on me, I faced a psionic who nearly destroyed my mind, and I told Connor Rogan, the Scourge of Mexico, “no” repeatedly and stood my ground. I should be able to meet my fiancé’s mother.
I could do this.
I got up, put my plate into the sink, hugged my mom, and went to the door.
A gunmetal grey Range Rover waited in front of our warehouse. Unless you looked closely and knew what you were looking for, you would never guess that the car was armored.
Rogan leaned against the vehicle. I’ve seen him in a twenty-thousand-dollar suit and in dirt-stained jeans and a T-shirt. No