Wolves at the Door - Lidiya Foxglove

Chapter One


I staggered off the plane from Pittsburgh to New Orleans, dragging my luggage behind me, dying for a nap. I had a layover in Atlanta and I’m pretty sure layovers in Atlanta were bad enough for normal people. But for a witch, it was torture. Technology messed with our heads and our powers. It also made me really, really tired, as if I had jet lag, but I was only one time zone off.

Adding to my stress was the terror that we might lose this house.

Man, did I have a lot to lose. Including a ghost that I was starting to like way more than I should.

As soon as I turned my phone on after walking off the plane, I had missed calls from Graham. It better be good news, I thought, veering toward a coffee place in the terminal.

“Damnit, Helena, I’ve got bad news,” Graham said. “And I’m really pissed off about it, because we had a handshake deal for me to buy this house and now Blanche is jerking me around.”

Blanche Greenwood, the heir of the house we were about to buy, was an old lady who lived in Paris so I had hoped she would just let us take the house off her hands without any issues. “Don’t say that! I want good news only. I just slogged off this airplane.” Despite my exhaustion, I was happy to hear his voice again. Even across a phone line, and even while delivering bad news, his voice was low and sexy and it melted in my ears.

“Well, the Airbnb is very nice,” he said.

I didn’t even care. He was the one who insisted on renting an Airbnb. I usually slept in the houses I was working on. No time for commutes. No money to spare to pay for separate lodgings.

“Double shot espresso, please, and a chocolate croissant,” I told the cashier. “So…what is the bad news?”

“There are now two other offers on the house,” Graham said.


“Blanche said they’re at one eighty.”

“Who is making these offers?”

“I don’t know. This house is going to take a massive amount of cash. It’s huge and the decor is…insane. It makes Lockwood House look turnkey.”

I swallowed. I wasn’t even going to ask what he meant by ‘insane’. “Well, tell her two hundred and you want to see paperwork,” I said. “Let’s just end it.”

I fully expected Graham to argue with me. He was financially sensible. I was…trying to learn to be financially sensible, and compared to my wealthy family I was a tightwad, but I was starting off from a very bad place. My parents threw around money like it was their god-given right.

Amazingly, he said, “I actually said exactly that.”

“Really? But that wasn’t enough?”

“I’m meeting with the settlement firm to do the paperwork in a few hours,” he said. “But I was hoping you were on board. We’ll need both of our cash resources.” He sounded like he couldn’t believe he was doing this.

“That’s not bad news at all! Why did you lead off in such a horrible way? That’s great news!”

“Great news? We’re spending every last penny we have to buy a derelict mansion in the hopes of finding a magical object that might be so dangerous it destroys our lives, and…we’re also buying a house together when we haven’t been on a single date. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.”

I was in such a good mood now that I was feeling generous. “Will you feel better if we have dinner? Like, a real dinner that isn’t in a diner?”

“Not really. This is wildly irresponsible. But I will take you up on it because I can’t pass up gumbo and a girl as maddeningly attractive as you.”

“Oh, stop.” I collected my espresso and took a sip. “Owww!”

“You okay?”

“I burnt my tongue. Really badly. Shit. I just really need the caffeine.”

“You would be wise to fall in love with me,” he said. “You need a cooler head in your life.”

“Yeah, but not a swelled one,” I shot back. “Where is the settlement? I’ll get a cab and meet you there.”

When I showed up at the office, I was way early. I was also met with a nasty surprise. The battle for Greenwood Manor definitely wasn’t over, because none other than Kiersten and Caleb were waiting outside. I didn’t usually have to battle the California wizards to buy a house. They only showed up when the houses were big with potential treasures inside, and the potential profits were big too. I had already