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All Hallows’ Hottie :: Chapter I

“Leave, Ronan.”
These two little words quietly spoken resonated through the lounge room as if shouted. Lips pressed in a firm line from the audacity of it all, Audrey Spurhart stared over the top of her laptop at the man fitted into a snug courier ensemble.
Either Ronan was stupidly oblivious or by nature just stupid because he instead settled into the chair beyond her desk, turning it backward before seating himself, his lips worked into an arrogant curve.
“No ‘hello’, no ‘how are you doing’ today?” Ronan asked. “You wound me, Audrey.”
Audrey frowned as her chest clenched. Her refusal to beat the bushes blue with pleasantries was a childhood trait that set her apart from the other girls. The quirk was a large one that made her appear cold and impetuous, but the concept had never troubled her as a young witchling. She refused to let it do so now.
“You want something, Ronan, now spill,” she said. “And if this is another proposition to be your lady friend, let it be known I have my attorney on speed dial.”
That earned Audrey raised eyebrows accompanied by a slight shake of Ronan’s shaggy cinnamon head. “Can’t a guy hunt down his favorite Wicked Inc. secretary to deliver an interesting bit of news without need for a lawyer?” Ronan said flashing her a toothy grin.
It was Audrey’s turn to kick up an eyebrow at his words. “Yes, if you were a man. The men I date don’t hunt anything. Dogs, yes. Men, no.”
“I prefer the term wolf,” Ronan said with a wink. “But we can split hairs later. Preferably at my place.”
Four of Audrey’s fingers pressed into her temple, massaging firmly as her eyes squeezed shut.
“Stem the visual, Audrey,” she murmured more to herself. “Do not give into his game.”
The creak of his chair indicated the postman was leaning forward and if the hairs dancing on her neck were any indication he was in her personal space. “Did anyone ever tell you annoyance makes your freckles pop?”
Audrey’s eyes flew open, irritation becoming a clear flame in her chest. She swore under her breath. Ronan had always been noisy in his observation of her second-most despised trait. The first being her curvy full figure. Though the courier had always been loquacious about her many flaws, he seemed especially so today.
Inhaling deeply, Audrey matched Ronan gaze for gaze. “Last time, Ronan, before I bounce your ass out of here with a security escort. What do you want?”
“The Hallows’ Eve Wicked party is tonight,” said Ronan, his grin going a step beyond supercilious. “I’ve got two invitations and one has your name attached. Lucky you I just cleared my calendar.”
Audrey blinked at the courier and resisted the urge to ask someone to pinch her for fear she had finally lost her hearing. “Are you asking to be my escort?”
“Escort. Date,” the courier muttered with a shrug. “Who can tell these days?”
Presenting two envelopes to Audrey, Ronan grinned, “What do you say, Audrey?”
“I’d sooner learn to skate when hell freezes over,” Audrey said dryly.
And with a quick filch of the letters, Audrey swept the chair out from under Ronan with a quick tap of her Miranda high heel.
Rising from her chair, Audrey smiled down at the fallen courier and wiggled her fingers. “Hope you’re not here after break, Ronan,” Audrey said with a sly smile. “I hear Clark in security just got dumped and has been looking for a hot rebound man.”
Audrey left for the company break room. Mug in hand, she stepped over Ronan’s prone form.
“We’ll see about that, witch,” she heard as the elevator doors slid closed.

 

Belle Fatalité (Bella’s POV)


“I should get a promotion,” Bella said glancing at her handiwork then the blood glazing her hands. Bella was the name she had taken in her days as an executioner. Short for the nightshade she so favored during her executions. She reveled in fact that only he knew her true name.

The woman narrowed her eyes, the dim lighting making it difficult to discern the figure crouching beside what she assumed to be one of her fatales.

“Bloody hell,” the figure said, their voice deep, if not darker than the nightshade itself.

Her heart sped wildly even as his name snaked between her teeth.

“Ace Moncoeur,” she whispered.

Bella folded her hands under her breast before turning her gaze toward the unnatural scarlet of the blood moon. Figures Queen Katherine would send Ace after her. In the current day and age it was rare to find a lone detective in the remnants of England. Most stuck together in packs while other formed teams of three men, all which the Queen called the Royal Guard. A bloody muddle of incompetent dogs should you ask Bella.

Bella turned her attention back to Ace. Of course, England did have its exceptions. She listened as he growled out her name and stepped forward. “Congratulations, Mr. Moncoeur,” she said as loud as her voice would afford. Her slow methodical clapping caught his immediate attention. “Only you would know a poison from scent alone.”

Ace dug into side of his suit before removing a clean handkerchief from his pocket. “Was it absolutely necessary to kill the children, Lady Dame?” His calm countenance unnerved Bella but she refused to show it.

Bella took another step until she was sure Ace could see her dirtied hands in the dim light. “I quite prefer Bella,” she said, “and you know my rule, Mr. Moncouer.”

Bella felt herself smile at his furrowed brow as Ace growled in annoyance.

“All that defy me must perish,” she continued, “Nothing better than an off-with-their-heads sentence to clear a misdeed.”

“They were innocents, Bella,” Ace gritted through clenched teeth. “Most not even residents of this country, let alone this town. Are your intentions to start an international incident?”

Bella yawned at his persistence to guilt her. This talk was becoming a bore. “Call them whatever you will, but… those people were not innocent,” she stated with a wave of her hand. “Any town craven enough to brow beat a young girl into submission deserves a good murder or two.”

Ace tightened his fingers as if around an imaginary throat. The thought enticed a small chuckle as she was willing to bet it was her throat he wished to strangle.


 

Belle Fatalité (Ace’s POV)


Ace refused to believe his eyes as he walked the dimly lit streets of Curiosity Corner. Bodies lined the cobblestone from entrance to end, red trickling from their neckline down to pool on the cobble-lined ground.

“Bloody hell,” he muttered the expletive.

He was too late. It seemed the blasted woman hadn’t planned on waiting for Ace to crack the code before carrying out her execution.

Ace kneeled beside a young child, allowing his gloved fingers to trace the red ring around the child’s throat. A slight sniff and Ace felt his countenance darken.

“Belladonna.”

She always had liked to make mess of his investigations with a special type of poison.

“Congratulations, Mr. Moncoeur,” a feminine voice said from the Corner’s darkest end. Her slow prudent clapping made Ace turn to look at her. “Only you would know a poison from scent alone.”

Ace removed a handkerchief from his breast pocket and polished away the blood. “Was it absolutely necessary to kill the children, Lady Dame?”

The woman stepped forward until only her mouth and hands – gloved in red and white – shown in the dimmed light of a street post. “I quite prefer Bella, and you know my rule, Mr. Moncoeur.”

Bella smiled. The taciturn pull at the corner of her threadlike lips had Ace furrowing his brow and growling.

“All that defy me must perish,” she said, “Nothing better than an off-with-their-heads sentence to clear a misdeed.”

“They were innocents, Bella,” Ace ground out, “Most not even residents of this country, let alone this town. Are your intentions to start an international incident?”

Bella yawned and waved a hand in dismissal.  “Call them whatever you will, but… those people were not innocent,” she said. “Any town craven enough to browbeat a young girl into submission deserves a good murder or two.”

Ace clenched a fist at his side at Bella’s callous reply. “A couple of people bully one girl and suddenly a whole town deserves to die?” he asked, his nerves damn near shot.

“And I bet you’d love to know why?” The murderer smiled answering his question with one of her own. “Too bad. And I’ll let you in on a little secret, Mr. Moncoeur. I’m not done.”


Which POV best suits a story of this genre? I’m still on the fence. I’d love to hear from my readers on which way I should go before I make a decision: Ace’s POV straight through, Bella’s POV, or mix it up with both.

Arigato and ja ne,

SakuraTail