Two weeks and SHADOW SILENCE, the second Whisper Hollow book comes out! This will be the last book I will be able to sign over at Seattle Mystery Bookshop, given the shift I’m taking to indie. Preorder from there before September 27th to ensure a copy, if you want a signed copy of one of my books.
The Fogwhistle Pub really did belong out on an Irish moor, cloaked in mist and shrouded by moonlight. We had the mist, but this time of year? It was rare when the moon was able to shine through. And now, the gently falling snow just added a wonderful touch, making the entire scene seem like a Christmas card.
The pub looked as old as it actually was, weathered gray stone two stories tall. The two concessions that the Brady family had made when bringing over the pub from Ireland were to put in sturdy windows and to replace the roof with one that was far more weatherproof and less flammable. But the pub itself, and several of the old tables and benches inside, were the same as they had been over on the Emerald Isle.
As we entered through the large wooden double doors, we were greeted with a cheerful glow from the fireplace. Clinton had decked out the mantel in holly boughs and evergreens, and in the corner of the pub a large spruce stood, sparkling with red and gold ornaments and tinsel that shimmered in the glow of the firelight. The smells of cinnamon and eggnog filled the air, and as I looked around, I realized how welcoming this place was. Every table held crystal glasses filled with candy canes, and unobtrusive Celtic music played gently in the background.
Peggin and I had ventured into the pub several times when we were seventeen and eighteen. Clinton had pretty much ignored us, not bothering to card us even though he knew we were underage. We always bought one drink and stopped at that, and if we had attempted more he probably would have tossed us out on our asses.
Clinton was hustling out from the back room, his arms filled with old photo albums and a couple of journals. The bartender— I didn’t know who it was— folded the bar towel and set it on the counter, then crossed to where we were sitting.
As Clinton approached, he asked, “Would you like eggnog? I also have fresh cinnamon buns and scones.”
I blinked. The thought of cinnamon buns and scones in a pub seemed odd, but then again, I was used to mainstream taverns that thrived on pretzel sticks and peanuts.
Peggin nodded. “That sounds good to me.” Bryan and I agreed, and the barkeep took off toward the back to fill our order.
As we settled in to our chairs, close enough to the fire to take the chill off, I glanced over at Peggin. “Remember when we came in here and tried to act so grown up? And Clinton here, he always brought us our one beer.”
“You girls weren’t going to get in any trouble from one drink, and I knew you both well enough that I knew you wouldn’t push me any further.” Clinton laughed, then shook his head. “It’s hard to believe it’s been fifteen years. The both of you have grown up nicely. I wish I could say that for everybody who came in here. Sometimes I hate how time changes people . . . it drains ethics, it jades idealism.”
“It’s been a long time, that’s for certain. So much has happened since then. I had no idea back then that you were part of the Crescent Moon Society. Of course, my grandmother didn’t even tell me about the society. I didn’t know it existed until I returned home.”