Hidden Blade (Soul Eater #1) - Pippa DaCosta

Summary

"They call me devil, liar, thief. In whispers, they call me Soul Eater. They’re right. I’m all those things—and more."

Kicked out of the underworld and cursed to walk this earth for all eternity, Ace Dante finds solace in helping others avoid the wrath of the gods.

But when warrior-bitch, Queen of Cats, and Ace's ex-wife, Bastet, hires him to stop whoever is slaughtering her blessed women, Ace is caught between two of the most powerful deities to have ever existed: Isis and Osiris.

The once-revered gods aren’t dead.

They’re back.

And Ace is in their way.

Welcome to a New York where the ancient gods roam.

Chapter 1

Gods. They’re a pain in my ass, I thought as my cell phone chirped in my pocket, alerting the four college kids inside the apartment that I was crouched on their balcony, watching them summon gods knew what from the underworld. It had to be a god calling me—too many millennia had given them the worst sense of timing.

The kids spotted me through the glass and bolted, falling over their array of ritual paraphernalia. If they scattered out of the apartment, it’d make scaring the shit out of them a whole lot harder.

I kicked the balcony door in, whipped my sawed-off shotgun free of its holster, and fired at their exit, peppering the door with lead. The kids yanked up short and whirled.

“Oh shit—oh shit—oh shit, we didn’t know, man!” Hands up, they wailed in one long tirade. “We weren’t doin’ anythin’. Don’t shoot us.”

On and on their whining went, and on and on my cell tinkled, vibrating against my leg. Ignoring it all, I came to a stop at the edge of the elaborate summoning circle. A candle had toppled over, spilling wax across a papyrus scroll. The little flame licked at the scroll’s upturned edge but didn’t catch. Switching the shotgun to my left hand, I crouched, righted the candle, and flicked the papyrus around. I scanned the hieroglyphs scrawled from edge to edge. The penmanship was superb, more art than writing. Swirls and pen strokes danced beautifully, almost as though they were alive. Whoever had written this knew how to craft the ancient words in powerful and mostly forgotten ways. A sorcerer. A sinking sense of dread darkened my already somber mood.

“It’s him,” one of the kids hissed. “I told you… I told you he was following us. You didn’t fuckin’ listen, Jase.”

“Shut up. Just shut up!” Jase snarled back, and then to me, he sniveled, “We were just messin’ around.”

Puffing out a sigh, I pinched the papyrus by its edges. The spellwork it contained was authentic. Kids these days. They had no fear and no clue. The spell nipped at my fingertips, trying to escape its bonds. I dangled it over the naked candle flame. A ripple of fire raced up the paper; fire liked volatile spells, especially those sanctioned by the underworld.

“He’s gonna kill us,” Jase whispered.

I snapped my gaze up. I could do worse than kill them. It had been a while since I’d indulged, but I could make an exception for spoiled, rich kids with too much time on their hands, especially since that one—Jase—and I already had a chat some weeks ago when I’d found him buying canopic jars.

He gulped loudly and made a brave attempt at staring back at me before dropping his eyes. Few could look me in the eye for long.

Finally, my cell stopped its incessant ringing and the quiet settled. Too quiet. New York didn’t do quiet. I should have been hearing the endless whine of sirens or the bark of car horns. I’m too late.

I straightened. “What