We are supposed to be doing promotional thingies, but Gordon is writing Rogan POV and we’re both knee deep in Hugh’s book, so instead of a big promotional push, here is a big snippet of White Hot. Behold, the cover and buy links. Okays, love you, bye, have to write now.
The Hidden Legacy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate a world where magic is the norm…and their relationship burns hot
Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she’s used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family’s detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor “Mad” Rogan.
Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …
Elena de Trevino’s family lived in a huge house. The Nathers’ home was large by most people’s standards, and you could fit two of those into the de Trevino homestead. The building sat on half an acre, a huge dark red brick beast that mashed Colonial Revival with chunks of Tudor around the windows. A thick brick wall guarded the yard, with an arch allowing entrance to the inner driveway and the garages, and the chimney of the obligatory fireplace Texans used once in a blue moon mimicked the steeple of a church.
The difference magic made. Both Elena de Trevino and her husband, Antonio, were rated Average. I had found their LinkedIn profiles and they both listed AV in the powers section.
I parked on the street, and Rogan and I walked to the door.
A young Hispanic woman answered the door. “May I help you?”
Her gaze snagged on Rogan. I might as well have been invisible. Women looked at him wherever he went. In the age of magic, many men were handsome. Rogan wasn’t just attractive; he projected masculinity. It was in his posture, in the male roughness of his face, and in his eyes. When you saw him, you knew no matter what happened, he would handle it. Little did they know that he solved most of his problems by throwing money at them or trying to kill them. Sometimes at the same time.
I offered her my card. “I’ve been hired by House Harrison. I would like to speak with Mr. de Trevino.”
The woman dragged her gaze away from Rogan to the card. “Wait, please.”
She closed the door.
“House Harrison?” Rogan asked.
“Cornelius hasn’t been excised.”
Excision was the worst punishment a magical family could level on its member. They withdrew all emotional, financial, and social support, effectively kicking the offender out of the family. An excised member of the House became damaged goods: his former allies abandoned him for fear of angering his family, and his family’s enemies refused to help him because no excise could be trusted. Cornelius distanced himself from his House by his own choice, but he hadn’t left it.
“Look at this house.” I nodded at the door. “We wouldn’t even get a foot in the door unless we dropped some House’s name.”
Rogan smiled, a wicked sharp grin. “You should let me knock.”
Last time he “knocked” on my door, the entire warehouse vibrated. “Please don’t.”
The door opened, revealing an athletic man about forty years old. He wore grey dress pants and a light grey sweatshirt, the sleeves pulled halfway up his forearms. His face was pleasant: dark eyes under sloping dark eyebrows and a generous mouth. A dark, carefully trimmed beard hugged his jaw. His hair was also dark and cut very short. Antonio de Trevino. His resume said he worked as an investment analyst.
“Good afternoon.” He smiled, showing perfectly even white teeth. “Please, come in.” We stepped inside.
“I’m Antonio. This way. Sorry for the disarray. We’re kind of in the middle of things.”
He didn’t seem broken up about his wife’s death. Compared to Jeremy, he seemed downright cheerful.
Antonio led us into a vast living room, to plush beige chairs arranged on a red rug. The furnishings looked expensive, but it was the middle- class kind of expensive: new, probably in the latest style, and nice. The furniture in Rogan’s house had weight; it looked timeless. You couldn’t tell if it had been purchased by him, his parents, or his grandparents. Compared to that quality, these furnishings seemed superficial, almost cheap. Perspective was a funny thing.
The Hispanic woman hovered in the doorway.
“Coffee? Tea?” Antonio asked.
“No, thank you.” I took my seat.
Rogan shook his head and sat in the chair on my right.
Antonio took the small sofa and nodded at the woman.
“Thank you, Estelle. That will be all.” She vanished into the kitchen.
“So House Harrison is looking into this matter. Understandable, considering how little Forsberg is doing. How may I help you?”
“Would you mind answering a few questions?” I asked.
“Not at all.”
I took out my digital recorder, tagged the conversation, and set the recorder on the glass coffee table.
“Do you know why your wife was in that hotel room?”
“No. I would imagine for professional reasons. I can tell you that the situation at work had been stressful in the day prior to her death. She seemed distracted at dinner.”
“Did she mention anything specific?”
“She said, ‘I can’t pick up John tomorrow. I’m sorry. There’s an issue at work. The entire office is in a state of emergency and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get home. Would you mind terribly taking him to his play? It’s at seven.”
He’d said it in his normal voice, but the intonation was unmistakably female.
“You’re a mnemonic,” Rogan said.
“Yes. We both are, actually. Elena was a predominantly visual mnemonic and I’m auditory. We both have near perfect short-term recall.” Antonio leaned back. “I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. I’m deeply saddened by Elena’s death. I lost a capable, caring partner, and our children lost their mother. She was a wonderful parent. The blow to their childhood is devastating.”
“Our marriage was arranged. Our families had agreed that we had a high chance of producing a Significant, so we married and dutifully tried three times. We may have succeeded with Ava, our youngest. Only time will tell. We weren’t in love.”
He said it so matter-of-factly. “And you consented to this?”
Antonio smiled again. “I’m guessing you’re not magically capable. Producing a Significant would be an immense achievement. It would open doors and change our entire social standing. The price is worth it. We’re both reasonable people. We hardly suffer.”
He raised his arms, indicating his living room.
“We allowed ourselves to seek happiness elsewhere, provided we were discreet for the sake of the children. So, if you want the proverbial pillow talk, you’ll have to ask Gabriel Baranovsky. He and Elena had a relationship for the past three years. She went to see him the evening before she died. Perhaps he’ll talk to you. Personally, I doubt it. There are Houses and then there are Houses.”
He’d sunk extra gravitas into the last word just in case I failed to understand its full significance.
“Baranovsky belongs to one of the latter. Elena was very fortunate to have caught his eye, and we’ve benefited from that connection, which is now severed.”
How exactly did he benefit? Did he casually slip it into conversations during business deals? “By the way, my wife is banging Baranovsky. Your money is safe with me.” Ugh.
“It would take someone of equal social standing to get Baranovsky’s attention. House Harrison isn’t one of those families. I do apologize; I don’t mean to be rude. I simply want to make the matter as clear as possible. Primes aren’t like us.”
I glanced at Rogan. His face was stoic.
“They breathe the same air and drink the same water, but their power sets them firmly apart and that’s the way they like it. The gulf between them and a normal person is enormous. You’re an attractive woman, so perhaps with the right attire and a trip to the salon, you might get to his personal secretary. Personally I would go through Diana Harrison. Cornelius’ sister is a Prime, which does mean something even to the likes of Baranovsky, so he may condescend to a meeting. In any case, please let Cornelius and Diana know that I’ll be happy to assist House Harrison in any way possible.”
Five minutes later we made it outside. His wife was dead and all Antonio could think about was how it would affect his social standing. What a colossal asshole.
“The right attire and a trip to the salon?” I rolled my eyes, heading for the car. “I may have to break my piggy bank.”
“That right there is why I don’t socialize,” Rogan said.