Dana picked up her Coke can, gave him a mildly interested look. “Do you actually think I listen to you?”
“Okay, then. Here’s what happened.”
She’d barely begun when he turned away from her and those green eyes sharpened on Malory’s face. “You got an invitation?”
“And you.” He nodded at Zoe. “What do you do, Zoe?”
“Right now I’m an unemployed hairdresser, but—”
“Neither are you,” he said as he looked at Malory again. “No ring. No ‘I’m married’ vibe. How long have the three of you known each other?”
“Flynn, stop doing a damn interview. Just let me tell you what happened.”
Dana started again, and this time he boosted a hip off the couch, took a notebook out of his back pocket. Doing her best to appear as if she wasn’t the least bit interested in what he was doing, Malory slid her gaze to the left and down.
He used shorthand, she realized. And real shorthand, not any sort of bastardized version, as she did.
She tried to decipher it as Dana spoke, but it made her a little dizzy.
“ ‘The Daughters of Glass,’ ” Flynn muttered and kept scribbling.
“What?” Without thinking, Malory reached over and clamped her fingers on his wrist. “You know this story?”
“A version of it, anyway.” Since he had her attention, he shifted toward her. His knee bumped hers. “My Irish granny told me lots of stories.”
“Why didn’t you recognize it?” Malory asked Dana.
“She didn’t have my Irish granny.”
“Actually, we’re steps,” Dana explained. “My father married his mother when I was eight.”
“Or my mother married her father when I was eleven. It’s all point of view.” He reached up to toy with the ends of Malory’s hair, grinned easily when she batted his fingers aside. “Sorry. There’s just so much of it, it’s irresistible. Anyway, my granny liked to tell stories, so I heard plenty of them. This one sounds like ‘The Daughters of Glass.’ Which doesn’t explain why the three of you were invited up to the Peak to listen to a faerie tale.”
“We’re supposed to find the keys,” Zoe put in, and snuck a peek at her watch.
“You’re supposed to find the keys to unlock their souls? Cool.” He stretched out to prop his feet on the crate, crossed his ankles. “Now it’s my duty to ask how, when, and why.”
“If you’d shut up for five minutes, I’d tell you.” Dana reached for her Coke and drained it. “Malory goes first. She has twenty-eight days, starting today, to find the first key. When she does, either Zoe or I goes next. Same drill. Then the last of us gets her shot.”
“Where’s the box? The Box of Souls?”
Dana frowned as Moe deserted her to sniff Malory’s toes. “I don’t know. They must have it. Pitte and Rowena. If they don’t the keys won’t do them any good.”
“You’re telling me you’re buying this? Miss Steeped-in-Reality? And you’re going to spend the next few weeks looking for keys that open a magic glass box that holds the souls of three goddesses.”
“Demigoddesses.” Malory nudged Moe with her foot to discourage him. “And it isn’t a matter of what we believe. It’s a business deal.”
“They paid us twenty-five thousand each.” Dana offered. “In advance.”
“Twenty-five thousand dollars? Get out!”