“What’s in that liquid?” Mikayla whispered.
I shook my head, sending the same question to Keisha with my eyes as I turned off my voice-recording app.
She shrugged. “I’d need a sample to figure out the concoction.”
“Marcia is a shrewd business woman if she is investing in this shop,” Zayfeer whispered.
We all shot him a glare.
“What?” He backed away half a step. “All I’m saying is, she hates you, Amy, so helping your competition is cunning and smart if she wishes you to fail.”
The idea that Serendipity’s opening wasn’t about Mikayla but about me struck with shocking clarity.
Marcia was using magic again. To foil my run at president and to hurt my business.
“Wow.” The audacity. “She slept with Doug to hurt Liddy, which she knew would upset me, and now, she’s working with Jasmine to hurt my little sister and cut into my business profits.”
“And put a spell on your fellow WA members to vote for her on Saturday,” Mikayla added.
Keisha’s mouth firmed and motioned for all of us to stay put. “I’m going to get those recipes. You all head out.”
“I’m not leaving you,” I said.
“All for one and one for all,” Zayfeer added, and Mikayla nodded.
Since we didn’t know where in the front room Jasmine and Marcia were stationed, I wasn’t sure how to get across the work area to the office without one or both of them seeing us. “We have to figure out how we’re going to access the office without being seen.”
“Oh,” Zayfeer said as if I’d pinched him. “I can handle that. I’ll simply dematerialize here and rematerialize in her office, recover the recipes, and meet you in the alley.”
I thunked my head with my palm. Why hadn’t I thought of that in the first place? He was a fallen angel. His magic was a couple notches up from mine since I still had some limitations in my human body. Luc and Gabriel dematerialized all the time in order to travel from place to place and from one plane of existence to another. I could only do so if I was attached to Lucifer. “You could have saved us a lot of time and energy if you’d just done that in the first place,” I hissed at him.
“After my time in the Pit, I have trouble bringing my particles into cohesion once I scatter them. I do not often volunteer to do so unless it’s necessary. Besides,” he added, examining the tip of his sword, “I rather like these little escapades of yours and prefer engagement whenever possible.”
I smothered the desire to smack his arm. “If you can’t control your particles, perhaps it’s best if we do this the old fashioned way and sneak in.”
“But how will we get in, snag the recipes, and get out without being noticed?” Mikayla said.
I shot Zayfeer another glance. He was Fallen but he’d been a good soldier in Heaven. “How are you at distraction, Z?”
His eyes glowed and a smile split his lips. “Excellent.”
“Go out front and make yourself one then.”
He bowed at the waist. “Your wish is my command.”
Less than a minute later, Keisha, Mikayla and I were in place, ready to shoot across the back room to the office when we heard the sound of sirens out front.
“Oh, jeez,” I murmured as we heard Jasmine and Marcia opening up the front doors. “What did he do?”
“Never mind that,” Keisha said, heading for the office. Mikayla and I followed on her heels.
The recipes were lying out in the open on Jasmine’s metal desk.
“Got ’em!” Mikayla said, scooping them up.
I made a hurry-up motion. “Let’s go.”
The three of us had just cleared the back door, running into the alley, when a bright spotlight came on and mechanized voice yelled, “Halt!”
Blinded, I skidded to a stop and Mikayla ran into my backside, sending both of us down into the smelly alley. She scrambled off of me and tried to help me up as Keisha also grabbed my arm to help get me to my feet.
“Are you okay?” Keisha asked, touching my stomach. “Azaria?”
My palms stung where tiny rocks and asphalt were imbedded in the skin, and the front of my shirt was wet with God-only-knew what, but I wasn’t hurt and Azaria’s magic swirled inside my stomach with excitement. She wasn’t one to be scared of anything, and like Zayfeer, seemed to enjoy “engagement.”
“We’re okay,” I said, brushing at my hands.
Cold steel clamped on my left wrist. A large man with a bald head and a navy blue uniform blocked my vision as the handcuff closed, tightening uncomfortably.
“Amy Atwood,” he said, slapping the second cuff on my other wrist, “you are under arrest.”