Alexandra’s Riddle by Elisa Keyston

Cass is a drifter. When she inherits an old Queen Anne Victorian in rural Oregon from her great-aunt Alexandra, all she wants is to quickly offload the house and move on to bigger and better things. But the residents of the small town have other plans in mind. Her neighbors are anxious for her to help them thwart the plans of a land developer eager to raze Alexandra’s property, while a mysterious girl in the woods needs Cass’s help understanding her own confusing, possibly supernatural abilities.

And though little surprises Cass (thanks to her own magical powers of prediction), she never could have anticipated her newfound feelings for the handsome fourth-grade teacher at the local elementary school—feelings that she thought she’d buried long ago. Cass has sworn off love, but Matthew McCarthy is unlike anyone Cass has ever met. If she isn’t careful, he could learn her secret. Or worse—he just might thaw her frozen heart.

But falling in love could spell danger for both of them. Because it’s not just the human residents of Riddle that have snared Cass in their web. Cass’s presence has caught the attention of the fae that dwell in the woods. They know she has the Sight, and they don’t want to let her go…


Read an Excerpt:

“Of course,” said Connie. “Well, listen. I wanted to ask you one more thing, while we were in a more, you know, private setting.” Her words made the ominous feeling start crawling through Cass’s stomach again. “Have you gotten any offers for the house yet?”

That wasn’t what Cass had been expecting. She didn’t know what she’d been expecting, honestly, but that wasn’t it.

“Uh, no,” she answered. “I just got here. I have to thin stuff out before I can think about listing it.”

Connie nodded. “Well, when the time comes, I hope you’ll keep the good of the community in mind.”

Cass blinked. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s nothing to alarm you. You’ll get a better sense of my meaning the longer you’re here. But your great-aunt loved this house, Cassandra. She loved Riddle. I hope you’ll keep that in mind.”

Cass felt completely lost at that point. “Mrs. Fischer, what are you even talking about?” she asked.

“Never mind, never mind. You’ve got a busy day ahead of you, unpacking and everything. I’ll let you get to it. There’s food for Onyx in the kitchen. And don’t forget that the plants in the solarium will need watering. Feel free to drop by if you need anything. I’m just across the street.”

“Wait, Mrs. Fischer—”

But as quickly as she’d come, Connie bustled out the door and down the front drive. Cass stared after her retreating form. What had that been about?

“Leave it to Aunt Alexandra to settle down in a town full of fruitcakes,” she grumbled under her breath.

As she moved to shut the front door, a glint of sunlight reflected two green pinpricks in the corner. Cass narrowed her eyes. “Onyx? Kitty, kitty?”

The creature stirred and Cass groaned. Definitely not a cat. So the premonition she’d had earlier hadn’t been because of Connie after all.

“Just what I needed,” she said. “You’d think Aunt Alexandra would have done something to keep you guys out.” She grabbed a dusty umbrella out of the tall urn next to the coat rack and brandished it at the creature, shooing it toward the door.

A small, almost human-like being, with bronze skin the color of autumn oak leaves, dashed out of the corner. A brownie. It ducked and jabbered at Cass in the sharp, guttural language she’d come to recognize over the years, even if she didn’t understand what any of the words meant. It sounded like a cross between squirrel chatter and the caw of a crow—some unfamiliar birdsong that those without Sight could dismiss as normal, mundane, even if they couldn’t place what animal was making it.

Cass knew better. She’d been Seeing for far too long to trust anything unfamiliar in the forest.

“Yeah, yeah. I don’t want to hear it,” she said, prodding the brownie along with the umbrella. “Get out and stay out.”

She slammed the door and cursed in annoyance. Then she stormed through the maze of rooms toward the back of the house, where she remembered the kitchen being located. After banging her way through half a dozen cluttered cupboards, she found what she was looking for.

The brownie was sitting among the fronds of a large, curling fern when Cass opened the front door again. It glared at her as she produced the metal colander and pointedly set it in the center of the top step. “That’ll fix you,” she said with a smirk. The brownie watched, scowling, as the purple door slammed. Then it slunk into the ferns.

Cass leaned against the closed door, looking up at the pendant lamp with its Tiffany shade suspended from the entryway’s high ceiling. She’d been here all of ten minutes, and already she’d been inundated with nosy neighbors and a pest infestation of the magical variety. She didn’t even want to know what was waiting for her on the second floor, let alone the rest of this behemoth house.

“Welcome to Riddle, Cass,” she said aloud, hearing the way her voice echoed off the cavernous ceiling and trying to ignore the premonitory goosebumps rippling across her skin. “Looks like you’re in for a fun time.”