Pia Saves the Day (Elder Races #6.6)

Pia Saves the Day (Elder Races #6.6)
Thea Harrison

Chapter One

Pia fluffed her new haircut as Eva turned their SUV onto the long drive that led up to the house. When Pia realized she was still distancing herself from claiming the sprawling mansion as her own, she made a deliberate choice to change the wording in her head.

Their house—her house—was located in upstate New York, nestled in two hundred acres of land that contained virgin forest and a lake with water so clean and clear, it sparkled like a blue jewel in the sun.

While the estate was beautiful, she found it surprisingly hard to stake an emotional claim to it, but hopefully that would change with all of the renovations, when the house truly became her home.

“Stop fussing,” Eva said. “Or you’re gonna mess it up.”

“I can’t help it,” she muttered, even as she forced herself to drop her hands into her lap. “I’ve never had my hair cut this short before, and it feels weird.”

The summer had been a whirlwind of activity, and it was still only July. After they vacationed in Bermuda—a trip that had been full of wonderful moments and unexpected stresses—they went straight into the annual political season that surrounded the summer solstice. Amidst parties, meetings and other inter-demesne functions that were attended by representatives of all the Elder Races, Dragos and his sentinels had worked double time to make sure all the sentinels got their promised time off.

At the same time, he and Pia set in motion plans to move upstate, build personal quarters for staff and an office complex, and completely redo the large mansion on the estate.

Meanwhile, Peanut kept growing, growing, growing. Because both his parents held such rare forms of Power, Dragos said he was springing into existence in a way that was reminiscent of the first of the Elder Races, at Earth’s dawning.

Peanut’s journey was not quite the same—at the birth of the world, magic had been wild and prolific, and the first-generation Elders had not gone through any childhood phase. Still, it had become more than apparent their son would not live any kind of ordinary life. While he was only four months old, he had already reached the size of a very precocious toddler, and it took everything Pia had to try to keep up with him.

From one day to the next, her patience snapped with the upkeep involved in taking care of her waist-length hair. It had to go.

Now the bottom of her new hairstyle touched her shoulders, and it was layered throughout. She had lost so much hair, she felt almost light-headed, and the ends tickled her collarbones as she turned her head from side to side.

She was very pleased with how the feminine style suited her triangular face, and it felt so much cooler, she was already in love with it.

However, she hadn’t told Dragos she was getting her hair cut, and now she was starting to feel nervous. There was no way she would ever ask him for permission to cut her own hair—the very thought was outrageous—but she also knew he loved her long hair, and … well, she wanted him to like how she looked.

“It’s perfect,” Eva told her.

She smiled. “Thanks.”

As they followed the drive that curved around a copse of trees, the house came into view, surrounded by scaffolding, more than twenty vehicles, an array of heavy construction tractors, and piles of building supplies. The nearby town’s single motel remained perpetually booked, and a hundred yards away from the main house, several trailers housed even more workers, along with providing temporary quarters for any of the sentinels who chose to visit the estate, which happened often.

The sentinels claimed any number of excuses for coming—the need to talk over business with Dragos in person, the desire to help out—but Pia suspected they were all just excited at the change in lifestyle, and they enjoyed the opportunity to get out of the city.

Once construction was completed, the sentinels would go on rotation, so that at any given time, two would be headquartered upstate. Dragos believed the new system would help prevent burnout and give the sentinels a chance to stretch their wings—or, in Quentin’s case, legs.

For now, the scene looked bustling and chaotic, and it wouldn’t calm down for at least another two months. Close by, sounds of construction echoed off the surface of the lake. In a series of small explosions, the construction crew was blasting through a stubborn shelf of bedrock to level the site where the office complex would be built. Periodically the low boom from the blasts rolled over the valley like cannon fire.

After Eva parked, they climbed out of the air-conditioned vehicle into the sultry heat of the day.

Another thunderous boom sounded in the distance. Pia felt it vibrate in her chest, and she sighed. “I can’t wait for them to be done with that.”

“Yeah, it got old fast, didn’t it?” Eva swept the scene with her gaze. A haze of dust lay over the tree line in the direction of the noise. “At least they should be finished with the blasting by the end of the week.”

As they reached the open front doorway, they met several workmen coming out. Pia stepped aside to let them pass, returning cheerful greetings and smiling when one of them complimented her new look.

When the path was clear, Eva left her to head to the kitchen for some lunch, and Pia went in search of Dragos and Liam. Stepping around ladders, cans of paint and drop cloths, she made her way through the house to the back.

While the rest of the estate was in upheaval, and construction dust seemed to coat everything, Pia and Dragos had finished a few areas before they had ever made the trip upstate. Their bedroom suite, Peanut’s rooms, the rooms for essential household staff, like Eva and Hugh, along with the back patio areas and the kitchen had been completely redone. With the basics of survival sorted out, Pia felt like they could withstand anything.

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