Home > Gypsy's Blood (All The Pretty Monsters #1)

Gypsy's Blood (All The Pretty Monsters #1)
Author: Kristy Cunning

Prologue

VIOLET

There’s a lot to being a Portocale gypsy. There’s an entire cult devoted to wiping out the last of our bloodline for a “Forsaken” deity of some sort. That’s just the beginning of our bad luck.

Sounds fun to be me, huh?

Don’t judge me for not having the details. This cult doesn’t give many details when they’re attempting to kill you and stuff. Maybe their parents didn’t love them enough and it made them stabby?

Most Portocale gypsies fake their deaths young and don’t come out of hiding until much later on. I’m sketchy on those details too, since Mom always said she’d tell me when it was time.

It’s hard to rely on the stories I’ve heard, because gypsies are natural-born storytellers, and you never know which stories are fact or fiction.

Most people think it’s because we’re constantly exposed to the semi-undead and have to contend with the wild stories the dead tell. The ‘dead men tell no tales’ thing is a total load of crap, by the way. Ghosts never shut the hell up, and it’s hard to believe half the shit they say.

I didn’t even start seeing ghosts until this past year or so, but my crazy-level grows with each new one that pops into my life.

They whine more than I have this week. I’m not usually a whiner, but today is the exception. Today is the day I’m watching them carry my mother’s casket into a viewing room, and I clutch the program in my hand a little harder than necessary.

“The chick in the coffin has a total hot mom vibe. Yours, I presume,” the ghost riding my mother’s casket says just as I break a gypsy’s number one rule: Never make eye contact.

I suck at that rule. Again, the ghost thing is new for me, so I deserve a break.

A grin curves the red head’s lips as she hops off the coffin and struts toward me. “Well…I think we should talk, since I know you can see me. Tell me, does this bra make my boobs look disproportionate?”

When I don’t answer the disrespectful ghost, who is dressed only in her skimpy bra and panties, and won’t stop probing at her phantom breasts, she moves right up beside me. My focus is on the casket as they lift the end that shows my mother’s face, and I have to lower myself to the chair when my knees try to wobble.

A single tear rolls down my cheek as the ghost takes a seat beside me.

“Man, if you’re her daughter, you guys must get hotter with age. Because she is way hotter than you. She’s tanner too…and she’s dead.”

The dead aren’t a sensitive people once they’ve lost their physical foothold in the world of the more sensitive living.

“You’re totally cute, though. Your lips are definitely a fun feature about you. I’d kiss you if I could, just so I could feel those lips, and I’m not even particularly into girls.”

“Do you mind?” I hiss, giving her side-eye.

When she grins, I glare at her and look back over at the door, wondering if someone—anyone—else is going to show up. I’ve never met another Portocale gypsy, but Mom always swore we had family out there.

I wish her spirit would rise so I could ask her all the really important questions wadding in my gut.

“How’d she die?” the ghost asks.

Since I’m now alone in here with her and simply waiting on my mother’s spirit to emerge, I answer. “There was no definitive cause of death.”

“Oh, that sucks,” she answers with a firm nod. “How long’s she been down?”

“Four days.”

“Well, at least they were quick with the funeral stuff.”

“Too quick,” I mutter under my breath.

“So…why are you staring at her like you expect her nose to wiggle? Do you not see that she’s dead?”

“I’m waiting on her spirit to detach. It sometimes takes up to five days. There’s a reason wakes once lasted a lot longer.”

“There’s no spirit inside that body,” she tells me like I should know this already.

“Yes. There is,” I state tightly.

“No. There isn’t. I’m a ghost. We know these things.”

An uneasy feeling settles in my stomach. If the cult got her, they wouldn’t be able to also capture her spirit. So does that mean a spirit hunter is also after her? There’s no other way she’d be anywhere but right here right now, otherwise.

I told her I could see ghosts now. She knows I could see her too.

I check my phone, seeing my father has left a message.

DAD: Can’t get out of here early enough to get out there before the funeral procession. Sorry.

Instead, of replying, I simply drop my phone into my purse.

“My name’s Anna, by the way,” the ghost tells me.

“Anna, if you start stalking me, I will salt you at every given opportunity,” I warn her while sighing and pinching the bridge of my nose.

“Do you have salt right now?” she asks.

“No.”

“Good to know,” she chirps as she glances around the otherwise silent, empty room.

“Your mom was popular, huh?”

I shrug a shoulder, not letting the next tear fall. Mom would be pissed if she knew I was crying in front of her casket right now.

“When you’re a Portocale gypsy, it’s hard to keep friends,” I answer absently.

“Why?” Anna muses.

My eyes cut away from my mother’s body as I sigh. “Because we never know who wants us dead.”

“I hope you don’t think that makes you interesting,” she calls to my back as I stand. “Just wait until I tell you about how awesome I am. You’ll never let me go.”

Chapter 1

VIOLET

Tearing the covering away from the couch, I look around and start swatting at the dust plumes. It takes less than three months for an entire home devoid of life to be covered in dust.

Fortunately, I’ve yet to see any pests. I’d probably be tempted to burn the place down if something with fur or scales scurried across my foot right now. This day is shitty enough.

“You could totally pay someone to do this,” Anna says as she follows me through the home.

“I totally could not,” I remind her absently, lifting a picture of my mother and me, swiping a finger through the dust that carries over our faces, revealing hidden smiles.

Mom’s eyes have always held soulful secrets. She said it was a Portocale thing. But my eyes never seem to hold soulful secrets, so I’m starting to think that gaze must skip a generation.

Clearing my throat, I put the picture down.

“You could be rich. With a curvy body like that, I’d be rich,” Anna states candidly, still following me through as I push open the three doors on this side of the stairs.

“I guess I was born in the wrong era,” I state distractedly.

More things are covered. More daunting layers of dust are still left to contend with.

“It’ll take me months to get this house clean,” I groan.

“Or you could use your ass and get rich,” Anna unhelpfully counters, as I continue tearing away the many coverings. “Better yet, use your gypsy magic!”

“That’s not how gypsy magic works.”

“Okay, so how does gypsy magic work?” she volleys.

“I’m not entirely sure, but I do know it doesn’t allow you to circumvent manual labor,” I say as I move into a different room that has a sickly feeling trickling up my spine.

“I think I was a gypsy once,” she says on a sigh. “Traveling the road, tempting male travelers with debauchery, as my shady brothers cleaned out their pockets. I didn’t know I was setting a fashion trend that would catch fire in the twenty-first century,” she says on a wistful sigh.

“That is the romanticized version of it,” I tell her absently. “You’re not a gypsy if you think that’s the truth of it, though.”

“Well, consider me an honorary gypsy and tell me the truth,” she says as I lift some fallen books from the ground and place them inside the bottom cabinet before me.

“The word gypsy is actually used as a racial slur in most countries still to this day. I’m fortunate to live in a time and place where gypsy culture is appreciated and even embraced by a lot of gadjo—”

“Gadjo?”

“Non-gypsy,” I state dismissively. “Can be an offensive term, depending on the tone,” I add.

She pops her head out of the curio cabinet suddenly, and I groan while working around her, as she pretends like she’s trying to find a comfortable place to sit.

“Anyway, gypsies have lived through religious persecution, unprovoked violence, unrepentant prejudice, and unapologetic massacres that rarely get more than a footnote’s mention in the history books. And in some parts of the world, they’re still facing all the same barbaric problems.”

“Bummer,” she states. “Anyone ever tell you that you shouldn’t piss on rainbows? Are you still cranky because of the dead mommy issues?”

I’m not really sure why I try to tell her things.

“What does the town look like?” I ask her, lifting a cushion on the sofa in Mom’s office.

This room hurts the worst so far. It has so much of her in it.

“Lots of ghosts are out there. Seems like the town is full of them,” she answers dryly.

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