Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow, #3)

Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow, #3)

Rainbow Rowell



There’s a candle in my window. Sputtering. Sizzling. Threatening to go out.

It won’t. It hasn’t. Not for twenty years.

I set a second candle beside it and point my wand at the wick—then hold my breath, hoping for fire.

The flame leaps up, warm under my palm. My tears finally come.

He lives, then. Jamie lives. Yes. Good. All right.

The flame is long and steady.

My son lives.

I reach for the decanter of Madeira by my bed. Cut glass. An antique.

Andrew, my husband, wouldn’t approve of this. Spirits so readily at hand.

But Andrew had me close at hand. Until the day of his death. Someone to share the burden of his sorrows. I never expected to walk this path so long by myself.

I am not a melancholy woman.

I’m not spiteful, I don’t hold grudges. There’s no time for it—a grudge will eat up your whole life and leave you on your deathbed, realizing you never lifted your head to the sun or had a second piece of cake.

I let in the light. I eat the cake.

I was born on the Sabbath, you see. Blithe and bonny, good and gay. Oh, I was a golden girl, full of life—full of magic. I came into this world to find happiness. And I found it! In my husband and my own children. In Lucy, especially.

My Lucy, my daughter …

Everyone said she was the spitting image of me—but she was better, I think. With her father’s sense of decency and my vigour. She was strong and stout and absolutely pink with life.

Until she met him.

The day the Mage died—has it been a year already? nearly two?—I took down a bottle of the good Madeira. I raised my glass. “This one’s for you, Davy. I drink to your death, you merciless bastard. ”

That man twisted the life right out of my Lucy. Turned the girl’s head till she could only parrot his paranoia and prophecy.

I told myself it was a mercy when she ran away, a blessing that she disappeared without a trace. Davy was the most powerful man in the World of Mages. How far did Lucy have to run to escape his long reach?

I imagine her in California, under the sun. Or in Siberia, warm by a fire. I imagine her walking down a dirt road and leaving no tracks.

I imagine the child.

I believe there was a child. I hope …

Well, I hoped that Lucy would reach out to me someday. A letter. A sign.

(I’ve watched the skies for crows. I’ve checked the bottom of every teacup.) But when would it have been safe? Davy was watching for her, too, I’m sure of it—his magic fiercer than mine and far more ruthless. Even the power of a mother’s love couldn’t match that man’s capacity for violence and vengeance.

The thought of him finding her …

The thought of him finding them …

So many nights, I’ve stood at this window and cast spells into the sky.

“Hey, you’ve got to hide your love away!”

“Keep it secret, keep it safe!”

“Mum’s the word, mum’s the word!”

I imagined my words finding them, my daughter and her child, and acting as another blanket of protection pulled tight over their shoulders.

But now …

Now Davy is gone. The Mage is dead.

You can come home now, Lucy.

I stand over two candles, the old one flickering, the new one burning strong. I pour a glass of wine.

Come home, child, I need your help.

Come home to me.

Help me find your brother.



“But … that can’t be right. I killed the Mage.”

I’m sitting in Dr. Wellbelove’s study. When Agatha told her parents she was coming home, they insisted that I come, too, for dinner—and it’s been proper awkward so far.

She and I sat in our old places—next to each other, on the same side of the table—and her mum kept looking at us like she couldn’t decide whether to be disappointed or relieved that we aren’t together anymore.

Agatha and I were supposed to be a sure thing. I think her mum had already planned our wedding.

But we were a sure thing back when I was a sure thing, back when I still had magic—when I still had all the magic—and a calling.

And before I got stuck with giant fucking dragon wings.

Mrs. Wellbelove was appalled when she asked for my jacket and saw what was lurking underneath. At least she didn’t have to see the tail, too—I’d taken the time to wrap that down the leg of my jeans. (So uncomfortable. My leg gets chafed, and my tail goes numb, and I have to wear baggy jeans that make me look like someone’s dad.)

Dinner was endless. Agatha refused to make small talk, and her parents didn’t know where to start. Everything about me is something no one wants to talk about. Hard to ignore the elephant in the room when you’re making chat with the elephant.

I finished my dessert, Eton mess, in three bites, then Dr. Wellbelove invited me into his study. That’s where he likes to have serious talks. The Wellbeloves have been something like a surrogate family for me (something a little more distant than that—like a surrogate surrogate family) ever since I joined the World of Mages. They used to invite me here for school breaks and holidays, even before Agatha and I started dating. And Dr. Wellbelove has always tried to talk to me about father-son things. He sat me down in this

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