The Librarian of Crooked Lane (The Glass Library #1) Read Online C.J. Archer

Categories Genre: Fantasy/Sci-fi, Paranormal, Romance Tags Authors: Series: The Glass Library Series by C.J. Archer

Total pages in book: 92
Estimated words: 87052 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 435(@200wpm)___ 348(@250wpm)___ 290(@300wpm)

A librarian with a mysterious past, a war hero with a secret, and the heist of a magic painting. THE LIBRARIAN OF CROOKED LANE is an intriguing new fantasy from C.J. Archer, bestselling author of the Glass and Steele series.

Librarian Sylvia Ashe knows nothing about her past, having grown up without a father and a mother who refused to discuss him. When she stumbles upon a diary that suggests she’s descended from magicians, she’s skeptical. After all, magicians are special, and she’s just an ordinary girl who loves books. She seeks the truth from a member of the most prominent family of magicians, but she quickly learns that finding the truth won’t be easy, especially when he turns out to be as artless as her, and more compelling and dangerous than books.
War hero Gabe is gifted with wealth, a loving family, and an incredible amount of luck that saw him survive four harrowing years of a brutal war without injury. But not all injuries are visible. Burying himself in his work as a consultant for Scotland Yard, Gabe is going through the motions as he investigates the theft of a magician-made painting. But his life changes when he unwittingly gets Sylvia dismissed from her job and places her in danger.
After securing her new employment in a library housing the world’s greatest collection of books about magic, Gabe and Sylvia’s lives become intwined as they work together to find both the painting and the truth about Sylvia’s past before powerful people can stop them.
But sometimes the past is better left buried…


Chapter 1

London, Spring 1920

The woman crouching under the desk near my feet expelled an unladylike snort of derision.

I stilled. I didn’t dare urge her to keep quiet with a nudge of my boot for fear that Mr. Parmiter, the head librarian, would notice. At the sound of the snort, he’d turned back and scrutinized me yet again. He had a way of making me feel like a speck under a microscope. Moments ago, he’d pressed both palms on the desk, leaned in until his face was close to mine, and inspected me with all the rigor of a detective searching for evidence at a crime scene.

Indeed, Mr. Parmiter’s initial scrutiny had come about because he did suspect me of a crime. The crime of wearing makeup. According to the library charter, which I’d never seen, female staff were forbidden from adding so much as a smudge of color to their cheeks. Although I was sure the rule never existed since I was the first female employee, I didn’t question him. I simply informed him I was not wearing makeup. He’d sniffed, as if trying to smell a lie, then turned away.

Until Daisy had gone and snorted like a bull at a red rag.

Mr. Parmiter scrutinized me again, but this time he stood a foot back from the desk. “Are you unwell, Miss Ashe?”

“No,” I said. “I was just clearing my throat.”

Those beady eyes of his narrowed further. He moistened his lips with a lizard-like flicker of his tongue, dampening the overhanging gray moustache. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he reached across the desk to touch my forehead, checking for a fever, but the fear of getting too close held him back. I couldn’t blame him for that. The Spanish flu had recently wreaked devastation and we all worried it would return.

“You should go home if you feel unwell,” he said.

“I feel fine.”

He waved a hand at my face. “And remove that vile stuff. This is a respectable institution where gentlemen of learning come for quiet study. Attractive women are a distraction. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t have employed someone like you, but needs must.” This last sentence he muttered as he walked off.

Thankfully Daisy didn’t emit another snort. She was probably too shocked and angry to speak. I was just as angry but not shocked. In the two months since I’d taken the position of assistant librarian at the London Philosophical Society’s library, I’d been exposed to Mr. Parmiter’s misogynism on a regular basis. He blamed young women for just about every ill that had ever befallen him—or the world in general. I’m sure he could find a way to blame us for the war if he put his mind to it.

“It’s safe,” I whispered.

Daisy crawled out from the desk’s footwell and cast a disdainful look in the direction in which Mr. Parmiter had departed. She hadn’t seen him leave; it was the only exit from the reading nook. I was using the empty desk to inspect some old books for signs of disrepair. Tucked away on the first floor, between the stacks, it was the perfect place for quiet research—or hiding from one’s manager while chatting to a friend who shouldn’t be in the library at all. Daisy was not a member of the London Philosophical Society. She wasn’t at all philosophical, not even after drinking too many cocktails. A drunk Daisy was a giggling Daisy, not terribly unlike a sober Daisy.