Kings of Clonmel
candles.
    Will had grimaced at the table when they were shown to it. Typically, he would have preferred to be tucked away in a corner, out of sight—to see and not be seen. Alyss smiled at him.
    “Get used to it,” she said.“You’re a celebrity. Some people actually enjoy that, you know.”
    He frowned. “How could anyone enjoy having every eye in the room on them?” he asked. He was still casting around for a table in a less prominent position.
    “Nevertheless, people do. I’m surprised there aren’t crowds of sketch artists outside the entrance, waiting to draw our pictures as we leave.”
    “Does that really happen?” he asked incredulously. Alyss shrugged.
    “So I’m told.” She shoved him gently toward the table. “Come on, Jenny will be disappointed if she can’t show you off.”
    And here was Jenny herself, threading her way through the crowded room, with a delighted smile lighting up her pretty face. A large wooden ladle, symbol of her office, dangled loosely from her right hand.
    “Will!” she shrieked. “You’re here at last! Welcome to my humble dining hall!”
    She threw her arms around him, and he ducked instinctively, expecting the ladle in her right hand to whip around and crack the back of his head. But Jenny had it under control. She laughed at him.
    “Oh, come on! I haven’t hit anyone since second year! At least, not anyone I didn’t mean to hit. Sit down! Sit down!”
    Will hurried to hold Alyss’s chair while Jenny watched approvingly. He’d always had nice manners, she thought. Then he took his own chair and looked around the room, gesturing to the crowds of diners.
    “Not so humble. There must be fifty or sixty people in here.”
    Jenny appraised the room with a practiced eye. “They’re not all diners, however. Some are just here for a drink.”
    “The place is usually this full,” Alyss put in. But Jenny shook her head.
    “There are extras here tonight. Word got out that the famous Will Treaty and his beautiful girlfriend would be dining here and the bookings just flowed in.”
    Will reddened slightly, but Alyss took the comment in stride. She and Jenny had known each other since childhood, after all. “How did that word get out, I wonder?” she said with a raised eyebrow.
    Jenny grinned at her and spread her hands innocently. “I have no idea. But it’s great for business.” She looked back at Will, her smile widening. “It really is wonderful to see you again. It’s been too long. And I believe you’ll be staying with us from now on?”
    Will’s eyes widened in surprise. “How did you know that?” He had assumed that the facts about Crowley’s Special Task Group were secret.
    Jenny shrugged carelessly. “Oh, I heard about it a few weeks ago. Someone mentioned it. Not sure who.”
    Will shook his head. He’d only been told within the past five days. It never ceased to amaze him how quickly people found out about so-called secrets. Jenny didn’t notice his reaction.
    “Will there be just the two of you?” she asked.
    Alyss shook her head. “Lady Pauline will be joining us.”
    Jenny’s smile widened even further. “You people are going all out to give my little establishment a good name, aren’t you?” she said.
    Alyss shook her head. “You don’t need us to do it.”
    Jenny rubbed her hands briskly. It was time to get down to business.
    “Now, did you want to order? Or would you like me to make some suggestions?”
    Will sensed her eagerness to show off her skills. He set both hands palm down on the table in a gesture of readiness.
    “I think we’d be mad to refuse your offer,” he said.
    Jenny clicked her fingers at a passing table boy. “Set another place here, Rafe,” she said. The boy, a heavy-boned youth of about sixteen, looked as if he’d be more at home behind a plow or a blacksmith’s furnace, but he nodded eagerly.
    “Yes, Mistress Jenny,” he said. Clumsily, he began to lay cutlery and another platter in the place she’d

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