I returned to Nico’s kitchen. Turning on the lights wasn’t an option, not that I needed the light to see. Whoever took her might be outside waiting for me or someone to arrive, since Nico’s the only vamp healer in existence. I hoped the slayers didn’t know that little tidbit of info about her, but the fuckers were super stealth and secretive, so who the hell knew what they knew. My brow arched and I stopped in the midst of searching for evidence of her disappearance after sensing evil nearby. Maybe I could do a little interrogating of my own, and if it was The Cabale who took her, take out a little revenge for Seth while I was at it. The thought turned up the corners of my mouth. Evil always begat evil, and I was fucking evil incarnate these days, especially when it came to my girl. I took a step to the right, vanishing from the kitchen in a step. It’s a pretty cool trick.
I appeared two streets over, on top of one of few two-story houses in the neighborhood. There was a two-story right in front of Nico’s house, but I had to be sure no one was occupying its rooftop before porting there. Once I saw it was clear, I jumped from one rooftop to the next in an invisible displacement of molecules until I settled down behind the adobe-style home’s rooftop border that was like a two-foot high block fence around the edges. My nose drew in the scents of the area, picking up the cedar burning in someone’s fireplace, a loose dog that hadn’t had a bath in a while, several cats, the remnants of Italian cooking—garlic, man I loved that shit—and there, close by, the smell of warm exhaust from a car that had been sitting for only a little while.
I carefully peered over the edge of the rooftop wall and looked down on a black sedan that sat in front of the house next to Nico’s. Not very stealth, are you? My eyes focused on the car, seeing only two inside, both in the front seat, none in the back. I imagined myself phasing into the backseat (that’s kind of how it worked), but I jerked to a stop on the rooftop. What the …? I tried again, but still couldn’t phase into the vehicle.
What are you doing? said the voice in my mind. My twin. He must have been able to sense my frustration. We were weird like that.
Someone kidnapped Nico. I’m on a hunt. I focused on the car again and still, nothing. What the fuck, man? Why can’t I phase into this car?
Seriously? Trent said. Shit, man, be careful. It could be Cabale.
That’s what I’m thinking, I replied as I looked around the rooftop.
Why would they take her? And how would they even know about her?
Fuck if I know, man, I said. They just better not hurt her or I’ll slaughter the whole lot of them.
Do you need help? Trent asked.
Nah, there’s only two of them, I replied. Start searching for Trystan. I’ll be there when I’m done.
You got it.
I picked up a pebble and looked over the side once more, then tossed the pebble over, hitting the roof of the car. I waited to see what the men would do. Nothing. I tried again. They stayed in the car.
“Assholes. You aren’t going to make this easy.” I’d contemplated the next thought carefully, weighing my options. Time was a big factor here because I didn’t know where they’d taken Nico or what they’d do to her. I’d figured out that she’d been gone a little over an hour, long enough for me to visit Trent and Cianán. I also figured she might be safe because she wasn’t a vamp. At least, not full vamp. She didn’t think I knew that, though. I had to hope the Cabale didn’t discover her secret. I needed to know where she was now, and as I said, these guys were super secretive. “Okay, fine, we’re doing this the hard way,” I mumbled and stood up.
I landed on the car’s hood hard enough to dent the metal, and I leaned forward, hissing at the two men inside, my fangs jutting down, lacking that clicky noise the vamps had on that Sookie-whatever show. Fangs don’t click, folks. The slayers jumped from their vehicle, weapons drawn. I flipped backwards and landed on the asphalt, knowing they wouldn’t fire in the open neighborhood, and then I vanished to the front door. Their eyes found me beneath the porch light and I beckoned them with a finger. One took aim and I phased before the man could get the shot off. I really didn’t want to damage Nico’s house, but I had no place else to perform this little scenario, so I waited for them to enter.
They came in one by one, slowly scanning the dark house, entirely too close together, each sweeping with their eyes and weapons. I appeared between them, grabbed them by their shirts, and slammed them together. Next, I grabbed their guns in their daze and disarmed them before they could blink. Then I knocked them both out cold and dragged them into Nico’s office. I would need some of the tools she used from time to time for this special operation.
It would make taking a heart out easier, anyway.
The Cabale slayer opened his eyes to find me waving a very sharp object slowly in front of his face. He pulled his eyes away from it to focus on my odd-colored eyes—one blue, one green. I smiled, fangs showing themselves, as he scowled before fear briefly touched his eyes. My rep must be getting around the slayer communities. Cool.
“The woman who lives here,” I said. “I want to know where she is.”
The slayer attempted to move his arms, but the ropes held him tight to the table. He remained silent, only staring at me. I trailed the serrated knife lightly along the side of the slayer’s face, down his jaw line, over his jugular, and down his chest, stopping over his heart. The slayer swallowed.
My eyes flicked up to view the other one I’d caught, sitting tied to a chair and forced to watch what I was about to do. If this one didn’t talk, the other might after watching his comrade die.
“I want to know who took her and where they’ve taken her,” I said in a soft voice. “If I don’t get what I want, I’ll be eating your heart very soon.” The knife circled around the slayer’s heart, floating right over his chest. I waited about ten seconds before plunging the knife in, eliciting one hell of a scream from the slayer. I quickly stuffed a rag in his mouth and shook my head at my own stupidity for not thinking of that first. Apparently, Nico’s kidnapping threw me off my game a little. If I hadn’t had the training I did, I’d probably have lost my damn mind at the disappearance of my mate.
My head tilted to the side a bit. “Normally, I’d use my hand, but I thought this might be more fun.”
The slayer bucked against the ropes, his head shifting rapidly from side to side, but I continued cutting. When I hit bone, I just cut the flesh over it and moved on, upward. Finally, I growled and tossed the knife aside, nearly hitting the other one with it before it embedded in the wall next to his head.
“I never was a patient man.” My fingertips sharpened to claws and I drove my hand into the slayer’s chest. He bucked up against the ropes, back making its best effort to leave the table. The other’s eyes grew wide as I ripped the heart out, snapping veins and arteries. Blood spattered over the slayer’s body, a few specks hitting my face, and I bit into the heart and winked at the remaining slayer.
The heart was the purest form of nutrients for vamps, since it was the source of the blood. Ages ago, it was a part of sacrifices all over the world—the Aztecs, the Maya, the Celts. Hell, I’d bet even Lorelei would remember the sacrifices in Gaul … if she was still alive, that is.
“You care to talk, or would you like to meet the same fate as your friend?” I asked the remaining slayer, blood dripping from my chin.
He shook his head. “They’ll kill me if I talk.”
I moved swiftly and was in his face before he could blink. “I’ll kill you if you don’t talk. I’m still hungry.” My tongue ran over my teeth and I licked my lips as I drew in his scent. “You smell mighty tasty, fucker.” The closer my face came, the further back the slayer moved his head until he couldn’t move it back any more. “Where. Is. She?”
His mouth opened, closed, opened, closed. My head tilted and I growled. Finally, “Sh … sh … she’s at the compound.”
My head tilted the opposite direction. “Which is where?”
“Not far,” he said. “About ten minutes from here.”
I grinned, flashing fang. “You’re taking me there.” I leaned forward to unbind the slayer from the chair, but left his hands tied and yanked the knife from the wall. He stood as I pulled him to his feet and then pushed him forward. “Walk.”
The slayer stumbled forward, toward the front of Nico’s house, and outside to his waiting car. When I touched the vehicle, I yanked my hand back as though I’d been burned.
“What the fuck?” I glared at him.
“There’s a protection on the paint,” he said. “It keeps vamps like you with the transporting ability out of our cars.”
I had to respect that … just a little. “Magic or mineral?”
“Don’t really know,” he said. “They don’t tell guys like me.”
“Just the muscle, eh?” He nodded, but I was definitely curious about what they’d done to their cars because Nico had been researching certain minerals recently to see what the effects were on us. “So, can I at least get inside the damn car?”
“Shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t touch the paint,” he replied.
“Right, then there’s probably something in there to fry me,” I said. Fuck that. I kicked the door, grabbed him by the arm, and yanked him over to Nico’s SUV. After pushing him into the passenger seat, I walked around to climb into the driver’s seat. I had to retrieve her keys from the house quickly, and then I started the truck and looked at the slayer.
“One false move and I rip out your throat,” The slayer nodded and offered directions as I put the car in gear and drove off.
If Nico were even the slightest bit injured, they’d all pay for it. What I did to that slayer inside her house would be fucking child’s play compared to what I’d do to this compound.