For your listening pleasure: http://blip.fm/~zm060
Piper gasped for breath …
Trent: Shit, I just said Piper, didn’t I?
Jinxie: Yes, you did.
Trent: Fuck, guess the image brought on a flashback.
Jinxie: Um, yeah. Get on with it.
NICO gasped for breath. Her big brown eyes looked up at Shawn as my jaw fell open. He’d just said those three words I hadn’t heard him say in over ten years. The colossal trinity I didn’t think I’d ever hear him say again. Guess his heart wasn’t as black as I’d thought.
“How’d you know?” she asked.
He smiled. “It’s your blood that heals, not your magic.”
He was right, you know. A dhampyr’s blood could heal a vamp when he couldn’t heal himself. I remembered reading it in a book back when we were with Cianán. Nico just hid it behind the guise of being a witch. Dhampyr—fuck. They were supposed to be only legend and myth. I’d never heard of a human/vampyre hybrid. I mean, I’d never met one. They didn’t usually survive past birth, and that’s a feat in and of itself—the mother carrying it that far. She was definitely a rarity. Some vamps would worship her, while others would shun. Depended on the century.
Trystan stepped out of the shadows. “Interesting.” She looked exactly as I remembered her—long blonde hair, pale skin, watery blue eyes. She was but a shade of her former self, which was beauty beyond compare long ago. I’d seen a painting of her in Cianán’s castle. Looking at her now was like staring at a black and white television holding a translucent image with soft edges.
My eyes flicked to Cianán. He’d been every bit of the monster Shawn had described, but he was changing. Thinning white hair turned to long luxurious golden locks reminiscent of what it was when we’d met him. Pale green skin glowed with human and vampyre radiance once more. His gaze settled on Thalia. My hand in hers, I pulled her behind me and stared at him. His eyes were still red.
Cianán smirked. I didn’t return it. I wasn’t taking any chances with Thalia. I’d already almost lost her once.
Shawn helped Nico up. “You feelin’ okay?”
She nodded, but clasped his hand in a death grip.
“So now what?” I said. We’d found Trystan, who’d found Cianán before we could bring her to him, and Shawn had found Nico. I needed to know some resemblance of a plan to keep my mind off the journal I’d had Thalia hide. I was pretty damn sure Shawn sensed something in me too.
He looked back at me. Did you ask about the journal?
See what I mean? I slapped a hand over my face, more for the effect of him thinking I forgot to ask than anything else, but I blocked him from my thoughts.
He rolled his eyes. Good job, genius.
Cianán studied us carefully, no doubt trying to figure out what we were talking about. There was a time when he didn’t have to wonder.
“Is there a fucking plan to do anything else, or can we leave now?”
“What’s the hurry, Trent?” Cianán said as he stepped forward. His thick Irish accent still tipped his tongue. He stopped next to Shawn and Nico, inclining his head to her slightly, before moving on. It was meant to be a thank you, but I don’t think she understood it because she slipped behind Shawn. Couldn’t blame the girl for that after he’d just attacked her.
“No hurry,” I said. “Just have some shit to do, so if we’re done here, I’d like to go.”
His head tilted to the side. “Who’s the beauty behind you?”
“My wife,” I said firmly. “Thalia.”
“You got married? When?”
“Very recently,” Thalia said over my shoulder. “It was a quick wedding.”
“Come forward, lass,” he said, extending his hand to her. “Please.”
I could feel her eyes on me, but I kept mine on Cianán. “The old laws no longer apply.”
He smirked. “I do not wish to take your bride, Trent. I merely wish to see her.”
I nodded to the side at Thalia, who slowly stepped out from behind me and took Cianán’s hand.
His grin spread as he walked her out a few steps. “Such a young vampyre. Your change was quite recent?” She nodded and he looked at me. “Did you change her?”
“With Kylie’s help,” I replied.
His brow arched. “Kylie, where is she now?”
“Still in Phoenix with Grant,” I said, waiting for the change in his mood.
He growled. “He’s still alive? Pity.” He turned his attention back to my girl and cupped her hand in both of his. “Thalia, you are very beautiful. Take care of my son. I can see his heart is with you.”
“Thank you,” she said and returned to my side, which I was only too happy about.
Ages ago, it wasn’t uncommon for the master vampyre to take any woman, or man, one of his fledglings became involved with. Shawn and I learned that real quick with Piper. Truth be known, I think it was just Cianán’s rule, one he made up, much like all the laws that once existed in his vampyre court. It was also a good reason to not get involved with anyone who wasn’t already in the coven.
“I think we should take out the Cabale compound I found today,” Shawn said so suddenly that my head snapped to the side.
“You can’t be serious,” I said. “That’s suicide.”
“I could smell Seth on the air, Trent,” he replied. “They fucking killed him there.”
Heat filled me as anger rose in my body. I let out a soft growl, feral, full of bitterness and hunger.
Shawn smiled. “That’s what I’m talkin’ about! We can get a few more to go with us.”
“Who the hell is left?” I asked wildly. “Between Dana and Rich, Fang, and the Cabale, our fucking numbers are dwindling.”
“That Roberts guy scared me, Shawn,” Nico said as she tugged on his arm. “He was asking so many questions about you guys, wanted to know how to weaken you. If you don’t kill him, he will kill you.”
He stepped forward. “Nico won’t be safe. Not until that compound is obliterated.”
“What, you think they haven’t already logged her information into their system? Every goddamn faction of theirs, every cell, will have it.” I looked at her. “Sorry, Nico, but it’s the truth. You can’t go back to your house.”
“At least, not without an armed escort,” Shawn said. “Maybe we can phase in and out quick, and then I can take her to one of my places.” He looked down at her. “Besides, she needs something to wear.”
Nico was only wearing her bathrobe. I rolled my eyes. “Okay, fine, but we need to make it super fast … and you should go in and scout it out first, Mr. Assassin.” His eyes went wide as he glared at me. Then I saw Nico’s face. Shit. “Sorry. I thought she knew.”
“No, she didn’t,” he growled. “Thanks.”
“That’s what you do for a living?” she asked.
He turned to her, his hands sliding over her shoulders. “Babe, it’s what I’m good at.”
“You’re good at killing people?” she asked wildly, then threw a hand up. “Of course you are, you’re a goddamn vampyre.”
“Hey, the military trained me, so blame them,” he replied.
I cleared my throat. “Can you two have this convo later? We need to get going. They could already be at her house for all we know.”
Shawn nodded and looked at Nico again. “How’d you get here?”
She pointed at Trystan. “She helped me. I don’t think I did anything to phase from there to here, though.”
Shawn and I both turned our attention to the Druid. “Did you help her, or did she do it even a little on her own?”
Trystan smiled. “She has the ability, albeit small. She will need help.”
Cianán had made his way over to Trystan slowly. She acknowledged him with a quick glance before returning her eyes to us.
“Okay. Shawn, go scout first, then let me know when it’s clear,” I said. “Thalia can phase on her own. I’ll help Nico.”
He nodded and took a step forward, then vanished. My eyes flicked to Trystan and Cianán and their awkward movements. They hadn’t seen one another in the flesh in more than six centuries. At one time, they loved each other more than anything in the world. Trystan’s love for him was what made Cianán a vamp. When he started to die on the altar, she begged Mahlon to save him. Mahlon ended up killing him instead. That was over two thousand years ago.
Clear, Shawn’s voice sounded in my mind. I nodded to Thalia and imprinted the location in her mind before taking Nico’s hand. “Ready?” I said with a smile, and she nodded. Then we phased out, but not before I saw Cianán take Trystan’s hand and kneel before her. I have to say, I’ve never seen him kneel before anyone.
I appeared with Nico in her kitchen. There were two dead bodies on the floor. When I looked up at Shawn, he shrugged.
“I surprised them,” he said with a grin.
Yep, that’s my brother—assassin to the extreme. Kill. Ask questions later. I should seriously start considering his logic behind that.