For your listening pleasure: tinysong.com/DEYT
Around 5 a.m., Danny hit me with a text. He’d formed a crew, who were ready to go right before dawn. I really didn’t want to leave Thalia’s side, but Shawn and I needed to take care of the Cabale before they took out one or both of us.
“Be safe,” she said, her fingertips leaving a wake of goose bumps down my arm. She kissed my cheek. “I’d like you back in one piece.”
I grinned. “Of course.” I leaned over, ran my tongue along her smooth neck, and bit into the soft flesh.
Thalia gasped, and dug her nails into my shoulders. “I love it when you bite . . .”
I licked the two small punctures closed and pulled back to look her in the eye. “If anything happens and I’m not dead, you’ll be able to find me.”
“Because my blood’s in you,” she said.
“Yes.” I grabbed her shoulders. “But please, whatever you do, don’t do it alone, Thalia. Don’t come after me by yourself or with only a few.”
“I’m serious,” I said sternly. “If they take Shawn and I down, you will need an army.”
She nodded, and her eyes held a touch of fear. “An army,” she whispered. “I wish I could come—”
“Absolutely not,” I said abruptly and shook my head. “Any other time, I might be okay with it after seeing you handle yourself with Roberts, but not for this. I’d rather know you’re here safe.”
Her eyes lowered, and I lifted her chin. “I’m okay with that, really.”
“I know you’re not,” I said. “But thanks for trying.” I winked and kissed the tip of her nose. “I’ll be back before you know it. Why don’t you go hang out with Nico in a bit? She’ll be in the same boat as you.”
“Sounds good,” she said with a nod, and kept a death grip on my hand.
“Baby, I need to go,” I said, trying to pry my hand from hers. “I promise I’ll come back to you.”
“You’d better, damn it,” she said. “We’re not finished with my Valentine’s present yet.”
I chuckled and kissed her again. “I love you.” I got my hand free and vanished to Shawn’s front door.
I waited only a moment before Shawn opened the door and stepped out. He was in his black leather duster; the same one I had on. I had to chuckle. We never intentionally dressed the same. It just always turned out that way. That’s what happened when you shared a mind and a soul.
Shawn lit a cigarette, drew in the cancer-causing chemicals, and blew the smoke out with a heavy sigh. “Thalia do the death grip on you?”
“Yep, my hand,” I said with a nod as we stared out at the horizon. “Nico, you?”
I caught his nod from the corner of my eye. “Wouldn’t unlock her arms from my waist.”
I smiled. “At least she’s not afraid of you now.”
His eyes flicked to meet mine as I turned to him, blue eye meeting blue; green doing the same. “Yeah, thanks for that. Now don’t butt in again.”
“You were going about it all wrong, you and your damn temper,” I said. “Besides, you fucking relented to me, asshole, so don’t tell me not to butt in.”
He punched me in the upper arm. “Well, I’m fucking tellin’ ya now.” He pointed his finger at me as he leaned forward. “Let me handle this shit from here on out; otherwise, what I am to her isn’t fucking real.”
Shock made me take a step back. “Holy shit, did you just say that?” I slapped my hand to my chest. “I think I might have a heart attack.”
Shawn looked at me and rolled his eyes. “You’ve been dead for fourteen years, fucker.”
“Yeah, whatever,” I said. “Let’s fucking go already. I’d like to see how Roberts is doing after Thalia knocked him on his ass.” I grinned at the memory. “Goddamn, that woman of mine. You should’ve seen it, Shawn.”
He checked his Kimber 1911, pulled the clip out, and slammed it back after looking at the ammo. “I’m sure you fucked her not long thereafter for the hard-on it gave you.”
“Hells yes, I did,” I said after patting myself down to make sure I had what I needed. “Did you grab that blade with the Rhenium on it?”
Shawn pulled it from his belt and flipped it up in the air. “Right here.” He caught and shoved it back into his belt. “Too bad it doesn’t work against humans. Maybe we need to find something that will.”
I cocked a brow at him. “There aren’t enough things out there that’ll kill them? Shit, all we’d have to do with these assholes is drop any infected living thing into their compound . . .”
We stared at one another as the idea hit us both.
“Ebola,” I said.
“Fuck that,” he replied. “Go stronger. Something that’ll fucking kill quickly.”
“Is there something that’ll kill quickly?” I asked, and he nodded. “Think you could get clearance?”
“Who the fuck needs clearance when we can teleport in and out?” A menacing grin slipped over his face. “And I’ve got just the one for it.” His eyes locked on mine and the grin vanished. “But we’ll have to keep it completely contained, meaning no one can leave the compound who isn’t a vamp.”
“Maybe we shouldn’t do it then,” I said. “I mean, because you fucking know someone will get out, just like in the movies. Not to mention the possibility that you could take it home to Nico.”
“Fuck, you may be right,” he said and ran a hand through his hair. “Let’s go meet Danny and the others, and I’ll think of something along the way.”
We both vanished from his front step and appeared in the desert, near the compound, and at the coordinates Shawn gave everyone. When it came to porting, we generally couldn’t port without having been at the location before or God knew how and where we’d end up. Unless we had coordinates. Those made all the difference because they gave an exact location. Being that Shawn and I were military veterans, and vamps on top of that, either of us could give an exact location for any place in the world.
I looked around, counting only nine of the ten Danny told me would be there. “It appears Oscar’s lost again.”
Danny shook his head. “I swear, that boy really needs to learn this shit.”
“Well, somebody go find the dumbass,” Shawn snapped before whirling on me. “I’ve got it. What about a virus none of us can carry and that kills so quickly, there’s no chance anyone could escape?”
“Does that even exist?” I asked as Danny stepped up to us.
“Why are we talking about viruses?” he asked.
“Shawn wants to drop one into the compound,” I replied.
“Hey, you had the same fucking idea,” Shawn said. “Don’t put it all on me.”
“Yeah, but you have Nico to think about,” I said. “Thalia is a vamp like us and whatever we did wouldn’t hurt her.”
“Fuck,” he grumbled and spun around to pace. “Okay, fine, we’ll just go shoot the goddamn place up.”
“Now, now, we need to consider that too,” I said and took a step forward. “They have the Rhenium coating their blades, so it’s likely on the ammo too. We can’t just barrel in there like we would any other place.”
Shawn grinned widely. “Not to worry, twin. I’ve got a plan.”
I really didn’t like the smile on his face. For me, it meant pain. Always fucking had, even when we were kids. Why did I ever listen to him?