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Blind Salvage(Rylee Adamson #5)(11) by Shannon Mayer

I put the phone down on the desk and relayed what Charlie had told me to Liam; though he didn’t need me to, I needed to say it to clear it in my own head. I couldn’t believe that someone would hold Eve ransom, or that they’d be able to for that matter.

Liam went directly into agent mode, which was what I needed. “Blackmail? Have you run into it before?”

“No.” I shook my head. “I have to say this is a first.”

“And Charlie can’t tell you anything about the kid or the parents?”

Charlie squawked through the phone. “Nots if yous want your bird kept off the rotisserie. My instructions were clearer than a mid summers night sky. No telling yous nothing.”

Liam and I stared at each other. We had no choice but to go along, or Eve was done. And if they—whoever they were—could take out Eve so easily, I wasn’t so sure that we weren’t in for a wild f**king ride of a salvage.

“Send Pamela and Alex back to keep her calm; you can’t go if the parents are coming this way, and you can’t save Eve and the kid if you go to Eve,” Liam said, his voice calm, casual as if it was the logical solution.

“You’re just trying to get rid of Pamela,” I countered, irritation flaring in my guts. “You have to learn to deal with her; she’s a part of this family, pack, whatever you want to call it, as much as you or I am.”

He ground his teeth, and when he answered me, he did so without acknowledging my words. “This time around, you need her to help, but not at your side. She can keep Eve calm, and if necessary, she can probably get Eve out of there if the shit hits the fan.”

Damn, he was right, that was the sticky part. Not that I couldn’t let someone else be right, but that he was neatly avoiding Pamela, without actually having to avoid her.

I picked the phone up, but my eyes never left Liam’s. “Charlie, I’m going to send Pamela and Alex to you. Tell Eve that they are coming, that should help. Tell her that I will find this kid, where he is—”

“It be a girl, I can tell yous that much.”

“Fine, I’ll find this kid wherever she is and bring her home.”

“Okays. Be quick about it, Rylee.” He hung up the phone, the line going dead in my ear.

Chapter 6

PAMELA WAS EAGER to go ‘save’ Eve. Maybe a little too eager.

“Are you sure you want me to just go and sit with her? I can get her away from them, I know I can.”

Before she’d even finished speaking I was shaking my head. “No, I don’t know what these people have, but if they can hang onto a Harpy, they aren’t to be messed with. Just keep her calm. That’s your job.” Only an hour since the phone call from Charlie. An hour and things were already ramping up. We waited outside the Landing Pad in the cold, winter night for Pamela and Alex’s ride. Dox had shut the bar down early, and had put the word out through the locals that we were expecting some hostiles. Shit, not even home twenty-four hours and life had tossed a twist at us I could never have seen coming.

A cold nose shoved into my hand. “Alex’s job?”

“You keep Pamela safe. That’s your job. Protect her.”

Alex sat back on his haunches and saluted me, albeit a bit sloppily. “Gots it.”

All but bouncing, Pamela stood in front of me, eyes bright, ready to face another challenge. There was no regret in her over killing the red caps, as there shouldn’t be. A part of me was pleased, she would suffer a lot less in our world doing what had to be done and not getting her panties twisted up with guilt. Yet, another part of me was sad. To be so young, and hardening up so quickly—I wasn’t sure that was a good thing. I’d been two years older than she was when Giselle had found me. And even then I’d hardened plenty fast enough.

“You have Terese’s phone number?” I handed Pamela the bowie knife I’d started with, the one she’d carried in London. She tucked the knife in the sheath that would hold the blade in place over her lower back.

“Yes, I’ll call her as soon as I get there. Are you sure she’ll help?” Pamela had reason to be wary. The only other witch she’d met had been Milly, and both times Milly had not treated Pamela well. If one can say that having a death spell thrown at you was just poor treatment.

I nodded. As soon as I’d gotten off the phone with Charlie, I’d called Terese. Told her that I was sending Pamela to my place and that it might be prudent for Terese to go and spend some time with her. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I was sending Terese a young witch that would rival Milly’s abilities one day.

Pamela’s eyes suddenly narrowed. “Are you just sending her to check up on me? I’m not a child. I’m almost fifteen, you know.”

“No.” I bit back a smile; the kid was too damn smart sometimes. “She has to check on every witch that comes into her territory. Not to mention you’ll be training with her once things settle down.”

Liam snorted. “Like that’s ever going to happen in your life.”

A big, pale green Cadillac pulled into the parking lot of the Landing Pad. In order to get Pamela and Alex back to North Dakota as fast as possible, I’d had two choices. Try to cross the Veil by going back into the castle and hoping like hell that there was no one waiting for us in ambush.

Or cash in one of my favors with another of the Shamans. I went with option number two. No need to see who was waiting for us back at the castle.

Crystal leaned out the door of the Cadillac. I handed her a cell phone. “If something goes sideways, I’ll call and you bring them back here to Dox, got it?”

The young Shaman’s eyes were somber. “You think there might be problems?”

Liam snorted softly, but I ignored him and leaned in close so Pamela couldn’t hear me. “You are taking them out of the firing range here. I don’t want them to be around this psycho parent that’s going to show up. If I call, it’s because I think it’s a trap on the other end. If it’s safe, you won’t hear from me, and you can take them all the way to Eve and drop them there. Got it?”

She gave me a tight smile. “I can’t stay with them. Louisa needs me back here.” I said nothing else, just stepped back. She understood what I was trying to do. Keep Pamela and Alex safe, while not showing them my hand. Keeping Eve safe was important too, but if this parent was the psycho I was counting on … I Tracked Eve, felt a current of fear, but no pain, and no terror. More worried than anything. That was a good sign. Maybe this salvage wouldn’t be the mess I had already assumed it would come to.

Crystal waved out the window to Alex and Pamela. “You two ready?” Even though she’d helped saved my life, I managed to talk her into throwing in a ride for Pamela and Alex too since she’d been helping Louisa, and I hadn’t directly asked her for help. Bonus. Didn’t hurt that she was young, and new to her profession as Shaman, making her easier to persuade.

Pamela gave me a hug, Alex followed suit, and then they were running toward the long, slightly anemic-looking car.

“Like kids off to summer camp,” I said, crossing my arms to block the snap of cold wind. Crystal backed the caddie out, and Pamela and Alex waved to us. Shit, it felt like we were sending babies off into danger to save another baby. I had to force myself not to run out and stop the car, to call them back. In my head, I knew Eve needed them, and that I needed to be here to deal with the psycho father Charlie sent our way. Motherfucker was going to get a piece of my mind, and maybe even a piece of my sword before this was all said and done. Splitting my team up was not something I wanted to do. It just felt wrong. Yet there was really no other choice for me at this point. Liam was right; we had to do things this way, at least this time.

Liam moved up beside me, his chest so close to my back I could feel the heat radiate off him, but he didn’t touch me. “Summer camp in the dead of winter, with werewolves, witches and Harpies. Sounds like fun to me.”

I didn’t fire anything back, just watched the caddie disappear into the frosty cold night. With no one around, Liam slipped his arm over my shoulders, and I turned and slid mine around his waist.

“They’ll be fine,” he said, squeezing me gently to his side. I pushed away from him, the moment of solidarity gone in an instant.

“Don’t say shit like that, you don’t know they’ll be fine. That’s not how it works in our world. People die all the time. This isn’t a movie where the good guys always miraculously pull through.”

He growled, low and under his breath. “What, do you want me to say that they’re going to get themselves killed?”

My feet stilled, the loose gravel underfoot shifting even though I’d stopped moving. “You know what, just don’t say anything. Can you manage that?”

The main door to the bar slammed, and Dox took a single step toward us, then froze. “I thought you two were getting along now.”

“We are,” we said at the same time. I drew in a sharp lungful of cold air, the bite of it along the back of my throat cooling my anger a little.

“I’m just being a bitch,” I grumbled.

Dox laughed. “You worry like a mother hen. It’s kinda cute.”

I punched him on the arm as I passed and headed into the bar. “I’m not f**king cute.”

Liam followed me in, and as he passed Dox, said, “Mother hen?”

Dox shrugged. “Well, I didn’t want to go with the more obvious mother bear. No need to encourage her bad behavior.”

The two men laughed together and I kept my back to them so they couldn’t see the smile that crept across my lips. No need to encourage them ganging up on me.

I stepped up to the bar and slumped onto one of the stools.

Doran emerged from the shadows and slid into the seat beside me. “Good to see you’ve kept your humor intact.”

I lifted an eyebrow at him. “Dox, I thought you said you cleared this place out?”

The ogre grunted as he stepped behind the bar. “Daywalkers, they’re like every other species of vermin. You think you got them all, but you always miss one.”