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Blind Salvage(Rylee Adamson #5)(2) by Shannon Mayer

“Agent O’Shea. Good to see you.” Agent Valley held out his hand and Liam took it.

“Just Liam now, sir.”

Agent Valley blinked several times. “What does ‘just Liam now’ mean, exactly?”

Liam took a slow breath, but never looked away from his boss. “I’m not coming back to the office. Things have changed.”

Frowning, Agent Valley shook his head. “No, I won’t accept that. You are one of our best agents, O’Shea. My understanding is you are a … werewolf now. Is that correct? We can find ways to work around this disability. I have no doubt of that.”

Liam stiffened, his whole body seeming to freeze up.

I stepped in between them, stuck my face in Agent Valley’s, about as pissed off as I’d ever been. But I did manage to control myself; damn, I didn’t even pull a blade on him. Go me.

“Take your disability and shove it up your ass, Agent Valley. We’re leaving.”

Alex and Pamela made their way to the cab without being told and slid into the back seat. I scooped up my bag of weapons and followed them. Liam, though, stood there unmoving. Shit, the last thing I needed was for him to be unsure about this. We’d talked about it already, and Liam had agreed that the FBI put too many stipulations on its agents that worked with the supernatural. There was no way either of us could truly work for the FBI and still get the job done. They just didn’t understand what it took to get a job done, and they weren’t willing to bend.

Not to mention, Agent Valley had tried to throw me under the bus when I’d worked with him last. Not cool, not cool at all. And it wasn’t something I was about to forget.

Liam reached out and shook Agent Valley’s hand. “Thank you, sir. But we’ll both pass.”

Agent Valley, King of Dramatic reveals, waited until Liam was at the cab, his hand on the door.

“Of course, if that’s your decision, then I can respect that. But tell me just one thing. What do you know about a demon named Orion?”

Chapter 2

MY BACK STIFFENED and I clenched my jaw shut to keep from giving anything away. I turned ever so slightly and caught Liam’s eyes as they widened a fraction before he, too, caught himself.

“Nothing, sir,” Liam said, his voice even and smooth. Perfectly believable, I thought. Yet Agent Valley didn’t look convinced. Not a bit. His eyes narrowed and he clasped his hands in front of his belly.

“You’re telling me you don’t know anything about a demon named Orion? Or some prophecy that goes like this: the heart of the mountains he will prick, and the land will know Orion’s fury for being condemned to the seventh veil. He shall cleanse the land with fire for his coming.” Agent Valley’s eyebrows shot up over his muddy brown eyes. Liam shook his head and I mimicked him, as did Pamela and Alex. All together now, kiddos, and maybe Agent Valley would believe us. Though how he had this information intrigued me, it wasn’t enough to make me ask.

Will and Deanna withdrew. Though they didn’t know the particulars, they did know that I’d stuffed the black-skinned demon book into my weapons bag, which happened to speak a great deal about Orion. Not that Jack knew I’d taken it—no, we’d left a dummy book in its place.

I shrugged, going for casual. “Nope, not a single thing.” Nor did I want to know what Agent Valley had going on with his intelligence gathering. Humans were notorious for reading into things that weren’t there and missing the things that did exist. Nor did I want to guess at the prophecy he’d quoted to us. I’d been reading the black-skinned demon book of prophecies and there was nothing good in them. Not all of them were about Orion, but a lot of them were, enough to seriously worry me. Mostly, they were about how he would help the demon nation be reborn to the world, how he would kill the ‘Tracker’ and defile her corpse in a variety of ways.

Yeah, not exactly bedtime reading material.

Giselle had always told me prophecies were not to be ignored. But honestly, they were all so freaking contradictory, particularly when it came to comparing the demon’s prophecies to any other supernaturals. Black and white. So how could they both come to pass? That’s right, they couldn’t. I had to believe that. Giselle’s teachings, her words, floated in my head.

Different branches of possibilities. You know that. Don’t delude yourself, either side of a prophecy can come true dependent on people’s decisions.

Yeah, I did know it. I just didn’t want to think about any of the demon prophecies as being even remotely possible. Or of people being stupid enough to help the dark branches of prophecy along.

I slid into my seat beside Pamela in the back of the cab and shut the door. Or tried to. Agent Valley stuck his hand out and caught the door before I could shut it completely.

“Adamson, this is serious. The rumors that are flying—they make our little zombie problem from last month look like a picnic on a fine summer’s day. We don’t even know what the seventh veil is—worse, we have nothing on this Orion fellow. We need your help.”

I shrugged, did my best not to let him see my mind working. “Not my issue. I’m going home. And for the record, I don’t know what the seventh veil is either.” And that was the truth; whatever the veil fully encompassed, I didn’t know.

Liam slid into the passenger seat next to the cabbie.

Agent Valley took his hand off the door. “We think someone is trying to bring Orion through, to our side, and with everything I’ve heard about how very bad this demon is, I would think you wouldn’t want that.”

How the hell did he know all this? He’d gone from all but begging me to help him and his Arcane Arts division, to now knowing shit about the supernatural that we didn’t? The only answer was that he’d found someone to help him, someone who knew the supernatural. Maybe a Reader like Giselle that was my guess. Not that it mattered. If he got the information he wanted and didn’t need us, all the better.

I glared at him. “Guilt trips aside, who the hell would want a demon on our side of the veil, you moron? Find somebody else to do your dirty work. I find kids; I don’t go after demons. I don’t have what it takes to be some f**king superwoman.”

Liam gave the cabbie a nod and the driver turned over the key.

Nothing, the engine didn’t even sputter once. Fuck me sideways, it looked like Monday had struck again. I looked over Pamela’s head at Liam. “Too many of us.”

He gave a quick nod, and then opened the door. “Alex and I will meet you there.”

In other words, he would shift, and the two boys would run all the way to the point out in the bush where the cabbie would drop us off.

Pamela slid closer to me. “Will we have to wait for them?”

I snorted. “Not likely, they’ll probably beat us there, going as the crow flies.”

Liam and Alex disappeared around the side of the house. Agent Valley followed them, close on their heels. Shit. Liam would have to just deal with his boss without me.

“Ma’am, are you ready to go now?”

“Yes.”

I slammed the door shut and leaned back in my seat. The cabbie had no problem with the engine this time, and he maneuvered around Agent Valley’s black sedan.

Not a word was said, not one word. But my gut was rolling. Without a doubt, this news about Orion was bad … very, very bad. But I was being honest with Agent Valley. Demons were not my forte. Just look at what had happened when I’d tangled with the last one—a minor demon, on the scale of things. I’d almost died, and in the process, had nearly caused an apocalyptic winter. I was nobody’s hero.

Liam strode toward the back of the house, Alex tight on his heels.

“Running, Boss?” Alex panted eagerly, his ears flicking up and down several times.

“Yes.” Liam didn’t want to get in any sort of a discussion with the more submissive werewolf. While Liam liked him well enough, his wolf wanted very badly to remind Alex that he was still a submissive. Not that Alex stepped out of line very often, but there were little things.

Like Alex eating before him and Rylee were done. Or knocking into their legs, or pissing on the shrubbery around Jack’s mansion as if it was his territory. And the wolf in him was already on edge from dealing with Will and his pu**y cat attitude. Will’s desire for Rylee was obvious, both in his actions and his scent, and it sent Liam’s wolf into a rage he could barely contain. All of that together set the wolf in him off something fierce and made him want to pin the goofy werewolf to the ground and force him to submit. The logical side of his brain knew that was ridiculous; Alex was zero threat to his leadership or his relationship with Rylee. But the other side … .

“Liam. We aren’t done yet.” Agent Valley called to him, bringing Liam’s feet to a standstill. Even with the wolf in him, there were too many years of obeying his superiors to just turn it off completely. Besides, he owed Agent Valley a moment of his time, if nothing else.

Even his wolf understood that.

“Agent Valley, there isn’t anything I can do to help change her mind, so don’t bother asking.” Liam placed his hands on his hips, his back still to his former boss.

Agent Valley caught up to him, out of breath, his face flushed pink even with the cool mist that floated down on them. Liam took a breath in, scenting the air around them. Agent Valley didn’t smell like he’d been hanging out with humans. There was something else clinging to him, a faint hint of rot, though … .

“O’Shea, I don’t think anyone could change her mind once she’s set on a course; Adamson is stubborn as a rock. That’s what my mother would say.” Agent Valley walked along beside him.

“Then what is it you want?”

Alex angled his head so he could stare up at Agent Valley with one big golden eye. “Yeah. What you want with Boss?”

Valley startled, a shiver visibly running through him. “He never ceases to give me the heebie jeebies.” Then, seeming to catch what he’d implied, he lifted his hands. “I’m sorry, no offense meant. I’m still getting used to the idea of the supernatural even existing. Never mind going for a walk with one of them.”