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

“Well, that’s just fantastic,” he grumbled. “Should we be expecting more than one?”

Pamela shook her head. “There are less than six giants left in the world. Only one resides here in Great Britain, and from what I read, he spends most of his times in the wilds. It would be quite unusual for him to come this far south, actually.”

“How do you know all this?” Liam glanced down at the young witch, making eye contact with her for a split second. That was an improvement for him.

She gave him a tentative smile. “I like to read, and once Jack’s library was opened up for us, I read everything I could about our world.”

Smart girl.

We left the empty bag behind and started out again along the path. The depressions we had noticed before were clearly visible for what they were now—giant footsteps.

“Rylee, do you think the giant is here for us?” Pamela’s eyes flicked up to mine, then back to the ground at her feet.

I couldn’t lie to her. “Probably. Though how the hell anyone knew we were coming this route, I don’t know.”

I had made sure that only Deanna and Will understood why we were choosing to use the castle as our means of travel. It hadn’t been our first choice. Liam, Pamela, and I had gone to an airport and boarded; Alex was put underneath in the cargo hold. We’d sat in the plane for three hours before everyone was forced to disembark.

Apparently, the engines wouldn’t start, and the humans couldn’t figure out why—as soon as all the passengers were off, the engines miraculously revved to life. Supernaturals causing grief again and the humans were none the wiser. Though it had been a pain in the ass for us.

I’d suggested going to Agent Valley, to use his specially rigged jet that blocked whatever vibrations supernaturals gave off, but Liam had wanted to avoid his old boss. He wouldn’t say why, even when I pressed him. My suspicions were that he didn’t want to get roped into working for the AA division. Which, with Agent Valley showing up when he did, was exactly what would have been required of us in exchange for using the FBI’s plane.

That had left only one option.

In order to get us all home together, this was the only route we had left to us. Even if I knew how to jump the veil like that a**hole, Faris, Liam couldn’t cross the veil like that. It had to be a physical crossing, like the way he’d come with Milly. A pain in the ass, but it was what we had to deal with unless we wanted to take a boat across the Atlantic in the dead of winter. Not something I was interested in, thank you very much.

The path wound through the forest, and as we walked, a light drizzle started. Alex grumbled up ahead about the ‘fucking wet’, Liam chuckled softly, and even Pamela laughed.

Me, not so much. All I could think about was why the hell this giant showed up here. Now.

Right in our way. And how the hell we were going to get by it?

I had a sudden, terrible feeling that someone didn’t want us going home. Unfortunately, I didn’t think it would be Will popping out to stop us from leaving. Not this time.

Chapter 3

THE CASTLE STOOD on an outcropping of rock that overlooked the channel, but calling it a castle was a bit of stretch. A pile of crumbled rocks, which maybe at some point had been a castle, were strewn about for at least a quarter mile. Maybe a thousand years ago it had been a fortress, a stronghold on the edge of the island. But not anymore.

“Holy shit,” Liam whispered.

I pulled up my second sight and sucked in a gasp of air. A castle it was, indeed. But it wasn’t the castle that made me suck air, no, the castle, turrets, and thick stone walls weren’t the issue. The issue was the giant sprawled out in front of it sleeping on his side facing us. His body stretched the entire front entrance to the castle, blocking it effectively. Tanned a deep brown, the giant looked just like a man, only on a gargantuan scale. Ruddy brown hair topped his head and dusted the parts of his body that were visible—which was a lot of him since he seemed to be wearing nothing but a loincloth that happened to be hanging to the side, giving us a full view of his—

“Nasty,” Pamela said softly. I had to agree, there was far too much visible in the way of what the loincloth was supposed to be hiding.

On the top edges of the castle, along the battlements, movement caught my eye. I squinted, but couldn’t tell what I was seeing. “Liam, can you see what’s moving around up there?”

He stared long and hard, as did Alex. Liam spoke first. “Humanoid, but bigger. If I can see even that much at this distance, they’ve got to be competing with Dox for size.”

Shit, Ogres and Trolls were comparable in size. The last dealings we’d had with Trolls had been nothing short of a clusterfuck, though we’d come out on top. Sort of. And ogres? Well, unless they were blue like Dox—which I was doubting—we were in serious trouble. Ogres, like so many supernaturals, were territorial and freaking touchy about what they deemed as ‘theirs’. Not to mention, they loved to fight and took any reason, good or bad, to start one. Neither option left us in a good spot.

“I just don’t understand, why is the giant here?” Pamela stared out across the rocky ground, and her question was spoken softly. Almost like she wasn’t aware she asked out loud.

“I think someone doesn’t want us going home, or at the very least, they want to split us up.” I turned a slow circle to check behind us. There were a few possible culprits. Faris was at the top of the list, Milly was close behind, and much as I hated to admit it, Berget was on that damn list too. So much for trusting family.

Did it matter which one of them was trying to stall us or split us up? No, not really. We just had to deal with the shit they tossed our way. But if I had to put money on anyone, it was Faris. Milly seemed to be out of commission since her pregnancy was progressing, and Berget … well, maybe I just didn’t want to believe it was her. Faris though, he had some serious motivation. He needed me to solidify his throne, and I’d turned him down. Berget needed the same thing from me, but she already held the throne. As long as Faris didn’t prove her claim false, she was sitting pretty.

Vampires were not known for going easy on people that had pissed them off.

And I’d definitely pissed Faris off.

To be sure, I Tracked the three possible culprits. I couldn’t feel Berget or Milly, which told me they were both still on the mainland, across the water.

Faris though, he wasn’t far at all. From the direction his threads pulled at me, he was at Jack’s place; I Tracked Jack. Faris was right on top of him.

Every instinct in me jammed up my throat and tried to force me to turn around. I wanted to protect the old Tracker, even though he’d been a total dick. Damn him, and damn my innate tendencies. No, Deanna and Will were with Jack, I would have to let them deal with the vampire. Though how the hell he’d managed to get so close to Jack during the day was beyond me.

Liam moved silently to my side, and thoughts of Jack had to be pushed to the back burner. “We have to plan this. We can’t just run in like you usually do.”

My spine stiffened and, irritated, I glared up at him. “What’s your plan then, Boss?”

His jaw tightened for a split second, then relaxed. “Whatever is up on top of the battlements will alert the giant when we’re seen. We need to take them out first if possible, and then we can slip around the big bastard and into the castle.”

“You don’t know that they—whatever they are—will alert him.” I crossed my arms. He’d been a supernatural for less than two months, for him to think—

He shrugged. “It’s what I would do. Why put myself in danger if I had a giant to do my dirty work for me?”

Damn it. Time to swallow my pride.

Liam was right.

“Pamela.” I reached out and touched her shoulder, drawing her back to us. “What kinds of spells have you got that might be able to help us here?”

She sucked in her bottom lip and frowned in thought. “I could start a fire. Or cause an earthquake.”

I was already shaking my head. “No, something quiet and stealthy. We need to get by that giant without him ever waking up if we can.”

She lifted her hands, palms up. “Everything I’ve learned is destructive and rather loud. And I don’t think I could pin him” —she pointed to the sleeping giant— “down, he’s too big.”

I glanced out again toward the castle. Where we stood, we were still hidden by the trees. But the minute we stepped toward the castle, we would be in the wide open, exposed to everything across the open field.

There was no way to make this easier. The front gate was the entrance through the veil; there was no other entrance from here. We had no choice, we had to go in that way or we would have no shot at getting home. Fuck, this was not going to be easy.

“I think we’re going to have to just make a run for it.”

Liam snorted. “What happened to having a plan?”

“This is a plan, not a great one, but do you see any other way? Cause if you do, let’s hear it.”

The three of them were silent. That’s what I thought. No, it wasn’t a great plan. Shit, I knew that. But what other choice did we have?

I fingered the handle of my sword. It looked to be about a mile between us and the castle. I knew that I could run it in under ten minutes, and both Liam and Alex could outstrip my time with ease.

Pamela though, was not as fast as us.

“I’ll pack her,” Liam said, surprising me. No, really surprising me. Not because he knew what I was thinking, but because of his willingness to let Pamela so close to him.

I didn’t question him though, just nodded.

Pamela chewed on her lower lip, and Liam turned his back to her so she could climb on. This was about to get interesting.

The little witch hadn’t even climbed on his back and he was already sweating. Maybe he just needed to prove to himself that he could handle being around a witch. No, he needed to prove it to Rylee so that he could work with Pamela. Even though she was young, she was a part of Rylee’s team. A part of their pack.