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Immune(Rylee Adamson #2)(13) by Shannon Mayer

“I’m a supernatural, and I don’t know anything about any politics,” I said, readying myself for an attack from him. I knew from experience the bastard could move like lightening when he wanted to.

“You do not have a group to be a part of, unlike most supernaturals you are a loner. Trackers always are.” His eyes lost their glimmer, dulled, and he all but fell back into his chair. “I will not press myself on you. Your blood still hums through my veins and it makes me want to help. Lucky for you.”

I lowered my blade to let the tip trail on the ground. “Will Eve be alright?”

“It was a herb; like catnip for harpies. They crave it and it can put them out in seconds.” Now that would be handy to have on hand. Just in case.

“Sit down, Rylee. This will take more than a few minutes.”

Reluctantly, I did as he asked, plunking my ass into the over-stuffed patio chair. “Spill it.”

“Let us deal with the venom first. I will have to touch the spot where the demon pierced you.”

Damn it. “One hand only.” I rose up and walked over to him, heart suddenly in my throat. It was no worse than the last time when I’d had to give him blood for information, yet in its own way it was far more intimate.

Doran stood as I drew close and I opened up both jackets and slid my t-shirt down, baring my breastbone and a healthy view of my black lace bra. The shivering took me immediately.

Lifting one hand, Doran traced the lines of the scar that here, across the Veil, could be seen without using his second sight. The black snowflake shifted and moved as the wind hit it. As if it was real.

“Hoarfrost demon. That’s bad, and it confirms what I already thought. It will get worse for you, the cold growing until you are incapacitated,” Doran said, his eyes focused on the snowflake as his fingers skimmed the edges of it.

I thought perhaps he would try something, but true to his word, he held off. There was no sensation of him touching me; it was if there was a block between his skin and mine where the snowflake was.

“The demon venom, it is not like anything else. You’re lucky you are an Immune, otherwise . . . .”

I nodded and stepped back, straightening my shirt. “Yeah, new ice age and all that jazz.”

“Do not be flippant about this, Tracker. It could still happen. Your immunity is protecting you from something that is beyond chaos; it would be worldwide devastation if it came to pass.”

That was not expected.

“How do I get it out of me?”

“Heat. Lots and lots of heat. You need to sweat it out while being surrounded by the proper protective spells, and held in the arms of one you trust to keep you safe while vulnerable. It is, to say the least, complicated. And it would require more than one Shaman. Which will be difficult with the other four missing.”

I stared at him. No Shaman would ever willingly give up so much information, not even Louisa, and I would count her as one of my few friends. “Faris scares you that badly?”

Everything in the Daywalker tensed, right down to the tips of his spiky hair that seemed to quiver. “If you are not afraid of him, you are a fool. Since he sent you to me, it means he does not want you to have this demon venom coursing through you. He wants you as his own, Rylee. That would not be . . . healthy for you.”

The pause in his words, his stance, everything put me on edge. I could feel the energy swirling around, the tension feeding off our fears. “If there’s more, tell me. Did you take the other Shamans?”

He shook his head. “No. I had nothing to do with their disappearance.”

“Or the fact that Louisa is back and claiming Dox raped her?”

His eyes widened and he pursed his lips. “Louisa would have killed the ogre before he raped her. She is a powerful Shaman.”

We stared into each other’s eyes, locked in a battle of wills. “Tell me where she is.”

“I don’t know.”

I’d had enough; Ricky was waiting on me, I had no time to waste. Flicking my blade upward, I advanced on him. “One way or another, Doran, you are going to help me. You know more than you are letting you on.”

He didn’t back away, just let me get closer with my blade aiming for his heart. “I do not know where Louisa and the other Shamans are. Why don’t you Track them?”

“Not the point. I think you had something to do with them going missing. Your talk of politics and your fear of the vampire makes me think you’re hiding something.” Gods, I was starting to sound like O’Shea. What did it matter if I was on the edge of vampire politics? Who the f**k cared who ran their world?

My blade touched his chest, slicing through the material of his shirt. “Talk to me, Doran. You can always say I forced you.”

Laughing, Doran batted my blade away; I brought it back to rest over his heart. “Rylee, I cannot tell you anything or my life will be forfeit. As it is, I am walking a fine edge. Find Louisa and the other Shamans, and I will help you purge the demon venom. On two conditions.”

Always something.

“What?”

Again, he pushed the blade down. “The first is, I want the demon venom we purge.”

It probably wasn’t a good idea to let him get his hands on it, but I couldn’t see a way around this. “Fine. And what’s number two?”

Grinning at me, his green eyes were back to their lively sparkle and he leaned toward me. “A kiss from your lips. No fangs.”

I grimaced. “Seriously? You can have that now as a down payment.” I moved to close the distance between us, but he raised his hand.

“No, at a time when I choose.”

Bloody Shamans were all the same. Even when they said they were helping, they were causing more grief. “Fine. But no funny business.”

He put his hand over his heart and the nick I’d given him. “I swear it. Now, go find your Shaman; I will begin to prepare the ceremony to draw out the venom. And one more thing.” He tossed me something, a sparkling black jewel on a thin leather band. I caught it with my free hand and the cold rushed out of me in a flash of heat. I stared down at the black gem. Red flames sparkled through it, moving as if were alive, not unlike the snowflake. My fingers clenched the small jewel and I lifted my eyes to Doran.

He smiled. “A fire opal. It won’t last more than forty-eight hours, but it will hold the cold at bay for you. Long enough to find Louisa and the others, I think. One thing you should know, wearing the opal will hold the cold at bay, but when it runs out, the cold will have multiplied.”

“In other words, don’t drop it,” I said.

Doran tugged at his lip ring with his right fang, and gave me a nod. Got it, don’t drop the fire opal or I was going to be in even worse trouble than now.

I swallowed the thanks on the tip of my tongue, settling for a smile and stepped back from him. Already the heavy buffalo jacket felt too warm.

Making as if he would leave, I tapped him on the shoulder with my blade, and pointed at the sleeping Harpy. “You forgot something.”

“Ah, right. The Harpy. How angry will she be when she wakes?”

“She’s always pissy when she’s been disturbed.”

He tossed me a small bag I caught easily. “Put that under her beak, it will rouse her.”

I sniffed the contents. “Smelling salts?”

But the Daywalker Shaman had already disappeared, leaving it up to me to explain what had happened.

I slid the fire opal on, intensely glad I had it. Holding the bag under Eve’s nose, I waited for it to take effect, mulling over what Doran had told me, what he hadn’t, and what I could figure out from his almost cryptic words. He’d mentioned vampire politics, but never explained. Maybe that was what he was worried about getting in trouble for? Possibly. Better than all that, the fire opal hanging around my neck rested against the snowflake, holding the venom at bay. This was more than I’d expected when I’d come to Doran. I was going to have to be nicer to the Daywalker next time I saw him.

Eve came around with a start, eyes blinking, beak snapping. “Where is that little bastard? I will rip his head off!” She screeched, wings flapping as she spun in a circle before settling her eyes on me.

“Did you kill him?”

I had to force myself to keep my feet still at the look in her eye. “No. I’m sorry, Eve. He didn’t tell me what he was up to until after he’d done it.”

She ruffled her feathers. “I do not wish to be here any longer, it stinks.” Her eyes darted around though, showing her discomfort.

Climbing up onto her back, I settled in for the ride back to the Landing Pad, gripping her body with my legs. “Okay, let’s head back.”

She launched into the air with one smooth jump, wingtips brushing the tops of Doran’s home. “Will Alex be angry with you for leaving him?”

“It’s not Alex I’m worried about.” I thought about O’Shea. Damn, he was going to be royally pissed when we got back.

“I think the agent will be the one who will shout at you. He acts as though he has some say in your doings.”

I started to answer her, but she kept on talking over me.

“It’s as if he thinks he is your mate, as if he alone is able to help you. Phaw, my mother told me all men are like that, full of themselves, thinking they are always needed when in fact they aren’t.”

Ducking my head against the sharp wind, grateful for the fire opal, I chose not to answer.

Dealing with O’Shea was not going to be fun, but really, when had it ever been? How about when he planted those lips of his on yours?

Hunching my shoulders, I tried to insulate myself from my own traitorous thoughts. Motherfucking hormones had the better of me as I replayed the scene in the hotel room, the hard lines of his body.

Eve’s voice caught me unaware, so deep into my own thoughts as I was. “Are you all right, Rylee?”

“Yeah. I’m fine.”

The Harpy banked hard and I clung to her back, shouting over the wind. “Hey, are you trying to drop me?”