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

Seeing my gaze, Milly flushed and shut her robe. “It wasn’t here. I went to his house. I didn’t break your silly rule.”

I’d told Milly when she’d moved in that she wasn’t allowed to bring her boyfriends home with her in the hopes I wouldn’t have to see her and O’Shea together. It seemed even with the rule in place, I was still going to get to see the evidence. I stood up. “Fine.”

“I can keep an eye on her for a few days. I don’t have anything urgent to deal with. On one condition.”

Shrugging, I nodded. Likely, she wanted me to pick up some ingredient once I got to New Mexico. The state’s tagline was “Land of Enchantment”—and that was an understatement when it came to the supernatural. Which was a large part of the reason I’d picked North Dakota; it was one of the quieter spots in the country.

“Sure, what do you want?”

“Take your pets with you. Both of them.”

I blinked a couple of times, and then frowned. “How the hell am I supposed to sneak a Harpy into New Mexico exactly? Never mind take her on a salvage.” Alex wouldn’t be a problem, not really. I’d slip his spelled collar on and people wouldn’t see a werewolf, but an oversized dog. But there was no way I’d be able to hide a thousand pound Harpy.

“That isn’t my issue. You took them on, and I am not going to be responsible for them when you leave. Giselle is family; they aren’t.” Her arms crossed, and while she may have been frowning, I could see that she was legitimately upset. I just didn’t understand why.

I didn’t have time for this. “I can take Alex. I can’t take Eve. She’s too big. She’ll just hang out in the barn.”

Milly acted as though I hadn’t said anything past ‘She’s too big.’

“Here, this will hide her; it will make her about the size of a hawk.” She held out a coil of bright gold that had been woven into a clasping bracelet. A few diamonds sparkled and danced in the kitchen light. Jaw tight, I snatched it from her. As much as this would be handy, it pissed me off that Milly was giving me grief.

“What’s the problem with you? Not getting laid enough?” I snapped as I yanked the crossed shoulder sheath that carried my swords onto my back, then jerked my fleece lined leather jacket over them all.

She ignored my dig. “I didn’t ask to take care of them. I did not bring them home. It’s enough that I take care of myself and Giselle. If it was my choice, they’d both be sent back to their own kind.”

I froze in mid-reach for the doorknob. “Their own kind? You mean the ones who would slaughter them?”

Milly held her ground. “You might be immune to the werewolf, but I’m not, and neither is Giselle. You forget that those around you aren’t immune the way you are. Even if he wouldn’t act in malice, all it would take is a simple paper cut and a little drool— something Alex is never short on—and I’d be furry for the rest of my life.” Milly tossed her hair and continued. “Never mind the fact that a Harpy is hardly safe for anyone to be around. They are not known for their kindness. It’s why the black Coven spelled them in the first place, instead of just hiring them.”

I shook my head; I was so angry I couldn’t even answer her. Both Eve and Alex had nowhere else to go, their ‘own kind’ didn’t want them. Worse, their ‘own kind’ had put out death warrants on them both. The last of her words sunk in and I lifted my eyes to Milly’s. “How do you know how the Black Coven was doing things?”

Giselle sat swaying in her seat, the coffee in her hand sloshing over and splashing onto the table.

Milly’s eyes flashed. “Don’t question me, Rylee. I was kicked out of my Coven over my ties with you.”

My jaw dropped. “What the hell are you talking about?” At least she had the grace to flush. “Your precious Coven was trying to kill you; have you forgotten already?”

She strode across the room, helped Giselle to her feet and headed out of the kitchen. Over her shoulder, she cast her final words, green eyes flashing.

“Don’t make me take more drastic steps, Rylee. This may be your home, but I will protect myself in whatever manner I see fit. And if that means getting rid of your pets personally, then so be it.”

2

“Mother f**king whore!” I shouted to the grey, snow filled clouds overhead as I stomped out to the barn. Of all the times for Milly to decide she wasn’t comfortable with Alex and Eve, this was not it. Lately, she’d been moody, not sleeping well, not to mention the whole Coven trying to kill her business. No doubt she was on edge, but this was ridiculous. And the timing was oh-so-shitty.

I needed to find this kid, and then book it for New Mexico. I could feel the time ticking down. A week was going to be tight, and I had a bad feeling it wouldn’t be enough. At least not enough to deal with whatever the hell was going on. For a brief moment I considered contacting O’Shea. I could use some help with this, but I immediately banished the thought. Let him and Milly go their way, and I’d go mine. A clean break was what I needed if I was going to get over whatever it was I was feeling for the agent. I banged the barn door open, not bothering to be subtle about it, and startled Eve awake. My bad.

A grumpy, thousand pound, half-awake Harpy is not a pleasant sight. The body of a bird, torso, br**sts and head of a woman (albeit large enough not to look out of proportion to the rest of her), she sported a wicked beak from the lower half of her face. Talons gripped the bales of hay she’d been sitting on, crushing them easily. She hissed at me, her beak clacking; her large golden eyes unfocussed as she lunged my way.

“Eve, stop!” I yelled, dropping into a roll and then diving under a swipe of her claws. Using her name should have snapped her out of this, but for some reason, she didn’t respond. Dodging and diving between barn posts, I kept her at bay. “Eve, wake up!” I didn’t want to hurt her, I was her mentor now, the last thing I should have been doing was sticking her with one of my blades. Besides, I suspected being wounded would only make her more pissy; not the effect I was going for. I pressed up against the back of the barn, the big doors behind me creaking before I finally pulled a sword.

Letting out a screech, the Harpy came at me, beak wide open, her eyes shut. I raised my sword, prepping myself for the blow.

A flurry of black and silver whipped between us.

“Evie, bad!”

Eve froze and blinked twice, then looked down at me and my rescuer. “Alex?”

He frowned up at her, and then struck one claw over the other. “Bad, Evie. No hurt, Rylee.”

She looked over at me, then bobbed her head, eyes clearing as she came fully awake. “I’m sorry. I was having a bad dream about a demon and thought I could smell him.”

“No shit, you were having a bad dream.” I grumbled, sliding my sword back into its sheath. “Alex, you’re going to come with me, we’ve got some work to do and then we’re going to see Dox.”

Amber eyes lit up as he started to hop and jump around my legs like an excited puppy. “Brownies!” He yelped.

“Yeah. Maybe.”

I fingered the gold bracelet in my pocket. I couldn’t ask Eve to wear it, not after the spell the black Coven had used to control her consisting of a large ruby buried in her foot. There was still an imprint in her flesh where it had been buried and used to control her. “Eve, you will have to find somewhere else to roost while I’m gone.”

Alex frowned up at me. “Evie come?”

“No, Eve can’t come. I can’t hide a Harpy.”

She sat back and preened her feathers. They’d gone from a greasy brown to a glistening sable and tan with a little extra care. “You are my mentor. I should come with you. To help, and to learn.”

I held back a groan, teeth clenched. “I can’t hide you, Eve. You’re too big.” I rubbed my hands over my face, the air around me crackling with cold. “Listen, I have to go to New Mexico after my salvage. You could go ahead of me, stay with my friend Dox until I get there. Can you do that?”

She paused in her grooming. “I can fly quickly. I can be there in no time.”

Okay, that was one problem dealt with. What I would do with her once I got to New Mexico was beyond me, but at least Milly wouldn’t be doing anything drastic. I put a hand over my eyes; the only thing that would make this day worse would be O’Shea showing up to see Milly. I didn’t think I was ready yet to watch them play kissy face.

The sound of a vehicle pulling into the yard jerked my head up. I peeked out the barn door to see O’Shea step out of a black SUV. Damn, I just had to think of the worst-case scenario, didn’t I?

Dressed as a typical FBI agent, he wore a dark suit under a long black trench coat, sunglasses and with his raven-coloured hair slicked back. Man in black and all that jazz. Not so typical in that he was one of a very few people that knew the supernatural existed, I mean, truly ‘I believe in dragons’ kind of knew.

“Shit.”

Alex peeked out the crack in the door below me. “Man with gun.”

“Yes, now shush.”

I should have been prepping to leave, should have been piling my gear into the Jeep and peeling out of here. But O’Shea was walking up the steps and knocking on the door. A terrible, masochistic side of me wanted to see them together. Only then would it be real, only then could I—maybe—let go of this silly hope he might have more than professional feelings for me. Stupid, I know.

Milly came to the door, still in her robe, which gaped open completely with a gust of wind; even I could see her bare br**sts — there was no way he’d miss them at that range.

“Nipples.” Alex muttered.

Good grief, no man was safe from her charms.

I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but Milly leaned over, pressing herself against O’Shea before pointing to the barn. He glanced over his shoulder and I pulled back from the door.

“Time to go,” I said. So there, I’d seen them together. I knew they’d seen each other over the last week. Milly had said it was for coffee, but that was just one of her many code words for sex. It didn’t bother me. Nope, not one bit.