Immune(Rylee Adamson #2)(9) by Shannon Mayer
“Do I need to say it?”
I thought about it. “Yes. Because I don’t want there to be any illusions.”
“We’re going to find the kid, and kill the Troll.”
Smiling, I put my hand on the door out to the bar, opening it before I answered him, and again the place went quiet.
A quick glance around showed me the bouncer had buggered off. Good. The last thing I needed was a bad ass trying to prove himself.
There was a flash of movement, faster than any human I’d ever met, and a set of hands grabbed me from the side, lifting me high into the air. With my arms pinned, there wasn’t much I could do but kick and scream. I settled for kicking, swinging the back of my boot heel first into the bouncer’s ear. He roared with anger and I hoped a lot of pain, but didn’t let go.
There was a swirl of movement and the bouncer went still. As if he’d been turned into stone. Not so impossible in my line of work. From what I could see, O’Shea had a rather large knife resting just under the bouncer’s jaw. It looked like one of mine I’d left behind in the root cellar. Good, at least it would be spelled to cut deep and fast.
O’Shea adjusted his stance; it would allow him a clean, fast cut. “Put her down.” His voice was as cold as the weather outside. The bouncer did as he was told, only he threw me at O’Shea, sending us both crashing to the floor. I kicked out behind me in the air, blindly, and caught something on the bouncer. It felt like his upper thigh. Grabbing for my sword handle, I got my blade out in time to follow the kick with a swing of my sword that bit through his belly. He flailed backwards, hands over his guts. I didn’t want to kill anyone; that wasn’t my game. But he wasn’t exactly human. I just hadn’t figured out quite what he was.
I got to my feet, brushing my clothes off. “I tried to be nice, tried to keep this simple. But you are really pissing me off.”
The bouncer grimaced at me, a bare flash of his teeth . . . ah, now I understood why he was giving us such problems.
I crouched down beside his face, placing the edge of my sword across his throat, let the pressure of the blade split his skin through to blood. He swallowed and rolled large, amber eyes up to mine. He was a strong one to be able to shift back and forth, to hide right under the human’s noses.
“If I know what you are,” I whispered. “Then you must know what I am.”
One blink of those wolf-like orbs satisfied me as a yes.
My lips were almost against his ear. “Since you’re here, and I’m here.” I took a deep breath, recognizing the wolf musk for what it was now. “Take a message to your bitch for me.”
He let out a growl and I put a bit of pressure on the blade, felt it rest up against his esophagus. “Tell her if she keeps hounding my wolf, I will start a new business and add Hunter to my resume.”
I stood, wiped my blade on his torn shirt, and then strode to the door, glancing over my shoulder at O’Shea who stood there a tad bit wide-eyed. Of course, he didn’t know the bouncer would be just fine. “He’s one of Alex’s old friends. He’ll be peachy keen in no time.”
Understanding dawned on his face. “Same ones who tried to kill him last month?”
The bouncer squirmed on the floor.
“Yup. Same ones.”
O’Shea said nothing more, just made his way to my side and we left Bottoms Up.
I ran to the SUV and piled in, rubbing my arms. If the bouncer/werewolf had tried anything outside, there was no way I’d have been able to fight him. Again, the short exposure to the cold was all it took to numb my fingers and toes, and even though O’Shea cranked the heat up, my teeth were chattering.
Alex took one sniff of me and recoiled as if I’d slapped him.
“No, no, no. Stinky, bad wolf.” He started to rock in his seat, weaving his upper body back and forth, whimpering in between words.
“Rylee, we have to go,” O’Shea said.
“I know, just give me a minute.” I was climbing into the back to soothe Alex, his eyes almost rolling back in his head with fear.
“No, I mean we have to go now.” He threw the SUV into gear and hit the reverse while I tried to calm the freaked out werewolf in the backseat.
“What the hell?” I yelped, crashing into the backseat. “You aren’t helping!”
“The bouncer had friends.”
I whipped around in my seat to see a half dozen ‘friends’ swarm out the doors of the strip joint and shift into wolf form. Unlike Alex, who was trapped between human and wolf, these werewolves were strong enough for a full shift in either direction. The wolf part of them was far oversized compared to a natural wolf. They were at least five feet at the shoulder and around four hundred pounds. Fast, lean, predators. Six of them; shit we were in trouble.
“Go, go, go!” I shouted. “They can rip open this SUV like a tin can.”
O’Shea put the SUV into gear and hit the gas, fishtailing in the snow. Out the back window the pack was gaining on us, their claws digging into the hard-packed snow, where our tires struggled for traction. Alex cowered in the back seat, claw-tipped hands covering his head.
It was like watching a bad horror flick up close and personal, the size of the werewolves making it feel like I was watching them in a rear view mirror, ‘Objects may be closer than they appear.’
If we crashed we were dead, either by werewolf or vehicular manslaughter. “Can you go any faster?”
“Not unless you want another flipped vehicle. It’s too slick.” He barely got the words out before we were slammed from behind, the screech of claws on metal tearing at my ears. The werewolves were peeling the SUV like a banana. Shit, I had to slow them down.
Grabbing my bag of gear, I pulled out my little black box. Inside was an array of pre-made spell bombs Milly had put together for me. I grabbed the green one and cracked the hard shell to reveal the true bomb inside. Encased in a balloon, it would break on contact, spreading to everything in the vicinity. Simple and effective.
Holding it carefully, I crawled over to the back seat. There were holes in the back of the SUV that had not been there moments before. This was not good on so many levels. The wind howled in, freezing up my body even while my heart pumped hard with adrenaline.
“Roll down the back window.”
“Are you crazy?”
I waited, poised for the one moment I would have. I could see all six of the pack members, bunched together as they prepped for their next leap. The window went down, and the pack leapt as a unit. I threw the spell-bomb and yelled the ignition word.
A flash of green lit the air behind us and the pack was thrown backward, landing in a heap as still as death. The spell would keep them away from us for at least ten minutes, plenty of time to get the hell out of Dodge.
It wound up, clicked shut, and while some of the wind was blocked, it was still not warm enough. Alex snuffled up against me and I slid my arms around him. His body vibrated with fear, but he was like a large, heated blanket.
“Rylee, what the hell was that?” O’Shea asked.
“One of Milly’s spells. It repels things.”
I couldn’t help feeling proud of Milly. “Most witches can’t repel a mosquito with that spell; it’s complex and draining to make. Milly’s been making them since she was seventeen.”
“Remind me to thank her.”
I grunted and buried my face into Alex’s fur, breathing in the scent of home. No way was I going to remind O’Shea of anything that had to do with Milly. Call me childish if you want, but I didn’t have to help them get along. I wouldn’t stand in their way, but I wasn’t going to throw them a freaking party.
“I need you to talk to me.” O’Shea said, his voice sounding further away than it should have.
“So I know you’re still with me.”
I shivered, a blast of cold curling around my face. “This shouldn’t be happening.”
Lifting my eyes up, I caught his look in the rear view mirror. “Why not, you were stung by a demon?”
“I’m an Immune, someone who can’t be affected by venom, bites, nothing. This is impossible.” I started to shake. Alex curled around me, sheltering me from the cold only I seemed to be able to feel. O’Shea slipped out of his long trench coat as he drove and handed it back to me. It was still warm from his body and his cologne hung heavy on it. Wrapping the coat around me, I warmed up considerably. I wanted to believe it wasn’t because of the sudden rush of hormones racing through my system. Just from a single sniff of cologne? Gods be damned, I was in trouble.
“So, what else could it be?”
I didn’t answer him, because I didn’t know. Instead, I focused on the kid, Ricky, felt him pull me to the side, his life force an easy beacon. “Turn left.”
O’Shea cranked the wheel to the right, heading toward the interstate. “We are not going after this kid yet.”
I sat up, bracing myself against the cold. “I said turn left! The kid is the other way.”
“You can’t go after him, not like this. You said you could get help in New Mexico, so that’s where we’re going.”
My jaw dropped and I struggled to understand that O’Shea had just hijacked my plans. Shivering, my body was shaking so hard I couldn’t even still my fingers enough to lock my seatbelt around me.
“Turn around, O’Shea. Kid first,” I said through chattering teeth.
He shook his head, and I wanted to hit him. “You’ll pass out in the next few minutes, and then we’ll go where I say we’re going.”
“Son of a bitch,” I yelled, trying to use my anger to fuel me, to gain enough energy to prove I could deal with this. The burst of anger did nothing but seem to drain me more, and I slumped into my seat, head lolling against Alex.
“You’re an a**hole,” I mumbled as unconsciousness pulled me under again.