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Rising Darkness(Rylee Adamson #9)(19) by Shannon Mayer

“Seriously, what have you all been feeding him?” I blew a sharp breath of air out my nose to clear the fumes.

“Wait,” Berget froze in place, and her eyes went distant. Before I could ask her anything, Doran shoved me behind him and Faris caught me, his arms snaking around me.

Berget seemed to be seeing something and then she shook her head, coming back to herself. “My parents . . . .” she looked for me, and saw that Doran and Faris had put themselves between us. Her lips tightened, but she said nothing about their sudden change in positions. “They said the werewolf has a point. The demons are tracing Rylee’s essence. If we change her essence, then the demons can’t trace her.”

“Essence?”

She shrugged. “Someone has a portion of your blood. That has to be how they are tracing you. If you change the makeup of your blood, then they can’t find you anymore. Nice and simple.”

“I can’t become a shifter, or a vampire for that matter.” I wormed out of Faris’s grip and moved closer to her. The boys didn’t trust her, but I did. I’d seen the edge of death with her, and her parents had spoken to me. They really did understand their best interest lay in letting Berget live her own life without their interference.

Berget smiled. “True, but that doesn’t mean the process wouldn’t work.”

I frowned, and rubbed a hand over my face. “Spell it out for me. I’m too tired to be smart.”

“If you exchanged blood with a vampire, it would change the essence, your blood, for a period of time before your immunity kicked it out. It’s not a perfect solution, but you could do it whenever you needed to Track someone.”

Shit. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. “It would have to be you or Faris then.”

“Not you,” Doran snapped, looking at Berget. His face softened along with his tone. “I’m sorry, Berget, but we can’t risk her. You know that.”

Berget gave a slight nod, but her posture said it all. His lack of trust hurt her. And I knew she secretly, or maybe not so secretly, loved him. That was the other reason I would never turn his way, despite what I’d said.

“Faris would be better anyway.” She didn’t give a reason, but Doran nodded in agreement.

Doran glanced at Faris. “Are you willing to exchange blood with her?”

I was surprised he didn’t jump on the table and dance. A blood exchange is what he’d been jonesing for as long as I’d known him. A way to bind us together. Fucking hell, and now it seemed I was giving him his wish. The blond-haired vampire inclined his head slightly. “If that will help, then yes.”

I rolled my eyes. “Please.”

Those blue eyes fucking sparkled when they looked my way. They said a number of things. One of which was “I’m going to make you love this.” Damn me and my ability to read people.

“It might be best,” Faris said as he stood, and motioned to the empty decanter beside me, “if you’re going to offer your blood to everyone else then this would be a good time to test the theory.”

Berget’s lips tightened. “We don’t have to test it, this will work and you know it.”

“What are you really up to?” My hands twitched, itching to have a blade in them. Just in case.

Faris was far too sly for this to be anything but a ruse to get what he wanted. I took two strides and shoved him—hard. He stumbled back, totally caught off guard. “You’re up to something, vampire, and you’re damn well telling me before I agree to anything with you. Doran might think you’re the safer bet, but that doesn’t mean I agree.”

He ended up against the window ledge, leaning his ass against it. Still, he wasn’t angry and that made me believe he really was up to something. Something I wouldn’t like.

Fucking vampires.

Alex grumbled in his sleep. “Fucking vampires.”

It seems you’re connection to Alex has grown. I sense him through you without you Tracking him, Blaz said softly to me.

Fantastic. I slid a hand through my hair. “Everyone out.” Faris made a move to stand and I pointed at him. “You keep your ass glued.”

Berget passed close by me. “I’ll be right outside the door.”

Doran looked at Alex. “You’ll keep him in here, for what good it will do.”

I nodded, but kept my eyes on Faris.

The room emptied and the silence that fell was weighted, heavy with emotions and possibilities. “You are going to come clean with me, Faris, or it won’t matter that Liam’s soul is in you. I know he’ll move on, and I’ve grieved him once.”

He pushed off the window ledge and strolled toward me, touching things as he went. The table, the edge of a chair, the spine of a book. My eyes followed his hands, like watching a cobra slide through the air. “Rylee.”

Just my name, and fuck, I almost went under his spell, felt it curling through my blood. I did the only thing I could. “Liam.”

Faris shook his head. “He’s tucked away for the moment. Once I realized what was happening I made sure he couldn’t come forward. But”—he lifted those mesmerizing hands to my face—“his soul still calls to you, doesn’t it?”

I nodded, unable to move. My brain screamed that Faris was taking advantage of the situation; the rest of me didn’t give a flying fuck. He was Liam, Liam was in there.

And I wanted him.

He pressed his lips to my forehead. “I want you too, but not like this. I want you to want me for me, or not at all. Do you remember what I told you, about my past?”