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Rising Darkness(Rylee Adamson #9)(3) by Shannon Mayer

Yet as Milly set to teaching me, right then, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d made the right choice.

What if Rylee came back?

What would I do then?

No, she was never coming back, so those questions I would never have to answer.

CHAPTER 2

Rylee

“There, I feel Alex and Pamela there.” I pointed to the hulking gray hospital that rose up through the smog and the night sky. “Can you land?”

Blaz grunted. No, I will hover over the hospital roof and you three can hop off. I won’t be far. We need to go after the Destroyer soon. We have less than a week, remember that, Rylee. Not a lot of time to stop Orion before the veil opens and the demons pour through.

He dipped low, diving through the smog, and then in a sudden rush of wind, back-winged, hovering over the hospital roof. Twenty feet up, the roof looked a hell of a lot farther away. Sure, twenty feet wasn’t too bad. No problem.

Right.

My two companions leapt from Blaz’s back, landing lightly on the roof, and I followed. Months of an extreme workout regime had brought my body into shape like never before. I had always been lean and muscular, but never like this. Never to the point of feeling as though there was not an ounce of spare fat on me, like my body was a well-oiled machine.

I glanced at my two companions, one on four legs, one on two. “Peta,” I called softly to the snow leopard, her coloring making her look like a ghost. She turned her head so I could see her green eyes, even in the heavy smog. “You better do your shrinking act.”

She bobbed her head, and a shudder rippled through her body. I blinked and before me stood a gray and white house cat, a tiny white tip on the end of her tail. Peta, only ten pounds now instead of four hundred, ran toward me, leapt, and I caught her. She worked her way up to my shoulders and draped herself across them.

My two-legged companion put his hands on his hips, a frown marring his handsome features. “Tracker, are you sure this is necessary? You have a week to wrap this up before the demons swarm. Your sentimentality is going to get us all killed.” His blue eyes flared in the darkness.

I looked at him, giving his frown right back. “You got a better idea, vampire? We need help to find the Destroyer, even I admit that.”

Faris startled. “You’re asking for back up?”

Me, wanting back up? Not wanting to dive into danger alone?

Maybe I was growing up. Finally.

Blaz’s mirth floated through me. Doubtful.

Faris shook his head, blond hair falling over his eyes. He wore his typical black-on-black shirt and jeans. And with a brand new shiny arm, he was as dashing as ever. But for the first time since I’d met him, he carried a weapon. A curved cutlass that hung from his hip—very pirate like and it suited him. We’d come to an understanding while I’d been away to have the baby. Liam had helped him in the arm department, and that meant we were all playing nice. For now. Sorta.

So for the moment, we were on good terms. Or at least, about as good as we’d ever been.

“What are you staring at?” The throat of his shirt blew open with a sharp gust of wind, baring the pale flesh at his chest.

I shook my head. “Nothing. Just wondering when you’re going to turn on me this time.”

He put a hand to his chest. “Ah, you wound me terribly.” And then he rolled his eyes. Wounded, my ass.

A soft giggle rose behind us, startling us both.

I spun, pulling a blade as I did, dropping into a crouch. Peta let out a low growl, her tiny claws digging into my shirt.

Three young children stood across from us, perhaps two or three years old at the most. I swallowed the bile rising in my throat. If they were here on the rooftop, it wouldn’t be because their parents had lost track of them, or they’d just wandered off.

I could feel the demon power running through them, twisting around them like a snake wrapping them in its coils.

“Tracker, you should have stayed hidden.” The one in the middle spoke with a voice that rolled out deep and sonorous. The depth of it so totally wrong coming from a child’s mouth.

“Can’t,” I said, swirling my blade through the air. “You demons have taken far too much, and I am about to kick your tiny asses into next week.”

Faris grunted. “I may be an asshole, but I don’t think I can kill a child.”

Neither could I. But the demon didn’t need to know that. I glared at Farris. “Shut. Up.”

His eyes widened and then narrowed. “Don’t start with me, Tracker.”

I moved, not toward the demons, but toward Faris. “You do as I say on this side of the world, vampire. That’s the fucking deal. I lead, you follow. Capiche?”

From the corner of my eye, I could still see the children, and Faris was eyeing them the same way. “In three.”

He snorted, but his eyelids flicked to half-mast in agreement.

The three mini-demons shared a glance, one to the other and back again. “She isn’t carrying the fated one. We can kill her. The master will be pleased.”

The three of them joined hands, and a flash of light spilled from where they touched. Their bodies melted into each other leaving a form that was anything but childlike, its bulk heaving and lurching awkwardly as it tried to get its balance. The demon swelled and grew until it towered over us, its body sprouting mandibles and long pincers, three sets of them.

“One.” I glared at Faris and his lips twitched. Peta leapt from my shoulders.

He followed me, his hand going to his cutlass. “Two.”