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Shadowed Threads(Rylee Adamson #4)(11) by Shannon Mayer

“Adamson, good to see you here. We need to talk.” Agent Valley, his short squat body moving at a speed I still didn’t comprehend how he managed with his stubby legs and rotund gut, was just there at my side, his fingers tightening around my forearm.

“Well, Agent Valley, I thought you would have gone home by now.” Our last meeting hadn’t gone so well. A screaming match, a barking werewolf, a young girl ready to light the whole place on fire with her magic. Yeah, not so well at all.

“No, I’m waiting on my best agent.”

I cringed and he let out a barking laugh. “Not you, Adamson. O’Shea. You’re going after him, aren’t you?”

The muscles in my neck and jaw tightened. “You going to be a pain in my ass if I say yes?”

“No. I’m not. But if you manage to bring him back, I want you working with him.” He let go of my arm and tipped his head back so he could look me in the eyes.

“I’m not agreeing to that. I don’t know why you would even bother asking.” I tried to brush past him, but he moved to stand in my way.

“There is a movement for supernaturals to come out to the rest of the world. Do you know what kind of chaos would ensue? I need the best of the best to be working with me on this, to keep a lid on this clusterf**k that is trying to ensue.”

I paused, crossed my arms over my chest, the leather of my new/old jacket squeaking. “Why are you being so open with this?”

“Denning wants the world to know about the supernatural. The FBI does not. Interpol is in the middle, not sure what to do. You can help them decide. I want them to see the chaos that is your world, let them see how very bad it would be and how bad it would get if we humans truly understood.”

He was confusing the shit out of me, and to be having this conversation in the open, where anyone could hear us? I glanced around, saw that no one was close enough, at least no one that I knew would be able to hear.

“The zombie attack didn’t work?”

“No. Denning brushed it off as a freak accident and panned it to the media as a flash mob gone wrong.”

I couldn’t help it. I let out a laugh. “A flash … mob?” Son of a bitch, Denning was dumber than he looked.

Agent Valley wasn’t laughing with me, so I made an effort to pull my shit together.

“Adamson, this is not funny. The world isn’t ready for the supernatural, maybe won’t ever be ready.”

I wiped my hand across my lips as if to brush the last of the laughter from me. “You’re right, but you have to admit, it is kinda funny. Zombies as a flash mob? I can’t believe the media would buy that shit.” His lip twitched, but he didn’t smile, he didn’t laugh.

“Are you with me on this?” His eyes were serious, his lips no longer twitching.

I let out a snort and was about to answer him when the screaming started. Shit, why was it always the screaming that tipped me off?

We spun as Deanna came running around the corner, grenades in her hands. Yes, I said grenades.

“Rylee, run! He’s here for you.” She slammed into me, shoving the two grenades into the deep pockets of the trench coat.

“What the hell, Deanna!” I dug at them to get them out.

She smacked my hands. “The spells are inside, pull the pin, throw the grenade and use the ignition word, Capio.”

I didn’t ask any more questions, just bolted for the stairs. The roar of the Beast behind me pushed me faster and made me angry. Denning popped his head out of a doorway, his eyes widening when he saw me, then narrowed with anger.

I ran past him, couldn’t resist slapping him as I passed him by. “Denning, you’re a f**king idiot if you want this out with the general public!”

Deanna was yelling for people to get out of the way, screaming actually, for them to stand down. No point in getting in the Beast’s way, he was only after one thing.

Me.

The stairs flew under my feet and when I reached the top, I careened through the door, slamming it behind me. I ran to Eve and leapt onto her back. I didn’t have to say anything. She launched herself into the air as the Beast burst out onto the roof.

His silver eyes followed us as we rose higher, never leaving my face. Eve used the currents to lazily circle upward without much effort on her part. And I warred within myself. I needed to find O’Shea, but I hated that I had to leave Alex and Pamela behind. Jack would protect them as best he could, but I hadn’t even thought to ask Will and Deanna to look out for my two wards. There just hadn’t been time. Hell, I hadn’t even found a phone to check on them.

“Rylee, how high do you want me to climb?” Eve tipped her head so she could look at me.

“To where we can’t be seen from below.” I needed a moment to think. Or maybe a few moments.

Eve did as I asked, climbing high enough that the air thinned. I fought a sudden wave of anxiety when the breath I took barely filled my lungs. “High enough, Eve.”

She banked and dropped down, and the pressure on my lungs eased.

I Tracked O’Shea, felt nothing, knew that I would have to cross over to the mainland to try and get a bead on him. Hopefully he was there and not somehow back in the States. Based on what Milly had said, I didn’t think he was in the States. But without an ocean between us I should be able to track him. Either way, I would find out soon enough.

Then there was Alex and Pamela. My mind kept circling back to them. Logically, it didn’t make sense to take them with me, to bring them into danger when it came to O’Shea.

But my gut was telling me otherwise. They were both needed, for some reason, they needed to come with me.

“Keep your blue socks close, you will need them to survive.” The memory of Giselle’s admonitions cemented my decision, but didn’t make it any easier.

Not for one bit.

Chapter 9

FUCK IT ALL to hell and back. How the hell was I going to do this?

“Eve, we need to go back to Jack’s.”

“For Pamela and Alex?”

“Yes. They need to be with us.”

Eve let out a screech that made me cringe and the skin on my neck crawl. Even though I trusted her, there had been more than one time that a Harpy had tried to eat me. Even Eve had at one point sized me up for a McRylee Meal.

She tipped her body to the left and I clung to her with my legs. I really, really had to get a harness set up for her. But with the way my life had been going, there just hadn’t been time.

There was never enough time, it seemed.

Before long Jack’s mansion came into view.

Along with the Beast, pacing below us. Apparently, we hadn’t moved fast enough this time around. Damn, I should have asked Eve to fly faster.

“Rylee—”

“I see him.” I slipped a hand into my pocket. These were for O’Shea, but if I had Pamela with me they wouldn’t be needed. “Land near the pond and then go get Alex and Pamela. Make sure Pam gets my jacket and her weapons.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to slow that big kitty cat down.”

The Beast watched us as we circled to the opposite side of the pond. I slid from Eve’s back and loosened up my one sword, pulling it free of the sheath. Eve swept across the pond, screeching in the Beast’s face as she went by him. But he never even turned her way, his gaze solely centered on me.

“Do you know that you’re being compelled?” I asked as the Beast crept around the pond, stalking me. I kept time with him, like a ridiculous game of ring around the rosie. The only thing left to be seen was which one of us would fall down first.

His voice rumbled across to me, surprising the shit out of me.

“Yes, I know I’m compelled. When I am free of the compulsion, I will kill the woman.”

Sweet, at least Daniels’ death wouldn’t end up on my shoulders.

“No chance we could break the compulsion?”

“No. You will die. For that I’m sorry.” His black lips rippled back over his teeth and he sprinted around the pond.

I pulled a grenade out of my pocket, yanked the pin with my teeth as I ran and threw it at him.

“Capio!”

The grenade exploded in a haze of silvery light and sparkles, blurring my vision. The Beast leapt out of the magic made dust, fog, whatever the f**k it was. Shit, it hadn’t worked—or had I missed him? I bolted around the pond, fumbling for the second grenade. If this one didn’t work, I’d be forced to stand my ground, and I knew how that would end. Badly, oh so badly.

Maybe Deanna’s spell wasn’t supposed to work on the Beast; that was possible too. Maybe she’d made it specifically for O’Shea, or a wolf.

I didn’t have a lot of time to think about those possibilities. One second I was running, the next my legs were swept out from under me and I was flat on my back, the wind knocked out of me.

The Beast loomed over me, one front paw pinning my legs, the other planted firmly on my chest, making it impossible to breathe.

“I will avenge your death, Tracker,” he said as his lips drew back over his pearly white fangs.

My fingers slid around the grenade and I frantically worked the pin with my middle finger. Shit, this had to work, it had to. The pin popped out and as the Beasts head dropped to my face I shoved the grenade deep into his mouth, my hand swallowed deep into his throat.

With the last breath in me, I whispered, “Capio.”

The Beast froze, his eyes bugging wide and he stumbled backward off me, and then he collapsed to the ground beside me.

I rolled to my side, stared into his silver eyes.

“Well played, Tracker. Well played.” His words were a whisper as his body twitched. “You won’t have long before I revive. Perhaps only minutes. Run while you can.”

This was too bizarre. I shifted to my knees, then climbed to my feet and jogged toward the mansion. Movement caught my attention, and I watched as Eve climbed into the sky, two figures with her. I continued to run toward them, glancing back several times to assure myself that the Beast still lay prone on the ground and hadn’t snuck up on me on silent pads.