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Shadowed Threads(Rylee Adamson #4)(2) by Shannon Mayer

I shrugged and mimicked him, folding my arms. “If she comes after me, I’ll kill her.”

He nodded. “I know. But I wanted you to have a heads up.”

“Thanks.”

Will stared over the pond, and I watched the emotions dance across his face. Uncertainty first and foremost.

“If you’ve got something to say, spit it out; otherwise, I’ve got to go finish Pamela’s lessons for the day and try to figure out why the hell Jack is stalling on me.”

“Still won’t teach you?”

An unease settled over my shoulders as I shook my head. “No, he won’t. And I can’t figure out why.” That was a problem. If I was going to learn all I could about being a Tracker, I needed Jack to teach me. Stubborn old coot that he was, he’d been avoiding me one way or another for the last three weeks, locking himself in his library where he wouldn’t let anyone in.

The rain pattered down on us, more of a heavy mist than a rain, but it was still getting me wet, which only worsened my mood and irritation at Will’s inability to wrap this up.

“Say what you’ve got to say, Will.”

He closed his eyes and shook his head. “No. I’ve nothing more to say. Just be careful. Daniels has tricks up her sleeve, and she’s power hungry beyond anything we all realized before. She won’t stop. Not ever.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Then why don’t you just kill her, and be done with it?”

“Because I have no cause, just suspicions. Not everyone has your latitude when it comes to taking a life, Rylee.” He snapped, his eyes flashing.

My jaw tightened, and I flipped him off. Yes, that finger now.

“You know what, Will? Go f**k yourself.”

I turned and strode back toward the house. What did he know about life and death? Nothing. He’d never fought for either, never been placed between a rock and a gods-be-damned hard place. Never seen the light in the eyes of someone he loved get snuffed out while he begged them to stay.

There was no way he could understand me, or the choices I had to make.

There was only one person who did.

And I had no idea where the f**k he was.

Chapter 2

THE NEXT MORNING Pamela sat across from me, her blue eyes narrowed, lips pinched together, bangs hanging down past her chin. I reclined in the Easy Boy that I’d dragged in from the sitting room, the springs creaking under me as I shifted in an attempt to get comfortable. My eyebrow twitched upward with her intensity. “You done yet trying to lift me up?”

“No.” She stared harder, finger twitching.

As an Immune, I wasn’t affected by her magic, but Pamela was just stubborn enough to try and find a way around it. Sure, I could have peeled my Immunity back, but where was the fun in that? There had been instances in the past where a spell would slip through the Immunity, but it seemed that the older I got, the less that was the case. Which was just fine by me.

Thinking back to when my abilities had come on-line, I could see that over the years my Immunity had been strengthening. It had been a long time since a spell had slipped through it.

I closed my eyes, my throat tightening. O’Shea had been with me then. I missed his constant presence in my life. I’d spent so long wanting him gone; then as soon as I changed my mind, he’d been ripped away from me.

I glanced up at Pamela and smiled as she threw her hands into the air. Now that Will had gone back to work, she’d gone back to being her normal self. Or at least as normal as a witch got.

“I don’t understand, how you cannot be affected? It’s magic, it affects everything.” She let out a gust of air that blew her bangs off her face.

Pushing with one foot, I rocked in the chair. “Magic does affect everything; you’re right. But there is a balance in the world. There has to be. I guess as an Immune, I’m here to balance out all of you crazy witches throwing magic shit around.”

She stood, stretched and wandered over to the pictures hanging on the wall of Jack’s dining room. Alex, Pamela, Eve, and I had been staying with him since he’d been released from the hospital. His cancer seemed to have gone into remission and Jack had been allowed to go home. At least for now.

Home to Jack was a two-story sprawling mansion that covered close to ten thousand square feet. When he did venture from his damn library, he grumbled and cursed the fact that we were here, taking up space.

As I’d pointed out to him the night before, if he’d just teach me what I needed to know, we would get the hell out of his way. The only thing he’d helped me with so far was calming me down when I’d Tracked Berget and felt nothing once more. He’d pointed out that she’d probably been taken, or had gone, across the channel to the mainland. That had been his one contribution to my life in these last few weeks.

“Do you think these paintings were here before Jack, or do you think he had them put up?” Pamela reached, standing on her tiptoes, and touched the ornate edge of a painting five feet across, her fingers skimming along it lightly.

“They were probably here. I don’t think he cares much for paintings.”

She tipped her head to one side, staring up at the monstrosity of an oil painting. Nothing like the one O’Shea had in his home. Again, a pang of longing shot through me. Soon, I had to go after him soon.

The door opened on silent hinges and Jack stepped into the room, using a cane but nothing else.

I got up out of the recliner—it was his after all—and he glowered at me.

“Fucking houseguests warming up my goddamn f**king chairs everywhere I go.” His tri-colored blue eyes sparkled up at me, but not in good humor. Not that I was bothered by his potty mouth, mine was almost as bad. Almost.

Pamela spun and glared at him. Funny how she defended Will from me, and me from Jack.

Her chin tipped up slightly, a sure sign she was setting her heels in. Oh, this was going to be good. Wouldn’t be the first time the two of them had a go round since we’d been here.

“Don’t you talk to her like that; if you’d teach her, we’d leave and be out of your way.”

He thumped over to her and poked at her stomach with his cane. “Smart mouth little witch. Mind your own f**king business.”

She flicked a hand at him and lifted him into the air. “I’m on Rylee’s team, and you promised to teach her. So teach her.”

He squirmed and huffed and I let out a sigh. Yeah, playing referee wasn’t my idea of a good time, but I seemed to be doing it more and more with this motely group.

“Put him down, you might break him.”

The bastard had the nerve to spit at me, the gob hitting the floor at my feet. “Break me, my ass.”

I glared up at him. “Don’t you have an appointment to be at?” I knew damn well he had another session with Deanna.

He glared right back, eyes flashing with anger. “What is it about women and the need to run every gods-be-damned piece of my ever-fucking life?” He squirmed, but Pamela held him just above the floor, teasing him.

“Pam, put him down.”

“But—”

“Just do it!” I pointed to the floor and she lowered him the last foot.

With a snarl, he hobbled away from us, muttering all the way out to the front door.

We watched him go, in silence. Jack was hiding something from me, on top of not teaching me. Well, I was damn well tired of waiting on him to teach me, and his f**king secrets could stay that way for all I cared. Except for the somewhat large possibility that his secrets, and his inability to find the time to teach me were likely intertwined, knowing my luck. Damn.

With all the time he’d been spending in the library, that was probably the best place to start. I made my decision and didn’t question it.

“It’s time you learn about how to perform a B&E.” I strode out of the dining room and down the long hallway to my bedroom. Pamela trotted to catch up to me.

“What’s a B&E?”

“Break and enter.”

I reached my room and grabbed my sword. Spelled by my former best friend, Milly, it would cut deeper than any other blade and was nearly impossible to break.

The handle was a comforting presence—a perfect fit—in my hand.

With my sword, I felt better. Like I could face anything down. I didn’t bother to shut the door behind me, just strode back into the hallway. The library was at the far end of the house. Our steps were muffled by the thick rug, which hadn’t seen a proper cleaning in what looked like a decade. Pamela struggled to keep up with me without jogging every few steps.

“Jack will be angry. Doesn’t that bother you?”

“Jack is going to be angry at me no matter what I do. There comes a time when you can’t dick around anymore. And I’m at that moment.” I paused in front of the doorway. “This might give me a clue at least as to what the hell is going on, and if he will ever teach me.”

“You think it’s something bad?” She whispered, her eyes going wide, a glimmer of the child she still was showing through.

Damn, that was exactly what I thought. When he’d promised to teach me, I thought it would take a day or two. Not three weeks of him dodging me.

Which could only mean one thing.

That whatever the hell was going on was no good. Son of a bitch, what was it with the men around me lately that they couldn’t just spit things out? Nothing like O’Shea, who always spoke what was on his mind.

Again, a sharp stab of longing gutted me. I breathed in slowly through my nose, working around the pain. Focusing on my task, I lifted my sword and slid it between the two massive doors. Whoever had built the house had done a sloppy job on them. While they did lock, there was a half inch gap between them. Though it was a tight fit, I could still draw the blade down, slicing through the old lock with very little effort.

“The trick is to make it look like you were never here.” I pushed the door open. “Unlike this B&E, where Jack will know that I was here the second he goes to open his door.”

She bobbed her head, taking my words in like a sponge. Scary. “You did it that way on purpose then? You want him to know you were in his library?”