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Shadowed Threads(Rylee Adamson #4)(3) by Shannon Mayer

I glanced around the library, took it in with a single sweep of my eyes. Two sets of floor-to-ceiling windows that were bordered by long red curtains, also floor to ceiling. Rows and rows of books, again, floor to ceiling. A huge oak table with a few wooden chairs, a couple of overstuffed recliners, and not much else.

“Yes. I want him to know I’ve had enough of his games.” So I would play my own and do my best to force his hand. Either he would teach me, or we would leave. But no more of this shit he was pulling.

Rolling my sword in my hand, it caught the light from a lamp on the big table. I strode to the open book under the light. Open wide, the book was easily three feet across, the words within it written by hand in a scrawling black ink.

I jammed the tip of my sword into the floor at my feet. It would leave a gouge mark on the old wooden slats, but at least it was within easy reach if I needed it. Not that I should, but one can never be too damn careful.

I wrinkled my nose, the musty smell of the pages strong now that I was this close. I grabbed the edge of the book and partially closed it so I could see the front cover. Black leather, a texture that felt familiar to me, but that I couldn’t quite place, engraved with a single word.

Demons.

Oh shit, that was just f**king awesome. I grit my teeth and opened the book again, reading the page that Jack had been studying. Had he been trying to find a way to conjure a demon? Maybe to cure him of his cancer? I didn’t know if that was even possible, but then again, I didn’t really know that much about demons.

“What does it say?” Pamela leaned closer and I pushed her back, not wanting her too close to a book about demons. The one thing I’d learned from Deanna since I’d been here was that witches were susceptible to demons, more than any other supernatural creature. The last thing I wanted was Pamela getting mixed into that shit.

And what about Milly? Yeah, there was a growing suspicion in me that whatever she was up to had to do with more than just a simple vampire …

Leaning over the black book, I read it out loud for Pamela.

“And when the Veils shall fall to Orion, there will be no hope for mankind. For with his Rise, the Tracker will die and our glory shall be forever as we bathe in blood and crush those who defy us.” I swallowed hard. Shit, that did not sound good. And that name, Orion, it sent fear tracing along my synapses, like my brain wanted me to remember something … I couldn’t place it though, no matter how many times I read the name. The rest of the page was similar. Orion, whoever the hell he was, would rise, and with him humanity was doomed. We were all doomed by the nasty f**ker of a demon. This was not good… but why was Jack studying it? Did he think he was the Tracker meant to die?

That would make sense, would explain how freaking cranky he was being.

Pamela moved around the table. “There are more books, made kind of like that one.”

She was right, though they were closed and spread out; they were all made with the same kind of leather as the book under my fingers.

I stared at the one furthest from me. The book at the far end was a shade of blue I’d only ever seen on one other supernatural creature.

Dox.

“Shit, these are ogre-skinned books.” I stared at them, shocked by the variety of colors.

I knew about Black, Blue, Grey and Green. But Red, Brown and—I walked over to the book next closest to me brushed my hand against it—Violet were new to me.

Pamela hefted the grey book. “This one says ‘magic’ on it.”

I moved around the table, taking in each book, memorizing the color that was attached to it.

Winged: Blue

Fanged: Red

Furred: Brown

Magicked: Grey

Blooded: Violet

Psychic: Green

Demons: Black

Pamela flipped each book open to pages that were marked with scraps of paper.

“Do you think the colors have anything to do with the groups?”

“I don’t know. Probably. There is very little coincidence in this world, things happen for a reason, not just for shits and giggles.”

She gave a shaky laugh, and I really looked at her. “What is it?”

With a shaky finger, she pointed at the open page in front of her. “The words, I can feel them under my skin, like ants, moving.” She scrubbed her hands over her arms.

Gods be damned, what the hell had Jack opened up here?

“Go over to the door, just stay there and keep an eye out for Jack.”

She didn’t argue with me, just backed away from the table and the books, kinda like how I wanted to.

I didn’t really want to read what these books said. Not really. But that was the only way to find out what the hell was going on, because I seriously doubted Jack was going to come clean. Even once he saw the less than subtle B&E.

I moved to the book that Pamela had said made her skin crawl, the Green one, and read the page Jack had marked. Reading was slow going with the handwritten script, and I found myself reading the words aloud.

“Thus shall one Tracker stand between Orion and the darkness he brings. She shall be either our destruction or our salvation. No matter the outcome, her blood will be taken, drained to the last drop.” What the f**k? Chills raced along my spine, my skin rising in gooseflesh I couldn’t control. This was not sounding good. But, again, why wouldn’t Jack want me to read this, unless he thought that the ‘she’ was … shit, he didn’t think this was about me, did he? Yeah, it looked like I’d more than stumbled on Jack’s deep dark secret he’d been keeping.

The Grey book came next and my heart leapt higher into my throat with each word.

“Orion shall twist the magic of the Great One, and shall bring her to her knees with his lies. For when he possesses the heart of her soul, salvation shall fall to one bound by oaths to stay his hand of death over the world. The Tracker must break her oaths to save the world, or we will all be doomed.”

“I don’t like the sound of that. It sounds like the Tracker could be you.” Pamela’s voice softened with each word, echoing what I was thinking.

This was too close to sounding like it was about me. Like these were prophecies for each of the different groups of the supernaturals, and maybe they all were about me. No, that couldn’t be. I was Immune, there is no way they could Read me. So this was just stupid.

My fingers traced the words, and with each touch, my gut clenched and I fought to keep myself standing there. Stupid or not, I knew that I was staring at pages that would change my life.

“Yeah. Let’s not jump to conclusions.” I kept my tone smooth, but inside I was doing my best not to freak out.

Fuck, f**k, f**k! Each word from the books resonated with me and I couldn’t deny that they felt as if they were directed at me. I made myself go slowly, so I wouldn’t trip over my feet scrambling to get to the next book.

Blue, the Winged supernaturals.

“And our wings shall carry the Tracker into the final storm, and together, bound by blood, they will battle Orion.”

Brown book, the Furred.

“The Great Wolf shall howl the Tracker’s name, and claim her as his own, and shall spill his blood for her. And the Tracker will teach the submissive to stand; to shift and fight alongside her as Orion’s darkness rises.”

I gripped the edge of the table, struggled to keep my breathing even. No need to have Pamela wigging out. I skimmed the words again. These couldn’t be true, couldn’t be. I was Immune; they couldn’t have read me. This was about someone else. They had to be about someone else. Teeth clenched, I shook my head. Maybe other people could lie to themselves, but it wasn’t one of my talents.

“Rylee, I think Jack is home.” Pamela whispered, peeking around the edge of the door.

I barely registered her words, so stuck on what I was reading. Fuck, how could this be about me? But what other reason would Jack have in hiding them from me? Moving sideways, I stepped in front of the Red book. The one attached to the Fanged.

“The Tracker will bring the Teeth together, making the mouth whole that it may bear down on the black rising horde with all its venom. For together, our bite will destroy all in our path.” Not much better, maybe a little if only because I had no idea what Teeth were, or why they’d be brought together.

One more book.

Violet, the Blooded group. That made no sense to me; I would have thought Blooded and Fanged would be the same thing. I flipped the pages until I found a heading that actually made my heart stutter, the words wavering in front of my eyes, echoes of Giselle’s voice whispering through me.

In my hands, I held the Blood of the Lost.

Chapter 3

SHAKING, I CLOSED the book before I could read the words. I just needed a second to take it in—

“What the f**k are you doing?” Jack roared, pushing Pamela out of his way. Face almost as bright red as his hair, he stomped over to me. He swung his cane, catching me on my upper arm. The sting of the blow was nothing compared to the anger that built in my gut.

“What the f**k are you doing hiding this kind of shit from me?” It took everything I had not to scream at him.

He glanced over his shoulder, straight at Pamela. “Get her the hell out of here, this isn’t for her ears.”

Her eyes narrowed and she opened her mouth as she lifted her hand, no doubt to wrap him up in a spell to remind him she wasn’t to be pushed around.

I cut her off, giving her a look. “Pam, go bake some cookies.” That was her cue to leave, one we had decided on just a few days after moving in with Jack. Every time Jack and I needed to have it out, I would tell her to go bake cookies.

In the last three weeks she could have easily supplied a bakery.

From down the hallway came a scrabbling of claws and the thunk of a body falling. Most likely Alex had spun out on one of the rugs that lined the wooden floors in a mad dash to get to us.

Three seconds after the word ‘cookie’ had been spoken, Alex burst into the library, the doors flinging open around his two-hundred-pound frame. Stuck forever between man and wolf, he was covered in black, silver-tipped fur and had the ability to cause mayhem and destruction. But he didn’t, that wasn’t Alex. He was loyal to the core, had the mental capabilities of a two-year-old, and was submissive to the point of it being deadly to his health. Which made for some interesting days and a hell of a lot of laughter. He was the reason I could still smile despite all the shit that went on in my life.