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Stitched(Rylee Adamson #8.5)(16) by Shannon Mayer

The chicken in my belly flip-flopped and I fought to keep it down. “You’d ask that of me, when Liam has been gone for barely a few days?”

His eyes slid to half mast. “Where did your wolf go? I’m surprised he would leave you at this . . . stage of your life.”

Oh, fuck, he didn’t know. But damn it, had everyone but me known I was pregnant? “You haven’t spoken with Doran?”

He shook his head, stroking my cheek with a single finger. “No, he’s rather irritated with me for leaving you behind . . . that, and he thought you might try and kill me if I was close by. So, I’ve been spending my time waiting for the call to go back to my liege. Not that I could anyway, there is something wrong with the veil. To be fair, I thought I’d find Doran here with you when you called for me.”

I licked my lips and struggled to find the words. Nothing would shock Faris, he wouldn’t feel bad that Liam had died, or how. I slumped and turned my back. The last thing I needed to see was the vampire smile when I told him. I needed his help and his reaction to my words could get him killed in short order. “Liam’s dead.”

Silence met my words and slowly, I turned back to him. He wasn’t gloating, he wasn’t smiling. His mouth hung open in the most un-vampire like manner as the shock hit him. “How?”

I told him briefly about the veil being closed off, which made me question something rather pertinent. “How the hell did you get to us with the veil closed?”

“I think your dragon knows more than he lets on. Come, I’ll show you.”

With Faris leading the way, Peta and I walked down the beach. Blaz chose to stay behind.

He won’t harm you, that much I can see inside his head. Convince him to help you, Rylee.

Blaz curled up on the beach and tucked his head inside the curve of his tail. It hit me then that I wasn’t the only one who’d been run ragged the last few months. We all had been pushed to the brink, pushed to limits we didn’t know we had.

Rounding a slight point in the beach, I stopped, shock rippling through me. The house was made of white sandstone and stood high enough that the waves didn’t hit it. But it wasn’t the beauty of the house, or the place it stood. No, it was that I’d been here before. This was Milly’s refuge. A place she hid to lick her wounds.

“You were already here?”

“I haven’t been able to jump the veil for the last few days. I thought perhaps I’d lost the ability, or that the demons had shut things down,” Faris said, his eyes never leaving mine. “If Blaz hadn’t brought you here, I wouldn’t have been able to find you.”

“I Tracked you here.”

Faris frowned. “How? I’m in the middle of the ocean, that’s why Milly picked this place, you know. You couldn’t Track her here.”

“Things change.” I put a hand on Peta to help steady me. Not because I was really all that faint, I just needed the comfort of her. If I couldn’t have Alex with me, Peta was a damn fine substitute. Even if she wasn’t much of a talker, she still made me smile. My lips twitched as I saw her once more clinging to Blaz’s back, her hair all floating upward as we pitched out of the sky.

She batted at my leg as if she knew where my mind went. “Sorry.”

Faris lifted an eyebrow. “Talking to a cat?”

“No worse than talking to a blood sucker,” I spit out.

“No need to get testy,” he said, then waved us toward the house with his hand. “Welcome to Chateau a la Millicent.”

The place was as I remembered, covered in flowers, smelling of sweet growing things, a warm breeze sweeping around us. The white sandstone building was three stories, but really, none of that mattered.

“Faris, I need your blood.” I stood in the middle of the raised patio that faced the ocean. “And either you can give it to me, or I’ll take it. Your decision.”

He lifted one eyebrow. “This again? Can’t we all just get along?”

I didn’t move, just waited. “You can’t jump the veil to get away, and I have a fucking dragon in my back pocket. You think you can out maneuver him?”

Faris slid into a wicker chair, placing his hand over his chest. “You wound me, Rylee. You won’t even tell me why you need my blood? Just demand it, threaten me, and you’ll somehow get your way? After all that I’ve done to help you—”

“Can the shit, Faris. You’ve caused me as much trouble as you’ve supposedly helped, so I think we’re on neutral ground here.” I pulled a chair toward me with my foot and sat, Peta sitting beside me. I stroked the fur on the top of her head, scratching lightly behind her ears. “If I tell you what it’s for, you’ll willingly help?”

His mouth twitched and I wanted to strangle him.

“What are you doing out, anyway? I heard you were supposedly off to some sanctuary to keep you and the rugrat safe.”

Fucking asshole. “That is none of your fucking business.”

He leaned forward. “Oh, I think it is. You are the only thing standing between us and the demons now, Tracker. And you’re gallivanting around? Not acceptable.” His hand tightened over my wrist and I fought not to jerk away from him. I would not be afraid of him. He wouldn’t hurt me for the very reasons he just stated.

Then again, he was a vampire, and he’d been after my blood for a long time. His grip tightened further, to the point of pain.

“Let me go,” I said, fighting not to struggle against him. I’d look ridiculous fighting with a one armed vampire and losing. Because even if I was willing to kill him—and there had been days I’d been close to that—I wasn’t stronger than him. Not even with him missing an arm.

Slowly, inexorably, he pulled me toward him. I put my free hand against his chest. “Don’t, Faris. Don’t make this a show of power and strength.”

“Or what?”

“I have a dragon.”

In the distance, Blaz gave a roar, his voice coming to me, clear as a bell.

Rylee, run, it’s a trap!

Oh, fuck me. I jerked my arm, but nothing happened except the loosening of my arm in my shoulder socket. “Faris, let me go!”

Peta let out a snarl, crouched beside me, her body language a clear warning. Faris ignored her.

“You need to be kept safe, one way or another. And if you aren’t smart enough to do it, then I will do it for you.”