Tracker(Rylee Adamson #6)(1) by Shannon Mayer
A wet woolen coat on a pair of frail shoulders wouldn’t be as heavy or oppressive as the silence in my car. The quiet was broken only by the occasional suck of air as Milly tried to keep her tears quiet. She sat beside me, chin to her chest, moisture tracking down her cheeks. I kept my eyes on the road, but every time I changed lanes or took a corner, I saw her grief. I tried not to think about my own, forced myself to quell the tightening of my throat and the blurring of my eyes.
Easy enough to do when I let my anger burn hot, let myself obsess over how many ways I could kill Faris and Orion. How I could make them pay for all they’d done.
Though I’d spoken the words, and set myself on a path to wipe the two fuckers out of existence, it was a hell of a lot easier said than done. Both of them were powerhouses in ways I never would be. But that wouldn’t stop me from trying.
Night fell as we drove into Bismarck. The darkness erased the shadows the dying sun scattered across the faces around me.
Behind me sat Pamela, her hand rested on the back of my seat. “Rylee, what will happen to Dox and the others? Why didn’t we cut them down? Why didn’t we bury them?”
“You don’t touch the bodies of supernaturals who are killed or even those who die naturally,” I said, gripping the steering wheel, fighting to keep my voice even. “I don’t know the process; I just know they are taken somewhere supernaturals go.”
“That seems rather vague,” Pamela said.
“It’s all I was ever told. I never questioned it. I killed someone and the body was gone the next morning.” I hoped that would satisfy her and she’d be done with her questions for a bit.
Nope, wrong again.
“Where are we going?”
That, at least, was cut and dry. I cleared my throat. “Giselle’s home. It’s as good a place as any to plan our next step, and I sure as hell am not staying at the farm tonight.” No, I couldn’t stay that close to the skinned bodies of Dox, Sla, Dev, Tin, and Lop. Even knowing they’d be gone by morning, I couldn’t handle that.
Liam and Alex would meet us at Giselles. Blaz, on the other hand, had been quite happy to stay on the farm to meet Eve when she came back from the unicorns. Blaz had no connection to the ogres, so their deaths meant very little to him. And being a dragon, he wasn’t exactly worried about dealing with any intruders. There weren’t many things in the world that would tangle with Blaz and come out on top.
I flicked on my indicator light and took the next exit, slush gripping the tires and pulling us sideways for a breath. I adjusted my hands on the steering wheel and eased through the section, comfortable driving in snotty snow.
“You don’t think Orion will look there for us? He knows we were raised there.” Milly lifted her head, her voice thick with her tears.
I could have been gentle, but the time for pulling punches was long past. I all but spit my words at her.
“How the fuck should I know? You were his pet; you tell us what he’s doing?”
She went very still beside me, her jaw tightened and tears dried with her next breath. Truth be told, I wanted her pissed off, even if I was the one to push her buttons. I needed her to overcome her grief and fear. Grief would get us killed; fear could make her hold back. None of us had either of those luxuries. I needed her angry and ready to fight, to battle for us, to keep us on this side of the grave. I needed her to train Pamela to use her magic as witches were no longer taught. I needed her to push away her fear of Orion and focus on the task at hand.
Deanna had refused to teach Pamela anything but defense. But this was war, and kill or be killed. Emotions could no longer come into play. I glanced in the mirror, caught Pamela’s eyes watching me and knew she trusted me to make the best choices for our pack family. Such faith was unnerving at times, but I would carry it the best I could.
Milly straightened in her seat, snapping out of her tear fest. She folded her hands in her lap and I knew, for now at least, Milly was back to using her brain. “He won’t waste any more effort tonight. Orion likes to make a point and then let people simmer in their fear before striking again.”
I gave a slight nod. “Good, because we need at least a night to plan our next step.”
Pamela—as always—was full of questions. “Why did you send Will and Deanna home to London? Will is as deadly as Liam, at least. If it’s a fight we’re facing, can’t we use them close to us?”
“They are going to rally as many people as they can on their side of the ocean.” Much as keeping them close would have given us higher numbers, we would need help on a larger scale before this was all done.
“You mean Will is rallying people. Deanna won’t fight.” Pamela gripped the leather seat, making it squeak. We were banking on the fact that Will could get us firepower. And fuck Deanna for being such a pussy at the worst possible time.
Milly shifted in her seat so she was sideways, one hand cupping her belly bump. “Druids can do other things. They can help without fighting.”
Pamela snorted. “Seems cowardly.” I tended to agree, but didn’t say anything.
“If you stand for nothing …” Milly’s words resonated in my head and heart, Giselle’s voice echoing in my ears.
“You’ll fall for anything,” I said softly. Milly’s eyes met mine. Giselle was with us still, tying us together even if she was gone. Even if Milly had caused her death.
Milly’s lips thinned and she faced Pamela. “You don’t have to agree with them, but Druids have beliefs they live up to, to the best of their abilities.”
I chose not to mention the psycho Druid, Daniels. Fuck, at least she was finally gone, though it would have been nice if in the process she hadn’t caused the first volcanic eruption on the west coast since Mt. Saint Helens’s. Okay, maybe that had been a little bit my fault; dropping the demon stone into the lava in order to cut ties between Orion and Milly probably wasn’t the best decision, but I wasn’t mentjusasn’tioning that to anyone.
Pamela pushed back into her seat and changed the subject. “How long before we get there?”
“Less than half an hour,” I said, checking the rearview mirror as a long black sedan slid in between traffic, getting right on our ass. If this was the driver’s idea of a tail, he was doing a pretty piss poor job. “Milly, you recognize that car?”