Tracker(Rylee Adamson #6)(10) by Shannon Mayer
Death or dishonor: that’s what I faced.
Take what was left of my sister’s life—filled with the mad rage and power of her adopted parents—or try to find a way to save her, to work around Faris’s stupid fucking oath. I shook my head. Too many tasks, not enough time.
I continued to tap my pencil. Two things had to be done without any fucking dawdling, and there was no way I could manage both. One, we had to find out who the hell was putting together weapons that worked around supernaturals, because Milly was right. If Orion got his hands on them, if he found out … I shuddered. A demon with working guns? We were in seriously deep shit if that happened. Might as well just lie down and let him take us.
Two, I needed Doran and that black-skinned demon book. If I was lucky, Doran would have some info on Berget that would be of use too. Either way I looked at things, it meant a trip to Roswell.
Two tasks, two teams. Son of a bitch, I had to split us up again to make this happen. Apparently, my subconscious already knew this when I got out of bed. My skin tingled, chills racing. Splitting up hadn’t worked well in the past. Someone always ended up hurt, or worse, skinned alive. I tried to swallow, struggled to work around the sandpaper feel of my mouth.
The creak of a foot on the stairs snapped my head up. I lifted the sheet of paper and held it over the candle on my left, and let the flames take the words.
I turned in my seat as the last of the paper burned to ash and floated to the desktop.
Pamela stepped off the bottom stair and peered around the corner at me. “Rylee, Alex is snoring and Liam is talking in his sleep.”
I lifted an eyebrow. “Did he say anything interesting?” Her eyes dropped and with them, so did my stomach. “Pamela, what did he say?”
She gripped the bottom edge of her shirt and lifted her face. “He said, ‘I can’t tell her, she’ll never let me go.’”
I gave a sharp nod, like I knew what she was talking about. “Don’t worry, it’s nothing.” But hell, it wasn’t nothing. Even in his sleep the bastard was close mouthed. Shit, for once I was glad I couldn’t be Read. Except by Doran and that had been temporary. Seemed little good came from knowing the future, and rarely could you do anything to change it.
Pamela let out a sigh.
“Oh, good. I was worried he was going to leave us.”
A twang around my heart reverberated through me. Us. Yeah, we were family, a pack, whatever the hell you wanted to call it.
And I was about to break us up in order to try and save us.
Days like this, I wished I were human and had no knowledge of the life that hovered on the edge of darkness. That I could just go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning knowing it had all been a bad dream, not reality.
There was no doubt in my mind Liam would fight me on this decision to leave, even though he’d said he was okay with me going with Faris. This was different. This wasn’t Faris anymore; this was me leaving without even telling him. Yet he was the only one I trusted to go after the weapons. Despite his assertions he would be okay with me doing what I thought was best, he would be pissed. And I couldn’t really blame him
But he isn’t exactly trusting you right now. I did my best to ignore that little voice in my head. Still, I could soften the blow by taking along someone to watch my back. Someone Liam said he trusted only second to himself.
“Pamela, wake Alex and bring him down here. Quietly. If Liam wakes up, tell him you are taking Alex for a pee.”
Her lips tightened. “You’re leaving us, aren’t you?”
I reached out and grasped her forearms. “I need you to stay with Liam, keep him and Milly from killing each other. Find out who is making those weapons. Liam has connections with the FBI, and they can help us on this.”
Her jaw twitched. “But you’re still leaving us.”
I wanted to shake her, to scream she had no fucking idea what was going to happen, forgetting for a split second she had been the one to find Dox and the other ogres hung from the rafters of the barn. She knew exactly what was going on, and what was at stake. “Yes, for a day, no more. I need to get information.”
“Where are you going?” Damn her persistence, yet I was proud of her too. She wasn’t backing down.
I let her go, decided to tell her the truth. “To Doran. I won’t be gone long. I need to speak to him and maybe the other Shamans. I’ll go through the mineshaft.”
“Liam will come after you.” She said it with the certainty only a teenager has. That certainty where teenagers think they know it all and the adults couldn’t possibly get how wrong they were. I wondered what he said in his sleep. Maybe he was done with us, maybe he’d finally seen his life was pretty much forfeit if he stayed.
No, I didn’t really believe that. Of all the things Liam was, disloyal was not one of them.
“Go get Alex. I’ll deal with Liam.”
Pamela turned and headed up the stairs. I wasn’t sure she wouldn’t wake Liam; the girl had a mind of her own. But if she did, I would remind him that he said I would make the right choices. A few minutes later, Pamela and Alex came down the stairs, him creeping on his toes with exaggerated steps that I just shook my head at.
“Alex beeees quiet,” he whispered, lifting a claw to his lips.
Pamela stood with her arms folded across her chest, jaw twitching periodically. I pulled out a second sheet of paper and scrawled a note on it, folded it in half, and gave it to her. “Give this to Liam when he wakes up.”
“And if he tries to go after you?” She arched an eyebrow at me.
“He won’t. Not when he sees the note.” I was not that confident, actually, but she didn’t need to know that. I was betting on him remembering our earlier conversation, and even if he didn’t trust me with his Reading, he could trust me on this.
She took the folded paper and tucked it into her back pocket. “I don’t want you to go.”
Her blue eyes welled up with tears, and I felt my own emotions curl up toward the surface. I pulled her into my arms and held her tight. “I think there’s going to be a lot of things we don’t want to happen, that we will have no choice in. Not if we want to survive what’s coming.”
A hiccupped sob escaped her and I held her tighter. There was nothing else I could do. Alex crept forward and wrapped his gangly arms around us both. “Alex loves Pamie and Rylee.”