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Tracker(Rylee Adamson #6)(19) by Shannon Mayer

I shrugged. “Who does?”

Doran limped up to my left side, a glower on his face. “And you haven’t killed her yet, why?”

“Oh, we’re just having a girl chat. By the way, hate the bedroom. You need at least one window. The whole vibe is off for you, Daywalker.” I glanced at him with a single arched eyebrow.

“Really? I was going for mysterious and sex Krioalky.” He faced me, and suddenly the game was on.

“Shit no. Creepy and gloomy is what this is.” I waved my sword in a circle in front of us, keeping an eye on our hostage without staring at her.

Doran frowned. “Damn. That designer cost me a gods-be-damned fortune, too. I have to see if I can get my—”

“Excuse me, are you going to let me go now?” The confusion on her face was exactly what I’d been hoping for. Not a technique I often used. Hell, I knew I was quick to kill. But this one time, maybe a little technique was the better part of valor.

“Only if you answer our questions. Answer them all, and Doran here can wipe your mind of all your memories and you’ll be free to go.” Slumped onto the edge of the bed, she bowed her head. Doran blinked several times and from the corner of his mouth whispered, “That’s demon magic.”

“Fake it,” I whispered back.

She didn’t notice our exchange as she stared at her lap. “Berget is hunting for the same thing Faris is. I don’t know what it is—”

“Old news. Move along,” I said.

She lifted her head and licked her lips several times. “There are rumors the madness is getting worse. That if she can’t find this thing they are looking for, she will lose what is left of her sanity and kill anything, and everything around her.”

Chills swept through me and I felt, more than saw, Doran shiver beside me. Bad news when the shaman gets the willies.

I leaned forward. “Anything else?”

“The other vampires have stepped back. They will not side with either of the two contestants for the throne until one of them has been declared properly.” She shook her head. “I don’t know anything else.”

“Doran, you hungry?” Faris had shown me memories when he’d taken my blood, I was hoping …

“Excellent idea, Tracker.” He grinned at me and strode to her, grabbing a hunk of her hair and bending her head to one side at an extreme angle. Gentle is definitely not the word I’d use.

A single strike and his teeth buried into her neck, but he lifted his eyes to mine, a grin sparkling there. The woman let out a moan, this one not of pain. Her hand drifted upwards to cup his crotch and I turned my back. “Alex, let’s get you something to eat.”

I wasn’t worried about Doran and the woman; he would either drain her until she was dead or drain her to the point of unconsciousness. Either way was fine by me.

You can be a cold bitch, you know that, right?

Yup, I did, and I knew it to the core of me. At times, there was no other choice but to be that hardass bitch in order to survive. I was used to it.

Alex galloped ahead of me repeating over and over, “yummy in my tummy.”

The kitchen was well stocked and Alex wanted pasta. Though I’d been on my own for years, cooking was not what I’d call my forte. Spaghetti noodles with a can of sauce poured over it was the best I could do for him. He didn’t care.

As Alex dug into his oversized mixing bowl of noodles, slurping them into his mouth, Doran swayed into the room.

“Drunk?” I leaned a hip against the butcher’s block.

Doran held his finger and thumb an inch apart, paused and then held his hands two feet apart. “Maybe just a little.”

I went with the obvious. “Coffee help?”

K held h
“Nope. Just give me a few minutes, the buzz won’t last long—unlike with you, where I had a hard-on three days later.” His grin was unrepentant and I ignored him. That was Doran. Serious and full of wisdom in one breath, a raging horny man in the next.

Alex slurped up the last of his noodles and red sauce and pushed the bowl away. “Goody good.” He lay flat out on the floor, front and back legs pointing in the four directions, a long low sigh slipping out of him.

Doran cleared his throat and took a step, then another. His green eyes were clear, and while he shook his head once, there was no sign of the drunken Daywalker he’d been moments before.

“Better?”

“Much. And, may I say, that was an excellent idea. Though there wasn’t much information she had, there were things she’s seen that we can use.”

Damn, I’d been hoping as much, but wasn’t sure it would pan out. “Like what?”

He smiled and gave me a wink. “All in due time.”

I slapped my hand on the butcher’s block, the sting of my flesh only sending my anger further into orbit. With difficulty, I managed to keep my voice level. “No fucking games, Doran. Not today. You are either on my side or you aren’t. Too many people have died already to play this shit. And I am running out of time.”

A flare sparked in his eyes, defiance pure and simple. “And if I refuse to play by your rules, Tracker? What then? Are you going to take my head?”

There were days I felt much older than my twenty-six and a half years. This was one of them. I tried another route. “Doran, I can’t make you help me, but you said you would. I broke the bond between you and Berget; I freed your ass from her. But if you play these games now, we are done. No more friendship, nothing. I can’t afford to guess anymore.”

He closed his eyes and stepped closer to me, close enough that he was well within my guard. Everything in me told me to back up, to put space between us.

“Rylee,” he breathed my name and my pulse hammered in my throat. Doran had become a friend. I didn’t want to kill him.

“Doran, are you my friend, or are you my enemy?”

His eyes snapped open. “You would call me friend?”

I frowned. “What the fuck do you think, that I let just any Daywalker get this close to me?”

He let out a laugh and wiped his face with his hand. “No, I suppose not. She saw fear in Berget, though she didn’t know it was fear. I did. Berget is afraid of you, and like the humans, what she fears she wants to kill, even though she needs you. A very human trait, which is surprising. From what I could see, Berget is going after Jack again, but she seems to have some means of hiding him from you.”