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

On cue, the sleeping Alex let out a fart that echoed in the small room. Liam reached behind us and opened the window a crack.

I closed my eyes and pressed my face into his chest, breathing him in alongside the rush of clean snow-kissed air. “I can’t even kill Faris now. I have to help him take the throne, and Berget …”

Liam kissed the top of my head and whisparmad and ered into my hair, “You’ll find a way, Rylee, that much I’m sure. If anyone can find a way, you will.”

He held me and everything sank in.

Liam knew I was going to help Faris, on my own, with only Alex for backup. A way to bring the vampires on as allies in this war with Orion and his henchmen. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” I said.

Liam hugged me tighter. “Yeah, some shit like that.”

I let out a heavy breath and stepped back from him. “Come on, let’s see if Pamela’s scrounged up food.”

Alex’s eyes flew open and he scrambled off the bed, making an even bigger mess of the blankets and pillows, one pillow exploding in a shower of feathers. “Alex hungry, yuppy doody!”

He bolted toward the door, scrabbling with the handle, and then clattered down the stairs. Liam grabbed my hand. “Wait. What are you going to do to convince the others? Pamela and Milly won’t want you to go, either.” His face shifted and his lips twisted up. “Fuck, I to have to deal with Milly on my own.”

Now I did suppress a grin. “You’ll be fine. Let Pamela run interference.”

He shuddered. “When is Faris coming for you?”

“Seven days.”

“Shit, that isn’t long enough to plan.”

I smiled at him, but felt the fatigue pull at me even as I tried to work past it. Not fatigue of the body, but of the heart. Though some had lifted, after seeing Charlie. “Like you said, I’ll come up with something. You’ll have to trust me when I do.”

He brushed the nape of my neck with the tips of his fingers as I walked in front of him. “You are the only one I do trust, Tracker.”

I smiled back at him, feeling all fucking warm and fuzzy. Another time, I would have scoffed, but now, I was just damn grateful I had someone who loved me so completely.

We headed down the stairs for the second time that night, and I walked toward the kitchen, expecting everyone to be where I’d left them. In front of the living room, I froze in place. In some ways, I’d been expecting this.

Just maybe not this soon.

The blinds were all drawn, candles lit, and Giselle sat in the middle of the room looking as she had when I first met her. Young, vibrant, free of the madness that took her so quickly. Alex sprawled out at her feet on his back, grinning up at her, his tongue lolling out one side of his mouth.

“You don’t seem surprised to see her,” Milly said, drawing my eyes to the right side of the room. The witch sat in Giselle’s chair, the paisley material clashing against her vibrant red dress.

“No, not really.” I stepped into the room. “Giselle, you said you could only come through the veil a few times, that it cost you.”

Giselle nodded. “That’s true. But it is easier here, with my spirit guides helping me.” Her eyes flicked over each of us. “I will Read you all, because there may not be many more times to do so before I am summoned for the final time to the deep levels of the veil.” She pointed at Pamela. “Come here, little witch.”

Pamela didn’t look to me for reassurance. She walked forward and stopped in front of Giselle. “All right, then. Will this hurt?”

Giselle smiled up at her, reached out a hand, hovering over Pamela’s heart. “No, it won’t hurt.”

Her hand trembled, and then she pulled back and held her hand palm upward to Pamela. “You have a grely u have at deal coming your way. The darkness has not seen you yet, but it will. And when it does, it will make a bid for you that you will struggle to refuse. Hold to what you know is truth, to what Rylee is teaching you.” Giselle paused and tipped her head to one side, her eyes fluttering closed. “I see you at the end of it all; when the final battle comes, you will be pivotal. Remember, when darkness comes for you, when light seems gone from your life, you will be one of the flames that beckons to those who have lost hope, showing them hope is indeed not lost.”

Pamela nodded once and then stepped back. Giselle shifted and turned to Liam and me. She pointed at Liam. “Much has changed for you, Agent. Will you let me Read you?”

I found it interesting she hadn’t asked Pamela, but she asked Liam. He said nothing, only stepped forward, crouching beside her. Giselle cupped her hands around his face without touching him.

“Ah, wolf. You have fought the darkness well, and have fought to stay at her side. She’s a tough one to stick close to, isn’t she?”

He laughed and Giselle laughed with him. The mirth spread through the room, lightening the solemn mood created by Charlie’s visit, until everyone was laughing except me. I shook my head. I wasn’t that bad.

Giselle took a deep breath and lifted her hands back to his face, her eyes widening, filling with a sorrow I’d seen more than once on her face, and my gut twisted into a large knot.

“The rest of my words are not for anyone ears but yours, wolf.”

I knew a dismissal when I heard one. Pamela and Milly stood and followed me into the kitchen. Alex stayed, but since Giselle didn’t send him out, I figured it was okay. And no, I wouldn’t try and pry it out of Alex. Likely, he wouldn’t understand the complexity of what I was asking anyway.

But what did Giselle have to say to Liam that we couldn’t hear?

Stomach tense with all the possibilities, I walked out holding my breath.

He stood quietly, uncertain why the rest couldn’t hear what Giselle said to him. Her eyes were soft with a sorrow that made him think of the mermaid’s words, her prophecy of his immanent death. Made him wonder if this was about to be a repeat.

She stared up at him, her eyes searching his. “You know what I’m going to say, don’t you?”

“No, not for sure, and I’m hoping I’m wrong.” Hell, he really hoped he was wrong.

She lowered her hands, clasping them in her lap and he crouched down beside her. “The dark times have come, and they are interspersed with flashes of light. Of love. The moment you understand why you are what you are, when you fully come to know your own soul, you will give it all up to save the ones you love, those three who are most important to you.” She leaned forward, and her hands slid up to cup his face in a motherly gesture. “You will not be at the last battle with her, so you must prepare all you can now.”