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Tracker(Rylee Adamson #6)(7) by Shannon Mayer

Chills swept down and through him as her words hit him. “You mean I’m going to die?”

She closed her eyes. “We all die, Liam. Here I am, dead, yet not. There are tasks you must accomplish. Things only you can do; they will keep Rylee safe, allow her to do what she must. Seek out the Wolf, the one who can tell you the origin of the wolves and the guardians. Power is in that knowledge. Power you will need.”

He nodded, remembering the old wolf he encountered in the northern forests. “Why couldn’t anyone else hear this Reading?”

She laughed softly and opened her eyes. “You tell me.”

Liam let out a long, slow breath. “Because she would fight to keep me alive, no matter the consequences.”

Giselle smiled up at him. “She loves you as she will never love anyone else. For the first time, she truly belongs somewhere, and she would give up the whole world to keep you at her side. I tell you these things, but you must carry them on your own.”

His body stilled, feeling the weight of it, but understanding it was the only way. Rylee could never know he wouldn’t be around forever. But how could he keep a secret of this magnitude from the one person who held his heart?

Chapter 4

Less than five minutes passed before Liam came to get us from the kitchen, his eyes dark with shadows that had nothing to do with the poor light. I searched his face, wanting to ask him what Giselle said, maybe in large part because she couldn’t Read me. I thought of Doran and his words, the first time I truly had someone Read me and the heavy message he’d given. Maybe I didn’t want to know what Giselle told Liam. What if she told him he would love another? No, I didn’t want to know.

Giselle hadn’t moved from where she’d started. As we all stepped into the candle lit room, Giselle held her hand up. “Alex is next.”

Alex rolled from his back to sitting upright in a split second. “Alex plays, too.”

Giselle ran her hands over the top of his head and over the ruff of his neck. “A soul that is pure resides within you, Alex.”

“Yuppy doody, spooky lady.”

I bit the inside of my cheek, and Giselle laughed. “Yes, I suppose I am a spooky lady. You will see Rylee to the end; you will be at her side through it all, though not always as you are now. Loyalty is the core of your heart, and that will never change. Believe in all that you are, Alex, for you will be the lynchpin to this world’s fate, as Rylee is the key to its survival. But that is a ways off yet.”

Holy shit. I couldn’t stop my eyes from widening. Lynchpin? I needed to get my hands on Jack’s books again. If Alex was a lynchpin I needed to know how that was going to happen.

She lowered her hands and then looked to Milly who stood on my left side. “Come here. We have much to say to one another.”

I thought Giselle would dismiss us again, but to my surprise, she didn’t. Nope, she dove right in.

But not with the Reading, not right away.

“You have betrayed us all to your master. And even knowing the reason why—that you were tied to him—at no point did you come to Rylee or me for help.”

“I didn’t think—”

Giselle lifted a hand, cutting her off. “No, you did not think. And that cost me my sanity, and could yet cost this world its entire being. I have been given a gift. A form of punishment that I may hand to you in penance for the wrongs you have committed. Are you willing to take it?”

Sheee-it. I hadn’t expected this, and widobviously neither had Milly if the size of her eyes and the pallor of her skin were markers.

Moment of truth … and Giselle brought us to it. Would Milly show her willingness to take some punishment for the wrongs she’d done?

The silence stretched and that last little hope I had nurtured flickered, as if a candle re-sparked by a cold wind.

“I will take whatever penance you have for me,” Milly whispered, dropping to her knees in front of Giselle. Giselle’s eyes shot to mine. “I need your help, Rylee.”

Surprised, both for the request and Milly’s willingness to take a punishment, I stepped forward before I thought better of it.

“Rylee,” —Giselle pointed at my hand— “pull back your Immunity.”

I did as she said, exposing my right hand to whatever magic she wanted to put on me. But she didn’t do anything to me, not in the way I thought. Giselle slid her hand over mine and took a piece of my Immunity. How the fuck she did it, I don’t know.

“What the hell?” I managed not to jerk my hand back, and watched as Giselle placed that Immunity on Milly.

“You will not have access to your magic until you grasp what you have done, truly understand the way you have broken our family and truly understand where you belong in all of this. Then, and only then, will your power return.” Giselle’s words rippled through the room, and with them, she faded away. As if she hadn’t ever been.

Pamela was first to speak. “You mean she took away your magic?”

Milly lifted her hand and whispered a spell, a doozy if I remembered correctly. One that should have taken out the entire sidewall of the house.

Nothing.

Like she was human.

“Damn it, Giselle!” I shouted. “Couldn’t you have waited until after we were done facing a big fucking demon?”

No answer, of course. No, that wasn’t entirely true. The bare echo of laughter floated through the house, Giselle’s guides finding our predicament amusing. Assholes.

Milly stood and brushed off her dress. “That was … unexpected.”

I shook my head and laced my fingers around the back of my neck. Understated much? Yup. “Can you still teach Pamela?”

“Yes, I should be able to.” Milly made her way back to the paisley chair. “But is she strong enough to take on whatever comes?”

I snorted. “Even I know you’re jealous because she has the potential to be stronger than you already.”

Milly’s eyes snapped with anger and I smiled. Oh, maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea, taking away her magic. A little humility would do her good.

I lifted both hands into the air as I attempted to organize my thoughts, choosing not to discuss Faris. Let’s move on from that.

“First things first. Who were those motherfuckers shooting at us? And how the hell did they get such accuracy on a Jeep full of supernaturals?”

“Someone was shooting at you, and you didn’t tell me?” Liam grabbed my arm and turned me around to face him. I frowned at him.