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Veiled Threat(Rylee Adamson #7)(11) by Shannon Mayer

The two dragons kept pace with one another, their wings dipping and rising almost in tandem. Neither had anything else to add to that.

Liam leaned forward and put his mouth near my ear. “You okay?”

Surprised, I turned to face him. “What do you mean?”

His eyebrows rose high. “Just surprised you aren’t freaking out. You don’t tend to take information like that well on a good day.”

“Just what is that supposed to mean?”

Means you explode first and think about the new info later, once you’ve caused a fair amount of chaos. Blaz didn’t project to everyone, or I might have given them the explosion they expected.

Instead, I withdrew, pulling deep into myself. I didn’t want to admit they were right. I wasn’t feeling like myself lately; something was off and I couldn’t pinpoint it. Maybe it was all the quiet hours and too much time to think, or maybe it was the fact I slept through the night consistently for a longer stretch than I ever have.

Even Berget’s visits didn’t disturb me. She made it a standing meeting that we saw each other at least once a week in my dreams, but they no longer left me shaking and pumping full of adrenaline. Now, they were like seeing her face to face, no more smoke and mirrors, no more wondering which Berget I was talking to—the sane one, or the one who wanted to see my head on the end of a pike.

I leaned against Liam’s chest and closed my eyes. “I’m going to see if I can talk to Berget. Maybe her memories will hold a clue for us.”

I wasn’t sure if I could sleep while flying, the air cold on my face, legs strapped against Blaz, but it was an excuse to keep to myself.

And damned if I didn’t slide into a light doze. I reached for Berget as she’d shown me, and she came into view, walking along the edge of Blaz’s wing and sat beside me. She wore a long, full blue skirt and corseted top, very old school. The colors accentuated her bright blue eyes and long golden hair. Of course I knew she wasn’t really here; her hair and skirt didn’t move in the rushing wind and she walked just above Blaz, floating an inch over his skin.

“Rylee, is something wrong?” Her mouth turned downward in a sharp line.

“Yes and no. Don’t use the castle, the doorways have all been destroyed with the exception of three and red caps are guarding the shit out of the place.” My eyes drifted to half mast and I almost pulled out of the doze. Berget crouched beside me.

“Orion and his demons are making a bid?”

I nodded, still disturbed at times with how old she sounded when she spoke most times. Old and wise. The memories and power of her adoptive parents were held in check by the opal implanted into the side of her chest, but she could still access them when needed. And sometimes the years of playing the part of the thousand-year-old vampire came through in her speech patterns and behavior.

She rubbed her fingers over her side where the opal was buried. Fear sparked through me.

“Are you having problems?” I didn’t need to be more specific; we both knew what that one problem was.

“They are … grumpy, for lack of a better term. Irritated that I’ve bound them.” She gave me a small smile “But that isn’t here nor there. For the moment, they are fine. What is it you wanted to ask me?”

I looked her over, saw she wasn’t trying to hide anything from me. Worry still trickled along my spine. The opal was a temporary stop, one that would eventually run out. I pushed that aside; I had to believe we had the time to figure out a better way to keep her safe. And to be honest, the help of vampires with a lot of years behind them was not a bad thing. At least, not right now.

“In their memories, is there anything about how to close the veil?”

Her eyes widened and I quickly told her about Ophelia and Erik, and what Ophelia shared in regards to how to bind the demons.

Berget didn’t ask if I trusted them; even though we’d spent most of our lifetime apart, she knew me well enough to know I wouldn’t pursue this if I didn’t think it was the truth.

“I will have to take some time to see what I can find. While I can access everything, it is delicate because they are bound. They are not always willing to share. I will come to you if I drag something out of them.” She shrugged her pale, slim shoulders, and her lips tipped upward, though a current of sadness ran through her eyes. Then, she went a totally different direction, one I wouldn’t have seen coming, not in a million years.

“Doran is in love with you, you know that, right?”

I couldn’t hold onto the light doze, jerking awake with a gasp. Liam’s arms tightened around me.

“Bad?”

My jaw dropped open and I coughed on the moist air. Doran was … nooooooo. That couldn’t possibly be. Of course, I forgot to close my thoughts from Blaz so he chimed in.

Not surprised, you have intrigued him from the beginning. You two would actually make quite the pairing.

“Shut up!”

Alex from the “back seat” let out a howl. “Shuttttttt upppppppp!”

That was my boy, always backing me up.

Liam leaned forward and I shook my head. I was not going to discuss this with him with all this audience. Even if I whispered, Blaz would hear and right now I didn’t want anyone to know.

I already know, you twit.

Hot embarrassment and even hotter anger arched along my spine. “Stay out of my head, Blaz.” I snapped.

He had the gall to laugh, a deep rumble slipping through him and into me as he dove. I clenched the leather and Alex let out a series of excited yips and howls.

Liam said nothing. Smart man, he knew when to wait for me.

We dropped in large, lazy circles, the two dragons mirroring one another. From where we were I saw the city of Portland. I Tracked Sas and the ogres, felt them pulling me away from the city proper. My gut clenched. I knew where they were. Fuck it all, I did not want to visit the place where Orion had almost broken free. No choice, I had to speak to the ogres, had to see if they were with us or not.

Time to suck it up.

“All right, kiddos, we’re going to Mt. Hood.”

Chapter 5

The ground was thick with cooled and blackened lava, and the mountain was bare of trees and wildlife. Ophelia and Blaz didn’t seem bothered by it, landing on the edge of the lake where the flow was the thinnest, the surface cracking under their weight.

Erik slid off Ophelia’s back and glanced around. “Let me guess, you had something to do with this? Untrained, you cause a lot of problems, don’t you?” The second bit was not a question but a statement. Asshole.