Veiled Threat(Rylee Adamson #7)(19) by Shannon Mayer
She slowly turned her face to mine, tears scorching across her cheeks.
I touched my hands to the tears. “No one is safe, it wouldn’t matter where I sent you; I expect there to be danger. But together, you and Frank have a chance at accomplishing two things I don’t have time for. That doesn’t mean they aren’t important, nor does it mean they will be safe.”
“I’ll look out for her.” Frank stepped beside me, scuffing the dirt with his worn sneakers.
“More likely she’ll end up saving your ass; that’s the way it’s always been with her and me.” I laughed softly.
“You like Blaz better than me.” Ah, here we were at the crux. I’d been waiting for this, knowing it was only a matter of time before the teenage harpy finally said it. But seriously, did it have to be right now? I restrained the bitchy side of me that wanted to tell her to take her insecurities and stuff them until this was all said and done. Only there was no guarantee there would ever be a time when it was all said and done. So now it was.
“Not true. You are part of my family, part of my and Liam’s pack. Blaz is more like …” how to find the words to describe my relationship with Blaz?
We are partners, and we work well together. But her heart does not lie with me as it does with you and those she deems family. Blaz’s tone wasn’t snarky or even upset. Just matter of fact. All and all, it was the truth.
Eve’s eyes flickered in the light. “Truly?”
I nodded. “Yes, he kind of nailed it on the head. I didn’t want to say it out loud, he can be a fucking crybaby, you know.”
Blaz snorted, a gout of flame shooting out his nostrils toward the house. As if he’d meant to do it.
Eve’s eyes crinkled with a half smile that quickly slipped from her face. “I will come whenever you need me. You know that.”
I didn’t say anything. I didn’t have to. Frank stepped up and swung his leg over her back and settled into the harness. “Where should we meet you when we’re done?”
That was a good question. Who could keep them safe, who did I trust that was still alive? There were only a few people left now.
“Go to Doran’s. Wait for us there.”
Eve nodded, spread her wings and took off, the downdraft fanning the flames and sending up a shower of sparks. As they left, I finally Tracked Pamela and Milly, nearly slumping with relief. They were alive, and though they were either asleep or unconscious, they weren’t being hurt. Only thing better would be if they’d been brought to this side of the veil.
Erik watched me from where he leaned against Ophelia’s side. I was actually surprised she’d been as quiet as she had.
She feels responsible for what happened. Apparently she told Erik he needed to give you at least a few words of protection, and he didn’t listen to her. At least we know the stubbornness is inherent in your family.
“He fucking well should have given us something. We could have gone in and gotten them both without this damn mess.” A part of me wondered if he’d done it on purpose, but what advantage would he have, taking my family from me? I put my hands on my hips, for the first time truly stumped as to how to go about a salvage. I felt them, knew they were alive, knew they were in the veil, but how did we get to the deep levels?
And that was the question of the day.
One I had no answer to.
Watching Rylee, the flames throwing light and dark against her face, made his heart tighten. There was nothing he could do at the moment, and he knew her well enough to let her mull this situation over before he said anything. So he waited, knowing she would find him soon enough. He leaned against the barn, Alex tucked up against him, though he doubted it was for warmth.
The formerly submissive werewolf looked up, making direct eye contact. “Rylee smells funny. Not right.”
Liam’s heart tightened more. Fuck, Alex would blurt out what Liam already suspected but didn’t say out loud. The only thing he could do was stall the werewolf at his feet and hope to hell he said nothing. “She’s sick. Don’t tell anyone.”
Alex let out a gasp, his clawed paws clamping down on his muzzle. Through his clenched teeth he whispered, “Sick? Dying?”
Liam shook his head. “Keep it down. And no, she isn’t dying. Just … a little bit sick. She’ll get better.”
“Promise?” He wobbled to his back legs so he could look Liam in the face.
Damn it all. Liam nodded. “Yes, I promise. But say nothing. Understand? Not even to Rylee. Not to anyone.”
Alex dropped to his haunches, sitting back to cross his heart with the tip of one claw. “Promises.”
Promises. He’d made so many. To himself, to Rylee. To Peter, the old wolf, who’d told him what he really was and where he stood within the prophecies. He couldn’t keep all the promises, as several stood at odds with one another.
Death was coming for him, he felt it drawing closer each day, and if the old wolf was right, it was the prophecies coming into play. His life and death would not be in vain, but it would mean breaking his promises to Rylee.
It meant keeping the truth from her until the last possible second. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back, not moving even when he heard her footsteps. Rylee put her head against his chest, a tremor rippling through her.
“How do I find them? Tell me how to fix this, Liam. Blaz doesn’t know, Ophelia doesn’t know, Erik can’t help though he should know better than anyone else.” Her hands curled up on his chest and he wrapped his arms around her, rubbed her back and held her tightly against him.
“Something will show us the way. It always does. We wouldn’t have come this far only to lose now.”
She lifted her head and stared at him, her tri-colored eyes searching his. “How do you know that?”
He gave her a smile, lips barely moving. “Because that is your life, Rylee. No matter how bad the shit gets, something or someone always pulls through. The help will be there when you need it. And we need it now. So I believe. I hope. You taught me that.” Even though his heart didn’t believe it, not for a second. Sure, things had worked out so far, but he had a feeling those days were over.
Tears swam in her eyes, spilling over her cheeks. “Thank you.”
He rubbed a thumb under her eyes, wiping away her tears. A few months ago she wouldn’t have broken down like this. But things were changing for them all, and Rylee more than anyone else.