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Wounded(Rylee Adamson #8)(16) by Shannon Mayer

“It might not. But you have to live with the decision for the rest of your life. Can you do that, knowing you gave up on three young kids?”

“They could still die,” I said.

Pamela sat on the other side of me. “But you could save them too.”

Alex lay on the floor at my feet and stared up at me with his liquid golden eyes. “Rylee saved me. Saved Pamela. Saved Erik.”

What they were saying was true, only there was an exception here. Would I give up the safety of the world to save three children, one I didn’t even know?

I stood and wobbled to the bathroom. “Call on Faris. See if you can get him to respond to you, Alex.”

I didn’t turn around as Alex howled Faris’s name because I already suspected we were on our own. It had been too long since Faris had fed from Alex, and that was the only connection we had. If the feeding had been recent, Faris would have a strong connection to Alex and would be able to find us. Doran had fed from me, but he didn’t have Faris’s ability to travel through the veil, so that wouldn’t do us any good, either. This time, there would be no quick and easy way to get to London; we were going to have to fly up the coast as far north as we could and then island hop to the European continent.

I shut the door behind me and leaned against it. A sudden urge to vomit gripped me and I fell to my knees, losing what little food I had in my belly. I heaved until nothing but bile and water burned my throat and tongue. Yeah, that was unpleasant.

“Rylee, are you okay?” Pamela knocked on the door as she asked.

“Yeah. Just give me a minute.” I scooted back from the toilet and lay on the cold floor, grateful for the fact it was indeed cold. My skin flushed with heat and I couldn’t get out of my jacket and weapon sheaths fast enough. Shirt and tank top followed my jacket until I was nothing but bare skin on the floor. I let out a sigh of relief and flung one hand over my eyes.

Alex had said my heart sounded funny; could I really be sick? Had giving some of my Immunity to Liam broken down my own defenses? I rolled to my side. None of that mattered right now. I had more than enough on my plate, like I was at a buffet of bad shit and someone kept heaping it on even though I’d had more than enough. No need to add to it myself with worry about something that may or may not even be an issue.

None of that was helping me decide what I was going to do and I knew it was just my brain trying to distract me. “Faris answer?” I called out from my place on the floor.

“No,” Pamela said, her voice soft. “He didn’t.”

I sat up and slowly pulled my tank top back on, forgoing the shirt. Weapons next, then leather jacket. I stood and checked my face in the mirror. I looked like shit and the splash of water didn’t really help much.

Leaving the bathroom, I headed straight to the motel room’s door. The one downside to John’s motel was that none of the rooms had a phone. He, John, said he’d had too many go missing, people ripping them right out of the walls. “I’m going to see if anyone picks up the phone at Jack’s. Assuming that is where Faris took everyone.” I didn’t wait for anyone and waved Erik to sit as he started out of his seat. “I’ll just be a minute, wait for me.”

Alex, though, didn’t listen. “I come with you.”

He no longer wore his collar that hid him from human eyes, but no one had said anything. “Yeah, that’s okay, buddy.” I dropped a hand to his head scratching him behind his ears. I wondered if there was a chance he would ever be able to shift into human form. In the last few months, he’d come a long way, losing his submissiveness and becoming more self aware. Hell, he’d stopped talking in the third person, which in itself was a fucking achievement.

I opened the office door to see both John and his wife Mary talking in hushed tones. They looked up as we stepped in.

“Was wondering if I could use the phone?” I asked as Alex tucked in behind me, peering at the elderly couple. Mary’s jaw dropped and even John looked a bit taken aback.

“That dog, he don’t look so good,” Mary whispered.

“Not a dog. Part wolf,” I said, and then Alex blew it.

“Yuppy doody. I is Alex. Werewolf. Demon killer.” He puffed out his chest and grinned at them, which was not a pretty sight.

Mary fainted, and John barely caught her before she hit the floor.

“Sorry, John,” I said, helping him lift Mary and take her to their room at the back of the motel.

“Well, I knew you had some strange friends, but Mary didn’t believe me.”

We laid her on the bed and left her there. John was taking Alex’s revelation better than I would have thought.

“Have you been around creatures like him before?” I pointed at Alex, who then pointed to himself with his eyes round and innocent looking. John scrubbed his fingers under his hat before answering.

“Not sure. But I always believed there was more than we knew out there.” He gave me a smile and clapped a hand on my shoulder. “Always knew you were one of the good ones, though.”

He led me into the back room of the office. “Use the phone. You’re always welcome here, Ry. You and your … dog.” He smiled and shut the door behind him, giving us privacy. Alex grinned up at me.

“I likes John.”

“Yeah, I do too.” I dialed Jack’s place and listened as the phone rang and rang. Fucking hell, this was not going the way I’d hoped at all. As I moved to hang up, a soft ‘hello’ came through. I jerked the phone back up to my ear. “Hey, who is this?”

“Rylee? It’s Frank. I think there is some serious fighting going on. I think Thomas might be dead.”

I pinched the bridge of my nose. That was not good news. “Where’s Faris? Is he around?”

“I don’t know. He left.”

Shit on sticky toast, this was going downhill fast. “Frank, I need to know if you can open a slash in the veil, are you able to do that yet?”

“I can, but I’m not supposed to.”

“If Thomas is dead, then you may not have a choice. And if he’s dead and one of the vampires killed him—”

“No, Faris tried to save him.”

Well, that was a fucking shock. “Who killed him?”

“Berget. It was like her eyes went wonky and then she attacked Thomas, strangled him and … it was bad. She seems to be herself again, but she’s pretty upset.”