Target(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 3)(29) by Connie Suttle
"My King, the one working as spy for those creatures sent images to them. I have good reason to believe that the boy is a mister." If Rend wanted his King's attention, he had it then.
"Perhaps half." Marcus answered Micah's question regarding how many had gone to Ben Billings' service and burial. "And I'm not sure I understand why Dawn and Randy went, but that's not my concern." Marcus ran a hand through short black hair.
"I'm not sure why Marcie and her boys went either," Micah sighed. "Perhaps it's a morality lesson for her sons or something."
"I'm not sure I want to know, either way," Marcus said.
"Ready?" Marco stood in the doorway of Ashe's bedroom, watching while Ashe zipped his backpack and slung it over a shoulder. Sali sat at the foot of Ashe's bed, watching Ashe prepare to go back to Winkler's beach house.
"Yeah. Come on, Sali." Sali rose and followed Ashe. "Time to go, Mom," Ashe met his mother at the foot of the stairs.
"Honey, I almost wish you could stay home for a few days," Adele said.
"I know. We'll be back Friday night."
"Full moon," Adele reminded, hugging Ashe.
"No worries," Ashe nodded, squeezing his mother's shoulders before letting go.
Sali walked out with Marco and Ashe, watching both of them as they climbed into the borrowed Winkler Security van. Ashe waved at his friend as Marco backed out of the driveway.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," Ashe quoted the Dickens classic.
"Yeah." Marco was in complete agreement as they left the Star Cove addition behind and drove toward Aransas Pass and the ferry. This time, the long line of vehicles was waiting to get off the island, so Ashe and Marco were one of only four vehicles riding to Port Aransas.
"Have you met Winkler's kids?" Ashe asked as Marco drove off the ferry, the van thumping over the gangway and onto solid pavement.
"Yeah. They're okay. Wayne goes by his middle name, because he's named after Winkler, and Wynter can be a bit of a diva at times, but she's all right, too."
"What happened to their mother?" Ashe thought to ask. Nobody had mentioned her at all.
"Kellee is the biggest jerk," Marco sighed. She's remarried now, to a werewolf Second in Ohio. She only asks to see Wayne and Wynter if she wants something from Winkler. Money and stuff."
"Aren't they old enough to decide if they want to see their mother?" Ashe asked.
"They'll be twenty-one in August, and that's when Winkler can stop supporting Kellee, according to the agreement he made. Kellee is probably fit to be tied over it, because she can't bug Winkler after that. Not with any leverage, anyway. Word has it that Winkler paid for the huge house she's living in, there in Cleveland. Her husband owns a small construction firm, so it's likely he didn't buy it."
"Sounds like daytime television," Ashe grinned.
"More than you know," Marco said. "Want ice cream before we hit the beach?"
The small ice-cream shop in Port Aransas only had a few customers inside. Ashe and Marco ordered a cone each. Ashe whipped out his cell and dialed Winkler's number.
"Ashe?" Winkler answered.
"We're at the ice-cream shop in Port A. Want anything?"
"Yeah. Bring a half gallon each of chocolate, strawberry and rocky road," Winkler's smile came through in his voice.
"Will do," Ashe said and ended the call. Marco paid for the ice cream, placed the bag in the back of the van and drove the few remaining miles to the beach house. Winkler, Trajan, Trace and two others were waiting when Marco and Ashe brought the bag inside.
"Ashe, this is Wayne and this is Wynter," Winkler introduced his twenty-year-old twins to Ashe, who smiled and took offered hands.
"Shapeshifter, huh?" Wayne asked.
"Look," Marco hauled out his cell phone and replayed the video he'd taken of Sali waving his arms while the bumblebee bat flapped overhead.
"That's tiny," Wynter breathed, watching as well.
"And extremely handy," Winkler said, chuckling at Sali's antics. "Ashe has echolocation skills like that. He can detect you from half a mile away."
"And he's so cute," Trajan slapped Ashe on the back. "Get your shorts on. You haven't gone running for two days. And we'll work extra hard in the weight room tomorrow."
"You enjoy this, don't you?" Ashe said.
"You know it. Marco, to the beach!" Trajan pointed toward the sandy stretch behind Winkler's beach house.
"I'll come, too," Wayne said. Minutes later, Ashe, Wayne and Marco were jogging southward along the sandy strip between the gulf water and a line of beach homes and condos. "Heard you had a little excitement in Star Cove," Wayne breathed, running between Ashe and Marco.
"Yeah. Dad took care of it," Marco replied.
"My dad says it was out of character," Wayne went on.
"It was, in a weird sort of way," Marco agreed. "Never saw Billings go off like that."
"I think something set him off, I just don't know what it was," Ashe offered.
"Either way, he was buried this afternoon. As a human," Marco ended the conversation regarding Principal Billings. "How's school? What about the vacation in Europe?"
"School's okay. Europe ditto. Gran and Grampa went with us to Stonehenge, and then walked around with us in Edinburgh and Paris. We got to go out alone sometimes, too."
"Maybe I'll ask my dad to send me when I graduate from high school," Ashe said.
"What does your dad do?" Wayne asked.
"He's security for the community. Part of it, anyway. He's vampire," Marco answered for Ashe.
"You're one of those. I heard there aren't many that the Council allowed."
"Somebody said there were twenty, I think," Ashe huffed out a breath. "And I don't understand that."
"I heard the Council keeps a tight grip on everything vampire," Wayne said. "But you might know more about that than I do."
"Not likely. They don't hand out much info," Ashe said. "You can always ask Tony Hancock, when he wakes up."
"You don't mess with Tony," Wayne offered sagely. "You don't want to mess with any Council Assassin."
"What? He's an Assassin?" Ashe almost stopped running.
"Yeah. Heard his surrogate sire is, too. You don't get away from those guys if they come after you."
"I feel comforted. Don't you Marco? Don't you feel comforted to know that if they send a vampire Assassin after you, you're toast?" Ashe was grumbling and he knew it. "And it's doubly comforting to know that a vampire Assassin is only steps away while you sleep."
"Ashe, your dad's a vampire. Why are you so concerned?" Wayne asked.
"Let's just say it's inside information." Ashe turned up his speed and loped away from Marco and Wayne.
"I don’t know what set him off," Marco told Winkler later. "Wayne let it slip that Tony is an Assassin for the Council and Ashe just took off. I didn't know he could run like that."
"Marco, there's a lot you don't understand about the vampire race. Hell, there's a lot I don't understand. And I'll have a talk with Wayne. He should never have let that information out. Ashe has enough to worry about."
"What are we not understanding?" The object of discussion, Anthony Hancock, appeared in Winkler's kitchen, watching while Marco dipped out a bowl of rocky road ice cream. "I used to love that stuff," he sighed.
"We're not understanding anything about congress and the price of fossil fuels," Winkler said. "And Ashe has enough to worry about without vampires, werewolves and alien races breathing down his neck."
"With his ability, he has a responsibility," Tony said.
"Hancock, he's sixteen. What were you doing at sixteen, other than playing in a dojo somewhere and giving your parents fits?" Winkler started dipping out ice cream for himself.
"That about sums it up," Tony agreed amiably.
"Did you eat all the strawberry?" Ashe walked into the kitchen.
"I don't think anybody's gotten into it, except Wynter," Winkler grinned. Tony Hancock stood nearby, watching as ice cream was dipped into bowls.
"Do you miss it?" Ashe asked the vampire.
"Yeah. But I hear that goes away after a while. A few hundred years or so."
"That information you gave me? How much did the Council hold back?" Ashe opened the carton of strawberry before grabbing a bowl and spoon.
"That's classified," Tony said.
"Is it? The world gonna implode if I read a fourth page?" Ashe scooped ice cream, a determined set to his mouth.
"Marco, out," Winkler snarled. Marco took his ice cream and left the kitchen quickly.
"Kid, I stopped trying to figure out why the Council does anything," Tony said. "And yes, they might think the world will implode if you read any more."
"That's the story of my life," Ashe's blue eyes gazed coolly into Tony Hancock's gray stare. "Ashe doesn't need to know anything. But he can haul his butt here and there so everybody else gets what they want."
"Kid, that's the way the world works. A few are in charge, the rest of us toil and scurry. And I'm practicing patience right now. If my sire were here, compulsion would be laid and that would be the end of it."
"Yeah? Sounds a little despotic to me." Ashe placed the container of strawberry back in the freezer and grabbed his bowl. "I'll eat this out on the deck," he said, nodding at Winkler.
"This will not be a competition, to see who ends up with him," Tony's growl was almost as good as Winkler's best snarl. "His father is a vampire and required permission from the Council to become a parent."
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