The Shadows(Black Dagger Brotherhood, book 13)(53) by J.R.Ward
Rhage looked over at the doc. “Huh?”
“Then why have you stopped eating. Bag’s not empty.”
Rhage glanced down. Sure enough, he’d left the detritus where it was—and he didn’t have any impulse to finish. “Ahhh…”
“Watching your weight?”
“Yeah. That’s it.”
As he crushed the bag, he left orange prints all over the labels and marketing, until the thing looked like it had bruised that color from the rough handling.
Then he was stuck orange-handed. “Shit. I don’t have anything to wipe off with.”
“Are you kidding me?” Manny tossed a gauze roll at him. “We could do a buff and shine on half this city with what I got in here.”
Rhage unraveled and cleaned up; then crammed everything into the wastepaper basket that was bolted to the floor between the bucket seats.
Manny slowed down as they came up to the glass building, and then he parked on the opposite side of the street as Fritz stopped completely at the flashy entrance, the taillights of the Merc glowing red.
A moment later, Trez got out and went around behind the sedan, the stiff wind catching his jacket before he did the buttons up, flashing the twin forties he had holstered under both of his arms.
With a gallant move, he opened the door for his female, and Selena emerged from the back, her incredible hair sweeping away from her body, a dark flag that teased this way and that.
“Good-looking couple,” Manny said quietly.
“She doesn’t even seem sick.”
Trez tucked her arm into his and escorted her up the gray granite steps, and as another couple came out of the revolving doors, both of the humans stopped and stared.
“You gotta do something, my man. You just have to figure this shit out for them.”
Manny hit the gas and the souped-up RV’s engine revved, taking them onward so they could go around the block to the back.
“You hear me?” Rhage demanded.
“Yeah, I did.” Manny took a deep breath. “You know what the hardest thing to learn about medicine is?”
“Human anatomy. ’Cuz it’s gross.”
The blinker made a nuk-nuk-nuk sound as the good doctor announced to the world, or at least this street, that they were taking another left around the skyscraper’s footprint.
“It’s that there are situations where there’s nothing you can do.”
Rhage rubbed his eyes. Something out of his subconscious was coming back to him, something he didn’t want.
“You made a funny noise there.”
As Manny came up to the service bays, he pulled a neat little driver’s-ed-style K-turn so that he was able to back that ass right against the building. Shutting things down, he turned in his seat.
“You sure you’re all right?”
“Oh. Yeah. Uh-huh.”
“You don’t look right. And check out what I’m wearing. Scrubs. You know what that means.”
“That you like having your pj’s on all night?”
“That I’m a doctor and I know what I’m talking about.”
“Don’t get paranoid, big guy.”
There was a heartbeat or twelve of silence. Then Manny said, “There is nothing I won’t do to keep her with him. Nothing.”
Now Rhage was the one pulling the pivot. “That’s what I needed to hear, Doc.”
“Just don’t put your faith in miracles, Hollywood. That’s a dangerous bet.”
“It happened for me and Mary. When we needed one, we got one.”
Manny stared out the front windshield—and didn’t appear to see anything of the darkened street ahead. “I’m not God. And neither is Doc Jane.”
Rhage resettled in his seat. “You need to have hope. They just have to have hope.”
As the prison cell’s door panel slid back into the wall, iAm wheeled around. But it still wasn’t s’Ex. And it wasn’t another bedding platform. And it wasn’t more books he would not read or blankets he would not use or pillows he could give a rat’s ass about.
It was that maid with another meal.
“Oh, come on,” he spat, throwing up his hands. “Where the fuck is s’Ex!”
The female said nothing; she simply walked forward with that tray of hers as the door slid back into place, locking them in together.
As she lowered herself to her knees, he wanted to scream. So he did.
“I’m not fucking eating that! Jesus Christ, what is wrong with you people!”
The only thing that stopped him from marching over, picking up that frickin’ food, and slinging it across the room was the fact that it wasn’t the maichen’s fault. s’Ex blowing him off had nothing to do with her, and terrorizing the damn maid wasn’t going to get him any closer to freedom and returning to Trez.
She was an innocent third party caught up in this bullshit just like he was.
Exhaling in a burst, he hung his head. It took him a couple of heartbeats before he was under any semblance of control. “I’m sorry.”
At that, her head jerked up to level, and for a moment, especially as that scent of hers reached him, he wished he could see her eyes.
What shape were they? What did her lashes look like? Were the irises as dark as his—
Why the fuck was he thinking like this?
Breaking off from her, he started walking around. “I gotta get out of here. Time is running out.”
As her head tilted to the side in inquiry, he thought, no. Not gonna go there.
He nodded down at the tray. “If you want to leave the food, I’ll flush it down the toilet so that you don’t get in trouble for not feeding me.”
And that was when she spoke: “It is not poisoned.”
For absolutely no good reason, those four run-of-the-mill words stopped him dead. Her voice was deeper than he had expected; all her subservience seemed better paired with some high-octave, super-feminine tone. And there was a husky undertone … which made him think about sex.
Raw sex. The kind that left females hoarse from calling out the name of their lover.
All at once, he had the urge to cover his naked body. Which was kind of bullshit, wasn’t it. He’d known she was a female all along and it wasn’t like he’d ever had any clothes on in front of her.
Giving in to the impulse, he went over behind the screen, to the stack of towels that had been placed by the inset tub. As he wrapped one around his hips, he felt like apologizing for ever having aired his junk at all.
When he came back around, she was sampling the soup and the bread again.
“You can stop,” he said. “I’m not going to eat.”
Again, with that voice. Even on only one word this time.
“I gotta get out of here,” he muttered. For a whole fucking lot of reasons. “I have to get out.”
“Does something await you?”
He thought of Trez and Selena. “Just death. You know, no big fucking deal or anything.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Look, I gotta talk to s’Ex. That’s what I need to do. Did you tell him?”
Although it wasn’t as if she had any pull.
“Who is dying?”
“Nothing. No one. Nobody—”
“Who is passing? Not your brother?”
“Look, I need you to go. And not come back unless you’re bringing s’Ex with you.”
Annnnnd he stopped again. Maids were never imperious, but that was what she sounded like. Then again, his emotions were running so goddamn high, he was capable of reading into just about anything right now—and jumping to the wrong conclusion.
“I came back here for help, okay.” He threw up his hands. “s’Ex told me he would get me into the palace so I could look through the healers’ texts.”
“My brother’s mate.”
The maid’s head came up sharply. “He is to mate the Princess here, though, no? I heard that he is the Anointed One.”
“He fell in love.” iAm shrugged. “It happens. Or so I’ve heard.”
“And she is the one who is dying?”
“She’s not doing well.”
As he resumed his prowling, he could feel the eyes behind that mesh track him. “So that’s why I need to get out. My brother needs my help.”
“He is in mourning. The executioner.”
iAm glanced over, and then resumed stalking the cell. “Yeah. I know, but he had enough free rein to meet me on the outside. Shorter trip now that I’m in the palace itself.”
“But that is the issue. He left and no one knew where he had gone. The palace wanted him to participate. The palace … insisted that he attend to the Queen. He is with her now.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online