Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(25) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Dev glanced over to his younger brother Kyle, who’d joined them a short time ago. “What about Kerryna? Doesn’t she know them? They are technically her family, right?”
Kyle made a rude bear sound. “Um. Yeah. They’re hunting her so they can enslave and use her to awaken her evil sisters. Needless to say, she tends to keep as far away from the gallu as she can. Kind of like you and Rémi. As much as she loves us, she’s not volunteering to help with this fight. And if we ask for that favor, her hubby will tear our heads off and make us bearskin rugs. Charonte are ridiculously protective that way, especially when it comes to the mother of their young. Xed basically chased me out of the club for even trying to talk to her about the gallu.”
Dev snorted. “But she can give us intel, right?”
Kyle gave him a droll stare. “Let me reiterate. He chased me out of the club… with barbecue sauce. While smacking his lips and calling my name.”
Fang answered for him. “Give the kid a break. They basically locked her up from the moment of birth, so she hasn’t really interacted with them… and while she’s born of the gallu, she’s not really one of them. From what she’s said in the past, they’re a separate beast.”
Seraphina felt sick at where this was going. And how slowly. They didn’t have much longer before Nala would return here and demand she leave.
Or worse, discover that she’d lied and Maxis was here, after all. In retrospect, maybe she shouldn’t have come. She could have screwed this up on her own.
Really, she didn’t need any help at all.
Off to the side, Maxis passed a look to Illarion that said the two of them were speaking in their heads. Then he locked gazes with her. “I might be able to find them. But it will require my mate to trust me and do something that’s repugnant to her.”
Her eyes widened at that. “What?”
Illarion took his arm and vigorously shook his head no.
Maxis ignored him. “It’ll be fine.”
Illarion rolled his eyes. He mouthed a silent curse at his brother.
Blaise burst out laughing, then stopped as he realized the rest of them weren’t in on their private conversation. Clearing his throat, he slinked off to a corner to examine a spot on the wall, even though he was blind.
Seraphina scowled. “What’s going on?”
Max hesitated as he swept his gaze around everyone gathered there. This motley hodgepodge was his family and he didn’t want to risk losing any of them. “I can track the children.”
“There’s no way,” Sera said affirmatively. “They have them shielded. If it was possible, I would have done it already.”
“I can find them.” His tone held absolute resolve.
Her doubting expression was as comical as it was beautiful. But then she’d always underestimated his abilities. Most creatures, to their detriment, did. “How?”
“If you’ll trust me. Completely. I can do it.”
Fang cocked his head as if he now understood what was going on. “You’re part Oneroi?”
Max snorted at the assumption that he was one of the gods who raided human dreams so that they could siphon off emotions. “Don’t insult me. I’m not Greek. I was captured and dragged to Arcadia. It was never my homeland.”
Fang’s jaw dropped. “Seriously?”
Illarion nodded. While I’m a son of Ares, we’re related only through our mother. Max is a lot older. His powers much stronger and more akin to those of the gods than a typical Were-Hunter.
Even Dev was awed. “So what are you, then?”
“Bless you,” Dev said drily. “You need a Kleenex? Benadryl?”
Max sighed heavily at the bear’s fucked-up sense of humor. “Land of Xarun. Much like Atlantis, the gods took issue with it. What little remains sits at the bottom of the Black Sea. I’m one of the very few who survived the sinking.”
Max inclined his head to Kyle for his verbalizing the pain of that particular nightmare.
“So wait a minute.” Dev cocked his head as if he just realized what Max was telling them. “You’re not Greek or Apollite… how exactly are you Katagaria?”
Carson Whitethunder, the hawk who was also their resident vet and doctor, passed a smirk to Dev. He and Aimee were the only two creatures here who had ever seen the mark that was branded on Max’s thigh. And only because they had treated his injuries. Aimee when Max had first arrived one heartbeat from death, and Carson decades later after a couple of their grittier confrontations with enemies who’d tried over the years to destroy the Peltier family. “Haven’t you ever wondered why, in over a hundred years of living here, Max has never stepped a single foot outside of this building?”
Dev snorted. “We’re all freaks here. I don’t judge.”
Max glanced to Seraphina as he remembered the less than pleasant way she’d handled the news when she’d first learned what that mark was. Why he bore it.
He’d never intended for anyone here to learn about it. But it was time to come clean.
“Remember that you’re all bound by the Omegrion laws. None of you can attack me on Sanctuary grounds.”
“Sheez, boy,” Dev groused. “What are you? The Dragonbane, or something?”
Max inclined his head to him, and as soon as he did, it sucked every bit of oxygen from the room. Half the shapeshifters around him took a step back, as if terrified being near him would taint them.
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