Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(64) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
“I have learned to trust you. Whatever you say, I will believe.”
Still, he hesitated before he answered. “It was an accident. He wasn’t the one who was supposed to die. Rather it was his brother.”
Gaping, she rose up to stare down at him. “And that makes it all better?”
“Had you met his brother, yes. He was an asshole.”
Before he could respond, another knock sounded on his door. By the scent, he knew it was Alain Peltier. The eldest of the bears. “Yes?”
Alain didn’t open the door, rather he spoke through it. “I hate to disturb you, dragon. But we have a bad situation. Savitar has called the Omegrion and you’ve been summoned. By law, we have to take you in. However, we’ve taken a vote and we’re standing in solidarity by your side.”
“No!” Sera shook her head. “You can’t go. I won’t allow you to face them. I don’t care what Savitar says or how many stand with you. This is suicide!”
Max didn’t respond to her upset outburst. “How long do I have?”
“We need to leave immediately.”
After the quickest shower of her life, Seraphina dressed in a pair of jeans and a shirt, and walked with Max down to the parlor of Peltier House, where their children and basically every adult resident under the roof waited for him. As well as every Dark-Hunter, former and current, in New Orleans, along with Acheron, Sin, Zakar, and Styxx.
“This is utter bullshit!” Dev snarled, unaware of their presence behind him. “I say we tell Savitar where to shove it.”
Acheron laughed as he glanced past Dev to meet Max’s gaze. “I dare you.”
Max stopped next to Dev and put his hand on his shoulder. “It’s all right, bear. I’m not afraid.”
Seraphina laced her fingers with his. “For the record, I am.”
With a stern frown, Aimee caressed her stomach. “Can’t we do something? Max is here under our protection. I thought our laws protected him, so long as he doesn’t leave.”
Styxx sighed heavily. “They did. But the other dragons are calling for his ass. He attacked and they have the right to demand a hearing for his new crime… and the old when he appears for it.”
Vane nodded. “That’s why we’re all going. As Kattalakises, we’re character witnesses. Our family started this against you and we’re going to do our damnedest to stop it.”
Hadyn’s scowl matched Aimee’s. “And if you can’t?”
Dev cracked a wicked grin. “I’m tossing the dragon over my shoulder and running for the door. You gonna cover my retreat, kid?”
Sighing heavily, Samia pressed her gloved hands to her nose. “I wish he was joking with that threat. Instead, I have this awful vision in my head and an ulcer in my stomach.”
Dev kissed her cheek. “I promised you that living with me would never be boring.”
She let out a tired breath. “That you did. You are definitely a bear of your word.”
As they started to leave, Illarion stepped forward to go with them to the Omegrion.
“No!” Max roared, pushing him back toward his brothers. “Blaise, keep him here.”
The stunned look on Illarion’s face would have been hysterical if Max’s life didn’t hang in the balance. You can’t leave me out of this.
“I can and I will.”
Illarion shook his head in denial. He tried to step around Max, but Max wasn’t having any of that.
Max caught his brother and pushed him back again. “I mean it. You go and I’ll run.” He looked to Falcyn, then Blaise. “He’s not allowed to go. You have to keep him here. No matter what.”
A chill went down Seraphina’s spine. Illarion knew something about all this. Something Max didn’t want spoken out loud. And given what she knew about her mate, it would incriminate Illarion in the murder and free Max.
There was no other reason for him to act this way. To be so angry and insistent. No other reason to bar Illarion’s presence from the hearing. Not unless he was afraid his brother would speak up and condemn himself in order to protect Max from harm.
She met Illarion’s grief-stricken, tormented gaze and in that moment, she knew exactly what had happened. “You killed the prince, didn’t you? It wasn’t Maxis. It was you.”
“Sera,” Max growled. “Stay out of this.”
But she couldn’t. Not if it meant saving her mate. Releasing Max, she went to Illarion and forced him to meet her gaze. “Tell me what happened.”
“It doesn’t matter.” Max swallowed hard. “I bear the mark and I’m the Dragonbane, not Illarion. Leave him alone.” He glared at his brothers. “Do not let him leave here.”
And before she could say another word, Max vanished.
“No!” Yet it was too late. The irritating beast was already gone.
Terrified and shaking, she turned on Illarion. “Tell me the truth. What happened?”
It was an accident.
She met Acheron’s gaze. “We’ve got to get the others to listen. Somehow.”
Vane agreed. “Don’t worry, Sera. They can’t start the council yet. Four of the members are still here.”
She arched a brow at the number. “Four?”
“Me, Fury, Alain’s mate – Tanya, and Wren Tigarian behind you.”
Tanya Peltier she’d met while tending Max’s wound. Quiet and shy, the tall, dark-haired Katagari bear worked as one of the cooks in the kitchen of Peltier House who oversaw caring for the residents there, and not in the public Sanctuary bar. She made the menus for their children and families, and was the Ursulan Regis for the Katagaria branch since the death of the Peltier matriarch, Nicolette.
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