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  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(7) by Chloe Neill
  • “To us,” Margot said, and lifted her glass. “And to Merit, and Darth Sullivan.”

    “Hear, hear!” Mallory said. And then she burped. Which seemed appropriate.

    • • •

    Still a little chocolate drunk, we were whisked back into the limo and shuttled to our next stop, which I hoped was a place for quiet contemplation of my bellyful of seventy-five-percent bittersweet.

    “My turn!” Lindsey said. “And be warned—I am hopped up on sugar and chocolate.”

    “Oh good,” I said. “Because you’re usually so quiet and reserved.”

    That got the chuckle it deserved.

    “What’s next?” I asked.

    “We’re going to do the party a little more Cadogan style,” she said.

    By Cadogan style, she’d meant at Temple Bar, Cadogan’s official watering hole. It was located in Wrigleyville, a neighborhood north of the Gold Coast and also home, as the name hinted, to Wrigley Field.

    We pulled up in front, Sean holding open the door and his brother and fellow Irishman, Colin, ringing the brass bell behind the bar.

    “Merit is on the premises!” he yelled out, to the applause of a crowd of vampires. There were plenty in the packed bar I didn’t recognize, but all of them were women.

    Our table was near the front of a make-do stage at one end of the long, narrow bar. Maybe I was getting a stripper tonight, although I couldn’t imagine wanting to see anyone naked as much as I did Ethan. His long, lean form was pretty much a continuous delight.

    The vampires dispersed among the crowd to chat with the others in the room. Lindsey grabbed drinks from the bar, gin and tonics all around, while Mallory sat beside me, checking her phone with a worried expression. Even when Lindsey brought an armful of sparkling gin and tonics for us, she didn’t seem to perk up.

    “I’ll be right back,” Lindsey said, kissing the top of my head. “Just need to check on something.” She disappeared into the back of the bar.

    “Everything okay?” I asked Mallory when we were alone.

    “Why wouldn’t it be?”

    “Well, for starters, you’re in a bar full of vampires, which a year ago you’d have been crazily happy about. You’re practically famous after Towerline, and every Comic-Con in the country wants you as a guest sorceress, which is apparently a thing now. But you don’t look very happy about it.”

    She put a hand over mine. “I am happy.”

    “For me,” I said. “And I appreciate that. But there’s more to it. What’s going on?”

    Mallory shook her head as if to clear it. “Nothing. This is your bachelorette party, and we are not going to worry about me.”

    I used the same look I’d given Helen, stared at her with narrowed eyes. “Mallory Delancey Carmichael Bell.”

    “Nothing, Merit.”

    “Mallory.”

    She tipped back her head, let out a frustrated sound. “It’s just—I feel weird.”

    “Weird? What’s wrong? Are you sick? Are you sleeping? You look tired.”

    “I’m not sick, and I’m not pregnant, since that seems to be the other frequently asked question.” She shook her head. “I have . . . a malaise?”

    I frowned. “About the wedding?”

    “Oh Lord, no. You and Ethan were made for each other, even if he did have to wait four centuries to find you. Which, if you ask me, is probably good for him.” She winked. “Makes him more grateful.”

    “Then what kind of bad feeling?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire