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  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(108) by Chloe Neill
  • “Come on,” I said. “You aren’t even trying.”

    “I hate you,” she said, taking a step forward. I moved to the left, trying to bait her into turning a full circle and putting Mallory at her back.

    “Yeah, I’m not super fond of you, either,” I said, and struck forward, just catching the fabric at the edge of one knee, and ripped a four-inch hole in the silk. I nicked her pale skin, scenting the air with her blood. Powerful blood that I had to force myself not to think about.

    Sorcha screamed and turned, hair flying around her face in an arc. She whipped another fireball at me—how much magic was she carrying?—her eyes now wild and dilated. She was too close for the shot; I sliced through it with my katana, but the movement sent an explosion of sparks into the air, hitting us both.

    Pain exploded through me, like I’d taken fire-hot shrapnel in every bit of skin, muscle, and bone. The force of it pushed me down, and I hit the ground on my back, eyes squeezed closed as magic pulsed over my skin with a million painful pricks.

    “You bitch!” Sorcha cried out. She was still on her feet, but her pantsuit was now a dodgy mess of burns and holes.

    She took some of her own, I told Ethan. This would be a good time for them to strike. Hopefully Mallory would do the same thing.

    Nearly there, Ethan said.

    “Hey, you,” Mallory said, and Sorcha’s head whipped toward her. Mallory smiled, tossed the compact at her.

    At the same time, a fireball lit the sky on its way toward us, sending light in an arc over the hill and heading right toward Sorcha.

    I looked back. At the origin point, where sparks still faded in the darkness, Simpson stood in the glow of her own magic, preparing another round. Her expression was determined, mixed with the ego of a woman who hadn’t been battle-tested and believed she was stronger than she actually was. And because of that, she’d let Sorcha see her—and her position at the bottom of the hill.

    “No!” Mallory called out, gathering up her magic and preparing to lunge down the hill toward Simpson, already gathering magic for a shot to intercept whatever Sorcha might throw.

    But it was too late.

    CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

    WEIRD SCIENCE

    Attention drawn by the light, Sorcha moved toward Simpson. The compact hit the ground where Sorcha had been a millisecond ago and shattered open, the spell spilling impotently across the ground, a haze of golden light. Sorcha was already five feet away, heading toward Simpson’s position.

    “Simpson!” Mallory called out. “Move!”

    Too stubborn to obey, Simpson threw another volley. Sorcha batted it away like an irritating insect, and then sent a fireball toward Simpson. Mallory tossed hers at the same time, but finishing the compact had taken a toll on her magic, and it fell short.

    Simpson might have had some magical skills, but she wasn’t quick on her feet. Instead of dodging, she turned around as if to run away. The fireball caught her square in the back, sending her flying into the snow. She hit with a sickening sizzle, and didn’t move.

    “She killed her,” Mallory said. “Killed her.”

    And when she did, the sorcerers’ concealment magic faltered, making visible the now-triangle-shaped wire of blue magic that vibrated above them. It looked like liquid neon and scattered blue light around them. Now they were all visible to us . . . and to Sorcha.

    We’re going to need Plan B, I told Ethan, stepping beside Mallory so we stood in a line together against Sorcha. But her eyes, and her rage, were focused at the moment on the trio of sorcerers who raised the wire into the air, began moving it toward the hill. I guessed it was supposed to be a lasso, a very literal way of roping Sorcha into police custody.

    Mallory’s compact seemed much simpler and more elegant by comparison.

    “Do they think she’s going to stand still for that?” I asked.

    “They thought it would be invisible,” Mallory said. “But yeah, it’s too cumbersome. Which I could have told them, if they’d shared any of it with me.” She gathered up another round, tossed it into the air. Short again.

    And she wasn’t the only one. Blue shots began to pierce the air from the other side of the lagoon. Catcher, I thought with relief.

    Sparks flew over the lagoon as the sorcerers battled, magic spilling into the air each time the shots collided, so the sky over the entire island began to glow from the haze of it.

    Sorcha was focused on the sorcerers, and she kept moving forward through waist-high snow on the other side of the hill, into the valley where the lagoon reflected back magic. She was moving closer to the lasso the sorcerers still managed to hold aloft, but they were having trouble keeping it stable. It jolted and jerked between them, more live wire than lasso.

    Sorcha aimed a fireball at Baumgartner, who fended it off with a shot of his own. But he lost hold of the lasso, which sizzled and disappeared into the air.

    “The containment field is down,” Mallory called into the comm.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire