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  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(13) by Chloe Neill
  • “We’ll be in touch if we find out anything,” Jeff said. “And we’ll let you know.”

    Catcher didn’t say good-bye, but squeezed my arm as he passed. Coming from him, that might as well have been a bear hug.

    They’d been gone only a minute when Luc knocked at the threshold, his agitated magic clear even across the room. “The House is clean,” Luc said. “We’ve started pulling the tapes, and we’ll review them and present a report to you tomorrow. It would be sooner, but dawn’s on the way.”

    “No objection,” Ethan said.

    Luc waited for a moment, opened his mouth to say something else, but then turned and disappeared again, irritation in every step.

    “Are you and Luc going to be okay?” I asked, when we were alone in the office again.

    “I’m irritated because I’m the boss,” Ethan said. “It’s my job to be irritated. And he’s irritated because he doesn’t like screwing up. That’s why he’s good at his job. Or one of the reasons. Did you know he can wrestle a steer?”

    “I did not. Good to know.” I looked back at the remains of the bookshelves, the glass and books and mementos scattered on the floor. “This night took an ugly turn.”

    Ethan put his hands on my cheeks, drawing my attention back to him. “You’re okay?”

    “I’m fine. It was just . . .” I took a deep breath, blew it out again. “A lot to come home to. I’d expected a very lighthearted night, and got it, for the most part. Kind of a weird ending to my singledom.”

    Ethan brushed a lock of hair behind my ear. “You single-handedly dispatched an intruder without a weapon in a very lovely party dress. I’d say that’s an appropriate ending.”

    “Better. But still unsettling.”

    I had sudden sympathy for Mallory’s feeling of existential dread, for the interminable sense that life was never going to be easy, that we’d never really be safe.

    Cold feet, I told myself. It was the night before my wedding, and I was understandably anxious, and this weird incident wasn’t helping. But I didn’t have time for it right now, so I pushed the thoughts away.

    “I doubt this was personal,” he said. “Not an attack against you or me, but an individual who needs help—and now can get it.”

    I nodded. “You’re right. Not a harbinger. Just a lonely soul.”

    “And we’ll do what we can to set him to rights.”

    The clock chimed five, each peal ominous in the silence of the room. Dawn was approaching.

    “I should get to my room,” I said. “Try to get some sleep.”

    “Oh, you won’t be leaving my side tonight, Sentinel.”

    I felt instantly relieved. But considered the repercussions. “But tradition—the whole thing about not seeing each other?”

    “I am Master of this House,” Ethan said, and, as if intent on proving it, pulled me against him, melding his mouth to mine. His kisses could be sweet or tender, teasing or incendiary. This one was possessive and promising—that he was here and I was safe.

    “Let’s go upstairs,” I said when the kiss was done, burying my face in his shirt, in the scent and feel of him. “Let’s leave this night behind and get started on tomorrow.”

    “I’ve no objection to that, either, Sentinel. None at all.”

    • • •

    Our apartments on the top floor of Cadogan House were dark and cool, a few golden lamps burning away the darkness. There was no bedtime basket from Margot tonight—she’d been out of the House and probably thought I was sleeping in the small dorm room that had been my first home in the House.

    I followed Ethan to the enormous closet, where my dress and his tux hung from valet bars in matching black bags, waiting for the sun to rise and fall again.

    “Are you ready?”

    I glanced at Ethan. He smiled at me while working his nightly ritual, taking off watch, removing keys and wallet.

    “I think everything’s ready for the ceremony and the reception, if that’s what you mean.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire