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  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(130) by Chloe Neill
  • Margot placed dishes in front of us. “Breakfast du jour,” Margot said, and lifted the silver dome.

    On a plate big enough to serve the entire table was an enormous amount of food. Eggs, bacon, sausage, ham—in case the bacon and sausage weren’t porky enough—sliced tomatoes, neatly cubed potatoes, toast, a muffin with a suspicious absence of chocolate chips, a cup of fruit, and a pile of what I thought were grits. I hadn’t tried grits before. Although that was beside the point. There was also something black and vaguely sausagelike that I didn’t want to think too much about.

    “I don’t think I need all this.”

    “You have a battle to attend to. Meat for protein, carbs for energy.” She pointed at the tomatoes. “Lycopene and vitamin C for improved healing.” She pointed to the bottle of Blood4You that another vampire had placed beside my plate. “The blood is self-explanatory. Because you’re a vampire,” she explained anyway.

    “Yeah, I figured that one on my own.” I poked the black blob with a fork. “And black sausage because . . . ?”

    “Because it’s delicious. It’s blood sausage, and an old family recipe.”

    I believed the second, doubted the first, and poked at the rubbery cylinder with my fork.

    Eat your breakfast, Sentinel. Or I’ll tell everyone why you’re especially hungry this evening.

    I forked a potato obediently.

    • • •

    Like the mayor, Ethan was ready to move the moment Catcher arrived. But Catcher insisted on training first, on careful preparation for the magic we’d have to face.

    In our fighting gear again—but minus shoes—we met in the House’s training room, where dark wood walls reached down to floors covered in tatami mats.

    Catcher wore jeans and a Hawkeye T-shirt today, while Mallory opted for jeans and a Black Widow T-shirt. They looked exhausted, but managing it.

    Catcher carried a black canvas bag to the middle of the floor, began to unload scabbards from it as vampires filed into the balcony that ringed the room to watch. My scabbard was red, Ethan’s black. Jonah’s scabbards were bright yellow, the wrapping on each handle vermillion red. All four were absolutely gorgeous, and undeniably deadly.

    “If Portnoy’s got it right, you’ll be able to do more damage with each blow than with a nonmagicked sword. But like I said, you don’t want to get too comfortable. This is still a monster, and a supernatural one.”

    “Don’t let him step on you,” Jonah said.

    “Pretty much,” Catcher agreed.

    “The armor on his toes was relatively weak,” I said. “That may also be the case on his underbelly. Slipping the blade between the plates of armor might work.”

    Catcher nodded approvingly.

    “And how will the binding work?” Ethan asked.

    “Similar to tempering the blades,” he said. “Blood on the blade, then say the magic words.” He pulled out his phone, typed something, and ours beeped a second later. We pulled them out, scanned the lines of text.

    “Those are your charms,” Catcher said. “Memorize them, and don’t forget.”

    “I was an English lit student. I can recite a four-line poem like a boss.”

    “It’s true,” Mallory said. “I used to make her recite Shakespearean sonnets. I threw popcorn at her when she got the lines wrong.”

    “You two have a complicated relationship,” Catcher said, gaze narrowed.

    “Besties,” Mallory said with a shrug by way of explanation.

    “What comes after the words?” Jonah asked.

    “The dragon has to be mortally wounded, with that sword.” Catcher looked at us. “So whoever of you kills it also binds it.”

    “Roger that,” Jonah said.

    Catcher looked at us. “And you should know—there could be side effects.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire