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  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(16) by Chloe Neill
  • “You’re trying to calm me down,” I realized. “By lightening the mood.”

    “Since we met,” he said, putting his chin atop my head, “I’ve been telling you to be still.”

    “So you have,” I said, and let myself be drawn in by the warmth and scent of him, by the comfort of his nearness, of having him as a lodestar. “I love you, Ethan Sullivan.”

    “And I love you, Merit of the Single Name.”

    And that was good enough for me.

    CHAPTER FOUR

    COLD FEET

    We’d ignored the tradition of sleeping in separate rooms, but Ethan was still gone when I woke. Margot had left a breakfast tray of muffins, fat red strawberries, and a pot of Earl Grey that fragranced the air with citrusy bergamot.

    “Let the wedding-night pampering begin,” I said, and poured myself a cup, settled into a chair in the sitting room for a few minutes of peace and quiet before the chaos began.

    Ethan had left a business card on the tray. His name was printed on the front, and on the back, in watercolor blue ink, was a heart and a note in his slanting script: “See you soon, my beautiful bride.”

    And because it was Ethan, a postscript followed: “Security briefing at D+1,” or one hour after dawn.

    This might have been my wedding night, but we still lived in Cadogan House.

    After the security briefing, I’d be whisked off to the Portman Grand, where I’d be dressed and primped up, then off to the library for the ceremony and reception.

    The implications of my having left the details to my mother and Helen suddenly hit me—they’d be in charge of my wedding day, and how and where I spent my time. Nice that I wouldn’t need to worry about it, but not as nice as having relaxed friendlies in charge of the events.

    I’d wear comfortable clothes to the primping session, I decided. Jeans, an old T-shirt, and a favorite pair of Pumas. My Cadogan medal, as always. And my hair unwashed, as the stylist had instructed me to do.

    • • •

    The House was somehow even more chaotic than it had been the night before. There were more human guards and a last rush of preparations for the wedding.

    The door opened, and the captain of Grey House’s guards walked in. Jonah was tall and handsome, with blue eyes, a perfect jaw, and auburn hair that just reached his shoulders. He was also technically my partner in the Red Guards, a secret organization created to monitor Masters and stand up for the rights of vampires. Jonah and I were fine, but the RG and I were still fighting because it preferred to ignore challenges instead of face them.

    He looked up at me, smiled. Jonah had a crush I couldn’t reciprocate, which probably put that slightly guilty look on his face.

    “Hey,” he said.

    “Hey.”

    He ran a hand through his hair, and there was something wonderfully bashful in the gesture. “I didn’t expect to see you. Before, I mean.”

    “It’s only Ethan I’m not supposed to see tonight,” I said with a smile, “but we’re going to ignore that rule. Why are you here?”

    “Security,” he said. “After last night, Luc asked if I’d mind keeping an eye on the House, at least until you and Ethan are off premises. Sounds like you had quite an eventful evening.”

    “‘Eventful’ barely cuts it. We’ve got a senior staff meeting, and then he should be downstairs.” Although, I thought, glancing toward the kitchen, I could probably find something for Jonah to do in the meantime. Something that would kill two birds with one stone. Or at least give them a little love tap . . .

    “Could you do me a favor first?” I asked.

    “Sure. What’s up?”

    I gestured toward the kitchen. “Could you go check with Margot—the House chef? See if she needs a hand with anything? She’s catering the wedding.”

    Jonah looked a little suspicious at the request, but seemed willing to indulge me, probably because it was my wedding day. Which was fine by me. Whatever worked.

    “Okay, sure.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire