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  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(31) by Chloe Neill
  • My grandfather must have realized what I’d seen, and sighed heavily. “I’m not sure why he’s leaving so early.”

    “Business deal,” I said. “Conference call . . .”

    “He is a busy man.”

    “He’s a man with skewed priorities,” I said. “And that doesn’t make it feel any better.”

    “No. It doesn’t. I’m sorry.”

    I nodded, feeling my buoyant mood slip away, and grasping at the thin tendrils of it. “Robert didn’t even show up.” Robert was my older brother, and very much my father’s son. He’d been injured at Towerline while courting Adrien Reed for a new business deal. That had been a bad move on many levels, but he’d put the blame on “supernaturals,” or so I’d heard. He hadn’t spoken a word to me since.

    “I don’t know why I expect otherwise,” I said, but that was a lie. I expected otherwise, at least from my father, because there’d been glimmers of hope recently.

    “Because you expect more of him, and rightly so. You expect a lot of your friends, of your family, of yourself.” He glanced at the door, gaze narrowed. “It’s not unreasonable to expect your father to be a willing and complete participant in your wedding.

    “If it helps,” he said after a moment, “I don’t think he disappoints you for the sake of disappointing you. He has known loss. And in response, he tries to control what he can, by whatever means he can.” He looked at me. “Your immortality being a prime example. I’m not trying to make excuses for him. I’m just trying to explain what he might be thinking.”

    “That helps, actually,” I said after silence had filled the air. “Do you really believe it?”

    My grandfather smiled. “I believe it’s possible. But I’m not sure there’s anyone on earth entirely sure what’s in that man’s head, Merit.”

    That wasn’t much of a surprise.

    • • •

    I refused to let circumstances I couldn’t control affect my mood. Mallory, Lindsey, Margot, and I danced until my feet were numb with it, and I’d had more champagne than I should have, and not nearly enough food.

    “Well, well,” Mallory said, sidling next to me as we took a breather between songs. “Looks like you managed it.”

    “What?” I asked, and turned in the direction of her pointing. Jonah and Margot stood in a corner, nearly hidden by an enormous potted palm. He was taller than her by nearly a foot, his auburn hair and chiseled face interesting contrasts against her sleek black bob and curvy figure.

    Margot laughed at something he said, touched his arm in a gesture of camaraderie. It was a simple, easy move, something she’d probably done a thousand times before. But they both seemed startled by the contact and looked away, both with secret smiles. Smiles full of hope.

    A woman walked by, offered a tray of hors d’oeuvres. Jonah held up a hand to decline, but Margot laughed, took his arm, pointed to the tray, began explaining the snacks arranged there while Jonah looked on. He looked suspicious when she pointed to something, but agreed to try it, popped it into his mouth.

    And then closed his eyes in obvious satisfaction.

    “I told you,” she mouthed, the words easy enough to read on her smiling face, and nudged him with her elbow.

    I wanted to rub my hands together and cackle in satisfaction. But gloating seemed like bad juju at my own wedding.

    Mallory put an arm at my waist. “You know what’s amazing?”

    I let my head drop to her shoulder. “What’s that, kid?”

    “We’ve made it through a wedding and reception without supernatural drama.”

    “If you just jinxed us I’m going to be so pissed.”

    “Jinxing isn’t a thing. Charming? Yes. Hexing? Absolutely. But not jinx. That’s just coincidence.”

    “What, supernaturally, did you expect to happen?”

    She snorted. “Anything and everything? You know how it is—life for the Real Cadogan Housewives.”

    “That should never be an actual thing.”

    “Au contraire,” Mallory said. “I would watch the shit out of that.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire