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  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(40) by Chloe Neill
  • My grandfather and Jeff hustled toward us from the library, both still in their pristine suits.

    My grandfather pulled out his identification. “I’m the Ombudsman,” he said. “The perpetrators are all on the ground. These are the ones who kept them from killing each other.”

    We gave the cops a minute to orient themselves, holster their weapons, and for the officer in charge to find my grandfather.

    “Oh, Merit,” Mallory said, joining us. “Your dress.”

    “I know. Yours isn’t much better.” There were small circular burns and ugly red smears across the pale green lace.

    She glanced down. “Oh yeah. Got a little singed with that last bombardment. Guess I won’t be turning this into a cocktail dress.”

    “And I guess I won’t be getting married again.” Not that I’d want a repeat of this evening. Or the latter part of it, anyway.

    Accompanied by my grandfather, a detective walked toward us, badge hanging from a chain around his neck. He had a pale, lived-in face, a crop of white hair, and a suit that was turned out, from the sharp lapels to pixel-thin stripes to pocket square. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see spats beneath the pants’ cuffs.

    “One dead, twelve injured to some degree,” my grandfather reported. Ambulances were still rushing to and away from the scene, carrying the humans who’d been part of the mob to nearby hospitals.

    “I’m Detective Pulaski,” said the detective, notepad in hand. “Who wants to start?”

    “We stumbled into it,” Ethan said. “We were taking wedding photographs, rounded the corner, and there they were. Fighting and talking about delusions.”

    My grandfather’s gaze widened, and he looked at me. I nodded at the unspoken question. “Same as Winston. They’re panicked and afraid, and they hear screaming. And because of that, for whatever reason, they become violent.”

    “Winston Stiles,” my grandfather explained to Pulaski. “A vampire who attacked Merit last night in Cadogan House. He’s currently in lockup at the supernatural facility.”

    Pulaski looked back. “Any of these people vampires?”

    “All humans,” Ethan said.

    “So a vampire went crazy, and then a bunch of humans went crazy?”

    Was it contagious? he meant. Were the delusions spreading across the city?

    “Vampires did not infect humans,” Ethan said. But there was worry in his eyes. We didn’t know how this had spread—whatever it was. And the only other person we’d seen with delusions had been a vampire in our House.

    “Then how did it spread?”

    “Maybe it didn’t,” Mallory said, and we all looked at her.

    “Delusions aren’t generally contagious, and they don’t have any other symptoms.”

    “So what’s the other option?” Pulaski asked.

    “They’re telling the truth,” Mallory said. She pushed back the hair that brushed her face, her pale manicure—the same we’d all gotten for the wedding—chipped at the edges. “They’re having the same delusions because they’re hearing the same things. They’re hearing something real.”

    Ethan tilted his head. “If the sound—or its origin—is real, why can’t we hear it? Why isn’t everyone affected?”

    “I don’t know,” Mallory said. “I think that’s what we have to figure out. And that doesn’t even get to the bigger question.”

    “Which is?” Ethan prompted.

    She looked at him. “Who is screaming? Who wants so badly to be heard?” She spread her gaze across the city like she was looking for an enemy sail.

    “Sorcha?” Ethan asked.

    Mallory shook her head. “The wards are intact.”

    “And there’s no way for her to get around that?” Ethan asked. “To circumvent it?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire