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  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(54) by Chloe Neill
  • “Is it colder up there?” Catcher asked. “Directly beneath the cloud formation?”

    She lifted her brows but repeated the question into her headset. “That’s affirmative. Temperature readings are ten degrees colder in the space between Towerline and the phenomenon.”

    She pushed the mouthpiece away, looked back at us. “What does that mean?”

    I looked at Catcher, who seemed to be as flummoxed as the rest of us. His gaze was on the cloud swirling ominously above the tower, hands on his hips as he tried to ferret out its meaning.

    “It has to be the source of the weather, but I don’t know how or why. The last time I’ve seen something like this, something meteorological, was . . .”

    “Mallory,” I finished for him, thinking of the havoc she’d wrought through Chicago during her thankfully brief stint as a dark sorceress. She’d torn the city apart.

    “Yeah,” Catcher said. “The wards say this is Sorcha. But I’m not sure how she’s doing it, or what it’s supposed to be doing.”

    I crossed my arms as the temperature seemed to drop another fifteen degrees instantaneously, my breath turning to pale vapor in the chilling wind.

    “She’s going to freeze us out,” Ethan said.

    Catcher rubbed fingers across his forehead. “That’s a possibility,” he said, but one he didn’t look sure of. And Catcher wasn’t a man who liked not knowing.

    There were gasps of shock behind us. I turned, expecting to find Sorcha descending onto the Michigan Avenue bridge like one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

    Instead, people had gathered at the ornate balustrade at the edge of the bridge that overlooked the river.

    I jogged over, Ethan in step behind me, and squeezed through the people until I could see the water below—and the thick white scale that was working its way down the river and toward the lake.

    “What is that?” he asked beside me. “Some kind of contaminant?”

    “No,” I said, and the dread that settled into my bones was as cold as the cutting breeze. “The river is freezing.”

    I’d seen the river flowing, and I’d seen it frozen. But I’d never watched it freeze, never seen ice crystallize on a scale that large, watched water turn opaque and opalescent, its movement stiffening like someone had flipped a switch and turned it off.

    It shouldn’t have happened so quickly. The river shouldn’t have frozen all at once, and certainly not in August.

    Screams issued up from the canal.

    Notwithstanding the snow, it had been a warm day, and people had taken advantage of the weather—and the chance to experience the weirdness of snow in August. A tour boat, its upper deck full of people, was approaching the Michigan Avenue dock but was still a dozen yards west of it. The water was expanding as it froze, and that force—that volume—was pushing the boat into the concrete bank.

    The groan of metal filled the air, then a sound like a shotgun. The boat lurched, spilling people into the narrow gap between the boat and the river. A chasm that was filled with solidifying slush. The ice would crush the boat, and everyone else would be crushed by the pressure or sent into the river.

    The CPD was behind us, and they’d get divers out as soon as they could. But we were here now.

    I wasn’t entirely sure whether vampires could drown or get hypothermia—surely not?—but it didn’t really matter. Our chances of survival were higher than theirs. So we had to take the chance.

    A look at each other, a confirming nod, and then we climbed onto the balustrade, and jumped.

    • • •

    Vampire and gravity were friends. Maybe not BFFs—we had to plan our falls to keep from being injured—but we made the twenty-foot drop to the boat below without breaking any bones. We still skidded along the ice-covered deck but managed to catch ourselves, stand up straight again.

    And we probably should have announced our presence, because two people suddenly dropping into a ship of screaming passengers didn’t exactly help calm them.

    “I’ll help those in the gap,” Ethan said.

    “I’ll take this deck, try to get them down the stairs and closer to the dock.”

    I’d guessed marriage was going to require divvying up responsibilities. I hadn’t expected we’d be dividing jobs in two separate rescue missions less than twenty-four hours into it.

    Forever, Ethan said to me, then jumped down to the second deck.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire