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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 57)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(57) by Chloe Neill
  • “Life buoy!” I managed through chattering teeth, and caught it one-handed. “Stephen, honey, let’s get this on you, okay?

    “Hang on!” I said. “Pull him up!” I yelled, to whoever could still hear me, and they began to haul him over the side of the ship.

    “Stephen!” His mother had made it to the lower deck.

    “Here!” a man called, holding out a hand to help pull me on board. But that hand seemed so far away, and it seemed to get smaller and smaller. I couldn’t understand how that was possible, how the world could shrink. And as his hand moved farther away, the brutal ache of cold that had lodged in my bones like a cancer began to fade.

    I slipped under and began to sink like a stone. I wasn’t buoyant, my clothes were heavy and waterlogged, and the thickening water slowed my progress toward the surface.

    I opened my eyes in the dark water, watched light skitter across the thickening ice. I kicked and pushed up, even as ice shoved me around in the water like bullies in a junior high hallway. But the ice above me was congealing, solidifying into a cap above the water below. I dug at the ice with numb fingers, but it was too solid to dig through, too large to simply push aside. Panic clawed at my throat, my lungs begging for air.

    Dark spots appeared in my vision. As I sank into the water again, panic faded to a kind of resigned acceptance.

    I hadn’t thought to wonder what drowning would feel like, but I wouldn’t have guessed it felt like this. There was no panic now, just the realization that I’d gone under, and I’d probably run out of oxygen soon.

    Thinking-Me was separate from Drowning-Me, and the first watched the second with dissociative curiosity. Am I drowning? How strange.

    I hadn’t managed to be married for very long, I thought. It would have been nice to be married, to be the First Lady of Cadogan House, for a little while longer. To be with Ethan for a little while longer.

    Ethan, I thought. Ethan. Ethan.

    The word, his name, the knowledge of him, was a match strike in a dark room. It snapped me from fading consciousness, from the lethargy and acceptance that aching bones and muscles longed for. Anything to take that pain away.


    I kicked up, pushing with every joule of energy my body could spare, hands pointed above me to stab through ice, when a hand appeared in the water, grabbed me by the back of my jacket, like a puppy being pulled from danger by the scruff of her neck.

    I broke the surface and gasped for air, the ache of cold slicing through me again like a white-hot dagger.

    I let him pull me onto the boat and fell to my side, coughed up what felt like liters of river water.

    “Sentinel, I may never let you out of the House again.”

    I nodded, let him help me sit up. Everything ached, and I couldn’t stop the shakes that racked my body. “Not . . . bad . . . idea. Also fix the weather, probably.”

    He pulled off my wet jacket, wrapped a thermal blanket of shimmering silver around me, then pushed damp hair from my face.

    “I heard you say my name,” he said.

    I’d thought it. I hadn’t realized I’d said it or that he’d heard. But thank God for it.

    I leaned forward, wrapped my arms around him, and let fly the sob that was trapped in my throat.

    Thank God for him.

    • • •

    The crowd was appreciative and grateful when we trudged up the stairs back to Michigan Avenue again. But our clothes were wet and were crunchy in the freezing air, and icicles had frozen in my hair. I felt as if I’d been frozen from the inside, like crystals had actually begun to form in my blood.

    “Good work as always,” my grandfather said. “Although absolutely terrifying.”

    “Most of the things she does these days are,” Ethan said.

    My grandfather stepped closer. “Does she need to go to the hospital? Her lips seem . . . bluish.”

    “No,” Ethan said. “We’ll keep her awake and moving, and anything that might have been damaged will heal itself.” His gaze went hot. “And when she’s feeling one hundred percent again, we’ll have a very long talk about diving into a freezing river.”

    Since that sounded much braver than having climbed into the river and fallen at the last moment, I let him believe it. And yeah, not my best move. But the Patton family was super glad of my recklessness right now, and that was the only outcome that mattered.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire