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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 60)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(60) by Chloe Neill
  • I’d never been good with uncertainty. So I pushed it down, focused on what was real, what was certain. Ethan beside me, the House behind me.

    “That sounds pretty good,” I said, forcing a smile.

    Sometimes what was had to be enough.

    • • •

    The Ops Room was the House’s security hub, with stations to monitor security cams along one wall, a conference table, an enormous wall screen for reviewing data and mapping locations, and computer stations for research.

    Informally, the room featured a tub of beef jerky that needed replacing at least every couple of weeks. I hadn’t yet heard a salty beef joke, but I had to assume one of the guards had one in the chamber and primed. It was really overdue.

    The Ops Room was in the basement, along with access to the House parking lot, the House’s impressive arsenal, and one of my favorite spots, the House training room.

    We found Luc in his usual position—at the end of the conference table, ankles crossed on the tabletop. He was flicking a finger across the screen of a tablet, probably geared toward the security app he’d designed for the House. He glanced up when we entered, more hot chocolate in hand, this time with a dash of Bailey’s.

    “Sire and First Lady,” he said, sitting up and kicking down his feet. “The Cadogan House Guard Corps has voted that you’re no longer allowed to leave the House. It just seems safer that way.”

    “For all involved,” Ethan agreed, and sat down at the table. “Any developments?”

    “Jules?” Luc asked, glancing at Juliet, who sat at the other end of the table, a pile of books and papers in front of her. She typed something onto the built-in tablet, and an image of the cloud snapped onto the screen. “She’s patched us into the building across the street, which gives us a pretty good view of the site.”

    It was a good view—in color and surprisingly clear for a webcam, especially at night. The ferocity and enormity of the cloud came through loud and clear. For better or worse, it didn’t look like anything had changed. The cloud continued to spin, like a tornado waiting for a moment to strike.

    “No change,” Luc said. “Except that the temp continues to drop. It’s fifteen degrees out there right now. The river is solid ice.”

    “How wide-ranging is the effect?” Ethan asked.

    “Split-screen it, Jules.”

    “On that,” she said, catching her lip with her teeth as she typed. An isothermal map appeared on-screen, with bands of color showing each temperature change. Outside Chicago, the temperatures were warm, the bands in shades of green. The closer you got to downtown, the bluer each band, and the colder the temperature.

    So the temperature effect was limited to Chicago, and it was centered downtown. This wasn’t the first time we’d seen this kind of geographic focus from Sorcha.

    I looked down at Juliet. “Can you superimpose Sorcha’s alchemical web on top of this?”

    She frowned, looked down at the tablet again. “I think so? Let me play with this a second . . . I have to find the right image.”

    She tapped keys, looked up at the screen. A photo of Captain America hovered above the city.

    “And that is clearly the wrong file,” she said. “Someone has been saving graphics files in the work folder again.” Cough. Cough.

    We all looked at Luc.

    “Why would you blame me for that?”

    We kept looking at Luc.

    “Just doing my research,” he said. “Captain America versus a vampire. Who wins?”

    That actually was an interesting question, but this wasn’t the time or place for it.

    “Just a sec,” Juliet said. It took more than a few seconds. It took images of Batman, Black Widow, and the Falcon before the bright green grid lowered itself to the map she’d pulled up.

    Sorcha had worked her magic over the city in a very specific pattern of alchemical hot spots intended to form a kind of web around the city. Tonight’s freezing temps coincided with that web almost exactly, with the coldest point centered over the Towerline building.

    “Well, I’ll be damned,” Luc said.

    “Either Sorcha really likes returning to the scene of the crime,” I said, “or she’s making use of what she did before.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire