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  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(67) by Chloe Neill
  • Seth had been a playboy in his pre-Dominic days. Power was alluring to many, especially in a city like Chicago, which had been built on handshakes, backroom deals, and graft. I’d never known him to be a family man, but I guess given the opportunity, he’d discovered he wanted it. And then had been denied.

    Seth rose and walked to me, hands gathered in front of him. “I appreciate your asking and listening. But you don’t need to bear the weight of my fears, too. You can’t save everyone.” A sad smile lifted one corner of his mouth. “Much as you might try.”

    I thought of Gabriel again, of the future that now seemed precarious, of the child he couldn’t guarantee, and I lifted my gaze to Seth. “I’ll try anyway. I’ll keep trying, because that’s what I have to do.”

    The same smile again, edged with sadness. “Go find your magic maker, Merit. And be careful out there.”

    “I will. Good luck, Seth.”

    I hoped there was enough to go around.

    • • •

    My grandfather was waiting in his car when we came back, engine running and heater blasting against the cold.

    “Report?” he asked, rolling the window down with its old-fashioned hand crank.

    “Winston seems quite normal,” Ethan said. “Whatever delusions he was experiencing, he doesn’t hear them now.”

    “The doctors suspect the sedation may have ‘reset’ his brain,” my grandfather said. “And besides that, the building is sealed from magic, thanks to the Order. So the magic won’t affect him while he’s here.”

    “What if he stepped outside again?” I asked. “Do we think the effect just fades after time?”

    “We don’t know,” my grandfather said. “We haven’t tried it yet.”

    That wasn’t an answer I liked. Fading magic meant we just needed to keep the victims from hurting themselves or others until the magic wore off of its own accord. If it didn’t wear off, we’d have to keep them separated and safe—and figure out a way to make it stop. That sounded much, much harder.

    Our phones—all three of them—began squealing at once. We pulled them out, checked the screens.

    “Well,” my grandfather said, looking up at us, “I guess you’ll be going now.”

    “Two dozen fairies on my front lawn?” Ethan said, gaze narrowed dangerously. “Yes. I believe that’s something we’ll need to address.” He glanced at me. “It seems you may get your chance to talk to Claudia after all.”

    CHAPTER FOURTEEN

    THE SHADOWED GIRL

    Mercenary fairies had once been allies of Cadogan House—or close enough. They were fearsome and fearless warriors, and they’d been the first to guard the House’s gate while we slept. But fairies liked gold, and they’d been lured away by the Greenwich Presidium, our previous British masters, and had turned against us. So it wasn’t good news to learn they were camped out in the yard.

    On the other hand, given the week we’d had so far, it was somehow not entirely surprising.

    Brody hauled ass back to the House. He piped in the Ops Room through the vehicle’s audio system, so we could commiserate with Luc and Malik.

    “What do they want?” Ethan asked, brow furrowed, arms crossed, one leg over the other. He’d switched from investigation to Master mode pretty quickly.

    “We haven’t even opened the door yet,” Malik said. “We called as soon as the gate alerted us. They were allowed into the yard for the sake of supernatural comity.”

    “Weapons?”

    “None,” Luc said. “That’s reason number two they were allowed into the yard. They’ve said nothing. They’re standing in formation. She’s standing in front of them. Waiting, as they all are.”

    “Suggestions?” Ethan asked.

    “I think we hear them out,” Luc said. “They aren’t allies, but they’re also not being aggressive, at least right now. They came to us without weapons, and although she probably won’t deign to talk to anyone but you, they do seem very interested in a conversation.”

    “Malik?” Ethan asked.

    “Agreed.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire