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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 78)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(78) by Chloe Neill
  • The former, mostly. Even in the chill, people milled about on sidewalks, tourists rubbing their arms in the short-sleeved T-shirts they figured were enough for a late summer, or donning new Bears and Blackhawks sweatshirts they’d grabbed at souvenir shops. Most stared nervously at the sky, cast glances toward the river. Others stared out from hotel lobbies, from restaurants along the sidewalk, watching the city like Chicago might have been a pacing tiger—a danger that hadn’t yet struck.

    We crossed Michigan into the park, past the few tourists who stared at their reflections in the Cloud Gate, snapped selfies with friends. Danger may have kept many Chicagoans indoors. But it didn’t dampen the selfie spirit.

    We walked into the stretch of grass in front of the bandstand, its silver plates gathered and arched like armor. Steel beams rose over us, crisscrossing to hold speakers for concerts in the park. Icicles hung down from them, their pointed ends making it appear that we were trapped in an armored cage.

    And beneath the spiky beams, a stretch of snow that had clearly been the site of joy and happiness today. There were paw prints, snow angels, and plenty of footprints marring what might have been a perfect blanket of white.

    “Any particular place?” Ethan asked.

    “Any will do,” Mallory said, walking into the middle of the lawn. She put down her bag, pulled a blanket out of it, spread it on the ground.

    Catcher followed her. Ethan glanced at me.

    “Is this a good idea?”

    I looked back at Mallory. “I’m not altogether sure. But what choice do we have?”



    We sat in a semicircle on the blanket, which didn’t do much to buffer the snow beneath us.

    Mallory opened her bag, pulled out a round sterling silver platter polished to a high shine. She’d borrowed it from Margot’s stash of serving ware during her search for magic-making gear. She’d also brought matches, a sprig of rosemary, and a short bottle of champagne.

    “What’s the bubbly for?” Ethan asked, when she’d set out her equipment and put the bag aside.

    “Us,” she said with a smile. “It’s been a long night already.” She handed the bottle to Catcher. “Please to uncork, while I prepare the rest.”

    She put the platter on the ground between us, the sprig of rosemary on top of it.

    “This looks like alchemy,” I said. “Minus the crucible.”

    “It’s inspired by alchemy, by what Sorcha did, and by my own style.”

    I looked at Catcher. “What’s your style?”

    “You know the answer to that,” he said, pulling the cork with his teeth, a whisper of smoke escaping the bottle.

    “Weapons,” I said. He’d been the first to train me to use a katana, had used magic and my blood to temper the blade, which gave me the ability to sense steel weapons. Not an unuseful skill given the kinds of things we usually faced.

    “Weapons,” he agreed, taking a swig of champagne and passing the bottle around. “We get to the point that we actually have something to fight, and I’m your man.”

    “He’s being modest,” Mallory said, taking a hearty drink and passing the bottle to Ethan. She sat back on her heels. “That he’s best at weapons doesn’t mean he isn’t great at everything else.” She looked at him, winked. “All sorts of things.”

    “We don’t need the details,” Ethan said, taking a drink and passing the bottle to me, condensation icing over the outside of the bottle. If it hadn’t been for the alcohol content, the champagne might have frozen in the achingly crisp air. But that didn’t affect the taste, the delicate blossom and bubbles.

    Mallory shook her head. “You’ve already been married to Duchess too long.” Then she slapped a hand over her mouth, let out a mumbled swear.

    It took me a moment to cue in to what she’d said—to the fact that she’d just given up his nickname for me. I glanced at Ethan, eyebrow arched in perfect imitation of his own favorite quirk. “Duchess? That’s what you call me?”

    His smile was broad and amused. “Darth Sullivan,” he reminded me.

    “That particular shoe fit,” I reminded him.

    “And ‘Duchess’ doesn’t?”

    “I’m not the princessy type.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire