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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 90)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(90) by Chloe Neill
  • We trailed him, stopped behind him on the sidewalk, where he stared down at the thirteen humans who’d taken up positions on the strip of snow between sidewalk and street. They were bundled up against the weather, and they’d brought camp and lawn chairs, blankets, mugs of hot chocolate.

    They looked cold and a little bit pitiful, but Ethan didn’t seem to care. Defenseless or not, he gave no quarter.

    His shoulders were back, his feet planted, his hands fisted at his sides. The wind blew back his hair, the lapels of his expensive jacket, so he looked like an ancient raider come to claim his prize.

    “You’re here, in front of my House, drinking coffee and cocoa, and advocating murder. Can you be so casual about it? So callous?”

    “They’re immortal,” said a large, pale woman in a camp chair, her gloved hands around an insulated mug. “So turn them over. What’s the worst thing that could happen?”

    “Mallory isn’t immortal,” Ethan said. “And being immortal doesn’t mean you can’t be killed. It means you don’t age.” I could hear dimwit as the unspoken punctuation to his sentence, but he managed not to voice it. “They are vulnerable.”

    “We’re more vulnerable,” said a thin, tan man a few seats over. “We’re human. Look what she’s already done to our city.”

    “It’s our city, too,” Ethan said.

    “It was ours first.” A large man in a ball cap, puffy Cubs jacket, and jeans pushed aside his blanket and stood up, knocking over his lawn chair in the process. “If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

    Slowly, Ethan turned his gaze on the man. “How, exactly, is this our fault?”

    “You riled her up. Pissed her off.” He looked around, nodding at the others, trying to get them to throw their hates into the ring. “This fight doesn’t have anything to do with us. It’s between you supernaturals, and you need to work it out for yourselves.”

    “This fight has nothing to do with us,” Ethan gritted out, frustration obviously rising. “A madwoman wants to use magic to put the city under her control, under her power. She is a demagogue with no conscience, and through no fault of ours. But we’re the only ones who seem interested in trying to stop her.” He looked at the humans again. “If she’d asked for your wives, your husbands, your children, would you be so eager to hand them over? And yet, here you are, talking about things you don’t even try to understand.”

    “You think you’re better than us,” said the man in the ball cap. “That’s the thing, right?” He gestured toward Cadogan House. “You live in some big House, wear your fancy suits. You don’t know what it’s like to be out there, working every day, and have magic throw your whole world into a spin. The world would be better off without magic in it.”

    He’d said so many incorrect things, so many absolutely wrong things, that Ethan looked momentarily dumbstruck. “Get off my lawn,” he said through bared teeth.

    “We got constitutional rights.”

    Ethan took a step forward. He was a good five inches taller than the man, with all the muscle and power of vampirism.

    “I doubt you understand what that phrase actually means, given the context you’ve used it in. But if you want to protest, do it across the street. Better yet, instead of sitting here, chatting with your friends and complaining, go do something about it. Go to the Ombudsman’s office and volunteer. Go to a charitable organization and donate your time.” He spread his gaze over all of them, covering them in furious disapproval. “But don’t you dare think that sitting here and advocating my wife’s murder is something I will allow. You have two minutes until I take things into my own hands. I suggest you use it wisely.”

    He stared at them, this ancient raider, and waited for them to flinch.

    And of course, they did. It didn’t take bravery to advocate that someone else throw their family to the wolf.

    The man with the ball cap muttered insults, but he picked up his chair. The rest of them looked at least a little chagrined, and three climbed into waiting cars, deciding either the weather or the vampires weren’t worth the trouble.

    “They’ll come back,” my grandfather said, when the last one had decamped to the strip of grass across the street.

    “They will,” Ethan acknowledged. “But perhaps a few of them will think before they demand our blood in exchange.”

    He looked back at me, his gaze locked to mine for a very long time. You promised me eternity, Sentinel, he said. I intend to collect.

    • • •

    Because the snow and ice would make getting downtown more difficult than usual, our two hours was something more like seventy minutes. And then it was time to head downtown again and talk to the mayor about Sorcha’s threat.

    “Are you nervous?” Mallory asked as we walked through the foyer to the front door and the SUV that waited outside. Catcher would drive us to the mayor’s office. Everyone in the House would stay here, gates shut, with the House on high alert. My grandfather would drive separately, meet us there. In the meantime, Jeff would work with Luc to apprise the other Houses, our supernatural allies, about the situation.

    “Nothing to be nervous about,” I said. That was mostly a lie, because I didn’t trust human politicians—with the possible exception of Seth Tate. But she looked nervous. That wasn’t a common emotion for Mallory, but this particular debacle mixed powerful sorcery, old magic, and extortion, and she hadn’t gotten much sleep. I could be strong for her. “This is just a strategy session.”

    “A strategy session,” Mallory said, dipping her chin inside her thick scarf. “Right. Just going to talk a few things over with the mayor.”

    “That’s precisely what we’re going to do,” Ethan said, putting a supportive hand on her shoulder and giving me a look behind her back, a nod that said we were in this together.

    Good. Because that knot of worry was back. I didn’t like being worried. I’d come far enough as a vampire and Sentinel that I preferred a good old-fashioned fight to magic wrangling.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire