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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 96)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(96) by Chloe Neill
  • As expected, Ethan smiled, just a little. “It’s truly and terribly bad.” He leaned down and moved his mouth over mine, a whisper of a kiss. “I love you.”

    “I can tell,” I said with a grin. And then yelped when he pinched me.

    “I love you, too, you tyrant.”

    Ethan snorted, took my hand. “That’s Darth Sullivan to you, Duchess.”

    I just shook my head.

    • • •

    The hotel’s clerk had some questions about why vampires had gathered in her lobby. Because of that, because of the fact that we wanted to be out of downtown, and because we had better snacks at the House—or maybe that was just my reason—we headed back to the House to get into the nitty-gritty.

    And because this fell under the banner of actual operational planning, we choose the Ops Room for our HQ.

    Jeff came downstairs with bottles of beer in hand. “I’m not sure of the appropriate beverage for a freezing night in August before you mock surrender to a crazy sorceress. IPA? Lager? Red wine?”

    “Blood works,” I said, and snagged a bottle, grimacing only a moment at the label. How, exactly, did one bottle blood that was “shade grown”?

    It didn’t matter. I popped the cap, took a drink, appreciated the sudden and fulfilling comfort of it. Blood to a vampire, I thought, like mother’s milk.

    When we were gathered around the table—Luc, Lindsey, me, Ethan, Catcher, Mal, my grandfather, and Jeff—we ran through our understanding of the magic she’d created thus far: alchemy, Egregore, and heat sink—used for some purpose we hadn’t yet figured out, but she probably intended to use it against us.

    “The plan,” Luc said, pointing at the downstairs whiteboard with a laser pointer no one should have let him have, “is not great. Northerly Island isn’t a horrible choice for this particular op. The line of sight’s pretty good, and it gives you a bit of a buffer between magic and residential areas. On the other hand, there are only so many land forces you can line up on the island itself if she escalates. And we will be pushing it very, very close to dawn. We’re going to need evac options, but we’ll get to that.” He looked at Mallory. “The people Baumgartner has lined up?”

    “None are strong enough to counter Sorcha.”

    “Bigger issue,” I said. “We’re assuming she really wants Mallory and me. Isn’t it just as likely this is a showcase for whatever magic she’s been working on? A way to force us to watch it? To be the forced audience at her little magical display?”

    “It is,” my grandfather said.

    “Or to get us away from Cadogan House,” Luc said.

    “I’ll talk to Grey, Greer,” Ethan said. “Maybe I can convince them to offer vampires to protect the House while we’re gone, just in case. As to the rest of it—the risks—the plan is what the plan is,” Ethan said. “The mayor won’t change it now.”

    “Agreed,” my grandfather said. “She’ll be preparing a statement, if she hasn’t issued one already, about how she’s working with us on a plan for the cool and collected handling of the situation.”

    “She’ll probably hint that she intends to turn Merit and Mallory over,” Jeff said. “She’s savvy, or Lane is. They may be smart enough to lead Sorcha into believing they really are going to hand you over.”

    I looked at Mallory. “If you were Sorcha, would you really believe it? If she said she was demanding we offer ourselves in sacrifice?”

    “The demand is what the demand is,” Mallory said with a shrug. “The fact that she made it says she at least has a hope the mayor will pull through. Her arrogance helps—she thinks she’s scared the city senseless, so they’ll have no choice but to act. And she already sees us as Goody Two-shoes, although probably incompetent ones. Even if the mayor didn’t make us, she’d expect us to show up like sacrificial lambs.”

    “The question, for us, is how we deal with that,” my grandfather said, leaning forward and linking his hands on the table. “How we layer our plan atop the mayor’s.”

    “The floor is open,” Ethan said. “And no idea is a bad idea.”

    “We could call in vampires,” Luc said. “Request the Houses send people out, surround the island to help in case she pulls something, and make sure she can’t get away.”

    “After the puff-of-smoke trick she pulled at Towerline, she may not leave on foot,” Catcher said. “And more people means more casualties if she does pull something.”

    Not a comforting point.

    “We don’t know precisely what she’s planning until we know it,” Mallory said. “In the meantime, we plan for what we can. If Sorcha’s working alchemy, knocking out her crucible would be a good start, if it’s there.”

    “Northerly Island is within the wards,” Catcher said. “So she can’t arrive magically without our knowing it.”

    “And in case she tries to come into the city some other way, sneak behind us?” Luc asked.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire