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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 99)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(99) by Chloe Neill
  • She looked at the screen again, shook her head. “They haven’t been digitized.” A slow smile spread across her face. “And you are not going to believe where they are.” She looked up at me. “They’re at the University of freaking Chicago.”

    The U of C was my almost alma mater, the place where I’d been working on my Ph.D. in English literature the night I’d been attacked. The night I’d been made a vampire.

    “Probably in the Special Collections Research Center. It’s where they keep the old stuff.”

    She checked the tablet again, nodded. “You’re right. How do we get a look at it?”

    “Normally,” I said, thinking back to my grad school days, “we’d make a formal request to the center to view the documents. We show up with ID, and a staff member brings it out. But even assuming the library’s still open given the evacuation, that would take time.” And require daylight.

    Mallory swore. “So that’s it? We’re out of luck?”

    No, I thought. Not if I was willing to go back there. Not if I was willing to open the door I’d closed more than a year ago, and hadn’t reopened since then. But what choice did I have?

    “No,” I said, and pushed back my chair. “We’re not out of luck. Not yet.”

    CHAPTER TWENTY

    TRIPLICATE

    I told Mallory where I was going, asked her to let the others know. I needed to do this, and I was afraid I’d lose my nerve if I talked to Ethan first. If I acknowledged the fear I’d have to face down.

    This would be a homecoming, and not an altogether good one. I’d come face-to-face with Logan Hill only a few months ago. And even though the university was barely a mile from the House, I hadn’t so much as walked into the library where I’d spent so many nights a single time since my attack. I hadn’t talked to my professors, my advisers. Hadn’t talked to my friends in the English department. I’d needed a clean break.

    That didn’t keep guilt from forming a hard, cold weight in my chest.

    The man, tall and thin, with dark skin and short hair, was waiting in front of the library’s entrance, its imposing concrete walls rising on either side of us. “Merit,” he said with a smile. “Long time no see.”

    “Hey, Pax.”

    Paxton Leonard hadn’t been a colleague; not exactly. He’d been a gatekeeper, one of the few men and women trusted with the literal keys to the most precious documents at the University of Chicago. I’d spent enough time in the center reviewing manuscripts for my dissertation that we’d become friendly.

    He reached out, and we exchanged an awkward hug. “You don’t call. You don’t write.”

    “I know,” I said. “I’m sorry.”

    “Not that we did any better.” He paused. “We felt . . . awkward about it.”

    I nodded. “Me, too.”

    “But we’ve kept up with you—watched the news. You’ve come quite a long way. From books to swords.”

    “It wasn’t a transition I figured I’d ever have to make,” I said, and let a smile touch my lips. “But it kind of worked out.”

    He smiled. “I’m glad to hear it.”

    “How’s your family?”

    “Good!” he said with a bright smile. “Mom and Howard finally tied the knot.”

    “Oh my God! When?”

    “In June,” he said with a grin. “He kept asking, and she finally said yes.” He leaned forward conspiratorially. “Said she went to Dad’s grave, talked to him about it, finally got his approval, so she felt okay about it again. And Amanda finished her first year of medical school.”

    “That’s great, Pax.”

    “Thanks, Merit.” Then he waved it away. “I know you’re in a rush, so let’s get going.” He fished keys from his pocket. “Hell of a lot easier to get into a library when you’re the only person left in Chicago.”

    He unlocked the door, and I slipped inside behind him. The library smelled, as it always had, of paper. Books, maps, notebooks, manuscripts. Including the one I needed to see.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire