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  • Home > Samantha Young > The Tale of Lunarmorte > River Cast (Page 25)     
  • River Cast(The Tale of Lunarmorte #2)(25) by Samantha Young
  • “That’s not true. Although, since you brought the subject up, what the hell is the bloodsucker still doing in town?”

    “He’s staying in a motel.”

    “Yeah, in town. And he’s constantly hanging out. When we get to your place, he’ll be there.”

    “He’s my friend.”

    “Humph.”

    A tense silence fell between them, the cab of the truck thick with strained animosity and extreme sexual tension.

    “We need to get this mating ceremony over and done with,” he growled.

    “Why?” Jae asked derisively. “Because we’re so good together.”

    “Because I have a feeling we’ll be arguing a lot.”

    “Oh, great reason for mating!”

    “And if we’re going to be arguing a lot, that tension has to go somewhere.”

    Immediately his meaning dawned on her, and she turned, blushing, to meet his gaze. His eyes burned as they washed over her. “I swear to Artemis, Lucien is dead if he doesn’t get back here soon to authorize this ceremony.”

    Feeling shy, Jaeden mumbled, “We don’t have to wait.”

    Ryder heard her anyway. “You know we do.”

    “I told you it doesn’t matter to me.”

    “Well it matters to me.”

    Her gaze lifted and drifted over his strong forearms and the large hands that gripped the steering wheel. She felt the tension in the truck thicken and her face heated. “Maybe we shouldn’t spend too much time together until then.”

    “Uh, you think.”

    Despite their semi-resolved decision to not be around one another, Ryder found himself following Jae into the house when they arrived at Dimitri’s. The fact that Reuben’s car was there had nothing to do with it, whatsoever. He shrugged off the annoyance he always felt when the vamp was around, and greeted everyone with an impression of his old laid-back self. Ha, he inwardly snorted, he wondered if he would ever be that guy again.

    Sure enough he found Reuben in the kitchen with Julia, helping her, it seemed, with a recipe.

    “I would never have thought of doing that,” Julia was exclaiming happily as she read over a piece of paper. “However did you come by this recipe?”

    Reuben shrugged. “I was friends with a very good chef once.”

    “How many years ago was that?” Ryder couldn’t help himself.

    Julia and Reuben turned, and Jae’s mother smiled happily at him. “I knew I heard you come in.” She sauntered over to him and patted a floury hand to his cheek, before leaving the kitchen to see to her daughter. He winced at the sound of major hugging in the sitting room. Poor Jae. Ever since she got back she only ever got peace when she went to Ella’s to practice. Everyone wanted to see her and check on her, and she never had any alone time in the family house. He understood her family’s anxiety, but she must be going crazy. Nothing to be said though, he reminded himself. He had to stay on Dimitri’s good side or he might not give his blessing for the mating.

    “How was practice?” Reuben asked quietly, in his sober way. Ryder disliked the way his eyes darted past his shoulder, obviously looking for Jae.

    “Good.”

    “I better say hi.”

    “Why don’t we take a minute outside?” Ryder gestured to the back door.

    This was a conversation long coming.

    He knew the vamp understood why he insisted on some privacy, his dark eyes glittering with anticipation.

    Once outside, Ryder cut to the chase. “Why are you still here?”

    Reuben laughed. “You know I actually like your forthrightness, lykan. It makes your unnecessary jealousy a little less tedious.”

    “Unnecessary. You sure? Why. Are. You. Still. Here?”

    The vampyre shrugged and moved further into the darkening back yard, his face tilted up towards the sky. “For Jaeden. I want to make sure she’s OK before I leave.”

    “She’s fine. She’s got me.”

    Reuben chuckled. “As if you’re enough against what’s coming.”

    “What the hell does that mean?”

    The vamp seemed to remember himself, and he shook his head, a smile of apology on his lips. “Nothing.”

    “It wasn’t nothing. What the hell is coming?”

    Holding his hands up in surrender, Reuben approached Ryder slowly. “I didn’t mean anything you don’t already know. I know about Caia that’s all. Jaeden told me everything. I can keep a secret. But we all know that Caia’s presence in this war is only the beginning of the end of a very old story. The penultimate episode is encroaching, and the action in that is always as bloody for the minor characters as it is for the major ones in the finale. Who knows how bad it will get. Jae - all of you - will need all the friends you can get.”

    The vampyre brushed past Ryder and into the house, leaving him feeling incredibly unsettled. That guy was so weird.

    Sighing in frustration, Ryder turned and followed him back into the house. Immediately he went on alert at the silence that greeted him, and raced towards the sitting room to find Jae. She was there, safe and sound with her family and Reuben, but everyone was gazing towards the doorway on the other side of the room, where a familiar being leaned against the doorframe.

    Saffron.

    “What’s going on?” he demanded, striding into the room to stand by Jae.

    Saffron’s mouth immediately twisted into a moue when she saw him. “Ryder.” She heaved a sigh. “I should have guessed you would be here. Always sticking your nose in.”

    He ignored that, knowing her propensity for arguing childishly rather than getting to the point. “Why are you here?”

    She seemed surprised by his complete disregard of her attempt to rile him but straightened and gazed at Dimitri. “I’m here to kill two birds with one stone. Lucien wanted to convey a message to the pack, and find out if Jaeden was returned safely home.”

    “I’m Jaeden.” She wiggled her fingers at the faerie.

    Saffron rolled her eyes at her. “I’m aware. I killed the spy that was pretending to be you.”

    He bristled at her blasé tone and the way the blood drained from Jaeden’s face. He growled in annoyance, as did Dimitri.

    The faerie raised a delicate eyebrow. “Was that insensitive?”

    “Just a little,” Julia sniffed.

    Saffron snorted. “Sorry. Old habits and all that. Anyhoo, she’s safe and sound and hunky dory. I’ll tell Lucien. And Lucien wants you to know that the attack against the MacLachlans has been stopped by the Regent of the Midnight Coven. However, he and Caia will be remaining at the Center for a few days more as Caia considers a position Marita has offered her.”

    Position? Ryder shook his head in confusion. What the hell kind of position would Caia possibly consider taking after she had promised Lucien she was staying with the pack? That didn’t sound right.

    Something was up.

    “Position?” Reuben asked quietly. Ryder frowned, wondering why the vampyre wanted to know.

    Saffron blinked and Ryder was sure he saw a flash of familiarity flit across her eyes as she gazed at Reuben. When he stared harder, however, all he found was the polite mask frozen on her face whenever she was talking to a stranger… hell, when she was talking to anybody.

    “What position?” The vamp repeated.

    Ryder was surprised that the faerie didn’t take offence at Reuben’s authoritative tone. Instead Saffron shrugged. “Leader of some elite force of lykans, apparently.”

    “What?” Ryder snapped. “That doesn’t make sense.”

    “I’m surprised anything makes sense to you, what with your brain being the size of a peanut.”

    Jae growled and stepped towards the faerie. “Watch it, Tinkerbell.”

    He smiled smugly at her protectiveness and the look of astonishment on the faerie’s face.

    “That’s the thanks I get for unmasking the bitch that was pretending to be you?” She sulked and looked back at him. “Well, the little ones will be double the morons when you two mate.”

    “Hey!” Julia took offence.

    Saffron shrugged. “Looks like I’ve outstayed my welcome then.” And just like that she disappeared before their eyes.

    “What a snotty-”

    “Pain-”

    “In the ass,” Dimitri finished.

    He rushed from the bathroom at the sound of his cell ringing and snatched it up, his heart faltering at the caller ID. What had happened now?

    “Nikolai. Problem?”

    The Russian sighed down the other end of the phone. “Why do you think so? You’re always looking at the bad in everything, Kirios.”

    “Something has happened.”

    “Da. It’s that insect Du Bois.”

    “I thought you’d handled that.”

    “So did I. He’s more powerful than I thought, and his hand reaches further than I thought also.”

    “Where is he?”

    “I can only imagine at this moment he is on his way to attack the MacLachlans.”

    “Then Caia knows. She’ll be preparing for war.”

    “Da.”

    His heart thudded at the thought of what that could do to their plans. “Do you not realize how disastrous this is, Nikolai?”

    The magik cleared his throat. “Actually, I was thinking we have been looking at this all the wrong way. This attack, this defense... is it not the perfect opportunity to test Caia? To see just exactly what it is she is capable of?”

    “If we start thinking that way, we will be just like them. That is not what we want for the future, Nikolai.”

    “I know. But to win this war we must know exactly what our weaponry and the enemy’s weaponry is capable of.”

    He squeezed his eyes closed, feeling a metaphorical headache coming on.

    “Very well. Send in a spy.”

    15 - Breaking Out

    A trickle of sweat slid down her back, hidden from the view of the others around her. Thankfully, they were all aware she had rushed to this meeting and she hoped that the lykans who could smell the sweat would mistake the cause of it. Caia held her breath as her gaze swept Marita and Vanne’s sitting room, battle plan central as it was now. She coached herself to remain outwardly calm, to keep her eyes from widening, her chest from heaving. Instead her face was a frozen mask. She could tell because all of them – Marita, Vanne, Marion, Lucien, Rose, Mordecai, Anders, Michael and Phoebe – were staring back at her in frustrated confusion, wondering why they had been called, probably guessing, but still annoyed by her silence. She was silent because she was preparing her voice to come out steady, not high and squeaky like she felt inside.

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