Blood Feud Page 10

Shockingly, I was the only one who felt that way.

If I’d had a moment to let the group’s reaction, or lack thereof, register, I might have wondered at it. They merely glanced at the intruder and were now positively aghast that I was flying through the air, double fangs bared.

I didn’t like hunters.

This one was fast, I’d give him that. He slipped on the nose plugs that hung around his neck. It took him far less time to realize I was attacking than it had taken the others. The look of surprise on his face might have been comical if he hadn’t been reaching for the release button on the Hypnos powder I knew was hidden in his sleeve. Once the secret was out about their new drug, it had spread like wildfire through the underground informants.

“No!” Solange yel ed, but I wasn’t sure whom she was shouting at.

I landed in front of the hunter before the Hypnos powder bil owed in front of him, but only barely. I dropped into a crouch and rol ed out of the way. I’d never actual y experienced Hypnos, but I’d heard enough about it to want to avoid it. It had been created by the Helios-Ra as one more weapon in their arsenal in their fight against our kind.

Vampire pheromones could befuddle humans, could make them forget what they had seen or done, and could even make them succumb to us without the faintest threat of violence, if the vampire was strong enough. The Helios-Ra had grown tired of battles ending with their hunters wandering around perplexed and weaponless, or kil ed outright while they waited meekly for fang or knife. Certainly not al vampires were as civilized as the Drakes purported to be.

And now Hypnos was beginning to travel among the vampire tribes, making us vulnerable to one another in a way we had never been before. Pheromones didn’t work on other vampires, but Hypnos, by al accounts, did.

I didn’t have time to cover my nose and mouth. The powder was so fine, like delicate confectioners’ sugar on a poisoned pastry. I reached for a stake, fingers fumbling.

“Don’t,” the hunter snapped. “Don’t move. Quiet.” I only took orders from Kala. I tried to leap to my feet but couldn’t. The drug real y was as nefarious as I’d heard. He had ordered me to stay where I was, and that was al I could do; I couldn’t even move my mouth to speak. Even though every part of me screamed for release, every muscle ached with the pressure of it and my mind gibbered like a cornered badger, al teeth and claws and the need for violence.

But al I could do was lie there.

Charlemagne stood over me, growling, hackles raised. The Drake dogs growled in response but clearly hadn’t yet decided who the enemy was.

Logan tried to approach me, moving slowly and warily.

“Isabeau, don’t panic.”

Don’t panic? Don’t panic? I was virtual y trapped inside my own body, unable to make it do what I wanted it to. I was at the mercy of royal vampires and a hunter.

I was an idiot.

I hadn’t learned anything from Kala to protect myself in this situation mere hours after leaving the Hounds’ caves. I probably deserved to die here in a puff of dust. But that would leave Greyhaven free, my first and second death utterly unavenged.

Unacceptable. I actual y growled, like the dogs, with my frantic need to be free.

“Isabeau, listen to me.” Logan crouched to look at me since Charlemagne wouldn’t let him any closer. His eyes were very green, very intense. His jaw was tight. Behind him, Solange touched the hunter’s arm, as if she worried for him. He took her hand in response.

This family made no sense.

“The effects wil fade soon,” Logan promised me soothingly, giving me his ful attention. The light from the lamps made his cravat look like frozen snow. “You’re not in any danger. I won’t let anything happen to you.”

I glared at him, then over his shoulder pointedly. He flicked his sister and her hunter a brief glance. “Kieran’s a friend,” he explained. “He won’t hurt you either, I promise.” I wanted to tel him that I could look after myself.

But I couldn’t.

I might never forgive any of them for seeing me this way.

“I’m sorry,” Solange said to Kieran, then to me. “Real y. He’s not like the other Helios-Ra.”

Kieran didn’t look particularly flattered by that. He wore the unrelieved black of most hunters. He looked just like the other Helios-Ra to me. “Is she a Hound?” he asked, sounding stunned. His arm was encased in a soft cast.

“She’s a guest,” Logan snapped. Lucy crouched next to him, looking sympathetic. Charlemagne didn’t move. A drop of his saliva hit my neck.

“I know it sucks, Isabeau,” Lucy said. “Kieran did it to me two weeks ago.”

“Shit,” he muttered. “You guys had me tied to a chair.” Lucy waved her hand like that was hardly a good enough excuse. “Whatever.” She turned back to me. “You’l feel normal again in a few minutes. Promise.” She real y meant what she said, I could smel the truth of it on her even if I wasn’t entirely convinced.

I couldn’t stand the way they were al just staring at me. I knew what I must look like in my battle leathers and scars and double what I must look like in my battle leathers and scars and double fangs and my angry dog by my side. I was proud of being Kala’s handmaiden, of being a Hound, but the rest of the vampire tribes clearly didn’t see us the same way.

“Let’s give her some space,” Logan said quietly, as if he knew what I was thinking. “I’l stay here. Why don’t the rest of you wait in the living room.”

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