Blood Feud Page 13

So did Montmartre. It real y sucked that we hadn’t gotten a chance to make them pay horribly and at great length.

Defeating their plans didn’t seem to be enough. A little vengeance might have been nice, regardless of what Dad said in his “rebuilding stronger” speeches. Truth be told, we were al just glad Solange had survived the bloodchange and the various attempts to abduct or kil her.

I was real y glad not to be sixteen anymore.

Because being sixteen in our family just plain bites.

“I guess I should help them out,” I said reluctantly. Manual labor was brutal on the wardrobe.

“Hel , yes, you should,” Nicholas cal ed out, emerging from the basement with an extra toolbox and a saw. Lucy grinned at him as he hauled the back door open.

“Tool belt,” she said, licking hot chocolate off her lip. “Yum.” The wind shifted and I could smel the warm blood moving under her skin. We al could. Nicholas took a step back, looking vaguely pained.

She frowned at him. “What’s the matter with you? You look nauseous.”

“I’m fine,” he said through his teeth. “Stay inside. It’s not safe.” She rol ed her eyes. “Quit fretting. It’s perfectly safe, there’s al of you and like a gazil ion guards.”

“That’s not what I meant,” he muttered, easing outside into the shadows to busy himself at a pile of cut logs. Tension made the tendons on the back of his neck strain. Lucy stared after him for a long moment before closing the door behind him.

I fol owed him, grabbing a stainless-steel thermos fil ed with blood from the cooler on the deck. I tossed it at him. He caught it and turned away to drink. It wasn’t easy for a young vampire to it and turned away to drink. It wasn’t easy for a young vampire to resist the taste of fresh human blood. It was even more difficult when your new girlfriend was staying at your house while you struggled to tame the biting thirst. Now that Solange was newly turned, she had started to sit at the opposite end of the room and Lucy had been forced to move into one of the guest rooms, with a lock inside the door. We’d grown up with her and would never intentional y hurt her, but a young vampire was more animal than human in those waking moments after the sun went down. It was some sort of biological imperative. Our bodies forced us to drink what our brains would rebel against.

Otherwise, we’d die.

“Hey, man, you’re doing good,” I told him quietly as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

“She doesn’t get it,” he said. “Not real y.”

“She gets it more than anyone else ever could.”

“Stil .”

“Yeah,” I agreed. “Stil .”

Quinn, Connor, Marcus, and Duncan were ripping off the parts of the logs that were unsalvageable. I grabbed a hammer and tried not to be so aware of Isabeau inside the house.

Nicholas ran a hand through his hair, frustrated. “When did this al get so complicated?”

“Girls are always complicated,” I told him. “You know that.” He half smiled. “Some more than others.”

I thought of the scars on Isabeau’s arms and the haunted look in her eye. “Got that right.”

We got to work, mostly fol owing Duncan’s lead because he almost had a clue as to how to fix a wal . When we needed plaster for some reason I couldn’t quite fathom, I went out to the garage to find some. On my way back, I paused, goose bumps suddenly lifting.

A noise in the woods.

Something quiet, subtle.

And unwelcome.

I couldn’t alert my brothers without alerting whoever was lurking in the woods as wel . I set down the bucket of plaster dust and doubled back toward the front door and woods on the other side of the lane. I peered into the shifting shadows of the rosebushes and cedar trees. The faint moonlight glinted off the Jeep in the driveway. The lamps burned softly at the windows. I smel ed roses, newly cut oak logs, blood, and lilies.

Lilies were never a good sign.

Montmartre smel ed like lilies. And while I doubted he was loitering in the woods outside our farmhouse, I had no problem believing he’d sent minions to do his dirty work.

He was after Solange again, just as she’d said.

He wanted her to be queen, as the old prophecy claimed, and more importantly, he wanted her to be his queen. He thought he could rule in her place, using her as a figurehead.

And after tonight, he apparently thought if he took Mom out of the picture, Solange would fal in line.

He so didn’t get Drake women.

And he real y needed staking.

I was happy to oblige … if he would just stand stil long enough.



When the Hypnos powder final y wore off, it was quick as summer lightning. I reared up as if I’d been jolted ful of electricity. Charlemagne barked once and I laughed out loud.

The ability to control my limbs again was intoxicating. I felt as giddy as a debutante at her first bal . Even the cel phone vibrating in my pocket didn’t bother me.

“Magda.” I grinned into the receiver. No one else would be cal ing me.

“Isabeau? Is that you?” Magda demanded.

“Of course, who else would it be?” I stretched to make sure I could. Then I did a backflip somersault.

“Are you giggling?” she asked incredulously. “What did they do to you?”


There was a pause, a choked cough. “And that’s funny why?”

“It’s not,” I assured her. “But it’s just worn off.”

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