Blood Feud Page 19

Only the realization that I’d been about to give us away altogether made me pause.

Even Charlemagne was smart enough to stay quiet, though he was trembling with the need to protect me. I wanted the fight with Jones, with al of them, even if it meant giving away our only tactical advantage: a mere hint of a plan whispered by a group of Host in the woods. It wasn’t much, but it was certainly more than we’d had at the beginning of the evening.

And I didn’t care. I would have thrown it al away for a chance at Greyhaven.

And Logan knew it.

He stayed where he was, stretched out as if he were protecting me from a rain of fiery arrows, a crumbling mountain, some unseen danger. But the danger wasn’t anywhere but inside my chest, circling like a vulture.

It took every ounce of strength I could muster not to hurl him off me. I forced my body to soften infinitesimal y, molding me into the undergrowth. Even at that smal surrender, Logan didn’t move. His scent was strong: anise, wine, a faint trace of mint. I knew I smel ed like scalded wine and sugar to him—Kala told me I always smel ed that way when I was furious beyond logic.

The rage boiling on my skin didn’t faze him. His fangs didn’t retract; his face stayed mere inches from mine. Most vampires cowered away from a shamanka’s handmaiden when she was in this state. Logan was too busy listening to the others to cower.

“Any nibbles from the old guard?”

“Yes, most of those loyal to Lady Natasha’s memory fled when the Drake woman murdered her, but a few stayed behind for a more subtle attack. They’l join with us when it’s time.”

“Good. Let’s get the hel out of here. The Drake boys are probably stil out looking for us.”

The Host took off between the trees, toward the mountain.

Logan stayed where he was and we stared at each other for a long, strange moment. In the shadows, his eyes were the color long, strange moment. In the shadows, his eyes were the color of sugared limes. Lovely and distracting, but not that distracting.

When our enemies were far enough away, I heaved him off me with a sudden violent jerk.

I rose into a crouch, panting. My body might not need air but breathing remained a habit, especial y in times of stress. Logan hit the trunk of a birch and twisted in the air to land on the bal s of his feet right front of me.

We both crouched, fangs bared, muscles tensed for attack.

We might have stayed there for the rest of the night if it wasn’t for Charlemagne, who whined once, confused. It was like a flame was blown out.

Logan stood, al feral grace and ironic smile. He looked as comfortable and pretty as a guest at one of my parents’ bal s, even shirtless. I was stil panting, nearly nauseous from the swirl of emotions swamping my stomach: anticipation, anger, regret, humiliation. My mother’s dress, Greyhaven. It was very nearly too much. I stood slowly, like an old woman. Charlemagne pressed his cold nose into the palm of my hand for comfort and I wasn’t sure which of us needed the comfort more.

“Are you okay?” Logan asked quietly.

I nodded jerkily. “I’m sorry.” I was accustomed to being lauded for my focus and control.

“What happened? Do you know that Greyhaven guy?”


His eyes narrowed on my face. “Who is he? What did he do to you?”

“What makes you think he did anything?” I stepped out of the blackberry thicket, scenting the air for any trace of Host. We were alone.

Logan’s expression was grim. “Isabeau, I saw the look on your face.”

I shrugged one shoulder. “I’m fine now. We should return.” I turned to walk back through the trees but he grabbed my arm. “You nearly lost it back there.”

I stiffened. It didn’t make it any more palatable that he was right. “But I didn’t.”

“Next time, you could put my sister in danger with your temper.”

I swal owed a hot retort. “It won’t happen again.”

“I know,” he sighed, letting his hand drop. For some indiscernible reason, I felt its absence. It was as if I were cold now, and I never got cold.

I didn’t know what it was about Logan that flustered me like this. I was going to have to find a way to stay away from him. He clearly wasn’t good for me.

“I can see it’s not in your nature to give like that. Would you tel me what he did to you, anyway? Please?” I lifted my chin, refusing to be pitied.

“He’s the one who turned me and then left me in a coffin underground for two centuries.”

We didn’t speak again on our way back to the farmhouse. As far as diplomatic missions went, mine was already a disaster.

I’d attacked a family friend, got doused with Hypnos, and nearly went mad with rage—al in one night.

No wonder I was so exhausted.

We’d barely been gone for half an hour, for al that it felt like days. Logan’s brothers were al dressed and sitting in a grim half circle around the foil-wrapped package in the parlor.

Solange was frowning at it, tapping her fingers on her knees.

Lucy was asleep on the sofa, her head resting on Nicholas’s leg. He’d draped an afghan over her, and she looked tiny and defenseless in a room of predators who couldn’t help but hear the temptation of her heartbeat. She dozed on, utterly trusting.

“Did you get any of them?” Quinn snarled.

“Yeah, we tracked one, thanks to Isabeau,” Logan replied wearily, dropping down to sit in a chair.

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