Blood Feud Page 20


“And we got minimal info and nothing we hadn’t already guessed: traitors and surprise attacks.”

“I can’t believe the bastard got through our defenses.” Quinn continued to seethe. He shot to his feet and prowled the room, his agitation rousing Lucy. She blinked blearily at him, then at Logan and me.

“You’re back.” She yawned. She glanced at Solange. “Quit staring at it so hard—you’l give yourself a migraine.” Solange pried her gaze away with visible effort, turning to me.

“Is it safe to open it? I mean, Bruno scanned it and everything, so we know it’s not a bomb or anthrax or whatever, but stil .

What do you think?”

What do you think?”

“I would always rather know what I’m dealing with,” I said.

Logan groaned. “You would so open the bomb every time, even when it’s ticking right at you.”

I wasn’t entirely sure what he meant. I was stil getting used to modern vernacular, and English at that, but Solange nodded fervently at me. “Exactly. These guys just want me to play Snow White singing in her little cottage while they do al the work.” Lucy snorted. “Snow White and the Seven Buttheads. You could give Disney a run for their money.”

Nicholas poked her in the ribs. “I am not a singing dwarf!”

“No, you’re a butthead. Weren’t you paying attention?” She grinned and kissed him quickly.

“I’m opening it,” Solange announced suddenly, grabbing the package.

Every single one of her brothers started to talk at once, voicing the same basic variation on two themes: “Don’t” and

“Let me.” She ignored them and tore at the paper instead. The box underneath was plain white cardboard, the kind for transporting cakes. She bit her lip, pausing very briefly.

Nicholas reached across to take it from her and she slapped his hand away without even looking at him. She lifted the lid, leaning backward slightly, as if she expected something to leap out of it like an evil jack-in-the-box. Her brothers did the opposite and al leaned in closer. Then we went as stil as only vampires could go, prepared to attack, prepared for anything except what was actual y in the box.

Lucy shuddered. “You guys are creeping me out. Quit it.”

“That’s it?” Solange asked, final y breaking the tableau. In the center of the box was a red velvet pil ow displaying a smal lump wrapped in red thread. It smel ed strongly of rose water and cinnamon. My nose itched. “What is it?” she asked.

I knew exactly what it was.

“Isabeau?” Logan turned to look at me. I wondered what made him already so sensitive to my moods.

“It’s a love spel ,” I said flatly.

“What?” Solange recoiled. “Ew. God. Do these things even work?”


Her eyes widened. “Seriously?” She stood up to put more distance between her and the box. “Why won’t he just go away?

I thought this would final y stop after my birthday.”

“He doesn’t stop, not ever,” I said. As a Hound, I knew Montmartre and his Host better than anyone. “He has the patience of a snake and that’s what makes him so dangerous, more so than his cruelty or strength or selfishness.”

“Wil he ever get it that I don’t want to be queen and I sure as hel don’t want to marry him?”

“No,” I replied truthful y. “Not unless you tel him with the help of a stake through the heart.”

She was pressing her back against the far wal ; any farther and she’d be through the window and in the garden. “Um, is it my imagination, or do I feel funny?”

“It’s possible.” I stood up, sniffing at the charm. “It’s very strong. Those are two apple seeds wrapped in red thread and a strand of your hair. He must have gotten it that night we a strand of your hair. He must have gotten it that night we stopped him in the caves. And that’s a hummingbird heart it’s al pierced into.”

“What do we do?” The whites of her eyes were showing now, like a wild horse.

“Don’t panic,” Lucy said soothingly. “And what is it with you guys and disgusting hearts?”

“Lucy, I don’t hate him right now! Not like I should!”

“I’l hate him enough for the two of us until we figure this out,” she promised grimly.

“Let’s burn it,” Quinn said, reaching for the box and tossing it toward the dwindling fire in the hearth.

“No!” I cried out, leaping to catch it before it fel . The charm was pinned to the heart pil ow, which I plucked out of the air. The box landed in the embers and caught almost instantly. Light flared into the room. Everyone stared at me. “Fire wil only make it stronger,” I explained. “Fire is passion.”

“What about water?” Lucy asked. “My mom’s always dunking stuff in water to purify it or cleanse it or whatever. She chants naked in the woods too.”

Logan tilted his head, considering. I ignored him, grateful that vampires didn’t blush easily. “No, not water either,” I said cool y.

“That would feed the emotion targeted by this spel : love.” Solange swal owed hard. “Can we do something fast?


“I need salt,” I said, “two freezer bags, ice, and white thread.” Logan vanished and returned within moments with my supplies.

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