Blood Feud Page 22


He let them bury me, even though he knew I’d had enough of his blood to taint me beyond any normal human death.


I wasn’t strong enough to claw out of the earth, hadn’t even realized it was what I was meant to do. It al seemed like some horrible accident, something out of a gothic novel. Earth fil ed my mouth, worms circled my wrists like bracelets, ants crawled through my hair.



And dogs howling, snuffling, digging with their claws.

That’s when I woke up, every time.

The dogs were real enough; they’d been the ones who’d found me and pul ed me out, even before Kala had pinpointed the right grave in Highgate Cemetery.

And Greyhaven’s name was my first thought, was stil my first thought when I reared out of that nightmare.

Charlemagne’s nose lifted off my face when I stopped whimpering. I hated that sound, hated that it waited until I wasn’t conscious enough to control it.

I was in a bed; someone must have moved us al out of the living room. The wooden shutters were bolted tight across the windows. I fel out of the bed and crawled to the fridge, yanking the door open. The light hurt my eyes and I groped blindly for a glass bottle fil ed with blood. The thirst was sharper in the evening, so sharp that I’d trained Charlemagne to defend himself against me if I spoke a certain word. The hunger wasn’t easily leashed in our first nights. It stil made me gulp the blood greedily, the way I’d eaten cake as a child, but I’d stopped actively worrying for Charlemagne’s safety. This would be the same reason Lucy had grumbled earlier about being moved to a guest room with a double deadbolt lock on the inside and an alarm button connected to Bruno, the head of the Drake security detail. Newly turned vampires had little control over themselves upon waking.

When I’d drunk enough blood to have it gurgling in my bel y, I straightened my leather tunic dress and left the relative safety of my bedroom. Solange and her brothers would sleep for another hour yet, so I made my way downstairs to let Charlemagne outside and check on the puppy.


I halted at the unfamiliar voice. A woman stood in silhouette against a tal arched window in the library overlooking the garden. Rosy sunlight fel into the room. I’d forgotten the glass in the house was special y treated; the wooden shutters in the bedrooms must be for added security and the comfort of concerned vampire guests. I certainly wouldn’t have trusted a glass pane and lace curtains.

The woman turned, her face obscured behind a black veil attached to the velvet hat perched on her head. She wore an old-fashioned gown over a corset and fingerless lace gloves.

“Are you Hyacinth Drake?” I asked, courtesy pinning me in place. I’d heard Connor and Quinn talking about her. She was their aunt and had been injured by a Helios-Ra hunter. The holy water they used, charged with UV rays, had burned her face. It hadn’t healed yet and no one was certain it would. Scars were rare on a vampire, but they were certainly possible. My bare arms were proof enough of that.

“Yes, I am. Enchantee.” She flicked a glance at the scars on my arms, then turned back to the window. That’s when I realized she‘d been watching Lucy running through the garden with the puppy, who was barking with hysterical glee. Lucy’s laughter was nearly as loud. Charlemagne left eager nose prints on the glass door, then looked at me pathetical y.

“Go on,” I murmured, letting him out to join the melee. The puppy rol ed over in the air in his excitement. Lucy laughed harder.

“Your scars don’t bother you,” she said. It wasn’t a question, it was more of a flat statement. I shrugged.

“Not real y.” The half-moons and disjointed circles left by sharp teeth had faded to shiny pale skin, like mother-of-pearl. “I wear these proudly.” I touched the puncture scars on my throat.

“These I would burn off if I could.” Since burning wouldn’t help, Kala had tattooed that side of my neck with a fleur-de-lys.

“I was beautiful for so long,” she murmured.

“Then you’re stil beautiful,” I said bluntly.

“No pity from you, Isabeau,” she said, and I could hear the faint smile in her voice. “I find that very refreshing.”

“My people measure beauty by how quietly you can hunt,” I explained. “And by how wel you train a dog or how fast you run.

We have tests to prove ourselves worthy and none of them have anything to do with the color of our hair or the shape of our nose.”

“Then perhaps I should run away to live in the caves after al .” Her tone changed, irony washing over the grief. “But I do so love my creature comforts.”

Lucy was panting in the yard, wiping sweat off her face. The dogs raced around her like a merry-go-round. When she came toward the house, Hyacinth stepped back immediately.

“It was a pleasure meeting you,” she said to me before disappearing into the depths of the house.

“Isabeau, you’re up already,” Lucy exclaimed, startled. The

“Isabeau, you’re up already,” Lucy exclaimed, startled. The garden door shut behind her. She brought in the scents of summer rain, leaves, and fresh blood pumping under skin. I ground my back teeth together. “It’s not even ful y dark yet,” she continued on heedlessly. The dogs mil ed at her feet.

“Sometimes, I wake early,” I said. I had no intention of sharing my weaknesses and the violence of my nightmares. Like Hyacinth, I couldn’t stomach pity.

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