Blood Feud Page 27

Liam rose when we entered. “Isabeau,” he said warmly.

Helena lifted her head from the piles of papers and books in front of her. Finn nodded to me once.

“Liam,” I greeted him, my voice careful y blank.

“I trust you slept wel ?”

“Yes, thank you.”

“I apologize for the unfortunate event with the Hypnos,” he added soberly.

“As do I.”

“And I thank you for ridding our woods of Host and breaking the spel against our daughter.”

“You’re welcome.”

“We owe you for that,” Helena agreed. She shoved the books away. “Now can we please dispense with this courtesy dance and get down to it?”

Liam glanced down at her rueful y. “Love.” She shot him an equal y rueful look. “Sorry.” She turned to me.

“I hope you’re not offended, Isabeau.”

“Not at al ,” I assured her. In fact, I was rather relieved to hear her say it. I was starting to wonder if that was part of reason I’d been chosen: not necessarily because of who I was but because of who Helena Drake was. Anyone else, Magda included, would have bristled and assumed she didn’t think Hounds worthy of the usual protocol. I understood she was too direct to bother with political games. It made me suddenly hopeful about the al iance between our tribes. We were sick to death of games and politics.

“I’m rather envious of you, actual y,” she added.

I blinked. “I beg your pardon?”

“I’d have loved to have chased a Host down last night. Instead it was al treaties and protocols and hyperactive guards.” She shook her head. “I’m going out hunting tonight, Liam, so you’d best get everyone to just deal with it.”

She didn’t seem like any mother I’d ever known. My own had been more interested in lace and dancing until dawn.

Logan grinned. “I don’t think queens are supposed to hunt, Logan grinned. “I don’t think queens are supposed to hunt, Mom.”

“Then I’l take Isabeau with me.” She quirked a dry smile in my direction. “Then it won’t be hunting, it wil be al iance improvements.”

“We’l make a politician out of you yet,” Liam said.

“There’s no need to be insulting.” She sat back in her chair, her long black braid fal ing behind her.

“Mom, we found a secret tunnel,” Logan told her grimly. “Very new, off behind the empty caves on the other side of the weapons room.”

Her eyes narrowed dangerously. “Another one?” He blinked at her. “There’s more of them?”

“Two that we’ve found so far,” she replied. “Your father won’t let me fil them with dynamite.”

“I’d rather not have the entire compound fal on our heads,” he said dryly. “I’l take care of it.” He spoke into his cel phone at a discreet murmur just as one of the guards opened the door.

Suddenly the room seemed too smal and constricting. Hart, the leader of the Helios-Ra, strol ed in with Kieran and a girl with long blond hair. Her shoulders were tight, her hand hovering over a stake at her belt. She wore the black cargos and shirt that virtual y every other agent wore while on assignment. I looked for the vial of Hypnos powder they strapped inside their sleeves but I couldn’t find it.

“Hart,” Liam greeted the other man with an amiable handshake. “Glad you could make it.”

The blond girl and I were the only ones who looked as if we didn’t think this was entirely normal. Wel , and Magda, of course. She pressed closer to me, second set of fangs protruding slightly. Hart was handsome, dressed in a simple gray button-down shirt and jeans instead of camo gear. There was a scar on his throat.

“You know Kieran, of course,” he said. “This is Hunter Wild.” He motioned to the blond girl. “The Wilds have been part of the league since the eleventh century.”

“How do you do?” Liam murmured calmly. “Have a seat.” Hunter nodded stiffly, eyes wide. Kieran cleared his throat, nudging her into a chair next to him. The rest of the Drake brothers filed in, stealing the last bit of air and space left in the room. Hunter stared at them. Out of everyone in the room, the vampire hunter was the one I could relate to most right now. My eyes would have bugged out of my head too, if I’d let them. This kind of group gathered together peaceful y was unprecedented, outside of the old families on the Council.

“We can do good work,” Liam said quietly. “If we let ourselves. We’ve cal ed the Council. They’l be here in two days.

Meanwhile, Hart has already agreed to work with us.”

“What, and just give up kil ing vampires?” Magda asked.

“And you believe him?”

Hart half smiled. “We’re al learning a little discretion is al .

We have a common enemy, after al .”

“Montmartre?” I asked. I hadn’t thought Helios-Ra was particularly interested in vampire politics.

He shook his head. “No, the Hel-Blar. Something has them running brave. We’ve never intercepted so many cal s to the police about strange people wearing blue paint. I think we can agree they need to be hunted.”

Magda nodded reluctantly. She had no love for the Hel-Blar; none of us did. It was too easy for the Hounds to remember that we might have been like them, but for a little luck and a little hidden inner fortitude.

“We’ve been getting disturbing reports al evening as wel ,” Helena said. “The Hel-Blar are everywhere suddenly.” Magda hissed. “They’re like cockroaches.”

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