Blood Feud Page 35

“Kala,” she cried.

Kala was the infamous Hound shamanka who was rumored to have witch dogs and magical powers. She was also the closest thing Isabeau had to a queen, or a mother. Possibly both. The old woman had long white hair twisted into braids and dreadlocks and hung with beads made of bone carved into roses and skul s. She had blue tattoos in bold spiral patterns reaching from her left temple al the way down her arm and across her col arbone. Her eyes were so pale they were nearly colorless. There was blood on her teeth when she smiled.


Hounds floated toward us out of the fissures and nooks like moths converging on a flame. I kept my hand on my borrowed sword, but I didn’t unsheathe it. I tried one of my most charming smiles.


I shifted so I wouldn’t knock Isabeau off her feet if I needed to fight.

“Is this your young man?” Kala whispered hoarsely. Isabeau flicked me a glance.

flicked me a glance.

“This is Logan Drake,” she said. “Logan, this is Kala.”

“Nice to meet you.” My training was such that I could bow and keep a grip on my weapon at the same time.

Kala cackled. There was no other word for it.

“Told you the bones never lie,” she said. I could have sworn Isabeau blushed. Magda looked at her sharply, then at me.

“What?” I asked.

“This is hardly the time,” Isabeau murmured. “And it’s not like that.”

I didn’t know what she was talking about but I very much doubted I would agree with her.

Isabeau smoothed a braid off Kala’s cheek. “Where are you hurt? What’s been done?”

Kala patted her arm. “I’l be fine. I’ve had blood and my ankle has already reset itself. You didn’t have to come back.”

“Yes, I did,” Isabeau replied fiercely. “Who did this to you?


She sighed. “Yes. I went out to gather more mushrooms for the sacred tea and they ambushed me.”

If she needed mushroom tea, I nearly said, she could have bought some from anyone wandering the al eys in Violet Hil at night, and some of the farmsteads as wel . Violet Hil was nothing if not a progressive hippie town.

“Did you go alone?” Isabeau frowned. “You know you should take someone with you. Kala, you’re no good in a fight.” I was surprised to hear that. I’d assume the leader of such a ferocious tribe would be deadly with every weapon imaginable.

“Just because I’m a vampire doesn’t mean I’m a warrior,” Kala said to me. She clearly had other talents, like mind reading.

“Did you recognize any of them?” Magda asked.

Kala tried to sit up, settling instead against the back of a huge black dog of indeterminate breed. “No, there were a few of them. Their auras were strange and it distracted me. Dogs ran them off before I could get a good look. Hel o, old boy,” she added when Charlemagne licked the side of her face. “They could have staked me. They chose not to.”

Isabeau sat back on her heels. “Merde.” She met my eyes grimly. I had to fight the urge to put my hand on her shoulder for comfort. She’d probably break my arm if I tried. Damned if that didn’t make me like her even more. I was total y screwed. “If they didn’t want to kil Kala, then they meant to create a distraction.”

“And to get us out of the royal caves and in the path of that Hel-Blar trap.”

“I don’t like being yanked about like a marionette,” Isabeau said darkly.

“I didn’t think you would,” I said dryly.

She rose to her feet. “Are you sure you’re al right?” Isabeau asked Kala.

Kala nodded. “I’l be fine.”

“Then I have to go and think,” she said, mostly to herself, before stalking off, Charlemagne at her side as always.

Magda went to fol ow her but Kala stopped her. “Leave her be,” she said, but she was looking at me.

“You stink of cow,” Kala murmured to us. “What on earth have you been doing?”

“We were caught in a trap,” Magda said bitterly. She raised her voice, turning to glare at me. “By his people.” Hounds al turned to me, baring their teeth. I was pitiful y aware of my single set of fangs. I narrowed my eyes at Magda.

I’d been raised to be nice to girls on principle but I stil real y wanted to kick her. I felt sure Byron or Shel ey would have wanted to also.

“We didn’t set the damn trap,” I snapped. “Why would I go waltzing to a death trap if I knew it was there?”

“You weren’t meant to be there at al ,” she said. “Your family could have set it without you knowing it.”

“The Drakes didn’t send the Hel-Blar after you.” I seethed, my temper prickling. “We’ve treated you with every courtesy. I’m the one who was marked by some creepy-ass Hound spel .” It was funny how sharp silence could be, like a needle scraping against your skin.

Kala pushed herself up so she was sitting against a large rock painted with triple spirals.

“What mark, boy?”

“The dog paw,” I told her. I was beginning to feel real concern.

I hadn’t had much time to think about it with the Hel-Blar attack and I kind of assumed it was just a scare tactic. I kept forgetting that this magic stuff might actual y work.

Not a pleasant realization, actual y.

“Do you have it on you?” Kala asked. Her eyes glittered, like ice breaking on a pond in spring.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies