Blood Feud Page 4

Guards closed in. There was so much snarling, the royal caves sounded more like cougar enclosures at the zoo. Mom fought her way free of her overeager guards as the girl was hauled away from Quinn.

“I want her alive!” Dad was shouting.

Too late.

The assassin-girl was clearly prepared, and knew enough not to be captured and questioned by the enemy. The inside of her vest was rigged with a slender hidden stake. She pul ed a smal piece of rope sewn into the armhole of her vest and smiled.

There was a very smal thwack sound and then she crumbled into ashes. Her clothes fel into a pile.

Dad swore, very loudly and very creatively.

Mom’s fists clenched. “Quinn, Logan. With me . Now. ” She shot a glare at Marcus and Connor. “You too.” Mom did not like being saved by her children.

We fol owed her into a smal private antechamber. Adrenaline was stil coursing through me. Quinn’s jaw was clenched so tightly he looked like a marble statue, pale and cold. I knew just how he felt.

We had a short reprieve as Dad cupped Mom’s face and ran his hands down her neck, over her shoulders. “Helena, are you hurt?”

She waved that away. “I’m fine.” She smiled briefly, then turned hard eyes on us. Each of us took a healthy step backward and not a single one of us felt any less manly for the wise retreat.

“I distinctly remember,” she said softly, her long black braid swinging behind her as she crossed her arms over her chest,

“after the events of last week, ordering you never to step between me and a weapon again.”

“Mom,” Quinn ground out. “Give me a break.” Her glare could have sizzled steak. “I wil not have my sons kil ed by some third-rate assassin.”

“And we won’t have our mother kil ed by one either,” I added.

She closed her eyes briefly. She looked less like an ancient Fury, pale as fire and just as angry, when she opened them again.

“Thank you, boys,” she said final y. “I’m very proud of you.

Don’t ever do that again.” She leaned against Dad. “You either, Liam.”

“Shut up, dear,” he said affectionately, kissing the top of her head. He looked at the guard standing in the doorway, under the string of smal glass lanterns. The candles flickered. “Wel ?” I recognized Sophie when she stepped forward. She had a mass of curly brown hair and scars on the side of her face from when she’d been human. No one knew how she’d gotten them.

She bowed sharply. “The girl belonged to Montmartre. His insignia was stitched on the inside of her vest.”


“And that’s al we know.”

“That’s not nearly enough,” Helena snapped.

“I agree, Your Highness.”

Helena sighed. “Don’t ‘Your Highness’ me.”

“Yes, Your Highness.”

“Wait.” Quinn frowned. “She had a tattoo.”

“You’re sure?” Mom asked. “Where?”

“Under her col arbone, above her left breast.” To his credit, he didn’t blush. Exactly.

Mom’s eyes narrowed on his face. “You were looking down her shirt?”

Quinn swal owed. “No, ma’am.”

“Mmm-hmmm. What was the tattoo?”

“A red rose with three daggers or stakes through it. I didn’t get a very good look.”

Dad frowned. “I don’t know that insignia. I wonder if it’s new?” He glanced at Sophie. “Find out. And double the patrols, and set another guard on my wife.”

set another guard on my wife.”

Sophie bowed and left the antechamber just as Mom started to bristle.

“Liam Drake, I can look after myself.”

“Helena Drake, I love you, take the extra guard.” They glowered at each other. I knew Dad would win. Mom was vicious when cornered, but Dad had a way about him, like a snake hypnotizing his supper. His glower softened. “Please, love.”

Her fangs lengthened with her annoyance. “Don’t do that,” she muttered, but we knew Dad would get his way. “Only until the coronation,” she said final y, firmly.

Dad nodded. “Deal.” He’d find some other argument come the coronation. The walkie-talkie on his belt burbled some garbled sentence. He pressed the button. “Repeat.”

“You asked us to let you know when it was midnight.” Dad looked at his watch. “Right,” he said to the rest of us.

“The Hound delegation should be here any minute. Logan, you’l go meet them. If what we know about this Isabeau is true, she was turned just after the French Revolution. You’l be more familiar to her in that frock coat.”

“Okay.” I ignored my brothers’ smirks out of long habit. They were strictly the jeans and T-shirt types. I couldn’t help it if they had no style.

“The mountainside guards know to expect them, but no one else does,” he added. “We didn’t want the drama.”

“Al we get is drama.” I rol ed my eyes, leaving to make my way down to the main cave entrance. Dad’s walkie-talkie warbled again. His voice went grim when he cal ed out to me.






I hadn’t expected the ambush. And that’s saying something.

I hadn’t become a Hound princess in the year and a half since I’d been dug out of the ground because I was a trusting sort. If the French Revolution hadn’t cured me of that, being bitten and abandoned by one of Montmartre’s Host would have.

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