Blood Feud Page 9

“The dogs have never met a Hound before,” he said awkwardly. Even with my limited knowledge of him, I knew for a fact that he wasn’t often awkward. It was endearing, more so than his charming smiles.

I climbed the stairs confidently. Dogs didn’t hide their moods, didn’t play games of manners or intrigue. Logan’s hand was on the doorknob. “There’s no need to worry,” I assured him.

I felt better with three huge shaggy Bouviers charging at me. If Benoit were stil alive, he’d have clicked his tongue at that. I didn’t speak to the dogs, barely flicked them a glance. I just stood my ground and let them sniff me once before I snapped my fingers and pointed to the ground. Three furry backsides hit the marble floor.

Logan gaped at me. “Dude.”

I gathered by his tone that he was impressed. When I was I gathered by his tone that he was impressed. When I was sure the Bouviers had accepted I was higher in the pack hierarchy, I let Charlemagne past me so they could meet.

The foyer was spacious, cluttered with boots and jackets and bags. The lamps and the overhead chandelier were lit. I tried not to stare. I was stil half-awed by electricity. I might have woken up in the twenty-first century, but I stil lived in a cave with amenities closer to the Middle Ages. I had recently al owed Magda to foist a cel phone on me but I stil wasn’t entirely sure how to work it properly. The first time it rang, I’d tried to stake it.

“Whoa.” A girl interrupted my inspection. I assumed she was Lucy, as she was the only one with a heartbeat. I vaguely remembered her from the night Solange turned, staying close to her and trying to kick anyone who came too close. She’d hadn’t been entirely successful, but she never gave up. “Did you give the dogs Hypnos or something?” she asked. She had brown hair cut to her chin and brown eyes behind dark glasses. She wore an excessive amount of silver and turquoise jewelry. There was a purse slung from her left shoulder to her right hip. It wasn’t for a cel phone or lip gloss; rather it was stuffed ful of stakes.

Two vampires fol owed her out of the living room; Solange, whom I’d last seen lying pale and dead in Montmartre’s arms, and another one of her many brothers. They both stopped, watching me warily. It took Lucy a little longer. She glanced at them, then at me.

“What? What am I missing?” She sounded disgruntled. She tilted her head. “Hey, we know you. Isabel, right?”

“Isabeau,” I corrected stiffly. I hated how polite and stilted I sounded. It was how I was raised but I knew enough to know it wasn’t the way of modern people my age, vampire or not.

“Nice,” she approved. “You don’t look like an Isabel anyway.

I’m Lucy, and that one’s Nicholas. There’s so many of them sometimes it’s hard to keep track.” She darted forward, arms out. I stumbled back, watching for a stake, knees bending into a fighting crouch. “Oh, sorry,” she said. “I was just going to hug you for saving my best friend’s life. I guess you’re not the hugging type.”

Logan sounded like he was choking back a laugh. Solange and Nicholas stil hadn’t said a word. Lucy turned to stare at them. “What is wrong with you two? She saved Solange’s life.” The irony that the human was more comfortable around me than the other vampires was not lost on me.

“I’m a Hound,” I murmured.

Lucy shrugged. “You could sing boy band songs al day long and I wouldn’t care.” She shuddered. “You don’t, do you?” That seemed to distress her more than the fact that the Hounds were rumored to be mad kil ers.

Logan rol ed his eyes. “I don’t think she’s had a lot of exposure to boy bands, Lucy.”

“But you do wear bone beads,” she said, ignoring him and nodding at the beads hanging from the braids twisted at the nape of my hair. “Cool.” She tilted her head. “You don’t look crazy.”

“You’re like a runaway train,” Logan groaned at her. “Can’t you shut her up?” he asked his brother pleadingly.

“How?” Nicholas said somewhat helplessly.

“Kiss her, you idiot.”

I happened to appreciate honesty, so it was impossible not to like her. She reminded me a little of Magda. “I guess you don’t look crazy either,” I told her.

Nicholas snorted. She jabbed him in the stomach with her elbow. “Be nice.”

“You first.” He rubbed his sternum. “Ouch.” Solange stepped forward. “I’m sorry,” she said quietly. “You took me by surprise.” She licked her lips. She stil looked frail, for a vampire anyway. I wondered how she could resist the temptation of Lucy’s heartbeat fil ing the house. “Thank you,” she said. “I’m in your debt.”

“We al are,” Nicholas agreed.

“It’s nothing.” I looked away, embarrassed. “We have no love for Montmartre.”

“Jerk,” Lucy muttered. She stepped forward, breaking the uncomfortable silence by linking her arm through Solange’s and then through mine, gingerly. Surprisingly, I let her. “Come on,” she said cheerful y. “You guys can watch me eat chocolate.” The front door opened behind us.

“Solange, are you—”

He didn’t finish his greeting.

Vampire hunter.



I didn’t think, I just reacted.

A Helios-Ra agent should not be able to breach the security of the Drake house now that they were the ruling family, especial y when he had a broken arm. I might not consider them my ruling family particularly, but I wasn’t about to let Solange get staked by a hunter after al the trouble we’d gone to to save her.

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