Blood Moon Page 58

There was instant comfort in the calm, authoritative way Liam ordered the guards to patrol, even with the haggard tension around his eyes. Connor and Quinn were identical lean swords of anger under the pine trees. Marcus frowned and Duncan’s jaw was stone. A scatter of guards stood around them. Sebastian was listening patiently as always, noticing everything. He was the first to see us approach and he nudged Liam. Liam turned, smiling a little when he saw us. Solange’s brothers eyed her warily. There was blood on their shirts.

Helena marched toward us, sword glinting. “Lucy.” She caught me up in such a tight hug I felt my shoulders grind together, but I didn’t care. I hugged her back and tried not to cry. She finally let me go, touching my cheek, before the battle fire flared in her eyes again. I knew she’d do whatever was necessary to get her son back, and she knew I’d do whatever necessary to get my boyfriend back. It was an unspoken pact, and it helped push down the frantic panic boiling in my belly.

“Mom, what happened?” Solange asked. She was closest to Nicholas and always had been. Kieran was still holding her hand.

“We don’t know yet,” Helena replied. She looked at Constantine and nodded once. “Any help is appreciated,” she said bluntly. He nodded back courteously. I could guess their last conversation hadn’t been this polite.

“Nicholas activated his GPS tag,” Connor told us. The friendly computer geek was hidden under a layer of pure Drake wrath. “I only found out just now when I went out looking for a signal.”

“And?” Solange pressed.

“And they found his guard’s clothes, ashes, and nothing else,” Duncan answered tightly.

“Ransom?” I asked. “Like with Christabel?” Ransom meant he was still alive. You couldn’t collect if your victim was … no. I couldn’t go there.

“No way of knowing yet,” Liam said. Bruno joined him at the map, already barking orders into his phone.

“Logan and Isabeau have already left,” Duncan added. “They’re hoping Charlemagne catches Nicholas’s scent before any more snow falls, or worse, rain.” He looked up at the white winter sky without much hope. There was already very light snow hanging between us. But Isabeau’s dogs were legendary. They’d once tracked Montmartre through this same forest.

“Aunt Hyacinth is out already too,” Quinn added. “Uncle G. is staying back at the camp to make sure this isn’t a decoy of some sort. And to keep an eye on Christabel and London.”

I nodded, because I couldn’t seem to find my voice. My fists clenched around the staff, splinters digging into my palm. The family had marked the spot where Nicholas had called for help. It was a red circle, like blood. There was nothing but mountain and forest around it for miles.

“You should go back to school,” Liam told me gently.

I found my voice real fast. “What? No way!”

“He’s right, Luce,” Sebastian added quietly in his serious way, which was so like Nicholas my throat cramped around tears.

“Are you high?” I asked, blinking furiously. “I’m not going home until we find him.”

“It’s not safe here,” he said. “The forest is all vampires and Huntsmen right now.”

“I don’t care!”

“We could give you a guard duty, but that would be at least three guards not out searching for Nicholas,” Sebastian pointed out gently.

It was like he’d punched me. He was usually so quiet and kind that you could forget how ruthless and blunt he could be.

But he was right.

The thought of going back to sit in my dorm room and wait helplessly made me want to throw up, but he was right.

“I’ll keep you in the loop,” Connor promised.

I nodded. I knew if I said anything now, it would be squeaky and unintelligible.

“I’ll take her back to school,” Kieran said. “My bike’s not too far from here.”

“I’ll go with you, at least that far,” Duncan said, pushing away from where he’d been leaning against a tree. “I’ll double-check your bike to be safe, before you take off. The trails are a bitch on the battery cables.” Bats dipped and somersaulted around him. Duncan’s jeans were frayed at the cuffs and stained with engine oil. He looked tough, like he belonged in an old James Dean movie. But when he glanced at Solange, he was all hurt puppy. I just didn’t know who to be mad at anymore. Now that the Drakes were fighting among one another, defending them was becoming a full-time job.

“Try not to worry,” Liam said, kissing my forehead. My lower lip wobbled embarrassingly.

Solange stopped me. Bats lowered around us like a leathery curtain. “We’ll find him,” she whispered. “Lucy, I promise.” Her eyes were pale blue as moonlight on snow, veined with red like winter lightning. The veins at her wrists and collarbone practically burned like a gasoline trail to dynamite. “No matter what.”

We hugged briefly, and hard. The bats drifted away. Duncan and Kieran were waiting for me.

“If they don’t find him tonight, I’m going out searching tomorrow anyway,” I said as we left the grove, ducking under branches and scrambling over fallen logs bristling with snow-encrusted mushrooms.

“I know,” Kieran said. “I’ve already texted Hunter.”

I tried to smile at him. “Solange was stupid to break up with you.”

He just snorted.

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