Cursed By Destiny Page 15

Danny leaned back against the wall. He hadn’t been a werewolf long, so his lanky frame had only just begun to develop some bulk. “I’m wondering if the Tribemaster’s invasion could have been a distraction of some sort. Just like when that witch raised all those spirits a couple of months back.”

Gemini edged his way to stand next to me, his eyes never leaving Misha. “A distraction from what? We’ve dealt with every last disturbance reported.”

Danny focused on the floor as he often did when his brilliant mind was at work. “It just doesn’t make sense for him to go after Celia. Sure, she killed the last Tribemaster. And, yes, she’s powerful. But why would the Tribe target her specifically?”

“Celia may be powerful, but in a way she’s also the most vulnerable.” Gemini raised his hand when I attempted to protest. “Your predator instincts and the physical combat you engage in put you at greater risk. Emme can assault from afar; so can Taran. Even Shayna doesn’t have to face an opponent with her sword. Between her bow and arrows and her throwing knives she can keep others at bay. You have to engage in physical contact in order to kill. If the Tribe does recognize you as a threat—one worth eliminating and one who couldn’t survive a mortal wound—it would make sense to take you out first, especially given you’re your family’s protector.”

I sighed. “I guess. But am I worth the loss of—what, thirty Tribesmen and a Tribemaster? The Alliance as a whole is crippling them, slowly but surely. They don’t exactly have numbers to spare.”

“I realize my theory is very flawed, Celia. But you were targeted last night, and now today.” He rubbed his goatee. “If I were to hunt deer, I would seek out the most vulnerable in the herd. Despite her speed and strength, I would catch her. I’m afraid someone is trying to catch you.”

Danny tapped his hands against the wall. “You think a Tribe witch planted the witch fire. And when that didn’t work, a Tribemaster was sent for her?”

Gemini shook his head. “I don’t know. But it’s too much of a coincidence to ignore the connection.”

My heart pounded with a dull and determined thud. I looked to Misha. “I think it’s time for me to go on another assignment. I want these ass**les to know they can’t mess with me.” My jaw tightened. “And that I’m not their damn deer to hunt down.”

Misha nodded. “There’s much to be done. I’ll see what I can arrange.”

Gemini’s phone rang. I stilled when I heard Aric’s voice on the other end. “I just hung up with Koda. He told me what happened.”

Gemini’s voice lowered. “It was an all-out brawl, but we managed. How was the battle at Squaw?”

“We wiped them out. There were skiers who witnessed the attack. We rounded them up and had Genevieve’s witches change their memories. I tried to get to you when I heard your call, but we were in the middle of the fight.” Aric paused. “This is the second attempt on Celia’s life.”

Gem’s dark almond eyes cut to me. “I know. Something’s up. We just don’t know what it is yet.”

“If those Tribe ass**les are after her, I’ll kill every last one of them myself.” In the silence that followed, I could hear Aric breathing hard, trying to calm his wolf. “If she’s still there, I’d like to talk to her. My beast will settle easier if he hears her voice.”

Worry creased Gemini’s brow. It wasn’t like Aric to have to work to wrangle his beast. And yet I understood. I doubt I could control my tigress if something threatened him. I reached for the phone—it felt heavy in my hands—and walked into the kitchen, careful to keep my voice low and soothing. “Please calm down, Aric. I’m safe.”

I instinctively pictured my tigress rubbing against his wolf and my arms embracing his human half. I concentrated so fully, I could practically feel the deep thrum of his heart beating against my br**sts. I’m not sure if he could see or feel me, or if it was merely my gentle tone that relaxed him as I continued to reassure him, but the harsh breathing on the other end receded. “Thank you,” he finally said.

Misha called from the doorway. “My darling, may I speak with you a moment?” I hadn’t even noticed him step outside.

“I’d better let you go,” Aric said quietly.

“I guess you should,” I answered back. I stared at the screen when he disconnected before tightening the robe around me and walking to the porch, where Misha, Gemini, Koda, and Shayna waited. The tow truck and Taran’s birthday gift were gone; only a line of vampires standing at parade rest remained along the street.

Misha clasped his hand over mine. “Celia, neither you nor your family will be staying on the premises this evening,” he said. “We can’t be certain more Tribesmen won’t return.”

Liam spoke to my sisters. “The Elders want us to come back to the Den and bring you so you’ll be safe. You’ll need to pack for at least a few days.”

Shayna crinkled her nose at him. “What about Celia?”

The wolves exchanged glances, probably trying to find the right words to tell me I wasn’t welcome. I saved them the trouble. “Shayna, the Elders don’t want me anywhere near the Den.” Or Aric.

“Celia, it’s not Makawee or Martin. It’s Anara who’s opposed to your presence,” Gemini said quietly.

That was a hell of an understatement. Anara despised me from the first moment we’d met and had made it clear I needed to stay far away from Aric. As a pureblood werewolf he believed himself of superior status. Pures and whatever I was shouldn’t mix, in his almighty opinion.

Koda glared at Misha. It wasn’t until he glanced down at our hands that I realized his anger stemmed from Misha’s contact. Aric and I were no longer a couple. The scrutiny from the wolves made me uncomfortable. I was about to release Misha’s hand when I stubbornly decided against it. I found it hard to believe one of them would ever tell Aric’s fiancée, Barbara, that she shouldn’t touch Aric. Misha and I were friends, and considering the day I’d had, I welcomed his comfort. I wanted to call the wolves out until Taran interrupted.

“What the hell? It’s my goddamn birthday. I want Celia with me.”

“I know, sweetheart,” Gemini said. “And I apologize, but try to see the invitation as a compliment. They consider you valued members of the Alliance and wish to keep you under their protection.”

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