Cursed By Destiny Page 35

“Oh, my God. Celia, stop—Celia!”

“De-de-de.” I was so terrified I couldn’t bring myself to say the word, so I hit harder.

“It’s okay, it’s okay. I’ll get rid of it.”

I dropped the twisted metal dispenser on top of it. My feet automatically scurried away as Danny moved it aside. We both gagged at the smell. It looked like someone had poured bubbling white slime on the floor. Chunks of flesh floated on top, swirling together as if attempting to rejoin. Five minutes. Aric had once told me that only the strongest demons could leave hell. And five minutes was usually their curfew. My body convulsed with terror. It had at least three minutes left.

Danny took a small tube of water from his back pocket and poured a few drops on the leftovers. The drops sizzled. Sparks of blue exploded and engulfed the slime in a magical mini wave, cleansing the floor and purifying the air.

My body relaxed slightly from breathing in the sudden freshness. “Holy water?” I stammered after a few moments of silence.

Danny shook his head. Dry blood caked his lips and several contusions covered his face. “It’s water from the lake. The magic in Tahoe is mostly pure. I’ve been trying to analyze it at the lab.” He shrugged. “I don’t know. I just had a feeling it would help.”

I gripped the edge of the sink, unable to stay upright on my weak legs. “What if the water hadn’t worked?”

Danny smiled a true, genuine Danny-ish smile. “The power of good keeps demons from staying on earth. Even if the water failed to have any effect, that thing wouldn’t have lasted long against your light.”


“You know, this really isn’t necessary,” I said to Hank.

He jogged alongside me, huffing and puffing like a two-pack-a-day smoker. “Celia, the Tribe is getting desperate to off you if they’re sending demons your way. Pardon the f**k out of the master for trying to protect you.” He spat on the asphalt. “Do you think I want to run? It’s idiotic. I don’t understand why you do it.”

“It’s not idiotic. It helps my stamina and calms my tigress.”

“So does sex—and it’s much more pleasurable. I don’t understand why you keep denying the master.”

Vampires were all about overindulging themselves—whether with money, sex, or feedings. How could I have possibly reasoned with such selfish beings?

People driving in the opposite direction gawked at us. It was a clear forty-degree day. I wore a baseball cap and sunglasses, but they weren’t staring at my pitiful disguise. Nor were they stunned stupid by the gorgeous guy in the ridiculous seventies jogging suit running next to me. They stared at my security team, courtesy of my guardian angel master vampire.

Long gone were the days I raced along the lake trails by myself. Now every time I ran it was between two town cars full of combat-ready vampires. That was bad. The helicopter hovering above us? Much worse. Everyone in the Tahoe City area probably thought some eccentric billionaire was out for a stroll.

Hank grew impatient. “Well, are you going to tell me?”

“Tell you what?”

His expression told me he’d like to use my eyeballs to play Ping-Pong. “Why you don’t bed the master? It’s not like you’re some shy virgin or something. That idiot Liam told me you and the pureblood were always getting it on.”

My face flushed and I picked up my pace. “Hank, I am so not having this conversation with you.”

He ignored me. “Not having sex is just unnatural, even for a weird-ass chick like you.”

“Hank, you’re really starting to piss me off.”

“Just admit it—you want to have sex.”

“I don’t have to admit anything. And if you open your trap one more time, you’re going to be sorry.”

Again, he ignored me. “The master is reasonable. He’ll probably allow his ears to be scratched during your lovemaking, if that’s the sort of shit that turns you on.”

As my speed increased, the cars in front and behind us accelerated. “Hank, don’t bring Aric into this—you know nothing about him or our love life.”

“What love life? You have nothing with that mutt. Look, I’m not trying to pressure you, but the others and I have a pool going. The pot’s getting high and I don’t want to lose.”

“You’re betting on whether Misha and I are going to do it!” The revelation only made me run faster.

“Not whether you’ll do it—when. Edith and Liz are already out twenty grand. You have to please the master by Valentine’s Day or else I’m out fifty.”

“You’re such an ass**le, Hank. I can’t believe you’d bet on me.”

“I wouldn’t have if I’d known how difficult you’d be. Shit, Celia. I knew you were stubborn, but this is bad even for you.”

Hank was now wheezing. Vampires were fast, but not designed to race for such long distances. We’d hit the ten-mile mark before I really began to sweat. I pushed faster. Hank tried desperately to catch me and lost his concentration. He slid on some gravel and took a dive. There was a loud grunt when the car behind us ran over him. Serves him right.

Tim stuck his shaved head out of the car in front of us. “Damn it, Celia—slow the hell down. The humans are going to suspect something.”

I don’t think so, Tim. I went up the next side road at the last minute. The car ahead kept going, but the car behind me made a sharp turn and tried to follow. They were keeping up pretty well until I shifted underground and turned up in someone’s backyard.

The helicopter circled above me, searching. I giggled when the vamps started swearing. I continued to shift and kept to the shadows beneath the trees. Danny had convinced me demons—the real ones—couldn’t appear so close to the lake. It made sense, given that the only ones I’d seen had been far from Tahoe’s power. I continued to move. It wouldn’t take long for the vamps to pick up my scent, and in the meantime I wanted a moment away from the annoyingly undead.

I finally appeared on a high hill that overlooked Tahoe and dropped down to a small patch of beach. The aroma of its magic brought me a sense of calm and assured me I was protected. My tigress purred and relaxed, allowing me to stretch before taking a seat on a large rock. I peered out at the water. Hank was right. I did want to make love, but it wasn’t with his master. I miss you, Aric.

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