Cursed By Destiny Page 4

I pushed my long wavy hair away from my face. I didn’t want to be right. And Hank had a point: the witch fire mojo seemed satisfied once it tasted my blood. Awesome. Just one more evil critter wanting to take a bite out of me.

The heat rose around me from Hank’s rising temper. It would have been sweet if he was angry that some big bad nasty had tried to murder me. But I knew better. Hank was furious that he’d almost been burnt to toast. As a master vampire, Misha would have survived the blaze and the impact. Hank . . . not so much. He would have been the vampire equivalent of a gasoline-soaked matchstick. “How did a witch get in here to cast such a spell? The entire compound is warded against an attack.”

“That’s what I’d like to know.” Misha walked toward me appearing to any human as calm and collected. The way his family spread out to give him ample space and the bitter scent of fury that alerted my tigress suggested that his pissed-off-o-meter had reached a record high.

Hank bowed. “We will find who did this, Master. And when we do, I’ll rip his kidneys out and feed them to him.”

Knowing Hank, this wasn’t a gross exaggeration. Misha crossed his arms and took in my knee. “You’re hurt.” Behind me a phone rang. Edith Anne quickly silenced it.

“I’m fine, Misha. It’s just a scratch.”

Another phone rang. Another Catholic schoolgirl turned off the ringer.

“May I heal you?”

I backed away. “No, Misha. It just needs some ice.” Maria raced toward the house. Another cell phone rang, then another, and another. Misha and I turned to the group just as someone’s “I’m Sexy and I Know It” ringtone filled the cold night. “Who’s calling?”

Misha’s vamps exchanged glances, appearing afraid to reveal the identity of the caller. Maria hurried back with a sandwich bag stuffed with ice. God knew a vamp could haul serious ass when motivated by her master. Her phone rang next. She hurled the packet of ice at my face. I caught it and almost launched it back at her until I saw her gaping at her phone. She swallowed hard and raised her chin. “It’s one of de mongrels from de pack.”

My body stiffened. Okay. Which one?

“Answer it,” Misha snapped.

The moment Maria touched the screen a thunderous growl erupted on the other end of the line. “Put. Celia. On. Now!”

Koda. My oh so gentle and loving brother-in-law. I reached for the phone and hissed at Maria when she wouldn’t hand it to me. “Give me the damn phone!” Following a nod from Misha, she threw it at me with as much love as she had the ice pack. “Koda, it’s me.”

His growls silenced. “Are you hurt? We know about the explosion.”

Koda was the techno-savvy guy. Either he’d hacked into Misha’s security cameras or he’d put someone on watch near the compound. It shouldn’t have shocked me, but that didn’t mean I liked it. “I’m fine.” I took in the wreckage. The engine collapsed with a loud bang. “Nothing to worry about.”

Koda paused, obviously having heard the engine’s last hurrah. “There was witch fire, Celia.”

“So I’m told. Don’t fret. The vampires are looking into it.”

Another rumble erupted. This time it wasn’t Koda. I froze when I recognized it as Aric’s growl. He was there, in the room with Koda. “I’m fine,” I repeated once more, my voice shaking from surprise. Aric didn’t sound satisfied. He hated me living with Misha. But he’d made a choice, and so had I.

Another sharp snarl cut through the phone. I closed my eyes and pictured his light brown eyes, the sexy five o’clock shadow that covered his strong jaw, and the grin that never failed to stop my heart. My raspy voice softened, just as it always had in his presence. “I scraped my knee, but it’s nothing. Please don’t worry, wolf.”

I no longer spoke to Koda, but rather Aric. His protests abruptly stopped. In the quiet that followed, I could hear him taking deep, controlled breaths. “Okay,” Aric answered in his deep timbre. “Be safe.” A door opened and closed in the background, letting me know he was gone.

Koda’s voice brought me back to the moment. “Do you need us to come for you?”

“No . . . thank you. I’ll see you at the house tomorrow.”

When I disconnected, all eyes were on me. And, go figure, no one seemed thrilled. One by one, Misha’s vampires dispersed. I wrapped my arms around myself. Now that the witch fire had vanished, the air grew cold and dense. “Come,” Misha finally said. “Dinner awaits.”

Misha slipped his arm back around my shoulders and led me to the house. A team of vamps appeared with saws, sledgehammers, and dirty looks. My body trembled. But the vampires weren’t the cause of my discomfort. Moving into Château de Misha had never been about becoming chummy with creatures so self-absorbed I had to work not to smack them. In fact, I was almost used to their snide and catty remarks. What I wasn’t used to were attempts on my life, even though I’d experienced my share since being “outed” to the mystical community. I also wasn’t used to hearing Aric’s voice anymore. All it had taken was his familiar deep tone to tug on my heartstrings and send me into a state of misery.

The scent of roasting duck filled my nose. I squinted a little as my eyes adjusted to the brightly lit European-inspired kitchen. Misha must have used his vamp mojo to put Chef on dinner duty. Chef raced between the industrial steel stove and the tan marble counter, slicing, dicing, stirring, and swearing in French. Out of all the vamps in Misha’s keep, Chef was by far the moodiest bastard. “Merde,” he muttered the moment he saw us.

Chef lived—well, in death—to prepare meals almost too pretty to eat. I ignored him and shuffled toward the table, feeling more chilled than I should have in the warm kitchen.

“I shall discover who attempted to kill you, Celia. Do not fear for your safety in my home.”

I must have appeared pathetic for Misha’s anger to resurface. “I know, Misha. Don’t worry. I’m fine.” I was getting tired of repeating myself, mostly because I wasn’t “fine.” I was merely forging ahead because, damn it all, there was evil afoot.

My new life as the vampire’s weapon was probably the most dangerous path I could have selected, and yet it felt right. I’d almost lost a sister to the Tribe and watched countless innocents suffer as I stood helplessly by. But I wasn’t helpless, and while I was far from perfect, I could be the perfect weapon . . . at least where Team Dracula was concerned.

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