Kitty Saves the World Page 27

His smile was stiff, fake. His grip on the stem of the goblet was rigid. He stared right back at me, didn’t say a word.

“What happened to New Moon?” I asked. “And where’s my pack?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

I slammed my hands onto the table. “What happened to New Moon? What do you know?”

The two women flinched at the noise, stared at me, and snuggled closer to Angelo, as if he’d protect them.

His expression changed, donning smarm, an oily smile and a lazy, half-lidded gaze. Like cuddling babes was more important than my place burning down.

As expected, he wrinkled his nose, presumably at my unshowered odor wafting across the table. “Are you well? You appear to be having a rough time of it.”

“Angelo, talk to me, dammit.”

He drawled, “I don’t know why you expect me to—”

“Stop it. Just—” I put my hands to my eyes, squeezed, counted to ten while Wolf settled back under my ribs rather than jumping over the table to rip his throat out. Out of the corners of my eyes I saw the two women vampires approaching slowly, watching for another outburst. One of the suited vampires was coming up on the other side. I might be able to fight and duck my way past any one of them, but not all of them. “Can we just have a conversation? No posturing, no posing, no accusations. I just … I come home to find my bar burned to the ground and I kind of hoped you might know something about that.”

He must have practiced that smile. “I’m afraid I don’t,” he said. One of the girls giggled.

And that was that. What was I supposed to do now? I could whine—Rick would have talked to me, no problem. If Angelo knew something, I deserved to know. But he had all the power. Or he thought he did.

I said, “Mercedes Cook is dead. Dux Bellorum isn’t.”

His expression dropped, just like that. The arrogant dismissal turned to openmouthed terror. I couldn’t help being pleased about that.

He took a long drink of blood from the glass, licked his lips, and shoved the women away from him. “Go, go.”

Very inelegantly, for him, he scooted out of the booth after them. Not that there was an elegant way to scoot out of a booth—that was why these guys always made sure they were well situated before anyone saw them.

He waved off his bodyguards. “You can’t be here,” he said, grabbing my arm.

“Angelo, what’s the matter?”

Wrenching my arm, he dragged me toward the front entrance. What was it with vampires manhandling me tonight?

“Angelo, wait, stop—” Growling, I dug in my heels and jerked back. He didn’t let go, but he stopped.

He brought his face close to mine. “You don’t understand. You’ve lost. I don’t know how to make it any clearer to you, but you’ve lost. You need to leave.”

“Where’s my pack? What have you done with my wolves?”

He was scared; his hand on my arm was trembling. “I can’t say.”

I bared my teeth. I didn’t care how many vampires were here, I was going to go for his throat in a second. “Angelo—”

“Leave Denver. Go to ground. You’re finished here.”

I stared at him wonderingly. “No.” A simple, stupid word. My turn to use it as a brick wall.

“Then I can’t help you.”

“Will you please tell me—”

He shoved me through the door and into the waiting arms of the bouncer outside. Braun was tight-lipped and avoided Angelo’s gaze. They would probably be having a conversation later about how I’d gotten past him. Sucks to be him.

Angelo stalked back inside. So he didn’t want to talk. Fine. I’d figure this out without him.

I spotted Ben trotting up the sidewalk, gaze narrowed and lips pulled back, ready for an attack. But Braun let me go, with an encouraging little shove toward the street. He crossed his arms and blocked the way back in. I headed Ben off, taking his hand to let him know everything was okay. But I wasn’t done with Braun.

“What’s got Angelo so spooked?” I said to the bouncer. Because the worst he could tell me was nothing, and I was getting used to that.

He turned to look at the door, after Angelo rather than at me. “I don’t think he knows what he’s doing,” he said. I bit my tongue, just in case he kept talking. “He never wanted to be in charge. He never wanted to be Master.” He gave a deep sigh, which for a vampire had to be purposeful and expressive. Normally, they didn’t have to breathe at all. “I miss Rick.”

That was a hell of a confession.

“Do you know what happened at New Moon? Who’s got their claws into him?”

He glanced at me, startled. I carefully didn’t look back. Somebody did have their claws, fangs, whatever, in Angelo. I’d just made a guess.

He gave a curt nod to the door where Angelo had been. “He ought to be asking, What did you do? New Moon—that was retribution.”

“Yeah. Figured.” I started walking off before he could tell me to leave. “You be careful.”

The line of pretty people out front didn’t look any different than when I’d come in. They all smelled like overpriced body spray and desperation.

By the time we got back to the car, my hackles had settled and I didn’t want to sprout claws anymore. Much. I did slam the door after climbing into the passenger seat. On the driver’s side, Ben gripped the wheel like he wanted to break it.

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