Out for Blood Page 45

“Shit, give me your pack,” I said to Nicholas. He tossed it to me over Lucy’s body. Solange looked at her and bit back a sob. Her fangs elongated farther until I thought they’d fall right out of her head. Her flying roundhouse cracked a Hel-Blar neck. The woman fell, snarling, facefirst into the water. Solange turned her over and staked her in one move. There was blood on her clothes and I wasn’t sure how much was hers, Lucy’s, or various Hel-Blars’.

This was turning into a hell of a night.

To human eyes, the fight probably looked quick, colors smearing with the speed of our movements. Inside the fight, it felt like forever. Lucy needed help and she needed it now.

Try telling that to the Hel-Blar currently trying to chew on my face.

“Ow, son of a bitch!” He’d nearly taken a fang off. I hated to admit it but I’d been fighting vampires all night and dawn wasn’t far off. It was taking its toll. I kicked, I punched, I staked. The thick Hel-Blar ashes resembled a mist on the river. Solange took a blow to the kneecap and stumbled, going down. She flipped to her feet before either Nicholas or I could reach her. The last two Hel-Blar ran, scuttling off between the trees. Nicholas scooped Lucy up into his arms, pink water dripping from her hair.

Sunrise trembled on the horizon.

Solange was still snarling, the whites of her eyes now completely red.

She didn’t look right.

“Solange,” I said, trying to catch her attention. “Solange, focus.”

She hissed. The dark sky lightened to a pale gray, glimmering like a pearl. I felt the weariness of the dawn start to tug at my bones. Nicholas’s jaw clenched so tight I could see the muscles spasms from here.

“She’s still bleeding,” he ground out.

Solange licked her lips, stumbled back a step, howled. We both flinched.

“Get Lucy help,” I told him. “She can’t spend the night in one of the safe houses and you can’t wait for me to talk Solange down.” The safe houses were actually more like underground bomb shelters hidden throughout the forest in case any of us got caught far from home at sunrise. Some linked to the tunnels connecting our farmhouse to various parts of the area; others locked up tight, impenetrable. We had no way of knowing if Lucy could wait until sunset for medical attention. Nicholas hesitated, glancing at Solange, who was growling low in her throat.

“Just go,” I said, approaching Solange as if she were a wild beast. It wasn’t far off from the truth. Her internal tethers were new, untested. Fragile. She was strong, already stronger than anyone else so newly turned. But she might not be strong enough to completely control her inner vampire. It wasn’t an exact science. I just had to stop her from giving in entirely, and sunlight would do the rest. Assuming I could get her to safety before it dropped her like a stone in a deep pond. We were nothing if not susceptible.

Nicholas looked wrecked, cradling Lucy against his chest. Her arm dropped limply. She’d never done anything limp in her life. Fear for her nibbled at me. Nicholas broke into a run so sudden, the air displaced all around him. Fallen leaves whirled at my feet. Solange took a step, following the scent of blood.

“Stop me,” she pleaded, even as she pulled a dagger from her boot. She suddenly looked so much like Mom, I felt disoriented.

“I’m trying,” I whispered, holding up one hand. “Solange, you’re okay.”

She laughed but there was no humor in it. “Quinn, we both know I’m not okay.” She swallowed, as if it was the hardest thing she’d ever done. She squinted at the sky. “God, it’s burning inside me. Did this happen to you? I don’t remember you guys being like this.” Her hair was damp. It took a lot to make a vampire sweat. We didn’t exactly run hot, temperature-wise.

“You’ll be okay,” I said soothingly.

“I can still smell the blood,” she said softly, as if she was talking about chocolate cake. She inhaled, nostrils flaring. “I have to follow it.”

“Wait.” I blocked her way. “Just wait a minute.”

“No.”

She shoved me and then vaulted over my flailing limbs, taking off between the pine trees.

Damn it, I was not going to be outdone by my baby sister.

We raced through the forest, the sun burning at our heels. I didn’t even know if she was racing to Lucy’s blood, to the safety of the farm, or just away from me. I only knew I had to stop her.

There’s one sure way to stop a vampire.

Blood.

I had to make myself an easier target than a wounded human.

I reached into my pocket, leaping over a fallen moss-draped tree trunk. I still had the test tubes of blood Hunter had given me. It wasn’t much but it might be enough to stop Solange, to give her the strength to find her control again.

I stopped running, acorns and needles crunching under my feet. I popped the lid off one of the glass tubes and flicked a few drops out. Hunter’s friend’s name was on the label: Chloe.

“Solange,” I called out. “Can you smell that? I’ve got fresh blood here for you.”

“What is that?” she asked. I couldn’t see her but at least she’d stopped running.

“It’s human blood, Sol,” I said tauntingly. “It’s better than animal blood. Don’t you want a sip?” I felt like a freaking drug dealer. This night was not exactly going according to plan. I waved the tube, trying not to react to the scent myself. My fangs elongated a little and saliva filled my mouth. We avoided human blood. It was so easy to become addicted. “Just imagine how it tastes.”

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