Kitty and the Silver Bullet Page 43

Before this, no one outside the paranormal community ever heard about slaughters like this. People went missing, that was it.

"Why didn't Arturo clean up the mess?" I asked Rick. "He's Denver's Master. I'd have thought he'd want this covered up. He wouldn't want the attention."

"You're right, but Dack called 911 just before we escaped," he said. That solved that mystery. "Arturo's people didn't have time to do anything before the police showed up."

"That must have driven him crazy," I said.

"Not that it does us any good. Whether he got rid of the bodies or not, my people are still dead." He rubbed a hand over his face.

"Oh, but it does do us some good," I said. "Because now we have Detective Hardin on our side."

"You look like someone who has a plan," he said.

"I do."

The three of us sat close, heads bent, in what seemed to me to be an obvious conspiracy. I told them what Cormac and I had discussed—paraphrasing, while talking about territories and predators, drawing them out, and making them panic.

I didn't mention the bounty hunter; nonetheless, Ben spotted me. "That sounds like one of Cormac's plans. You went to talk to Cormac."

"I hadn't planned on it," I said. "It just sort of happened."

"There's someone who could be very useful right now," Rick said.

"If you can postpone your revolution for another four years or so, he might be available," Ben said, cutting.

"Afraid not," Rick replied.

"We have to get Carl and Arturo at the same time," I said. "Whatever we do, we have to get to them both, so they can't help each other."

"That was my plan the last time. Now we have to do it with fewer people and them fully warned. I'm ready to give the whole thing up as lost."

"And where will you go? What Master is going to let you stay in their city knowing you tried to pull a coup in Denver and failed?"

He didn't answer, which was all the answer I needed. Vampires preferred cities because of the larger feeding pool, and for the greater anonymity. I couldn't picture Rick fending for himself in rural America.

"I've survived this long. I'll find a way."

"No. We'll draw them out. We don't strike at them—we strike near them. They'll have to respond, and that's when we get them."

Ben said, "They'll respond. Do you know what that means? They'll strike at what's visible. That's you, Kitty."

"Then we know right where they'll be." My smile felt maniacal.

"No. Because they won't go after you directly. They'll do exactly the same thing—they'll strike near you." He spoke with vehemence, his words pointed. Like I wasn't hearing him.

"I'm not very good at this strategy thing, Ben. What are you saying?"

"Your family," Rick said. "They'll strike at your family."

Ben added, "Your parents, your sister, her kids."

Stupidly, I blinked at him. "They wouldn't."

"Look what Carl did to Jenny. He would," Ben said. "Are you ready to play that game? Are you ready to use your family as bait?"

I rubbed my face, which had suddenly flushed hot, and tangled my ringers in my hair. Fighting for myself was one thing, even fighting for revenge was one thing. Ben put this in such stark terms, and he was right. Yes, Carl and Arturo would target my family. They were easy enough to find, in the phone book and everything. And yes, if I continued on, I'd be knowingly putting them in danger. Knowing that Carl and Arturo would go after them meant I was using them as bait. I was scum for even thinking of it.

But I did it anyway.

The words that came out of my mouth next didn't feel like mine. I couldn't feel myself speak anymore. "Then at least we'll know where they'll hit next. We know where Carl and Arturo will be, and we can be ready for them. We'll keep a watch on my folks, on Cheryl. We'll move them. We can protect them. If we can protect them, it'll work."

"It's a risk," Rick said.

My eyes weren't even focused anymore. "We have to get them before they can hurt anyone. We'll get to them before they get to me." My family. They wouldn't even know what was happening, I couldn't explain all this to them. I could just hear what Cheryl would say if she knew. How dare you even think of this! If anything happened to Nicky and Jeffy…And Mom would be in the hospital tomorrow. I should call her.

"I think we can do it," Ben said. "I think we can protect your family and take care of those two."

"You do?" I said hopefully. His gaze looked as maniacal as mine felt. We both knew that Carl really did need to go. Utterly and completely. We both believed it was worth the risk.

Rick said, "If I can get Arturo alone, without any of his minions, without the lycanthropes backing him, I can take care of him and the rest of the vampires."

"Then I'll have to take care of Carl—"

"Can you?" he said. "I saw you with him. He's still your alpha, on some level. You still believe he's stronger than you."

That made me mad. I didn't even want to consider that he might be right. I wanted to growl. Ben touched my hand.

"Rick. I can do it," I said. "Are you with us?"

Rick's hands, resting on the table, clenched into fists, and his glare turned inward, to thoughts I couldn't guess at. He had the look of a predator all right, one that was cornered and growing dangerous. "If you're willing to risk everything for this, how can I refuse?"

"We still need a plan," Ben said with a smile.

I was stronger than Carl. I had to believe that. What could I do that Carl couldn't? What did I have that Carl didn't? When I thought about it in those terms, the answer was easy. Simple, really. Been staring me in the face the whole time.

What did I have that Carl, and Arturo for that matter, didn't? The Midnight Hour.

Chapter 10

I called Mom in the morning. She didn't answer her phone. Dad didn't answer his. They'd already left for the hospital I was guessing. Mom never gave me an answer to my question. No—that was the answer. She hadn't changed her mind. She wouldn't let me save her. We'd have to trust the doctors and modern medical science to do it.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies