My Lady Quicksilver Page 32

“Nothing.” She pressed her lips together. This morning she’d stopped by the guild to see if he was recovering, but he still couldn’t recognize anyone. Garrett had refused to let her see him, stating that all Lynch wanted was her.

It scared her. She’d thought at the time that the worst thing he could do to her would be to drink her blood and drain her dry, but she’d been wrong. Instead, the demon inside him had claimed her as his own.

Mine, he’d snarled.

Imagine his fury when he discovered how she’d played him. Imagine…his hurt. Rosalind swallowed hard. She felt like she’d trapped herself in her own sticky spider web of lies and the weight of it was crushing her. She didn’t want to hurt him. He was too good for that.

Jack watched her, no doubt drawing his own conclusions. “You shouldn’t go back there. He’s making you stray from your course.”

“Is it the right thing to do?” she whispered, thinking of the silent Cyclops army sitting in the dark in Undertown.

Jack stiffened. “Don’t doubt it. We made this pact eight years ago, after Nathaniel was murdered. Anything to bring them down—to destroy them.”

“Is it worth Jeremy’s life?” she snapped, turning on him. “Is it? Because if that is what is has cost me, then I cannot do this.”

“Are you certain it’s only Jeremy you’re worried about?”

She groaned under her breath. The truth. If she continued as she was, one day she would have to go up against Lynch. Was it worth it? Could she truly strike him down for her cause?

No. The answer was a sickly whisper in her mind. A betrayal of everything she had stood for over the last eight years. But how could she avoid him? He stood between her and the Echelon and she knew that his sense of duty and honor would force him to move against her.

“I’ll deal with it.” How?

“See that you do,” Jack said. “Don’t forget where your loyalties lie. With your family, with your own people—with the humans who live in this wretched city and look to us for the only cursed hope they have.”

“I know where my damned loyalties lie,” she snapped.

“Devil take it, I can hear you two all the way to Limey,” someone cursed. Ingrid materialized out of the fog, dragging a young lad with a missing eye and three iron fingers.

The tightness in Rosalind’s chest eased. She stepped forward as Ingrid shoved the lad to his knees in front of her. “Found ’im in the Pits, betting on the blood sport,” Ingrid said. “Couldn’t take him there so I had to wait till he’d blown his quid.”

Rosalind knelt down, resting her elbows on her knees. “Hello, Harry.”

The mech grimaced, dragging himself up into a sitting position. Blood dripped from a slash in his forehead. Ingrid hadn’t been gentle, then.

The youth was of an age with Jeremy and the pair had always gotten along smashingly well, even if Harry’d looked to Mordecai for leadership, rather than herself. His lips thinned as he scanned Jack’s menacing form behind her. “Don’t know nothin’.”

“Yes, you do.” Rosalind smiled, then held up a finger to stall his protests. “Let’s not pretend that you won’t tell us everything you know. The question is, whether you will do it now and be sent on your way unharmed, or whether Ingrid must break every bone in your body first.”

His blue eye rolled to Ingrid and he swallowed.

“Firstly, I want to know if you’ve seen Jeremy. Or gotten word from him at all.”

Harry’s shoulders relaxed, as if realizing he wouldn’t be asked to betray his fellow mechs. “Ain’t seen ’im since the tower,” he admitted. “Thought ’e were dead—or taken by the Nighthawks.”

Her eyelashes lowered as she fought to control her emotions. Her last hopes were drying up. If none of the mechs had seen him… “Why would you think the Nighthawks took him?”

Harry shrugged. “I were kinda ’opin’, you know? They were all over the tower after the bomb went off.”

He knew nothing then. Rosalind sat back on her heels, her throat dry and tight. Jack’s hand slid over her shoulder and she clutched it, squeezing his gloves gently as the world dissolved around her. The last hope she had lay with Lynch, and she wasn’t sure if he would recover from his bloodlust.

Ingrid sighed. “Be off with you then—”

“Wait.” Rosalind looked up. “Wait,” she added softly, forcing her thoughts to focus. “Tell me about the clockwork balls. The ones you use to drive a blue blood mad.”

Harry’s face paled under his mop of dark hair. “I don’t know nothin’.”

“Ingrid,” she said. “Cut his thumb off.”

“No!” Harry squealed, scrambling back on the cobbles—directly into Ingrid’s legs.

Ingrid grabbed his hand and dragged an enormous knife from her belt. “Which one?” she asked Rosalind. They’d played this game many times.

Rosalind shrugged. “It doesn’t particularly matter. Your choice.”

“This one then,” Ingrid said, yanking the lad’s hand back.

“No!” he screamed. “No, stop! I’ll tell! I’ll tell you anythin’ you wanna know about the Doeppler Orbs!”

Rosalind gestured Ingrid away and leaned closer. “Then tell me,” she said. “What is in the orbs that drives a blue blood mad? Is there a cure?”

“There’s a Dr. Henrik Doeppler in the East End,” he blurted, staring at Ingrid’s knife. “Some kind of nutter but ’e was tryin’ to come up with a cure for the cravin’, and found this formula instead. Don’t know if there’s a cure. We don’t let ’em live long enough after…”

“After the tests,” she encouraged.

He looked at her.

“Yes,” she smiled. “Be careful that you tell the truth, Harry. You don’t know how much I know.”

“We done tests,” he said quickly. “Just a few down below. It were ’ard to get our ’ands on a blue blood, you see?”

She nodded.

“So Mordecai thought we oughta try it on the Echelon. Get ’em runnin’ scared and see ’ow well it works before we attack.”

Her instincts had been right. This was bigger than it had seemed. “And where’s the final attack going to happen?”

Harry stared at her helplessly. “I don’t rightly know.” He jerked his hands up in front of him as she frowned. “I don’t! I swear it! Mordecai only tells me what I need to know.”

Rosalind frowned. “I saw crates filled with the orbs. There were enough there to drive half the Echelon into a frenzy. He has to be planning an attack on something big, somewhere a lot of the Echelon will be trapped together.”

“Only thing I know is its ’appenin’ in two days’ time,” Harry added helpfully. “Started shipping the crates out to the gangs tonight.”

Two days time. None of her spies in the Echelon had mentioned anything important.

“Let him go,” Rosalind murmured, then narrowed her eyes on Harry. “If I were you, I wouldn’t breathe a word of this meeting to Mordecai.”

“Believe me”—he gave a shaky laugh—“I won’t.”


The next morning found Rosalind on the guild steps after slipping out without waking Jack or Ingrid. Yesterday morning they hadn’t let her in. “Please,” she whispered under her breath. “Please let him be himself again.” Whether the plea was to a God she’d never prayed to before, she didn’t know.

Rapping sharply at the main door, she waited with bated breath. The minutes dragged by and she was just about to rap again when Doyle jerked it open.

His glare faded when he saw her, a soft sigh in his throat. “Ain’t no change, Mrs. Marberry. Garrett dosed ’im with ’emlock again. You’d best be on your way, its may’em round ’ere.”

She shoved a hand against the door as he sought to close it. “Do we know what the long-term effects of hemlock will do to him?”

“Mrs. Marberry, we don’t even know if ’e’ll be ’imself again. ’E’s been wild this mornin’.” Again he moved to shut the door.

“Can I sit with him?” she blurted, shoving herself between the narrowing crack. “Just for a half hour. Please?”

“I don’t ’old as that’s such a good idea.”

At the top of the stairs a dark figure distinguished itself from the shadows and Garrett leaned on the railing. “Let her through.”

Doyle scowled. “You know what’s ’e’s been like. Ain’t the done thing to let a lady in there with ’im like that.”

“Isn’t it? Nothing we’ve done has made one ounce of difference. He doesn’t recognize any of us; indeed, he sees us only as threats.” Garrett’s expression softened as he looked at her. “But he’s called for you, many times. Maybe she can do what we can’t.”

Rosalind pushed past before Doyle could say another word, feeling breathless. “Is he dangerous?”

Garrett’s lashes brushed his cheek as he looked down. “We have him restrained. He only becomes violent when we enter the room.”

She swallowed the hard lump in her throat. That moment in Undertown where he’d pinned her to the wall had frightened her. She shouldn’t even be here; both Jack and Ingrid had argued against it until she’d agreed not to go, if only to placate the pair of them.

But she couldn’t leave it alone. She needed to see him, needed him to be all right.

She missed him.

Gathering her skirts in her hand, she swept up the stairs, falling into step beside Garrett.

“I remembered something,” she said, “about the attack. They mentioned a Dr. Doeppler—the man who created the drug that…that did this to him. Perhaps he has an antidote?”

Garret shot her a sharp look. “Dr. Doeppler?”

“In the East End,” she replied, her gaze narrowing on the door to her own study. She felt light-headed, each step deliberately laid.

“I see. I’ll send someone to see to the doctor.” His gaze dipped to her clasped hands. “Don’t be scared. I don’t think he’d hurt you or else I wouldn’t allow this.”

Garrett opened the door and ushered her inside with a cool hand in the small of her back.

“What if he doesn’t want to see me?” she whispered suddenly. The silence in the rooms was almost deafening. “What if it sends him over the edge again?”

“There is that risk,” Garrett admitted. “That’s why he’s bound. He can’t get to you, Rosa.” A hesitation. “But I fear you might have to do this alone. If he sees me—He doesn’t react well to the sight of any of us, and I fear if he sees me by your side…he’ll perceive a threat.”

“He’s afraid of you?”

Another odd hesitation. “Not quite.”

“Garrett, please.” She actually laid her hand on his arm. “Tell me what you’re not saying.”

“The darkness inside him—his demons, whatever you wish to call them… They’re focused on you, Rosa.”

A frisson of fear—and something else—traveled over her skin.

“Sometimes it happens with a blue blood,” he added quietly, “when he desires a woman beyond all else. It’s a possessive, driving force within him. To protect you, to have you with him, to—” He actually colored. “A need to claim you as his own. I believe it’s the only thing that saved your life in Undertown. His bloodlust was stirred, but with it roused the darker side of his nature, the part that recognizes you as his.” Something bleak traveled through those pretty blue eyes. “We all have the capacity for it, Rosa.”

A disaster. She could never escape him if this was the truth. And Lynch would demand more of herself than she could give. “What would happen if I don’t go to him?”

“If we can’t find a way to bring him back, then we—I—will have to kill him.”

Pain filled his eyes and with it came the realization that Garrett was a better man than she’d ever suspected. To do such an act would hurt him beyond reparation. But he would do it if he needed to—that ingrained sense of duty that she suspected Lynch had had a hand in instilling.

“I’ll try.” The part of her that had been trained by Balfour was screaming at her, forcing her to look at this strategically.

Heat burned behind her eyes and she gathered herself and stepped to the door of his study. Her careful strategies be damned. No matter how much she’d tried to deny this, she felt something for Lynch. Something strong. Something that almost made her feel human again.

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