My Lady Quicksilver Page 4


“I’ll watch for you then.”

A hand curled around his shoulder and Lynch jerked awake, the shattered remnants of the dream slipping from his mind as his study came to life around him. Blinking, he looked down at the mess of paperwork he’d been leaning in and the ink that stained his hands. There was crusted blood under his fingernails, where he’d tended the wound in his side. Though it had already healed, courtesy of the blood-craving virus that made him a blue blood, the action had weakened him.

Garrett stepped back, arching a brow. “You need to go to bed.”

Scraping a hand over his tired face, Lynch shook his head. “I need to find Mercury. The analysis on the crate?”

With a scowl, Garrett strode across the room and knelt by the fire. He teased the meager coals to life again with the bellows, then added a stick of kindling. “Where’s Doyle? He should be looking after you better than this.”

Lynch scraped his chair back from the desk and stood. “He’s already been in here nursemaiding me. I sent him away. The crate?”

“The steel within appears to be some sort of steam-driven part. A boiler pack, Fitz suspects. Could be used for all manner of machinery.”

Fitz would know. The young genius had never met an invention that didn’t fascinate him. Lynch’s lips thinned. “Useless then?”

“Not quite. I’ve sent Byrnes to the enclaves with some men to inquire of the make.”

“They’ll find nothing,” Lynch stated, turning toward the liquor cabinet. “The mechs in the enclaves are remarkably closemouthed these days.”

“Ever since the prince consort set the Trojan cavalry on them two months ago,” Garrett replied.

Lynch poured himself a snifter of blood, measuring it carefully. He screwed the lid of the flask back into place. “Be careful where you say such things.”

“We’re in the guild headquarters.”

“And no doubt the Council has at least three spies in here.” Lynch lifted the snifter and drained it, the cool blood igniting his senses. His vision swam, painting the world in black and gray for a moment. Slowly he put the glass down. He wanted more; he craved it. And just as certainly wouldn’t allow it.

“You think they’ve got men inside the guild?”

“I’m certain of it.” The Council knew too much of his affairs for it to be coincidence. Lynch swiftly changed topics, to one he wanted to pursue. “There’s been no sign of the woman?”

Garrett leaned back against the desk, his arms crossed and his gaze neutral. Too neutral. Lynch hadn’t asked how much he had heard through the aural communicator; its range was limited, but Garrett had found him quickly enough to have been in the vicinity.

“The men returned. No sign of her. The scent trail ended near Piccadilly Circus. One of those chemical bombs the humanists use to obliterate all scent had been dropped.”

Clever girl. Lynch’s eyes narrowed. He’d fallen for her ruse like a green schoolboy and the thought rankled. She was out there somewhere, no doubt laughing behind his back. The worst of it was that his men had found him before he’d recovered, lying on his back still partially paralyzed. Garrett had covered for him, sending them after the fleeing revolutionary, but they’d seen enough.

“I’m still not quite sure how she gulled you. You’re no pigeon, ripe to be plucked.” Though Garrett’s manner of speech was so precise as to mimic the Echelon, sometimes his base roots showed in his language choice.

“That makes two of us.” Lynch’s voice was hard and dry. A warning for Garrett to drop the subject.

The encounter frustrated him. Sex and the female form were distractions he’d long since thought himself invulnerable to. That she’d gotten under his skin so quickly and easily chafed at him.

Sex was just another need, another form of hunger, and he thought he’d controlled those needs well. He strictly controlled the amount of blood his body required and bedded a woman when he felt the urge arise. Not once had either need ever overruled him. Until now.

And all it had taken was that little whisper of sin in his ear, her knuckles stroking down over the leather carapace of his abdomen. He’d barely seen her face, just her lips beneath the edge of the mask as she tempted him with her offer.

Sensory memory flooded through him: the faint hint of her breast in the cup of his hand, her long legs locking around his hips as she arched against him, the exhale of her breath burning against his lips…

Damn her. Even now his body stirred and he knew why.

A body was never enough. He’d seen and slept with some of the most beautiful women the Echelon had to offer and rarely remembered their names. But this one haunted him. A mystery. A challenge. A part of him hungered for the next encounter, longing to take it further. This time he’d have the upper hand and he intended to make full use of it, to pay back every ounce of humiliation on her flesh and leave her gasping for more.

He couldn’t wait.

Closing his eyes, Lynch forced his body to cool. The thoughts were madness—the hunger speaking, his own personal demons. He was the Nighthawk, damn it, and when he got his hands on her, he’d arrest her and hand her over to the Council.

Case solved.

When he opened his eyes, Garrett was watching him, entirely too perceptive. Chestnut colored hair swept over his brow, a drawcard for women’s eyes everywhere. Or perhaps that was the smile Garrett flashed at them. He had his uses, despite his weakness for anything in a petticoat. Put him in a room with a woman who refused to say a word, and before five minutes were out, he’d have her signed confession and every intimate detail of her life.

Garrett knew women inside and out. And he knew when a man had been bested by one.

“If you breathe a word of this…”

A slow, stealthy smile crept over Garrett’s mouth. “I wouldn’t dream of it, sir.”


The candle guttered in the chill breeze as Rosalind climbed down the ancient stairwell. Once, a long time ago, it had been designed as access from an abandoned surface station to the underground train platform below. Now it was boarded up and long forgotten, except for the timber slats she’d carefully broken and then forged into a slender gap—access to her world, the musty caverns and dark tunnels they called Undertown.

Water dripped in the distance. The only other sounds were the faint shuffle of her flat-soled boots and the echoing moan of a breeze stirring through the abandoned rail tunnels. Rosalind reached up and dragged the stifling mask over her head. Cool air met her heated skin and she sighed in relief.

The taste of Lynch lingered. Or perhaps that was the mocking burn of memory, taunting her with what she’d done.

Or rather, how she’d reacted.

You liked it.

A horrible, gut-clenching thought. She’d never cared for men, a deficit she’d thought of as a relief until Nathaniel had come into her life and awakened her to the joyous misery of lust. Her husband had been the brightest light in her life…and the greatest sorrow. If his death had taught her one thing, it was never to betray herself again. Never to let another man close.

And she’d succeeded. Until now.

Unclenching her hand around the satin mask, she shoved it into her pocket grimly. Tonight she’d played her game and she’d enjoyed it. It wouldn’t happen again.

Stepping out onto the platform, she had only a second’s warning before a breath of wind blew the candle out. The sudden darkness obliterated her vision but not her senses. She felt something move, and reacted, shoving her arm up in a block. Twisting her finger, she felt the hiss of vibration as the blade slid through her metal knuckle—

A hand hit her high in the chest and Rosalind gasped as her lungs emptied. Then she was smashed up against the brick wall, mortar crumbling around her.

“You’re dead,” a husky voice said in disgust.

Rosalind tilted her head back as her vision slowly adjusted to the darkness, and panted, trying to ease the vice around her lungs. She pressed her hand a fraction forward. The tip of the blade dug into the hard muscle of abdomen. “And you’re gutted.”

A grunt. Then Ingrid shoved away from her. “Wouldn’t kill me.”

Truth. Rosalind’s face twisted in disgust at herself. A distracted revolutionary was a dead one. She eased the blade back into the mech hand, rubbing her thumb over the polished steel. “You’re back early.”

“You’re late.” The dark shadow materializing in the depths of the tunnel was starting to take shape. Ingrid towered over her at nearly six foot, with broad shoulders and shapely hips. She had a warrior’s physique, courtesy of her Nordic ancestry, though she was smaller than many others of her kind. The loupe virus that made verwulfen what they were encouraged growth and muscular development. Or so the scientists said.

Though Ingrid’s words were harshly spoken, Rosalind heard the gruff, underlying fear. “I’m back,” she said, sliding a hand over Ingrid’s forearm. The other woman was almost a sister to her. An overbearing, overprotective sister at times, but Rosalind found she appreciated it. “I had a run-in at the enclaves. The new boiler pack is lost.”

“What happened?”

“I ran into the Nighthawk.”

Silence. Then Ingrid slowly released a breath. “I hope it was with a sharp knife.”

“Unfortunately not. Come. We need to meet with Jack, find out how his night went.”

Ingrid followed as Rosalind leaped down onto the train tracks. A rat chattered in the dark and Rosalind smiled as her friend cursed.

“Bloody rats,” Ingrid said in disgust. But she kept close to Rosalind’s side, just in case.

“They won’t bother you,” Rosalind replied, disappearing into the dark silence of the tunnel.

They walked for several hundred feet, unerringly following the abandoned steel tracks. Ingrid could see in the dark, but Rosalind was forced to rely on memory, silently counting the steps. Her groping fingers found an ironbound door in the side of the tunnel just as a gust of wind blew through the emptiness, stirring her hair. It sounded like a faraway scream, no doubt one of the trains that ran in nearby underground systems.

Some of the locals who ventured down here thought the sounds were the cries of ghosts; those long-dead miners and engineers trapped down here when the Eastern line collapsed. Or those who had died three summers ago, slaughtered by the vampire that had haunted the depths until it was killed.

Rosalind was scared of neither. A vampire was just a blue blood gone wrong and she knew how to kill those. As for ghosts…well, she had plenty of her own.

Shimmying into the access tunnel, her hands and feet found the metal ladder and she scurried down it. Ingrid followed, shutting the iron door behind her with a clang.

A sickly green light burned below. Rosalind slid the last few feet to the bottom of an old ventilation shaft. An enormous fan stirred lazy circles in the wall, casting flickering shadows through the phosphorescent light. A man leaned against the pitted brickwork, his arms crossed over his chest and a scowl on his face. He saw her and relaxed, pushing off the wall toward her.

“Jack,” she said, letting out her own breath of relief. Her brother looked tired, what little she could see of his face. A heavy monocular eyepiece was strapped over one eye to help him see in the dark and a leather half mask obscured his lower face. The eerie green tint of the phosphor light-amplifying lens unnerved her. With it, he could see almost as well as Ingrid.

Rosalind lifted a hand to touch him, then paused when he flinched. Jack didn’t like to be touched anymore, even through the heavy layers of his coat and gloves. Rosalind’s fingers curled into a hard fist. That was one of the things she missed so much about Jeremy—the way he’d wrap an arm around her shoulders and drag her close, taunting her about the fact that he’d outgrown her. The way she’d kick his feet out from under him and take him to the ground with a laugh. “You might be taller,” she’d say, “but I’ll always be your older sister.”

Jack’s hard gray gaze ran over Ingrid. “No trouble?”

“Not for me,” Ingrid replied.

Rosalind found herself the recipient of that stare. She shot her friend a hard look. “Nothing I couldn’t handle.”

“Well, I’m curious,” Ingrid said, stalking past. “Just how did you get away from the Nighthawk?”

Gritting her teeth together, Rosalind ducked past her brother’s startled gaze and hurried after Ingrid. “I seduced him.”

“Rosalind!” Jack snapped, trailing in her wake. Three long strides and he was close enough to fall in beside her, the phosphorescent flare stick in his hand highlighting the harsh planes of his face. “Tell me you two are jesting.”

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