Eternal kiss, p.25
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       Eternal Kiss, p.25
 

         Part #2 of Mark of the Vampire series by Laura Wright
Chapter 25

 

  It was close to five o'clock when Nicholas descended into the tunnels and headed for the weapons hold. He'd left Kate and Ladd in the hal on their way to the kitchen for the boy's evening meal, but not without requesting that the two stay in their rooms after dark. It was a nearly impossible thing to suggest, especial y without giving a reason, but that couldn't be helped. He didn't want them tooling around the house when his brothers returned from their recon tonight and starting asking questions-like why the "bait" wasn't out with her date.

  Shit, the lies were real y starting to pile up, he thought, rounding the corner, spotting Alexander, Lucian, and Dillon.

  What the hel was the bodyguard stil doing here?

  "Perfect timing, Nicky," Alexander said on a growl, grabbing two Glocks from the holder on the wal and settling them into the holster at his sides with a bit too much force.

  "Dillon was just tel ing us she might know where Gray is. "

  Nicholas walked up to the smal group, his guts constricting like a tire iron was around them. If the bodyguard knew that Gray was with Dare, Nicholas was good and fucked.

  "Not where he is," Dillon corrected, leaning against the weapons cage, "but who he's with. "

  "Wel ?" Nicholas said, his tone heavy with irritation.

  "Yeah, out with it, D," Lucian said, grabbing a box of bul ets off the shelf. "One person in this tunnel's interested. "

  Alexander glared at his brother.

  Lucian shrugged. "Hell, just speaking the truth. "

  "The bouncer at Equinox," Dillon began, "that's the club Gray's been hanging out in, saw him with an Impure female.

  Some chick named Marina. "

  "They leave together?" Alexander asked.

  "The Pureblood thinks so. I tried to find out something from the Eyes, but nobody's talking. " Dillon fingered a shiny black bowie knife. "I'm going back to the club tonight, to ask around about her and Gray. "

  Lucian snorted. "Al we need's an address; then Alexander can go pick him up and bring him home for his nap and diaper change. "

  Alexander turned on the near-albino and backed him up against the dank wall. "Seriously, I'm going to knock you the hel out. "

  Lucian grinned. "Hel no you're not-it's nearing dusk.

  Time to go hunting. " He flashed his fangs. "Hudson River, baby. I can't wait to see which McMansion Dare's hiding out in. "

  Pul ing away from his younger brother, Alexander turned to Nicholas. "That's where I tailed his recruits to last night.

  And where I lost them. "

  Nicholas didn't have time to feel relieved. He had a job to do, real delicate work. "Hand me two Bersa Thunders and a Diamondblade," he said to Lucian, his gaze steering clear of Alexander's. "While D's at Equinox and you two are checking things out near the river, I'll be doing the club bait checking things out near the river, I'll be doing the club bait thing. Second time's the charm, right?"

  "Actual y, that's three," Lucian said, grabbing the guns and the knife Nicholas asked for, while Alexander kept the conversation rol ing with Nicholas. "We're stronger as a crew, Nicky. "

  "I agree," Nicholas said, his gaze on his weaponry. "And if you get Dare cornered, IM me. I'll be there in a flash. Literally. "

  "Is that real y what you want?" Alexander asked him, forcing Nicholas's eyes up, on him.

  "What does that mean?"

  "Just asking you to think about the plan, your plan. Is it the right one? Is it good strategy?"

  "Jesus, Alex," Lucian said, "what's with the third fucking degree? You sound like your true mate. "

  "Go back to handling those tiny bul ets of yours, Luca,"

  Alexander returned sharply, his gaze never leaving Nicholas's. "You sure you know what you're doing?"

  It was impossible for Alexander to have known what was going down in a few hours in Times Square, but there was no denying he suspected something.

  "No worries, Duro," Nicholas said easily. "I have a feeling that tonight is the night I'll be bringing Ethan Dare's body back to the Order. Whatever's left of it. "

  Ethan walked through the sand toward the water, toward the two pavens staring out at the waves. How sweet, he mused. The Supreme One had a friend over to his reality-a dark lord playdate. Both dressed in white linen with straw hats that made them look, from the back at any rate, like retirees from Boca. The pair seemed deep in conversation.

  Seated at a round table near a wedge of sea grass, Ethan's baby mama Pearl was absorbed in a platter of fried food and a tabloid, completely careless about the goings-on in front of her. Ethan rolled his eyes at the tragic sight. Granted he cared about the girl, but he needed a partner, and that was no Head Female of the Impure revolution sitting there with a chicken wing between her teeth. She was only a human, a vampire wannabe-an Imiti-and after she gave birth Ethan was going to have to return her sweet ass to the world she'd come from.

  He neared the Supreme One and his guest. The news that he was on his way to get the balas would be sure to please, and perhaps win him a much-needed feed.

  Granted, Ethan would have to fabricate how he'd managed to get Nicholas Roman to agree to the drop, but he was a very skil ed liar.

  Nicholas Roman's face flashed before him. The face of an utterly destroyed paven. It was a welcome sight to an Impure, and yet there was a smal part of Ethan that felt for the Son of the Breeding Male-a deeply concealed part of him that understood the ugly and destructive trappings of a past, of a balashood you couldn't control or change.

  Unfortunately for Nicholas Roman, Ethan never al owed even the smal est hint of empathy to guide his actions.

  The paven beside the Supreme One glanced back at Ethan as he approached. At first, Ethan thought the male was a member of the Order, but this paven was like no vampire male he'd ever seen. The male was terrifying to look at, eyes like twin diamonds, with no soul or life behind them, and where his hands were supposed to be, the claws of a beast resided.

  "We wil discuss this at another time, Erion," the Supreme One said softly against the sound of the waves.

  The beast bowed and uttered a gruff, "Yes, Cruen," before flashing in a smal tornado of seawater.

  Ethan froze, his boots anchored in the pale sand. The Supreme One never al owed that name to be uttered in his reality. There wasn't a moment when Ethan even thought about who the paven who'd become his partner, his meal ticket, truly was-it was far safer that way. To Ethan, he was the master, the lord, the Supreme One.

  But to the rest of the vampire world, he was Cruen, one of the ancient ten.

  One of the Eternal Order.

  Ethan proceeded forward with far more caution than when he'd entered the reality moments ago.
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