Hit list, p.41
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       Hit List, p.41

         Part #20 of Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton
Chapter Forty-One

  EDWARD AND THE other marshals had come to the rescue in time to free Ethan to help me and give me Domino at my back. What would have happened if they hadn't showed up in time? It doesn't matter, they were there, and it worked. Sometimes that's all you've got; enjoy the win, don't worry about what-ifs.

  The Harlequin had left Olaf and Nicky for dead, but they'd heard Edward and the others coming, so they hadn't had time to make sure of the deaths. Nicky healed and is back at my side. Olaf healed, too, but he, like Karlton who helped Edward ride to our rescue, didn't pass his blood test. I wish they had killed him, because come next full moon Olaf is going to be a werelion. He vanished from the hospital. No one seems to know where he is, or what he's doing. He's too dangerous to be out there for his first full moon alone. Edward's looking for him, and so are a lot of people who have ties to certain government agencies. I think we all agree, military, government, marshal, that Olaf was dangerous enough before; he didn't need to add superhuman speed and strength and a lust for real flesh and blood to his pathology.

  Olaf left a note for me again. This one was much shorter than the last one:

  "Anita, I will not be your pet cat, so I will stay away from you until I find my way as a lion. I won't let you do to me what you did to Nick. I still want you, but on my terms. " He didn't sign it, but then he didn't need to.

  The nurse he flirted with was in surgery when he left, but the doctor with the short brown hair, Dr. Patience, who had liked him and Bernardo so much, she's gone missing. Edward and I both think that Olaf took her, but we can't prove it. He still hasn't done anything illegal in this country. Technically, he's still a marshal in good standing, and thanks to another marshal who just won a court case worth millions because he caught lycanthropy on the job and was fired because of it, well, Karlton is still a marshal, too. Micah set her up with the local werewolf pack in her home city. He's also recommended a family counselor who specializes in helping everyone related to the victim make the transition.

  Ethan came home with us, one more tiger to add to the rest. I asked my other sweeties about sending Cynric home now that we had another blue tiger, but Jean-Claude doesn't understand why Cynric's age bothers me. He feels we made a commitment to him and to the vampires and white tigers of Vegas. Nathaniel thinks Cynric is tied to me too metaphysically to take the separation well. "He's in love with you, Anita. Don't send him away. " Micah shares some of my discomfort with Cynric's age, but what if Jean-Claude and Nathaniel are right? So, for now, our teenager stays.

  The Mother of All Darkness is dead, well and truly dead, and I'd never felt power like the rush of drinking her dry. The Harlequin have all either joined us, or gone back to trying to have lives of their own. We're safe. Which means that two days a week I get to stay at my house and have windows and air and light, and Micah and Nathaniel come with me, and sometimes Jason comes, and sometimes other tigers, but my vampire lovers can't risk the sunlight. But five days and nights a week I'm with Jean-Claude. We're still working out how to live together with everyone. It's better having a couple of the tigers be female and helping with the men, and some of the newest men being more hetero-flexible, so that I'm not every damn person's only squeeze. I've learned you can fuck this many people, but you can't take care of this many people's emotional needs. You can fuck 'em, but you can't date 'em. Some of the men are happy with being fuck buddies, but most of them want more. People say that women are the romantic sex, but you couldn't prove it by my life. My boyfriends are all more romantic than I am, and so are my lovers.

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