Lucas…I’d forgotten all about Lucas. Only Mal and Azazel had mattered. Shit. I glanced back at the rift, inky-black and forbidding. The thought of going back in made my stomach hurt.
“I have to go back in,” Cora said to Jasper.
His smile was cold. “That wasn’t the deal.”
“Damn you.” Cora stood in front of him, her hands balled into fists. “You take me back in there, or so help me, I’ll find a way to unbind you and send you floating off into nowhere.”
He looked down at her as if she was an inconvenience and then shrugged. “Do your worst.”
I took a shuddering breath. It was done. Over. “Help me get Mal in the car. Get the guys back to the house and ask Petra to take care of them.”
“Fee, we have to do something,” Cora said.
“There’s no time.”
The air crackled, and the hairs on the back of my neck prickled to illustrate my point.
“They’re here,” Grayson said softly.
I pushed Mal’s unconscious body toward Grayson just as the OPS materialized around us. Ursula and her companion stood, arms crossed, looking down at me. Ursula’s attention flicked to the rift that led to the Eye, then down to Mal. I could see the cogs in her brain working. Yeah, she was a smart cookie, that one. Cookies…what I’d give for a choc chip cookie right now. And a glass of milk.
Ursula sighed. “Damn it, Seraphina.” She nodded at her companion.
“Seraphina Dawn, you have broken bail and are remanded into custody,” he said.
“I know.” I made to stand, shifting Mal’s weight fully over to Grayson. Mal’s arm flopped onto the ground, and his hand, which had been fisted, unfurled. A silver wisp drifted up into the air. It grew and took form. Wait… Could it be?
He was here, unfurled from a wisp held in Mal’s hand.
He looked down at me with a mournful expression. “Fee?”
All the pent-up guilt, the sorrow, the horror came rushing to the surface in a wave that crushed my lungs. “Lucas…Oh, God. Lucas, I’m so sorry.”
“It hurt, Fee. It hurt so bad,” Lucas said softly. His voice was far away, but it was all around me.
Tears pricked my eyes and clogged my throat. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m sorry I killed you.”
He canted his head, confusion skating across his lean features. “You didn’t kill me, Fee. They did. The men in the cloaks. The men hiding in hoods. You tried to protect me. You ate one of them.” He frowned. “You ate him, but they hurt you.” He looked away as if recalling, as if seeing it play out. “You ate him, and then they tore me to shreds. It hurt so bad. Fee. It hurt so bad.” He looked up at the sky. “I just want to forget now. I just want to sleep.” Tears tracked down his face. “I tried to find you. I tried, but bad souls found me and took me, and they made me remember, again and again.” He clutched his head, and I could feel his agitation rising. “Please. Please make me forget.”
My palm tingled, and the scythe appeared in my hand. I looked to Ursula.
She nodded. “We have what we need. We’ll bear witness to the judge.”
I rose and stepped up to Lucas. My throat was tight with regret that his life had been cut short. “You’ll rest now, Lucas. You’ll be safe now.”
His eyes were on the glowing scythe, and then his expression smoothed out, and a smile curled his lips. “Yes…yes. I want to sleep.”
I touched him with the blade, and with a sigh, he faded to nothing.
The scythe pulsed, and then the glow ebbed and vanished. I had Lucas now, and I’d deliver him to the Beyond.
“Are you still going to arrest her?” Cora asked Ursula.
Ursula shook her head. “No. Grayson, get her back to your territory. I’ll speak to the judge and have your charges dropped. It looks like we have some new players in town that we need to start looking into.” She vanished, taking her companion with her.
New players…They were talking about the hooded figures.
Cora slipped her hand into mine. “Let’s go, babe.”
We climbed into the car. Cora squished in the back with an unconscious Azazel and Mal, and I took the front seat.
I twisted to look at Cora. “Where’s Jasper?”
“He left as soon as the OPS arrived,” Cora said. “But no doubt, he’ll be back.”
“Don’t be. I got this. I can handle him. You need to focus on your guys.”
Grayson’s jaw flexed. “Well then, let’s get your guys back to the house.”
Why the emphasis on your?
He started the engine, and we shot off into the night.
We’d laid Mal and Azazel on the king-size bed in the same room as Conah, but both were still out cold. Mal was so pale he looked dead. Azazel was an ashen color that, paired with his silver hair, made him look like he was made of clay. Their pulses were slow and sluggish, and there was way too long between each breath they took.
I gnawed on my bottom lip as Petra examined them, running her hands a few inches above their torsos, back and forth as she tested their auras.
“There is severe spiritual damage,” she said. “And it isn’t healing. They have no residual energy to utilize to repair the damage.”
“They need blood,” Conah said from his spot on the couch. He looked more alert now and was able to sit up. “Reaper blood and they need it as soon as possible. Call Dayna at Deadside. Maybe she can arrange for reapers to be sent here.”
“More demons?” Grayson asked from the doorway.
Shit. “I’m sorry.”
“So am I,” he said. “But I’ve stretched the Loup hospitality as much as I can. My pack is uncomfortable with the demon presence in the house as it is. I can’t allow more to enter. If you need to feed them, you’ll have to take them somewhere else.”
Was he fucking serious? “I can’t move them, not like this.”
“She’s right,” Petra said. “I’m concerned that if we move them now, the damage will accelerate, and they may not wake up at all.”
I couldn’t lose them. I just couldn’t. “Grayson, please.”
His jaw ticked, and for a moment, I thought he’d concede, but then he shook his head. “Sorry, not my problem.”
Anger reared up inside me, and clarity bloomed. “You’re jealous.”
He blinked sharply. “Excuse me?”
“You’re jealous of my connection to the Dominus.” I narrowed my eyes. “Well, fuck you, Grayson. This is my family. These are my guys, and I don’t need to call in other reapers because I’m a fucking reaper, and I’m perfectly capable of feeding them myself.”
Grayson sucked in a breath as I tugged off my T-shirt to reveal the navy strappy vest underneath. I kicked off my boots and climbed up onto the bed between Mal and Azazel.
Grayson took a step forward, his expression murderous, his chest heaving. He wanted to tear me from between the guys. He wanted to carry me away. It was written all over his brutal face.
I lifted my chin and returned his glare. “You can leave now.”
Petra walked across the room and placed a hand on Grayson’s shoulder. “Come, pup. This is Dominus business.”
He ground his teeth, his gaze locked on me for a long beat, and then he turned away and strode out of the room.
Petra paused in the doorway. “You shouldn’t goad him so, Fee. You’ll only end up hurting yourself if you push him away.”
The door closed softly behind her.
“What happened between you and the alpha?” Conah asked softly.
I couldn’t look at him; my heart was beating way too fast, and I was afraid my conflict would be written all over my face. “Not enough…too much. I don’t want to talk about it.”
“He wants you.”
“You want him.”
I opened my mouth to deny it, to say it was the Loup inside me that wanted him, but snapped it closed because that was no longer true. The Loup inside me was… gone…I mean, she was no longer a separate entity, she was…me. I was she. We were one. How had I not noticed that before? When had it happened? After the run…She’d been silent since the run.
“Fee, are you all right?”
I blinked to clear my thoughts. “Yes. I’m fine. I…how do I do this?”
He licked his lips, and his gaze dropped to my neck. He looked away, his throat bobbing, and it hit me. “Do you need blood too?”
He shook his head sharply. “No, I’ll be fine. Do Mal first. He was under longest. Azazel is stronger, older. You need to press your wrist to his mouth, part his lips, and allow him to do the rest.”
Sounded easy enough. I was already lying between the guys, and I angled my body toward Mal and carefully pressed my wrist to his mouth. Nothing happened, so I gently parted his lips with my free hand and made sure my pulse was pressed to his lips.
Okay, come on, Mal. Nothing happened.
“Give him a moment,” Conah said.
Something pricked my wrist. I peeled back Mal’s top lip to see the elongated fangs he used for feeding. Pulse thudding in my throat, I pressed my wrist to the fangs and winced as they pierced me. Blood rose up at the puncture wounds, and then Mal’s lips closed over my skin, his fangs sank in, and I bit back a yelp of pain as a sharp ache throbbed up my arm. But then he began to suck, and heat replaced the pain.
“Lie down,” Con warned. “The aphrodisiac our fangs secrete can take some getting used to.”
My head swam, and a tingle spread through my body. I relaxed, laying my head on Mal’s shoulder as he fed. Heat spiraled down my body, tightening my nipples and my core. Every draw on my wrist was like an intimate caress. My breath came faster, and a low moan slipped from my lips.
“Enough,” Conah snapped. “Pull away.”
I didn’t want to. It felt too good.