Read Night Blade Online

Authors: J. C. Daniels

Tags: #Romance, #Fantasy, #Vampires, #Tagline… A knife in the dark

Night Blade (26 page)

BOOK: Night Blade
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“He spoke with an Assembly speaker. Delores Richards. Es. You know her. She knows all of it and more; she read him when he confronted her.”

“Why did he confront her?”

“Because my grandmother reached out to her and he was approaching anybody he thought might be a threat. He decided Es wasn’t. She read him and she’s willing to swear before the Assembly and a Banner court that he was acting in defense of me. He cannot lawfully be put down. Es has also made it clear that if Banner takes him out, she’ll seek legal action. He’s done nothing wrong.”

“What’s the proof?”

“Signed and sworn writ from Es herself. She has a copy and there’s one at the Assembly as well, in the hands of somebody she trusts. If he goes down, people are going to burn over it, Justin. He was set up for the whole damn thing and Banner was manipulated. I haven’t figured out
that
end of it, but this all …fuck it. I’ll get there. But for now…how in the hell can I get you this letter?”

“I’m at HQ. Bring it. Immediately.” His voice was edgy, tight. I knew him well enough to know it was kind of battle high he got when something big was going down. At least it wouldn’t be my….Damon. He wasn’t
my
anything more, I thought. Hours ago, he’d been my everything.

I’d been everything to him. And now I was nothing.

My heart simply shattered.

“Kit, you have to stay out of sight for a few days, okay? If this shit about your grandmother is legit, I need to check a few things, and TJ got in touch—she still hasn’t dealt with all of the wolves. You got a place to go underground? Stay with your cat or something?”

“He’s not mine anymore.” I turned away from the window, unable to look out there anymore. But a fading spark caught my eye. I looked over at the doorway, saw the dying ripple of the magics from where he’d busted the wards.

I’d have to get them repaired. I’d have to…what?

What did I have to do?

“Kit!”

I blinked and glanced at the phone. Justin. Yeah. Had to focus and finish this up. “What?”

“What are you talking about, Kit?”

“Nothing,” I said, swallowing the knot in my throat. I’d fall apart later. If I broke now, I’d never even make it out the door and Damon still wasn’t safe. “Let’s get this done and then I’ll get out of sight. I’m good at hiding, remember?”

 

* * * * *

 

I made the drive in a numbed haze. Halfway there, something hit me and I put in a call to Chang. His voice was cool when he answered, but I didn’t let it stop me.

“Do you remember what I asked you about working a job you hated? Then you said it has a way of working out?”

“I’m terribly busy, Kit.”

Ouch
. It was a distant thought, more of an afterthought than anything else. I didn’t need to ask what his problem was. I already knew. He and Damon had talked.

I was now
persona non-grata
.

“Yank the stick out of your ass, Chang, and shut the
fuck
up,” I warned him. I was mad enough to think about going back to the office and grabbing something with enough firepower behind it to make him do just that. But there was no time.

“Ms. Colbana, I’m afraid I don’t have time for this right now. If you’d like to schedule an appointment—”

“Shove the appointment up your ass,” I snarled. “I asked you a damned question—hey, you owe me a favor. Four months ago. One of your bastards trespassed on me and you owe me. Remember? I’m calling that favor in.”

Silence, ugly and raw, fell.

His voice, when it came, was cold. “Make it fast.”


You
said the things that matter that much usually had a way of working out. It didn’t. The job’s wrapping up, but I need you to make sure somebody stays at the Lair until after tomorrow.
Please
.” Razors blades gripped my throat and in desperation, I grabbed a knife from inside my vest. Adrenaline loosened many bonds. I plunged the blade deep into my thigh and twisted. Pain flared hot and brain, while blood flowed like a river.

And deep inside me, something wavered—weakened.

“A life is at stake,” I said, forcing the words out. “The Lair is safe from certain…entities. These entities, they can’t
go
there.” Those razor blades wrapped tight around my throat, but I gave the blade in my thigh another twist and managed to continue. “He’s
safe
there, Chang.
They
can’t go there.”

Through the roaring in my ears, I heard him hiss. “Banner…” The word stretched out of him and through the roar of pain and nausea in my head, I heard his shock. “Is this about Damon and Banner?”

“They can’t
go
there, right?” I demanded. He knew the ins and outs of clan law better than I did. He’d know.

“Kit, what is going on?”

“Just keep him there. Keep him safe. Give me time to finish this,” I said, gritting the words out. It was enough. He’d get the point. Chang wouldn’t take chances with Damon.

I yanked the blade from my thigh and threw it down, blade still bloody.

He went to say something else, but I disconnected and hurled the phone down. Nothing else mattered now. Damon would be safe. Chang would see to it. That one thing was all that mattered. Fishing a couple of loose cloths from the bag I kept in the back, I slapped them against my leg. Hot blood gushed out, but I didn’t care. It would slow in a minute and up ahead, I saw the bright, silver lights…Banner HQ.

And Justin was right out in front, pacing in front of his bike, a dark look on his face.

I wasn’t even out of the car before he had his hand out.

I slapped the envelope into his hand and scowled as I saw the blood on it. My blood. Justin paused, staring at the blood and then my hand. His eyes dropped to the dark stain spreading down my leg. “Kit, your leg.”

“Fuck the leg. The letter, damn it.”

He sighed and broke the seal Es had placed on it. Both of us felt the whisper of her magic, but I suspected he felt it even more. As he unfolded the letter, her power started to scream.

“Yeah. This will do it.” He looked back at me. “Now what’s wrong? Damn it, you look like you’ve been beaten, Kit. What’s wrong? You win.”

“He knows,” I said flatly. “Not why, but he knows I was following him and investigating. He…” I shoved harder against the wound in my thigh as I leaned back against my car. Pain screamed at me and I welcomed it. Anything to keep my mind from dwelling on the pain inside me. “It’s over, Justin. He needed something I couldn’t give at the time and I needed to make sure he was safe. The needs didn’t meet and it’s over.”

Justin opened his mouth to say something but I didn’t want to hear it. What did it matter anyway?

“I’ll get lost for a while,” I said, using the cloth to form a makeshift bandage. “I need to go pack up, but then I’m gone.” I headed toward the car door, but stopped and looked back. “You…you’ll call me when this is officially put to bed, right? I need to know. For me. I need to know he’s safe.”

His vivid green eyes rested on my face and he sighed. “You know I will. It shouldn’t be a day. Look, Kit you can’t just let it go so—”

I climbed back into my car and drove off. Whatever he was saying, it didn’t matter.

 

* * * * *

 

I dumped the bag into my truck and slammed it shut.

My house was locked up tight, light down and wards up. Although I couldn’t do anything about the wards at my office, I went by there last, studiously trying
not
to think as I locked the doors and secured the valuable stuff. As much as it had hurt to go back, the majority of my weapons were stored there and I needed some of them.

The wards at home would hold for a few weeks without me being there to charge them. My office? Hell. Who knew. That magic—it was dead now.

It was time to get the hell out of East Orlando for a while.

It was a good thing I’d just wrapped up those courier jobs. At least I had money. Money…and no place to go.

I wanted to go to Damon—

Fuck this. I’d call. I could call, right?

I jerked my phone out.

It was a punch when the call was passed to Sam. “No calls from Kit, he said. Sorry, honey. He doesn’t want you anymore.”

It was a punch…right to the heart. I staggered, and fell back against my car, staring vacantly at my office as those words spun around in my head. My heart ached. My head…it was like the words bounced around inside it but they didn’t connect. Everything inside me was free-spinning, free-falling.

And then
I
was falling and everything inside me burned.

The phone fell from my numb hand and I looked down, saw the dart protruding from my chest.

My ears popped and terror, adrenaline, nerves, all of it exploded inside me as I felt that familiar swaddling sensation settle over me. Cloaked. I was cloaked. Not by my own invisibility, but by a cloaker, one who could keep me from being scented, sensed, heard…all of it.

Clumsily, I reached up and tried to grab at the dart, but I couldn’t make my hand rise above my waist.

This was bad—

“Hi, Kit.”

My hand burned and I called my sword, but it was so heavy. So fucking heavy…

As Xavier stepped into view, I tried to lift the blade. Tried. Failed.

He laughed. “You won’t be able to use that. I was warned, you know. Jude told me you’d be a fighter. So I figured I’d just suck the fight right out of you so I didn’t have to deal with it.”

Darkness danced around me. So close. So close—

But I couldn’t go under.

Jude.

No…

Not…

 

 

Chapter Fifteen

 

 

Hello, darling Kit...

The voice in my head was one that made me shudder with fear. Even though I dreamed, I knew there was reason to fear that voice. He’d almost succeeded in killing me in a dream once. Or at least, he’d done a close enough job to make it look like somebody had
tried
.

Jude was deadly. In dreams. Awake.

I forced myself to lie there, waiting for him to make himself known.

But all I heard was his voice.

And a teasing sort of laugh.

I’ve been counting the days, you know
, he murmured in the back of my mind.
I never expected it would be this easy. It was amusing, you know…sending the Assembly, chasing around in circles, watching as they stared at him, wondering. Waiting. All it took was a few whispers in the right places, at the right time. I wanted to see him burn. I never thought he’d help me like this
.

I tried to summon up the strength to push him out. I could do it. I’d done it before. But the cloying feel of magic clung to me, and I was so damn weak. And Jude was well and firmly trapped inside my mind.

A hand touched my brow. Even in my dreams, I felt it. Heard him laugh again. You made him so angry. And he just…walked away. I was trying to get him out of the way, but he just walked and left you.

Denial raged inside of me.

Denial and grief…because Damon
had
just walked away.

Fear. Because only an idiot wouldn’t be afraid of Jude.

Anger.

But anger was the best thing.

It gave me the strength I needed to fight my way past the spell. I fed that tiny kernel of rage until it grew and grew, spreading through me. Jude’s voice continued to whisper in the back of my head, but I focused on the warmth of my rage, not the ice of his presence.

Finally, I had enough heat to struggle past the spell. It shriveled and faded and once I knew it was gone, I found the strength to shove him out of my head. As silence settled within me, I wrapped it around myself.

Damon
… An ache spread through me.

I heard the echo of a promise he’d made me.

Nobody hurts you, Kit

 

* * * * *

 

Kit…wake up. You need to wake

I came awake to icy cold.

Water drenching me.

I rolled away from it and bounced to my feet. My body hurt, but that was nothing new. I knew how to fight when I was in pain and I could do it just fine. My hand heated—itched.

The water spray came at me again and I stumbled away. Hose. They had a water hose.

It took a few seconds to focus and fade away—the one true magic I possessed, that ability to go invisible. But finally I was able to calm my frazzled nerves and do it, blinking the water out of my eyes and smiling in satisfaction as one of them grunted and swore. “Fuck, where’d she—”

It was the last thing he said.

Idiots.

I lowered the bow I’d summoned to my hand and watched as a small bit of blood appeared under the arrow. Better to go with the bow. A friend of mine had once warned me.
Know your weapons

“Damn, sugar. You made it too easy…”

I felt something in my mind—a ripping, tearing sensation and I swayed, stumbling back as a pain like nothing I’d ever felt tore through me. It was like somebody had found some deep connection to my soul and just ripped it right out.

Gasping for breath, I hit the floor and felt stone tear into my knees. The pain grounded me and I slammed a hand against the ground for one precious moment, steadying myself.

That voice. I knew that voice.

Xavier—

Yes. I knew this. Memory came flooding back.

He was staring at me. Smiling.

Could see me.

I’d let the invisibility drop…? How had I done that…?

I bumped the heel of my hand against my head and wondered. It didn’t matter though. I was going to kill that grinning bastard across from me. From the corner of my eye, I saw somebody lifting the hose and he glanced over. “Don’t bother. We wanted her awake before he got down here. She’s awake. I need to make sure it worked.”

“Wha…” My mouth didn’t want to work. Clearing my throat, I focused on his hated face. “Make sure what worked, you scum-sucking dickhead?”

He winked at me. “Don’t you remember what I said? I don’t have to
break
you to fuck you up.”

Summoning the strength I needed to get to my feet was harder than I expected. Staying upright was even harder, but I managed. I braced one end of my bow on the ground, keeping it casual, like it was a walking stick…
not
like I needed to stay on my feet.

BOOK: Night Blade
5.9Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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