Full Blooded

Page 47

My father growled in response. “My daughter is coming with me immediately or I will kill you where you stand, Eudoxia. Make no mistake.”

“But of course she is,” Eudoxia purred again. For the first time, a bit of her Russian accent strayed into her voice. “That was quite understood, was it not? Otherwise, Callum Sèitheach McClain, leader of Wolves, you would have not made it so far into my sanctuary. You must not mistake my leniency at your intrusion for passivity.” Her voice became steely, her eyes flashed dangerously as power cloyed the room, filling it with a sticky repulsive sweetness. “You see, very few individuals pass through these doors uninvited and remain … alive.”

Before my father could answer, she turned on a dime, marching toward me with an air of nonchalance. She reached for my cheek, almost touching me, but pulled short when fifteen wolves ramped up their snarl. It took everything I had not to flinch back.

“Your little wolf daughter”—she angled her head at my father—“and I were just having a chat about a few precious things before she bids us a fond farewell. And you know what? I’ve just discovered that it’s of the gravest interest for her to find out where that bad, bad kitty has gone. Is he here with you by chance?” She mocked standing on her tiptoes and looking over the shoulders of the wolves to the back of the room. “Hmm. I don’t seem to see him,” she said, turning with pouted lips to me. “Poor, poor little wolf girl. What are you to do?”

“The cat is of no use to us,” my father said slowly, reading her mood carefully.

Pressure pushed into my mind, but nothing came through. My father was trying to communicate, but the room must be spelled in some way. The Queen wouldn’t want any communication she couldn’t hear among her disciples, and odds were several of the vamps had mind-reading talents. They weren’t uncommon among supes. I tried to concentrate on opening up, but it didn’t work; all I came up with was dead space.

My father continued out loud, “The cat was taken by the witch soon after my daughter was kidnapped by your drone. Once they left, the remaining wolves scattered like thieves.”

“Kidnapped is such a strong word, don’t you agree?” the Queen replied airily. She positioned herself at the end of the altar, running her hands along it in what could only be considered a loving caress. “I prefer to think of it as merely borrowing her for short while. No harm has come to her, as you can plainly see. I blame my curiosity for coveting new things, of course, and a female wolf is such a unique thing, don’t you agree … Callum?” She met my father’s full gaze for the first time. The direct collision of contact between the two put a cringe-worthy burst of energy in the room. Nobody could stare at my father for long, and clearly the Queen had a crazy powerful stare of her own.

The Queen broke contact first. I smiled inwardly.

Not so tough now.

My father continued to stare without answering. She acted unfazed by her misstep, and said instead, “She’s a diamond among plain stones, one should think.” She waved her hand behind her, dismissing her next thought as she twirled around, floating her way up the dais. “Valdov overreacted, you see. He took my need to gather curiosities quite literally, but I promise you he will be soundly punished for it. In fact, his torture commences as we speak.”

“You don’t fool me, Eudoxia,” my father said, taking a few steps forward to even the gap. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d actually leapt up on the dais to level the playing field. Seeing Eudoxia shrink back would’ve been delicious. As an Alpha wolf, instinct dictates you put all your enemies beneath you. Eudoxia being above him had to be infuriating. And she knew it. Instead of leaping, he growled. “I don’t know what game you’re playing yet, but I promise you it’s not a game you will win. The mere act of your henchman taking my daughter, whether it was sanctioned by you or not, gives me the right to declare war on all vampires. If I were you, I would consider yourself lucky I’m feeling very magnanimous today. I will not declare war. This time.” He turned toward me, holding out his hand to me. “Jessica, it’s time to go.”

I moved forward, not anxious to add anything to this heady mix of power. My chest still stung and I knew drawing myself into it now would be a mistake, especially since it seemed we were leaving with the upper hand.

“It’s such a shame your daughter will never lay eyes on her mate again.” The Queen’s voice rang out in a bored tone just as I stepped in front of my father. “Don’t you agree? And what was his name again?” She paused, tapping a long silver-coated nail against her lips. “Oh, that’s right … silly me … Rourke, isn’t it?”

My stomach dropped as the wolves behind me lost it.

The Queen smiled, her morbid red lips animated. “Yes, you heard me correctly, little wolf girl,” she said. “Your true mate won’t make it out of Selene’s lair alive. He doesn’t stand a chance against her. This time she will be well prepared.” This time? The Queen giggled then. “Most likely Selene is enjoying a nice game of cat and mouse with him right now. Either that or she has him tied to her infamous whipping post already. Whatever it is, she will not let him go again. Ever.”

My lungs stopped working as the vision of Selene with her hands on Rourke’s body made my nails elongate and a snarl issue from my chest without my consent. At least from what the Queen was telling me, the spell I’d inadvertently let him take hadn’t killed him. If it had, Selene would have nothing to torture. Thank gods he’s alive. My father grabbed on to my arms, effectively pulling my attention from the Queen back to him. “What is this?” he asked quietly, his tone fierce. “Is what she says correct?” Anger flashed in his eyes.

There was no way the Queen could know for sure that Rourke was my mate. She’d been grasping at straws, obviously going on a hunch of Valdov’s—but whatever she thought she knew, she’d gotten damn lucky. She’d laid down her ace and now it was my turn to play.

Did I really know for sure? We’d only known each other for such a short period of time. Before I could get my thoughts straight, my wolf slammed her paw down in my mind, snapping fiercely at me. I know exactly how you feel, how you’ve felt from the beginning, but are we willing to throw down now and risk everything for him? The Queen clearly wants something from us in return, and it won’t come cheaply. If we do this, we go against our Alpha. She gnashed her teeth at me, no indecision whatsoever.

“Jessica, answer me,” my father demanded. The room had gone completely silent.

“Yes, what she says is true.” I closed my irises and clenched my fists. “And it seems … my wolf and I are prepared to fight to get him back.”

My father focused on me hard, his irises jumping to a deadly amethyst. As we stood together, his hands still gripping my arms, the wolves deathly still, the vamps behind us started to twitter and snicker.

It was a distinct possibility it was happening because we were touching, but my father’s blood connection to me suddenly amplified, racing though my bloodstream, triggering jumps and starts like little waves cresting and tiding.

There was no mistaking the Queen’s intent to use this information to its fullest. Both my father and I knew it without having to communicate. There would be a steep price to pay before we were allowed to exit these walls if she had anything to say about it.

“When?” my father finally asked, his jaw set tightly.

“It seems my wolf recognized him immediately, but I ignored the cues she was giving me. I didn’t realize it until”—he kissed me senseless— “I made my full change. The vamps arrived immediately after. There was no time to process anything.” Then I said simply, “I will do anything to find him.”

The Queen cleared her throat as she descended the steps slowly, reveling in the show. “Dear, dear,” she murmured. “This is such a quandary. How will you ever find him on your own?” she mocked. “Do you know where Selene keeps her lair? Or I should say lairs, really. She has a number of preferred haunts, because she is a very powerful Goddess, you know.” She placed a bony white hand over her unbeating heart. “But how silly of me. Of course you know she’s powerful. She has already defeated you once.” But I’d made her bleed. I smiled, remembering. “I’m left wondering how you will ever conquer her and win back your mate all on your own. That seems an immeasurable mountain to climb for what meager strengths you’ve shown thus far.”


“She won’t be alone.” My brother stepped forward, his voice hard and angry. “Her Pack will assist her, as our law dictates.” I watched Tyler struggle with the next bit, obviously trying to reconcile a number of things for himself. “We are duty-bound to accept all mates … even if they … even if they’re … of a different … Sect.” He rolled his shoulders back instead of shuddering, and I loved him more in that instant than I ever had. “She will not be alone in her search. Her Pack will assist her.”

The Queen glared at the interruption, looking vaguely put upon. “It does not matter in the least if every one of your wolves joins in the hunt, boy.” She waved her arm as a dismissal. “You will never find them in time—and even if you manage to bumble your way in, Selene’s protection is as vast as a deadly ocean. She will kill you on sight if her multitude of traps don’t kill you first.” She laughed, bright and hard, tracing her mercury stare to me. “Your only choice, little wolf girl, will be to swear an oath to me for one small favor of my choosing, and I will grant you two of my best and brightest trackers to aid you in your quest. Without them, you will fail. There is no other way.”


“Impossible,” my father’s voice boomed over the din around us. That one word held incredible power. Everyone quieted whether they wanted to or not. He dropped my arms and marched directly to the Queen. “Werewolves do not swear anything to vampires. Or anyone else for that matter. We have always fought our own battles and we always will.”

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