Halfway to the Grave

Page 57

He tapped his chin thoughtfully, considering that. Then his cell phone rang.

"Hallo... Yes, Charles, I can hear you... Where?...

When?...Who?...All right, I'll see you shortly."

He hung up, staring at me.

"What?" I asked, impatient.

"Seems there's been a development. He's with one of Hennessey's people now who wants to talk to me about switching sides."

"I'm going with you," I said instantly.

Bones made a regretful noise. "I knew you'd say that."

Spade opened the door to the hotel room, giving me a flick of his gaze.

"I'm surprised you brought her with you, Crispin."

I didn't say 'Fuck off,' but it was close.

"Better to have her come and know what transpired than for her to stay back and wonder about it," Bones replied. "Let us enter, Charles, so we can get started."

This two-name thing is annoying, I was thinking as Spade stepped aside. Can't vampires just pick one?

A woman was in the center of the room. I might have noticed how plush the interior was, and that it was as big as my grandparents' whole upstairs, or any other number of inconsequential details, except for one thing.

She was without a doubt the most gorgeous female I'd ever seen. In person or on television. She looked Latino, with curly black hair down to her hips, positively perfect features set on a body that didn't seem real, and crimson-colored lips. I just stared at her for a minute. Only in cartoons did women have such minuscule waists, big br**sts, round bubble butts, and legs like that. It wasn't hard to notice her figure, either. Her dress could barely be called one, and it was so tight, it was a good thing she didn't need to breathe.

"Francesca," Bones said, going to her and giving her a kiss on the cheek. "I'm glad you've come."

And that was all I needed to see to decide right then and there that I hated her guts.


She drew his name out like it was candy, and when she kissed his cheek, leaving a bright red lipstick imprint, her eyes met mine in open challenge.

Spade's hand on my shoulder shook me from my state of murderous contemplation. I'd just been fantasizing about whipping two of the knives out of my jacket and flinging them into her double-Ds.

"Francesca, this is Cat," Bones said next, gesturing to me. "She's with me, so you need not hesitate about speaking freely with her present."

I advanced with something stretching my face that may or may not have been a smile. "Hi. We're sleeping together."

I heard it come out of my mouth in a detached sort of way, only mildly noticing Spade mutter something about this not being a wise idea and that both of Bones's eyebrows shot into his hairline.

Francesca shared neither of their reactions. Full, pouty lips curled.

"But of course, ni?a. Who could resist him?"

Spoken while her fingers trailed down the side of his shirt, and I almost lost it right there.

"Kitten." Bones caught my hand that shot out and tucked it casually in his arm, as if I hadn't been about to knock her on her well-shaped ass. "Let's sit, shall we?"

I didn't know what was wrong with me. Some small, rational part was screaming that this was a person who could help bring down Hennessey and to get a grip on myself. The rest of me was in full, blind hostility mode and not comprehending what rational behavior meant.

Bones led me toward a nearby couch, not letting go of my hand. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Francesca taking in the view of him leaving, licking those plump red lips.

My free hand swung in an arc to land on the ass she was admiring. With a glare, I gave it a big squeeze, using the last of my control not to shriek, You like that? Look who's got it!

Bones stopped, glancing down meaningfully. I snatched my hand back almost in confusion, giving myself a mental shake to try and snap out of the insanity.

"Sorry," I muttered.

"Quite all right," he said with a smile that somehow made me feel less of a schmuck than I'd acted like. "Just a bit more difficult to walk."

I laughed at the picture of him trying to go any distance with my throwing hand clutched to his chest and my other one pried to his ass. Yeah, that would be dicey.

"You can let go now," I whispered, feeling more in control and determined to be adult about things. Okay, so chances were, at one time he and our little would-be turncoat had had a fling. Could have been a century ago. Before my grandparents were even born. I could handle it. If I were a man, I'd want to have sex with her, too. See? Very adult.

Bones sat next to me on the couch, Spade took the empty space by him (raising my opinion of him), and that left Francesca to slink into the chair opposite us. My feeling of superiority was short-lived, however, when she settled herself down and then crossed her legs.

I didn't need a mirror to know my whole face had just turned red. With a hemline up to her thighs, that gesture didn't leave anything to the imagination. Bones curled his fingers around mine and squeezed. His hand was still warmed from our contact moments ago. That's how fast he had to grab me again to keep me sitting where I was instead of yanking off my jacket to make her a pair of panties.

"We all know why we're here," he said in an unruffled voice, as if Francesca hadn't just flashed him a shaved beaver pelt. "It's no secret that I'm after Hennessey and you're one of his, Francesca. I know you and he aren't close, but it is still the highest offense to betray your sire. Make no mistake, I'm out to kill him, and any information you give me will be used for that purpose."

You go, boy! I silently applauded him. Cut right to the point and show her a little snatch doesn't distract you! You are SO getting lucky tonight.

Francesca's mouth curled. "Why else would I be here, if I didn't want you to kill him? If you were to do less, I wouldn't risk it. You know I've hated him for the past ninety-three years. Ever since he took me from my convent and turned me."

"You were a nun?" I asked in disbelief, actually peeping back up her dress to make sure I hadn't misunderstood. "You're kidding."

"Bones, what is her purpose here? Why must she stay?" Francesca demanded, ignoring me.

His eyes glinted emerald at her. "She's here because I want her to be, and it's not up for discussion."

That statement just upgraded him from sex to sex with a blow job first. Not that I minded the extra activity, to be honest. I'd found out I enjoyed it. Guess that made for two tramps in this room.

"I want Hennessey dead," Francesca summarized after losing a staring contest with Bones. "He has been my Master for too long."

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