Home > Shades of Wicked (Night Rebel #1)(10)

Shades of Wicked (Night Rebel #1)(10)
Author: Jeaniene Frost

“Why are you refusing to tell Mencheres about Dagon?”

His lips tightened before he covered that with a careless smile. “Because he’d ruin our fun.”

“His power would be very useful,” I pointed out.

“Think he’d agree to use me as bait to draw a demon out?” Ian rolled his eyes. “Naïve doesn’t suit you.”

“It doesn’t,” I agreed, my tone hardening. “So stop pretending Mencheres wouldn’t agree to anything if he knew your soul was on the line. I didn’t know that two hours ago, but now, it’s obvious. So why are you refusing to tell him about Dagon even though his involvement would increase your chances of survival?”

“I don’t owe you a reason,” Ian said, spinning around.

I caught him before he made it down the aisle. “Yes, you do. Mencheres all but said he’d murder me if you died, so if I survive and you don’t, I’ll have to battle one of my oldest allies to the death. I refuse to do that without at least knowing why.”

Ian’s jaw clenched and emerald blazed from his eyes. At the same time, I felt his muscles coiling beneath my hands, as if he were trying to hold back something wild inside him. If we weren’t several thousand feet in the air, I’d think he was about to attack me. But if we fought under these circumstances, we’d bring the plane down, and that would cause bigger problems for both of us.

“Mencheres saved me,” Ian finally said.

I didn’t let go of him. “All vampires save the humans they sire. That can’t be all there is.”

Now his hands landed on my shoulders as well. “Ever been lost? I don’t mean unaware of where you are. I mean lost in every sense of the word. Hundreds of years ago, I fled a brutal New South Wales penal colony for the even harsher Australian outback. I was dying of thirst, half blind from the sun and wracked with pain from fighting off the local wildlife. It didn’t take long to hope to die by croc or venomous snake so it would be quick instead of more agony, but none of that was the worst part.” His voice thickened. “The worst part was knowing no one cared enough to save you. That’s what you remember forever. Not the physical pain or the never-ending fear, but the despair of being utterly alone and knowing you’ll die that way. Ever been lost like that?”

Memories rocketed to the surface, so strong and fast, my throat closed and my eyes stung with the instant surge of tears. It took all of my willpower not to allow these tears to fall as something long buried inside me began to scream.

Tenoch! You saved me, and I failed you when you needed me the most. I’m so sorry, my beloved sire. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry . . .

I had to look away from Ian or I’d lose the remainder of my control. I couldn’t bear to see the echo of my own pain reflected in the naked emotion of Ian’s gaze. He might be loath to reveal his real feelings, but when he did, he let them burst forth in all their scalding intensity.

“Yes.” I could barely force the word out for fear of my voice breaking. “I’ve been lost like that before.” Many times.

He released me so abruptly, I took a step back to steady myself. “Then you know why I refuse to hurt Mencheres by telling him the truth. If Dagon kills me, Mencheres will grieve, but if he knew my soul was lost, too . . .” His lips twisted. “Not that I’d given him any cause to hope for that stained, shriveled husk even before my deal with Dagon, but Mencheres has ever seen the best in me, and I can say that about no one else in this world.”

Tenoch had always seen the best in me, too. He’d also never given up on me, not even when he’d given up on himself. If I could have saved him from one more moment of pain, I would have done so. Gladly. That’s why I had only one response.

“I won’t tell Mencheres about your deal with Dagon.”

“Ever,” Ian stressed, tilting my chin so I’d meet his gaze.

I looked into his vivid turquoise eyes and repeated the vow. “Ever.”

He smiled then. The lines from his former pain wiped from his expression as if they had never been there. “Grand. Now, since I’m supposed to be following your lead—and don’t think that won’t change soon—let’s hear your doubtlessly boring plan to murder Dagon.”

I forced the pain he’d brought to the surface back down until it was contained by the cell that had long housed it.

“Well,” I said, my voice as light as his even though both of us were faking it, “I was going to start by parading you in front of other mages, witches, and demon-kin with a near reckless disregard of the danger so word of it could reach Dagon.”

Ian laughed, throwing his head back until I could see the vibrations in the pale expanse of his throat. When he stopped and met my gaze, he had a devilish curl to his lips and his gaze was lit up with more interest than I’d ever seen.

“Now you’re talking.”

Chapter 9

Several days later, we were in Horseshoe, Ontario, on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. I had a great view of those falls through the floor-to-ceiling windows in our hotel suite. I was surprised to see how crowded it was since it was winter. Perhaps the additional people were tourists who’d chosen to celebrate New Year’s Eve here. A few more might have braved the temperatures from the recent freeze to see the formations that coated the rocks and trees around the falls in dazzling layers of ice.

Either way, it would serve to our advantage. We could get lost in the crowds, if need be. Furthermore, with the incredible energy these falls produced, it would be easy to tap into my connection with water to fuel a spell. As a last resort, the falls themselves could provide protection. A continuous mist rose from them, and I had several demon-repelling salt bombs that could be widely dispersed through it.

Ian came out of the suite’s second bedroom. He wore black leather pants that hung low on his hips and a silver dress shirt. When Ian came closer, I saw his shirt was so sheer, it revealed far more than it concealed. Ian’s flawless skin gleamed beneath the fabric, catching the eye and holding it. That must be why he’d chosen such a wholly inappropriate garment. His only nod to the near-zero temperatures were boots and a thick coat slung over his arm.

He laughed when he saw me. “You’re wearing that ridiculous uniform? Thought you left the other one in my room as a joke.”

I cast a look at my long-sleeved, high-necked black unitard. “There’s a reason we have to wear these tonight.”

“Let me guess: We’re cosplaying as Storm and Cyclops?”

I was about to explain the need for the rubberized unitards, then I paused. Let him deal with the consequences of not following my lead, as he’d repeatedly failed to do.

“Have it your way,” I said, encasing my high heels in thick rubber boots that gripped my calves.

Ian’s pitying gaze swept over me. “If this is how you dress when you socialize, I’m starting to understand why you’re still single.”

I arched a brow. “How do you know I’m single?”

He sauntered over. “We’ve been together for days, yet you’ve not once called someone to check in. Furthermore, you certainly smell single. If celibate were a fragrance, consider yourself doused in it.”

I ignored that. “Before we leave, I’m going to use glamour to change my appearance. Needless to say, I don’t want to be recognized.”

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
Most Popular
» Shades of Wicked (Night Rebel #1)
» Medicine Man
» Dangerous Exes (Liars, Inc. #2)
» Rock Chick Reborn (Rock Chick #9)
» Wild Like the Wind (Chaos #5)
» The Hookup (Moonlight and Motor Oil #1)
» Loose Ends, Volume One (Loose Ends #1)
» The Greatest Risk (Honey #3)