Home > Shades of Wicked (Night Rebel #1)(7)

Shades of Wicked (Night Rebel #1)(7)
Author: Jeaniene Frost

I tempered my tone so I didn’t snarl at him. “I’m using false names. Dagon won’t know it’s us.”

Ian’s face showed all the aggravation I was smothering. “You might do a bang-up job of upholding the law, but you clearly have a lot to learn about being on the run. You don’t use regular airports or charter companies because aliases aren’t enough. Dagon might not have pictures of you, but he does of me. One glance will confirm I’m the John Doe on your flight manifest. You also can’t mesmerize everyone into forgetting we were here; there are too many people, plus there are security cameras.”

I was still rankled by his tone, but he had valid points. It would be foolish to ignore them. “You suggest driving?”

“No, that’s too slow and it won’t get us far enough away.”

“Then what?” This time, I didn’t tamp down my irritation. “I don’t own a private plane and unless your dossier lacks another important detail, neither do you.”

He gave me a jaded look. “I’m sure my dossier lacks quite a bit, but as it happens, I know someone with his own plane and he’s not far from here.”

“Wouldn’t one of your friend’s planes coming here also be an obvious trail that Dagon could follow?”

“It would, except this vampire is not my friend,” Ian said, and started dialing.

I saw the country code before Ian tipped his mobile and the rest of the numbers moved out of view. Forty. Romania.

Contrary to popular belief, Romania wasn’t a hotspot for vampires because it was home to one of the world’s most powerful. If that’s who Ian was calling, he was correct. No one would believe this particular vampire would come to Ian’s aid.

“Ian,” I heard an accented voice say on the line. With that single word, my suspicions were confirmed. “I’m surprised to hear from you,” Vlad the Impaler continued.

“Believe me, Tepesh, I’d rather shag myself with a sandpaper dildo than speak to you.”

My eyes bulged. Ian saw it and waved as if unconcerned that he’d insulted someone who’d been feared for his mass slaughters even before he became a vampire.

“But I have to travel under the radar in a hurry,” Ian went on. “I need to borrow your plane. Should only take a few days. How fast can you get it to Poland?”

Silence on the other line. I tensed, half expecting Ian’s mobile to burst into flames. When Vlad got angry, things usually ended up on fire. Ian should be glad that he was nowhere near Vlad, who was only called by his other, more famous name of Dracula by those who wished to die.

“Where in Poland?” Vlad finally replied.

Each word sounded bitten off from anger, but I was shocked that he appeared to be agreeing. I’d expected Vlad to tell Ian exactly how he was going to kill him.

“Look for the remains of a large movie theater complex inside of Klomino. Should be enough space in front of it for the plane to land and take off. Klomino’s mostly abandoned, but still, come after dark so there’s less chance of a bystander taking video showing the call numbers on the plane.”

“I’ll have them painted over.” Vlad’s tone remained sharp. “The plane will be there by midnight.” Then he hung up.

Ian began to whistle as he ripped the memory card out of his mobile. Then he got out of the car, dropped the memory card and his mobile on the ground, and stomped on them. When he lifted his foot, only crushed pieces remained.

I got out, too, and went around to his side of the vehicle. “How did you do that?” I asked in disbelief.

He glanced down. “Boot plus force.”

“Not that.” I dismissed his shattered mobile with a swipe of my hand. “How did you get Vlad Dracul to do your bidding?”

“Bidding?” Ian gave me a knowing smile. “Most times, you sound exactly like a modern woman, yet every once in a while, you slip and prove there’s nothing modern about you.”

“You’re avoiding my question,” I said, although he was right about the slip.

“Vlad owes me,” Ian replied in a tone that was now darker than obsidian.

Once again, I felt icy tingles race up my spine. Who was the real Ian? The carefree rogue who amused me despite myself? Or the dangerous man who set off all my inner alarm bells?

“Why would Vlad the Impaler owe you?”

He gave me a slanted look. “Thought you’d know since you turned up with information that only Dagon, Vlad, and Vlad’s wife knew about.”

Leila had indeed been the one to tell me that Dagon had tricked Ian into bartering his soul to the demon. That’s why I’d searched for Ian as soon as I’d finished my other business. I hadn’t cared enough to ask Leila how Dagon had tricked Ian. All I’d cared about was finding a vampire that Dagon had branded so I could use him to draw the demon out. Now, I wished I’d gotten the entire tale. Judging from Ian’s shuttered expression, I wouldn’t be hearing it from him.

Ian took my silence as proof of my ignorance and shrugged. “Doesn’t matter. What matters is that while Vlad and I detest each other—and that’s describing my feelings for him in the mildest possible way—he doesn’t shirk from paying a debt. Now, we have a way out of here that can’t be traced.”

“Excuse me.”

We both turned. A young man with the name of the aviation facility emblazoned on his shirt had come out of the building and was walking toward us.

“May I assist you with something?” the man continued.

We’d been arguing in the facility’s parking lot long enough to attract notice. Whether this young man was security or merely an attentive concierge, it was still time to go.

Ian gave him a brilliant smile. “That your mobile?” he asked, nodding at the square-shaped bulge in the man’s pocket.

The man’s demeanor changed from polite to wary. “Why?”

“Give it to me,” Ian said, an emerald glow spilling out of his eyes.

The man handed over his mobile, helpless to do otherwise under the power in Ian’s gaze. Ian took the phone and held it in his teeth while he used both hands to pull down his pants. He wasn’t wearing anything beneath them and my brows went up.

“What are you doing?”

Ian only winked at me. Then, pants around his ankles, he took the mobile from his teeth, held it behind him with one hand, and took a selfie of his bare ass.

“Is this juvenile behavior necessary?” I asked stiffly.

“Absolutely.” Ian held the phone with his teeth again while he readjusted his clothes. Once done, he checked the picture and smiled. “Perfection.” Then he handed his mobile back to the now openmouthed attendant. “When a big blond sod named Dagon comes looking for me, show him this and tell him I said to kiss it.”

Chapter 6

We waited near the remaining wall of the former movie theater in Klomino. Ian had been right; the entire town looked as if it had been abandoned decades ago. The last time I’d been in this area had been after World War II. Then, the Soviet army had turned it into a military base. Now, the only signs of life were the few faint heartbeats coming from the rubble around the former theater. They probably wouldn’t have mobile phones. Even if they did, they might not bother to come out in this weather. It was bitterly cold. Homeless humans seeking temporary refuge, no doubt.

We’d left the car several miles away and walked to Klomino. We drew less notice this way, but I hadn’t dressed warmly since I hadn’t intended to be outside for long. My coat was more to give myself a place to put my weapons than to protect against the cold. Being a vampire meant I wouldn’t get hypothermia, but it did nothing to insulate me from the freezing temperatures.

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