“You’ll owe me if I do,” Sam said, his eyes watchful.
“Then I guess we have a deal.” Sam held out his hand. “I was coming out here to say I’d have your back, that you could count on me.” He still sounded so sincere, but Sam’s eyes showed no emotion. “I never expected to find … this.”
Keenan couldn’t believe him.
Sam’s offered hand didn’t drop. “Do we have a deal? I’ll help you … and when the time comes, you help me.”
Help you do what? Did it matter? He grabbed Sam’s hand. “Deal.”
Brimstone teased his nose.
“Then let’s go find those hunters.” Sam’s smile was evil. “And make ’em beg to tell us everything they know.”
Keenan nodded and finally realized just how far he had fallen.
Because the brimstone scent wasn’t coming from Sam.
She wasn’t dead. Why wasn’t she dead? Nicole sat up, but didn’t rise far. Her arms were chained to the floor. Thick, dark metal chains secured her.
Where was she? The last thing she remembered … Carlos had been—
He wasn’t a human. Wasn’t just prey. He was a shifter.
Which brought back the question … why was she still alive?
And not just alive. She tested those chains again. When she stretched her arms, she didn’t feel the lash of pain. She was weak, yeah, but the blisters were gone, and the wounds in her shoulder and side were healed. Night had fallen, she could tell that instinctively, but the darkness wouldn’t have healed her. She would have needed blood.
Blood she hadn’t gotten.
A metal door groaned open and a musky scent teased her nose. “Awake, are you?” Carlos shuffled inside, then came to a quick stop.
It was dark in there, but her vamp senses were enhanced so that she could see him perfectly, and she saw the surprise that flashed across Carlos’s face.
He didn’t expect me to be healed, either.
So she’d definitely not gotten any blood. But she felt great. Why?
Keenan. The answer whispered through her mind. His blood was different, and it was starting to make her stronger.
“How the hell did you do that?” He sprang at her. His hands slid down her arms. His claws scratched her skin. “You were barely alive. How did you—”
She lunged for his neck.
He swore and dove back.
“Careful there, shifter,” she taunted, “get close enough again, and I’ll rip your throat open.” And, oh, but she wished she had her silver bullets right then. But no, that gun she’d taken from the feeding room was back at Keenan’s. She hadn’t thought she’d need silver in order to fight off humans.
Carlos was on his ass now, and his eyes glittered at her. His claws scraped across the cement because, yeah, she was sitting on hard cement, in some kind of locked room.
No, wait. Her gaze darted to the left. That window—it was stained glass. Her nostrils twitched. She could smell the shifter now—won’t ever forget what that woodsy smell means again—but she could also smell …
He laughed. “Figured it out, did you? Well, hell, I thought … what better place to store you?”
Than a cemetery.
She was in a mausoleum. One that had been altered to include her chains. At least he’d taken out the dead body.
But she suspected he had plans to leave another body, hers, in its place. “Why am I still breathing?”
“Because I need you to be.” He rose and brushed off his hands. “When you stop being useful, I’ll drive a stake into your heart.”
She didn’t see a stake on him. She pulled at her chains—no give.
“Your … friend. The man who was with you in Mexico…”
She stared at him, not letting her expression alter.
“He’s your lover,” Carlos said.
She didn’t speak.
His nostrils flared. “I can smell him all over you! I know he’s been f**king you.”
“If you know, then why’d you ask?” Bastard.
“Because I’m still surprised an angel would f**k something like you.”
He knew about Keenan. Oh, that couldn’t be good. I’m in chains—how can anything about this be good? “Something like me?” She said carefully. “What, you mean compared to an animal like you? At least I don’t grow fur and piss on the ground when I—”
Ah, now the stake was out. He’d had it tucked in his boot. His right hand gripped the stake as he bared his fangs at her. “Maybe your dead body would be just as useful to me.”
The scent of flowers wafted to her nose.
She tilted her chin up. “Maybe.”
He shook his head. “You’re trying to push me, but that’s not going to work, querida.” He backed up a step. “You’ll get death, but only when I’m ready to give it.”
So why was he waiting?
“He’ll come for you.” His twisted lips mocked her. “As soon as he figures out where you are, anyway. If it takes too long, I’ll just have to make sure he gets a tip.”
“Why do you want Keenan?” If he knew Keenan was an angel, then Carlos had to realize that he didn’t want to tangle with her lover.
“The angel has something I need.” He gave a quick laugh. “Something you need, too.”
Her eyes narrowed.
“When I’m done with him …” Carlos laughed. “Dust will be all that’s left.”
Angel’s Dust. Fear shoved into her gut as she understood. She needed Keenan’s blood to live. Hell, his blood was probably why she’d healed so quickly. An angel’s blood. And that vamp in the feeding room, he’d said demons could be killed by Angel’s Dust. But to make the Dust …
“Guess you’ve already learned how powerful the new lover is, huh, vamp?”
She didn’t speak.
“I’ll have to drain him dry to get enough for the mix.” He lifted a brow. “Is he a bleeder? How long do you think it will take for him to—”
His gaze raked her. “Maybe. Later.” His claws tapped against his chin. “You know, I just thought you were another walking parasite, and then I learned you were strolling around with one very precious gift.”
“Do you know how many demons I’ll be able to kill with his blood? Do you know how many Other will f**king bow to me?”