“This gluing thing won’t keep me put,” I said.

“Maybe I’ll chain you to it next time.”

“Is that werelion humor?”

“Something like that.”

I kissed him. He tasted like Curran and it made me absurdly happy. Everything took a step back: Erra, the dead, the guilt, the fear, the pain. I shoved it all aside. If one of us died tomorrow, at least we would have these few hours. We would make the best of them, and no force on earth, not even my bitch of an aunt, would interfere.

I brushed my hand through his blond hair. “You’re a fool, Your Furriness.”

Tiny gold sparks flared in his irises. “You’re in my rooms in my bathtub naked and you’re still mouthing off.”

Did he expect something different? “Hey, I didn’t kick you or punch you in the throat. I consider this progress. And you haven’t choked me again, which is some sort of record for you . . .”

He grabbed me with a growl. “That’s it. You’re in for it.”

“Very scary. I’m shaking in my—”

He locked his mouth on mine and I decided it was a good incentive to shut up.


I AWOKE BECAUSE CURRAN SLIPPED OUT OF BED. HE did it in complete silence, like a ghost, which was impressive considering the bed was four feet tall.

He strode out of the bedroom. A door swung open with a soft whisper. A barely audible voice murmured something. I couldn’t make out the words but I recognized the rasp—Derek.

A moment later the door swung shut. Curran entered the bedroom and stopped when he saw me looking at him.

He looked . . . at home. His hair stuck out at a weird angle, probably dried odd, since we went from the tub straight to bed. His face was peaceful. I’ve never seen him so relaxed. It was as if someone had lifted a huge weight off those muscled shoulders.

And dumped all of it on me.

“What time is it?” I asked.

“A little past five.” He paused in midstride and leaped on the bed.

I rubbed my face. I dimly recalled getting out of the bathtub, wrapped in a criminally soft towel, and letting him convince me that we needed to lie down and rest for half an hour. We slept for a solid ten hours at least. “I meant to go and talk with the old woman and to call Andrea. Instead I passed out here with you.”

“It was worth it.”

It was totally worth it.

“No more tubs for me.” I jumped off the bed and pulled on a pair of Pack sweats. “They make me lose all sense.”

Curran sprawled on the bed with a big self-satisfied smile. “Want to know a secret?”


“It’s not the bathtub, baby.”

Well, aren’t we smug. I picked up the corner of the lowest mattress and made a show of looking under it.

“What are you looking for?”

“A pea, Your Majesty.”


“You heard me.”

I jumped back as he lunged and his fingers missed me by an inch.

“Getting slow in your old age.”

“I thought you liked slow.”

A flashback to last night mugged me and my mind executed a full stop.

He laughed. “Ran out of snappy comebacks?”

“Hush. I’m trying to think of one.”

As long as we kept sparring, I could pretend that surviving today would be a breeze.

Curran slid off the bed, presenting me with a view of the world’s best chest up close. “While you’re thinking, Raphael and Andrea are waiting for us downstairs. Nash doesn’t matter, but if I keep the scion of Clan Bouda waiting for too long, I’ll have to smooth his feathers, and I don’t feel like it.”


“Yes.” Curran snagged a white T-shirt from the drawer. “B’s precious peacock. Strutting around and making sure all the ladies faint in his wake.”

I arched my eyebrow at him.

“He’s not a bad guy.” Curran shrugged. “Spoiled, arrogant. Good in a fight, but thinks with his dick. When things don’t go his way, he throws a tantrum. Andrea is perfect for him—unlike his mother, she doesn’t buy any of his bullshit.”

“So if I invite him over for tea and cookies . . . ?”

“As long as it’s in public, it wouldn’t be an issue. Just don’t expect me to show up. I’ll be indisposed. If you invite him into our rooms, I’ll rip his head off.”

“Is it because you’re jealous or because it would be a breach of Pack protocol?”

“Both.” The muscles along Curran’s jaw tightened. “He handed you a fan so you could fan yourself while watching him. If he steps a hair out of line, he won’t live to regret it and he knows it.”

I slid Slayer’s leather sheath on my back. “Now is probably a good time to mention that I made a deal with his mother.”

Curran stopped. “What sort of deal and when?”

I sketched it out for him while putting on my boots.

Curran grimaced. “Typical. She picked a moment when you were at your weakest.”

I shrugged. “It’s a good deal for me.”

“It is. But then she tried to feed you. That’s my privilege.” Curran held the door open. “B will always push you to see how far she can make you bend. I won’t interfere with the way you handle her, but if it was me, I’d call her to a meeting once this is over. Somewhere public where the two of you would be on display. Make her wait. Half an hour ought to do it.”

“Are you actually holding the door for me?”

“Get used to it,” he growled.

I bit my lip so I wouldn’t laugh, stepped through the door, and Mr. Romance and I went down the stairs to the conference room.

RAPHAEL PACED ALONG THE WALL, FLIPPING A knife. Andrea leaned against the table. Her face was grim.

Raphael nodded as Curran and I walked through the door. “M’lord. M’lady.”

Andrea blinked, her eyes opened wide. “Kate? What are you doing here?”

“She’s his mate. Where else would she be?” Raphael’s voice dripped bitterness. Something had happened between them and it wasn’t good.

“It’s not the same for her,” Andrea said without turning around.

“No, it’s not. She actually came through when our people were dying.”

“She had a choice. I didn’t.”

Raphael’s eyes shone with red. “She had the exact same options you did.”

“Enough,” Curran said.

Tags: Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels Vampires
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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