Mistress Devour looked ready to throw an outright tantrum. I hesitated, not really wanting to hand her back her whip.

“He’ll speak when I say he can speak!” she spat, glaring at me. Oh great. I’d probably just brought out her possessive side. She stomped her razor heals repeatedly into his back. “You’re little blond can’t save you from me!” she was yelling at him. Had she really just called me little? I was easily a foot taller than the little termagant. I stifled a laugh. She continued, “If you speak to her again, I’ll wipe the floor with her ass, then beat you both. Is that what you want?”

A few laughs were stifled around the room at that boast. I didn’t bother stifling mine, laughing outright. Her murderous glance shot back to me. “You’re laughing? You won’t be laughing when I scratch up that pretty face!”

I laughed harder.

She flew at me, claws outstretched for a classic girl fight. I had both of her hands behind her back before she could touch me. She didn’t even know how to fight. I couldn’t stop laughing for a few minutes as she spat curses at me. I could hear both Christian and Lynn, giggling like children, as she went on and on.

Finally, I shook her slightly, saying, “Shut it,” in the most serious voice I could muster. “You really don’t want to try to attack me like that again. Ever. Next time, I won’t just restrain you. This is the only warning you’re ever going to get. Oh, and lay off of Luke when I’m near, or you’ll regret it.” I finally let her go. She was smarter than I’d guessed. She merely stormed out of the tent.

“Thank you, Mistress.” Luke’s voice was muffled, his face in the floor. I realized he was talking to me.

“No problem. Call me Jillian. You want to be untied or anything?”

“No, Mistress Jillian.”

I rolled my eyes. Christian and Lynn started laughing harder. I hadn’t seen Christian move, but he was lounging beside Lynn now. I noticed, for the first time since entering the tent, another familiar face lurking in the corner near Lynn. I nodded to Caleb. Even his usually stoic face was split in a grin. He nodded back.

We went way back with Caleb, far enough back that he must have started to seriously suspect what we were. At the moment, he was a nondescript man with a cleanly shaven head, unremarkable features, and an average, if hard, build. And the coldest, blankest brown eyes I had ever seen. It was his favorite form. His ‘blend in with the scenery’ form. But he could shed it in minutes and take on another. I didn’t know the limits to the forms he could take. It’s wasn’t the sort of information he would ever volunteer.

Caleb was a Mimic. The only one of his kind that I had ever met. He was the perfect killer. And, many times for us, the perfect backup. If shit was going down, we called Caleb, and he showed up to join the violence. He claimed that no one could find a good, solid battle like Lynn and I. He may have had a point, but it wasn’t something we were pleased about.

We always knew what we were getting when we called Caleb. He was a calm, emotionless, uncontrollable killer. We only called him when things got real bad. Which, sadly, meant we had called him enough that he was a fairly solid part of our lives now. We’d gotten so chummy with the sociopath over the years that he just popped in for coffee sometimes. Rather often lately, actually. It was a little scary… If you started spending enough time around the real, stone-cold killers, you could get too comfortable and let your guard down. That would never do with someone like Caleb.

“I love the T-shirts, by the way,” Lynn chortled.

“Bite me, Captain Hook,” I told her.

Christian was studying me, a strange look suddenly coming over his face.

“What?” I asked, eyes narrowed.

“Your hair’s not purple anymore. What’s the deal?”

“She doesn’t want to talk about it,” Lynn said, laughter still in her voice.

“That’s right.”

Christian shrugged. “Whatever. It works better with the T-shirt this way anyways. You don’t look so much like an easter egg now.”

I started to respond when I felt a burst of energy behind me. I turned, backing into the tent wall. Four men burst into the room.

They walked in with an air of authority that meant they were either cops, or druids. I was willing to bet druid by the crisp dark gray suits, and the burst of energy that hovered around them like a mist. I didn’t recognize any of them, which was a definite plus.

They barely glanced my way as they studied the dozens of people lounging around the room. The apparent leader of the four stepped forward. He had brown hair and eyes, a hard face, and the tall, brutish build that many of the druids shared. He was also the biggest in the group of men, though not a one of them could be considered small.

“We’re looking for the ones that call themselves Solace and Dustin.”

Lynn merely raised a brow at him, not bothering to even sit up. “And who are you?”

“We’ll be asking all the questions here,” another, auburn haired Druid told her sternly. The second-in-command of the task force, I assumed. Druids were big on rank. Even with just four of them, they would have a clear chain of command.

“Why’s that?” she asked.

“That sounded like another question,” Christian piped in, helpful as always.

“Solace, and Dustin. Tell us where they are.”

“Who?” she asked.

“Are you saying you don’t know them?” This question came from another druid of the group. Number three was the shortest of the group, but built like a truck.

“Huh?” she asked, mocking them obviously enough that even they noticed.

“Lady, you really don’t want to mess with us. If you know something, you’d best tell us now,” number one growled.

She shrugged. I could tell she was already bored with the intruders. “I might know a few by that name. Your turn.”

“We’ve heard some charges against them from some of our informers. We’re here to investigate.”

“What kind of charges?” Her tone was disinterested.

“We aren’t discussing that, especially not in this crowd.”

“Everyone out,” Lynn suddenly addressed the crowd. “I need to speak to these gentlemen. You may all come back in thirty minutes.”

The druids started to block everyone from milling out. “If you want to talk, let them leave us.”

The druids let them pass, all four of them giving Lynn hard stares. Within seconds, all that remained in the room with the druids were myself, Christian, Caleb, and Lynn. I wasn’t well acquainted with Solace or Dustin, but I’d recognized them well enough to note them walking out.

Tags: R.K. Lilley Heretic Daughters Vampires
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