None of us were surprised when Cam ushered the four of us into another room. We’d been separated from the rest of the group like naughty children, though I’d be the first to admit that we kind of deserved it. But only kind of. Siobhan had more than kind of deserved a few punches to the face.

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

Wouldn't Know Functional

 Christian started instigating the moment the door closed. “Jillian did the wild thing with Dom. Word is, they tore up his office.” He grinned at me while he spoke.

Caleb looked at me, disbelieving. Lynn merely raised a brow at me, though she didn’t look like she believed him, either.

I looked pointedly at the ceiling, refusing to respond.

It was the wrong approach to take. All three of them started laughing and talking at once.

“That didn’t take long,” Caleb noted.

“Wow, so you lasted a whole five minutes before you jumped him, huh?” Lynn smirked at me.

I curled my lip at them all. Bastards. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Apparently they can’t be in the same room with each other and not bang. I’m surprised you managed to keep your hands off each other at my house.” His eyes widened in realization. “Shit, did you screw him in my living room?”

I glared at him. “Bite me.”

Lynn and Christian hooted with laughter. Even Caleb was grinning.

“Sounds like someone has been,” Lynn chortled.

“Dirty girl,” Caleb said with a small smile.

“Goddammit, girl, that’s just rude. That room will never be the same now. I might need new furniture.”

“And new carpet,” I added just to torment him. He winced. “And new walls.”

“So you reconciled?” Caleb’s tone was dubious.

I shook my head. “Far from it. In fact, he hates me.”

“Well, that’s not at all dysfunctional,” Christian quipped, his tone sarcastic but annoyingly lighthearted.

I gave him that look reserved for when members of your family say something particularly dense. “Ya think? The people in this room wouldn’t know functional if it gave us all a roundhouse kick to the face.”

“Amen, Sista,” Lynn said, snapping her fingers.

“Dom and I just need to stay away from each other. I’ve known that for a long time. He’s a stick of dy***ite, and I’m a blow-torch. Dysfunctional is putting it lightly.”

That depressing conclusion was enough to move them on to a new topic rather quickly.

About an hour later Christian and Caleb were comparing the sizes of their guns while Christian braided my hair. No, that’s not a joke. They did it all the time. It was the number one topic the two of them liked to talk to each other about. It was definitely a man thing.

And yes, Christian loved braiding hair. He carried hair ties and bobby pins in his pocket on the way to any fight, doing my hair on the way. We always gave him shit, but it never fazed him. His favorite style was tight braided buns on each side of my head. He actually executed the style perfectly, and I let him get away with it. No, I hadn’t lost a bet. The buns actually worked well for fighters with long hair. Seriously. “It’s just a tinge purple at the moment,” Christian tried to comfort me as he finished up. I gave him a dirty look for even mentioning it.

Caleb was carefully adjusting the heavy shoulder harness for my battle axe. It had felt a little tight. I barely had to mention the issue before Caleb made me take it off, and started fixing it. He wouldn’t tolerate backup who didn’t have their equipment up to par, was what he always muttered right before he repaired whatever problems we were having.

Lynn and I were just getting warmed up, making men and their gun sizes jokes, when the door slammed open. Cam loomed in the doorway, his eyes settling on me with their usual loathing.

“Jillian, may I have a word with you out in the hallway?” The words were civil enough, but his tone was far from it.

I got up, curious more than anything. “Holler if you need us,” Lynn said quietly when I passed her. I nodded slightly as I left the room. I really didn’t want to leave my axe behind in that room, but I did it. I was trying to play nice, goddammit.

Cam led me down the hallway, stopping when we were out of earshot of the others. He faced me, trying to make his face blank. I could still see his contempt. I gave him my own blank look. I pulled it off much better than he did.

Cam was a bear of a man. He was Dom’s height almost exactly, but he was just…massive. His shoulders were broad and bulky with bulging muscles. There wasn’t an ounce of fat on him, but he had none of Dom’s lean elegance. He was built too much like a pro wrestler, or a bulked up football player. He had the raven blue-black hair and stunning eyes that were a stamp of his bloodline. Side by side with his own brother, and even his cousin, no one could have failed to note that they were related. They were good-looking sons of bitches, I’d give them that. He loomed over me, and if anyone could have intimidated me with menacing size alone, it would have been Cam. Luckily, I was too stubborn to be intimidated. I met his gaze head-on, my stance as aggressive as his own.

“What do you want, Cam?” I’d always found it best to just be direct with Cam. He was a mean son of a bitch, but he had always been plain-spoken as a rule.

He continued to study me for a moment. Finally, he spoke, “What I’ve always wanted. You, gone. Mav and Michael have been taken into custody for some fiasco that I know you were involved in. Siobhan had to be escorted away. You can thank yourself for losing us a valuable soldier tonight. I hope that little scene back there was worth it for you.”

I just gave him a level stare. No way was he going to make me feel bad about Siobhan leaving. “If you think she would have let it end any other way, you’re kidding yourself.”

“I didn’t see the whole altercation, but I do know that she didn’t get a shot at you. If you’re going to throw the first and only punch, you can’t exactly blame her.” I didn’t point out that Lynn had gotten a punch in too. That would hardly help my case.

He may have had a point, but frankly, I had no intention of admitting it to him. I just gave him a blank stare. “Your point?”

“My point,” he said softly, “is that you bring nothing but trouble, and I want to know if you intend to screw with Dom’s life again. He’s only seen you twice and he’s already more distracted and volatile than he’s been in years. He sent away his 3rd Lieutenant tonight, rather than you. Do you know how f**ked up that is? Siobhan would die for him, it’s her job, and he sent her away after you punched her. He can’t be reasonable about you. You need to stay the f**k out of his life. Is that too much to hope for? I’d rather know up front.”


Tags: R.K. Lilley Heretic Daughters Vampires
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