“Just let me do the talking,” Sloan surprised me by saying as we pulled up to the small fenced building. I’d been surprised she’d even been willing to direct us here, let alone help us get in.

The armed druid in the booth gave her a respectful nod before opening the gate for us without a word. She was second in rank only to Dom, after all.

“This might be easier than I was thinking,” I muttered.

“Don’t count on it. My people don’t make anything easy.”

Sloan started cursing again as we pulled into the small parking lot.

“What’s wrong?”

“That’s Cam’s car.” She gestured towards a black cadillac SUV. She started cursing again as she and I got out of the car. Caleb stayed inside, still mimicking me. I had personally seen to wrapping the small blanket Sloan kept in her car around his torso.

I hadn’t seen him as we pulled up, but sure enough, Cam was standing in the shadow of the building, arms crossed menacingly across his chest.

“What the hell are you doing, bringing her here?” his gravelly voice called out. His eyes never left Sloan.

“We need Christian,” she said quietly.

He pushed away from the wall he’d been leaning against. “Only the Arch can give the order to free him.”

Sloan whipped out her phone. “I guess I’ll call him then.”

“He’s in a meeting for another hour, at least. He won’t be taking any calls. He’s giving the dragon King his answer. We don’t expect them to take it well.”

She gave him a level stare. “Well, we need Christian now. This won’t wait.”

He just shook his head at her. “No go, Sugar.”

It’s possible steam started coming out of her ears. Sloan was one of those people that never lost her composure. She was cool and competent to the core...except where Cam was concerned. “Do Not Call Me Sugar. What are you even doing here?”

“Boss’s orders. Some of the dragons slipped away, so he wanted me to personally keep an eye on our local slayer. Lucky you.”

“Just let us have him, Cam. It’s important.”

“Important meaning dangerous, I take it. Dom wanted you to follow her, not help her get you both killed. The answer is no, and hell no.”

“What do you care? If Dom is upset when he finds out, you can just put the slayer’s release on my shoulders. Your problem’s solved, now hand him over.”

He just shook his head at her.

“Dick,” she fumed at him.

He smirked at her. “And there’s nothing you hate more than a dick,” he remarked.

“It’s true. When a dick can walk and talk and looks like you, there’s nothing I hate more.”

His mouth twisted bitterly. “Fucking man-hater. I swear you’ve gotten even meaner since you started playing for the other team.”

I couldn’t help it, I sent Sloan a surprised look. This was something new.

“It’s your imagination. I’ve always hated you this much,” she shot back, not denying the implication.

His smile was mean. “Not always…” This discussion was getting more and more interesting.

“Tie your balls in a knot, breeder.” She sneered at him.

His smile turned rueful. “That’s a new one.”

Sloan changed the subject back to the issue at hand. ”We need the slayer. I’m pulling rank on you, Cam. If Dom is unavailable, the decision falls to me. Give us the slayer.”

He glared at her, just a cussed mean glare, for at least a full minute. I shifted impatiently on my feet.

“You know I f**king hate it when you pull rank on me,” he said softly.

Sloan smiled at him, a goading kind of smile, but with the most bitter of twists. I thought that she must hate pulling rank on him as much as he hated having her do it, by that look. I didn’t understand it, but I still saw it clearly in her eyes. “Please, Cam, let’s take it to the arena. There’s nothing I’d love more. If you want my rank, we need to fight.”

Cam met that goading smile with a challenging look, his chin lifting. “Never going to happen, Sloan. Fucking never. Deal with it.”

“You still scared of me?” she goaded.

He smirked at little at that. The pair of them really did enjoy their nasty little confrontations. They shared a long, intense look, full of a lifetime’s worth of raw emotion and straight up animosity. “You know why I won’t do it. Hate it and fight it all you want, sugar, but we both know why I won’t fight you.”

“Just give me the slayer, you ass.”

Cam sighed. “He’s in no shape to help you.”

“Dragonsblood will restore him. And guess what we have.”

I wasn’t surprised that Cam didn’t spare me a glance. He was silent for awhile before finally saying, “I suppose it’s pointless to tell you not to do anything stupid.” He disappeared into the building without another word.

“Why does Cam think you’re a lesbian?” I asked Sloan as we waited, referring to one of the many insults Cam had thrown at her. I had been waiting ten minutes to ask her about it.

She rolled her eyes. “Because he’s an idiot.”

“Is there a reason you want him to keep thinking it?”

She shrugged. “Because it seems to piss him off, which has been my mission in life for more years than I care to count.”

“Fair enough.”

It was a good twenty minutes before Cam appeared again, carrying a sickly looking Christian.

“Is he unconscious?” I asked softly.

“I only wish. Little bastard keeps shooting off his mouth,” Cam growled.

“I’m not little. You’re just one huge mother-” Christian began, rather weakly.

“Shut your mouth, boy.”

Cam handed him off to me without sparing me a glance. His weight wasn’t a problem for me, but cradling a six foot plus man in my arms was awkward, to say the least.

Christian didn’t open his eyes as he said to me softly. “I’m sorry I tried to kill you, Jillian. I’m glad they put this thing on my wrist, even if it knocks me on my ass.”

“Don’t worry about it.” I told him gently. I was over it, honestly. “I’ve got a job for you to do, and you’re gonna like it.”

“Oh yeah?” His voice was half-interested. He held up his wrist, jangling a bracelet of bones at me. Druids and their geases… “It is a relief to me, like a weight off. They tell me it only applies to you and Lynn. You still owe me a lot of answers, Jillian, but when I’m thinking clearly I know I don’t want to kill you. But when I found out that you were…well, I couldn’t think at all. It was like a red haze went over me, like I had no control over what my body wanted to do.”


Tags: R.K. Lilley Heretic Daughters Vampires
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