Home > Boundary Lines (Boundary Magic #2)(7)

Boundary Lines (Boundary Magic #2)(7)
Author: Melissa F. Olson

“Maven’s answer to Air Force One,” he explained. “She bought it shortly after she took over, and lends it to her people when we might need to be out after dawn.”

Ah. “The compartment in the back is lightproof?”

He nodded. “Lightproof, armored, and climate controlled. Cost a fortune.” He shook his head a little. “Maven doesn’t put on airs or throw around money, but she invests where it counts.” His tone was admiring, and I wondered if things had gotten easier or harder for him now that we’d taken Itachi off the board.

“How will she get home?” I asked.

A faint smile crossed his lips. “She’ll ride her bike.”

Ah, Boulder.

When the last lights of the city were behind us, Quinn glanced over at me. “The thing in LA,” he said. “Did you find out what you needed to know?”

“Yes,” I said shortly. “She was eaten by werewolves. I don’t really want to talk about it.”

Quinn nodded, his face falling into its usual implacable expression. I regretted my curt tone. There had been a time when that dispassionate look was the only one I ever got from Quinn, and I’d hoped we were past that. But I just couldn’t talk about Sam right now. “Tell me about the vampires who disappeared,” I prompted instead.

He nodded. “Every full moon, ten of us take a shift patrolling the state borders, watching for any signs of werewolf activity,” he began. “We’ve found natural wolves a couple of times, but never any weres, at least for as long as I’ve been in Colorado. But on the last full moon, two people didn’t report in.”

“Maven told me that much. Who are they?”

“Travis disappeared from Dove Creek, and Allegra went missing out of Julesburg.”

I raised my eyebrows. “Just Travis and Allegra? Don’t vampires ever have last names?”

A brief smile twitched across his face, and I felt like I’d scored a point. “Of course we do, on all our legal paperwork. But those change every few decades, or so I’m told. We typically just use our first names within our own territories. It’s easier to remember—and easier not to expose someone by mistake, like if you were to refer to me as Quinn Adams after I’d already changed my name to Quinn . . . Merlin.” He lifted his hand off the wheel long enough to wave it dismissively. “Or whatever.”

I laughed. “Merlin? Your example of a fake last name is Merlin?” He glared at me, but the smile was obvious in his eyes. “Oh shit,” I blurted. “Don’t tell me that’s your last name now.”

Quinn laughed out loud, a sound I’d heard only a few times. It made something in my chest loosen. “No, Quinn is currently my last name.”

“So what’s your current first name?”

“Arthur,” he said airily. I laughed, unable to tell if he was kidding or not.

“Back to Allegra and Travis,” I prompted. “Maven brought up the possibility that they might have just . . . defected.”

He considered that for a moment. “It’s possible,” he allowed.

I tried to think through the implications of that. “Hypothetically,” I said in a careful voice, “if Allegra or Travis, or anyone else, for that matter, decided they wanted to leave Maven’s enclave, would there be consequences?”

His brow furrowed. “You mean like, would Maven hunt them down and kill them for leaving?”

“Well . . . yeah.”

“Technically, vampires are not supposed to jump territories without permission,” he told me. “We have to be careful with things like population control and population density, and if everyone starts crossing borders willy-nilly, it increases the chance of all of us getting discovered by the foundings.” That was the Old World term for ordinary humans, and it was always used dismissively, the way you would say “cattle.”

“But Maven’s still trying to lock in control after the takeover,” Quinn continued, “and frankly I don’t think she has the resources to hunt down defectors right now. That’s part of why she waited this long before sending us after Allegra and Travis—she’s been spread too thin to deal with it. Most likely, if someone leaves, they’ll make Maven’s permanent shit list, to be punished later. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be on her shit list, but leaving the state isn’t like an instant death sentence or anything.”

“Hmm.” This was enough to give me a headache. There were too many possibilities, too many suspects, including Travis and Allegra themselves. Once again, I felt like it was my first day at a new job. Everyone else could think faster and clearer than I could because they had decades or even centuries of experience with the Old World, and I had known about it for less than two months. I sighed. “So is it safe to assume Maven didn’t kill them herself? I mean, if she had, there’d be no reason to send us on this little quest.”

“True,” he conceded. “I think that’s a pretty safe assumption, yes.”

Great. So that was one person who probably didn’t kill them. “Did Travis and Allegra . . . er . . . know each other?”

He shot me a wry smile. “You mean like, biblically?”

“Well, yeah.”

“No. Travis was a bit of a dandy, and Allegra was really down-to-earth. I can’t see her spending more than two minutes with him.”

There was something in his tone—admiration, maybe? He glanced over at me, and discomfort crossed his face. “Listen, Lex, there’s something else you should know. Allegra and I, we used to . . . date. Years ago.”

   
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