Home > Flesh and Blood (House of Comarré #2)(17)

Flesh and Blood (House of Comarré #2)(17)
Author: Kristen Painter

‘Waiting for Dominic.’

‘He’s in his quarters and he’s not to be disturbed.’

‘Mortalis went to check.’ Chrysabelle sank back in the chair and pretended to relax. Her hands stayed poised on her blades. Neither Mal nor Mortalis liked Katsumi. That was good enough for her.

Katsumi glided across the floor, her full-length silk coat fluttering out behind her. The tassels at the end of her hair sticks quivered. Chrysabelle would bet good money those doubled as weapons. ‘He’s not to be disturbed. Tell me what message you would like to leave for him, then you may stop wasting your time.’

‘Trying to get rid of me?’ Chrysabelle stood. She was at least seven or eight inches taller than Katsumi. With that advantage in reach, her sacre could turn Katsumi into ash without much effort.

‘This is no place for you.’

Sometimes playing dumb was fun. ‘There are plenty of women here.’

‘I mean because of what you are, comarré.’

‘Dominic has comarré working here. None like me, obviously, but I’m sure I’m perfectly safe, even if the head of security is still recuperating.’ She lifted her brows. ‘Or are you the one I should be wary of?’

‘No, of course not.’ The ice in Katsumi’s gaze belied the calm mask she’d molded her face into. ‘And Ronan is fine. Completely healed, despite your efforts.’

‘If I’d made an effort, he’d be dead.’

Katsumi sniffed. ‘Threats have little effect on me, comarré.’

‘I wasn’t making a threat. Just stating the truth.’ The crowd was chanting now. Sounded like the word kill. Chrysabelle glanced toward the French doors.

A small strangled noise left Katsumi’s throat.

Needing no more impetus, Chrysabelle walked toward the doors.

Mortalis returned. ‘I can’t find Dominic. He must be—’

‘Go home,’ Katsumi scolded. ‘Go home!’

Chrysabelle threw the doors open and stepped out onto the balcony. The crowd was frenzied, chanting, fists hammering the air. In the ring, one man lay prone on the concrete floor, blood spattered around him like confetti. His opponent crouched over him, his fists a blur as they pounded the prone man’s face into pulp. Rage seemed to pour off the upright vampire in swirling black lines.

The thump of her heartbeat overtook all other sound. She knew what she was seeing – who she was seeing – but her brain stalled, trying to spare her the inevitable. Trembling, she grabbed the balcony’s glass railing to steady herself.

She inhaled and the familiar sweetness wafting up from the bloody battle below coated her throat. The trembling wound up from her fingers and worked its way into her bones, caging her body in anger.

The prone man was Ronan.

The man covered in black ink was Malkolm.

And at least one of them had her blood running through his veins. Maybe both.

The railing shattered in her grip and sliced her palm. She dropped the shards of glass and backed away, trying to quell her anger. She clutched her hand to her chest. Blood dripped onto her white tunic, matching the straps of her sacre sheaths.

‘Wait.’ Mortalis held out his hand. Katsumi was already gone.

‘No.’ She ran past him, out of the office and through the club toward the main entrance, not caring who saw her or her weapons. She was leaving. Now.

A few seconds after she entered the club’s main floor, a fringe vamp stepped into her path. ‘Hello, fair comarré. Would you care to—’

Her bloody fist shut him up and knocked him out of the way. She was in no mood to be trifled with. By anyone.

Mortalis caught her in the foyer that served as the club’s final security threshold. ‘Wait a damn minute, will you?’

‘No.’ But she stopped. ‘I’m too angry to be here right now.’

‘Why do you care if Mal fights?’

‘I don’t. What he does is his business. But one of those two in that ring has my blood in them. I smelled it on them. Maybe both of them. If it wasn’t Mal, I want to know how Ronan got it. And if it was Mal, then why is he telling me he’s not drinking it? He can drink my blood but he can’t talk to me?’ Anger brought her hands up. ‘Just let me go. I need to think.’

‘You’re bleeding. At least let me wrap that for you.’

‘I’m fine.’ She turned and strode toward the exit. ‘This club has had enough of my blood for one night.’

Chapter Six

Doc woke with a nasty film of fur coating his tongue. He spit, grimacing and tasting rat.

How long had he been out? Sun wasn’t up yet, he could feel that much, and the air had that predawn brightness to it. He stretched, sat up, and ran his hands over his stubbled head. By tomorrow night, the moon would be weak enough to stop influencing him. He could go back to being human and miserable, instead of being house cat and miserable.

The fog in his head dissipated slowly, and shreds of what had happened before he’d fallen asleep trickled in. He blinked, trying to bring the memories back faster. This always happened after any time spent in his cursed form. It was like his brain shrank when he changed and everything that wasn’t cat-related dropped out. He thought back over the hours before he’d passed out.

Chrysabelle had been here, looking for Mal, but Doc had been locked in and Mal hadn’t been here. But before that, Fi had shown up again in her new ghost form. And she still needed his help. Help he couldn’t give, but he knew someone who could. Maybe. The one woman who might be able to help probably wouldn’t want to help Doc in any way. And seeing her meant facing his past. Dammit. When was his life going to smooth out and chill?

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