Home > Last Blood (House of Comarré #5)(10)

Last Blood (House of Comarré #5)(10)
Author: Kristen Painter

Creek tucked the halm back into his belt. He nodded for Annika’s sake. “If Annika vouches for you, that’s all I need.”

“Is it?” Octavian lifted a brow. “I wouldn’t want to find myself unexpectedly staked.”

“Not going to happen,” Creek reassured him. Not as long as Octavian kept his fangs to himself. Creek nodded to the pair of secondhand chairs he’d added since Mawmaw had taken to visiting. Duct tape patched the tears in the fabric, but they suited him just fine. “Make yourself comfortable. Anyone want a beer?”

“No.” Octavian snorted.

“Yeah,” Creek said. “I guess you wouldn’t. Don’t have any blood to offer you either.” He looked at Annika as he opened the fridge door. “Beer?”

She shrugged. “Why not.”

He grabbed two long necks and twisted the top off hers before handing it over. She took it and joined Octavian in the chairs, so Creek moved around to the steps and crouched there. He took a long pull from his bottle, wiped his mouth with the heel of his hand, then leaned his elbows on the step behind him. “What was it like working for Tatiana?”

Octavian took a moment before answering. Like he was choosing his words. “Hard. She’s demanding. And crueler than you can imagine.”

“I doubt it.” Creek took another sip. “I can imagine some pretty cruel things.” Another thing his time in prison had helped with. He turned his attention to Annika. “What’s our mission?”

Annika set her beer on the empty cable spool currently serving as his coffee table. “Octavian is going to become invaluable to the mayor. We know what she needs and he’s about to provide it. Once that happens, we’ll be able to use him to find out who turned her. As soon as we have that information, we’ll know whom to exterminate. A vampire that’s siring humans cannot be allowed to live. That way lays the makings of an army, and armies are needed for only one thing. War.”

Creek raised a brow. “What’s my part in that plan?”

“Very little, since we know she’s gunning for you. I need you to find Preacher, the father of the vampire baby, and make sure he’s not planning a rescue mission of his own. Tell him whatever he needs to hear, but keep him under control. We know the ancient ones have the baby and the grand masters are working on a way of luring them out. Until that happens, your task is business as usual. Protect the citizens of Paradise City.”

Octavian raised his brows. “Hasn’t it been pretty quiet since the mayor lifted the curfew?”

So he’d been filled in on what had been happening. Annika was good about keeping her people in the loop. She tilted her head toward the double agent. “We don’t anticipate that quiet lasting much longer.” Then she looked at Creek again. “It never does in this town.”

Fi shifted from one foot to the other, her new heels too high to be comfortable. Not that she cared. Shoes this pretty didn’t need to be comfortable. Besides, most of the evening would be spent sitting down after the cocktail hour was over.

“Nervous?” Doc asked, glancing down at her with a smile.

“Does it show?” He looked amazing in his tux. She could think of a lot of other ways to spend the evening with a man that fine. None of them included making party talk with the brother of a woman whose death she’d played a part in.

“A little.” He squeezed her hand. “Is it because of Remo?”

She nodded.

Doc’s face went serious. “Don’t let him intimidate you. You rank higher than he does.”

She looked away. “Too bad that rank doesn’t come with fangs and claws.”

He yanked her hand to bring her attention back to him. “Hey. If anything happens—anything—you go ghost, you understand?”

“I know.” Once Chrysabelle taught her to fight, she’d feel better.

Isaiah, their butler, approached. “Omur just called up. Everyone’s arrived, Maddoc. They’re ready for you and Mrs. Mays downstairs.”

Doc tipped his head. “Thanks. Go ’head and call the elevator. We’ll be right there.” He turned back to Fi, the devilish charm she loved so much glinting in his eyes again. “Have I mentioned you look like a million bucks, Mrs. Mays?”

She glanced at her strapless black gown. “You’re just saying that to distract me.”

“I’m saying it because it’s true.” He winked. “Did it work?”

“I’ll be fine. Stop worrying about me.” The elevator chimed and she gave him a playful shove toward it, following after him.

When they stepped off the elevator, cocktail hour was in full swing. Barasa and Omur each had small groups of upper-crusty varcolai and social types gathered around them. Fi scanned the crowd for familiar faces besides theirs, but found none.

Doc leaned in to whisper. “That blond woman in the red suit? That’s the state senator’s wife. She’s from a long line of puma shifters. Old, old family. I definitely want you to meet her. And the man next to her with the buzz cut is a former JAG we’re considering hiring as the pride’s attorney.”

Fi nodded. “What kind of shifter is he?”

“Lynx.” He tipped his head toward a man standing beside Barasa.

“That’s the police chief over there with Barasa.”

“Why was he invited after what happened with you getting arrested for violating curfew?”

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