Home > Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10)(8)

Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10)(8)
Author: Patricia Briggs

“You make a very good hostage,” he said. I was pretty sure he was noticing that I wasn’t panting after him as I should have been because there was a hint of irritation in his voice. Hopefully he’d credit my bond to another vampire; sometimes, Stefan had told me, such a bond could work that way. “Don’t you think that your mate will bargain to get you back?”

“Werewolves have a long memory,” I told him. I didn’t want to answer the question because the answer was yes, so I skirted it, like a politician up for election. “And they are regrettably straightforward. The wolves are not fae to hold to bargains they view as forced. Holding me hostage is not going to help you in the long run.” Flattery was usually a good tactic with old creatures. It never had worked on the Marrok, but he was more honest with himself about what he was than most people are. “But you already know that,” I told the vampire. “I suspect you already have something planned.”

He smiled again. It was supposed to be sexy, and it was. But he smelled like a vampire to me—and I had Adam.

“I could kill you and try again,” he offered gently.

And like turning a valve, he shut off the magic he’d been using to influence me.

Maybe I should have pretended to be interested in him, but vampires have better-than-human noses. Most people who are attracted to someone don’t stink of terror and stress. I wasn’t a bad actor, but I could not have disguised my reaction to sitting this close to the Lord of Night. If I’d tried, I’d probably have thrown up on him.

He pursed his lips. “You aren’t doing this right,” he informed me. “You need to convince me that leaving you alive is in my best interests. What can you do for me? What information can you provide to me to advance my goals?”

I rolled my eyes. “I think you screwed the pooch when you hit my car and kidnapped me. You’ll have to figure your own way out of this one or wait until my head doesn’t hurt.”

He leaned into me. His body was warm—and all I could think about was how much blood he’d had to consume to raise his body temperature to a few degrees warmer than human.

“Poor little one,” he crooned, cupping my face. “It was not my intention to hurt you.”

I really wasn’t myself. I am generally very good about accommodating megalomaniacal egomaniacs and waiting until it was safe to torment them. I had grown up doing that. But my head hurt, and he was creeping me out.

“Epic failure,” I told him. “I’ll have you know that I expect my archenemies to be competent.”

He laughed, and I forgot to breathe because he was so scary. All that joyous sound and the empty eyes. The seduction had failed—the terrifying, not so much. It wasn’t magic. It was just him.

“I do want a deal with Hauptman’s pack,” he said. “It is good for you that I don’t think he’d forgive me for killing you. Werewolves are sentimental that way. But it would be easy enough to kill you—and kill him. His second might be grateful.”

I met his gaze steadily and said, “I don’t think he would.”

Vampires cannot tell truth from lies the way werewolves (and I) can. But the older ones can usually sort it out anyway. Darryl would not deal with someone who killed Adam. I was certain of it, and I let the vampire know.

He smiled faintly. There was the sound of a polite knock on the door.

“Come,” he said.

The werewolf who entered was a surprise, and she shouldn’t have been. I knew that he had exiled Marsilia for feeding from his werewolf mistress. He and Marsilia were still lovers at the time—and that probably had made for added complications. I had the impression that Marsilia’s feeding from the werewolf had some deeper vampire meaning, like maybe she’d been trying to claim the werewolf for herself. I’d been told once that the whole event had to do with Marsilia disapproving of Bonarata keeping a werewolf. Werewolf blood was apparently more enticing than human, and the implication I’d gotten was that the Lord of Night was addicted.

The woman who entered the room was beautiful. Strong features were arranged symmetrically, but there was no extra flesh on her face at all, so the total effect was fragile. Her hair was dark and formally arranged in something that was far too elaborate to be called a bun. The hair artfully left loose showed signs of being naturally curly.

She wore a white silk dress that made it clear that she was naked beneath it—and that she was too thin. The white fabric contrasted with the honey gold of her complexion and brought out the scars, small white blemishes that might have been pockmarks . . . or the reminders of where fangs had broken her skin.

She wore a silver collar, but it couldn’t have been real silver because the only scars on her neck were from fangs.

“Lenka,” said the vampire, and she flinched and glanced up.

Her eyes were werewolf gold—a sign that she was quite, quite lost to her wolf.

She started to speak. I thought it was Italian, but I don’t know it, so it could have been Romanian or some other Latin language that wasn’t Spanish or French.

He made a chiding noise. “Be polite,” he said. “Our guest speaks only English.”

She glanced at me with those wild eyes. “He is mine,” she said, her voice as clear and precise as if she’d been born in London.

“Lenka,” the Lord of Night purred, “do I have to punish you?”

Her eyes dropped to the ground, and she shivered, smelling of fear and arousal at the same time. I wondered if he knew that there was nothing human left to her, and the only thing that made us safe from her was that her wolf was utterly broken.

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