I really need to learn how to keep my doomsday thoughts in check. Those thoughts just seem to invite trouble.
At least for me.
I had no sooner laid down on the bed when someone was pounding on my door. Yelling.
I grabbed a quilt and wrapped it over my thin sleep vestis and hurried to the door. I was expecting Kellis.
Or expecting that something had happened with Blaire. Or her sisters.
I wouldn’t let myself imagine something had happened to Ambrea or the rest of my own sisters.
When I peeked into the hall through the peephole, Aodhan and Cormac stared back at me. I opened the door, certain something had happened to someone that I cared about. My first thought was for Kellis—she was on duty late, after the demon stole that healer.
“What has happened?”
“You tell us,” Cormac said. “You were the one getting chummy with the Lupoiux.”
“Ryrk bought me d-dinner.”
“So we heard,” Aodhan said, pushing his way into my suite.
I fought an angry response. I might be stuck here at the hotel because of demons wanting to kill me—or whoever else wanted the fifty thousand dollars—but while I am here, I deserve my space being respected. “Ever ask for an invitation, Equa Adrastos?”
“We don’t have time for that,” Cormac said, following his large friend. They dwarfed my little suite like the warriors they are.
“Wh-what is going on?”
“Did the wolf tell you what he was planning?” Cormac demanded.
“He is here to speak with Rand Taniss.” I backed up at the fury on his face. Cormac was one of the scariest males I have ever met.
“Sure, he is. And him abducting a young female from Cormac’s House this evening was mere coincidence,” Aodhan said, rifling through the notes on my small desk. I’d had Theo order me a cheap desk when I decided I was going to dig as deeply into demons as I possibly could. I fought fury at seeing it so violated now. “You doing research into the demon world now? Planning to become a Predatoi?”
There are no female Predatoi; everyone knows that. He held up a book that listed every known demon battle with Dardaptoans to have ever occurred until its most recent publication a few years ago.
“It is for my sister’s books. She pays me to be her publishing assistant now. I have to have a way to earn a living s-stuck here. I am not exactly wealthy, like some, you know.”
“What exactly did that bastard say to you this evening?” Aodhan asked, crossing his arms and looking down at me. He was the tallest male I have ever seen.
“We just talked. He told me of his family. Of his travels. He asked about me and why I am here, but I told him little of that. He…is not a bad male, just hurting.” The last escaped before I could stop it, but these males—they were very, very angry right now.
“Odd that he was seen having a romantic dinner with you hours before he carried off my cousin,” Cormac said, stabbing hard at my head. “What do you know about that?”
I cried out, vaguely aware of Aodhan chastising the other male.
The blow to my mind was so hard I almost fell to the floor. Only Aodhan’s hands stopped me from dropping to the floor at their feet.
“Cormac! Enough! Good Goddess, look at her. She’s not strong enough for that!”
Aodhan lifted me and carried me to the small loveseat. When I could breathe again, Cormac sat on the coffee table in front of me, a mug of tea heavily laced with the cheap blood wine Kellis had left in my small minifridge two days ago in his hands. “I apologize, female.”
“Jume. My name is Jume, not female. I am Dardaptoan, too.” I looked up into his eyes. Only the worry in them had me softening toward him at all. “I have known you both for fifty years or more. Does that not count for something? The Lupoiux and I had dinner together, he walked me back here, kissed me, and then he was gone. That is all.”
“You had a very narrow escape then,” Aodhan said.
“A young female from Cormac’s House was abducted tonight. By that Lupoiux. No one knows where he has taken her.”
“Unless you do?” Cormac asked softly. Sinisterly. “Jume?”
I really do not like him at all. I pity his poor female, being stuck with him.
I just shook my head. There was nothing else I could say.