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Stitched(Rylee Adamson #8.5)(17) by Shannon Mayer

What the hell did he think? “You’re fucking kidding me, right? Faris . . . you think you’re looking out for me? The demons took your arm, you aren’t going to be able to take care of me any better—”

He yanked me around so we were nose to nose, his lips actually brushing mine as he spoke. “It’s because they took my arm that I know how much trouble you’re in being out here on your own. You took an old man, a half-broken guardian, and a dragon with you. A dragon who is being attacked right now.”

Horror and anger flooded me. I scrambled to feel Blaz, but got nothing. “Peta, can you sense Blaz?”

She shook her head, eyes drawn.

“What did you do to him?” I screamed, reaching for my blade.

“It’s not me, Rylee. There are still demons on this side of the veil, you little idiot. You think you killed them all in the fire at the castle? There is a fucking plague sweeping the world and you’re pregnant, the last hope for our world and you act like you can just do anything you please?” He was yelling at me, his eyes blue with fire in the shadows. “If you can’t see that you need to keep yourself safe until this kid shows up, then you need someone to do it for you.”

His words were like a splash of cold water, as much what he said as how he said it. Faris didn’t have a potty mouth, and it shocked me to hear him actually cuss. I stopped squirming. “Faris, I have a place that is safe, but only if Blaz is still okay. He can get me back there.” Again, I struggled to sense my friend, but got nothing back. Tracking him was easy and I could sense he was alive and well, but unconscious. “What’s happening to him?”

The vampire shook his head, blond hair catching the firelight. “Most likely just stunned. The demons around here are fairly minor, but there are a lot of them. Like a gang of pygmies, they have some venom that can drop even a large creature like a dragon. They’ll be headed here next.”

I didn’t protest as he half-dragged, half-led me through the house, starlight the only guide we had. Blaz would be okay, I had to believe that. “What are their weaknesses?”

“They don’t like sunlight.”

I snorted a laugh. “So like your very own mini-me’s?”

“Not funny. There’s enough of them that unless we can hold out until the morning, it won’t matter that the plague is sweeping the world, or that there are only six months of respite from the veil being closed off—that is, if you are right about Liam’s sacrifice.”

We reached the lowest level and I noticed that while it was below the ground, it was only sunk about halfway, and there were narrow windows along the hallway we strode down.

“The light will come through the windows and we just have to wait them out.”

“You think the three of us can’t take them?” I was surprised he wanted to hide. Really surprised.

Faris opened a heavy door that looked to be oak bound together with iron bands. “There are too many, Rylee,” he said, reading my surprise. He pointed to the windows and the flash of legs that went by brought me to a standstill.

I did a quick count, as they raced by and felt the sweat chill along my spine. At least a hundred.

“And that isn’t all of them. There are probably four times that.”

Four hundred mini demons. Yeah, even I knew I couldn’t take on that many. Fucking hell, I did not want to be stuck in a room with Faris for what I knew was going to be at least ten hours.

Behind us, the sound of squealing filled the air. Like a herd of cannibalistic pigs. Faris grabbed me and jerked me into the room. Peta leaped through just before he slammed the door. But I could see, as the door shut, the first wave of demons. The pig analogy wasn’t so far off. They were about four feet high, cloven hooves, pale pink skin and their faces resembled a mutated pig with oversized tusks and tiny black eyes. The squealing rose to a fever pitch as they caught sight of me.

And then I was helping Faris slam the door shut. Three bars of iron slammed into place over the door as the pygmies hit it. The frame didn’t even rattle.

I stepped back, the breath whooshing out of me. The room we’d locked ourselves . . . I shivered. I knew it for what it was. A spelling room. This was where Milly would have gone to make spells to try new things . . . there was a pentagram burned into the white stone floor, shelving filled the walls with books and bottles.

“Yes, this is where she spoke with him.”

I swallowed hard, thinking of Milly calling on Orion. “She was trapped, I know that now.” Faris sucked in a breath and I let out a little laugh. “You’re surprised I would say that?”

“I know how much you hated her for betraying you. And do not forget, I have been on the receiving end of your anger too.” He slumped into a chair and pointed to another beside him.

I took the chair as the chattering of the demons outside the door hummed through. “Yes, I hated her. But I loved her too. She was my best friend . . . my only friend for a lot of years. We didn’t always see eye to eye, but I understand her better now than I ever did.”

His blue eyes met mine and there was a softness I’d never seen. I stared back. “You didn’t care for her.”

He shook his head, but his gaze didn’t waver. “No, I didn’t. She wasn’t the one who intrigued me.”

I raised my eyebrows and looked away, unwilling to go there. “I wish I’d had more time with her, I wish . . . so many things.”

His chair creaked and he stretched out his legs, just into the edge of my vision. “Well, is there anything you’d like to say to me? Because we’re stuck in here ‘til dawn, and then you will get back on your dragon and go back to your sanctuary, and you will stay there.”

“That was the plan all along, vampire.”

He grunted. “Time to let it all hang out then, isn’t it?”

I stretched out beside him. “And what would you like to talk about, exactly?”

“Where do we stand, you and I?”

Shit, that was not what I expected. And now I was stuck in a tiny room with him, and I would be forced to have a heart-to-heart with a vampire who, at turns, had tried to kill me and fuck me, depending on his mood and designs of the day.

This was about to get interesting. To say the least.

Chapter 8

I spread my hands. “I’m here, what the hell do you want to discuss, exactly?”